History:Barcelona has emerged from a spotty history. With Castilian kings pumping cannonballs over the city walls and anarchists disagreeing on which shoulder to hang their rifles, the city shrank in the shadow of greater cities and powers for centuries. Though founded around 230 BC, likely by the Carthaginians, and invaded by the Visigoths and then the Muslims, the history of the city, in a sense, only truly began after armies from what is now France pushed back the Muslims in 801 AD. At the time, the plains and mountains to the northwest and north of Barcelona were populated by the people who by then could be identified as 'Catalans' (although surviving documentary references to the term only date to the 10th century). Catalan's closest linguistic relative today is t he langue d'oc, the old language of southern France.
In the 12th century, Catalunya grew rich on pickings from the fall of the Muslim caliphate of Córdoba. The Catalans managed to keep their creative forces alight through to the 14th century, when Barcelona ruled a mini-empire including Sicily, Malta, Sardinia, Valencia, the Balearics, the French regions of Rousillon and Cerdagne and parts of Greece. But by the 15th century, devastated by the plague, spectacular bank crashes, and the Genoese squeezing their markets, the empire ran out of steam. While the Catalans may have hoped that union with the kingdom of Castile would pump cash back into the coffers and vitality onto the streets, heirs to the crowns of Castile and Aragón were more interested in juicing Catalunya to finance their own imperial ambitions.
A 1462 rebellion against King Joan II ended in a siege in 1473 that devastated the city. Barcelona was more or less annexed into the Castilian state, but was excluded from the plundering of the Americas that brought
fantastic riches to 16th-century Castile. By now, the peasants had started to revolt. Disaffected Catalans resorted to arms a number of times, and the last revolt, during the War of the Spanish Succession, saw Catalunya siding with Britain and Austria against Felipe V, the , French contender for the Spanish throne. That was, their undoing. Barcelona fell in 1714 after another shocking siege , and as well as banning the Catalan language, Felipe built a huge fort, the Ciutadella, to watch over his ungrateful, subjects in town.