The area surrounding where the city of Barcelona now sits was once populated by peaceful farmers. Many of these people are of Greek descendants, as they were the first immigrants into this area. They set up a large trading colony on the Northern coast at Empuries. Empuries is also known as the point of origin for the Romans. At this time in history, the Romans were at war with Carthage , which was a northern African power. They were fighting over the dominance of the western Mediterranean Sea . The base on the Peninsula was New Carthage. The city was rich in silver and bronze mines and the Romans saw this place as a jackpot. Traces of the Roman civilizations can still be seen in Barcelona.
When the 5th century came, the Romans fell and the Visigoths took over the area. They spread from the eastern Pyrenees to Barcelona . They imposed more sophisticated set of laws on existing Roman laws. They ruled the area for about three hundred years. During this time they built several churches and cathedrals that can still be seen in the city today.
In A.D. 711, the Moorish warriors crossed into Spain to conquer the country. They controlled most of the country by 714, except for a few areas around Asturias . They occupied Barcelona for only a short time and this accounts for why the city has virtually no Moorish attributes or architecture as compared to Andalusia.
The Pyrenees is the heartland of Catalonia and the Moors clashed with the Franks here. They were led by Charlemagne, but were driven back south. In 801, Louis the Pious took over Barcelona and marked the territorial boundaries known as Marcha Hispanica. Counts were awarded several territories and Guifre el Pilos acquired many territories including Barcelona and united them through a bloody battle that was deemed as the beginning of Catalonia.
Catalonia entered the next millennium as several counties that operated under a feudal system. They gathered political strength and the artisans began to flourish. The territories expanded into Tarragonese and Aragon. They also expanded and conquered Sicily and the Balearic Islands . They set up Catalonia as the power over the Mediterranean Sea.
Throughout history the country began to see the Renaissance and Modernism spread. Barcelona was the first city to begin the Industrial Revolution and many factories began to form. They began producing textiles and other raw materials. The new wealth helped head the city into a time artistic and economic growth. In 1876 Spain became a constitutional monarchy and this era transformed into an era of unrest as cities battled and the political polarization between Madrid and Barcelona erupted. Soon the Catalans learned that the government had lost their American colonies and a war erupted in Morocco . Several religious institutions in the city were burned and over 100 people died. This was known as Tragic Week and all suspected culprits that were not in Barcelona were executed.
On April 14, 1931, a revolution occurred and the Spanish Republic was proclaimed. This would be the second Spanish Republic and was led by liberal constitutionalists. They adopted a constitution separating church and state, secularizing education and contained several radical provisions. In 1931, Francesc Macia declared himself the president of the Catalan republic.
After civil war and several battles throughout Catalonia , a right-wing group of military officers seized the parliament in Madrid and called King Juan Carlos to establish a Francois state in 1981. These men were arrested, but the democracy had finally overcome its first test. The morale and optimism of Catalonia grew and was boosted by the socialist party winning the national elections. The city saw the 1992 Olympic Games and this opened a new modern era for the country. In 1998, Catalan became the official language in schools and the judiciary. They also imposed quotas on the media to use Catalan. In 1999, over 43,000 adults enrolled in Catalan courses that were supported by the Generalitat and were offered for free.