The Port of Algeciras Bay is the largest urban area on the Bay of Gibraltar (Bahia de Gibraltar in Spanish). The Port of Algeciras Bay is the busiest port in Spain and the 16th busiest port in the world. Located 20 kilometers north of the southernmost town in the Iberian Peninsula, the Port of Algeciras Bay is an industrial center, transportation hub, and the focal point for ships going to Tangier, Morocco, and the Canary Islands. The Port of Algeciras Bay is just over eight kilometers (five miles) west from the Port of Gibraltar via Algeciras Bay. The Port of Algeciras Bay is about 85 kilometers (53 miles) southeast of Spain's Port of the Bay of Cadiz.
The Port of Algeciras Bay supports a prosperous fishing industry and exports of agricultural products including tobacco, cereals, and farm animals. In addition to its petrochemicals refinery, serving the shipping industry is the Port of Algeciras Bay's major commercial activity. It is also a busy ferry port for passengers traveling to North Africa. Its mild climate in the winter attracts increasing tourist traffic. In 2000, over 116 thousand people lived in the Port of Algeciras Bay, and almost 264 thousand lived in the metropolitan area.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Neanderthals lived in the area during the Paleolithic era, and the Port of Algeciras Bay has been inhabited since that time. The Phoenicians used it as a port, and the Romans established Portus Albus there.
After German barbarians and Vandals destroyed the Roman settlement, the Port of Algeciras Bay was rebuilt by the Moors in 713 AD. It was the first city created by Arabs in Spain. Called al-Jazirah al-Khadra (Green Island) by the Moors, the Port of Algeciras Bay was retaken by Alfonso XI of Castile in 1344. The Moors recaptured the Port of Algeciras Bay in 1368 and then destroyed it on the orders of Muhammed V of Granada. The site was then abandoned.
The town was founded again by refugees from Gibraltar in 1704 after Anglo-Dutch armies took the area in the War of Spanish Succession. Charles III of Spain rebuilt the Port of Algeciras Bay in 1760. In 1801, the French and Spanish navies joined to fight the British in the Battle of Algeciras Bay, ending in an English victory.
In 1906, the Port of Algeciras Bay was the site of the Algeciras Conference, hosting discussions about the future of Morocco. During the Franco dictatorship, the Port of Algeciras Bay enjoyed a great deal of industrial development, attracting many workers to the Port of Algeciras Bay who were then unemployed between 1969 and 1982 when the border was sealed.
The modern Port of Algeciras Bay is primarily a transport hub and industrial center, and most of its economic activity is related to the port and the fishing industry. In the recent past, the Port of Algeciras Bay has become increasingly popular as a tourist destination. It is the southern end of two important north-south Euro-routes, both of which go all the way to Scotland.