Brief history of Paris summarized
A brief review of the history of Paris, the capital of France, in a summarized way.
Ancient and medieval Paris
The city of Paris began in the 3rd century BC when a Celtic tribe called the Parisii built a fortified settlement on the Île de la Cité.
The Romans conquered Parisii in 52 AD and built a city on the Seine River. The Romans called Paris Lutetia. However, Roman Paris was not a particularly large or important city. It had a population of no more than 10,000 inhabitants.
At the end of the 3rd century, Paris and its surroundings converted to Christianity. However, by then the Roman Empire was in decline. In 486 a race called the Franks captured Paris.
Under the Franks, Paris flourished. In 845 the Vikings attacked Paris. The French king paid them 7,000 pounds of silver to leave. But from the eleventh century, Paris prospered again. In the Middle Ages, Paris grew rapidly and became one of the largest cities in Europe. Its population probably reached 200,000 (which may seem small to us, but it was huge by medieval standards). King Philippe-Auguste (1180-1223) built a wall around Paris. He also built the fortress of the Louvre.
Medieval Paris was also a busy inland port, transporting goods to and from its docks along the Seine. Paris was also noted for its scholars. The University of Paris became famous. From the end of the 12th century, the most famous cathedral in Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral, was built.
However, in 1338 the Hundred Years’ War began between France and England and in 1348 Paris was devastated by the Black Death. In 1357, the mayor of Paris, Etienne Marcel, led a rebellion in Paris to try to get more rights for Parisian merchants. However, royalist forces captured Paris in 1358 and Marcel and his followers were executed. In 1420 the English captured Paris. However, the French recaptured the city in 1436.
Paris gradually recovered from the Hundred Years’ War and in 1528 King Francis I moved his court to the city. Once again, Paris flourished. Meanwhile, in the 16th century, the Reformation swept through France. French Protestants were persecuted. The persecution reached its peak in 1572 with the massacre of San Bartolomé. About 2,000 Protestants in Paris were killed by Catholics.
Then in 1589 King Henry III was assassinated leaving a Protestant, Henry of Navarre, heir to the throne of France. However, many Catholics refused to accept Henri and he had to fight for his throne. However, in 1593 he converted to Catholicism and in 1594 he entered Paris.
King Henry IV began to build large public buildings in Paris. He also built the Pont Neuf in 1607. Henry was assassinated by a Catholic fanatic in 1610, but his widow built the Luxembourg Palace. The Royal Palace was built in 1629 by Cardinal Richelieu.
The construction of great buildings in Paris continued under Louis XIV in the late 17th century (although it was moved to the Palace of Versailles outside the city). However, Paris had two faces. Alongside the splendid buildings there were many cafes and Paris was famous for its philosophers. However, there was also a great deal of severe poverty in Paris. The poor lived in misery.
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