Coimbra History, Portugal
Coimbra traces its roots from the Roman civilization. It has become what it is today because of the several important facts in Coimbra History. Make sure you read the following information in detail for you to appreciate the beginnings of this place.
Coimbra History – Under the Romans and Germans
During the Roman times, the city is known as Aeminium. It is located above a hill near the Mondego River. The city replaced the city of Conimbriga from being the home of a Diocesis during the late ancient times. It is during that time when Germanic people raided and invaded the city of Conimbriga (from 465 to 468).
The Germans took over Conimbriga and adopted the city's name after destroying it. From the years 568 to 640, another invader – the Visigoths – transformed the city's name from Aeminium to Eminio. Coimbra became a significant network in the trade between the Christians of the North and the Muslims of the South around the year 711. It is the time when the Moors conquered Coimbra. Ferdinand I of Leon reclaims the city from the hands of the Moors in 1064.
Coimbra History - From the 11th Century to the Middle Ages
Coimbra was tagged as the capital of the new Coimbra County which was governed by Sisnando Davides during the time when it was returned to the Christians and later integrated into the County of Portugal. Alfonso Henriques, Portuguese's first King, made Coimbra the capital of the new kingdom. This event transpired during the 12th century.
This situation remained up to 1255. As early as this period, structures like the church of St. James and Santa Cruz Monastery were built. This made them important edifices in Coimbra History.
Coimbra was divided into two cities during the early years of The Middle ages. The first city is the upper city of the Almedina where those belonging to the upper class lived. The other one is the lower city of Cidade Baixa where most of the industrial activities happened.
Coimbra History – During the 15th to 18th Century
In 1537, the University of Coimbra was permanently transferred by King John III as one of Coimbra Royal Palace's properties. From then on, the life of the city depended on the national university while a number of colleges were established by other religious organizations in the city.
During the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries, local and royal patronage made Coimbra one of the main artistic centers of Portugal. King Manuel I and the bishops supported artists like Diogo Pires, Marcos Pires and Diogo de Castillos, among others. In 1772, King Jose I started a reform for the University of Coimbra by putting up a museum where all scientific collections were placed.
Coimbra History – From the 19th century to the Present
Groups of French under the leadership of Andoche Junot and another brave individual, Andre Massena conquered Coimbra in the first fifty years of the 19th century. It was in the other half of this century that improvements on infrastructures like the telegraph, gas light, railway system and bridges transpired.
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