Newport's history dates back to a Celtic settlement 2000 years ago.

The city's location at the mouth of the River Usk has attracted visitors for centuries.


Caerleon, just a few miles from Newport, was the site of a fortress of the 2nd (Augustan) Roman legion from the first century AD.

The remains of the barracks, bath house and amphitheatre in Caerleon are among the best preserved Roman military sites in Britain.

Medieval Newport

The Normans settled in Newport and built a castle beside the river Usk in the 12th century. The town received its first charter in 1385.

The discovery of a sea-going vessel in 2002 shows how important Newport was for industry and trade at the time.

Growth and expansion

During the 19th century industrial revolution, Newport expanded rapidly from a small seaport town to one of the most important places in the country for coal export and steel production.

Trade flourished and further extension of the docks added to Newport’s reputation.

The Chartists

The Chartist uprising of 1839 in Newport concerned demands made by the Chartists. These included:

  • a vote for all men over 21 years
  • secret ballots
  • wages for members of parliament (MPs) 
  • the abolition of the property qualifications for MPs

All of these demands were incorporated within the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

These men suffered for principles which we now take for granted and which form the basis of modern parliamentary democracy.


Newport is twinned with Heidenheim in Germany and Kutaisi in Georgia.


The link with Heidenheim started in 1980. 

Civic exchanges continue for major events such as:

  • HM Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Newport in 2002
  • 2004 National Eisteddfod
  • 2010 Ryder Cup


Our twinning with Kutaisi started in 1989. Kutaisi is the second city in Georgia. 

To find out more visit the Newport Kutaisi Association website.