Introduction - History of Barcelona
This is a short guide to Barcelona
in easy English. It tells about its
history, its architecture, its people, and its
customs. Let us
visit it together.
Barcelona is the second largest city in
is also the capital of Catalonia. Catalonia is an ancient nation.
part of Spain
and it has its own language and
its own history.
Barcelona is a port on the Mediterranean coast. Four million
people live in and around Barcelona. Many of the
both Catalan and Spanish. These two languages come
originally from Latin.
Barcelona is a city of industry and
trade. It is also a city of
music and of beautiful parks and buildings. It is a
place, full of life and colour. It is also a city of sport:
city of the Olympic Games
HISTORY OF BARCELONA
The Iberian Peninsula runs from the Pyrenean Mountains in the
north to the
Straits of Gibraltar in the south. Barcelona is in
north-eastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula. The first
inhabitants of Barcelona were Iberians.
Around 250 BC, Greeks and
Carthaginians came across the
Mediterranean. A Carthaginian called Amilcar Barca was the
founder of the city. The city was called Barcino. The
Greeks and Carthaginians brought trade to the city. The Romans became the
rulers of Barcino in 200 BC
built the walls around the city.
Iberia was invaded around AD 400 by the
Goths. The Goths came
from north-eastern Europe. A Goth king, King Ataulf, made
Barcelona his capital. The
Muslims came from North Africa. They invaded the Iberian
Peninsula around AD 700. Christians and Muslims
battles. Barcelona was
conquered by the Muslims in AD 800.
Later, it was conquered by the
Franks. Barcelona became an
independent city in AD 900. It was ruled by Guifrè, the
of Barcelona. He was also called 'el Pilos' (the Hairy).
Middle Ages (AD 400-1500), Catalonia was part of the most
powerful kingdom in the Mediterranean. King James the First (The
Conqueror) sent ships to Italy, Greece, Egypt and the
East. Barcelona became a centre for Mediterranean trade. The
traders of Barcelona competed with the traders of
In 1265, King James gave the city its first democratic
parliament. It was called Consell
de Cent. Some of the most beautiful buildings in Barcelona
were built at this time. They were built in the part of the city
now called the
In 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America. He came to
Barcelona and offered the new lands to King Ferdinand and Queen
Isabella. But the
discovery of America was not good for the ports on the
coast of the Mediterranean. Traders moved to Cádiz and Sevilla,
ports in south-west Spain. Barcelona
important. There were other important changes in the Middle Ages.
Madrid became the capital of the new Spanish Empire. In the 1700s there was a war
about who was going to rule Spain.
Barcelona lost its independence in 1714
of the city was
The Spanish Industrial Revolution began in Barcelona in the
grew much bigger. Once again it became an important
city. Streets and houses were built outside the old city walls.
The architect, Ildefons Cerdà (1815-76), designed a new town.
The houses had gardens inside and outside. Two World Exhibitions
were held in Barcelona. The first was in
1888 and the second was in 1929. Barcelona became a world centre
of modern literature, music and art.
Into the Future
The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and the
(1939-76) were difficult times
throughout Spain. Thousands of
Spaniards came to Barcelona to find jobs and homes.
Today, Barcelona is the centre of Government and Parliament for
Catalonia. The city is changing all the time. New squares and
are being built. The transport systems
are being improved
all the time. Barcelona
is looking towards the future.
a plan for the
development of the city in the future
were held in Barcelona.
Ramón Ribé, Neus Serra, Núria Vidal (Heinemann)
it is part of: forma parte de
both Catalan and Spanish: tanto el Catalán como el
friendly place: lugar amistoso
Straits of Gibraltar: Estrecho de Gibraltar
Middle Ages: Edad Media
powerful kingdom: poderoso
The Conqueror: El Conquistador
Middle East: Medio Oriente
Gothic Quarter: Barrio Gótico
became less: se volvió menos
about who was going to rule: para decidir quién iba a
grew much bigger: se volvió much más grande
were held: se realizaron
military dictatorship: dictadura militar
throughout: en toda
are being built: se están construyendo
are being improved: se están mejorando
is looking towards: mira hacia
MAS "DESCARGAS - GUIAS DE VIAJE"