Seville History


Historically, Seville is one of the most important cities in Spain. A settlement existed here since the ancient times and after its destructions by the Carthaginians, the city was rebuilt as the Roman town of Hispalis. During the Visigothic reign, the city also housed the court on several occasions and after that the city was taken over by the Muslims. In 844 Seville was ransacked by the Vikingsm which lead to the improvement of the city’s defensive capabilities and the construction on the fortress. In 1248, following the conquest by Ferdinand III, the city was taken over by the Crown Castile. Since then, Seville was to be repopulated by the Castilian aristocracy and became a prominent city with a vote in the courts. During the Middle Ages, the city’s port and its prominent merchant community found themselves in quite a periferal, but nonetheless very important position in terms of international European commerce. At this time the city also saw several economic and social crises, such as the Black Death epidemic in 1348 and the antisemetic revolt in 1391. With the descovery of the Americas, Seville quickly became the economic centre of the Spanish empire. The Catholic Monarchs founded the Casa de Contratación, from where they controlled voyages to and from America, the riches that made its way back to Spain and other relations with the New World. During the 16th century the city became a multicultural centre, which lead to an unprecedented growth of the arts and played an important role in Spain’s Golden Age. In the city’s most artistic time, the Baroque period, the city was unfortunately affected quite severely by the crisis of the 17th century, which caused a significant decline, both socially and economically. At a time when the port’s activities were become less and less profitable and therefore frequent, the decision was finally made to move the city’s commercial monopoly over to Cadiz. Then the city experienced another outbreak of the plague, which saw the death of more than a half of the city’s active population. The city’s revitalisation in the 19th century healed some of the wounds and saw the creation of the railway network and a significant development of many industries. In the 20th century, aside from being involved in the Spanish civil war and enduring the military dictatorship that followed, the city also also took part in such landmark events as the Exposición Iberoamericana in 1929, the Exposición Universal in 1992 and the city’s election as the Andalusian capital.