History of Barcelona

A brief introduction to the history of Barcelona, from the Roman times to our days, invites you to see the evolution of the city and to understand its people and its architecture.

Roman BarcelonaBarcelona roman remains

Although there are traces of Iberian and Carthaginian settlements,
the true birth of the city was in Roman times.
The city had its origin in the Roman domination in 218 BC,
Barcino, is a small settlement for the retirement of troops that belonged to Tarraco (today Tarragona).
Due to its strategic location, business grew fast and was especially reputed in the cultivation of vines that were exported
to the rest of the empire. The temple of the city was erected in honor of Augustus, who built the walls of the city.
Today you can still see the remains of the ancient Roman colony such as certain parts of the wall that surrounded the city, the temple of Augustus,
the necropolis and structures that can be seen in the basement of the Museum d ' Historia de la Ciutat. By the year 259 the first
Christian communities come to town, it is known that the Jewish community was established in the city in the fourth century when the
1st synagogue was built on the peninsula. In 379, with the division of the Roman Empire in 2, Christianity is established as the official religion of the city.
In the s.V the Goths reach and reign in the Hispanic lands, however this period is unnoticed, as the occupation was peaceful and the people do not change their roman way of life.

Muslim Barcelona

Muslims entered the peninsula in 711, but in Barcelona the conquest was not successful at first, until 718 when the conquest of the territory was total.
Muslim government in the city lasted more than 83 years. The Muslim did not try to convert the local population, allowing freedom of worship, and generally people were treated fairly favorable.
The cathedral was converted into a mosque. The civilian government was respected and the city retained the traditional authorities (Count and Bishop Christian, and Jewish community leader).


Gothic BarcelonaGotico district Barcelona


The arrival of the Carolingians, in continuous battle with the Muslims,
their settlement and reign, state the first Counts in the government.
Barcelona, had reached its limits of space and is about to restructure its distribution,
building a new wall to accommodate the new city.

Barcelona Gothic city is built around its center, the Plaza Sant Jaume. Meanwhile,
outside the walls, around Santa Maria del Mar Church appeared a new city of the crafts.
Barcelona became a city of merchants, sailors, merchants and professionals, the Barcelona of the guilds.
Barcelona became one of the centers of political, economic, social, cultural and trade activity in the territory comprising not only the current Catalonia,
but the set of states that made up the former Crown of Aragon (Catalonia, Aragon, Valencia, Balearic Islands, Roussillon, Sardinia, Naples, Athens and Neopatria).
The decline of the city came with the outbreak of plague and famine, piracy, peasant revolts, the opening of trade with the Atlantic,
the debt of the monarchy and the 10-year war between it and the Generalitat.
Modern Barcelona Castilla joins Catalonia with the marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabel of Castile, it’s the period of the discovery of America in Spain,
while Catalonia suffered wars: the War of the Reapers, and the military defeat of 1714 in the War of Succession which wiped institutions in Catalonia.
After the military defeat, a new economic growth driven by the laborious nature of the locals gave way to the industrial revolution.
The king orders to build the Ciutadela, extends the port, urbanizes the Rambla and Raval, and opens trade with the Americas to Catalonia.
Industry develops mainly in the textile and metal, the 1st street lighting is done.

Modernist BarcelonaLa pedrera - gaudi

After Napoleon’s invasion and the War of the French,
the Spanish monarchy regains the power over Catalonia.
The s. XIX is of great social unrest and class struggle, as a result the city suffers changes as the demolition of the walls that where still guarding the city,
this made possible the growth, aggregation of neighboring cities and the destruction of the military Citadel in order to host the Universal Exhibition of 1888.
 t also started the urban reforms to address the degradation and lack of public spaces.
The industrial Barcelona, opened its first railway in 1848, confiscated the church property and welcomed the founding of the UGT and CNT in 1888 in 1910.
Catalan resurges as cultural language.


Barcelona Noucentista

Barcelona was becoming a cultural and vanguard capital, where the new advances in science and technical were applied in all areas of life.
A new generation of industrialists and politicians started on ambitious plans of development, such as the Eixample of Ildefons Cerda, and business to convert Barcelona into a modern metropolis.
At the social level the new ruling class, the bourgeoisie, adopts the Catalans and the values of their cultural roots. It is the resurgence of Catalan literature, and the construction of the Liceu.
It is also the glorious time for the modernist architects Antoni Gaudí(Park Güell, Casa Batlló, Casa Mila, Colonia Guell crypt, expiatory church of La Sagrada Familia),
Lluís Domènech i Montaner (Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Palau de la Musica Catalana) and Josep Puig (Amatller House, House Terrades).

The settlement of Catalanism will bring some political instability frowned by conservative spanishs that led to riots and disturbances using bombs for the first time.
The tragic week, the Republic, the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the Second Republic would be a breeding ground for the military coup that triggered the Civil War.

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Postwar BarcelonaPostwar Family Barcelona

On July 19 1936 the army upraises in different cities of Spain, but in Barcelona it had no support.
The city was bombed several times by the fascist army and was finally occupied by on January 26 1939.
The dictator and its government abolished the autonomy of Catalonia and its political institutions, such as the Generalitat,
and banned the Catalan language and its cultural manifestations.
Barcelona plunged during the nearly forty years of Franco's dictatorship in a great social and cultural decadence.

Olympic Barcelona Water sport olympics Barcelona

In 1977 democracy was restored, the last president of the republic returned from exile, Mr. Tarradellas, reinstated the Generalitat and the Catalan cultural recovery starts.
The proclamation of the city of Barcelona to host the 1992 Olympic Games represented a major renovation for the city in terms of infrastructure
and urbanization that gave form to the Barcelona we know today.
The city organized one of the greatest Olympics ever and became known as a welcoming city open to the world.


Barcelona Today

The Barcelona of today is heir of the Games of the 92, lives open to the sea and cosmopolite.
It continues to develop in order to be a competitive city on a European level, renewing itself in permanence, with facilities such as The Forum, the construction of new architectural icons such as the Torre Agbar and the Mapfre towers, new museum openings, increasing the number and quality of its hotels and the continuous development of the underground lines and the arrival of the AVE (high speed).
The city, in its transformation, didn’t lost its history: centuries of cultural diversity has been the firm basis for shaping a city with personality force internationally renowned for its cultural, economic, political and being a vanguard city.


 Barcelona skyline