A Brief History of Glasgow, Scotland
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and holds the honor of being the third-largest city in the of the UK. It was originally a part of Lanarkshire but is now considered to fall within the boundaries of Glasgow City Council – which is one of more than 30 council areas that make up Scotland.
The city stands on the River Clyde and has grown from being a small rural settlement to become a large and thriving seaport. The city is home to the University of Glasgow, which was founded in the fifteenth century, and it is a major center for trade with North America and the West Indies.
The city saw its population expand massively during the Industrial Revolution, and is now one of the most important cities for textiles, chemicals, and engineering, as well as shipbuilding. Many cities claim that they were the ‘Second City of the British Empire, but this is a title that many of historians do argue would belong to Glasgow.
The Glasgow population grew rapidly during the late 19th and early 20th century and benefited from some urban renewal work in the 1960s, which encouraged people to move from the city center into some of the suburbs.
More recently, the population has grown to reach more than 1,800,000 people – which equates to around one-third of the total population in Scotland, and it has one of the greatest population densities of any Scottish locality.
Glasgow was the host of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and is also home to a number of festivals and other major events, which means that it is popular with tourists from all over the world.
The Growth of Industry
One of the main events that truly catapulted Glasgow to fame was the opening of the Monkland Canal and basin, and the linking of Glasgow to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Port Dundas. This facilitated access to the mines in Lanarkshire and helped the city to grow.
By 1821, the population in Glasgow had grown greater than that of Edinburgh, and the civic institutions such as the City of Glasgow Police in 1800 helped the city to grow. There were some hurdles along the way – in 1878, the City of Glasgow Bank collapsed – but growth continued anyway, and by the end of the 1800s the city was producing more than half of the shipping for Britain, in terms of tonnage, as well as a quarter of all the world’s locomotives.
The Baby Boomer Years
It was one of the first cities in Europe to grow to a population of one million, and it proved incredibly resilient. It entered a recession in World War I and struggled through the Great Depression as well, but it broke through that and had recovered from World War II. It enjoyed a post-war boom in the 1950s, but in the 1960s it struggled again as growing industry in Japan and West Germany threatened a lot of the industries that the city relied on. This led to unemployment and urban decay, but an aggressive programme of regeneration helped the city to recover over the 60s and 70s.
In the 1980s, the city was going through a period of regeneration and growth, and it became a European City of Culture in the 1990s, and still retains an important role as a tourist place and as a thriving business and finance city even today, with employment that is higher than many of the major cities in England, such as Birmingham and Manchester.