Brief history of Florence summarized
The great city of Florence was founded by the Romans in 59 BC. It was a colony, a settlement for retired soldiers and it was called Florentia. The new city flourished and grew under Roman rule.
However, in the fourth century the Roman Empire was divided into two, East and West. In the 5th century the Germanic peoples overthrew the Western Roman Empire. The Eastern Roman Empire survived as the Byzantine Empire. In the 6th century the Byzantine emperor tried to reconquer Italy and there was a fight between the Byzantines and a Germanic people called the Goths.
During the fighting Florence changed hands several times. However, at the end of the 6th century, a people called the Lombards captured Florence and there was a long period of peace. Then, in 774, Charlemagne captured Florence.
In the 11th century Florence became a flourishing city again and in 1115 the Count of Tuscany made it a self-governing commune. Florence became a large and wealthy city and in 1252 a gold coin called the florin was minted. However, in 1348 Florence was devastated by the Black Death.
However, the city soon recovered and in the 15th century it became a center for the arts. Meanwhile, from 1434 to 1737, the Medici were the leading family in Florence.
Florence in the Modern Age
In 1494 Florence surrendered to a French army. Then, in 1527, it was captured by an army of the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor. However, Florence continued to flourish, although in 1737 the Medici rule came to an end. Afterward, Tuscany, including Florence, came under Austrian rule.
In 1820 the famous nurse Florence Nightingale was born in the city.
In 1861 Tuscany became part of the new united kingdom of Italy. In 1865 it became the capital, but in 1871 it was replaced by Rome. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Florence’s population grew rapidly and the city prospered.
During World War II, Florence was occupied by the Germans in the period 1943-1944.
When they withdrew, the Germans destroyed the bridges in Florence, except for the Ponte Vecchio. However, after the war, Florence soon recovered. However, on November 4, 1966, Florence suffered a serious flood. The Arno river overflowed its banks and at least 35 people died.
Once again Florence recovered. In 1982 UNESCO declared Florence a World Heritage Site. Today Florence is blooming. Many tourists are drawn to the city for its art and architecture. At present, the population of Florence is 374,000 inhabitants.
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