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This node is intended to show a timeline of the history of Edinburgh, Scotland up to the present day. It shows its rise from an early hill fort and later royal residence to become the bustling city and capital of Scotland that it is today.

Late 1st century: Roman brooch and fine pottery from this period have been found

452: The fort on the site of Edinburgh is taken from the Picts by the Saxons

c638: The Gododdin are defeated and the site is captured by Edwin of the Angles of Northumbria - he builds Din Eidyn(Dunedin) - Eidyn's fort

731: Edinburgh is possibly the town of ''Guidi'' mentioned by Bede

854: The first St Giles kirk is founded

960: Edinburgh temporarily falls into Scottish hands


1020: Malcolm II permanently annexes Edinburgh to Scotland

1074: Refortification of the castle and city begins under Malcolm III

1093: Queen Margaret dies at fort on "hill of Agned", regarded as a royal castle - St Margaret's chapel is built soon afterwards


1114: Infant Scottish heir Malcolm is murdered by a priest

1124 or 1127: First documentary evidence of a "church of the community or burgh of Edin"

c1125: David I founds burgh

1128: David I founds Holyrood Abbey

1162: Edinburgh is the caput of the Lothian sheriffdom


1230: Alexander II founds large Dominican friary; a hospital is also open

1274: Lothian is an archdeaconry of St Andrews

1296: Edinburgh is again held by the English, and strongly fortified

1314: Edinburgh castle captured by Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray

1325: Robert the Bruce makes Edinburgh capital of Scotland1

1326-1331: Edinburgh's contribution to Scottish burgh taxes is 15%, half that of Aberdeen

1328: A treaty is signed guaranteeing Scottish independence

1329: Bruce makes the town a burgh, and establishes a port at Leith

1330: Wall between High Street and Cowgate is first mentioned; castle is demolished by David II

1334: Scotland loses major port of Berwick to the English, Edinburgh's importance increases

1341: Scots regain castle from English

1360: Edinburgh has almost 4,000 houses, and is regarded as the nation's capital1; the castle is the usual royal residence, being strengthened in stone

1364: David II grants ground for building of new tron (weigh beam)

1367: David II begins work on major fortifications at castle

1371: David II dies unexpectedly at the castle

1384: Duke of Lancaster extorts ransom following end of truce

1386: Robert II grants ground for building tolbooth

1387: Five new chapels are added to St Giles following English damage in 1385; St Giles is High Kirk


1400: Henry IV attempts to storm castle when Robert III refuses homage

1437: Edinburgh becomes the capital1 of Scotland

1440: The Earl of Douglas and his brother are murdered at the castle by William Crichton

1440s: Edinburgh has 47% of Scottish wool trade

c1449: Cordiners (shoemakers) is incorporated

1450: There is a defensive wall around the city

1455-1458: Greyfriars (Franciscan) friary is founded

1457: The 508mm siege gun "Mons Meg" is received at castle; there are goldsmiths in the city

1458: Edinburgh has one of three supreme courts in the country

Pre-1460: Trinity is a collegiate church

1467-1469: St Giles' gains collegiate status, a provost and fourteen prebendiaries are established

1474-1475: Skinner and weaver crafts become guilds incorporated by the town council

1477: All fifteen of Edinburgh's markets are arranged along the length of the High Street

1479: A hospital is set up in Leith Wynd

1482: The Earls of Atholl and Buchan agree to free James III

1483: The Hammermen (smiths) are incorporated

1485: There is a notary in the Canongate; stone tenements appear in the city

1490: The Franciscan friary closes


1500: Edinburgh pays 60% of Scotland's customs revenue

1503: James IV marries Margaret Tudor

1505: Royal College of Surgeons founded

1507: James IV grants a patent for the first printing press in Scotland to Walter Chapman and Andrew Myllar

1513: Defeat at Flodden leads to a new southern wall being begun

1520: Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, seizes control of the city; Edinburgh is the "seat of courts of justice"

1523: City has fourteen craft guilds

1528: James V enters city with an army, to assert his right to rule; Holyrood Palace is built for him

1530: There are 288 brewers known as alewives in the city, one for every forty people

