The Capital City of Wales – Cardiff

The Capital City of Wales – Cardiff

Cardiff is the Capital City of Wales and is home to a population of just over 360,000. The city is famed for its sporting venues, its tourist sites, its educational institutions, its retail centers and its entertainment industries. The city is also home to the Welsh National Assembly, which is a devolved parliament that has the power to make legislation in Wales. Archaeological evidence from around the city shows that man has lived in the area since around 6000BC. The city was the location for forts and the Silures, a Celtic tribe were the main occupiers until the Romans arrived. The Romans built a major fort on the mouth of the River Taff and this marked the north-west boundary of what was to become the center of the city.

Cardiff Castle in the heart of the city

The Castle was then refurbished in 1081 by William I the King of England. As time progressed the Castle become the heart of the city and each generation would upkeep the structure. By the end of the 13th century the population had reached 2,000 which although it made it the largest population in Wales it was small compared to many English settlements.

The importance of the city gradually rose slowly as a result of its port and the rich agricultural soils of the surrounding plain. By the end of the 18th century it was only the 25th largest settlement in Wales, but then at the start of the 19th century the docks were rebuilt. This coincided with the discovery of coal and iron ore in the valleys. The docks were linked to the raw materials by the Taff Vale Railway and soon the port was flourishing with much traffic coming in and out of the docks, including a twice weekly passenger service to Bristol.

The industrial revolution resulted in much migration into Cardiff of people from England as they came looking for work. In 1841 a quarter of the town’s population had been born in England, and by 1881 it was once again the largest settlement in Wales.

The developed bay area of Cardiff

Although the docks were competing against the new port at Barry for the coal trade, the coal industry still kept its administration headquarters in the town. The building of the steel works closes to the harbor in 1891 maintained Cardiff’s strong economic position. During this period educational establishments and national institutions started to locate in the town and its industrial base became more varied. In 1956 it was given city status and was made the Capital of Wales.

When South Wales was hit by the economic recession caused by the shutting down of the areas coal and iron ore mines, Cardiff like all of its settlements suffered but not to the same extent. There was already a wider economic base in place and its administrative role as the Capital City provided many jobs in the City. In recent times there have been many developments carried out that have seen the older industrial areas regenerated, The city has been gradually transformed into one of Europe’s most attractive city’s and this is reflected by the 18.1 million tourists it attracts each year.

One of the biggest blows the city suffered was the closing of its steel works in 1978 and this led to the City losing population in the 1980s. However, the Cardiff Bay Development Corporation was created and this led to the regeneration of the Bay area. New employment opportunities were provided and the area has been area cleaned up to such an extent that it is now a site for many leisure activities.

Cardiff is today a bustling and thriving city. It has a popular shopping area, it is home to many museums and galleries, there a number of venues for musical and theatrical productions and there have been a number of new sports stadiums that have been built, with the Principality Stadium being one of the most popular sporting venues in the world. Residents of the city can now watch international football, rugby and cricket all within a stone’s throw away from the heart of Cardiff. It is currently one of the most popular cities in the United Kingdom to reside in.