It has a population of approximately 150,000 and is an area of considerable scenic beauty. There are historic castles and buildings, delightful towns and areas to visit. There are good sporting facilities including golf courses, sailing, fishing and hill walking.
Dumfries is the regional capital and by far the largest town in the region. The town itself has a proud history extending over 800 years. In 1100, Dumfries was a small village. Yet by 1186 it had expanded so that King William the Lion granted it a Royal Charter as a Royal Burgh which meant it became a town with a right to govern its own affairs. This was of considerable importance in feudal times. The townspeople were free from feudal obligations to a Lord or Baron and enjoyed other privileges. Over the centuries Dumfries has continued to grow and now has a population of some 35,000 people.
As can be expected with such a historic town it has witnessed many eventful episodes. One of which was the slaying of the Red Comyn by Robert the Bruce in the early part of the Fourteenth century. This was the start of Robert the Bruce's campaign to make himself King of Scotland.
Other events include the covenanting period in the Seventeenth century and in 1746 the retreating army of Bonnie Prince Charlie took over Dumfries for a short period taking with them when they left quite a lot of money and at least 1,000 pairs of shoes taken from the town. Bonnie Prince Charlie has never been forgiven for this episode by the citizens of Dumfries.
At the end of the Eighteenth century Robert Burns, Scotland's National Bard came to live in Dumfries and died here in 1796.
Other famous men from Dumfries and the surrounding area William Paterson, the founder of the Bank of England, Henry Duncan, the founder of the Savings Bank Movement, Thomas Carlyle, James Clark Maxwell, Kirkpatrick McMillan, the inventor of the bicycle and John Paul Jones the founder of the American navy. J.M. Barrie of Peter Pan fame went to school in Dumfries.
The present town has a good local character and has many excellent facilities. A modern hospital, a new university, primary schools and four secondary schools, a theatre which was first opened in the time of Robert Burns, two cinemas, four golf courses, a modern ice rink, swimming pool, bowling greens and indoor bowling, curling, many clubs and associations.
It also has good shopping and other facilities. It was recently named the best town to live in Britain.
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