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History of Barcelona

Starting with Hercules

Torres de la muralla romana al carrer del Sots-Tinent Navarro.

A Roman Colony Called Barcino

You would expect a city with an ego as big as Barcelona’s to have invented a foundation myth for itself, and this city’s men of letters cooked up a good one. Everyone knows about Hercules’ trip to Spain, on the tenth of his mythological Twelve Labours. He built the Pillars of Hercules on that visit, and if you believe the Barcelonans, he stopped to found their city on the way back.

The truth is, no one really knows how far Barcelona goes back. Some have claimed that the Carthaginians were here, and that ‘Barcelona’ was founded by Hamilcar Barca, the father of Hannibal. So far, though, no archaeological evidence has turned up. As far as anyone knows, the first people to settle, up on Montjuïc, were a Celtiberian tribe called the Laietani.

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History & Sidelights

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by A la plaça! Guanyem Barcelona, Creative Commons, Enrique Íñiguez Rodríguez, Francesco Valesio, 1579,, infoLibre (youtube), Italian Airforce, Ivan bea on Wikimedia Commons, Jaume Meneses, Montse liz, PD Art, Pere López, Pere prlpz, Xavier Caballe