The Port of Cartagena is an autonomous community in the Murcia Province and Spain’s main naval base in the Mediterranean. With the best harbor on the east coast of Spain, Escombrera Island shelters its outer bay. Throughout history, the Port of Cartagena has been an important center for trade and commerce. However, competition from other Mediterranean ports brought a decline in ocean-going traffic during the 20th Century.
The Port of Cartagena has important smelting works as well as glass and fabric manufacturers. Exports from the Port of Cartagena include olive oil, minerals, dried fruits, and esparto fiber. It is also a naval base with an arsenal and large dockyards. In 2007, over 207 thousand people lived in the city.
Carthaginians founded the Port of Cartagena in 227 BC, calling it Qart Hadast, and it was abase for their expansion into Iberia. It was the capital of their new province. Hannibal waged war on Rome with silver from the mines here. The Port of Cartagena was conquered by the Romans in 209 BC, and they renamed it Carthago Nova. During that era, it was one of the world’s richest cities.
In 1873, the Port of Cartagena’s Spanish Navy turned against the First Spanish Republic, and the Federalist government declared them pirates and asked foreign countries to destroy them.
During the 20th Century Spanish Civil War, the Port of Cartagena was the Republic’s only naval base, and it was the last city to fall in 1939. In the second half of the 20th Century, the Port of Cartagena’s industrial sectors in energy and fertilizers grew rapidly, as did the naval yards.