Dundee has a shared history with Angus with evidence of habitation going back to over 6000 years. Aeons before, a volcanic mountain sat on the site that became the city. It was one of a ring of volcanoes stretching through Fife and on to Edinburgh, where the mountain ultimately became the site of Edinburgh Castle. As a Pictish settlement dating back over 2,000 years Dundee had the name Alec-tum that evolved to become Dùn Dèagh in Gaelic, meaning Fort on the Tay. In 1191 CE, the town became a royal burgh although this was later revoked by the English monarch, Edward I. Scots king, Robert the Bruce reinstated its royal burgh status in 1327. Dundee became a walled city in 1545 during hostilities with England during the time of Henry VIII and a very young Mary Queen of Scots known as the rough wooing because of efforts to declare a marriage between a very young Mary and Henry’s successor, a very young Edward VI. The period saw much destruction of the city. Fast forward to the 1600’s and Dundee was besieged by the Royalist Marquess of Montrose. A few short years later, during the Third English Civil War, it was invaded by General Monck, commander of Oliver Cromwell's forces in Scotland. As history marched on, Dundee saw an early Jacobite (supporters of the Scottish monarchy) uprising as John Graham, 1st Viscount Dundee raised the Stuart flag on the city’s iconic hill, The Law, winning him the nickname Bonnie Dundee.
In the 1700s, the economy was largely an agricultural, cottage industry such as weaving, and trading port community. As across Britain, the Industrial Revolution had a major impact on the city with the growth of mills and a particular focus on jute, a fibre grown in India that was made into very widely used sacking and coarse cloth (such as for military tents). By the end of the 1800s jute was the main employer, giving the city its first of three Js - Jute, Jam and Journalism. The city also had a major whaling fleet and a claim to discovering Dundee Island in the Antarctic by a whaling expedition in 1892.
Dundee’s jam is actually marmalade that, legend has it, was invented by Janet Keiller in 1797. Whilst in reality it may not have been an original, certainly Keiller's marmalade became a world famous brand. Journalism is because of DC Thomson founded in 1905 which remains a major employer and publishes diverse media including household names like The Beano and The Dandy.
Dundee’s maritime and shipbuilding industry saw 2,000 ships constructed between 1871 and 1881, including the famous Antarctic research ship helmed by Captain Scott, the RRS Discovery. The ship is now berthed at Discovery Point on the city’s Waterfront. Whaling ceased in 1912 and shipbuilding in 1981.
The Tay estuary was the location for a first Tay Rail Bridge opened in 1879 and one of the first undersea telegraph cables. The bridge had to be replaced following the tragedy of the Tay Bridge disaster when it fell down during a storm in 1879.
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