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Bristol ( / ˈ b r ɪ s t əl / ( listen ) ) is a city and county  in South West England with a population of 454,200  in 2017. The district has the 10th-largest population in England, while the Bristol metropolitan area is the 12th-largest in the United Kingdom. The city borders North Somerset and South Gloucestershire , with the cities of Bath and Gloucester to the south-east and north-east, respectively.
One of the UK's most popular tourist destinations, Bristol was selected in 2009 as one of the world's top ten cities by international travel publishers Dorling Kindersley in their Eyewitness series of travel guides. The Sunday Times named it as the best city in Britain in which to live in 2014 and 2017, and Bristol also won the EU's European Green Capital Award in 2015.
During the 16th century, Bristol merchants concentrated on developing trade with Spain and its American colonies.  This included the smuggling of prohibited goods, such as food and guns, to Iberia  during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604).  Bristol's illicit trade grew enormously after 1558, becoming integral to its economy.