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Seaport city (pop., 2005 est.: 1,593,075), capital of Catalonia autonomous region, northeastern Spain. Spain's largest port and second largest city, it is the country's principal industrial and commercial centre, as well as a major cultural and educational centre. It is said to have been founded in the 3rd century BC by the Carthaginians or the Phoenicians, and it was later ruled by the Romans and Visigoths. It was captured by the Moors c. AD 715, but it was retaken by the Franks under Charlemagne in 801 and made the capital of the Spanish March (Catalonia). After Catalonia united with Aragon in 1137, Barcelona became a flourishing commercial centre and the rival of Italian ports. In the 19th century it was a cauldron for radical social movements and Catalan separatism. It was the loyalist capital in 1937–39 during the Spanish Civil War; its capture by Francisco Franco brought the collapse of Catalan resistance and Catalonia's reintegration into Spain. Modern Barcelona is known for its handsome architecture, including buildings by Antoni Gaudí. It hosted the 1992 Summer Olympic Games.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Barcelona, visit Britannica.com.