History timeline for Glasgow & The Clyde Valley

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  • Shoppers walk around Argyll Arcade in Glasgow
    Argyll Arcade, Glasgow
  • Glasgow Cathedral in the city centre of Glasgow.
    Glasgow Cathedral
  • Shot of the Stewart Memorial Fountain in Kelvingrove Park
    Kelvingrove Park
  • New Lanark, South Lanarkshire
    New Lanark World Heritage Site, South Lanarkshire
  • The restored Doulton Fountain in front of the People's Palace, photographed at dusk in the east end of the city of Glasgow.
    People's Palace

The history of Glasgow & The Clyde Valley has been a long and varied one. Discover how it evolved throughout the centuries from a small rural community in the Middle Ages with just a monastic church and a water mill to the sprawling, vibrant metropolis it is today.

500 - 1399

543       Glasgow’s monastic church is founded by Saint Kentigern, also known as Saint Mungo.

1123     Glasgow Cathedral is built on the site of Saint Kentigern’s grave.

1200     Tradesmen including millers, bakers, cobblers and blacksmiths begin to set up businesses in the town. Their wooden merchant’s houses replace the primitive peasant huts that originally stood here.

1286     Glasgow Bridge, constructed from timber, spans the River Clyde

1297      William Wallace gathers a group of men to stage an uprising in Lanark against occupying English forces to avenge the execution of his wife by the English Sheriff.

1301      Edward I of England pays homage to Saint Kentigern’s tomb. He also commands the townspeople to construct a giant wooden siege tower and supply wagons to transport it to Bothwell Castle which he then besieges.

1350      The Black Death spreads to the town.

1400 - 1699

1410      The timber bridge across the River Clyde is replaced by an arched stone bridge.

1431      William Elphinstone is born. He is responsible for introducing printing to Scotland.

1438       The Bishop’s Castle is built and serves as the residence for the bishops and archbishops of Glasgow Cathedral.

1451       The University of Glasgow is established by Pope Nicholas V by Papal Bull and founded by Bishop Turnbull beside Blackfriars Monastery.

1475       Franciscan monks known as the Greyfriars are granted a tenement and land on the High Street. St Ninian’s Hospital is established.

1544       The bloody Battle of Glasgow takes place during Mary Queen of Scots’ minority rein.

1560       The burgh of Glasgow is now represented in the Parliament of Scotland.

1574       Plague hit the city again.

1589       Golf is played on Glasgow Green.

1611       Glasgow becomes a Royal Burgh.

1625       The city’s first quay is built at Broomielaw.

1652       A fire break outs across the city and leaves thousands homeless. A fire engine from Edinburgh, one of the world’s first, helps to extinguish the blaze.

1660       A coal pit is opened in the Gorbals.

1668       Land is purchased for a new harbour which eventually becomes Port Glasgow.

1673       The city’s first coffee house opens.

1678       The first stagecoaches run to Edinburgh.

1690       The city now has an early Bank of Scotland.

1700 - 1899

1706       Anti-unionists riot and the city becomes a major smuggling port.

1707       The Acts of Union are passed by the English and Scottish Parliament leading to the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

1715       The Glasgow Courant, one of the city’s first newspapers is published.

1725        The city is occupied by General Wade’s army to quell insurrection in the city following an attempt by the British government to extend the unpopular malt tax to Scotland. Enraged citizens drive out Wade and his forces from the city.

1726        Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, describes Glasgow as ‘the cleanest and best-built city in Britain’.

1745        Tennents opens a new brewery in Glasgow.

1775        The city enjoys a thriving trade in tobacco, sugar and cotton with America. Glasgow’s prosperity is at its height.

1776        Adam Smith, a professor at Glasgow University publishes The Wealth of Nations.

1780        The construction of the Forth and Clyde Canal is completed which allows the transportation of goods and passengers between London and Glasgow.

1807        The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery opens.

1814        Glasgow Green becomes Europe’s first public park.

1827        The Argyll Arcade opens.

1841        A Chartist demonstration takes place. Chartism was a working class movement which campaigned for political reform to address the economic and social ills that plagued Britain during the Victorian era.

1841        Glasgow is now Scotland’s largest city with a population of 329,096. Unfortunately its slums are also described as some of the ’filthiest’ in Britain.

1848        100,000 people congregate on Glasgow Green to support the Chartists.

1872        Rangers Football Club is founded.

1880        Robert Owen takes over the management of the textile mill at New Lanark and transforms it into a model workplace by adopting a progressive approach to working conditions and labour relations. The mill and its buildings have since been renovated and are now a World Heritage Site.

1888        Celtic Football Club is founded.

1888        The International Exhibition is held at Kelvingrove Park to celebrate the city’s achievements in applied sciences, industry and the arts during the Industrial Revolution. A fantastic success, the funds raised by the event go towards the construction of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

1896        The Glasgow Subway opens.

1900 - present day

1903          Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art opens.

1926          Strikes over pay and working conditions lead to a nationwide general strike of all Union workers. In Glasgow, soldiers are dispatched to quash unrest and pacify fears of a communist revolution.

1935          The Glasgow Subway becomes electric.

1939          The naval base HMS Spartiate opens.

1941          The Clydebank blitz occurs. Luftwaffe bombers attack various targets in and around Clydebank including local shipyards and armament factories. Over two days 528 civilians are killed and over 617 seriously injured.

1964         The University of Strathclyde is established.

1983         The Burrell Collection opens.

1990         Glasgow becomes the European Capital of Culture.

1999         The Rt Hon Donald Dewar, MP and MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, becomes the First Minister of Scotland.

2002         The final of the UEFA Champion’s League is held at Hampden Park. Real Madrid beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 and Zinedine Zidane's winning goal, a left-footed volley, is widely considered to be one of the greatest goals ever scored.

2007         The city is awarded the 2014 Commonwealth Games.