Cádiz ( kə-DIZ, US also KAY-diz, KA(H)D-iz, Spanish: [ˈkaðiθ]) is a city in Spain and the capital of the Province of Cádiz, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is located in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula off the Atlantic Ocean separated from neighbouring San Fernando by a narrow isthmus.

Cádiz, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, was founded by the Phoenicians as a trading post. In the 18th century, the Port in the Bay of Cádiz consolidated as the main harbor of mainland Spain, enjoying the virtual monopoly of trade with the Americas until 1778. It is also the site of the University of Cá...Read more

Cádiz ( kə-DIZ, US also KAY-diz, KA(H)D-iz, Spanish: [ˈkaðiθ]) is a city in Spain and the capital of the Province of Cádiz, in the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is located in the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula off the Atlantic Ocean separated from neighbouring San Fernando by a narrow isthmus.

Cádiz, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Western Europe, was founded by the Phoenicians as a trading post. In the 18th century, the Port in the Bay of Cádiz consolidated as the main harbor of mainland Spain, enjoying the virtual monopoly of trade with the Americas until 1778. It is also the site of the University of Cádiz.

Situated on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea‚ Cádiz is, in most respects, a typically Andalusian city with well-preserved historical landmarks. The older part of Cádiz, within the remnants of the city walls, is commonly referred to as the Old Town (Spanish: Casco Antiguo), and represents a large area of the total size of the city. It is characterized by the antiquity of its various quarters (barrios), among them El Pópulo, La Viña, and Santa María, which present a marked contrast to the newer areas of town. While the Old City's street plan consists of narrow winding alleys connecting large plazas, newer areas of Cádiz typically have wide avenues and more modern buildings. In addition, the city is dotted with numerous parks where exotic plants flourish, including giant trees supposedly brought to the Iberian Peninsula from the New World.

 Phoenician anthropoid sarcophagi (400–470 BC) found in Cádiz, thought to have been imported from the Phoenician homeland around Sidon (now in the Museum of Cádiz)[1][2] Foundation and early history under the Phoenicians

Founded as Gadir or Agadir by Phoenicians from Tyre, Cádiz is often regarded as the most ancient city still standing in Western Europe.[3] The city was an important trading hub founded to access different metals like gold, silver, copper, and iron.[4] The Phoenicians established a port in the 7th century BC.[5]

Traditionally, Cádiz's founding is dated to c. 1100 BC,[6] although no archaeological strata on the site can be dated earlier than the 9th century BC. One resolution for this discrepancy has been to assume that Gadir was merely a small seasonal trading post in its earliest days.

Ancient Gadir occupied two small islands—Erytheia, primarily a settlement, and Kotinoussa, hosting cemeteries and sanctuaries outside the urban area—situated near the mouth of River Guadalete. Presently, these islands are interconnected. While the ancient ruins of Gadir beneath modern Cádiz's historical center remain largely unexcavated, excavations have been carried out in the southern cemeteries.[4]

By the 6th century BC, disturbances within Phoenicia itself, notably the fall of Tyre to the Babylonians (573 BC), led to the end of Phoenician control over southern Iberia. This vacuum was later filled by Ancient Carthage, which rose as a predominant power in the region during subsequent eras.[4]

Part of the Carthaginian Empire

The expeditions of Himilco around Spain and France and of Hanno around Western Africa began there. The Phoenician settlement traded with Tartessos, a city-state whose exact location remains unknown but is thought to have been somewhere near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River.

One of the city's notable features during antiquity was the temple on the south end of its island dedicated to the Phoenician god Melqart, who was conflated with Hercules by the Greeks and Romans under the names "Tyrian Hercules" and "Hercules Gaditanus". It had an oracle and was famed for its wealth.[7] In Greek mythology, Hercules was sometimes credited with founding Gadeira after performing his tenth labor, the slaying of Geryon, a monster with three heads and torsos joined to a single pair of legs. (A tumulus near Gadeira was associated with Geryon's final resting-place.[8]) According to the Life of Apollonius of Tyana, the "Heracleum" (i.e., the temple of Melqart) was still standing during the 1st century. Some historians, based in part on this source, believe that the columns of this temple were the origin of the myth of the "pillars of Hercules".[9]

 Votive statues of Melqart-Hercules from the Islote de Sancti Petri

The city fell under the sway of Carthage during Hamilcar Barca's Iberian campaign after the First Punic War. Cádiz became a depot for Hannibal's conquest of southern Iberia, and he sacrificed there to Hercules/Melqart before setting off on his famous journey in 218 BC to cross the Alps and invade Italy.[10] Later the city fell to Romans under Scipio Africanus in 206 BC.[11]

Under Rome's rule

Under the Roman Republic and Empire, the city flourished as a port and naval base known as Gades. Suetonius relates how Julius Caesar, when visiting Gades as a quaestor (junior senator), saw a statue of Alexander the Great there and was saddened to think that he himself, though the same age, had still achieved nothing memorable.[12]

 The Bay of Cádiz in antiquity featuring a notably different coastline.

