It changed from being the name of a small manorial borough in the 13th century, through several incarnations, to being the name attached to the present metropolitan borough.
In 1866, Leeds and each of the other townships in the borough became civil parishs.
The borough became a county borough in 1889, giving it independence from the newly formed West Riding County Council and it gained city status in 1893.
Before the Industrial Revolution, it became a co-ordination centre for the manufacture of woollen cloth, and white broadcloth was traded at its White Cloth Hall.
The railway network constructed around Leeds, starting with the Leeds and Selby Railway in 1834, provided improved communications with national markets and, significantly for its development, an east-west connection with Manchester and the ports of Liverpool and Hull giving improved access to international markets.
During the Industrial Revolution, Leeds developed into a major mill town; wool was the dominant industry, but flax, engineering, iron foundries, printing, and other industries were important.
From being a compact market town in the valley of the River Aire, in the 16th century, Leeds expanded and absorbed the surrounding villages to become a populous urban centre by the mid-20th century.
From 1988 two run-down and derelict areas close to the city centre were designated for regeneration and became the responsibility of Leeds Development Corporation, outside the planning remit of the city council.
In 1801, 42% of the population of Leeds lived outside the township, in the wider borough.
Initially, local government services were provided by Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire County Council.
When the county council was abolished in 1986, the city council absorbed its functions, and some powers passed to organisations such as the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Authority.
Decline in manufacturing during the 1930s was temporarily reversed by a switch to producing military uniforms and munitions during World War II.