In the area where the river ran through, existed a village called Cale (V Century). Later it is referred to as Portus Cale and Portucale, the origin of the country's name.
Oporto was captured by the Moors in 716 and retaken in 1092. The centuries of war depopulated the town. Henry of Burgundy secured the title of duke of Portucalense in the
11th cent., and Oporto thus gave its name to the state that became a kingdom. It was for some time the chief city, although not the capital, of little Portugal.
In the XIV Century the city receives a new mural. Though designated as Fernandina, its construction must have happened between the reigns of D. Afonso IV and D. João I.
This fortification defines the historic nucleus of Oporto.
The city collaborated in the Discoveries since the beginning. From here left the Infante D. Henrique fleet to participate in the conquest of Ceuta.
After the French conquest of Portugal in the Peninsular War, Oporto was the first city to revolt (1808). It was retaken by the French but liberated (1809) by Wellington.
In the XVII Century Oporto knows an important growth due to the wine commerce. The signature of the Methuen Treaty (1703) favours the exportation of wines to Great Britain and then creates the Royal Company of Wine Agriculture of the High Douro (Real Companhia da Agricultura dos Vinhos do Alto Douro). With the increase of commerce, the English and other European colonies grew, being the first great influence on the city. The splendor of the Nasoni baroque, so disclosed in the North, leaves in many buildings the mark of prosperity.
Another period of the urban history of Oporto happens in the XIX Century with the Industrial Revolution. Many factories settle down in the city. Oporto becomes a commercial and industrial city.
With the increase of industrial employment in the city, its attraction grows. The problem of lodging finds in Oporto a peculiar solution called the "islands". Solution probably inspired by the old days, the "islands" are small community houses, leading to strait corridors that fill up the inside of blocks.
It was also in the XIX Century that the bourgeoisie Oporto is formed. In 1855 public lighting was inaugurated and the Agramonte Cemetery. In 1865 The Crystal Palace is inaugurated.
The renovation of the center of Oporto begins with the Republic, by the opening of the Avenida dos Aliados and the new Town House.
The transformation of the city will be led by The Corporative State, with the Ponte Arrabida and the Via Rapida that link the south bank of the River Douro to the Port of Leixões and the Oporto International Airport (Aeroporto Fransisco Sá Carneiro).
The democratic revolution brought the need of a more harmonious development and the approval of the First Urban Plan. The nomination of Oporto as World Heritage opened new
perspectives for a renewal of the old part of town. It is in the west side of town that the first Shopping Centers are built.