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City (pop., 2001: 686,722), seaport, and capital of Sicily. Located on the Bay of Palermo, the city was founded by Phoenician traders in the 8th century BC; it was later a Carthaginian settlement. It was taken by the Romans in 254 BC. Conquered by the Arab troops of the Aghlabid dynasty in 831, it flourished as a centre of trade with North Africa. Palermo was thus quite prosperous when it fell to the Norman adventurers Roger I and Robert Guiscard in 1072. The ensuing era of Norman rule (1072–1194) was Palermo's golden age, particularly after the founding of the Norman kingdom of Sicily in 1130 by Roger II. In 1194 Germany's Hohenstaufen ruler, Frederick II, took over. Palermo was conquered by the French under Charles of Anjou in 1266, but Angevin oppression was ended in 1282 by a popular uprising called the Sicilian Vespers. After 1412 the crown of Sicily was united with that of Aragon and subsequently with that of Spain. Palermo declined during this long period of Spanish rule. The city was taken by Italian patriot Giuseppe de Garibaldi in 1860 and made part of the kingdom of Italy. Heavily bombed during World War II, it was captured by Allied forces in 1943. Notable buildings from the Norman and later periods include the cathedral that contains the tombs of Roger II and Frederick II. Palermo is Sicily's chief port, and ship repair is an important industry.
Variants of PALERMO
Palermo ancient Panormus
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Palermo, visit Britannica.com.