Aberdeen, often called The Granite City, is Scotland's third largest city, with a population of 212,125. Aberdeen is the chief commercial centre and seaport in the north-east of Scotland. The city is often referred to as the Oil Capital of Europe thanks to becoming, in the 1970s, a major service base for the extraction of crude oil in the North Sea. The city forms the Aberdeen City unitary council area, and it is surrounded by the Aberdeenshire council area. It mostly stands between the mouths of the rivers Don and Dee.
Aberdeen grew up as two separate burghs: Old Aberdeen at the mouth of the River Don; and New Aberdeen, a fishing and trading settlement where the Denburn entered the Dee estuary. The earliest charter was granted by King William the Lion about 1179, confirming the corporate rights granted by David I. The city received other royal charters later. In 1319, the Great Charter of Robert the Bruce transformed Aberdeen into a property owning and financially independent community. Bruce had a high regard for the citizens of Aberdeen who had sheltered him in his days of outlawry, helped him win the Battle of Barra and slew the English garrison at the Castle. He granted Aberdeen with the nearby Forest of Stocket. The income from this land has formed the basis for the city's Common Good Fund, which is used to this day for the benefit of all Aberdonians.
The city was burned by Edward III of England in 1336, but was soon rebuilt and extended, and called New Aberdeen. For many centuries the city was subject to attacks by the neighbouring lords, and was strongly fortified, but the gates were all removed by 1770. In 1497 a blockhouse was built at the harbour mouth as a protection against the English. During the Scottish Civil War of 1644-47 between the Royalists and Covenanters the city was impartially plundered by both sides. In 1644, it was taken and sacked by Royalist troops comprising of Irishmen and Highlanders after the battle of Aberdeen. In 1715 the Earl Marischal proclaimed the Old Pretender at Aberdeen, and in 1745 the Duke of Cumberland resided for a short time in the city before attacking the Young Pretender.