Cadiz, called “the silver cup” was founded by the Phoenicians more than 3,000 years ago, with the name Gadir.
Its history was later shaped by the Greeks and Carthaginians. From here Hannibal departed to conquer Italy.
Under the rule of the Roman Empire it grew famous for its exportation of garum, a fermented fish sauce, and for its dancers, such as Telethusa. After the fall of the Empire, a succession of conquests ensued: the Vandals, the Byzantines, and the Visigoths.
The Umayyad Caliphate, after the victory of General Tariq Ibn Ziyad at the Battle of Guadalete, made it one of the first cities on the Peninsula to form part of the Moorish realm of Al Andalus. In 1262 Alfonso X The Wise integrated it into the Crown of Castile.
During the 15th century it was a favorite stopover for Genoese and Venetian ships. This is probably when the Carnival tradition began. The strategic importance of its port revitalised it during the Era of Discovery. Christopher Columbus’s second voyage to the Americas departed from the city.
In 1717, due to the difficulty of navigating the Guadalquivir, the House of Trade was moved to Cadiz, wresting from Seville its commercial monopoly with the Americas. The Cathedral of Santa Cruz was built during this era. On October 21, 1805 the fleet that fought in the Battle of Trafalgar set sail from the city.
During the Napoleonic invasion Cadiz withstood the French siege, despite being poorly equipped to do so. Here the first Spanish Constitution, La Pepa, was promulgated, on 19 March, 1812. But, in 1823 the arrival of the French army dubbed the “100,000 Sons of San Luis”, fighting in support of King Fernando VII, who had taken refuge in the Customs House, quashed the liberals’ resistance in Cadiz.
Today there are many ways to enjoy Cadiz: enjoy its Carnival, famous for the ingenuity of its satirical folk song choirs known as chirigotas, or enjoy the natural landscapes nearby, such as the Sierra de Grazalema and Los Alcornocales parks; visit places like the magical White Villages, or the spectacular beaches that line its coasts.