Fort William (Scottish Gaelic: An Gearasdan, "The Garrison" pronounced [?n 'k??r?s?t??n] ) is the largest town in the highlands of Scotland only being exceeded in size by the City of Inverness.
Historically, this area of Lochaber was strongly Clan Cameron country, and there were a number of mainly Cameron settlements in the area (such as Blarmacfoldach). The nearby settlement of Inverlochy was the main settlement in the area before the building of the fort, and was also site of the Battle of Inverlochy.
Fort William from Loch Linnhe.
The town grew up as a settlement next to a fort constructed to control the population after Oliver Cromwell's invasion during the English Civil War, and then to suppress the Jacobite uprisings of the 18th century. The fort was named "Fort William"' after William Of Orange, and the settlement that grew around it was called "Maryburgh", after his wife. This settlement was later renamed "Gordonsburgh", and then "Duncansburgh" before being renamed "Fort William", this time after Prince William, Duke of Cumberland; known to some Scots as "Butcher Cumberland". Given these origins, there have been various suggestions over the years to rename the town (for example, to "Invernevis"). These proposals have led to nothing as of yet.
During the Second World War, Fort William was the home of HMS St Christopher which was a training base for Royal Navy Coastal Forces.
Fort William is the northern end of the West Highland Way, a long distance route which runs 95 miles through the Scottish Highlands to Milngavie, on the outskirts of Glasgow, and the start/end point of the Great Glen Way, which runs between Fort William and Inverness.
On 2 June 2006, a fire destroyed McTavish's Restaurant in Fort William High Street along with the two shops which were part of the building. The restaurant had been open since the 1970s and prior to that the building had been Fraser's Cafe since the 1920s. The site is still empty in 2011 and the adjacent Grand Hotel has now also closed.
 Future development
A "Waterfront" development has been proposed by the Council though there is not overwhelming support for this in the town. The development will include a hotel, some shops and some housing but it was discovered early in 2008 that it is unlikely to be completed before 2020. It was announced in April 2010 that the project has been abandoned.