There is evidence of Pre-historic occupation in the Derby area.
The Romans built a fort on the site in 50AD and a vicus (town) grew up around it. However when the Romans left Britain the site was abandoned.
There was possibly an Anglo-Saxon settlement in the area, but the Vikings founded a settlement in 873 which was captured by the Saxons in 917. It prospered and a mint and market are recorded in the 10th century.
The Doomsday book (1086) records a population of 2000 (The average size of a village was about 100-150). It received charters in 1154 and 1204 and a wool industry was established in the town. Despite outbreaks of the plague in 1636 and 1665, the town continued to grow. The UK’s first silk mill was opened in Derby in 1717.
The city was occupied by the Jacobite Army in December 1745 and King George I visited in 1773 and warranted the change of name for the local china from Derby to Crown Derby (it later became Royal Crown Derby by permission of Queen Victoria). The Railway reached Derby in 1839 and the Midland Railway soon set up a depot for maintenance and construction of engines.
In 1907 Rolls Royce opened a factory manufacturing cars and airoplane engines.