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Glasgow (pronounced /ˈɡlzɡoʊ/ (Glazgo) Scots: Glesga Scottish Gaelic: Glaschu) is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands. A person from Glasgow is known as a Glaswegian, which is also the name of the local dialect.
Glasgow grew from the medieval Bishopric of Glasgow and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow, which became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment. From the 18th century the city grew as one of Europe's main hubs of transatlantic trade with the Americas. With the Industrial Revolution, the city and surrounding region shifted to become one of the world's pre-eminent centres of engineering and shipbuilding, constructing many innovative and famous vessels. Glasgow was known as the "Second City of the British Empire" for much of the Victorian era and Edwardian period. Today it is one of Europe's top twenty financial centres and is home to many of Scotland's leading businesses.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew to a population of over one million, and was the fourth-largest city in Europe, after London, Paris and Berlin. In the 1960s, large-scale relocation to new towns and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, have reduced the current population of the City of Glasgow unitary authority area to 580,690, with 1,199,629 people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area. The entire region surrounding the conurbation covers approximately 2.3 million people, 41% of Scotland's population.
Main article: History of Glasgow
The seal or signet of Jocelin, Bishop of Glasgow, founder of the burgh of Glasgow
The present site of Glasgow has been used since prehistoric times for settlement due to it being the forded point of the River Clyde furthest downstream, which also provided a natural area for salmon fishing. The origins of Glasgow as an established city derive ultimately from its medieval position as Scotland's second largest bishopric. Glasgow increased in importance during the 10th and 11th centuries as the site of this bishopric, reorganised by King David I of Scotland and John, Bishop of Glasgow. There had been an earlier religious site established by Saint Mungo in the 6th century. The bishopric became one of the largest and wealthiest in the Kingdom of Scotland, bringing wealth and status to the town. Between 1175 and 1178 this position was strengthened even further when Bishop Jocelin obtained for the episcopal settlement the status of burgh from King William I of Scotland, allowing the settlement to expand with the benefits of trading monopolies and other legal guarantees. Sometime between 1189 and 1195 this status was supplemented by an annual fair, which survives to this day as the Glasgow Fair.
Glasgow grew over the following centuries, and the founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451 and elevation of the bishopric to an archbishopric in 1492 increased the town's religious and educational status.
Daniel Defoe visited the city in the early 18th century and famously opined in his book A tour thro' the Whole Island of Great Britain, that Glasgow was "the cleanest and beautifullest, and best built city in Britain, London excepted." At that time, the city's population numbered approximately 12,000, and was yet to undergo the massive changes to the city's economy and urban fabric, brought about by the influences of the Scottish Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution.
After the Acts of Union in 1707, Scotland gained trading access to the vast markets of the British Empire and Glasgow became prominent in international commerce as a hub of trade to the Americas, especially in the movement of tobacco, cotton and sugar into the deep water port that had been created by city merchants at Port Glasgow on the Firth of Clyde, due to the shallowness of the River within the city itself at that time. By the late 18th century more than half of the British tobacco trade was concentrated on Glasgow's River Clyde, with over 47 million lbs. weight of tobacco being imported at its peak.
Shipping on the Clyde, Grimshaw 1881
In its subsequent industrial era, Glasgow produced textiles, engineered goods and steel, which were exported. The opening of the Monkland Canal and basin at Port Dundas in 1795, facilitated access to the iron-ore and coal mines in Lanarkshire. After extensive River engineering projects to dredge and deepen the River Clyde as far as Glasgow, shipbuilding became a major industry on the upper stretches of the river, building many famous ships (although many were actually built in Clydebank). The River Clyde then became an important source of inspiration for artists, such as John Atkinson Grimshaw, willing to depict the new industrial era and the moden world. Glasgow's population had surpassed that of Edinburgh by 1821. By the end of the 19th century the city was known as the "Second City of the Empire" and by 1870 was producing more than half Britain's tonnage of shipping and a quarter of all locomotives in the world. During this period, the construction of many of the city's greatest architectural masterpieces and most ambitious civil engineering projects, such as the Loch Katrine aqueduct, Subway, Tramway system, City Chambers, Mitchell Library and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum were being funded by its wealth. The city also held a series of International Exhibitions at Kelvingrove Park, in 1888, 1901 and 1911, with the Empire Exhibition subsequently held in 1938.
The regeneration of Glasgow has focused on the River Clyde and has created iconic structures such as the Armadillo.
The 20th century witnessed both decline and renewal in the city. After World War I, the city suffered from the impact of the Post-World War I recession and from the later Great Depression, this also led to a rise of radical socialism and the "Red Clydeside" movement. The city had recovered by the outbreak of World War II and grew through the post-war boom that lasted through the 1950s. However by the 1960s, a lack of investment and innovation led to growing overseas competition in countries like Japan and Germany which weakened the once pre-eminent position of many of the city's industries. As a result of this, Glasgow entered a lengthy period of relative economic decline and rapid deindustrialisation, leading to high unemployment, urban decay, population decline, welfare dependency and poor health for the city's inhabitants. There were active attempts at regeneration of the city, when the Glasgow Corporation published its controversial Bruce Report, which set out a comprehensive series of initiatives aimed at turning round the decline of the city. There are also accusations that the Scottish Office had deliberately attempted to undermine Glasgow's economic and political influence in post-war Scotland by diverting inward investment in new industries to other regions during the Silicon Glen boom and creating the new towns of Cumbernauld, Glenrothes, Irvine, Livingston and East Kilbride, dispersed across the Scottish Lowlands, in order to halve the city's population base.
However, by the late 1980s, there had been a significant resurgence in Glasgow's economic fortunes. The 'Glasgow's miles better' campaign, launched in 1983, and opening of the Burrell Collection in 1983 and Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in 1985 facilitated Glasgow's new role as a European centre for business services and finance and promoted an increase in tourism and inward investment. The latter continues to be bolstered by the legacy of the city's Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, its status as European City of Culture in 1990, and concerted attempts to diversify the city's economy. This economic revival has persisted and the ongoing regeneration of inner-city areas, including the largescale Clyde Waterfront Regeneration, has led to more affluent people moving back to live in the centre of Glasgow, fuelling allegations of gentrification. The city now resides in the Mercer index of top 50 safest cities in the world and is considered by Lonely Planet to be one of the world's top 10 tourist cities. Despite Glasgow's economic renaissance, the East End of the city remains the focus of severe social deprivation. A Glasgow Economic Audit report published in 2007 stated that the gap between prosperous and deprived areas of the city is widening. In 2006, 47% of Glasgow's population lived in the most deprived 15% of areas in Scotland, while the Centre for Social Justice reported 29.4% of the city's working-age residents to be "economically inactive". Although marginally behind the UK average, Glasgow still has a higher employment rate than Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.