Though Cardiff is an ancient place it has only developed into the civic, industrial and commercial centre that we recognise today over the last 150 years and has only been Wales’ capital since 1955.
The Romans built at fortress here beside the River Taff to subdue and contain the Welsh tribesmen in 75 AD. Just over two hundred years later they had to reinforce the fortification to protect against pirate invasions from the Irish Sea.
For approximately six hundred years after the Roman retreat the fortress was abandoned and Cardiff was returned to the people of Wales and then came the Normans. William the conqueror offered his nobles any Welsh land they could win as reward for defeating the locals. Robert FitzHamlon took up this challenge and built a fort on a hillock by the old Roman fortress.
By the end of the eighteenth century Cardiff was linked to the coalfields of Merthyr and the seeds were sown for its development into the city we know today. The Bute family owned large sections of Cardiff and industrial south Wales and consolidated their power base by insisting that all coal and iron exports went through their family owned docks in Cardiff. So Cardiff grew into one of the busiest ports in the world.
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