1532: Holyrood Abbey is transformed into a royal palace; the Court of Session is built

1534: Norman Gourlay and David Stratton are burnt as heretics

1535-1556: Edinburgh contributes over 40% of Scotland's burgh taxation

1537: Jane Douglas is burnt at the stake

1542: Cardinal Beaton is chosen as chief ruler of the city council

1544: Earl of Hertford burns the city; Holyrood Palace and abbey burn

1547: The English destroy Edinburgh again

1558: Riots break out over French prosecution of Protestants; the Flodden Wall is complete; Edinburgh's population is about 12,000; there are 367 merchants, and 400 craftsmen

1559: John Knox is appointed minister of St Giles' church

1560: English and French troops to withdraw under Treaty of Edinburgh; Reformation: 40 altars, aisles, and pillars are dedicated to different saints in St Giles'

1565: Mary Queen of Scots marries Lord Darnley, Henry Stuart

1566: Mary is held captive in Holyrood Palace; David Rizzio is stabbed

1567: Darnley is assassinated at Kirk o'Field House; James Hepburn is cleared of the murder

1569: The city is hit by an outbreak of the plague

1573: A pro-Mary garrison is ousted from the castle by the regent, the Earl of Moray

1574: The castle's Half-Moon Battery is built; there are seven mills in Edinburgh

Late 1570s: Edinburgh now has 4 ministers, previously it had only one

1579: James VI makes his state entry

1580s: There are some 400 merchants in Edinburgh

1581: James Douglas is executed for complicity in the murder of Lord Darnley

1582: A new university is founded and given a royal charter - it is the fourth university in Scotland

1583: There are an estimated 500 merchants and 500 craftsmen in the city, of which 250 are tailors

1586: Skinners and goldsmiths form their own companies (previously part of the Company of Hammermen)

1591: Francis Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell escapes from imprisonment in castle

1592: Earl of Moray murdered by catholic Earl of Huntly; the presbytery takes the first Edinburgh census: there are c8,000 adults, split evenly between north and south of the High Street

1593: Earl of Bothwell take over at Holyrood Palace

1594: Earl of Bothwell fails to seize city

1596: Clergy demand arms to defend king and church against "papists"


1600: Gladstone's Land, 6-storey tenement in Lawnmarket, is built; there are twelve roads out of Edinburgh

1602: Greyfriars Church is begun

1603: The headquarters of the Scottish Post Office is in Edinburgh - there is another post office in the Canongate; William Mayne makes golf clubs for James VI;

1604: The Laird of MacGregor and fourteen others are hanged for the Colquhoun massacre

1610: First factories spring up in Dalry

1610-1621: Andrew Hart is a busy publisher; they publish Napier's book of logs

1613: Lord Maxwell is hanged for the murder of the Laird of Johnstone

1615: The Earl of Orkney is executed after a rebellion to overthrow James VI

1618: Some seven-storey buildings have been built in the city; its population is c25,000, with about 475 merchants

1619: The privy council orders the city to clean up its streets; a hospital built in 1479 becomes a workhouse

1621: Edinburgh and Leith pay 44% of Scottish non-wine customs duty, and 66% of wine duty

1624: Edinburgh is hit by a plague epidemic

c1625: Tailor's Hall is built in the Cowgate

1628-1693: Heriot's Hospital is built

1632: Work begins on Parliament

1633: Edinburgh is designated a new bishopric; Charles I of England offends Presbyterians at crowning ceremony at St Giles' Cathedral

1636: The construction of the Tron Church is begun; the city's population is c30,000

1637: Introduction of new Prayer Book causes riots; a supplication is delivered to remove bishops from the privy council

1639: Decisions of Glasgow assembly are ratified

1640: New Parliament House is completed

1641: Sir Robert Sibbald, later the Geographer Royal, is born

1642 or 1645: Mary King's Close is abandoned

1647: A well-known map of the city is drawn by Rothiemay; the Tron Kirk is completed

1649: Covenanters execute royalist Marquis of Huntly; the town Corporation buys the area around West Port

1650: James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, is hanged; the castle surrenders to Oliver Cromwell's men; James Colquhoun builds early fire engines: one for Edinburgh, one for Glasgow