The people of Gades had an alliance with Rome and Julius Caesar bestowed Roman citizenship on all its inhabitants in 49 BC.[7] By the time of Augustus's census, Cádiz was home to more than five hundred equites (members of the wealthy upper class), a concentration rivaled only by Patavium (Padua) and Rome itself.[13] It was the principal city of the Roman colony of Augusta Urbs Julia Gaditana. An aqueduct provided fresh water to the town (the island's supply was notoriously bad), running across open sea for its last leg. However, Roman Gades was never very large. It consisted only of the northwest corner of the present island, and most of its wealthy citizens maintained estates outside of it on the nearby island or on the mainland. The lifestyle maintained on the estates led to the Gaditan dancing girls becoming infamous throughout the ancient world.[7]

Although it is not in fact the most westerly city in the Spanish peninsula, for the Romans Cádiz had that reputation. The poet Juvenal begins his famous tenth satire with the words: Omnibus in terris quae sunt a Gadibus usque Auroram et Gangen ('In all the lands which exist from Gades as far as Dawn and the Ganges...').[14]

Switching hands in later antiquity

The overthrow of Roman power in Hispania Baetica by the Visigoths in the 400s saw the destruction of the original city, of which there remain few traces today. The site was later reconquered by Justinian in 551 as part of the Byzantine province of Spania.[15] It would remain Byzantine until Leovigild's reconquest in 572 returned it to the Visigothic Kingdom.


Under Moorish rule between 711 and 1262, the city was called Qādis, whence the modern Spanish name was derived. A famous Muslim legend developed concerning an "idol" (sanam Qādis) over 100 cubits tall on the outskirts of Cádiz whose magic blocked the strait of Gibraltar with contrary winds and currents; its destruction by Abd-al-Mumin c. 1145 supposedly permitted ships to sail through the strait once more. It also appeared (as Salamcadis) in the 12th-century Pseudo-Turpin's history of Charlemagne, where it was considered a statue of Muhammad and thought to warn the Muslims of Christian invasion.[16] Classical sources are entirely silent on such a structure, but it has been conjectured that the origin of the legend was the ruins of a navigational aid constructed in late antiquity.[17] Abd-al-Mumin (or Admiral Ali ibn-Isa ibn-Maymun) found that the idol was gilded bronze rather than pure gold, but coined what there was to help fund his revolt.[18] In 1217, according to the De itinere Frisonum the city was raided by a group of Frisian crusaders en route to the Holy Land who burned it and destroyed its congregational mosque.[19] The Moors were ousted by Alphonso X of Castile in 1262.

Early modern times

During the Age of Exploration, the city experienced a renaissance. Christopher Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his second and fourth voyages and the city later became the home port of the Spanish treasure fleet. Consequently, it became a major target of Spain's enemies. The 16th century saw a series of failed raids by Barbary corsairs; the greater part of the old town was consumed in a major fire in 1569; and in April 1587 a raid by the Englishman Francis Drake occupied the harbor for three days, captured six ships, and destroyed 31 others (an event which became known in England as 'The Singeing of the King of Spain's Beard'). The attack delayed the sailing of the Spanish Armada by a year.[20]

 Defense of Cádiz against the English, by Francisco de Zurbarán, 1634 (Prado Museum, Madrid)

The city suffered a still more serious attack in 1596, when it was captured by an Anglo-Dutch fleet, this time under the Earls of Essex and Nottingham. 32 Spanish ships were destroyed and the city was captured, looted and occupied for almost a month. Finally, when the royal authorities refused to pay a ransom demanded by the English for returning the city intact, they burned much of it before leaving with their booty. A third English raid was mounted against the city in 1625 by George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, and Edward Cecil, but the attempt was unsuccessful. During the Anglo-Spanish War, Admiral Robert Blake blockaded Cádiz from 1655 to 1657. In the 1702 Battle of Cádiz, the English attacked again under George Rooke and James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde, but they were repelled after a costly siege. In the 18th century, the sand bars of the Guadalquivir forced the Spanish government to transfer its American trade from Seville to Cádiz, which now commanded better access to the Atlantic. Although the empire itself was declining, Cádiz now experienced another golden age from its new importance. It became one of Spain's greatest and most cosmopolitan cities and home to trading communities from many countries, the richest of which were the Irishmen.[citation needed] Many of today's historic buildings in the Old City date from this era.

