History of Lisbon

Brief history of Lisbon summarized

We will know the brief history of Lisbon from its foundation by the Phoenicians until today. The Portuguese capital has a long history, full of kings, discoveries, trades and reconstructions.

The beginnings of Lisbon

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Western Europe. After the region was settled by the Celts, it was founded by the Phoenicians. They established a settlement called Ulissipo, which was conquered by the Greeks and Carthaginians.

In 205 BC, the Romans won the Second Punic War against the Carthaginians and occupied the city, calling it Olissipo. Ancient Lisbon was integrated into the Roman province of Lusitania, but when the Roman Empire collapsed, it was invaded by Germanic tribes and was controlled by the Kingdom of the Suebos until 585.

The Muslim era and the reconquest of Lisbon

In the year 711, the Islamic Moors invaded the peninsula, including Lisbon. They changed the name of the city to al-Usbuma. In 789, Alfonso II of Asturias managed to reconquer the city until the year 808. Finally, the Christians retook the city in 1147, led by Afonso I and supported by a fleet from the Second Crusade.

During the reign of Alfonso III, Lisbon became the base of Portugal’s maritime expansion. This contributed to the development of the maritime laws enacted by King Ferdinand I. Afonso III also moved the capital from Coimbra to Lisbon.

At the end of the 14th century, the mercantile oligarchy enthroned the House of Aviz (the second dynasty of kings of Portugal) and under their reign, the city began to flourish.

Lisbon in the Renaissance

From the fifteenth century, the port of Lisbon became one of the most important in the world. During this period, the Casa da Guiné e Mina (a group of warehouses and customs) was established in the capital. This organization managed all aspects of foreign trade, which gave the city great power. Lisbon centralized trade with the Cape Verde coast.

The wealth of the city attracted numerous citizens from Genoa, Flanders and Majorca. His maritime knowledge influenced the court of Henry the Navigator.

In the 16th century, the Casa da India began to do business with Asia, Africa and Brazil, making the city even richer and the most important center of the slave trade in Europe.

In 1580 the Duke of Alba conquered Portugal and the Spanish King Felipe II was recognized as King of Portugal. Less than a hundred years later, in 1640 independence was restored and the country’s largest colony, Brazil, transformed Lisbon into a phenomenally wealthy city.

On November 1, 1755, Lisbon suffered a terrible earthquake that destroyed much of it. Sebastião José de Carvalho (1st Marquis of Pombal) used the riches of Minas Gerais in Brazil to rebuild the Baixa de Lisboa with grand avenues in the classical style.

The city was invaded by Napoleon in 1807, but was recaptured by the British, under the leadership of General Wellington.

In 1833 the constitutional monarchy was restored. It lasted until the Republic was declared in 1910.

20th century Lisbon

After the end of the First Republic in 1926, the anti-democratic conservative party took power by installing the Estado Novo, led by Anónio de Oliveira Salazar. His regime would last until April 25, 1974, when a military coup promoted by General Spínola finally installed the Third Republic. The bloodless coup is known as the “Carnation Revolution”, and in the following years Lisbon was greatly transformed by immigration and rapid growth.

During World War II, Lisbon became a haven for many exiles from the various countries occupied by the Axis powers. From Lisbon, they would sail to the United States or Great Britain.

In 1986, Portugal became a member of the European Union and twelve years later, in 1998, Lisbon hosted the Universal Exhibition, which altered the urban landscape of this beautiful city.

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