history of cardiff


  • Until the Romans established their fort, which they built on the earlier Silures settlement, the area that would become known as Cardiff remained outside the control of the
    Roman province of Britannia.

  • Until the Roman conquest of Britain, Cardiff was part of the territory of an Iron Age Celtic British tribe called the Silures, which included the areas that would become known
    as Brecknockshire, Monmouthshire and Glamorgan.

  • [23] Section of Cardiff town wall east of Working Street in 1890, demolished in 1901 In 1091, Robert Fitzhamon the Lord of Glamorgan, began work on the castle keep within
    the walls of the old Roman fort and by 1111, Cardiff town walls had also been built and this was recorded by Caradoc of Llancarfan in his book Brut y Tywysogion (Chronicle of the Princes).

  • [25] Soon a little town grew up in the shadow of the castle, made up primarily of settlers from England.

  • [27] A writer around this period described Cardiff: “The River Taff runs under the walls of his honours castle and from the north part of the town to the south part where
    there is a fair quay and a safe harbour for shipping.

  • Together with the approximate areas now known as Breconshire, Monmouthshire and the rest of Glamorgan, the area that would become known as Cardiff was settled by a Celtic
    British tribe called the Silures.

  • By the end of the 13th century, Cardiff was the only town in Wales with a population exceeding 2,000, but it was relatively small compared to most other notable towns in the
    Kingdom of England.

  • The area to the south east of the Fosse Way—between modern day Lincoln and Exeter—was under Roman control by 47.

  • [notes 1] In subsequent years an increasing number of national institutions were located in the city, including the National Museum of Wales, Welsh national war memorial,
    and the University of Wales registry – although it was denied the National Library of Wales, partly because the library’s founder, Sir John Williams, considered Cardiff to have “a non-Welsh population”.

  • [24] Cardiff Castle has been at the heart of the city ever since.

  • [6][7][8][9][10] Tribes of Wales at the time of the Roman invasion (The modern English border is also shown) In common with the people living all over Great Britain, over
    the following centuries the people living around what is now known as Cardiff assimilated new immigrants and exchanged ideas of the Bronze Age and Iron Age Celtic cultures.

  • He would spend his life building the Cardiff docks and would later be called “the creator of modern Cardiff”.

  • [12][13] Several Iron Age sites have been found in the City and County of Cardiff.

  • It is speculated that perhaps for long periods, raiders attacked the area, making Cardiff untenable,[20][22] By 850 the Vikings attacked the Welsh coast and used Cardiff as
    a base and later as a port.

  • Although the city hosted the Commonwealth Games in 1958, Cardiff only became a centre of national administration with the establishment of the Welsh Office in 1964, which
    later prompted the creation of various other public bodies such as the Arts Council of Wales and the Welsh Development Agency, most of which were headquartered in Cardiff.

  • Much of the growth was due to migration from within and outside Wales: in 1851, a quarter of Cardiff’s population were English-born and more than 10% had been born in Ireland.

  • [45] However, the Assembly eventually located at Crickhowell House in Cardiff Bay in 1999; in 2005, a new debating chamber on an adjacent site, designed by Richard Rogers,
    was opened.

  • [18] Archaeological evidence shows that a settlement had been established by the Silures in central Cardiff in the 50s AD, probably during the period following their victory
    over the Roman army.

  • [34] Cardiff developed municipal slaughterhouses from 1835, one of the first cities in the United Kingdom to do so, and by the early twentieth century there were no private

  • However, it recovered and was one of the few cities (outside London) where population grew during the 1990s.

  • [42][43] The relative lack of support for the Assembly locally, and difficulties between the Welsh Office and Cardiff Council in acquiring the original preferred venue, Cardiff
    City Hall,[44] encouraged other local authorities to bid to house the Assembly.

  • [1] As Great Britain became heavily wooded, movement between different areas was restricted, and travel between what was to become known as Wales and continental Europe became
    easier by sea, rather than by land.

  • [11] There is a group of five tumuli at the top of Mynydd y Garth—near the City and County of Cardiff’s northern boundary—thought to be Bronze Age, one of which supports a

  • [37] Bomb damage during the Cardiff Blitz in World War II included the devastation of Llandaff Cathedral, and in the immediate postwar years the city’s link with the Bute
    family came to an end.

  • However, the town was rebuilt not long after and began to flourish once again.

  • The history of Cardiff—a City and County Borough and the capital of Wales—spans at least 6,000 years.

  • Cardiff’s new status as the premier town in South Wales was confirmed when it was chosen as the site of the University College South Wales and Monmouthshire in 1893.

  • Iolo Morganwg called it “an obscure and inconsiderable place”, and the 1801 census found the population to be only 1,870, making Cardiff only the twenty-fifth largest town
    in Wales, well behind Merthyr Tydfil and Swansea.

  • [21] As the town was still very small, most of the buildings were made of wood and the town was reduced to ashes.

  • The area that would become known as Wales had become free of glaciers by about 10,250 BP.

  • The east coast of present-day England and the coasts of present-day Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands were connected by the former landmass known as Doggerland, forming
    the British Peninsula on the European mainland.

  • [26] The town gained a second Royal charter in 1608.

  • This was used until the Roman army withdrew from the fort, and from the whole of the province of Britannia, near the start of the 5th century.

  • [2] Archaeological evidence from sites in and around Cardiff—the St Lythans burial chamber, near Wenvoe (about 4 mi (6.4 km) west, southwest of Cardiff City Centre), the Tinkinswood
    burial chamber, near St. Nicholas, Vale of Glamorgan (about 6 mi (9.7 km) west of Cardiff City Centre), the Cae’rarfau Chambered Tomb, Creigiau (about 6 mi (9.7 km) northwest of Cardiff City Centre) and the Gwern y Cleppa Long Barrow, near
    Coedkernew, Newport (about 8+1⁄4 mi (13.3 km) northeast of Cardiff City Centre)—shows that these Neolithic people had settled in the area around Cardiff from at least around 6,000 BP, about 1500 years before either Stonehenge or The Egyptian
    Great Pyramid of Giza was completed.

  • Around this same time the Herbert family became the most powerful family in the area.

  • City and capital city status King Edward VII granted Cardiff city status on 28 October 1905,[36] and the city acquired a Roman Catholic Cathedral in 1916.

  • [40] During this period the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was promoting the redevelopment of south Cardiff; an evaluation of the regeneration of Cardiff Bay published
    in 2004 concluded that the project had “reinforced the competitive position of Cardiff” and “contributed to a massive improvement in the quality of the built environment”, although it had failed “to attract the major inward investors originally

  • [30] Cardiff had an established port in the Middle Ages and by 1327, it was declared a Staple port.

  • [34] The city also strengthened its industrial base with the decision of Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds, owners of the Dowlais Ironworks in Merthyr, to build a new steelworks
    close to the docks at East Moors in 1890.

  • Despite these improvements, Cardiff’s position in the Welsh urban hierarchy had declined over the 18th century.

  • The next year, the English militia system was introduced.

  • [20][21] The Viking settlement and the Middle Ages During the early Dark Ages little is known of Cardiff.


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[‘1. The ancient Llandaff Cathedral was outside the city boundaries until 1922
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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcccy/4550117239/’]