The Port of Vigo is one of Europe's most important fishing ports. Located in the Province of Galicia on the Vigo Inlet off the Atlantic Ocean and just over 20 miles north of Spain's border with Portugal, it is Spain's largest non-capital city. In 2007, almost 300 thousand people lived in the Port of Vigo.
The fishing industry is the base of the port's economy, as it has been for many centuries, and it is well known for its freezing and canning industry. It is also home to plants manufacturing flour, paper, leather, brandy, sugar, machinery, and lumber. Being the 14th biggest city, it has busy cultural life and a popular soccer team. Unfortunately, it fell victim to oil spills that killed marine life around the port in the early 21st Century.
The Port of Vigo rests on the remains of an ancient fort and Roman settlement believed to have been called Vicus. It was a small rather unimportant village until the 15th Century, although it suffered many Viking attacks.
It was attacked during the 16th and 17th Centuries as well. Sir Francis Drake raided the city in 1585 and 1589, occupying the village and burning many buildings. The Turkish fleet also attacked the city around the turn of the century.
Walls were built around the city in 1656 to protect it from the many raiders who visited there. Parts of those walls still stand. During the period, commerce began in Vigo, and it received city privileges from Spain's kings.
In 1702, the Battle of Rande (also called the Battle of Vigo Bay) took place when the Anglo-Dutch Navy attached the Spanish fleet while it carried treasure into the port. Then in 1719, the British fleet took the city for a time as a result of Spain's attempts to invade Scotland in support of the Jacobite movement to restore the Stuart kings.
The Port of Vigo was incorporated into Napoleon's empire in 1809, and it was the first city in Galicia to be liberated from the French during the Peninsular War.
During the 19th and 20th Centuries, the Port of Vigo grew quickly. In World War II, several German U-boats were sunk near the port.
Today, the Port of Vigo is Galicia's most important industrial city. It is home to car factories and busy shipyards. Its largest employer, PSA Peugeot Citroen, made over 500 thousand vehicles in 2007. It is also home to the world's biggest fishing company, Pescanova, and the European Fisheries Agency's headquarters.
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