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The oldest traces of human occupation in Paris, discovered in 2008 near the Rue Henri-Farman in the 15th arrondissement, are human bones and evidence of an encampment of hunter-gatherers dating from about 8000 BC, during the Mesolithic period. Between 250 and 225 BC, the Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, settled on the banks of the Seine, built bridges and a fort, minted coins, and began to trade with other river settlements in Europe. During the Middle Ages, Paris was the largest city in Europe, an important religious and commercial center, and the birthplace of the Gothic style of architecture. The University of Paris on the Left Bank, organized in the mid-13th century, was one of the first in Europe. It suffered from the Bubonic Plague in the 14th century and the Hundred Years' War in the 15th century, with recurrence of the plague. Between 1418 and 1436, the city was occupied by the Burgundians and English soldiers. In the 16th century, Paris became the book-publishing capital of Europe, though it was shaken by the French Wars of Religion between Catholics and Protestants. In the 18th century, Paris was the center of the intellectual ferment known as the Enlightenment, and the main stage of the French Revolution from 1789, which is remembered every year on the 14th of July with a military parade.

In 1789, the French Revolution destroyed those vestiges of seigneurial feudalism that had remained in Paris and consolidated the status of Paris as the capital of a centralized France. The major events of the Revolution took place in Paris, including the storming of the Bastille (July 14, 1789); the conveying of the King and the National Constituent Assembly from Versailles to Paris. The French Revolution heralded the abolition of the monarchy (August 10, 1792); the execution of the King (January 21, 1793) in the Place de la R évolution and the most prolonged manifestation of the reign of terror (1793 to 1794) transpired. A series of coups d' état was followed by Napoleon Bonaparte who ascended as Emperor of France.

After the inauguration of the First Empire in 1806, Napoleon ordered the triumphal arches of the Carrousel and of the Étoile to be erected. While the Neoclassical style recalled imperial Rome, great works of public utility served to modernize Paris: the Bourse; new quays and bridges (the Arts, Jena, Austerlitz, and Saint-Louis bridges); the Ourcq and Saint-Martin canals; numerous fountains (such as the Palmier Fountain, on the site of the Châtelet); as well as slaughterhouses, marketplaces, the wine market, and the warehouses of Bercy. Paris became the European capital of fashion and the scene of two more revolutions (in 1830 and 1848). Under Napoleon III, the center of Paris was rebuilt between 1852 and 1870 with wide new avenues, squares and new parks. In the latter part of the century, millions of tourists came to see the Paris International Expositions and the new Eiffel Tower.

In the 20th century, Paris suffered bombardment in World War I and German occupation from 1940 until 1944 in World War II. Between the two wars, Paris was the capital of modern art and a magnet for intellectuals, writers, and artists from around the world. The population reached its historic high of 2.1 million in 1921 but declined for the rest of the century. New museums (The Centre Pompidou, Musée Marmottan Monet and Musée d'Orsay) were opened, and the Louvre given its glass pyramid.

In the 21st century, Paris added new museums and a new concert hall, but in 2005 it also experienced violent unrest in the housing projects in the surrounding banlieues (suburbs), inhabited largely by first and second generation immigrants from France's former colonies in the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, the city and the nation were shocked by two deadly terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic extremists. The population of the city declined steadily from 1921 until 2004, due to a decrease in family size and an exodus of the middle class to the suburbs; but it is increasing slowly once again, as young people and immigrants move into the city.

Taken from History Of Paris Wiki


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