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The city's new trades and sciences attracted new residents from across the Lowlands and the Highlands of Scotland, from Ireland and other parts of Britain and from Continental Europe.During this period, the construction of many of the city's greatest architectural masterpieces and most ambitious civil engineering projects, such as the Milngavie water treatment works, Glasgow Subway, Glasgow Corporation Tramways, City Chambers, Mitchell Library and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum were being funded by its wealth.
Comprehensive urban renewal projects in the 1960s, resulting in large-scale relocation of people to designated new towns; such as Cumbernauld, Livingston and peripheral suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, reduced the population of the City of Glasgow council area to an estimated 615,070, with 1,209,143 people living in the Greater Glasgow urban area.The founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451 and elevation of the bishopric to become the Archdiocese of Glasgow in 1492 increased the town's religious and educational status and landed wealth.Its early trade was in agriculture, brewing and fishing, with cured salmon and herring being exported to Europe and the Mediterranean.By the 1960s, growth of industry in countries like Japan and West Germany, 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 de-industrialisation, leading to high unemployment, urban decay, population decline, welfare dependency and poor health for the city's inhabitants.Glasgow's substantial fortunes came from international trade, manufacturing and invention, starting in the 17th century with sugar, followed by tobacco, and then cotton and linen, products of the Atlantic triangular slave trade.
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 was about 12,000, and the city was yet to undergo the massive expansionary changes to its economy and urban fabric, brought about by the Scottish Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution.
Following the European Protestant Reformation and with the encouragement of the Convention of Royal Burghs, the 14 incorporated trade crafts federated as the Trades House in 1605 to match the power and influence in the town council of the earlier Merchants' Guilds who established their Merchants House in the same year.
Glasgow was subsequently raised to the status of Royal Burgh in 1611.
Glasgow grew from a small rural settlement on the River Clyde to become the largest seaport in Britain.
Expanding from the medieval bishopric and royal burgh, and the later establishment of the University of Glasgow in the fifteenth century, it became a major centre of the Scottish Enlightenment in the eighteenth century.
The opening of the Monkland Canal and basin linking to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Port Dundas in 1795, facilitated access to the extensive iron-ore and coal mines in Lanarkshire.