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One of the notables in the Blacker family, Colonel William Blacker, High Sheriff of Armagh, took part in the "Battle of the Diamond" and was a founding member of the Orange Order.This, and subsequent events like the setting up of a 'provisional' Grand Lodge in the town after the 'voluntary' dissolution of the Order in 1825, led to the town being known as 'The Orange Citadel' and was a center of sectarian strife for two centuries.Although Portadown can trace its origins to the early 17th century Plantation of Ulster, it was not until the Victorian era and the arrival of the railway that it became a major town.It earned the nickname "hub of the North" due to it being a major railway junction; where the Great Northern Railway's line diverged for Belfast, Dublin, Armagh and Derry.In the 19th and 20th centuries Portadown was also a major centre for the production of textiles (mainly linen).Of its population, about 61% are from a Protestant background and 31% from a Catholic background.
In 1608, James I of England began the Plantation of Ulster – the organised colonisation of this land by settlers from Great Britain.
It is in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area and had a population of about 22,000 at the 2011 Census.
For some purposes, Portadown is treated as part of the "Craigavon Urban Area", alongside Craigavon and Lurgan.
The Troubles led to the town becoming segregated – the northwestern part of the town became almost wholly Catholic/Irish nationalist, while the rest of the town became almost wholly Protestant/unionist.
The Troubles also intensified the long-running Drumcree marching dispute, over Orange marches through the Catholic part of town.