The Bay of Cadiz is an 11-kilometer-long inlet off the Gulf of Cadiz on Spain’s southwestern Atlantic coast. About 90 kilometers northwest of Gibraltar, it is home to several ports, chief among them the Port of the Bay of Cadiz. The Port of the Bay of Cadiz is an important commercial center for the agricultural and fishing region as well as an important support for the oil and gas industry and the jointly-owned Spanish-US naval and air base at nearby Rota.
The Port of the Bay of Cadiz is the capital of Cadiz Province in Andalusia. Located on a long narrow peninsula that protects the Bay of Cadiz, the the Port of the Bay of Cadiz’s primary economic activity revolves around its port and ship-building yards. It supports several industries on the mainland, including food processing and metal works, and offshore fishing. The Port of the Bay of Cadiz exports sherry, salted fish, salt, cork, figs, and olives from the region and imports timber, cereals, machinery, coal and iron, coffee, and foodstuffs. Passenger traffic is important to the port, with travelers going mainly to the Canary Islands. In 2007, over 128 thousand people lived in the Port of the Bay of Cadiz.
The Port of the Bay of Cadiz stands on the site of Western Europe’s oldest city. Although there is no archaeological evidence to support the claim, historians believe the Phoenicians founded the original Port of the Bay of Cadiz, Gadir, around 1104 BC to support their trade. Greek legend says that Hercules founded Gadira after finishing his tenth labor, the killing of Geryon. It is believed that a Phoenician temple once stood there that was the origin of the Pillars of Hercules myth.
In about 500 BC, Carthage ruled the Port of the Bay of Cadiz. The Port of the Bay of Cadiz was a base for Hannibal’s defeat of south Iberia. In 206 BC, Rome conquered the Port of the Bay of Cadiz, renaming the Greek city Gades and making it a naval base. Over 500 Roman patricians lived in the Port of the Bay of Cadiz, making it one of the most important of Rome’s colonies. As the Roman Empire declined, so did the fortunes of Gades. In the 5th Century BC, Visigoths destroyed the original Port of the Bay of Cadiz, and there are few remains left to testify to that city.
Moors ruled the Port of the Bay of Cadiz from 711 to 1262 AD, calling it Qadis. They were driven out by Alfonso X of Castile. The Port of the Bay of Cadiz underwent a renaissance during Spain’s Age of Exploration. It was the port from which Christopher Columbus said on two of his later voyages, and it was the home port of Spain’s treasure fleet.
In the 16th Century, Barbary pirates attempted to raid the Port of the Bay of Cadiz. In 1587, Sir Francis Drake took the Port of the Bay of Cadiz for three days, destroying 31 and taking six ships. His attack delayed for a year the departure of the Spanish Armada. In 1596, British lords again attacked the Port of the Bay of Cadiz but could not hold it. During the Anglo-Spanish War, the port was blockaded for two years. The British failed in a 1702 attempt to take the Port of the Bay of Cadiz.
During the 18th Century, Spain’s trade with the Americas was transferred from Seville to the Port of the Bay of Cadiz, bringing an age of prosperity when the port handled 75% of Spain’s trade with the New World. This trade transformed the town into a cosmopolitan city where foreign trade communities grew up. Much of the Port of the Bay of Cadiz’s historic property comes from this era.
By the end of the 18th Century, the Port of the Bay of Cadiz was under frequent attack by the British. A year-long siege and blockade failed, but it cost the Port of the Bay of Cadiz dearly. In 1800, Admiral Nelson bombed the city. The Port of the Bay of Cadiz was one of few Spanish cities that resisted Napoleon in his conquest of Europe. The Irish merchant community living in the Port of the Bay of Cadiz grew rich on colonial trade in the late 18th Century. The trade connection remains active today.
The Spanish Constitution of 1812 was released in the Port of the Bay of Cadiz, and the 1810 revolution to restore the constitution began there. It was the seat of the 1868 revolution that ended in the abdication of Queen Isabella II, though the monarchy was restored two years later.
In the last few decades, the Port of the Bay of Cadiz has undertaken reconstruction and restoration efforts that have brought back much of the Port of the Bay of Cadiz’s ancient appeal.