History and toponymy
The first records of the settlement date to the Neolithic era with artefacts showing human habitation in the Llobregat river area. Roman artefacts have been found dating to the 2nd century BC such as a funeral decoration representing the head of Medusa, now in the Archaeological Museum of Catalonia. However it is not until the 10th century that written references to Provençana (the city's original name) appear. The current name originates from the Catalan language and derives from a hostel next to the Church of Saint Eulalia of Provençana (Santa Eulàlia de Provençana) used by pilgrims in the Middle Ages. The city retained the character of a village until the 19th century when the first textile factories were built causing a population boom. The 1960s and 1970s saw a second population boom, caused by immigration from poorer regions of Spain: however this was not matched by construction of the necessary amenities and it was only in the 1990s that public investment resulted in additional schools, leisure facilities and housing.
The Swedish painter and former anarchist Ivan Aguéli died there, being killed by a train, in 1917.