The history of Paris began in 250 BC, the Celtic Parisii established a settlement by the Seine to control the commerce in the river. The Ile dela Cite was traditionally assumed to be the location of the settlement, but this has been put into question because there were archeological digs which indicated that Paris regionís largest settlement may have been in the suburbs of today’s Nanterre, a community in the western part of the country. It is however, certain that when Rome conquered in 52 BC, they built their city of Lutelia on the left bank of Saint Genevieve Hill. As a city under Roman rule, Gallo- Roman Lutece would expand and prosper over the following centuries but the empire collapsed and a period of decline was experienced. By 400AD, Lutece was largely abandoned by its former dwellers and was a little more than a garrison town entrenched into its hastily fortified central island. The city would then reclaim its original Parisî appellation towards the end of the Roman occupation.
Paris in the Middle Ages
Since 512 AD, Paris was already the capital of the Frankish king Clovis I, who commissioned the first construction of cathedral and abbey. On his death, the Frankish kingdom was divided with Paris as the capital of a much smaller kingdom. By the time of Carolingan dynasty, it was little more than a feudal county stronghold. The Counts of Paris gradually rose to prominence and eventually wielded greater power than the Kings of Occidental France. Odo, Count of Paris, was then elected king in place of the incumbent, Charles the Fat. The Count of Paris continued to defend France against Viking attack in the ninth century, but the Vikings irreparably damaged the old Roman city on the Left Bank. In 987AD, Hugh Capet, Count of Paris, was elected King of France, founding the Capetian dynasty which would raise Paris to become France’s capital.
Paris in the Nineteenth Century
It was the Industrial Revolution, French Second Empire and Belle Epoque that brought Paris the greatest development to date. In the 1840ís, railway transportation gave way for an influx of migrants because they were attracted in the new industries in the suburbs.
Under the rule of Napoleon III together with his prefet Haussmann, the city underwent a major renovation. They leveled the entire districts of medieval streets to build a network of wide avenues and neo- classical facades of what it is today. After severely suffering from the cholera epidemic and the Franco- Prussian war, Paris rapidly recovered as they hosted the Universal Expositions of the late 19th century. It was also at that time that the Eiffel Tower as a temporary display of architectural engineering moves.
Paris in the Twentieth Century
Paris suffered almost no damage during the World War I because it was one of the forefront runners and having been spared a German invasion due to the victory in First Battle of the Mame in 1914. In the post- wart era, Paris experienced its largest development. The suburbs began to expand considerably with the construction of large social estates and the beginning of the business district, La Defense. A comprehensive express subway network was also built to complement the metropolis.