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Setúbal and its origins

Toponym Origin

It is difficult to affirm the origin of the toponym “Setúbal” as there are several institutions and origin stories.

One of them tells that the name of the city resulted from two biblical names – Sete (3rd son of Adam) and Tubal (grandson of Noah), but on the other hand it is said that the toponym may be somehow related to the River Sado – Cetubal, from the words “Ceto” or fishing – and from “Uba” which would be a port – and thus would be a fishing port or river. Anyway there is no way to say the origin but it is actually interesting to think that there are so many possibilities of how its name came about.

City Origin

Remains have been found that prove that human occupation in the city of Setúbal dates back to the Iron Age period, but there are also traces of Phoenician occupation in the parish of S. Sebastião.

Between the 1st and 4th centuries, a commercial center better known as Cetóbriga was established by the Romans, and there are traces that prove the occupation of the two banks of the River Sado. We can see such remains of this village in the Roman ruins of Tróia and in some areas of the city of Setúbal.

At that time, our city was a gigantic center for the preparation and export of fish products to various regions. It was already a huge commercial center and they liked the manufacture of fishing materials such as hooks, ovens, salt pans and agricultural products for the various workers.

For those interested in the history of our city, the Museum of Archeology and Ethnography of Setúbal has an exhibition dedicated only to Roman remains, as well as several other collections related to the people and customs of Setúbal.

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