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A brief history of Seville


Sevilla antigua
S eville has been one of the most important and significant cities in Spain’s history since the middle ages. The first dwellers who settled there followed the Tharsis culture, but after being destroyed, attributed to the Carthaginians, it then became the Roman city of Híspalis, next to which they constructed the colony of Italic. During the reign of the Visigoths on some occasions the city was the seat of the Court. In Al-Ándalus, after the invasion by the Arabs, it was first the government centre of a “kora” (county) and later the capital of the Kingdom of the Taifas. In the year 844 it was ransacked by the Vikings coming up the Guadalquivir River. After this the Emir of Córdoba decided to increase its defence as a fort.

Sevilla antiguaIn 1248, conquered by the Kingdom of Fernando III, it was incorporated into the Christian Crown of Castilla and León. He was the first King to be buried in the cathedral of Seville. From then on Seville was repopulated by the Castilian aristocracy, and became capital of the kingdom of Seville and was one of the cities with a vote at the Court. It hosted the sessions of the court on numerous occasions. In the early middle ages, its port and the trade with the colonies by the merchants of Genoa meant that soon it was a placement of importance on the periphery of the European international trade. However, this period was not one only of splendour, Seville also suffered dramatic economic, demographic and social upheaval, such as in the Black Plague of 1348 and the anti-Jewish rebellion of 1391.

Sevilla antigua After the discovery of America in 1492, Seville became the economic centre of the Spanish empire. The Catholic King and Queen founded the House of Contracting, from where the voyages were contracts made and then voyages arranged, managing the wealth coming in from the Americas. Together with the University of Merchants this chamber governed the relations with the New World.

During the sixteenth century the city developed greatly and was transformed. Some of its most important buildings were constructed in the historical centre. The city became a multicultural centre where the arts flourished, taking on an important role in the Golden Century of the Spanish empire. From this period the soap factories of Triana borough, the artisan silk work and the sevillana ceramic are well-known.

Though this period was the most brilliant moment in Baroque art, the city was also affected by the crisis of the seventeenth century, which led to economic decline and a falling population. These hard times were added at the same time to navigating the Guadalquivir becoming more treacherous, reaching a point when the trade monopoly and the institutions, the Chamber of Commerce, had to be transferred to Cadiz. It was also in this period that the city was once again battered by an endemic plague which devastated the city’s population, wiping out about a half of it.

The city was revitalized in the nineteenth century, with the industrialization and the development of the Spanish railway network. This coincided with the Romantic epoch. During the twentieth century , in addition to suffering the repression of the civil war, and after the military dictatorship, the city was the setting for many epoch marking events, such as the Iberamerican Exposition of 1929, the Expo of 1992 and it was deservingly chosen as the capital of the autonomous region of Andalucía.


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