History

The history of Lisbon is believed to have started several hundred thousand years ago beginning with the dominance of the Celtic tribes in the Iberian peninsula during the Neolithic Era. Legends would say that the city was founded and named by Ulysses as Ulissipo. Others claim that the name originated from the Phoenician words “Allis Ubbo” which means a safe harbor in Phoenician. The existence of the name and the recovery of certain in archaeological findings suggest that there was an influence of the Phoenician culture in the area during the 1200 century. Others believe that the name was actually derived from the Roman influence coming from the Pre Roman name of the river Tagus which is Lisso.

In the height of the Roman era after the defeat of Hannibal the city which was known as Ulyssippo was integrated to the Roman Empire in 138 BC affording Roman citizenship to its residents it became part of the Roman province of Lusitania.

After the fall of the Roman Empire Lisbon was controlled by the Alans and the Germanic vandals from 409to 429 AD which was followed by the rule of the Visigoths in 585 AD by then Lisbon was known as Ulishbonia.

However the rule of the Moors in approximately 711AD was where the city of Lisbon or AL Isbunah as it was known back then flourished. The Moors built houses and mosques and a city wall named the Cerca Moura.  At present the influence of the Moorish rule is still evident in Alfama the oldest city district which was not destroyed by the earthquake of 1755.

During the Crusades particularly in 1147 the Christians led by Alfonso I of Portugal conquered the city of Lisbon and placed the control of the city in Christian hands. The mosques were converted into  Catholic churches and Roman Catholicism became the predominant religion in the area.

In the 13th century the city became an important trading post in Europe and exponent its territory and the Lisbon port had a very significant role in the creation of the Portuguese empire since it was the port of origin of Vasco de Gama’s exploration in the 15th century.

By the 16th century Lisbon became the center of trade and commerce between Europe, India, the far east and later Brazil. A number of goods were being traded in the area ranging from spices, sslaves, sugar, textiles and others.

The 18th century comprised of the influx of gold from Brazil which allowed the king at that time to have several Baroque churches constructed.

The 19th century was the time that Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops invaded the country of Portugal which forced the royal family to flee to Brazil. The invasion caused a lot of damage to the existing properties in the city

The  20th century was eventful for the city a lot of major events happened during that period of time .  One of the notable events was the regicide of Carlos I which actually led to the formation of the Republic. In World war II  the city of Lisbon was a neutral and free city port in Europe which aided the escape of those trying to flee the rule of Nazi Germany. It also became the center of the Republican coup in 1910 which established the Portuguese republic.

At present Lisbon continues to be one of the most important cities in Europe in the year 2000 it was actually chosen to host the ratification of “The Lisbon agenda” which is an agreement to revitalize the European Union economy and the Treaty of Lisbon which is a result of the European Union summit was also signed here in 2007 which actually agreed on a new governance model for the members of the EU.