Founded in 138 B.C. by the Romans, Valencia went through periods of ups and downs in ancient times, initially under the authority of the Visigoths and then the Arabs, going from having great prosperity and historic importance to years of decline.
In 1238, King James I of Aragón conquered the city and added it to the young kingdom of Valencia, whose symbol is represented by a bat that still forms part of the coat of arms of Valencia today.
Under the reign of Aragón, Valencia experienced the most splendid period of its history, turning it into one of the principal centres of commerce in Europe, thanks to its Mediterranean port.
Such economic development was very beneficial for the whole city, registering a notable increase in population and the consequent flourishing of culture and art, subsequently called “The Golden Century of Valencia” by historians .
The financing by Valencian bankers for the expedition of Christopher Columbus, and the subsequent discovery of America, caused a decentralization of commercial and maritime activity. This caused the impoverishment of the city from an economic and cultural point of view.
At the beginning of the 18th century, Valencia was the scene of the Spanish War of Succession, which was won by the Bourbons in 1707. Immediately afterwards it suffered from attacks by Napoleonic troops, who settled in the city in 1812 and were witness to the return of Fernando VII in 1814, who quickly re-established absolute monarchy.
In 1833, the death of Fernando VII put an end to absolute monarchy and started a lengthy period of restoration, which took Valencia back into the splendor of its past.
At the beginning of the 20th century, it was characterized by a big property boom and by the development of agriculture and the metallurgical industry, which contributed towards the flourishing economy of the city.
In 1936, during the Civil War, Valencia was turned into the capital of the Republic for a brief period, and suffered the harsh repercussions of the post-war period, under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco.
From 1978, the year of the creation of the Spanish Democratic Constitution, Valencia was recognized as the capital of the province of the Valencian Community.