According to the legend, the name of Joliette would come from Jules César ( Julius), who during his rivalry with Pompey, would have set camp in this area of Massilia. Yet in reality, the district takes its name from a property established here during the ancient regime.
Around the 1940s, maritime traffic that was too intense for ‘Vieux-Port’s’ (Old port) capacity and required an extension, so the government ordered the construction of the Joliette basin, north of the ‘Vieux port’. With the construction of the “Digue du large”. The infrastructures of La Joliette are used from 1847. The basin will be finished in 1853. The auxiliary port of ‘Frioul’ is getting bigger. The extension of the port continue with the construction of others basins such as ‘Lazaret’ and ‘Arenc’. Then, Napoleon’s basin construction in 1859. Afterwards, in order to link the old and new port, the Imperial street is opened (The current republic street).
It used to be the economic lung of Marseille, but the decline in industrial activity plunged the district into a long period of slumber.