On 12 October 1778, the right to trade with the Americas was expanded to most ports of mainland Spain, bringing the monopoly of trade hitherto enjoyed by the Port of the Bay of Cádiz to an end.[21]

 Proclamation of the 1812 Constitution of Cádiz.Since the 19th century

During the Napoleonic Wars, Cádiz was blockaded by the British from 1797 until the Peace of Amiens in 1802 and again from 1803 until the outbreak of the Peninsular War in 1808. In that war, it was one of the few Spanish cities to hold out against the invading French and their candidate Joseph Bonaparte. Cádiz then became the seat of Spain's military high command and Cortes (parliament) for the duration of the war. It was here that the liberal Spanish Constitution of 1812 was proclaimed. The citizens revolted in 1820 to secure a renewal of this constitution and the revolution spread successfully until Ferdinand VII was imprisoned in Cádiz. French forces secured the release of Ferdinand in the 1823 Battle of Trocadero and suppressed liberalism for a time. In 1868, Cádiz was once again the seat of a revolution, resulting in the eventual abdication and exile of Queen Isabella II. The Cortes of Cádiz decided to reinstate the monarchy under King Amadeo just two years later.

In recent years[when?], the city has undergone much reconstruction. Many monuments, cathedrals, and landmarks have been cleaned and restored.

^ A. B. Freijeiro, R. Corzo Sánchez, Der neue anthropoide Sarkophag von Cadiz. In: Madrider Mitteilungen 22, 1981. ^ "Phoenician anthropoid sarcophagi, male (around 450-400 BC) and female (around 470 BC), Cadiz Museum, Cádiz, Cadiz". Spain is culture. Retrieved 23 December 2018. ^ Espinosa, Pedro (2007). EL PAIS. Hallado en Cádiz un muro de 3.000 años ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference :0 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Krensky, Stephen (1987). Who Really Discovered America?. Illustrated by Steve Sullivan. Scholastic Inc. p. 30. ISBN 0-590-40854-2. ^ Velleius Paterculus, Hist. Rom. I.2.1-3. ^ a b c Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography: "Gades". ^ Life of Apollonius of Tyana, v. 5. ^ From the Life of Apollonius of Tyana: " ... the pillars in the temple were made of gold and silver smelted together so as to be of one color, and they were over a cubit high, of square form, resembling anvils; and their capitals were inscribed with letters which were neither Egyptian nor Indian nor of any kind which he could decipher. But Apollonius, since the priests would tell him nothing, remarked: 'Heracles of Egypt does not permit me not to tell all I know. These pillars are ties between earth and ocean, and they were inscribed by Heracles in the house of the Fates, to prevent any discord arising between the elements, and to save their mutual affection for one another from violation.'" ^ Livy, 21.21. ^ Livy (epitome) 33. ^ Suetonius, Divi Iuli, Vita Divi Iuli 7. ^ Strabo. Geography. ^ Juvenal, Satires, 10.1-2. ^ Evans, J. A. S. (2003). New Catholic Encyclopedia (2nd ed.). Justinian I, Byzantine Emperor: Gale. pp. 95–102. Retrieved 26 January 2017. ^ Turpin. Thomas Rodd, trans. History of Charles the Great and Orlando, p. 6. James Compton (London), 1812. Accessed 23 July 2013. ^ Fear, A.T. "The Tower of Cádiz". Faventia: Revista de Filologia Clàssica, #12-13, Vol. 1-2 (1990-1991), pp. 199–211. Accessed 23 Jul 2013. ^ Ahmed ibn Mohammed al-Makkari. Pascual De Gauangos, ed. & trans. The History of the Mohammadan Dynasties in Spain, Vol. I, p. 78. Routledge, 2002. Accessed 23 July 2013. ^ Villegas-Aristizábal, Lucas, "A Frisian Perspective on Crusading in Iberia as Part of the Sea Journey to the Holy Land, 1217–1218," Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, 3rd Series 15 (2018, Pub. 2021): 88-149. eISBN 978-0-86698-876-6 ^ Wes Ulm. "The Defeat of the English Armada and the 16th-Century Spanish Naval Resurgence". Harvard University personal website. Archived from the original on 7 February 2004. Retrieved 30 December 2016. ^ Barrientos García, Mª. del Mar (2010). "Cádiz, su puerto y su bahía: la aplicación de las leyes de libre comercio". Trocadero. Cádiz: Editorial UCA (21–22): 238. doi:10.25267/Trocadero.2010.i21.i22.14. hdl:10498/14494.
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