The history of the city proper begins around 660 BC[a] when Greek settlers from Megara colonized the area and established Byzantium on the European side of the Bosphorus.
It fell to the Roman Republic in 196 BC, and was known as Byzantium in Latin until 330, when the city, soon renamed as Constantinople, became the new capital of the Roman Empire. During the reign of Justinian I, the city rose to be the largest in the western world, with a population peaking at close to half a million people.
Constantinople functioned as the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which effectively ended with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Constantinople then became the capital of the Ottoman Turks.
The population had declined during the medieval period, but as the Ottoman Empire approached its historical peak, the city grew to a population of close to 700,000 in the 16th century, once again ranking among the world's most populous cities.
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