Historians believe Pisa predates the 5th Century BC and became a Roman colony in 180 BC. Unlike much of Italy, Pisa did not see a decline over the late Roman Empire, owing mostly to an intricate river system and its easily defended location. After the 7th Century AD, Pisa continued to grow in importance, becoming the main port for trade between Corsica, Sardinia, Southern France and Spain, and Tuscany.
In 930 AD, Pisa was the county centre. During the 9th Century, heavy pirate influence cause Pisa to attack North Africa and fought in defence of Salerno. Pisa peaked in importance in the 11th century as a crucial shipping and military stronghold, engaging in a number of battles for the Byzantine Empire. In the 12th Century, the city threw support behind the Ghibelline party, which saw to that Pisa gained even more power in trade. Pisa began to decline in the 13th century when the Battle of Meloria saw the Genoese defeat of Pisa. With severe losses from the war and the spread of malaria, the city did not recover.
Florentine troops captured Pisa in 1509 and lost its role as the major port city. Pisa also saw heavy, repeated destruction during World War II. Pisa remains a railway hub and light industrial centre to this day, and the University of Pisa keeps the city fresh with those looking to study.
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