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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.
Barcelona was a centre of Catalan separatism, including the Catalan Revolt (1640–52) against Philip IV of Spain.
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.
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.