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DundeeNablus Twinning Association

رابطة توأمة نابلس دندي

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History of Dundee

The oldest part of Dundee was an Iron Age fort on The Law.  There are traces of a Roman settlement on The Law. It was from here in AD 834 that Kenneth MacAlpine set off to conquer the Picts, a success which made him King of the Scots.

The town started in the Seagate area, and was first mentioned by name in 1050 AD. The Earl of Huntington (sometimes said to have been Robin Hood)  had lands around here and it was in the 12th century (1191) that his brother, William the Lion, granted Dundee its royal charter.  The Earl also founded the Church of Saint Mary.

The church was burned again by the English army in 1385 (Edward I having already burned the town and church in 1296). However, the people responded to this by rebuilding an even bigger church. Yet again it was destroyed, this time by an invading English fleet that sailed up the river Tay 1547 to besiege the city. The church was re-built and burned once again and all that remains today is the Bell Tower, known as the Old Steeple.

Dundee was stormed by Montrose (by then a Royalist) in 1645 and sacked again by one of Cromwell’s generals, General Monck, in 1651. It recovered, and  supported the 1715 Jacobite Rising, with the Old Pretender (James VIII) being proclaimed at the Mercat Cross in 1716. Although the Act of Union (1707) had all but destroyed Dundee's traditional woollen trading it began to bring new prosperity in the form of flax and linen. Gradually it became clear that to support the Jacobite cause was in conflict with this new and considerable prosperity. When the Duke of Cumberland won victory over the Jacobites at Culloden (1745) it was ordered that the town publicly rejoice.

Dundee then enjoyed a long period of growing prosperity. In the early 19th century the East India Company sent to Dundee samples of a new fibre, jute. The whaling industry in nearby Broughty Ferry supplied ample oil which when added to the jute fibres made it more flexible and easier to weave. This, together with the fact that Dundee had a large workforce of women trained and experienced in the spinning and weaving of linen gave Dundee all the ingredients to become a boom town, which it did. By the 1870's the population had soared to over 130,000.

Dundee's 'jute' prosperity was to last for over 100 years, until India came to develop her own capacity to process the raw material. Thereafter trade and employment declined drastically. Now Dundee is rising once again, with new high-tech industries.