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|The City of Glasgow|
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. It is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands.
Glasgow grew from the medieval Bishopric of Glasgow and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow, which contributed to the Scottish Enlightenment. From the 18th century the city had become one of Europe's main hubs of transatlantic trade with the Americas.
With the Industrial Revolution, the city and surrounding region grew to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of engineering and shipbuilding, constructing many revolutionary and famous vessels.
Glasgow was known as the "Second City of the British Empire" in the Victorian era. Today it is one of Europe's top twenty financial centres and is home to many of Scotland's leading businesses. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew to a population of over one million, and was the fourth-largest city in Europe, after London, Paris and Berlin.
In the 1960s large-scale relocation to new towns in the suburban area of the city, followed by successive boundary changes, have reduced the current population of the City of Glasgow unitary authority area to 578,790. 1,171,390 people live in the Greater Glasgow Urban Area according to the 2001 census. The entire Glasgow conurbation covers approximately 2.3 million people, almost half of Scotland's population.
The present site of Glasgow has been used since prehistoric times for settlement due to it being the forded point of the River Clyde furthest downstream, which also provided a natural area for salmon fishing. The origins of Glasgow as an established city derive ultimately from its medieval position as Scotland's second largest bishopric. Glasgow became important in the 12th century as the site of this bishopric, reorganized by King David I of Scotland and John, Bishop of Glasgow. There had been an earlier religious site established by Saint Mungo (also known as Saint Kentigern). The bishopric became one of the largest and wealthiest in the Kingdom of Scotland, bringing wealth and status to the town.
Somewhere between 1175 and 1178 this position was strengthened even further when Bishop Jocelin obtained for the episcopal settlement the status of burgh from King William the Lion, allowing the settlement to expand with the benefits of trading monopolies and other legal guarantees. Sometime between 1189 and 1195 this status was supplemented by an annual fair, which survives to this day as the Glasgow Fair. Glasgow grew over the following centuries, and the founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451 and elevation of the bishopric to an archbishopric in 1492 increasing the town's religious and educational status.
Daniel Defoe visited the city in the early 18th century and famously opined that that Glasgow was "the cleanest and beautifullest and best built City in Britain, London excepted." At that time, the city's population numbered approximately 12,000, and its structures largely consisted of compact wooden buildings, none of which remains today.
After the Acts of Union in 1707, Scotland gained trading access to the vast markets of the British Empire and Glasgow became prominent in international commerce as a hub of trade to the Americas, especially in the movement of tobacco, cotton and sugar into the city's deep water port at Port Glasgow. Many of Glasgow's streets, including Glassford Street and Buchanan Street, are named after local tobacco traders who grew rich from goods produced by slave labour in the American Colonies until the American War of Independence, after which the merchants concentrated mainly on the West Indies.
In its subsequent industrial era, Glasgow produced textiles, engineered goods and steel, which were exported. The opening of the Monkland Canal in 1791, facilitated access to the Iron-ore and Coal mines in Lanarkshire. After extensive engineering projects to dredge and deepen the Clyde, Shipbuilding became a major industry on the upper stretches of the river, building many famous ships including the Cunard liners RMS Lusitania, RMS Aquitania, RMS Queen Mary, RMS Queen Elizabeth, RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, and the Royal Yacht Britannia. Glasgow's population had surpassed that of Edinburgh by 1821. By the end of the 19th century the city was known as the "Second City of the Empire" and was producing most of the ships and locomotives in the world. During this period, the construction of many of the city's greatest architectural masterpieces and most ambitious civic projects were being funded by its wealth.
The city experienced mixed fortunes during 20th century. After World War I, the city suffered from the impact of the Post-World War I recession and from the later Great Depression, this also led to a rise of radical socialism and the "Red Clydeside" movement. The city had recovered by the outbreak of the Second World War and grew through the post-war boom that lasted through the 1950s. However by the 1960s, a lack of investment and innovation led to growing overseas competition in countries like Japan and Germany which weakened the once pre-eminent position of many of the city's industries. As a result of this, Glasgow entered a long running period of relative economic malaise, leading to high unemployment, urban decay, population decline and poor health for the city's inhabitants. There were active attempts at regeneration of the city, when the Glasgow Corporation published its controversial Bruce Report which set out a comprehensive series of initiatives aimed at turning round the decline of the city.
By the 1990s, there had been a significant resurgence in Glasgow's economic fortunes, finding a new role as a European centre for business services and finance, as well as benefiting from an increase in tourism and inward investment. The latter is largely due to the legacy of the city's status as European City of Culture in 1990, and attempts to diversify the city's economy. This economic revival has continued and the ongoing regeneration of inner-city areas has led to people moving back to live in the centre of Glasgow.
Latest page update: made by james73
, Feb 26 2009, 9:44 PM EST
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