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History of Porto

As the largest and most important city in northern Portugal the city of Porto has of course had an interesting history. 

4th Century BC - Originally a Roman settlement named Portus Cale it was founded  here and was an important Roman outpost in Iberia.

584 AD - Germanic Suebi and then Visigoths take control of the area, later falling to the Moors.

700 AD - With the fall of the Empire Porto once again became a sleepy fishing port which gradually came under the influence of the Moors in around 700AD.

868 - Count Vímara Peres of Galacia throws out the Moors and founds the new Christian country of Portugal here, in on the banks of the River Duro, and names it Portugal after the original Roman settlement.

However as Portugal gradually expanded its influence and started the Empire the importance of this great port city became more and more evident.  In the year 1394 Prince Henry the Navigator was born here, son of Queen Philippa of Lancaster and King  Joao I.

It was the beginning of the production of the wines of the region in the 13th century though that really put our city onto the global stage. As one of the most important exports from the country, indeed from Europe, was being made in the area and shipped out along the mighty Duro river.  So connected did the city become with the wine that the wine itself became "Port" as it is still known today.

Boom time for the city was the 18th century as global trade moved through Portugal from as far away as China and Brazil, and much of that traffic came through this city.  Hence today when we look at the grand buildings and city structures may of them date from this bustling prosperous period, and are now preserved and respected for our descendants.

1891 - Republican protests that start here in this year in this city of Porto evolve to become the national republican movement that causes Portugal to become a republic in 1910.

In 1996 the importance to global culture of the historic city was recognized when it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.