Lisbon in brief

In numbers

Population: 611,000 (2.5 million with the suburbs)

Inhabitants name: Lisboetes

Area: 8,384 ha


A bit of history…

During the Neolithic period, the population was what are known as pre-Iberians as evidenced by the presence of megaliths, dolmens and menhirs in the vicinity of Lisbon.

Under the Roman Empire, the city until then known as Olissipo, is called Felicitas Julia, a municipality under Roman law. It thus gains a political autonomy on a territory of 50km around the city and the inhabitants are Roman citizens exempted from taxes. The city is expanding thanks to commerce. A large import is made of its products such as garum, wine, horses and salt.

The invasions begin around 716, when the city is taken by the Moors who renamed it “al-Isbunah”. They build many monuments and impose their language. The city is then a mixture of people between Christians, Berbers, Arabs, Jews and Slavs. In 858, the Vikings plunder Lisbon’s oldest district, Alfama.

During the Reconquista of 1147, Lisbon was taken by a group of German, English, French and Portuguese knights. They thus restore Christianity by expelling the majority of Muslims and the mosques are transformed into churches.

Coimbra cedes its title of capital to Lisbon in 1255, and knows a strong economic growth during the Middle Ages.

Following the explorations, the Golden Age of Lisbon marks the 16th century. The city benefits from trade with its trade in Africa, India, Far East and Brazil. Thus, a large import of spices, sugar, cotton, textile…is made at the time and allows the city to be among the most prosperous in Europe.

In 1580, Portugal lost its independence from Spain but in 1640, a revolt in Lisbon gave rise to the restoration of Portuguese independence.

On November 1, 1755, Lisbon was hit by a violent earthquake followed by fires that destroyed most of the city. Major restoration works are then undertaken by the Marquis de Pombal.

In the nineteenth century, the presence of the French in Portugal is marked by the troops of Napoleon who plunder Lisbon.

The workers of Lisbon organize important strikes in 1909 and the population rise up shortly after against the monarchy. Lisbon is proclaimed the Portuguese Republic on October 5, 1910.

During the Second World War, Lisbon is a neutral port that allows refugees to embark to the United States and is also a haven for spies.

In 1974, the population revolts against the government then set up, the Carnation Revolution starts in Lisbon and puts an end to the Salazar regime.

In 1994, Lisbon was named European Capital of Culture and hosted the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition (Expo 98).


To know also:

Lisbon is the most westerly capital of continental Europe. It’s located west of the country on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, on the right bank at the mouth of the Tagus. Two bridges connect the city to the south bank: the bridge of April 25 and the bridge Vasco de Gama.

The historical center of the city is composed of seven hills: São Jorge, Estrela, Santa Catarina, São Pedro de Alcântara, Graça, Senhora do Monte and Penha de França, which offer the most beautiful view of the city from the miradouros. Because of this relief, the city also has a famous lift, Santa Justa, as well as three funiculars.


Sources: wikipedia,