Following the defeat of Hannibal, during the Punic wars, the Romans determined to deprive Carthage of its most valuable possession: Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula). The defeat of Carthaginians forces by Scipio Africanus in Eastern Hispania, allowed the pacification of the west was led by Consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus. Decimus obtained the alliance of Olissipo (which sent men to fight alongside the Roman Legions against the northwestern Celtic tribes) by integrating it into the Empire, as the Municipium Cives Romanorum Felicitas Julia. Local authorities were granted self-rule over a territory that extended 50 kilometres (31 mi), exempt from taxes, its citizens were given the privileges of Roman citizenship, and it was integrated within the Roman province of Lusitania (whose capital was Emerita Augusta).
Lusitanians raids and rebellions during Roman occupation necessitated the construction of a wall around the settlement. During Augustus' reign, the Romans also built a great theatre; the Cassian Baths (underneath Rua da Prata); temples to Jupiter, Diana, Cybele, Tethys, and Idae Phrygiae (an uncommon cult from Asia Minor), in addition to temples to the Emperor; a large necropolis under Praça da Figueira; a large forum and other buildings such as insulae (multi-storied apartment buildings) in the area between the Castle Hill and the historic downtown.
The city prospered as piracy was eliminated, technological advances were introduced and as Felicitas Julia became the a centre of trade with the Roman provinces of Britannia (particularly Cornwall) and the Rhine. Economically strong, Olissipo was known for its garum (fish sauce highly prized by the elites of the Empire and exported in Amphorae to Rome), wine, salt and horse-breeding, while Roman culture permeated into the hinterland. The city was connected by a broad road to Western Hispania's two other large cities, Bracara Augusta in the province of Tarraconensis (Portuguese Braga), and Emerita Augusta, the capital of Lusitania (Mérida in Spain). The city was ruled by an oligarchical council dominated by two families, the Julii and the Cassiae, although regional authority was administered by the Roman Governor of Emerita or directly to Emperor Tiberius. Among the majority of Latin speakers lived a large minority of Greek traders and slaves.
Around 80 BCE, the Roman Quintus Sertorius led a rebellion against the dictator Sulla. During this period, he organized the tribes of Lusitania (and Hispania) and was on the verge of forming an independent province in the Sertorian War when he died.
Olissipo, like most great cities in the Western Empire, was a centre for the dissemination of Christianity. Its first attested Bishop was Potamius (c. 356), and there were several martyrs during the period of Christina persecutions: Maxima, Verissimus and Eulalia of Mérida are the most significant examples. By the Fall of Rome, Olissipo was one of the first Christian centres.
Following Roman disintegration and barbarian invasions, between 409 and 429 the centre was occupied by Sarmatian Alans and Germanic Vandals. The Germanic Suebi, who established a kingdom in Gallaecia (modern Galicia and northern Portugal), with capital in Bracara Augusta, also controlled the region of Lisbon from until 585. In 585, the Suebi Kingdom was integrated into the Germanic Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo, that comprised all of the Iberian Peninsula: Lisbon was then called Ulishbona.
The Lisbon Cathedral, built after 1147 over the remnants of the mosque of the Islamic invasion
On 6 August 711, Lisbon was taken by the Moors (and renamed al-ʾIšbūnah, in Arabic: الأشبونة). The Moors, who were Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East, built many mosques and houses, rebuilt the city wall (known as the Cerca Moura) and established administrative control, while permitting the diverse population (Christians, Berbers, Arabs, Jews, and Saqalibas) to maintain their socio-cultural lifestyles. Mozarabic was the mother language spoken by most of the Christian population. Islam was the official religion practised by the Arabs and Muladi (muwallad); the Christians could keep their religion, but under a second-class (Dhimmi) status and were required to pay the jizyah (in return for paying the Jizyah, Christians and Jews were not required to join the Islamic army, as their security was guaranteed by the Islamic state, as long as they accepted their submittal to the country rules).
The Moorish influence is still present in Alfama, an old quarter of Lisbon that survived the 1755 Lisbon earthquake: many place-names are derived from Arabic and the Alfama (the oldest existing district of Lisbon) was derived from the Arabic "al-hamma".
For a brief time, Lisbon was the central town in the Regulo Eslavo of the Taifa of Badajoz, and then as an independent Taifa ruled by Abd al-Aziz ibn Sabur and Abd al-Malik ibn Sabur (sons of Sabur al-Jatib, "Sabur the Slav", a Slav that had been in the service of al-Hakam II before ruling the Taifa of Badajoz.
