History of Aberdeen

Aberdeen around 1900

There has been a human occupation in the region of Aberdeen since the early Stone Age. Aberdeen, as a town, grew up as two distinct burghs: Old Aberdeen, the cathedral and university settlement, at the mouth of the River Don; and New Aberdeen, a trading and fishing settlement where the Denburn started the Dee estuary.

History before the 11th Century

Aberdeen was first established by hunter-gatherers around 6000 BCE, who organized themselves around Dee and Don’s mouths. About 2000 BCE, the Beaker People, who created the mysterious stone circles that can be found in the Aberdeenshire district, arrived from the Rhine regions.

400 BCE saw Celtic migration to the area from the north of Scotland.

The Romans landed in Aberdeenshire in the first century CE. Agricola, the famous Roman governor of Britannia, led around 40,000 men into Caledonia in 84 CE. They defeated after fighting the united armies of the Picts in the fierce Battle of Mons Graupius, near the hill of Bennachie in Aberdeenshire.

Once the Romans left, the Aberdeenshire natives were forcefully converted into Christianity through threats, force, and intimidation. Old Aberdeen’s first church was constructed around 580 CE. St Kentigern commissioned St Machar to convert the Picts to Christianity. St Machar’s Cathedral today is prominently named after him. It became the formal seat of the diocese of Aberdeen.

11th Century to 18th Century CE

In 1136 CE, David I started the construction of New Aberdeen north of the River Dee. The earliest charter was awarded by King William the Lion about 1179 CE, establishing the corporate rights conferred by David I, which gave trade rights to the burgesses. This charter is the earliest surviving charter. The town received additional royal charters later. In 1319 CE, the Great Charter of Robert the Bruce converted Aberdeen into a property-owning and economically autonomous community. Bruce had high regard for Aberdeen’s citizens, who had protected him in his days of outlawry, assisted him in winning the Battle of Barra, and slew the English army at Aberdeen Castle. He presented Aberdeen with the nearby Forest of Stocket. This land’s profit has formed the basis for the city’s Common Good Fund, which is utilized to this day for all Aberdonians’ development.

The town was blazed by Edward III of England in 1336 CE, but was soon restored and lengthened and called New Aberdeen. For many centuries the town was the center point of attacks by the neighboring lords and was heavily barricaded, but the gates were all displaced by 1770 CE. Royal charters from 1489 CE and 1498 CE built a free burgh to be governed by the church.

In 1497 CE, a blockhouse was constructed at the harbor mouth as a defense against the English. During the Wars of 1644 CE- 1647 CE between the Royalists and Covenanters, the town was impartially ravaged by both sides. In 1644 CE, it was sacked and taken by Royalist troops consisting of Highlanders and Irishmen after Aberdeen’s Battle. The sack of Aberdeen in 1644 CE by the Royalist general Montrose during the English Civil War included large-scale rape and human rights violation. 1647 CE saw the outbreak of bubonic plague, and a quarter of the residents died. In 1715 CE, the Earl Marischal declared the Old Pretender at Aberdeen, and in 1745 CE, the Duke of Cumberland stayed for a short time in the town before striking the Young Pretender.

Modern Era

By 1921 the population was just under 160,000 residents and the town covered more than 24 kmĀ² (6,000 acres). George VI toured in 1925 CE to launch the Memorial Court connected to Aberdeen Art Gallery.

In 1943 CE, during the peak of World War II, a Luftwaffe raid shot 129 bombs on Aberdeen, resulting in 150 deaths and significant damage to the town. This dark event is also referred to as the Aberdeen Blitz.

In 1964 CE, a dangerous food poisoning outbreak transpired, this was due to the sale of infected meat from a store (William Low) on Union Street. The disease was modern-day typhoid.

In 1930CE, Aberdeen’s rank as a province of a city was established by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929. In 1975 CE, counties of cities were ultimately abolished. The government then combined the area of the former county of a town with nearby suburban and rural areas of Kincardineshire and Aberdeenshire to form a community in the new Grampian Region and a separate lieutenancy region, known as the City of Aberdeen. When the government abolished regions and districts in 1996 CE, the former community became a unitary council area known ultimately as Aberdeen City.

Although Old Aberdeen still has a separate history and charter, it and New Aberdeen are no longer genuinely distinct. The city’s area now includes the former burghs of Old Aberdeen, Woodside, New Aberdeen, and the Royal Burgh of Torry to the Dee river’s south.

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