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BARCELONA HISTORY - HISTORY OF BARCELONA SPAIN

History Of BarcelonaBarcelona History - Barcelona was the capital of the Visigothic empire for the period between 416 and 712. The city was taken over by the Moors and later by the Arabs. In 780 Charles the Great sent his son, Louis, to Barcelona to subdue the city. After a long siege, Louis took over Barcelona and it became the capital of the Spanish. After the death of Charles the Great, Barcelona fell into the hands of the Arabs again and Barcelona started to flourish as a commercial town under the reign of several independent kings.

The 11th and 12th centuries consolidated Barcelona as an important Mediterranean City. The internationalization of trade by way of maritime transportation was fundamental in the development of 12th century Barcelona, and soon the city became as influential as Genoa or Venice. The growth of the city then and later was to be directly related to the increasing importance of its port. There are still some buildings from this prosperous period, such as the romanesque style church of Sant Pau del Camp or the chapel of Santa Llucia in the Cathedral.

Barcelona HistoryIn 1492, with the discovery of the Americas, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella shifted their attention away from Barcelona and the Mediterranean seaboard to the new opportunities rising on the Atlantic. Barcelona was no longer the seat of the monarchy, and Madrid once again became the capital of the new Spanish Empire.

Barcelona's situation worsened in the 17th and 18th centuries with a Catalonian Revolt against Spain, which originated in Barcelona, and lead to over a decade of decline in wealth and population. Then in 1702, during a struggle for succession to the Spanish throne, Catalonia favored the Archduke of Austria, while the rest of Spain supported the Frenchman, Felipe of Anjou. When Felipe won out in 1714, all of Catalonia, including Barcelona was suppressed culturally and politically.

Throughout Spain there was an economic recession and a feeling of powerlessness, which brought out a rebellion, led by Francisco Franco, and eventually resulted in the Civil War. The Spanish Civil War was the beginning of one of Spain’s darkest periods and the Catalan national identity was totally repressed. Catalonia stood by the legally established republic, and in 1939, when Barcelona, along with Madrid, fell, the war ended. Thus began a long period of even greater repression of Catalonian identity, as well as a stunt in economic, social, and cultural growth for Barcelona.

Not until Franco’s death in 1975 and the new Spanish constitution of 1977 did Catalonia regain a measure of self government with the Estatut de Autonomia.

Barceolna Olympic GamesThe 1992 Olympic Games produced the most extensive changes to the city in all its history. We can see and admire all the physical changes such as parks, museums, roads, infrastructure; but even more important is that which you can’t see but you can sense: the pride and enthusiasm that Barcelona’s people have regained and that they are able to transmit to visitors.