History Timeline


The name Glasgow comes from the Gaelic word Ghlaschu - meaning dear, green place. It’s Scotland's largest city, but began as a small fishing community along the banks of the River Clyde.

Little is known prior to the 6th Century arrival of Christian missionary St Kentigern (520-610AD) who established a church on the banks of Molendinar Burn in 543AD. Such was his popularity, that the saint was known by the name Mungo meaning dear one. St Mungo is Glasgow's Patron Saint.

The city's crest (left) depicts symbols associated with St. Mungo including a bird, tree, bell and fish.

12th-15th Centuries
King William l grants Bishop Jocelyn a charter making Glasgow a Burgh (town).

Glasgow Cathedral begins construction.

The University of Glasgow is founded at its original site in High St, making it the second oldest in Scotland and the fourth oldest in the UK.

16th-18th Centuries
1568: Mary Queen of Scots loses her crown and kingdom at the Battle of Langside.

A charter by James Vl makes Glasgow a Royal Burgh.

Treaty of Union with England allows increased trade with colonies.

Now a major port, Glasgow overtakes Liverpool, Bristol and Whitehaven in importance through the success of the tobacco trade with Virginia.

Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe describes Glasgow as 'the beautifullest little city I have seen in Britain.'

Dredging of the River Clyde establishes Glasgow as a deep water port. Shipbuilding is established, helping the city to survive the threat of the American War of Independence and the subsequent collapse of the tobacco trade.

The creation of the textile and chemical industries signals the start of the Industrial Revolution.

19th Century
: Glasgow becomes the second city of the British Empire. It is now larger than any other city in Britain outside London.

The Botanic Gardens are created in Glasgow’s rapidly expanding West End.

Water from Loch Katrine in the Trossachs provides Glasgow with the best water supply in Great Britain.

Glasgow University moves to its present site on Gilmorehill.

The International Exhibition opens at Kelvingrove Park.

The Glasgow Underground opens.

20th Century
: Glasgow reaches its peak of industrial production.

Glasgow Museum and Art Gallery opens in Kelvingrove Park.

Empire Exhibition takes place in Bellahouston Park.

US-born to Scottish parents, serial killer Peter Manuel is hanged in Barlinnie Prison on 11 July, convicted of the murders of seven people and later confessing  to a further three.

25 May 1967:
Glasgow Celtic Football Club's 'Lisbon Lions' beat Inter Milan 2-1 in the final of the European Cup in the Portugese capital.

2 Jan 1971: Sixty six people die when stairway 13 of Glasgow Rangers' Ibrox Stadium collapses following a late Rangers equaliser against Celtic. Despite reports suggesting re-entering fans caused the collapse, an inquiry determines the disaster occured when the large crowd exited the stadium.

1972: Glasgow Rangers beat Moscow Dynamo 3-2 to win the UEFA European Cup Winners' Cup.

1983: The Queen opens the world-famous Burrell Collection in its purpose-built gallery in Pollok Country Park.

Glasgow becomes European Capital of Culture, and the Royal Concert Hall opens.

21st Century
: The £75m Glasgow Science Centre opens.

Glasgow wins the right to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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