Edinburgh History

Edinburgh

Human habitation of the Edinburgh area is thought to have begun around the Bronze Age given traces of primitive stone settlements at Holyrood, Craiglockhart Hill and the Pentland Hills.

In 1492 King James IV of Scotland undertook to move the Royal Court from Stirling to Holyrood, making Edinburgh the national capital. Edinburgh continued to flourish economically and culturally through the Renaissance period and was at the centre of the 16th century Scottish Reformation and the Wars of the Covenant a hundred years later.

In 1603 King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English and Irish thrones, fulfilling his ambition to create a united kingdom under the Stewart Monarchy. Although he retained the Parliament of Scotland in Edinburgh, he marched to London to rule from his throne there. He ordered that every public building in the land should bear his family's emblem, the red lion rampant, and to this day the most common name for a public house in Britain is the Red Lion.

In 1639, disputes between the Presbyterian Covenanters and the Anglican Church led to the Bishops' Wars, a prelude to the English Civil War. During the Third English Civil War Edinburgh was taken by the Commonwealth forces of Oliver Cromwell prior to Charles II's eventual defeat at the Battle of Worcester.

In the 19th century, Edinburgh, like many cities, industrialised, but did not grow as fast as Glasgow.  It avoided much of the worst bombing in World War Two and as such today retains much of its historic architecture and atmosphere.