Modern Scarborough has a population approaching 60,000, and is the major holiday resort of the Yorkshire Coast. It is home to residential communities, business, fishing and service industries.
Scarborough was founded around 950 AD by Thorgils Skarthi, a Viking raider. However the new settlement was soon burned to the ground by a rival band of Vikings under Tosti, Lord of Falsgrave, and Harald of Norway. The destruction and massacre meant that very little remained to be recorded in the Domesday survey of 1085. Scarborough recovered under King Henry II who built a stone castle on the headland, and granted charters in 1155 and 1163, permitting a market on the sands, and establishing rule by Burgesses.
In the Middle Ages Scarborough Fair was a six week trading festival attracting merchants from all over Europe. It ran from Assumption Day, the 15th of August, until Michaelmas Day, the 29th September. The Fair continued to be held for 500 years, from the eleventh to the eighteenth century. Scarborough and its Castle changed hands seven times between royalists and parliamentarians during the English Civil War, of the 1640s, enduring two lengthy and violent sieges. Following this disaster much of the town lay in ruins.
In 1626, a Mrs Farrow discovered a stream of acid water running from one of the cliffs to the south of the town. This gave birth to Scarborough Spa, and attracted a flood of visitors to the town. Scarborough became Britain's first seaside resort, a position boosted with the coming of the railway in the 1840s.