The Port of Liverpool lies just three kilometers inland from the Irish Sea on the River Mersey in the county of Lanchashire on England's western coast. Located on the Mersey Estuary, the Port of Liverpool is some 190 kilometers west of the Port of Immingham on England's eastern shores. It is also connected to Manchester via 40-kilometer long Manchester Ship Canal. Since the end of World War II, the Port of Liverpool has suffered economic decline. In the last decades, the local economy has begun to recover even though it still has relatively high poverty and unemployment rates. The Port of Liverpool's docks and part of the city center were recognized by UNESCO in 2004 as a World Heritage Site. In 2006, over 436 thousand people lived in the Port of Liverpool.
Like many modern cities, the Port of Liverpool's service sector has growth rapidly, and it is a center for government agencies and services. The famous Jaguar X-Type and Land Rover Freelander are manufactured here. The Port of Liverpool's financial sector is important to the local economy, and the "new media" sector is growing. Sony's PlayStation research and development center was formed there when it bought Psygnosis. Tourism is also a major contributor to the Port of Liverpool's economy and has stimulated a significant increase in the number of high-quality hotels, restaurants, and clubs in the city. It is one of the world's few cities where cruise vessels can berth in the city center.
In 1207, King John announced the establishment of the Port of Liverpool, but 400 years later, only 500 people lived in the village. Growth of population and trade was slow through the 17th Century. The Port of Liverpool was the object of several battles during the English Civil War. In 1699, the English Parliament made the Port of Liverpool a parish. That year, the first slave ship, the Liverpool Merchant, set sail from the Port of Liverpool for Africa.
Trade from the West Indies was a boon to the Port of Liverpool. The first commercial dock was built there in 1715. Over the next century, the slave trade contributed greatly to the town's prosperity and growth. By the end of the 18th Century, the Port of Liverpool dominated more than 80% of Britain's slave trade and over 40% of Europe's.
Almost half of the world's trade was moving through the Port of Liverpool by the beginning of the 19th Century. Manchester and Liverpool became the first cities to be linked by rail in 1830. During the 1840s, Irish migrants began to poor into the city as a result of the Great Famine, and about a quarter of the city's population was Irish-born by 1851.
During the 19th Century, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli described the Port of Liverpool as the "second city of Empire." The city did experience several periods when its wealth exceeded that of London, and the Port of Liverpool Custom House was the biggest contributor to Britain's Exchequer. It was the only city in the United Kingdom to have its own Whitehall office. In 1886, the Port of Liverpool was called the "New York of Europe." The city's architecture bore witness to its wealth and optimism. In 1933, the United Kingdom's first provincial airport opened in the Port of Liverpool.
In 1919, the Housing Act stimulated the construction of new housing throughout the Port of Liverpool that continued into the 1930s and 1940s. Families were displaced from the inner city to suburban housing estates, and many new private homes were built. After the Second World War, more suburban housing estates were created, and some inner city neighborhoods were redeveloped to create new homes.
During World War II, the Port of Liverpool suffered some 80 air-raids that killed 2500 people and damaged half of the city's housing. Rebuilding efforts created Britain's largest dock project, the Seaforth Dock, and massive housing estates in the Port of Liverpool. Through the 1950s and 1960s, urban renewal activities destroyed the historic buildings that had survived German bombs, creating bad feelings among city residents. In the 1960s, the Port of Liverpool got world-wide attention when the "Merseybeat" appeared on the rock-and-roll scene and The Beatles rose to fame.
After the middle 1970s, the Port of Liverpool and the city's manufacturing sector went into a serious decline. Containerization of ocean-going cargoes made the port's infrastructure and facilities largely obsolete. By the early 1980s, the Port of Liverpool's unemployment rates were some of the highest in the United Kingdom.
Fortunately, the Port of Liverpool has experienced economic recovery in the past couple of decades, and it has experienced higher-than-average growth rates since the middle 1990s. By the end of the century, the Port of Liverpool was focused on renewal and regeneration. The city has taken advantage of the fame of The Beatles and the Merseybeat to build a significant tourism business.
The Port of Liverpool celebrated its 800th Anniversary in 2007 with many events. In 2008, the Port of Liverpool was recognized as a European Capital of Culture by the European Union.
In 2007, Peel Holdings, the owner of the airport and the Port of Liverpool, announced plans to create Liverpool Waters, a redeveloped northern dock area. The effort is projected to create 17 thousand new jobs in the city.