The history of Lisbon


700 BC

The Phoenicians opened up a trade route to Britain and used the Bay of Lisbon as a supply post. Greeks and Carthaginians later follow this route.    

201 BC

The Carthaginians, who had subjugated the Iberian Peninsula, had to cede it to Rome after the 2nd Punic War.  

200 BC

Lisbon becomes a Roman city and is given the name Felicitas Julia.

400 AD

The Roman Empire falls apart and vandals ravage Iberia.


The Visigoths occupy Iberia and rule Lisbon from Toledo.


Lisbon is occupied by the Moors and called Al- Ashbouna.


Alfonso II conquers Lisbon but the Moors can win the city back.


Alfonso I conquers Lisbon and drives the Arabs out of the city forever.


Lisbon becomes the capital of Portugal.


The University of Lisbon is founded.


The university is relocated to Coimbra.


The city wall is erected.


Henry the Navigator (Infante Dom Henrique de Avis) dies in Sagres. The governor of the Algarve initiated the search for a sea route to India. He himself was not a seafarer but under his direction the west coast of Africa was explored and mapped. Which actually led to the discovery of the sea route to India forty years later.   


In the "Treaty of Tordesillas " the world is divided between Portugal and Spain. The Pope confirmed the sphere of influence of the two countries in order to prevent wars. The border ran 1770 km west of the Cape Verde Islands through the Atlantic. This gave Spain the Americas and Portugal Africa and Asia. Since parts of Brazil were within this border, Portugal controlled that part of America as well. 


Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India and made Portugal a world power through the spice trade.   


Pedro Alvares Cabral's fleet drifts westward and discovers Brazil. Cabral continues his journey to India and in 1501 returns to Lisbon with spices.   


Dom Henrique I dies without any descendants, which means that Portugal falls to Spain. The country becomes a Spanish province. The plague rages in Lisbon.


The "Spanish Armada" sinks in a storm while attacing Britain.


Portugal is dissatisfied with its role as a Spanish province and starts an uprising against the neighboring country. The Portuguese can defeat Spain and fight for independence. Dom João IV becomes the new King of Portugal.


To protect itself from Spain, Portugal signs a treaty with England. In return, Portugal has to open up to goods from England. However, the domestic economy will be ruined. The profits from the colonies now flow directly to London via Lisbon.


Gold is discovered in Brazil, and 300,000 Portuguese pour into the colony.


In a severe earthquake, around 20,000 out of 250,000 residents in Lisbon die. The city will be rebuilt and the Baixa will get its current street grid.  


Napoleon occupies Portugal.


The English drive out the French and get access to the markets in Portugal's colonies. 


The king who fled to Rio de Janeiro returns to Lisbon and Brazil declares its independence. 


Revolution in Portugal. The royal palace is shot at and King Manuel II flees to England, when a republic is proclaimed in Porto. Portugal is sinking into chaos and anarchy, no government is able to restore order.


General António Óscar Carmona's military coup ended the republic. António de Oliveira Salazar becomes finance minister in 1928 and is able to prevent the country's financial collapse with a rigorous austerity policy.    


Salazar becomes prime minister and founds the Estado Novo, a sham democracy that makes him a dictator. Censorship and torture ensured his power. Nevertheless, the former dictator is still considered one of Portugal's most popular leaders because he led the country out of chaos. Salazar was an authoritarian leader close to Mussolini and Hitler, on the other hand, the alliance with England was very important to him because it guaranteed Portugal's independence from Spain. Portugal therefore remained neutral and was not involved in the Second World War.       


The colonies wage wars of independence against Portugal. Portugal cannot afford wars and is impoverished. Millions of Portuguese are leaving the country.


India conquers the Portuguese colonies of Goa, Diu and Damão. 


Salazar dies, but he had given the power for health reasons to Caetano in 1968. His successor Caetano tries to open up the country with reforms. But the same policy remained and the colonial wars that ruined state finances were continued.


The military is staging a coup against Caetano because of the hopeless wars in Africa. The dictatorship and the wars against the colonies are ended by the "Carnation Revolution". Portugal becomes a democracy. On April 25, the residents of Lisbon put red carnations in the gun barrels of the soldiers. The coup ends peacefully, only 5 members of the secret police PIDE are killed.


On April 25, the socialists won the first parliamentary election.


Portugal joins the EU.


EXPO 1998 in Lisbon. A new district is being built for the world exhibition. In addition, the station Estação de Oriente and the Vasco da Gama bridge were built.    


Around 550,000 people live in Lisbon. The greater Lisbon area has around 2.8 million inhabitants.




History of Lisbon