Created a borough by royal will (1207) as a convenient place of embarkation for Irish campaigns, fluctuated in prosperity until the early 17th cent. when Irish industries developed and Chester declined (from silting). Continuing to control the larger share of the Irish trade, Liverpool gained impetus from lucrative commerce with the plantations (sugar, tobacco, cotton) and the rapid development of Manchester's textile industries. Involvement in the slave trade brought riches and an unsavoury reputation. Despite extensive reconstruction of the business quarters after severe bomb damage in the Second World War, the subsequent de‐industrialization of Liverpool has led to its being better known for its football teams, pop music groups, and comedians. Liverpool was European city of culture during 2008.