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Braga History, Portugal

Braga History started with a series of events involving the first settlers on the land. During the pre-historic times, Braga was already conquered while it was first occupied by the Bracari's during the Iron Age. These people built their villages called castrum.

Braga History – The Roman Civilization

During 250 BC, Romans were attracted by Braga, the city founded by Celts. The city fell into the hands of the Romans and became the capital of Gallaecia. It was first known as Bracara Augusta under the administration of the Romans. The city extended to its fullest before the 2nd century. It was during the 3rd century when then Emperor Diocletianus supported it for being the capital of the newly province of Gallaecia. The location of Braga at the center of five Roman roads became its advantage on trade.

Braga History – Germanic and Visigoth Invasions

The city of Braga was freed from the hands of the Romans during the Germanic Invasions of the Iberian Peninsula. In 410 AD, after the occupation of the Romans, a German tribe known as the Sueves claimed Braga. During the same year, they founded their own kingdom in the northwest part of Iberia and they made Braga the capital.

After 60 long years of supposed freedom, the city was again under another invasion, now by the Visigoths. During the 6th century, the tribe became Christian and they founded an archbishopric in 7th century. The diocese maintained its title as the primate of Portugal. These placed Braga at the top of the Iberian Peninsula’s church authority. Braga had its great contribution in the Christianization of the whole Iberian Peninsula.

Braga History – From the 10th to the 16th Century

Fernando I, king of Castile and Leon, defeated the city for the second time in 1040. This ended up the long time tug-of-war with the Moorish invaders who were in the city since 715. Braga became the home of the Portuguese court in between the years 1093 to 1147. In 1070, the diocese was re-established. The cathedral was rebuilt during the same year under the supervision of Pedro, known as Braga's first bishop.

Braga became the residence of the archbishopric in the early years of the 12th century under the administration of Henry of Portugal (a count) and Gerald of Moissaic (a bishop). Only a part of Ancient Rome was occupied by the medieval city which developed around the cathedral.

Even with the existence of the so-called Age of Portuguese Discoveries in the 16th century, Braga was not able to benefit much. It was with the initiatives of Archbishop Diogo de Sousa that the city developed. He pushed urbanization in the city by constructing wider streets, creating public squares and finding new hospitals and churches.

Braga History – From the 18th Century to the Present

Finally, the pope ruled over Braga in the 18th century, but the city’s good luck began to decrease when the diocese’s Spanish counterpart, the anointed Lisbon archdiocese had overthrown it. Braga suffered under the hands of the Napoleonic troops who invaded the city in the 19th century. In the last fifty years of the century, new styles and development on the city’s architectural structures were introduced by the Portuguese immigrants from Brazil. During the 20th century, the increase in population and the efforts on urbanization pressured Braga to further develop its infrastructure.

Part of Braga History started with invasions from different countries and tribes. Now, the city starts to progress to prove that it is a worthy part of Portugal. To be able to comprehend well with the beginnings of the country, read facts on Santa Maria Travel Guide and Lisbon History.

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