The city of Paris began in the 3rd century BC when a Celtics and was conquered by the Romans in 52 AD and they built a town on the River Seine. The Romans called Paris Lutetia. However Roman Paris was not a particularly large or important town. It had a population of not more than 10,000.
In the late 3rd century Paris and the surrounding region were converted to Christianity. However by then the Roman Empire was in decline. In 486 a race called the Franks captured Paris.
Under the Franks Paris flourished. However during the 9th century Paris was raided by the Vikings. Yet from the 11th century onward Paris prospered again. In the Middle Ages Paris grew rapidly and it became one of the largest towns in Europe. Its population probably reached 200,000.
However in 1338 the Hundred Years War between France and England began and in 1348 Paris was devastated by the Black Death.
In 1420 the English captured Paris. However the French recaptured the town in 1436.
Paris gradually recovered from the Hundred Years War and in 1528 King Francois I moved his court to the town. Once again Paris boomed. Meanwhile in the 16th century the Reformation swept France. French Protestants were cruelly persecuted. The persecution reached a peak in 1572 with the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. About 2,000 Protestants in Paris were murdered by Catholics.
Then in 1589 King Henry III was assassinated leaving a Protestant, Henry of Navarre heir to the throne of France. Many Catholics refused to accept Henri, however and he had to fight for his throne. Yet in 1593 he converted to Catholicism and in 1594 he entered Paris.
Paris was, of course, at the center of the French Revolution which broke out in 1789. On the morning of 14 July 1789 Parisians seized cannons and guns from the Invalides (a hospital for military veterans). They then surrounded a fortress and prison called the Bastille. The governor was forced to surrender. To the ordinary people the Bastille was enormously important as a symbol of royal power and arbitrary government.
From September 1793 the Great Terror swept France. In the next 9 months thousands of people were guillotined in Paris. Meanwhile in September 1793 a movement called De-Christianization began. Churches were vandalized and closed. The church of Notre-Dame was renamed the ‘Temple of Reason’.
However the Terror ended in the late summer of 1794. Thousands of prisoners were released and life gradually returned to normal.
Napoleon became ruler of France in 1799. In 1830 another revolution took place in Paris. Louis Philippe became constitutional monarch of France. In the mid 19th century the Industrial Revolution began to revolutionize France. Paris boomed but many of its inhabitants lived in dire poverty. In 1832 cholera killed 20,000 people in the city.
In 1848 discontent in Paris resulted in another revolution and Napoleon III took power in France. During his reign, which lasted until 1870 parts of Paris were rebuilt. Economically Paris boomed and its population grew rapidly.
Paris escaped the First World War relatively unscathed. In the 1920s and 1930s Paris again prospered. However on June 14, 1940 Paris fell to the Germans. On August 19, 1944 Paris rose in rebellion and on August 25th allied forces entered the city.
In May 1968 Paris was rocked by student riots but stability soon returned. Today Paris is a flourishing city and tourism is booming. Today the population of Paris is 2.2 million.