How Did It Begin

Cardiff: How Did It All Begin

The City and County of Cardiff is the capital city of Wales a country in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Wales was for a long time as a tradition was referred as a Principality of England. Devolution has now split the country between the Welsh National Assembly and the UK Parliament in Westminster, England.

Cardiff’s history spans over 2000 years. Cardiff’s rich culture has a various range of influences from the Romans and Normans of antiquity to the industrial revolution and the coal industry. This gave the transformation of Cardiff from being a small town to a flourishing, international city. Cardiff was granted its status as a city in 1905 by Edward VII. The docks were the main responsible for the city’s spectacular growth in the 20th century. At one time within Cardiff’s past, it became the biggest merchant of coal in the world. This was a build-up to Cardiff being made capital of Wales in 1955. It is currently the 11th biggest and most maintainable city in the UK and is known to be the 10th most visited city by international tourists.

The Roman Invasion and Middle Ages-

The real history of Cardiff began in 43 AD/CE when Emperor Claudius instructed his Roman Army to invade Britain. The invasion force conquered the Silures in South Wales.  After they were defeated, Didius a Roman General insisted on the construction of the first major fortress. The Roman Empire didn’t give up its hold over Britain until their retreat in 407.  Within 20 years of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the Normans were marching on Wales. In 1091 Robert FitzHamon started work on Cardiff Castle and a small agreement evolved around it.  By the Elizabethan times, Cardiff was an uncontrollable, pirate-infested port.

In 1608, King James I granted Cardiff a Royal Charter, passing over the running of the town to a Corporation.

The Industrial Revolution and Marquises of Bute-

By the time of the 18th century, Cardiff town was a ghost town of 1,500 people.  In the 1790’s the Butes built the Glamorganshire Canal to link Cardiff with Merthyr Tydfil. The Bute Family known as the Forefathers of Cardiff invested their fortunes into constructing the first docks in Cardiff in 1839. The were positive their new canal would give them near enough all power over the coal export business. 

The industrial revolution and railways needed the coal to thrive and Cardiff’s new docks ended up being the largest supplier in the world for some time!

The Butes were in charge of the renovation for Cardiff Castle, they also achieved Bute Park, Sophia Gardens, and Cathays Park. Throughout this, the city’s population expanded to 250,000 within just the first half of the 20th century within being granted city status in 1905.

A Capital City-

In the 1950’s, Cardiff had to give a justification on its nomination for becoming the capital. There were many competitors such as Caernarfon, Machynlleth, Aberystwyth, Llandrindod Wells, and Swansea. Cardiff made its explanation clear on why they were to be the capital basing the claim on its extensive history associated with Coal and the growing population contained so many different ethnic groups.

The amount of reconstruction and investment that was put into the city allowed it to evolve quicker than other Welsh towns and cities. Cardiff has assets of The Millennium Centre, the Millennium Stadium, and the Cardiff Bay Barrage.

21st Century

Today Cardiff is one of the younger and liveliest Capital City’s in Europe. It’s a special place to visit with the ideal base to explore- the coast, culture, and heritage of Wales. The City has successfully organized plenty of major events, including World Class Rugby, FA Cup, Olympic Football, Cricket, Cardiff Festival, Mardi Gras, The National Eisteddfod of Wales, Presidential visits, Musical concerts in the stadium and the Motorpoint Arena. Programs Torchwood and Doctor Who were filmed in the City also the Welsh drama ‘Caerdydd’. Ships and railways sites have been taken over by cafés, shops, hotels, and apartments. The local public and visitors are able to enjoy all kinds of entertainment.

St David’s Shopping Centre did not officially open until 24 March 1982. St David’s goal was to transform the city centre bringing a breath of life into a previously empty area, making it the home of fashion in Wales. As the first opening of David’s one was such a success they decided to have an extension for a St David’s 2 in 2009. St David’s is now the ninth-largest shopping centre in the UK. The shopping centre is also joined internally with Queens Arcade. The construction of the extension cost £675m and brought Cardiff within the top five shopping places in the UK. There are 75 stores in the first centre. Within the extension being built it added another 88 stores giving the centre a total number of 163 shops.

To date Cardiff is one of the fastest growing city, long may it continue.


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