It was founded as a city by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. and called Faventia Julia Augusta Paterna Barcino. It was built around Mont Tàber, which was the site of the most important part of the city, the forum, just where Sant Jaume square is found today.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, between the 5th and 8th centuries Barcelona was ruled by first the Visigoths and then the Muslims. It was under their control for more than 200 years, until in 801 Charlemagne's troops entered the city, making it one of the provinces of the Carolingian Empire.
From the 12th century until the 15th, Barcelona was the usual residence of the Crown of Aragon. Coinciding with the time of the greatest expansion in the western Mediterranean, the city became the financial, political, commercial and cultural centre of the Crown.
After the medieval period and up to the 18th century, Barcelona underwent a certain decline and had to struggle to maintain its financial and political independence, until in 1714 the city fell into the hands of the Bourbon troops.
In the mid-19th century Barcelona began its economic recovery as a result of the Industrial Revolution. At that time a new social class emerged, the bourgeoisie, who wanted to demonstrate their prosperity through art. From the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Barcelona began to be the centre of a cultural avant-garde interested in artistic and scientific progress.