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History of Oporto

The settlement now known as Oporto was founded on the south bank of the Duoro River well before the time of the Romans. Later, it combined with the Alani settlement on the north bank, an area called Castrum Novum, to form the Roman city of Portus Cale.

Briefly held by the Visigoths, the city was captured by the Moors, who ruled it (except for a short period during which it was taken by Christian troops) continuously till almost the end of the 11th century. In 1092, Oporto finally passed into Christian rule, and, within a short span of about two hundred years, had acquired the status of one of the most important ports in all of Portugal. Henry the Navigator was born in the city in 1394, and a number of expeditions - both exploratory as well as commercial (and some, of course, of a military nature) were launched from Oporto in the days of the Renaissance.

In the early 19th century, Oporto came into the limelight as a battleground of the Peninsular War; British troops led by Arthur Wellesley took the city in 1809. Since then, however, Oporto has been a quiet and peaceful place, with little to disturb its gradual development into Portugal’s second largest city. During the early decades of the 20th century, especially, considerable town planning and residential development took place, and many of the city’s surrounding suburbs were absorbed into Oporto.

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