Naples, Italy

Naples, Italy

The city was founded in 8th century BC as Parthenope, by Greek settlers from the nearby city of Cumae, itself founded by Greeks from the island of Evvia, in the area between Monte Echia and the island of Megaride, on a previous 2nd millennium BC settlement named Phaleros, a name connected to one of the Argonauts. The Cumaeans founded Neapolis ("New City") at the area of today's Piazza Municipio in 6th century BC, and the town became one of the most important Greek polis of Magna Grecia and the whole Mediterranean Sea.

In 320 BC, the city was conquered by the Romans, who let it maintain its Greek culture and language. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the town was conquered by the Byzantines, to became capital of an independent duchy.

Naples was later governed by Normans, Swabians and Angevins, who made it a capital; the King of Sicily became King of Naples after the Sicilian Vespers. During the first half of 17th century, Naples was one the main centers of the Spanish monarchy, and the most populated city in Europe, with more than 400,000 inhabitants.

After tragic events, like an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1630, the revolt of Masaniello in 1647 against the Spanish government, and the plague that killed half of the population in 1656, Naples reached a glorious period under the government of the House of Bourbon, that made it one of the most relevant cities in the continent about culture, economy and politics. Following the French and Napoleonic invasions, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was established in 1815, restoring the Bourbon dominance over Southern Italy and Sicily and making Naples the third most relevant city in Europe and the first one in present Italy for inhabitants and economy.

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