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In 1794, this fortress was used by the French astronomer Pierre François André Méchain for observations relating to a survey stretching to Dunkirk that provided the official basis of the measurement of a metre.The definitive metre bar, manufactured from platinum, was presented to the French legislative assembly on 22 June 1799.The founding of Barcelona is the subject of two different legends.The first attributes the founding of the city to the mythological Hercules.The second legend attributes the foundation of the city directly to the historical Carthaginian general, Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who supposedly named the city Barcino after his family in the 3rd century BC, In about 15 BC, the Romans redrew the town as a castrum (Roman military camp) centred on the "Mons Taber", a little hill near the contemporary city hall (Plaça de Sant Jaume).Under the Romans, it was a colony with the surname of Faventia, mentions it among the small towns of the district, probably as it was eclipsed by its neighbour Tarraco (modern Tarragona), but it may be gathered from later writers that it gradually grew in wealth and consequence, favoured as it was with a beautiful situation and an excellent harbour.During the Middle Ages, the city was variously known as Barchinona, Barçalona, Barchelonaa, and Barchenona.

The marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in 1469 united the two royal lines.The origin of the earliest settlement at the site of present-day Barcelona is unclear.The ruins of an early settlement have been found, including different tombs and dwellings dating to earlier than 5000 BC.After being conquered by the Arabs in the early 8th century, it was conquered in 801 by Charlemagne's son Louis, who made Barcelona the seat of the Carolingian "Hispanic March" (Marca Hispanica), a buffer zone ruled by the Count of Barcelona.The Counts of Barcelona became increasingly independent and expanded their territory to include all of Catalonia, although on 6 July 985, Barcelona was sacked by the army of Almanzor.

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