Wigan (/ˈwɪɡən/ WIG-ən) is a town in Greater Manchester, England, on the River Douglas, 10 miles (16 km) south-west of Bolton, 12 miles (19 km) north of Warrington and 17 miles (27.4 km) west-northwest of Manchester. Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and is its administrative centre. The town has a population of 103,608, whilst the wider borough has a population of 318,100.
Historically in Lancashire, Wigan during classical antiquity was in the territory of the Brigantes, an ancient Celtic tribe that ruled much of what is now northern England. The Brigantes were subjugated in the Roman conquest of Britain during the 1st century, and it is asserted that the Roman settlement of Coccium was established where Wigan lies. Wigan is believed to have been incorporated as a borough in 1246 following the issue of a charter by King Henry III of England. At the end of the Middle Ages, it was one of four boroughs in Lancashire established by Royal charter.
During the Industrial Revolution Wigan experienced dramatic economic expansion and a rapid rise in population. Although porcelain manufacture and clock making had been major industries, Wigan became known as a major mill town and coal mining district. A coal mine was recorded in 1450 and at its peak, there were 1,000 pit shafts within 5 miles (8 km) of the town centre. Mining was so extensive that a town councillor remarked that “a coal mine in the backyard was not uncommon in Wigan”. Coal mining ceased during the latter part of the 20th century.
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