Stirling (Gaelic: Sruighlea, Scots: Stirlin) is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city is clustered around a large fortress and mediæval old-town beside the River Forth. Historically it was strategically important as the “Gateway to the Highlands”, with its position near the boundary between the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, and its crossing of the Forth, the nearest to the river mouth. It is a centre for local government, higher education, retail, and light industry. Its population (as of the 2001 census) was 41243, making it the smallest city in Scotland. One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a Royal burgh by King David I in 1130, which it remained until 1975, when the county of Stirlingshire was absorbed into Central Region. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status. Originally a Stone Age settlement, Stirling has been strategically significant since at least the Roman occupation of Britain, due to its naturally defensible crag and tail hill (latterly the site of Stirling Castle), and its commanding position at the foot of the Ochil Hills on the border between the Lowlands and Highlands, at the lowest crossing point of the River Forth. It remained the river’s lowest crossing until the construction of the Kincardine Bridge further downstream in the 1930s. It is supposed that Stirling is the fortress

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