Belfast,Northern Ireland, the capital of Northern Ireland and the seat of County Antrim. It is at the head of Belfast Lough (bay) and the mouth of the Lagan River on the northeastern coast. Dublin is 90 miles (145 km) to the south and Scotland is 30 miles (48 km) to the east across the North Channel. Belfast is the chief commercial and manufacturing city of Northern Ireland.
Several bridges span the Lagan. The center of the city is Donegall Square and the main shopping streets are Donegall Place and Royal Avenue. The City Hall and the Linen Hall Library are on the square. On the city's outskirts are Queen's University, an art gallery, a museum, and the Parliament buildings.
Belfast has long been a leading producer of linen. Some of the flax is produced locally but much is imported. The port of Belfast is one of the largest in the United Kingdom and shipbuilding is a major industry. The shipyards here are among the world's largest. Belfast's other industries produce rope, food products, chemicals, machinery, aircraft, and clothing.
Belfast was chartered in 1613. In 1888 it became a city and in 1920 the capital of Northern Ireland. The city's history has been marked by unrest, both religious, involving clashes between Protestants and Roman Catholics, and political. Before the partition of Ireland into northern and southern parts, Belfast was a center of opposition to Home Rule.
During World War II the city was a main port for United States troops entering the European theater. It suffered severe damage from German bombings during the war. In the 1960's and 1970's, it was the site of renewed violence between Protestants and Catholics. The Northern Ireland Assembly began meeting at Stormont Parliament building in Belfast in 1999, as provided for in the 1998 peace accord between Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Great Britain.
Population (district): 277,391.