The Port of Malaga is the capital of the Province of Malaga in Andalusia in southern Spain just over 100 kilometers northeast of Gibraltar. Lying at the mouth of the Guadalmedina River in Spain’s Sun Coast, it is Spain’s fifth most populous metropolitan area and one of Spain’s most important Mediterranean seaports. The Port of Malaga is sheltered by mountains to the north, and it has a mild climate that makes it a popular city for tourists from all over the world.
The city has a diverse industrial base with textile mills, breweries, fertilizer plants, and manufacturing of building materials and foodstuffs. It is an important gateway for exports from eastern Andalusia including olives and olive oil, almonds, dried fruits, oranges and lemons, sweet wine, and canned anchovies. Imports passing through the Port of Malaga include petroleum, chemicals, iron and steel, and maize. In 2006, about 525 thousand people lived in the city, and the population of the metropolitan area exceeded one million.
The Phoenicians first settled the Port of Malaga area in about 1000 BC, calling their colony Malaka. It was a commercial center even then with rich copper and silver mines. The Carthaginians conquered the area in about 550 BC, holding the city until 218 BC when the Roman Empire expanded into Spain.
The Port of Malaga was an important cultural and economic center for the Romans, and they built the port and many important buildings. By the 4th Century AD, the Port of Malaga was well-adapted to the Roman way of life, and it Christianity had been adopted by most of the people living there. As the Roman Empire began to decline in the early 5th Century, Visigoths began to attack coastal cities, and they finally conquered the town in 623 AD when the last Romans left.
The Visigoths continued to dominate life in the Port of Malaga until 711 when the Moors invaded Spain. By 743, the Moors were creating new buildings, the town wall, and five city gates on Roman and Visigoth ruins. The Moors brought cultural and commercial prosperity to the Port of Malaga. By the 11th Century, noble Moors struggled for control of the city. In 1143, Ibn Hud solidified his rule over the Port of Malaga, and it was more independent. After his death, the Port of Malaga came under the rule of Muhamad I and the Kingdom of Granada. During this period, two of the city’s most important monuments were constructed. The fortress of Alcazaba and the fortified castle of Gibralfaro were started in the 11th Century and completed in the early 15th Century.
Christian attempts to drive out the Moors began in the 14th Century, but it was not until 1487 that they defeated the Moors with help from Christians living within the city. This brought a new era of construction and architecture to the Port of Malaga. Many Muslims were killed or sold into slavery, and many Muslim buildings were destroyed or seriously damaged. The Christians preserved the Alcazaba and Gibralfaro, using them for defense. during the 16th Century, the Cathedral of Malaga was built by Diego de Vergara.
The Port of Malaga underwent difficult times in the 17th and 18th Centuries. The town was visited by epidemics, earthquakes, and floods that created serious damage, especially to the harbor.
By the 19th Century, the Port of Malaga began to grow again. The Moorish walls were destroyed to allow the town to grow. French troops under Napoleon occupied the city briefly in the early 19th Century. The 1800s were also a time for growth in the tourist industry, as Europe’s wealthy classes discovered its mild climate and beautiful beaches. New theaters and amusements were added for the new visitors. Unfortunately, the end of the 19th Century was marred by new plagues, floods, and economic crises.
Economic difficulties continued into the early 20th Century, particularly in the Port of Malaga where natural disasters had crippled agriculture. Spain’s political instability brought the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s and further economic stress. Under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, the Port of Malaga’s economy began a slow recovery.
A tourist boom in the 1960s finally brought economic health to the city. During that decade, new hotels and resorts sprang up to welcome visitors from all over the world. Today, the Port of Malaga is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and over six million people come to vacation here every year.
Modern Malaga is a cosmopolitan city. It is Spain’s second busiest port, and it contains the country’s third biggest international airport. In addition to tourism, it hosts more than 100 international conventions each year, and it has become an important cultural and commercial center for southern Spain.
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