Inverness (/ɪnvərˈnɛs/; from the Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Nis [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) whose 11th-century murder of King Duncan was immortalised in Shakespeare's play Macbeth, held a castle within the city where he ruled as Mormaer of Moray and Ross.
The population of Inverness grew from a population of 40,949 in 2001 to 46,870 in 2012, the most recently released Mid Year estimate. The Greater Inverness area, including Culloden and Westhill, had a population of 59,910 in 2012. Inverness is one of Europe's fastest growing cities, with a quarter of the Highland population living in or around it, 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.
In 2014, a survey by a property website described Inverness as the happiest place in Scotland and the second happiest in the UK. Inverness was again found to be the happiest place in Scotland by a new study conducted in 2015.
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