In 1147, as part of the Reconquista, crusader knights led by Afonso I of Portugal, besieged and reconquered Lisbon: the city, with around 154,000 residents at the time, returned to Christian rule. The reconquest of Portugal and re-establishment of Christianity is one of the most significant events in Lisbon's history; it is known, through the chronicle Expugnatione Lyxbonensi (attributed to Osburnus), that the local bishop was killed by the crusaders and that its residents, who prayed to the Virgin Mary were afflicted with the plague (since they Mozarab population followed the Mozarabic rite). As Arabic lost its place in everyday life, many of the remaining Muslim residents were converted to Roman Catholicism by force, or were expelled, and the mosques were either destroyed or converted into churches.
A copper engraving showing the effects of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, caused by both a tsunami that overwhelmed the ships in the harbour, and initiated fires that destroyed many of the buildings in the city
Although, Lisbon received its first foral (charter) in 1179, periodically, raiders from Al-Andalus were sent, or challenged, the control of the Iberian Christian kingdoms (capturing slaves and taking local treasures). In a raid against Lisbon in 1189, the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives. Due to its central location, Lisbon became the capital city of the new Portuguese territory in 1255. The first Portuguese university was founded in Lisbon in 1290 by King Denis I; for many years the Studium Generale (General Study) was transferred several times to Coimbra, where it was installed definitively in the 16th century (University of Coimbra).
During the last centuries of the Middle Ages, the city expanded substantially and became an important trading post with both northern Europe and Mediterranean cities.
Most of the Portuguese expeditions of the Age of Discovery left from Lisbon during the 15th to 17th centuries, including Vasco da Gama's expedition to India in 1497. In 1506, thousands of "New Christians" (converted Jews) were massacred in Lisbon. The 16th century was Lisbon's golden era: the city was the European hub of commerce between Africa, India, the Far East and, later, Brazil, exploiting the riches from trade in spices, slaves, sugar, textiles, and other goods. This was the time of the exuberant Manueline-style, which left its mark in many 16th century monuments (including Lisbon's Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, which were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO). A description of Lisbon in the 16th century was written by Damião de Góis and published in 1554.
Portugal lost its independence to Spain in 1580 after a succession crisis, and the 1640 revolt that restored the Portuguese independence took place in Lisbon.
In the early 18th century, gold from Brazil allowed King John V to sponsor the building of several Baroque churches and theatres in the city.
Prior to the 18th century, Lisbon had experienced several important earthquakes – eight in the 14th century, five in the 16th century (including the 1531 earthquake that destroyed 1,500 houses, and the 1597 earthquake when three streets vanished), and three in the 17th century. On 1 November 1755, the city was destroyed by another earthquake, which killed an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 Lisbon residents and destroyed 85 percent of the city. With a population estimated at between 200,000 and 275,000 residents, Among several important structures of the city, the Ribeira Palace and the Hospital Real de Todos os Santos were lost. In coastal areas, such as Peniche, situated about 80 km (50 mi) north of Lisbon, many people were killed by the tsunami. In Setúbal, 30 km (19 mi) south of Lisbon, the water reached the first floor (second floor, in U.S. terms) of buildings. The destruction was also great in the Algarve, southern Portugal, where the tsunami dismantled some coastal fortresses and, in the lower levels, razed houses. In some places the waves crested at more than 30 m (98.43 ft). Almost all the coastal towns and villages of Algarve were heavily damaged, except Faro, which was protected by sandy banks. In Lagos, the waves reached the top of the city walls. For many Portuguese coastal regions, the destructive effects of the tsunami were more disastrous than those of the earthquake proper.
By 1755, Lisbon was one of the largest cities in Europe: the event shocked the whole of Europe. In southwestern Spain, the tsunami caused damage to Cadiz and Huelva, and the waves penetrated the Guadalquivir River, reaching Seville. In Gibraltar, the sea rose suddenly by about two metres. In Ceuta the tsunami was strong, but in the Mediterranean Sea, it decreased rapidly. On the other hand, it caused great damage and casualties to the western coast of Morocco, from Tangier, where the waves reached the walled fortifications of the town, to Agadir, where the waters passed over the walls, killing many. The tsunami also reached Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, at a height of three metres. Along the coast of Cornwall, the sea rose rapidly in vast waves, and then ebbed equally rapidly. A two metre tsunami also hit Galway in Ireland, and did some considerable damage to the Spanish Arch section of the city wall. Voltaire wrote a long poem, "Poême sur le désastre de Lisbonne", shortly after the quake, and mentioned it in his 1759 novel Candide (indeed, many argue that this critique of optimism was inspired by that earthquake). Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. also mentions it in his 1857 poem, The Deacon's Masterpiece, or The Wonderful One-Hoss Shay. In the town of Cascais, some 30 km (19 mi) west of Lisbon, the waves wrecked several boats and when the water withdrew, large stretches of sea bottom were left uncovered.
