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Inverness (pronounced /ɪnvərˈnɛs/ listen (help·info); from the Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Nis pronounced [iɲɪɾʲˈniʃ], meaning "Mouth of the River Ness") is a city in the Scottish Highlands. It is the administrative centre for the Highland council area, and is regarded as the capital of the Highlands of Scotland. Inverness lies near two important battle sites: the 11th century battle of Blàr nam Fèinne against Norway which took place on The Aird and the 18th century Battle of Culloden which took place on Culloden Moor. It is the northernmost city in the United Kingdom and lies within the Great Glen (Gleann Mòr) at its north-eastern extremity where the River Ness enters the Moray Firth. At the latest, a settlement was established by the 6th century with the first royal charter being granted by Dabíd mac Maíl Choluim (King David I) in the 12th century. The Gaelic king, Mac Bethad mac Findláich (MacBeth) nicknamed An Rígh Dearg (The Red King) held a castle within the city where he ruled as Mormaer of Moray and Ross.
The population of Inverness grew rapidly between 2000 and 2010 at a rate of 14.1% with an estimated population of 59,000 in 2010, while the administrative area of Inverness, a larger area surrounding the city, has an estimated population of 74,265. Inverness is one of Europe's fastest growing cities, with a third of the Highland population living in or around the city and is ranked fifth out of 189 British cities for its quality of life, the highest of any Scottish city. In the recent past, Inverness has experienced rapid economic growth - between 1998 and 2008, Inverness and the rest of the Central Highlands showed the largest growth of average economic productivity per person in Scotland and the second greatest growth in the United Kingdom as a whole, with an increase of 86%. Inverness is twinned with one German city, Augsburg and two French towns, La Baule and Saint-Valery-en-Caux.
Inverness College is the main campus for the University of the Highlands and Islands. With around 8,500 students, Inverness College hosts around a quarter of all the University of the Highlands and Islands' students, and 30% of those studying to degree level.
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