The Brief History of Barcelona

The Brief History of Barcelona

Over 2000 years ago, Barcelona was called Barkeno, which was once an Iberian village. Since located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Collserola ridge, people always gave extreme importance to the land. It is now a city home to 1,620,943 people and is also considered the second largest city in Spain.

Origin of Barcelona

Although the exact origin of the city is unclear, it is evident that it holds remains from the Neolithic and early Chalcolithic periods. Many remains like tombs and other dwellings were excavated from the city, dating nearly 5000 years old. According to historians, many Greek colonies called Kallipolis also lived around the vicinity around the same period, without any archeological evidence for the same.

Due to the city’s early existence, several myths have been formed, of which at least two are from the 15th century.

  • The first myth attributes to the city’s existence and that it was founded by Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barco around 230 BC. Despite the similarities between the Carthaginian families and today’s modern Barcelona, people still believe this to be a myth.
  • The second myth states that Hercules found the city of Barcelona before finding Rome while traveling across the Mediterranean Sea when his 9th ship hit a hill. While discovering the place, he came across Barco Nona, or the 9th ship.

The Roman Barcino

The Romans set out on a quest to conquer the whole Iberian Peninsula in the 19th BC after Caesar Augustus declared war. Although the northeastern region served as a refugee camp, significantly less importance was given to Barcelona. However, over the years, it became a wealthy town for all marine resources. By the end of the 2nd century, the land was an economic hub that included cultivation, wine export, and other activities.

Paleochristian Barcino

After the 3rd century, the first Christian communities began occupying the region. By the Edict of Milan in 313, these Christians were granted religious freedom, leading to widespread executions.


The crown of Aragon

After the marriage of Count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer IV, and Petrolina or Aragon, the administration of Barcelona and the surrounding areas changed drastically. Barcelona’s’ economy increased rapidly during this time, mainly because of trade. Therefore, in 1266, the reign appointed many representatives to create trade centers in important ports and Mediterranean cities.

Under the Spanish monarchy, Madrid became the center of political power and gained importance due to the Mediterranean trade. However, from the 18th century, Barcelona was also an essential factor in the industrial revolution.

The second republic and the civil war was when Barcelona was bombed constantly, which led to the city’s fall into the hands of Nationalists on 26th January 1939.

Modern Barcelona

After the death of Franco in 1975, there was a period of democratization all over Spain, which significantly changed Barcelona. In 1977 millions of people were on the streets, calling for restoring Catalan autonomy.

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