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Valencia was founded by the Romans in 138 B.C.  Land was given to soldiers who had fought for the Roman Emperor.  Not long after its founding Valencia supported the wrong person in a power struggle in Rome.  As a result the army and the city of Valencia were destroyed.


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During the 1st century Valencia once again became a city.   It did not become a major city until the 3rd century upon the destruction of Sagunto which had been the capital of the region.  In the 6th century Valencia became part of the kingdom of the Visigoths.  In 718 the Moors (Arabs) took over Valencia.   They established an Islamic culture.  They ruled Valencia for 5 centuries. In the 11th century  the ruler built walls to surround the city.  The population increased to 15,000.


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At the end of the 11th century, the great Spanish soldier, El Cid, defeated the Moors and took over the city.   He ruled Valencia until his death.  After the death of El Cid, the Moors once again took control of the city.  


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On October 9, 1238, King Jaime I defeated the Moors.  He redesigned the city.  He redistributed housing for new inhabitants from Barcelona.  The remaining Moors were sent to live in the outskirts of the city.  He built a marketplace outside of the walls.  He had churches built.   However, he did not do anything to harm either the Moors or the Jewish population. 


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During the next century many public buildings such as the El Almudin (the public grain storage) were built.  In 1356 construction was begun on a new city wall.  In 1498 the university was established and the rulers of Valencia continued to build public buildings such as the Lonja silk exchange and the Miguelete tower.


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In the 15th and 16th century Valencia continued building.   In 1596 the Puente del Mar bridge was built.  In 1599 the Real bridge was built.  In 1685 work was begun on a port for Valencia.  Also during this time Valencia became known as the city of monasteries and convents as 41 of these were built.


wreckingball_md_wht.gif (9545 bytes) In the early part of the 19th century the city was occupied by troops of Napoleon.  They destroyed the Royal Palace and other buildings.   Fortunately they were soon thrown out of Valencia.  In 1864 the walls of the city were torn down to expand the city.  In 1898 an attempt was made to move the city closer to the sea.


gazebo_birds_playing_md_wht.gif (7335 bytes) This building continued in the 20th century.  Roads were built and the city expanded.  In 1957 to prevent the return of terrible flooding, the direction of the river was changed.  The area was turned into a large garden.


1st_national_bank_md_wht.gif (5992 bytes) As they enter the 21st century Valencia continues to be a major world city.  It is the home to many industries and universities.  It remains an important agricultural center.  It has one of the busiest ports in Europe.  It has become an important financial center. 

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