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History of Glasgow

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Glasgow's history stretches back almost two thousand years and has been rich and varied.

Originally a small salmon-fishing village at a crossing point on the River Clyde, Glasgow has been shaped by Battles, World Wide Trade and Heavy Industry to become a truly International City.

In 1451 Glasgow became a University City. Glasgow University was originally built in the High Street area of the city, but was moved to its present site in Glasgow's West end in 1870.



Glasgow History
University of Glasgow

Glasgow has also been the site of many battles. Bishop's Castle once stood on the site now occupied by Glasgow's Royal Infirmary. Here, in 1300, William Wallace (of "Braveheart" fame) with 300 men defeated an army of 1000 English Knights who had taken possession of the castle under the English Bishop of Durham.

Two centuries later the castle was again the scene of battle when two opposing forces fought for control of the Crown of Scotland then in the possession of the baby, Mary Queen of Scots.


16th and 17th Centuries

Following the Reformation, James Beaton, Glasgow's last Roman Catholic archbishop, fled to Paris in 1560, taking many of the Cathedral's records and treasured relics.

18th Century

When Scotland eventually turned to the Atlantic, Glasgow, ideally placed on the west coast, came into its own. A dynamic business community seized its golden opportunity

19th Century

As the Industrial Revolution took hold at the start of the 19th century, Glasgow’s new industrialists were expanding their manufacturing bases, particularly in soap-making, distilling, glass-making, sugar and textiles. Textile production used coal in the steam-driven cotton mills and power-loom factories. Other industries included bleaching, dyeing and fabric printing.

20th Century

The story of 20th century Glasgow after the First World War, is in bleak contrast to the previous century, marred by industrial decline of enormous proportions.

Birth of a City

Glasgow, Scotland's largest city, has a history stretching back to earliest times. Stone Age canoes unearthed along the banks of the River Clyde suggest early fishing communities.

The middle ages

By the later 12th century Glasgow's population had reached around 1,500, making it an important settlement