Ancient Portugal History

posted in: History, Portugal | 0
Ancient Portugal
Basic division between Indo-European and Iberian linguistic areas in the Iberian Peninsula, with Late Iron Age-Roman epigraphic evidence for different indigenous languages

Ancient Portugal History

Ancient Portugal, since the world was in the ice age. Human beings have lived in Portugal since about 30,000 BC. The first humans were hunters and fishermen living in an easy going natural environment, gathered plants for  food, wore leather clothes and made stone tools.

During the Neolithic period, pre-Celtic peoples inhabited the region. The remains of their stone monuments still exist today. Around 5,000 BC farming was introduced. However, the farmers continued to use stone tools until about  2.000 BC, when the introduction of metal bronze tools.

About 700 BC Celtic tribes entered the territory from the north. They brought a new metal, the iron. By 800 BC the Phoenicians from what is now Lebanon had begun with trading. They wanted the tin for making bronze in exchange.  The Greeks arrived around 600 BC to trade with the well know people of Olissipo (1st Lisbon’s name).

Ancient Portugal History

Ancient Portugal History
Stone sculpture of “Lusitanian warrior”

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in western Europe, with a history that stretches back to its original settlement by the indigenous Iberians, the Celts. In 190 BC the Romans invaded the Iberian Peninsula. They soon conquered the south, but the central part was a different matter. In 193 BC, led by their ruler Viriatus, they rebelled against Roman rule. They fought the Romans for decades and they were only defeated in 239 BC when Viriatus was captured. Afterwards resistance collapsed. However the Celtic tribe gave their name to the Roman province Lusitania.

In time the south of the Iberian peninsula became fully integrated into the Roman world. Wheat, olives and wine from what is now Portugal were exported to Rome.

By the middle of the 3rd century AD the Roman Empire was in decline and in the 5th century Roman rule in Portugal collapsed.

Lusitania was a well know land, its strategic geographical position at the mouth of the Tagus, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. Its spacious and sheltered natural harbor made the city historically an important seaport for trade between the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe. Lisbon has long enjoyed the commercial advantages of its proximity to southern and extreme western Europe, as well as sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas.

Germanic, Suevi, Visigoths and Moors all invaded and occupied the Lusitanian city of Olissipo.

Ancient Portugal History