The History of Glasgow: From Dear Green Place to a Thriving City

Glasgow is a city with a rich and fascinating history. Located in west-central Scotland, it is the administrative center of the Strathclyde region and the largest city in Scotland. The name Glasgow is thought to derive from the Britonic Celtic “Cleschi”, which means “Dear green place”. The city is situated at the wide bottom of the River Clyde Valley, with hills to the north, northwest and south providing an interesting backdrop and views.

The River Clyde divides the city from east to west. The current site of Glasgow has been populated since prehistoric times, being the furthest wading point downstream of the River Clyde, at its confluence with the Molendinar burn. The Romans built outposts in the area and constructed the Antonine Wall to keep Roman Britain separate from Celtic and Pictish Caledonia. In the Hunterian Museum, visitors can see objects from the wall, such as altars from Roman fortresses, including Balmuildy. After the Roman withdrawal from Caledonia, the town formed part of the great kingdom of Strathclyde, whose capital was in Dumbarton, 24 km downstream. It merged in the 9th century with other regions to create the United Kingdom of Scotland.

Glasgow's origins as a consolidated city stem from its medieval position as the second largest bishopric in Scotland. Glasgow grew in importance during the 10th and 11th centuries, when this bishopric was reorganized by King David I of Scotland and John, Bishop of Glasgow. Glasgow was probably founded in the 6th century when Saint Mungo built a church in a place called Glas Gu. A fishing settlement in the green place eventually became a small town. Glasgow received a bishop in 1115, indicating that it was already a fairly important settlement at that time.

Glasgow was named European City of Culture in 1990, followed by City of Architecture and Design in 1999 and European Capital of Sport in 2003. After the Acts of Union of 1707, Scotland gained greater access to the vast markets of the new British Empire, and Glasgow became prominent as the center of international trade to and from the Americas, especially in sugar, tobacco, cotton and manufactured products. However, Glasgow was besieged several times during the 16th century in 1516, 1517, 1544, 1560, 1568 and 1570. The climate was ideal for processing cotton, and Glasgow textile manufacturers focused their attention on producing fine cotton muslins, in which they excelled, challenging the dominance of Indian muslins marketed by the East India Company in the 1780s. Sometime between 1189 and 1195, this was complemented by an annual fair which continues today as the Glasgow Fair. BBC Radio Scotland, Scotland's national radio station is located at BBC headquarters in Glasgow next to its sister Gaelic radio station which is also based in Stornoway. One of the reasons is that Glasgow was on the wrong side of Scotland to trade with European countries such as Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries.

Glasgow is also one of five places in Scotland to host the final of the Scottish Shinty Cup better known as The Camanachd Cup. Glasgow is also home to The Gallery of Modern Art and The Lighthouse an exhibition and conference center dedicated to architecture design and urban planning. This has led to large-scale remodeling of much of the poorest housing stock in north Glasgow and to a broader regeneration of many areas such as Ruchill that have been transformed; many deteriorated homes have already been remodeled or replaced by modern developments. In 1983 The “Glasgow Miles Better” campaign was followed by great success with The National Garden Festival which was held in Glasgow in 1988 at Govan's Prince's Dock. Glasgow is home to Scotland's only professional basketball team The Glasgow Rocks which compete in The British Basketball League. From its humble beginnings as a fishing settlement to its current status as a thriving city with a vibrant culture and economy, Glasgow has come a long way over its long history. From its ancient roots to its modern-day attractions there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful city.