Bilbao was founded by Don Diego Lopez de Haro on the 15th of June 1300. Don Diego gave the city rights and privileges along with land for growth. At first there were only three streets: Somera, Artekale and Tenderia, and the Santiago church, surrounded by a city wall.
The city grew slowly but steadily. In the 15th century wars between noble families disrupted the city, which had reached a population of almost 3000. Three floods and a fire shook the city, and Santiago Church was almost totally destroyed. But once again the city recovered and it grew beyond the wall. In 1886 a major plan for the city was announced after the village of Abando was annexed. The "Ensanche" project almost doubled the city's area and was developed during the following decades, as it happened in other cities at that time.
In 1921, the village of Deusto was annexed and several other parts of the city were developed including Basurto and Begoña. Around that time an interesting building was proposed that would had been the highest of Spain at that time Torre de Oficinas. In 1940 the neighbouring town of Erandio joined the city, and during the Franco dictatorship many other sorrounding areas and towns also became part of Bilbao, Erandio, Lezama, Sondika, Zamudio and Loiu. The city's population reached well over 400,000 and the area of the city was 149 square kilometres. But when democracy finally came many of the towns that had been absorbed became independent so the population declined.
In 1983 heavy floods struck the city, killing many people and destroying the old part of the city. Since then the Casco Viejo (the old district) has been renewed and many modern projects have been built - the underground in 1995, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997, the Euskalduna Jauregia in 1998. And many more to come, Torre Iberdrola and Isozaki Atea. And a redevelopment at the neighbourhood of Bolueta called 7 Calles. The city's current tallest building is BBVAren Dorrea.