1650s: A new church is built in the Canongate

1652: A 'journey coach' to London is introduced - it takes a fortnight to make the journey

1653: English forces break up the General Assembly

1655: A council of state is set up; ministers yield to the English

1660: A committee of estates resumes government of Scotland

1661: Thomas Sydserf produces the first Scottish newspaper; Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, is executed

1663: The former Covenanter Archibald Johnston is executed

1667: The privy council empowers magnates to police the highlands

1670: Water is piped into the city from Comiston Springs

1670s: Butchering of animals moves from the Grassmarket to Dalkeith

1671: John Law is born - he set up the national bank of France.

1675: Robert Sibbald co-founds physic garden planted at Holyrood

1677: The first coffee house opens in the city

1678: The first stagecoaches run to Glasgow

1681: Robert Sibbald founds Royal College of Physicians, whose patron is the Duke of York; Viscount Stair publishes his ''Institutions of the Laws of Scotland''

1682: Sir George Mackenzie founds Advocates' Library - patron the Duke of York - now the National Library of Scotland

1688: Royal government collapses as Chancellor Perth flees

1690s: Lawyers have more wealth than all merchants and craftsmen in the burgh combined; over 20% of the population is in manufacturing

1694: There are more professionals than merchants in Edinburgh; 200 legals (advocates to lawyers), 24 surgeons, and 33 physicians; other occupations include aleseller, executioner, royal trumpeter, and keeper of the signet; the ratio of sexes in the city is 70 males:100 females - there are over 5000 domestic servants in Edinburgh

1697: Thomas Aikenhead is executed for blasphemy


1700: A severe fire leads to new buildings, built in stone; the estimated population is 60,000

1702: Advocate's Library moved from Faculty of Advocates to Parliament Hall

1706: Framework knitters from Haddington are working in Edinburgh

1707: Act of Union

1711: David Hume, philosopher, is born

1713: The main radial roads into Edinburgh are turnpiked

1715: Jacobites fail to take castle

1718: ''Edinburgh Evening Courant'' newspaper is launched; damasks are woven at Drumsheugh

1720s: Daniel Defoe praises the Royal Mile, decries Tolbooth or prison, notes sales of woollens, linens, drapery and ''mercery''

1722: The Signet Library is founded

1726: The first circulating library is established; a medical school at the city's college is founded; James Hutton, geologist, is born

1729: The city's first infirmary is opened

1733: Alexander Munro, discoverer of lymphatic and nervous systems, is born

1735: Golf is played on Bruntsfield links; also the traditional date the Royal Burgess Golfing Society is founded

1736: The Royal Infirmary is incorporated; riots shake the city

1737: The Lord Provost is ousted following the riots

1738: Edinburgh is described as the "world's leading medical centre"; John Watson's College is founded

1739: The Scots Magazine is first published in the city

1740: There are four printing firms in Edinburgh; the biographer James Boswell is born

1744: The first premises at Fountainbridge are built, with more than five looms

1745: Charles Edward Stuart enters the city

1746: The British Linen Company is formed

1747: A theatre is established at Playhouse Close in the Canongate

1749: A stagecoach service opens between Edinburgh and Glasgow

1750: A ropery is established in the city

1751: A survey shows a severe state of dilapidation in the Old Town

1752: Proposals are heard for new public buildings and bridges

1753: Stagecoach services are introduced to London (taking two weeks)

1754: The Select Society is founded

1757-1770: Linen weaving works in Canongate

1758: Stagecoach services are introduced to Newcastle (taking one week)

1760: First school for deaf children opens; the main linen stamping office is in the city

1760s: Woollen cloth is ''beetled'' in a ''lapping house'' in Edinburgh

1761: The Bruntsfield Golfing Society is formed

1763: Construction of the North Bridge, designed by Robert Adam, begins; a four-horse coach runs to Glasgow three times a week

