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History & Culture of Portugal - Part 3

History & Culture of Portugal - Part 3.The Romans in Portugal - Province of Hispania Ulterior, then Lusitania. The first Roman invasion of the Iberian Peninsula occurred in 219 BC. Within 200 years, almost the entire peninsula had been annexed to the Roman Republic, starting the Romanization of Hispania.

History & Culture of Portugal - Part 3The Carthaginians, Rome's adversary in the Punic Wars, were expelled from their coastal colonies by Scipio Africanus from 202 BC onwards. 205 BC Olissipo (Lisbon) was occupied. Portus Cale (Porto) on the Douro River thrived as a commercial port between Olissipo and Bracara Augusta.

The Roman conquest of what is now part of modern-day Portugal took several decades: it started from the south, where the Romans found friendly natives, the Conii. It suffered a severe setback in 150 BC, when a rebellion began in the north. The Lusitanians and other native tribes, under the leadership of Viriathus, wrested control of all of the Portuguese land. Rome sent numerous legions and its best generals to Lusitania to quell the rebellion, but to no avail — the Lusitanians kept conquering territory. The Roman leaders decided to change their strategy. They bribed Viriathus's ambassador to kill his own leader. In 139 BC, Viriathus was assassinated, and the resistance was soon over.

Rome installed a colonial regime. During this period, Lusitania grewThe capital of the province, The complete Romanization of Portugal, intensified during the rule of Augustus, took three centuries and was stronger in Southern Portugal, most of which were administrative dependencies of the Roman city of Pax Julia, currently known as Beja. The city was named Pax Julia in honour of Julius Caesar and to celebrate peace in Lusitania.

Augustus renamed it Pax Augusta, but the early name prevailed. The largest port city of Pax Julia was Balsa, near Tavira. In 27 BC, Lusitania gained the status of Roman province, with its capital founded at Augusta Emerita (Merida in Spain), on the road links between Lisbon, Seville, Cordoba, Toleda, and the gold-mining areas i nthe north-west. Later, a northern province of Lusitania was formed, known as Gallaecia, with capital in Bracara Augusta, today's Braga.

219 BC – Romans invade as part of the 2nd Punic War
211 BC – Scipio Africanus lands in Hispania, and defeats the Carthaginians by 206 BC who depart
197 BC – Rome divides SE Iberia into Hispania Ulterior (friendly Conii tribes) and Hispania Citerior
195 BC – war against the Celtiberians. Galba arrives in 151 BC, defeated by Lusitanians, retreats
150 BC – Lusitanians in north Portugal revolt after Galba's massacre, led by Viriatus (Lusitanian Wars)
148 BC – Viratus leads Lusitanians & Vettones tribes (“War of Fire”), victorious until murdered 139 BC
137 BC – Galleaci tribe battle at the river Douro, Roman victory
72 BC – Rome conquers all of Hispania
69 -67 BC – Caesar appointed governor of Hispanian Ulterior (Portugal), founds Scallabis Julia (Santarem)
57 BC – Liberalitas Julius (Evora) re-named, in Alentejo
48 BC – Pax Julia (Beja) named by Julius Caesar, becomes capital following peace treaty – named Pax Augusta by Augustus Caesar (31 BC)
27 BC – Lusitania becomes a Roman province, capital Emerita Augusta (Merida) – Hispanian Gallaecia becomes a northern province, capital Bracara Augusta (Braga)
26 BC – Cantabrian Wars fought by Augustus Caesar for 7 years, conquering north from Portugal
19 BC – Agrippa defeats Cantabrians, Hispania finally conquered. Hispania Ulterior divided into Baetica (modern Andalusia) & Lusitania (modern Portugal, Extremadura & Castille-Leon) Emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Theodosius I born in Hispania, Julius Caesar governor.
293 AD – Diocletian re-organises, creates Gallaecia (joining Asturica)
409 AD – Suebi invaded Roman Gallaecia, renamed kingdom of Galicia

Read other parts of this series HERE.

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