Cádiz

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Cádiz

Cádiz (käˈdēth), city, capital of Cádiz prov., SW Spain, in Andalusia, on the Bay of Cádiz. Picturesquely situated on a promontory (joined to the Isla de León, just off the mainland), it is today chiefly a port exporting wines and other agricultural items and importing coal, iron, and foodstuffs. Shipbuilding and fishing are other industries. There is a Spanish naval base in Cádiz and a U.S. naval base at nearby Rota.

The Phoenicians founded (c.1100 B.C.) on the site the port of Gadir, which became a market for tin and the silver of Tarshish. It was taken (c.500 B.C.) by the Carthaginians and passed late in the 3d cent. B.C. to the Romans, who called it Gades. It flourished until the fall of Rome, but suffered from the barbarian invasions and declined further under the Moors. After its reconquest (1262) by Alfonso X of Castile, its fortifications were rebuilt.

The discovery of America revived its prosperity, as many ships from America unloaded their cargoes there. Columbus sailed from Cádiz on his second voyage (1495). In 1587, Sir Francis Drake burned a Spanish fleet in its harbor, and in 1596 the earl of Essex attacked and partly destroyed the city. But it continued to flourish and in 1718, after Seville's port had become partially blocked by a sandbar, Cádiz became the official center for New World trade. After Spain lost its American colonies, the city declined. During the siege by the French—which Cádiz resisted for two years (1810–12) until relieved by Wellington—the Cortes assembled in the city and issued the famous liberal constitution for Spain (Mar., 1812). Cádiz fell to the Nationalists almost immediately in the Spanish Civil War.

In 1980 Phoenician sarcophagi were discovered at two different sites, supporting the theory that the city is of Phoenician origin. One of the oldest and best-preserved Roman theaters was discovered in Cádiz in 1980. The clean, white city has palm-lined promenades and parks. Its 13th-century cathedral, originally Gothic, was rebuilt in Renaissance style; the new cathedral was begun in 1722. Cádiz has several museums and an art gallery with works by Murillo, Alonso Cano, and Zurbarán. In the church of the former Capuchin convent hangs the Marriage of St. Catherine by Murillo, who was at work on this painting when he fell from a scaffold to his death.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cádiz

 

a city and an important port in southwestern Spain, in Andalusia, on the coast of the Bay of Cádiz of the Atlantic Ocean. Capital of Cádiz Province. Population, 137, 900 (1969).

Cádiz is a major transportation junction and industrial center in the south of the country. It handles more than 1 million tons of freight annually. Its principal industries are aviation and shipbuilding; large shipyards are located in the environs of the city. There are fish-canning, tobacco, textile, and other industrial enterprises. Cádiz is a military naval base.

In antiquity the city was known as Gades. It was founded by the Phoenicians in about 800 B.C. or, according to some data, in 1100 B.C. Circa 500 B.C., Cádiz fell under the rule of Carthage. In 206 B.C. it was seized by the Romans; in 49 B.C. it became a Roman municipium. In the fifth century Cádiz was seized by the Visigoths, and in the eighth century it was captured by the Arabs, from whom it was conquered in 1262 by the king of Castile, Alfonso X. During the Spanish revolution of 1808-14, Cádiz was the provisional residence of the central junta and of the Cortes. A rebellion of the troops and ship crews in Cádiz served as the start of revolutions in 1820 and 1868.

Cádiz basically has a regular city plan. Among the noteworthy sights are the 17th-century fortress walls, the Old Cathedral of Santa Cruz (13th century, reconstructed in the 17th century), the Church of Santa Cueva (end of the 18th century, architect Benjumeda; paintings by F. Goya, 1793-95), and numerous 18th- and 19th-century buildings done in the style of classicism.There is a provincial museum in Cádiz.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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