The area now known as the Bogside was originally underwater. The Foyle flowed round the island of Derry, and was first settled as the river diverted. It dried out into marshland: hence the name Bogside.
The first known reference to it by name came in a report from Sir Henry Docwra, the commander of an English force who arrived in Derry in 1600.
The first recorded settlers in the Bogside were 61 “British families” listed in a 1622 survey. This survey would have ignored any Irish inhabitants. Literally, they didn’t count.
From the beginning, the relationship between the Bogside and the walled city was antagonistic. When the English settlement was attacked and destroyed by Donegal chieftain Cahir O’Doherty in 1608, the attackers came through the bog. During the siege of 1688-89, many of the attacking forces were based in what is now the Bogside, Brandywell and Creggan – the area that was to become Free Derry.