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The history of Nice

Nice history: Nice passes through 2,400 years of history marked by several changes of sovereignty. The city was founded by Greeks from Phocaea, about 400 BC. These first settlers have already settled in several places along the Mediterranean coast as in Antibes, Corsica and Marseilles. Wishing to strengthen their hegemony throughout the Mediterranean region, they chose to settle in Nice and found a new city there.

A few centuries later, Rome became the first world power and took over the entire region, including Nice. This is the second sovereignty change to which the people of Nice were confronted, considering that the Phocaeans took power from the Ligurian indigenous people, three centuries earlier. During the two thousand years that followed, Nice would tumble several times from a camp to another and would be at the center of the lust of various regional powers.

In the Middle Ages, Nice suffered, like several other cities, of Visigoth invasions characterized by their lootings. In the 5th century, the city was attached to the Ostrogoth Kingdom of Italy before moving into the recently reunited Eastern Roman Empire, to the great dismay of the Ostrogoths who were driven out of the city. A few centuries later, a new change of regime happened again, Nice passed in the Kingdom of Italy which took over the Byzantines in the domination of the Ligurian province.

At the beginning of the 13th century, in the decline of the Kingdom of Italy, Nice became a republic and enjoyed a certain autonomy, but it did not last long, because the Counts of Provence seized the city by force, tyrannizing its population and put an end to the republic. This period will last a whole century before the city regains its status as an autonomous one. The taste for freedom quickly turned into bitterness during the Black Death in 1347 and 1348. Half of the 7,000 Nice people lost their lives during this dark period of the city’s history.

Towards the end of the 14th century, Nice fell under the power of the Earls of Savoy. This is one of the most important facts in the history of the city. For the next 3 centuries, Nice will remain attached to the county of Savoy before changing once again and passing under the aegis of the Piedmontese. It was during these Savoyard and Piedmontese periods that the biggest urban expansion projects took place in the city, transforming the old fortified city into a modern and highly developed one.

In 1860, the city was annexed to France. The inhabitants were initially reluctant to accept this idea because they appreciated the peace and good governance brought by the Piedmontese sovereigns, but the people of Nice finally accepted this umpteenth change of regime. From then on, Nice will remain French and will continue its development and will get renowned on the touristic side.