After the 1755 earthquake, the city was rebuilt largely according to the plans of Prime Minister Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the 1st Marquess of Pombal; the lower town began to be known as the Baixa Pombalina (Pombaline Downtown). Instead of rebuilding the medieval town, Pombal decided to demolish the remains of the earthquake and rebuild the downtown in accordance with modern urban rules. It was reconstructed in a open rectangular plan with two great squares: the Praça do Rossio and the Praça do Comércio. The first, the central commercial district, is the traditional gathering place, and location of the older cafés, theatres and restaurants; the second, became the city's main access to the Tagus, point of departure and arrival, with its triumphal arch (1873) and monument to King Joseph I.
In the first years of the 19th century, Portugal was invaded by the troops of Napoléon Bonaparte, forcing Queen Maria I and Prince-Regent John (future John VI) to flee temporarily to Brazil. By the time the new King returned to Lisbon, many of the buildings and properties were pillaged, sacked or destroyed by the invaders.
During the 19th century, the Liberal movement introduced new changes into the urban landscape. The principal areas were in the Baixa and along the Chiado district, where shops, tobacconists shops, cafés, bookstores, clubs and theatres proliferated. The development of industry and commerce determined the growth of the city, extending north along the Avenida da Liberdade (1879), distanciing itself from the Tagus River.
The Treaty of Lisbon, which amended the two treaties which comprise the constitutional basis of European Union, was signed by members of the EU in 2009, initiating a new chapter in the history of the European Union
Lisbon was the stage of the regicide of Carlos I of Portugal (1908), which culminated two years later in the First Republic.
The city refounded its university in 1911 after centuries of inactivity in Lisbon, incorporating reformed former colleges and other non-university higher education schools of the city (such as the Escola Politécnica – now Faculdade de Ciências). Today there are 3 public universities in the city (University of Lisbon, Technical University of Lisbon and New University of Lisbon), a public university institute (ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute) and a polytechnic institute (IPL – Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa). See list of universities in Portugal.
During World War II Lisbon was one of the very few neutral, open European Atlantic ports, a major gateway for refugees to the U.S. and a spy nest. More than 100,000 refugees were able to flee Nazi Germany via Lisbon.
During the Estado Novo regime (1926–1974), Lisbon was expanded at the cost of other districts within the country, resulting in nationalist and monumental projects. New residential and public developments were constructed; the zone of Belém was modified for the 1940 Portuguese Exhibition, while in along the periphery new social barrios appeared to house the growing populations. The inauguration of the bridge over the Tagus, allowed the rapid connect between the two margins of the river.
Lisbon was the centre of the republican coup of 5 October 1910 which established the democratic Portuguese Republic. The period following the Carnation Revolution resulted in a euphoria and modernization of Lisbon. In the 1990s, many of the barrios were renovated and projects in the historic quarters were established to modernize the areas; architectural and patrimonial buildings were recuperated; the northern margin of the Tagus was re-purposed for leisure and residential use; the Vasco da Gama bridge was constructed; and the eastern part of the municipality was re-purposed for Expo '98 (intended to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama's sea voyage to India).
In 1988, a fire near the historical centre of Chiado greatly disrupted normal life in the area for about 10 years.
In 1994, Lisbon was the European Capital of Culture.
The Lisbon Agenda was a European Union agreement on measures to revitalize the EU economy, signed in Lisbon in March 2000. In October 2007 Lisbon hosted the 2007 EU Summit, where agreement was reached regarding a new EU governance model. The resulting Treaty of Lisbon was signed on the 13 December 2007 and came into force on 1 December 2009.
On the 3 November 2005, Lisbon hosted the MTV European Music Awards. The show was opened by a leotard-clad Madonna, who exploded from a shiny disco ball to the tune "Hung Up".
On the 7 July 2007, Lisbon held the ceremony of the "New 7 Wonders Of The World" election, in Luz stadium, with live transmission for millions of people all over the world.
It is the host city for the Portuguese editions of Rock in Rio, the largest rock festival in the world.
It hosted the NATO summit (19–20 November 2010), a summit meeting that is regarded as a periodic opportunity for Heads of State and Heads of Government of NATO member countries to evaluate and provide strategic direction for Alliance activities.