The earliest archaeological signs of permanent settlements in the Paris area date from around 4500–4200 BC, with some of the oldest evidence of canoe-use by hunter-gatherer peoples being uncovered in Bercy in 1991. The Parisii, a sub-tribe of the Celtic Senones, inhabited the area near the river Seine from around 250 BC, building a trading settlement on the island, later the Île de la Cité, the easiest place to cross. The Romans conquered the Paris basin around 52 BC, with a permanent settlement by the end of the same century on the Left BankSainte Geneviève Hill and the Île de la Cité. The Gallo-Roman town was originally called Lutetia, or Lutetia Parisorum but later Gallicised to Lutèce. After a period of decline and by AD 400, Lutèce, largely abandoned by its inhabitants, was little more than a garrison town entrenched into a hastily fortified central island. The city reclaimed its original appellation of "Paris" towards the end of the Roman occupation, around 360 AD.
Paris became prosperous and by the end of the 11th century, scholars, teachers and monks flocked to the city to engage in intellectual exchanges, to teach and be taught; Philippe-Auguste founded the University of Paris in 1200. The guilds gradually became more powerful and were instrumental in inciting the first revolt after the king was captured by the English in 1356. Paris' population was around 200,000 when the Black Death arrived in 1348, killing as many as 800 people a day; and 40,000 died from the plague in 1466. During the 16th and 17th centuries, plague visited the city for almost one year out of three. Paris lost its position as seat of the French realm during the occupation by the English-allied Burgundians during the Hundred Years' War, but when Charles VII of France reclaimed the city from English rule in 1436, Paris became France's capital once again in title, although the real centre of power would remain in the Loire Valley until King Francis I returned France's crown residences to Paris in 1528.
In 1590 Henri IV unsuccessfully laid siege to the city in the Siege of Paris, but, threatened with usurption from Philip II of Spain, he converted to Catholicism in 1594, and the city welcomed him as king. The Bourbons, Henri's family, spend vast amounts of money keeping the city under control, building the Ile St-Louis as well as bridges and other infrastructure. The 17th century was the "Age of Enlightenment" – Paris' reputation grew on the writings of its intellectuals such as the philosopher Voltaire, and Diderot, the first volume of his “Encyclopédie” being published in Paris in 1751.
At the end of the century, Paris was the centre stage for the French Revolution; a bad harvest in 1788 caused food prices to rocket and by the following year the sovereign debt had reached unprecedented levels. On 14 July 1789 Parisians, appalled by the King’s pressure on the new assembly formed by the Third Estate, took siege of the Bastille fortress. The Republic was declared for the first time in 1792. Following the Terror, the French Directory held control until it was overthrown in a coup d'état by Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon put an end to the Revolution and established French Consulate, and then later was elected by plebscite as emperor of the First French Empire.
The greatest development in Paris' history began with the Industrial Revolution creation of a network of railways that brought an unprecedented flow of migrants to the capital from the 1840s.