4 capitals of Great Britain — страница 9

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restaurants, stylish clubs and shops beside a newly created freshwater lake, making it the most exciting place to hang out, day or night. Belfast The history of Belfast as a settlement goes back to the Bronze Age, but its status as a major urban centre dates to the eighteenth century. Belfast today is the capital of Northern Ireland. Belfast was, throughout its modern history, a major commercial and industrial centre. It suffered in the late twentieth century from a decline in its traditional industries, particularly shipbuilding. The city's history has been marked by violent conflict between Catholic and Protestant communities which has caused many parts of the city to be split into 'Catholic' and 'Protestant' areas. In recent years the city has been relatively peaceful and

major redevelopment has occurred, especially the inner-city and dock areas. BELFAST IN THE 17TH CENTURY The city of Belfast began in the early 17th century. The name Belfast is a corruption of the Gaelic words Beal Feirste meaning mouth of the sandy ford. In 1177 an Englishman called John de Courcy built a castle there. However the actual town of Belfast grew up after 1609 when king James began his policy of settling Englishmen and Scots in Ulster. Sir Arthur Chichester was granted land in Ulster including Belfast Castle, which he rebuilt in 1611. A small town soon grew up in its shadow. By 1611 there were Englishmen, Scots and Manxmen living in the thriving community of Belfast. In 1613 Belfast was made a corporation and afterwards it sent 2 MPs to parliament. However the

corporation was partly controlled by the Chichester family, the lords of the manor. Belfast was run by an official called a sovereign assisted by 12 burgesses (merchants). Each year the burgesses drew up a short list of 3 of themselves and Chichester chose one to be the sovereign. Chichester's consent was required for new by laws. Ordinary people had no part in the government of the town. In the early 17th century Belfast was a small town with a population of only about 1,000 but it was busy. Wool, hides, grain, butter and salted meat were exported from Belfast to England, Scotland and France. Wine and fruit were imported into Belfast from France and Spain. Later in the 17th century Belfast traded with the North American colonies. Tobacco was imported from there. Sugar was

imported from the West Indies and refined in Belfast. By the late 17th century Belfast probably had a population of about 1,500-2,000. It was swelled by French Protestants, fleeing religious persecution in their own country, who introduced linen weaving to Belfast. Other industries in Belfast were brewing, rope making and sail making. In 1680 Belfast gained a piped water supply (using wooden pipes). After 1686 each householder was supposed to hang a lantern outside his house at night during the winter months. The first bridge over the Lagan was erected after 1682. BELFAST IN THE 18th CENTURY Belfast Castle burned down in 1708. In the 18th century Belfast grew rapidly. The population of Belfast was only about 2,500 in 1700 but it grew to about 8,000 in 1750 and about 13,000 by

1780. By 1800 Belfast had a population of around 20,000. In the late 18th century a new suburb grew up across the Lagan. Belfast gained its first newspaper in 1737. Belfast gained its first bank in 1752 and its first theatre by 1768. During the 18th century increasing amounts of linen were exported from Belfast. (The linen was woven in people's homes in the surrounding countryside not woven in factories). In 1701 less than 200,000 yards of linen was exported from Belfast. By 1773 the figure had risen to 17 million yards. The White Linen Hall was built in 1788. Cotton spinning was introduced into Belfast in 1777. However it never had the same importance as linen. In 1785 a Harbour Board was formed with responsibility for the upkeep of the harbour. Shipbuilding in Belfast began in

1791. Belfast thrived in the 18th century as a merchant town, importing goods from Great Britain and exporting the produce of the linen trade. Linen at the time was made by small producers in rural areas. The town was also a centre of radical politics, partly because its predominantly Presbyterian population was discriminated against under the penal laws, and also because of the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment. Belfast saw the founding of the Irish Volunteers in 1778 and the Society of the United Irishmen in 1791 - both dedicated to democratic reform, an end to religious discrimination and greater independence for Ireland. As a result of intense repression however, Belfast radicals played little or no role in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Samson & Goliath In the 19th