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Cardiff is the capital city of the Wales and county town of the historic South Glamorgan with a population of around 346,100 according to 2011 census. The city is also known as the chief commercial city of the United Kingdom. The city is recognised as the most attractive tourist destination in the country and recorded 18.3 million visitors in 2010. The strategic location and geographical features played a crucial role in the developing the city as the largest coal port in the world. The city serves as a major base for most national sports and cultural institutions and forms part of the Eurocities network of the largest European cities. The Welsh office was built in the city in 1964, and it became an only centre of national administration. Until the 19th century, the city was the small town of the Wales, but with the arrival of industries and presence of major port for coal, transportation contributed towards the growth of the city. Some historians suggested that the city derived its name from earlier Welsh form Caerdyf meaning ‘the fort of the Taff’. Some previous studies also revealed that the name of the city is given in honour of nearby province governor during the construction of Roman fort. Later on, these have been rejected by modern scholars on linguistic grounds.
The early history of the city traced its root back to the Iron Age. The city formed part of Celtic British tribe during the Roman Conquest of Britain. In 75 AD, Romans built the fort at the opening of the River Taff, formed the northwestern boundary of the Cardiff. The fort also served as Isca Augusta (acted as border defences) military outposts for a long period. With the arrival of the civilian settlement, the fort has been demolished, and the Roman villa was discovered at Ely. A stone fortress was built similarly with the Saxon Shore Forts to safeguard the Britannia from raiders. Coins were found from the reign of Gratian depicted that the fort was demolished at the end of 4th century and last legions of Roman left the province of Britannia with Magnum Maximus.
The construction of Cardiff Castle began within the walls of the old Roman Fort, and it was substantially changed during the Victorian period. The city became the county town and free borough in the 15th century. At the same time, the Royal Charters were granted to the city and became a head port for collection of customs duties. The creator of modern Cardiff John Crichton was born in 1793 and spent the whole life in building the Cardiff docks. The town faced rapid growth with the construction of the dock and became the main port for exports of coal from the valleys of Rhymney and Cynon. The city was chosen as the site of the University College South Wales and Monmouthshire and got the status of the premier town in South Wales in 1893. The Maindy Barracks were built in the city at the end of 18th century to accommodate military permanently. The city captured a Roman Catholic Cathedral and granted the city status at the beginning of 19th century.During the interwar period, Cardiff docks entered into the phase of continued decline and faced a significant slump in demand for Welsh coal. Llandaff Cathedral and Cardiff Blitz were destroyed during the Second World War ended the linkage between Bute family and the Cardiff city.
Industries played a significant role in the growth of the Welsh economy. The primary factors contributed towards the transformation of a small town into a big city was the coal demand as it was used in the manufacturing of iron and steel. The city has the most important and busiest coal port in the world, also known as Tiger Bay. The city is home to various notable companies related to education, public administration, infrastructure, insurance and health sectors such as British Gas, ING Direct, HBOS, The AA and SWALEC Energy.
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