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History of Lisbon

Popular legends tell that Lisbon was founded and named by Ulysses (Odysseus) as Ulissipo or Olissopo, which has its origins in the Phoenician words “Allis Ubbo”, meaning “enchanting port”.


I am not going to tell you the whole history of Lisbon, but there is a great pair of murals in Lisbon that highlight its main events …


… with convenience at hand.  For further convenient detail of the history you can, of course, turn to Wikipedia and other sites.

Skipping over its massive development across the centuries, I’m going to pause briefly in 1732 when the construction of one of my favourite structures in Lisbon was commenced:  the Águas Livres Aqueduct with its stunning majesty but somewhat gory history.


Our next, sadder, stopping point is All Saints Day in 1755 when a massive earthquake and a 7-metre high tsunami destroyed about two thirds of the city.


The city was rebuilt, and it was this major renewal of the city that gave us much of what we see there now, including the wide streets of the Baixa area.

Continuing the extremely potted history, in October 1910, Portugal became a republic, ending a monarchy that had endured since the 12th century. The republic had an erratic start, with 45 changes of government in a little less than 16 years.  A coup d’état in May 1926 gave birth to theNew State (Estado Novo), and then the Carnation Revolution in 1974, installed the Third Republic.


I remember this 1974 event well, as I was due to visit Lisbon on a school cruise in October of that year. Lisbon was hurriedly removed from our itinerary, giving me my first visit to Seville instead. It took me almost two decades to actually discovering Lisbon, a city that I now love.





Copyright Debbie Smyth, 6 October 2018

Posted as part of Wit’s End and Monday Mural

11 replies »

  1. That´s a fantastic idea for a mural! Love it! So sad I cannot do anything like it or know someone who could do it here in Braunschweig! Bet kids love to learn the town´s history like that (as adults alike).


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