Cardiff, city, capital of Wales, located in southern Wales at the mouths of the Taff and Ely rivers on Bristol Channel. Cardiff is an important seaport and industrial center. Among its manufactures are steel, machinery, processed foods, metal products, textiles, and paper. Notable structures include the 11th-century Cardiff Castle, Llandaff Cathedral, and the 15th-century Church of Saint John the Baptist. Also of interest is the National Museum of Wales. Cardiff is the seat of the Welsh National School of Medicine (1931) and Cardiff University, formed in 2004 by a merger of the University of Wales, Cardiff, and the University of Wales College of Medicine.
A Roman outpost was established on the site in about ad 75. Occupied by the Normans in the 11th century, the community became a possession of feudal lords. It remained a small town until the opening of the Glamorganshire Canal in 1794 made it an outlet for the mineral wealth of southern Wales. The first docks were completed in 1839, and Cardiff eventually became the world’s largest port for shipping coal, an activity that has since declined. During World War II (1939-1945) the city suffered damage from German bombing. Until 1974 Cardiff was the county town of the former county of Glamorganshire. Between 1974 and 1996, it was the administrative center of the former county of South Glamorgan. In the 1996 reorganization of local government, Cardiff and its surrounding area became a unitary authority.