Barcelona History

As you might expect, Barcelona history is long, eventful and fascinating. There are many excellent books on the subject, and anything resembling a complete history of Barcelona is far beyond the scope of this web.

Barcelona 1806
Today you can see significant testimonies of Barcelona history of almost all periods throughout the city.

This section’s aim is to tell you a little about some of the events, peoples and characters that have shaped Barcelona (and Catalonia) so you can place in a human and historical context the sights you come across whilst walking the city.

There are links at the bottom of the page to the various sections…

Here then, you’ll find summaries of the salient points of Barcelona history from the city’s foundation as Roman Barcino to the middle ages, as well as links to other articles and webs giving more practical information on routes for visiting monuments and buildings, locations, museums and so on.

Roman Barcelona Roman Towers Barcelona
The foundation of Barcelona
Why the Romans founded Barcelona. Hannibal's role in founding Barcelona.

Barcino, the Roman city Augustus founded
The Emperor Augustus orders a city to be built on the site of Barcelona to defend the route south.

Roman Barcelona. The Location of Barcino
Location of Barcino in modern Barcelona. Forum. Roman walls.

Religion in Roman Barcelona
Roman Religion, temple of Augustus. Saint Eulalia, martyr.

Roman buildings in Barcelona
The Roman buildings you can see in Barcelona, above and below the present streets. A walk around the Roman walls.
Download a free e-book on a walk around Roman Barcelona here

Rome's decline. The Visigoths enter Barcelona
The Vandals enter Spain and the Visigoths take Barcelona.

Catalan Count-Kings and the Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon Jaume the Conqueror

Saracens invade Barcelona. Louis the Pious.
Louis the Pious expells the Saracens from Catalunya and names the first Catalan Counts

Wilfred the Hairy
Legends and history of the first Count-King of Barcelona.

How Catalonia got its flag.
The story behind Europe's oldest national flag.

The Usatges, Europe's first Bill of Rights
Europe's first bill of rights and democratic institutions are established in Barcelona

The Kingdom of Catalonia and Aragon
Catalonia and Aragon join forces under the rule of the Catalan Count-Kings.

Jaume I the Conqueror
Jaume I conquers Mallorca and extends Catalan-Aragonese influence in the Mediterranean

The Catalan-Aragonese Kingdom dominates the Mediterranean
The Almogavers rule the Mediterranean waves.

Gothic Barcelona
Barcelona has more Gothic buildings than any other city. Saló de Cent, Saló del Tinell, La Llotja… and more

Early literature in Barcelona
Jaume I tells it like it was. The first novel ever written was in Catalan. The extraordinary Ramon Llull.

Martin the Humane. The Last Catalan Count
The last of the 800 year lineage of Count-Kings of the House of Barcelona. Martin the Humane is killed by a duck?!

The Compromise of Casp
How Fernando I became ruler of Catalunya and Aragon and how the Generalitat gained power and influence…

Famine, Plague, Pogrom
Famine and plague strike Barcelona. Ignorance and malice strike the propserous and peaceful Jewish community…

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Find out…


Who was Wilfred the Hairy and what was he famous for?

Did you know that in 1060 –130 years before the Magna Carta– Catalunya had a bill of rights protecting its people?

Temple of Augustus

What is this and where can you see it?


What makes the Catalan-Aragonese oath of allegiance to the king so admirable and inspiring?

Did you know Barcelona’s dominions included Athens, Naples, Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia?