Lyon History

Lyon history dates all the way back to 43 BC when a lieutenant of Julius Caesar named Munatius Plancus established the settlement on Fourviere Hill. It became a Roman colony in this year and was given the name Lugdunum. Lugdunum translated as “city of lights.” Lyon France facts indicate that another Roman statesman, Agrippa, saw the potential in Lyon as being a sort of nerve center and communications hub for the Roman roads that ran through Gaul, from the northern part of this region, to what is now southeastern France. At the time Gaul was comprised largely of what is today Luxembourg, Belgium, and France, although it also included portions of present-day Germany and Switzerland. Due in large part to the fact that the city was located at the convergence of the River Rhone and the River Saone, two highly navigable rivers, Lugdunum became the capital and arguably the most important city in Gaul.

All of the information on Lyon France from the time of the Roman Empire suggests that this city was a vital stronghold and center of commerce and communications. Because of its status as the capital of Gaul, the city was able to develop in a number of ways. It grew politically, militarily, economically, and socially. Although Lyon history was largely a story of peaceful times under the protection of the Roman Empire, the city as it was could not withstand outside attacks and pressure once the Empire eroded. There were centuries of upheaval, violence, and rampant attack until around the eleventh century when the Catholic Church made the city the official Primate of Gaul.

After this time, the city was once again able to thrive and develop a more organized social construct. From the 1400s onward, Lyon France facts tell us that the city grew exponentially as an important city for trade and commerce, especially in the area of silk making. Even in the late fifteenth century, Lyon was showing signs of being a leader in terms of Renaissance art, literature, and architecture. Many of the artistic and intellectual elite of the time began to come to Lyon to take part in the Renaissance of the city that was once just a hill top settlement on Fourviere.

The Renaissance was brought to an abrupt halt during the period of the French Revolution, wherein widespread shortages of bread, horrible weather conditions, and wide scale political unrest caused a massive upheaval in the country on the whole. Lyon history includes the fact that Lyon was the center of the French Resistance movement. Siding with the Girondins, the people of Lyon backed the French National Convention, and as a result, were barraged with attacks for two full months in 1793. Napoleon ordered the rebuilding of many of the buildings that were destroyed during this period.

Today, Lyon France is a popular place to visit for international travelers as well as residents of France. Some Lyon France facts that you may be interested in knowing include: it is located about 300 miles from Paris (to the north) and about 200 miles from Marseille (to the south), and the estimated population of the entire urban area is around 1.3 million. It is the capital city of the Rhone-Alpes region and a large portion of the city center has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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