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Barcelona is thought most likely to have been founded by the Carthaginians at around 230BC, then led by Hamilcar Barca (father of Hannibal). The Romans redrew the the town as a military camp, naming it Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino. Though it was very much in the shadow of the then provincial capital Tarragona.
By the early 5th century the Roman Empire was in decline, & pressure on Germanic tribes by the expansion of the Mongol population in their own lands led to escalating incursions into Roman territory. This intensified as time went on & eventually Spain was invaded by the Vandal, Alani, & Suevi peoples. Due to its northern location Barcelona was amongst the first wave of towns to fall. These peoples were in turn quickly overthrown by the Visigoths (another tribe of Germanic origin), who managed to keep hold of Barcelona for a long period.
It was not until the 8th century that the Moors (Arab peoples) arrived & the Visigoths were conquered. The Moors set up a Caliphate (a kind of regional capital) at Cordoba which governed most of the penninsular. The Caliphate of Cordoba fragmented from its government in the middle east & grew to become fantastically rich & powerful. It brought many skills & much innovation to Spain & Europe as a whole (for example its irrigation systems are still used in much of Spain's south). During this period Barcelona remained a modest town, & it was not until the Frankish armies pushed the Arabs back farther south in Spain & set up a buffer zone to this effect (which included Barcelona), that its status changed & autonomy followed.
As the Frankish empire fractured in the 9th century one nobleman Guifre el Pilos (Wilfrid the Hairy) founded the house of the counts of Barcelona; who by around the 10th century ruled a large part of Catalonia. The collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba & therefore the Moorish empire in the 11th century ensured that the city grew rich, with much of the resulting bounty making its way to Barcelona. This eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom of Aragon (modern Catalonia & beyond).
With the Kingdom of Castile dominating much of central & southern Spain, Aragon set its sights towards the Mediterranean. By 1423AD its empire had included (for varying periods) the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Sicily, Malta, Athens, Corsica, Sardinia, & Naples, in addition to various north African ports. The eventual decline of the Kingdom of Aragon came for various reasons, certainly exhaustion of resources, plague, famines, & wars played their part. But the final nail in the coffin came when in 1410AD Marti I died heirless, & a marriage of his successor to the queen of Castile followed. From then Aragon-Catalonia effectively became part of Castile.
It was not until the 19th century that Barcelona's population really began to rise significantly. This came as the city was permitted to trade with America; bringing much wealth from shipping & the beginning of the industrial revolution. Major expansion of the city ensued, with the bourgeoisie funding many works by modernist architects like Antoni Gaudi. Art also flourished. This changed the face of Barcelona for good; with its art & architectural heritage now what it is most famous for.
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Barcelona History, History of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Barcelona History, History of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Hotels, Holiday, Property, and Tourist Information. Genetral information on Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.