King Calenhad Theirin once famously declared, "The fate of Redcliffe is the fate of all Ferelden." Certainly, the castle is the first and last defense for the sole land route into Ferelden, and the country has never fallen to any force that did not first capture Redcliffe.
The castle, which despite being three times captured is popularly described as "unassailable," also guards one of the largest and most prosperous towns in Ferelden. Redcliffe village is well situated near the mountain pass to Orzammar and the Orlesian border, and so serves as a center of foreign trade. For these reasons, Redcliffe is accounted an arling despite the smallness of the domain.
The inhabitants of Redcliffe village are primarily fishermen or merchants who ship dwarven goods through the pass from Orlais to Denerim. When the entire village smells of smoked fish on certain late autumn mornings, the merchants in their finery do their utmost to pretend otherwise.