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People have been living in the area of Limerick for many centuries. The first recorded people to settle in the area were the Vikings, who came in the early ninth century. Vikings dominated the area for hundreds of years. A fortified structure was built in Limerick in 912 by the Viking king Thormodr Helgason. Limerick Vikings vied for power with other Viking tribes in the area until late in the twelfth century, when the city was overrun by Normans. The Norman King John built a castle in the city in the year 1200. Limerick prospered and was peaceful under the Normans until the 17th century.
In the 1600's, the city suffered a number of sieges: first under an Irish Catholic army, then an English army followed by a French and Irish army. The longest of these sieges occurred in 1691 when the English army again surrounded the city and laid siege to it for over a year. The Treaty of Limerick was signed in 1692 and marked the culmination of an English invasion of Ireland.
The Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s took its toll on the city. 70,000 people from the County of Limerick died.
Limerick saw much fighting during the Irish War of Independence, which led to Irish independence in 1921. Subsequently, the city experienced widespread unemployment, poverty and emigration, and Limerick's economy stalled through the war years until the end of the 20th century, when Ireland finally began to prosper.