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History of Barcelona

Barcelona is believed to have been established by either the Phoenicians or the Carthaginians. Later it became a Roman colony called by the rather lengthy name of Colonia Faventia Julia Augusta Pia Barcino. It was only around the 3rd century that the settlement grew to a size of any importance, and over the years that followed, changed names - and hands - many times. As Barcinona, it was ruled by the Visigoths; and as Barjelunah, by the Moors. By the 10th century, the Counts of Barcelona managed to oust the Umayyad caliphate of Cordoba, and finally gained control of the city, turning it into a major trading port.

Plague, and the rising importance of Naples, eventually caused Barcelona’s prestige to decline, and by 1714 the city had been conquered by Spain. A century later, Napoleon’s troops occupied Barcelona (from 1808 to 1813), but since then the city’s development as an industrial and cultural centre has continued more or less uninterrupted.

Barcelona again came into the limelight in the early 20th century, when demands for Catalan self-government became strong. Although a Catalan republic was declared, with Barcelona as its capital, in 1931, this was swiftly suppressed and the Spanish Civil War finally brought about the fall of the city in 1939. An autonomous Catalan government was finally declared and accepted only in 1977. Since then, Barcelona has remained the main centre for culture, trade and economy in the region.


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