History of Marseille France

The history of Marseille France as an organized city dates all the way back to the sixth century BC. Human beings have likely inhabited the land upon which the city was built for as long as 30,000 years, as is evidenced by cave drawings and recent excavations.

History of Marseille France
History of Marseille France

The way that Massalia (the original name that the Greeks gave the town) came into existence is one of the great legends behind the culture of Marseille France. Although the exact dates and circumstances are obscured from centuries of passage, the general tenets of the story of the city’s founding remain to this day. It is said that Protis, the leader of the Greeks, after discovering the Lacydon (where the Vieux Port is now located), was invited to an event held by the leader of the local Ligurian tribe, wherein suitors would compete for the hand of his daughter in marriage. The daughter, Gyptis, had no trouble deciding between the local suitors and the visiting Greek king. He was also smitten with her and they moved in together, giving birth to the settlement of Massalia.

One of the primary facts about Marseille to understand in order to truly grasp the cultural development of the city is that it is the oldest in France. It was one of the very first seaports that the Greeks established in Western Europe and was also the first settlement grated the status of city in the entire country of France. The history of Marseille France influences much of the culture of the rest of the country. You can see this in everything from the food and cultural celebrations to the very national anthem itself, La Marseillaise. Marseille culture was able to grow and develop because of early allegiances that were made with the Roman Empire. This protected the growing local population from the likes of the Carthaginians and Etruscans. Because of this strong allegiance, the city’s population skyrocketed, as it became a major seaport that was tightly interlinked with the Roman trade system. One of the other interesting facts about Marseille during this period is that it was able to maintain its independence for centuries under this arrangement, all the way up until the time of Julius Caesar.

The history of Marseille France is a turbulent one during the period of the Middle Ages, when the decline of the Roman Empire, war, and plague took its toll on what had been a growing population of up to 25,000 people. During the Renaissance, the seeds of discontent and revolution had already been sown, and the citizens of Marseille would be instrumental in making their statement. Louis XIV himself was summoned to the city during a period of unrest and two armaments were constructed with their guns pointed toward the city rather than the sea. It was a time of political and social unrest and all of the facts about Marseille indicate that this seaport was crucial in solidifying the efforts of the young revolution. Another great plague hit the city in the early eighteenth century, and took the lives of some 100,000 residents.

After recovering from this horrific attack of the plague, the city got back on its feet, enthusiastically supported the revolution, and regained much of its power and strength as one of the most important seaports in Western Europe. Marseille France culture represents a long and proud tradition of self-sufficiency and commerce and its effects and influences can still be detected throughout the country.

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