[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
Mariupol (Ukrainian: Маріу́поль, pronounced [mariˈupɔlʲ] is the city in southeastern Ukraine situated by the Sea of Azov north coast, at the mouth of the Kalmius. By population, it’s the tenth largest city in the Ukraine  and second largest in the Donetsk oblast  which is 492,176 citizens. It was granted city rights in 1778. Originally founded as a Cossack fortress, Mariupol has been a centre for the grain trade, metallurgy and heavy engineering. The Ilyich Steel & Iron Works and Azovstal propelled Mariupol on to the European stage in the 20th century as one of the biggest and most productive plants. Mariupol played a key role in the industrialization of Ukraine. Today, Mariupol remains a centre for industry, as well as higher education and business, a legal centre[clarification needed], and is the economic engine of Pryazovia.
Mariupol can trace its recorded history to the 16th century when the Cossack fortress called Domakha was built at the mouth of Kalmius for the purpose of protecting their hunting grounds, fisheries and salt-works against devastating raids of Crimean Tatars. In 1734 the garrison of 654 cossacks became the Kalmius palanka of Zaporizhian Sich.
After the Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774), the great influx of orthodox Greeks from Crimea to the area caused the local population growth. Then the city was named Marianopol (Mariupol).
In 1782 it was the capital of uyezd in Azov Governorate of Russian Empire with population of 2948 inhabitants. In the early 19th century the customs, Church-parish school, port authorities building, uyezd religious school, two privately-founded girls’ schools appear in the city. In 1850s the population grew up to 4600 running 120 shops and 15 wine cellars.
After construction of the railway line from Yuzovka in 1882 much of the wheat grown in Yekaterinoslav Governorate and charcoal from Donets Basin was exported via the port of Mariupol (the second largest after Odesa in South Russian Empire) which gave a key funding source for opening a hospital, public library, electric power station and urban water supply system.
Mariupol remained a local trading centre until 1898 when Belgian subsidiary SA Providence Russe opened a steelworks in Sartana near Mariupol (now the Ilyich Steel & Iron Works. The company made heavy losses, and by 1902 went into bankruptcy, owing 6 million francs to the Providence company, and had to be re-financed by the Banque de l’Union Parisienne. The mills brought cultural diversity to Mariupol as immigrants, mostly peasants from all over empire, moved to the city looking for a job and a better life. The quantity of workers employed was increased up to 5400 persons.
In 1914 the population of Mariupol reached 58,000. However the period from 1917 onwards saw continuous decline in population and industry due to the February Revolution and the Civil War.
In 1933 along the Kalmius River a new steelworks (Azovstal) were built.
During the World War II in 1941–1943 the city was occupied by Nazi Germany. It caused tremendous damage to the city, many people were killed.
Since 1948 till 1989 the city was named Zhdanov after a Soviet politician Andrei Zhdanov