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  • Day19

    Santander - Spain

    August 1, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    The history of Santander goes back to the 1st century A.D. which is when the archaeological Roman remains found in the city have been dated. However, may historians go further back to the year 26 B.C. when during the Cantabrian Wars against Rome the Emperor Augustus wished to leave a record of his will to victory over the Cantabrians at the Portus Victoriae (Port of Victory)

    The first documented record of Santander appears in the privilege granted by Sancho II to the Monasterio de San Emeterio in 1068, from the Latin name of which (Sancti Emeterii) the current name of the city seems to originate

    Santander subsequently became an abbacy town and in 1187 was granted a privilege by Alfonso VIII. Moreover, Santander was one of the Four Sea Towns together with San Vicente, Laredo, and Castro Urdiales, and the ships that were to form the fleet of the Kingdom of Castile were built in their shipyards. An outstanding triumph of the Santander navy was the capture of Seville in 1248

    By the 13th century the town of Santander was grouped around two centres: the Old Town, in which the castle and the abbey-collegiate church stood out (the current area of the Cathedral and the Calle Alta), and the New Town (the area of Calle Santa Clara and Calle San Francisco), both of which are joined by a bridge and between which the building of Las Atarazanas would have been situated. However, its expansion was to be checked by a major setback: plague struck the town in 1497. For years Santander suffered the effects of depopulation and plague. Fortunately the opening of the Reinosa Road in 1753 led to the establishing of an important trade in wool and flour from Castile, especially as from 1765 when the Port of Santander was prepared for trade with the American colonies. At the same time the town was to undergo institutional changes: in 1754 it was chosen as the see of the Santander diocese and in 1755 King Ferdinand VI granted it the title of city. From then on Santander began to dominate the region and became its capital in 1801 with the creation of the Maritime Province of Santander

    The period of the true urban expansion of Santander was the 19th century. Although at the start of the century the city suffered the Napoleonic invasion, epidemics, and colonial crises, progress did not falter. The rise of the flour trade together with the importing of colonial produce encouraged the building of a railway between Alar del Rey and Santander. The Port of Santander had so much trade that it was even referred to as the Liverpool of Spain. This expansion was however cut short by the explosion on the quays of the ship Cabo Machichaco in 1893, which left 500 dead and injured thousands

    In summer 1861 Queen Isabel II decided to spend a few days on the beaches of El Sardinero; in gratitude the Town Council gave her the Alfonsina estate with the aim of her establishing her summer residence in Santander. Although this project did not come to fruition for political reasons, it was recovered by Alfonso XIII. The city therefore made a gift to the monarch of the land of the Península de la Magdalena and the palace of the same name, work on which was completed in 1912. Its construction encouraged that of some of the most emblematic buildings such as the Gran Casino, the Hotel Real, and the former Bellavista Racecourse.
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