In the Gods & Kings expansion pack, Genoa is changed from maritime to mercantile.
Musical Theme: ?
While no exact date is known for the founding of Genoa, the city's history goes back to ancient times as a settlement founded by the Ligurian people. An excavated cemetery from the 6th century BC shows that the city was once occupied by the Greeks, but it was almost certain to have been established long before this. Under the Romans it was a flourishing trade junction, military port, and market town but it was quickly invaded and pillaged by the Ostrogoths after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. For the next several centuries, Genoa remained a small, obscure fishing center, but it used this time to build up a fleet of merchant ships which would come to dominate the trade routes of the Mediterranean Sea.
In the 10th century AD Genoa gained independence from the local feudatories as one of the city-state "Maritime Republics", having its own lord who reported directly to the Holy Roman Emperor. Most of the actual power in the city was wielded not by this Bishop-President, but by consuls elected by the popular assembly. Genoa's shipbuilding and banking industries helped the young republic to flourish, and Genoa began to expand its borders and establish colonies throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa.
Genoa's prosperity was brought to an end when a Genoese trading post at Caffa imported the Black Death into Europe in 1347. Genoa's economy collapsed and its population fell as the plague took its toll. Drastically weakened, the city fought a series of unsuccessful wars over the next seventy years, losing all of its colony states in the process and falling under the rule of the Visconti of Milan.
The city had a lucky break when its famous son, Christopher Columbus, returned from his discovery of the Americas and donated one-tenth of his income to the local banking institutions. This helped create the alliance which made Genoa a satellite of the wealthy Spanish Empire, a move which led to its economic recovery. Soon the noble families of the city-state had re-amassed their fortunes and the growing city began to attract famed artists and architects. This golden age for Genoa lasted through the 1500s and into the early 1600s, when a return of the plague wiped out half of the citizens of the city in 1656. Genoa's further and steady decline was assured once the world economy began to shift away from the Mediterranean over to the New World when new trade routes were established in the 1700s. Modernization and the World Wars of the early 20th century did little to help the city recover.
While Genoa now has the fifth highest economy in Italy and is part of the nation's "industrial triangle", it has never recovered the importance and fame which once gave it the title La Superba, the glorious one of Italy.