Like many British cities, Cardiff started out as a Roman fort after the Romans invaded Wales in 50 AD. As peace began to fall on Wales in the 1st century, the fort became smaller.
Cardiff was founded as a town when the Normans invaded Glamorgan. A conurbation grew in the shadow of Cardiff Castle. During the Middle Ages, Cardiff had a population of no more than 2000 inhabitants.
Cardiff in the 16th Century
By the rule of Henry VIII, Cardiff remained a little quiet town – quiet that is until Henry VIII closed the two friaries in the town. In the sixteenth century many pirates would operate from Cardiff by collaborating with local officials. Piracy was finally suppressed in the early seventeenth century by the navy.
Cardiff in the 18th Century
By the 1700s, Cardiff had not grown any bigger than it was in the Middle Ages. An Act of Parliament in 1774 created a body of men called the Improvement Commissioners. They cleaned the Cardiff streets and lit them with oil lamps. Trade with the nearby town of Bristol was also very popular.
Cardiff grew at a substantial rate in the 19th Century. Exports of coal and iron increased considerably during this period as well as the export of grain. By 1841, four years into Victoria’s reign, the railway had reached the city. A shipbuilding industry also started up alongside an increase in the creation of rope in Cardiff.
If you want to learn more about this city’s past, there are loads of great museums to wander around!