Mackem

From Academic Kids

'Mackem' is a term describing someone native to the City of Sunderland, North East England. Alternatives include 'Makem' or 'Mak'em'.

The term is thought to have been coined by shipyard workers in the 19th century in Newcastle (see Geordie), to describe their Wearside counterparts. The Geordies would 'Take' the ship to be fitted out that the Mackems 'Made', hence 'Mackem and Tackem' ("make them" and "take them").

However, the Oxford English Dictionary has been unable to locate the term in print before 1991; along with the BBC it is conducting a search to find an earlier reference (See BBC Wordhunt (http://www.oed.com/bbcwordhunt/list.html#mackem)). At around that time, the term came into common use, partly due to the labelling of Sunderland people as 'Mackems' by Geordies and partly by Sunderland people themselves who did not want to be identified as Geordies. The main course of this dislike between the two cities in modern times stems from the rivalry between the football clubs of the two cities (Sunderland A.F.C and Newcastle United F.C).

The Geordie-Mackem rivalry dates back to 1642, when King Charles I awarded the East of England coal trade rights to the coal merchants in Newcastle upon Tyne, although this was simply a confirmation of rights granted and claimed since King John's grant of 1213. In effect Newcastle had effective control of the movement of coal in and out of the North East of England. This put their counterparts in Sunderland out of business.

Two years later, during the early stages of the English Civil War, Newcastle was attacked by the Scottish army siding with Cromwell against King Charles. Newcastle, the surrounding areas and the rest of the North of England had sided with King Charles, with the exception of Sunderland, which acted as a supply base for the Scottish army. There followed the Battle of Boldon Hill, in which an army gathered from Newcastle and County Durham was defeated by the Scottish army. Newcastle was subsequently captured by the Scottish.

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