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The city of Portsmouth started about 1180 when a merchant called Jean De Gisors founded a little town in South-West corner of Portsea Island. Jean De Gisors was a merchant who owned a fleet of ships. He was also a landowner who owned land on Portsea Island. In the South-West of the island was a small inlet from the sea called the Camber. It was a sheltered place for ships to land and De Gisors decided it was an ideal place to start a town.

De Gisors divided up the land into plots for building houses and he started a market. Craftsmen and merchants came to live in the new settlement. In 1185 a parish church was built (later it became Portsmouth Cathedral).

In 1194 the king gave Portsmouth a charter. (A document granting the townspeople certain rights).

By the early 13th century Portsmouth was described as 'one of our most important ports' The population of Portsmouth was probably about 1,200 people. The main exports from Portsmouth were wool and grain. The main imports were wine, woad for dyeing, wax for candles and iron.

Hope this answered your question :)

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