A brief history of Lisbon

Inhabited since pre-historical times, the city was named Olissipo during the Roman occupation as the capital of the Lusitania province. With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Visigoths conquer the Iberian Peninsula; in 711 the city is conquered by the Moors, who gave it the name Al-Ushbuna and converted it into a fortress. The Muslim Lisbon is a coveted city, as rich land owners and traders had made it the most opulent commercial centre of the whole northern Africa and of a large part of Europe. By this time the Baixa and Alfama burroughs were already inhabited as part as the city's surroundings.

In 1147 D. Afonso Henriques, first King of Portugal, conquers the city and Lisbon expands beyond its walls; during the reign of D. Afonso III, in 1255, it becomes the Portuguese capital city and the core of an important economic system of trade. By the 15th century the Lisbon harbour becomes one of the most important in the world and in 1500 the Terreiro do Paço Square is the centre of all the city’s business life. In the 16th century Portugal consolidates its naval supremacy, as Lisbon becomes one of the wealthiest cities in the world; it is the market for the luxurious tastes of European elites, and the profits from all this trade are used in constructing majestic buildings such as the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower, both in Manueline style.

Jerónimos Monastery Belém Tower