A BRIEF history
of glasgow

Glasgow is an ancient city steeped in history, from its founding in the Early Middle Ages to its important role in the Scottish Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. Discover Glasgow's origins and see how a small settlement on the banks of the River Clyde grew into the biggest city in Scotland.

There has been a settlement in the area since prehistoric times, due to its position along the River Clyde. However, the man credited with founding the city is Saint Mungo (also known as Saint Kentigern). The patron saint of the city built a church here in the 6th Century, where Glasgow Cathedral is now located. A church carrying St. Mungo’s name can be found just further north along Glebe Street. It was another religious figure, Bishop Jocelin, who obtained the status of burgh for the region from King William in the 12th Century. This status soon became the cause for an annual celebration, which has survived nearly an entire millennium, now known as the Glasgow Fair, held in July.

 

Although Edinburgh is Scotland's capital city due to the formation of parliament there, Glasgow is the biggest city in the country and the third-largest in all of the United Kingdom. Much of this is due to the exponential expansion that occurred during the period of the Scottish Enlightenment and, more evidently, the Industrial Revolution. The former event saw Scotland briefly shine intellectually, becoming a beacon for literacy, philosophy and invention to neighbouring Europe. This happened despite the strife that followed the signing of the Act of Union, which saw Scotland and England merge into Great Britain. People such as poet Robert Burns, philosopher David Hume, and economic pioneer Adam Smith were at the centre of this advancement. Glasgow had also become a centre point of trade with the American colonies, due to the deepwater port created in what is now Port Glasgow, hence the name. However, with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, advancements in engineering saw the dredging of the River Clyde. This deepening of the river all the way to the heart of the city saw shipbuilding become one of its major industries, and today the various works can still be seen in Yoker and Clydebank. 

GLASGOW
COAT OF ARMS

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"Let Glasgow Flourish
by the preaching of
Your word, and
the praising of
Your name."

Present-day Glasgow is a vibrant hub of activity, a Scottish metropolis rich in music, arts, sport, food, culture, education, finance, and commerce, not forgetting its many pubs and distilleries. It is our hope that Discover Glasgow manages to reflect what an amazing, and often forgotten wonder this city truly is.