Seville History, History of Seville, Andalucia, Spain, Europe

Seville History

History of Seville, Andalucia, Spain, Europe

Seville History

The origins of Seville are clouded in myth & mystery. It is said that the city was first founded by Hercules (a popular idea amongst Greeks & Romans) when visiting the ancient Hesperides region of Spain. It is also connected with the people of Tartessos in the 8th-9th century BC. The city of Tartessos is said to have occupied lands around the mouth of the Guadalquivir river (which runs through modern Seville) & was a great bronze age Iberian trading city; it is also connected (due to its unexplained disappearance) with the legend of Atlantis. One things is known for certain, that it was an Iberian trading post occupied first by the Phoenicians, & then by the Carthaginians who practically destroyed the city in 216BC.

In 206BC after defeating the Cartheginians the Roman general Scipio (in order to settle wounded veterans) built the city of Italica; very near the location of the former Iberian-Phoenician settlement. Italica was the first Roman colony in southern Spain & grew to great importance. In time Roman attention turned to the ruins just beyond it borders. Work on its restoration began & in 49BC appears in official Roman history as the city of Hispalis. Hispalis grew in size & was fortified throughout the Imperial Roman era & by the collapse of the Empire was the 11th most important Roman city.

Like most of Spain Hispalis eventually fell to the Visigoths (6th century AD), & then the Moors in 711 AD; who ruled here for 500 years & changed it's name to Isbilya. Though ruled from Cordoba the city remained of importance through it's strategic & commercial value as a port city. The Moors changed the face of the city especially in terms of their architectural achievements. However as time passed the Caliphate of Cordoba collapsed, & this eventually led to the conquest of the city in 1248AD by Spain's Christian monarchs; Ferdinand & Isabel.

Under Christian rule the city took it's current name of Seville. It was favoured amongst future monarchs for its beauty & location, eventually granting it the building of the world's (then) largest Cathedral & tallest building. Around the middle of the 5th century central government moved to the city & was subsequently the birthplace of the infamous Spanish Inquisition (set up with the express intention of expelling the Moors from Granada). In 1492 this goal was achieved unifying Spain as a singular Christian state. However of equal importance it was also the year that Spain discovered the America's.

The discovery of this new world transformed Spain into one of the world's  richest nations. As all trade from the new colony's passed through Seville the city grew to become incredibly wealthy & both it's populace & urban infrastructure grew immensely. The fruits of this affluent age can be seen all around in modern day Seville; in it's state buildings, urban palaces, squares, gardens, & more. It was not until the establishment of Madrid as the (purpose built) nations capital, removal of the city's monopoly on trade with the America's (transferring the majority to Cadiz), & European economic depression that Seville lost it's worldwide importance. This was of course gradual, but nonetheless final, & though today it is an important commercial & touristic centre it never regained its former status.


Seville Tourist Office

TEL  +34 954 592915

FAX  +34 954 590919


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Seville History, History of Seville, Andalucia, Spain, Europe


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