The city was founded by the Romans who set up a colony called Barcino at the end of the 1st century BC. The colony was bounded by a defensive wall, the remains of which can still be seen in the old town.
Barcelona was under Muslim rule for over 200 years until the Christian reconquest, it became a county of the Carolingian Empire and one of the main residences of the court of the Crown of Aragon. The fruitful medieval period established Barcelona’s position as the economic and political centre of the Western Mediterranean. From the 15th to 18th centuries Barcelona entered a period of decline, while it struggled to maintain its economic and political independence. This struggle ended in 1714, when the city fell to the Bourbon troops and Catalonia’s and Catalans’ rights and privileges were suppressed.
A period of cultural recovery began in the mid-19th century with the arrival of the development of the textile industry. During this period, which was known as the Renaixença, Catalan regained prominence as a literary language.
The 20th century saw the urban renewal throughout all the city. The peak of the renewal was with the Catalan Antoni Gaudí, one of the most eminent architects that designed buildings such as the Casa Milà (known as La Pedrera, the Catalan for stone quarry), the Casa Batlló and the Sagrada Família church, which have become world-famous landmarks.
Barcelona society regained its economic strength and the Catalan language was restored. The city’s hosting of the 1992 Olympic Games gave fresh impetus to Barcelona’s potential and reaffirmed its status as a major metropolis.