Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
historic market town, Wakefield metropolitan borough, metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, historic county of Yorkshire, northern England. It lies east of the Pennine foothills, 4 miles (6 km) south of the River Calder above its confluence with the River Aire. Pontefract grew around a Norman castle as the market centre of a rich agricultural area. The castle, built in 1069, became an important stronghold, sustaining three sieges in the mid-17th-century English Civil Wars before the Royalists surrendered. With the development of coal mining in the locality in the 19th century, Pontefract acquired industries, especially engineering. Today it is still a market and service centre. It manufactures licorice confectionery (Pomfret cakes) and has a well-known racecourse. Pop. (2001) 28,250.