The city grew up in the area that was the location of the Roman settlement called Pons Aelius, and it owes its name to the castle built in 1080, by Robert (II), Duke of Normandy, "Curthose", William the Conqueror's eldest son. The city grew as an important centre for the wool trade and it later became a major coal mining area. The port developed in the 16th century and, along with the shipyards lower down the river, was amongst the world's largest shipbuilding and ship-repairing centres. Newcastle's economy includes corporate headquarters, learning, digital technology, retail, tourism and cultural centres.
Among its main icons are Newcastle Brown Ale, a leading brand of beer, Newcastle United F.C., a Premier League team, and the Tyne Bridge. It has hosted the world's most popular half marathon, the Great North Run, since it began in 1981.
The regional nickname and dialect for people from Newcastle and the surrounding area is Geordie