Lisbon » City Info » History

Lisbon (Lisboa) had many invasions in the past centuries that have witnessed the transformation of the city from the Neolithic era to the Roman era. The Neolithic era had Iberian inhabitants that built megaliths, a religious structure. The estuaries of the river Tagus led to the settlement of Phoenicians.

The Romans occupied Lisbon in the 2nd century BC, and when the Roman Empire collapsed, several invaders from Northern Europe came and settled in the city.

After the Romans, Lisbon was ruled by the Moorish people. The Moors took the city in 711, under whose rule the city prospered. The Moors were Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East who built many mosques and houses. At that time, Islam was the official religion, and Arabic was the official language.

In 1147, the Portuguese recaptured the city, and it returned to Christian rule. Muslim residents converted to Roman Catholicism. Mosques were either destroyed or converted into churches.

In 1255, Lisbon was designated as the capital city of the Portuguese region. The city grew considerably and became a significant trading centre. In the 16th century, Lisbon was the European hub of commerce between India, Africa, the Far East and Brazil. The major trading was of sugar, spices, slaves, etc.

During 14th to 17th centuries, Lisbon experienced a series of earthquakes. The earthquake, followed by a tsunami in 1755, killed thousands of people and destroyed almost 80% of structures, hospitals, and palaces. After the 1755 earthquake, the city was reconstructed with a modern design.

In the early 19th century, the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Portugal land and destroyed a substantial property of the city. Though Lisbon remained neutral during the Second World War, it faced certain disruptions in the late 19th century. In 1988, a fire near the historical centre of Chiado disrupted everyday life in that area for nearly ten years.

In 1994, Lisbon was declared the European Capital of Culture. In 2000, to revitalise the EU economy, Lisbon Agenda was signed in Lisbon. In 2007, the EU Summit was hosted by Lisbon, where the Treaty of Lisbon was signed. Lisbon has hosted many international programs and events from 2007 to 2019.