1765: The Glasgow coach now runs daily

1766: The competition to design the New Town is won by James Craig

1767: Construction of the New Town begins

1770: The British Linen Company switches to banking; the Heriot Brewery starts

1770s: There are 27 competing printing firms in the city

1771: Sir Walter Scott is born

1772: Construction of the North Bridge is completed

1773 or 1777: Penny-post service begins

1775: A directory of brothels and prostitutes is published; Edinburgh's estimated population is c57,000

1777: 8 legal and 400 illegaldistilleries in the city

1781: The Mound road is opened

1782: The voting system is criticised by Thomas McGrugar in "''Letters of Zeno''"

1784: Meeting discusses corrupt electoral system

1785-1786: Stone bridge at Stockbridge

1786-1788: The South Bridge, also designed by Robert Adam, is built

1788: William "Deacon" Brodie is executed - leader of a gang of robbers; the first stone of Edinburgh University is laid

1792: The Friends of the People Society meets for the first time; Charlotte Square designed by Robert Adam

1793: Thomas Muir of Huntershill, a radical reformer, is arrested and sentenced

1794: Robert Watt, a former spy, is sentenced to death for "Pike Plot"

1799: City has access to 3 million litres of water a day


1800: Charlotte Square is completed; Stein's large Canongate brewery is built

c1800: National Museum of Antiquities is established

1802: The ''Edinburgh Review'' is published, offering literary criticism

1802-1806: The Bank of Scotland head office is built

1803: Dorothy Wordsworth stays in the "White Hart" inn in the Grassmarket

1814: A protest meeting against West Indian slavery is held; two coaches a day run to Stirling

1816-1819: Regent Bridge is built

1817: Coal gas supplies are available in the city; coal fires lose popularity; the old tolbooth in Waterloo Place is demolished

1818: The Union Canal is begun; Calton Hill observatory is founded by the Edinburgh Astronomical Association

1819: Five coaches a day run between Edinburgh and Glasgow

1820: There are protests at George IV's treatment of Queen Caroline

1822: George IV visits Edinburgh and wears the kilt; the first Highland and Agricultural Show takes place

1823: The Bannatyne Club is founded

1824: A large fire destroys many buildings

1825: Eight Royal Mail coaches and over fifty stage coaches leave Edinburgh each day

1826: The Royal Scottish Academy is founded

1828: Burke of Burke and Hare is tried for murder

1829: Burke is hanged

1831: The Edinburgh to Dalkeith railway opens, as railways start to come to the city

1832: A cholera outbreak occurs in the city; ''The Scotsman'' newspaper incorporates the ''Caledonian Mercury''

1833: The city goes bankrupt; partly due to the development of Leith docks

1835: Edinburgh's New Town is completed, and the Old Town becomes a slum

1836: The Royal Institution opens, designed by William Playfair

1840: Barnard's Canongate brewery is expanded

1841-1851: Donaldson's hospital for the deaf is built

1842: Edinburgh-Glasgow railway line is open to the public

1843: Disruption of the Church of Scotland

1844-1846: The Scott Monument is built

1846: The North British Railway company is established

1847: Alexander Graham Bell is born in the city; half Edinburgh's population attend the funeral of Thomas Chalmers

1850: The foundation stone of the Scottish National Gallery is laid; the Holyrood brewery is enlarged for the third time

1851: The British Linen Bank head office opens on St Andrews Square

1853: The Edinburgh Trades Council is established

1856: The burgh of Canongate becomes part of Edinburgh

1859: The National Gallery opens

1860: Bank of Scotland has 43 branches

1861: Industrial museum built beside university

1864-1870: Bank of Scotland head office re-designed and extended

1865: Report on city’s sanitation paints picture of degradation

1867: Scottish Women’s Suffrage Society holds meetings for first time

1869: Sophia Jex-Blake becomes first female medical student

1870: Fettes College opens

1870-1879: New buildings for the Royal Infirmary

1872: Watt Institution and School of Arts begins to be built

1875: Royal Theatre destroyed by fire; Institute of Bankers founded

1881: Dean Distillery opens, converted from Dean Mills

1882: City brought to standstill by severe winter weather

1883: Chair of Celtic established at the university

1885: Watt Institution and School of Arts merges with George Heriot’s to become Heriot-Watt College

