Genoa is the capital of the Italian region of Liguria and the sixth-largest city in Italy. In 2015, 594,733 people lived within the city’s administrative limits. As of the 2011 Italian census, the Province of Genoa, which in 2015 became the Metropolitan City of Genoa, had 855,834 resident persons. Over 1.5 million people live in the wider metropolitan area stretching along the Italian Riviera.
Genoa was the capital of one of the most powerful maritime republics for over seven centuries, from the 11th century to 1797. Particularly from the 12th century to the 15th century, the city played a leading role in the commercial trade in Europe, becoming one of the largest naval powers of the continent and considered among the wealthiest cities in the world. It was also nicknamed la Superba (“the proud one”) by Petrarch due to its glories on the seas and impressive landmarks.
The Genoese have a claim to the creation of the rough denim cloth then called “Blue Jeans” (an anglicised spelling of Gênes, the French name of the city), nowadays shortened simply as jeans, used by sailors for work and to cover and protect their goods on the docks from the weather. During the Republic of Genoa, Genoese merchants and sailors exported this cloth throughout Europe. The production of Genoese lace was also notable.
One of Genoa’s favourite sons Christopher Columbus born between 25 August and 31 October 1451, died 20 May 1506) was an Italian explorer and navigator who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for the widespread European exploration and colonization of the Americas. His expeditions, sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, were the first European contact with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.