The Port of Huelva is the capital of Huelva Province in Andalusia, Spain. It sits at the confluence of the Odiel and Rio Tinto Rivers about 16 miles from the Gulf of Cadiz near Portugal on Spain’s southeastern shores.
Since the mid 1900s, its wealth has been based on the petrochemical industry, and it is one of the most important chemical-exporting ports in Spain. Other trade goods include grains, olives, grapes, and cork. Today, commerce and services power the Port of Huelva’s economy, and it is home to a busy fishing industry. In 2006, over 145 thousand people lived in the Port of Huelva.
The Port of Huelva was first a trading station used by the Carthaginians. The Phoenicians may have located their city of Onoba Aestuaria here. As a Roman colony, it received an aqueduct that still operates today. Rome also had a mind here, and many coins bearing the name Onuba remain. It was occupied by the Moors who called it Walbah. The Christian Alfonso X of Castile recaptured the city in 1257.
Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World started and ended in the village of Palos de la Frontera, just across the river from the Port of Huelva. Today, a huge statue of the explorer (34 meters tall) graces the port. Columbus lived in a nearby Franciscan monastery when the king of Portugal rejected his first bid for the voyage in 1484.
In the late 19th Century, the growth of the Riotinto copper mines gave impetus to rapid growth in the Port of Huelva’s wealth and size.