1889: City hit by earthquake; Charles Parnell granted freedom of the city

1890: Free public library opens to public

1892: Drybroughs’ brewery moves to Craigmillar; McVities’ devise ‘digestive biscuits

1896-1900: Abbey brewery built by Robert Younger


1900: Stockbridge gains a library and hall; character actor Alistair Sim is born

1901: University appoints its first Professor of Scottish history; the Royal High School has 350 pupils

1902: Waverley Station is complete, covering seven hectares; the North British Hotel is also built

1905: Moray House in Canongate becomes a teacher training centre

1905-1906: King’s Theatre is built at Tollcross

1907: Work begins on constructing the Edinburgh College of Art

1910: First electric trams run; Bank of Scotland has 169 branches

1911: Palladium Cinema opens

1911-1914: Usher Hall is built

1912: La Scala Cinema opens

1916: Bank of Scotland has first female employee

1916-1918: Tanks are built by Brown Brothers in the city

1921: Garrick Theatre burns down

1925: The National Library of Scotland is formed from the former Advocates’ Library

1928: The Flying Scotsman provides a fast rail link to London; the city’s first traffic lights are at Broughton Street

1932: George Watson’s College moves to Morningside

1932-1935: Edinburgh has headquarters for BBC Scotland

1936:17% of Edinburgh’s houses are overcrowded

1939: The Bank of Scotland has 266 branches; the headquarters of Edinburgh Savings Bank is built

1943: The North Scotland Hydro-Electric Board is created, with its headquarters in Edinburgh

1946: A telephone upgrade takes place, allowing all-city dialling

1946-1947: Electric trams in the city carry 16 million passengers a month

1947: The Edinburgh International Festival is launched; restoration of Canongate

1949: The Abercrombie Plan introduces ring roads and a bypass

1950: Tram system begins to be run down

1951: 2 central (manual) phone exchanges handle over 9,500 lines

1952: Bank of Scotland takes over Union Bank of Scotland, giving 453 combined branches

1956: Whole tram system closes

1958: Queen receives last debutantes

1959: Old Town population declines to 2,000

1960: Infirmary Street baths are damaged by fire

1963: ‘’Evening Despatch’’ and ‘’Edinburgh Evening News’’ merge; Empire Theatre becomes bingo hall

1966: Heriot-Watt gains university status

1968: Palladium Theatre fails, and becomes a disco

1968-1969: Royal Bank of Scotland takes over National Commercial Bank of Scotland

1969: Bank of Scotland absorbs British Linen Bank; Tollcross Bus Depot closes

1970: The Commonwealth Games are held in the city; the St James’ Centre, including a new St Andrews House, is completed

1971: Tom Farmer] starts Kwik-Fit

1972: A youth hostel opens at Eglington Crescent; Bell’s Mills are destroyed by an explosion

1974: David Murray, later connected with Glasgow Rangers, starts Murray International Metals

1976: A new Fountain Brewery is built by Scottish & Newcastle

1980: Debenhams open a Princes St store

1980s: Restoration of houses in the Old Town leads to a population increase in the area

1981: Royal Insurance Group headquarters moves to Glasgow

1985: The population of the city is 440,000; Edinburgh University institutes a Chair of Parapsychology

1989: The National Gallery of Scotland is renovated

1990: Edinburgh Castle is first, and Holyrood Palace eighth, in ranking of paid Scottish tourist attractions

1996: Infirmary St baths close

1998: The Royal Museum of Scotland is built

1999: The Scottish Parliament is opened by the Queen


2004: The Holyrood Parliament Building opens

1. Sources differ over the exact date Edinburgh became capital. It seems likely that different kings used it as their royal residence, and institutions like the law courts and parliament were built in the city, reinforcing its status, and gradually the city's leadership was undisputed.

See also
*Scottish history
*Timeline of Glasgow history

*''The Oxford Companion to Scottish History'', ed. Michael Lynch, Oxford University Press, 2001
*''The Making of Scotland'', Robin Smith, Canongate Books, 2001
*''The Hutchinson Encyclopedia'', 1997 ed., Helicon Publishing Ltd, 1996
*''Chronicle of Britain'', Chronicle Communications Ltd, 1992

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