According to legend, Carthage was founded by the Phoenician Queen Elissa (better known as Dido) sometime around 813 BC although, actually, it rose following Alexander’s destruction of Tyre in 332 BC. The city (in modern-day Tunisia, North Africa) was originally known as Kart-hadasht (new city) to distinguish it from the older Phoenician city of Utica nearby. The Greeks called the city Karchedon and the Romans turned this name into Carthago. Originally a small port on the coast, established only as a stop for Phoenician traders to re-supply or repair their ships, Carthage grew to become the most powerful city in the Mediterranean before the rise of Rome.
~350 BC (overstrike)
332 BC – Alexander the Great defeats Tyre in Phoencia
After the fall of the great Phoenician city of Tyre to Alexander the Great in 332 BC, those Tyrians who were able to escape fled to Carthage with whatever wealth they had. Since many whom Alexander spared were those rich enough to buy their lives, these refugees landed in the city with considerable means and established Carthage as the new centre of Phoenician trade.
The Carthaginians then drove the native Africans from the area, enslaved many of them, and exacted tribute from the rest. In time, they established a working relationship with the tribes of neighboring Numidia who would fill the ranks of their military as formidable cavalry troops. From a small town on the coast, the city grew in size and grandeur with enormous estates covering miles of acreage. Not even one hundred years passed before Carthage was the richest city in the Mediterranean. The aristocrats lived in palaces, the less affluent in modest but attractive homes, while tribute and tariffs regularly increased the city’s wealth on top of the lucrative business in trade.
The harbour was immense, with 220 docks, gleaming columns which rose around it in a half-circle, and was ornamented with Greek sculpture. The Carthaginian trading ships sailed daily to ports all around the Mediterranean Sea while their navy, supreme in the region, kept them safe and, also, opened new territories for trade and resources through conquest.
290 BC – 260 BC
264 BC – First Punic War begins
The Mamertines at Messana on Sicily call for Carthaginian and then Roman help in defense against Syracuse, sparking the First Punic War.
Rome besieges and sacks Agrigento on Sicily in one of the first actions of the First Punic War.
Rome builds a fleet of 120 ships in just 60 days to fight the First Punic War. First Roman naval victory against Carthage off Mylae.
Rome wins a naval battle against Carthage at Sulcis
Roman naval victory against Carthage off Ecnomus
Rome lands an army of four legions on African soil at Clupea.
255 BC – 253 BC
Roman fleets are wrecked by storms off Pachynus and Palinurus.
Carthage sues for peace but the Roman consul Regulus’ excessive demands are rejected.
A Carthaginain army led by the mercenary Spartan commander Xanthippus defeats two Roman legions near Tunis.
Romans capture Palermo.
June 250 BC
A Carthaginian army led by Hasdrubal is defeated by Roman consul Metellus near Palermo.
Carthage defeats Rome in a naval battle at Drepanum.
Hamilcar Barca raids southern Italy and then lands on Sicily.
Hamilcar Barca captures Eryx on Sicily.
A Roman fleet besieges the Carthaginian stronghold of Drepana on Sicily.
241 BC – First Punic War ends
Roman naval victory off the Aegates Islands leads to victory over Carthage, ending the First Punic War.
241 BC – 237 BC – The Mercenary War
After the First Punic War, Carthage, who was destitute with having to pay indemnities to Rome, was unable (refused?) to pay the mercenaries who fought on their behalf during that war. These mercenaries joined forces with Libyan settlements and revolted against Carthaginian control.
Hamilcar Barca arrives in southern Spain to expand Carthage’s interests there. He makes his base at Gades and founds Acra Leuce.
Hasdrubal takes command of Carthage’s armies in Spain.
Hasdrubal signs an agreement with Rome not to cross the Ebro river in Spain.
Hannibal takes command of Carthage’s armies in Spain.
Hannibal crosses the Ebro river in Spain and sacks the city of Saguntum, Rome’s ally, sparking off the Second Punic War.
Coin of Saguntum, circa 200 BC – 150 BC
March 218 BC – Second Punic War begins
Rome declares war on Carthage after Hannibal sacks Saguntum in Spain. The Second Punic War begins.
April 218 BC – May 218 BC
Hannibal leaves Spain to cross the Pyrenees and Alps into Italy.
August 216 BC
Hannibal wins the battle of Cannae, the worst defeat in Roman history.
216 BC – 211 BC
A Carthaginian army led by Hasdrubal is defeated at the battle of Ibera in Spain. Hannibal’s influence strengthens in the southern tip of Italy.
Syracuse joins the side of Carthage in the Second Punic War.
The Carthaginian-controlled Sicilian city of Akragas (later renamed Agrigentum by Romans) is barely holding fast nearing it’s being overtaken by Romans.
A Carthaginian army is defeated in Sicily by a Roman army led by Marcellus. Syracuse falls to Rome who now control the island.
Scipio Africanus lands an army for the second time at Empuries in northeastern Spain.
210 BC – 207 BC
Scipio Africanus conquers Spain for Rome.
Hannibal, harassed by Roman forces, is reduced to controlling only Bruttium in southern Italy.
Coin of Bruttium, circa 215 BC – 205 BC
206 BC – 205 BC
The Romans conquer Gades, ending the Carthaginian presence on the Iberian Peninsula.
204 BC – 203 BC
Scipio Africanus sails to Northern Africa and defeats a Carthaginian army led by Hasdrubal in North Africa. Hannibal is recalled from Italy to defend Carthage against Scipio Africanus.
19 October 202 BC – Second Punic War ends
Scipio Africanus defeats Hannibal at the Battle of Zama, ending the Second Punic War.
203 BC – 148 BC (or 148 BC – 118 BC)
“MASSINISSA, King of Numidia, may be compared to the feather that tipped the scale. When two great nations were struggling for the mastery of the world, he threw himself on one side and it won.” – http://www.ijebu.org/conquerors/massinissa/
150 BC – Third Punic War begins
A Carthaginian army attacks Numidia, breaking the peace treaty agreed with Rome and sparking the Third Punic War.
Rome sends an army of 80,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry to attack Carthage.
The Roman siege of Carthage, in its second year, remains unsuccessful.
Scipio Africanus the Younger takes over command of the siege of Carthage and builds a mole to block its harbour.
146 BC – Third Punic War ends
Scipio Africanus the Younger sacks Carthage and enslaves its population.