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The origins or Cardiff

The origin of the name of the city of Cardiff is subject to much uncertainty. Cardiff is the English version of the Welsh name "Caerdydd". "Caerdydd" is split into two words; "Caer"meaning ‘fort, and "Dydd" or "Diff", which is thought by some to refer to the river Taff on which the castle of Cardiff stands. Others, however, take it to refer to the Roman general Didius, who was governor of nearby provinces. Although it is Europe's youngest capital, having only been made the Welsh capital in 1955, the earliest evidence of habitation in Cardiff can be traced all the way back to 600BC, with the European Celts, but it was in AD 75, when the Romans came and built a fort in Cardiff that it became renowned. The relics of a Roman wall can still be found beneath Cardiff Castle. Cardiff was attacked in AD 850 by the Vikings followed by a Norman takeover in the 12th century, and it was the Normans who built the Cardiff Castle, on the same site as the Roman fort.


Cardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle
The following centuries brought no enhancements of Cardiff's fame, although conflicts with English rulers were recurrent, as were foreign attacks by the Saxons and the Irish. The city relied on coal and iron industries like most of South Wales. In 1536 came the First Act of Union which aligned English and Welsh law, and made English the official language, a decision leading to a great deal of conflict until very recently.

The nineteenth century brought with itself the construction of a canal, and the opening of the Taff Vale Railway in 1841, which linked Cardiff with Merthyr Tydfil - the largest iron producing area in the world - enabling goods to be transported in less than an hour. This revolutionised the exportation of Welsh coal and propelled Cardiff to the front of the industry. 1859 saw the opening of the East Dock in Cardiff, augmenting Cardiff's status as a city of trade and industry and causing a steep rise in the population, and by the time it was made a city in 1905 by Edward VII, Cardiff had become a major exporter of coal and the population of Cardiff had risen by nearly 150,000 in the nineteenth century's last decade alone. The early 20th century saw the decline of the coal industry but the building of the civic buildings of Cathays Park such as the City Hall and the National Museum of Wales, which have come to be part of the city's character now.


With the Welsh language having been made official in 1942, Cardiff was designated the Welsh capital in 1955. With the growth of new industries and businesses, the increase in popularity of Cardiff as a university city and the formation of the new Welsh Assembly, Cardiff progressed significantly in the latter decades of the 20th century. The old dock area was transformed, and the new Cardiff Bay consists of various shops, restaurants and bars, giving the waterfront the most festive feel. The city is now home to two popular universities; Cardiff University and UWIC, and the vibrancy and the love of sport in the city certainly attracts a great number of students.

A number of new buildings such as the purpose-built Millennium Centre and the highly impressive Millennium Stadium have been brilliant complements to the somewhat archaic structures of Cardiff Castle and the Llandaff Cathedral where a Church has stood since St. Teilo is thought to have founded a simple wooden building in the 6th century. These buildings, the vivid city centre, the lively bars juxtaposed with the serenity of the various parks such as Bute Park and the beautiful Roath Park make Cardiff an extremely diverse and exciting place to live in.

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