Lusitania was a Roman province of the Empire. It comprised roughly the present-day Portugal up to the Douro, and parts of western Spain, in particular, Extremadura and the present-day province of Salamanca.


The region was named after the resident Indo-European Lusitanians, a group of pre-Celtic peoples. The etymology of the name of this people is unclear. The name may be of Celtic origin: Lus and Tanus, " tribe of Lusus ".

Roman province

Originally, the Lusitanians inhabited the area between the Tagus and the Douro (central Portugal), in the 2nd century they extended their settlement area to southern Portugal from. Only Caesar has brought the integration of this region into the Roman Empire to an end. In the Republican period Lusitania was, as far as it was then already dominated by the Romans, to the province of Hispania ulterior, which included the south and west of the Iberian peninsula. Through the provincial reform under Emperor Augustus, the Hispania ulterior was divided into two parts, Hispania Baetica ( South-East) and Lusitania (northwest), with the boundary roughly along the river Anas ( Guadiana today ) ran. In the north and east of the Lusitania bordered on the very large province of Hispania Citerior. This boundary ran to the north along the lower reaches of the Douro; in the east were part of the Lusitania or the areas of the cities Salamantica (Salamanca), Caliabria (Ciudad Rodrigo ), Caurio ( Coria ), Norba (Cáceres ) and Caesarobriga ( Talavera de la Reina ). Capital of Lusitania was Augusta Emerita ( Mérida today ), a veteran colony founded by Augustus. The Lusitania was an imperial province and was under a governor praetorian rank, while the Baetica to the senatorial provinces belonged. The Lusitania had three court districts: Emerita, Pax Augusta (Beja ) and Scallabis (Santarém ). The new provincial division of the Emperor Diocletian in the late 3rd century seems to have changed nothing on the periphery of the Lusitania.

The economic importance of the province was partly due to their metal deposits, including gold in the rivers as well as copper and silver.

Even after the end of the Roman period, the area retained the name Lusitania. Only with the establishment of the County of Portucale under the House of Burgundy and its expansion during the Reconquista, the name Portugal prevailed in the 11th and 12th centuries. Going back to the ancient name was at the beginning of the 19th century, the French Emperor Napoleon a kingdom North Lusitania in northern Portugal. Today the term is Lusitania (adjective lusitanisch ) used as a synonym for Portugal.