The town of Hamilton was originally known as Cadzow or Cadyou. During the Wars of Scottish Independence, the Hamilton family initially supported the English and Walter fitz Gilbert (the head of the Hamilton family) was governor of Bothwell Castle on behalf of the English. However, he later changed loyalty to Robert the Bruce, following the Battle of Bannockburn, and ceded Bothwell to him. For this act, he was rewarded with a portion of land which had been forfeited by the Comyns at Dalserf and later the Barony and lands of Cadzow, which in time would become the town of Hamilton.
The Hamiltons constructed many landmark buildings in the area including the Hamilton Mausoleum in Strathclyde Park, which has the longest echo of any building in the world.
The Hamilton family are major landowners in the area to this day. Hamilton Palace was the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton until the early twentieth century.
Service industries and local government are major employers in Hamilton. The town centre has been regenerated with indoor shopping centres, The Regent Shopping Centre and New Cross Shopping Centre, as well as the Hamilton Retail Park and the Palace Grounds Retail Park.
Restaurants and national retail outlets are situated in a redeveloped part of the Palace Grounds that are visible upon entering the town from the M74 motorway. The creation of a circular town square has resulted in Hamilton receiving numerous town planning awards during the past decade. This development transformed the Hamilton side of Strathclyde Park, which was the original site of the Duke’s palace. Hamilton has been a Fairtrade Town since 2005.