Belfast’s history as a modern town begins on 27 April 1613. A royal charter, issued in the name of James I, transformed what had been a collection of dwellings by a river crossing into a legal entity governed by a corporation of 13 men, headed by a sovereign, writes Sean Connolly.
The new charter, in fact, was one of forty issued at around this time, partly to promote the economic development of Ireland by extending its urban network and partly to ensure a safe government majority in the forthcoming parliamentary session.
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