Aberdeen is one of the most ancient cities of Scotland, with a history that goes back to the Stone Age. As a city, Aberdeen grew as two separate boroughs: Old Aberdeen and New Aberdeen.
Aberdeen: Ancient TimesThe first settlers of Aberdeen were hunter-gatherers who settled around the mouths of the River Dee and the River Don around 6000 BC.
The Beaker People arrived in the area from the Rhine lands around 2000 BC. They were the ones who built the mysterious looking stone circles which have become a place of tourist interest. These can be found all over the Aberdeenshire region.
Celtic migration began in the area around 400 BC.
Aberdeen: Roman TimesRomans arrived in the Aberdeenshire area around the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. In 84 AD, the Roman Emperor Agricola led an army of about 40000 men and defeated the Scottish army (they were called Caledonians by the Romans). This is the famous battle of Mons Graupius which was fought near the peak of Bennachie in Aberdeenshire.
The people of Aberdeen began to convert to Christianity after the Romans left the area. The first church was built around 580 AD. You can see St. Machar's Cathedral even today.
Aberdeen: After the Romans to the 18th CenturyThe development of New Aberdeen began in 1136 (which was in the north of River Dee) by David I.
1179 saw William the Lion confer the first charter which confirmed the corporate rights which were granted by David I.
The people of Aberdeen had sheltered Robert the Bruce during the days when he was outlawed. They had helped him during the Battle of Barra and had also helped him slay the English garrison at Aberdeen Castle.
In 1319 Robert the Bruce granted the Great Charter which transformed Aberdeen into a prosperous community of people who could own property and thus become financially independent. He also granted Aberdeen with the Forest of Stocket. The income that came in from all these lands helped form the city's Common Good Fund. This fund is used even now to benefit the residents of Aberdeen.
Edward III of England burnt down the city in 1336. However, New Aberdeen was soon rebuilt.
A blockhouse was built at the mouth of the harbour as a protection against the English in 1497.
During 1644 and 1647 the city was plundered and looted. A war was raging between the Royalists and the Covenanters and both parties equally raided Aberdeen.
There was an outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1647 which witnessed the death of nearly 25% of the population of Aberdeen.
Aberdeen: 18th Century to present dayMany positive changes occurred during the 18th Century in Aberdeen. A new Town Hall was built which can still be seen today. It contained a marble fireplace with marble that was imported from Holland and a beautiful set of sconces and crystal chandeliers.
In 1742, the Infirmary at Woolmanhill was opened and in 1779 a Lunatic Asylum was also opened in Aberdeen.
Several road improvement schemes began towards the end of the 18th Century. Most of the buildings around that time were designed by John Smith and Archibald Simpson. This was when Aberdeen got its name of 'Granite City'.
The 19th Century saw a time of expansion and development due to the growth in the shipbuilding and fishing industries. The harbour area also went through a major face lift. However, with all these expensive expansions, the city declared bankruptcy in 1817.
However, the city gradually recovered from this as well. 1824 saw the advent of street lighting with the introduction of gas. The city's water supply system saw an improvement in 1830. An underground sewer system was built in 1865.
1891 saw the actual incorporation of the city of Aberdeen.
Today Aberdeen stands testament to over 5000 years of history in Scotland.