The 19th Century

In 1812 Catalonia was invaded by Napoleon and as it was annexed to his empire Barcelona became the capital of province. Its economic and demographic development did not stop until 1800 and by then the city already had 100 thousand inhabitants.

Barcelona’s urban landscape modification was motivated by two seizures of land in 1836, leading to the disappearance of several convents and the cemeteries. In terms of political issues, throughout the century, liberals and conservatives fought for power until on December 7th, 1842, the general Espartero bombed Barcelona because of the differences between his politics and the ideologies held by the republican inhabitants of cit, who mainly wanted a constituent Court that guaranteed the protection to Catalan industry.

In 1868 a political revolution carried out by General Prim demolished the monarchy of Isabel II and in 1873 the First Republic is proclaimed. However, it would fall down one year later under the coup d'état of the general Pavía and the Bourbon Alfonso XII (son of Isabel II) returns to reign in Spain.

During the first decades of the 19th century, Catalonia remains the forefront in the Industrial Revolution. Not only grows Barcelona but also the industries in its suburbs which need expand out of the walls’ boundaries and, consequently, the walls are demolished. In 1860, Madrid approves the project of the Eixample de Barcelona directed by Ildefonso Cerdà and in 1897 a new rational city is cleared and neighbouring municipalities that are added to the city.

During the period of La Renaixença, a cultural movement that claims the Catalan identity and states the foundations of the political catalanism, institutions such as the University, L’ Ateneu Barceloní (the Barcelonan Cultural club) or L’Acadèmia de les bones lletres are created. Barcelona is changing to an intensive pace and in 1888 the city is ready to organise the first Universal Exhibition, in the place where the Ciutadella was built. Parks with palaces and pavilions that substitute for the infamous prisons exhibited the products made by the Spanish industry and the progresses of the mechanics, technology and science of the whole world. Unfortunately, at the end of Century, Barcelona is known by the attempts the city suffered as “the city of the bombs".