It became a borough in 1207, a city in 1880, and a county borough independent of Lancashire in 1889. Its growth as a major port was paralleled by the expansion of the city throughout the Industrial Revolution. Along with general cargo, freight, and raw materials such as coal and cotton, merchants were involved in the slave trade. In the 19th century, Liverpool was a major port of departure for English and Irish emigrants to North America. It was also home to both the Cunard and w:White Star Lines, and was the port of registry of the ocean liners RMS Titanic, RMS Lusitania, RMS Queen Mary, and w:RMS Olympic.
Liverpool is noted for its culture, architecture, and transport links. The city is closely associated with the arts, especially music; the popularity of the Beatles, who are widely regarded as the most influential musical group in history, cemented the city's status as a tourist destination. Since then, Liverpool has continued to produce many notable musicians and record labels — musicians from the city have produced 56 No. 1 hit singles, more than any other city in the world.
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- Liverpool, like no other city, concentrated simultaneously on all the core functions of the global cotton trade. Its merchants traded raw cotton, shipped cotton goods, and financed both cotton agriculture and cotton manufacturing. Other cotton cities were more specialized in their activities. Merchants in New Orleans, Alexandria, and Bombay, for example, mastered the export of raw cotton, while Bremen and Le Havre merchants received their shipments. New York and London merchants focused on financing the trade. And widely dispersed merchants in cities from Buenos Aires to Recife, Hamburg to Calcutta received shipments of yarn and cloth and distributed them through their hinterlands. None of these cities, however, competed seriously with Liverpool.