The first mention of Nijmegen in history is in the 1st century BC, when the Romans built a military camp on the place where Nijmegen was to appear; the location had great strategic value because of the surrounding hills, which gave (and continue to give) a good view over the Waal and Rhine valley. By 69, when the Batavians, the original inhabitants of the Rhine and Maas delta, revolted, a village called Oppidum Batavorum had formed near the Roman camp.
This village was destroyed in the revolt, but when it had ended the Romans built another, bigger camp where the Legio X Gemina was stationed. Soon after, another village formed around this camp. In 98, Nijmegen was the first of two settlements in what is now the Kingdom of the Netherlands to receive Roman city rights.
In 103, the X Gemina was re-stationed to Vindobona, modern day Vienna, which may have been a major blow to the economy of the village around the camp, losing around 5000 inhabitants.
In 104 Emperor Trajan renamed the town, which now became known as Ulpia Noviomagus Batavorum, Noviomagus for short (the origin of the current name Nijmegen).
Few Roman remains are visible today; a fragment of the old city wall can be seen near the casino and the foundations of the amphitheatre are traced in the paving of the present-day Rembrandtstraat. The Valkhof museum, on the Valkhof, has a permanent display of the history of Nijmegen, including artifacts from the Roman era.