Huelva Town Costa de La Luz Andalucia Spain

Huelva is a city in the northeast of Andalucía, just 20 kilometres from the border to Portugal on Costa de la Luz, and about 1 hours driving from Cadiz and 1,5 hours from Sevilla, with approximately 145.00 inhabitants and the capital of the province of the same name. The province is known for its great National Park, the parque Nacional de Doñana, the large delta area where the river Guadalquivir meets the Atlantic and there fantastic long coast line and sandy beaches. Huelva is a maritime town which is located between the river Anas (modern Guadiana and Beatis (modern Guadalquivir), and was seated on the estuarty of the river Luxia (modern Odiel), on the road to Augusta Emerita (modern Merida).

Huelva old history.

Many different peoples have inhabited Huela, and remains have been found, which prove there were settlements here between 3.000 and 2.500BC. Some say the Huelva area is the longest inhabited part of the Iberian Peninsula.
The city itself was founded in approximately 1.000BC by the Phoenicians, who called it Onoba, from Onos Baal (Gods fortress). It was believed to have been built on the outskirts of Tartessus, the name which was later kept by the Greeks.

It was in the hands of the Turdetani at the time of conquest by Rome, and before the conquest it issued silver coins with Iberian legends. It was called Onoba Aestuaria during Roman times. The city was incorporated into the Roman province of Hispania Beatica. There are still some Roman remains, the best preserved are part of an aqueduct. The city had a mint and many coins have been found there bearing the name of the town as Onuba.

Roman port and there way in Spain.

It was an important Roman port and there was a road joining the Guadiana and the Guadalquivir rivers, one of the bridges from the era is still in use today. There were also several factories along the coast of Huelva where fish was preserved in salt and exported to the rest of the Empire and beyond.
After the fall of the Roman Empire it was inhabited by Vandals, Visigoths and finally by the Arabs and the city was known as Walbah.

It suffered substantial damage in the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755. The earthquake measured 8.5 on the Richter scale and shook the area for six minutes. It killed eight people and left extensive damage to many buildings, especially churches and monuments. The effects on the area economy lasted for many years.

Christopher Columbus and Huelva.

Among the attractions to visit in Huelva, the most important are the Columbus sites, which can be found in the city itself and also throughout the province in Moguer, Palos de la Fontera and La Rabida Monastery. La rabida is where Columbus sought the aid of the Franciscan Brothers in advancing his project of discovery. They introduced him to some rich local sailors (the Pinzon brothers), and eventually arranged a meeting in Servilla with the Catholic Monarchs, Fernando and Isabel.

Thanks to these meetings, Columbus was able to arrange his first voyage using resources and local crew (including ships captains). There is an enduring legend which claims that Columbus received advice on how best to undertake a western passage by speaking with Alonso Sanchez, a sailor from the city of Huelva, where ha also exchanged ideas, explored competing theories, and after a time, gathered the political and economic support that had been previously denied to him by other European monarchies.

Huelva trading and pirates.

In Medieval times, Huelva belonged to the Duke of Medina Sidonia and was an important crossroads for trade and commerce. The city grew considerably until it fell victim to the plague and to pirates. In 1823, the Kingdom of Sevilla was divided in two and the provinces of Huelva and Cadiz were created.

The British take over Huelva.

From the end of the 19th century, the province of Huelva was literally taken over by the British, mainly due to the mines which were in the power of the Rio Tinto Company. A railroad was made from Huela to Spain’s capital, Madrid, and a port was made to provide an easier exit for minerals extracted from the mines to be exported via the Atlantic.

This caused a great increase in the number of habitants with workers arriving from the rest of Spain, Portugal and even further away. The Las Colonias and El matadero districts were created to make way for the population.

Huelva, which was a small fishing town with small houses, became an industrial area with districts such as Reina Victoria (also known as the British District or Workers District) and with connections to all other major cities in Spain. The number of German and British inhabitants meant that during the First World War, many spies could be found in the city, which was also a strategic area due to its port and excellent connections. Because of this it suffered the attacks of many German aeroplanes from the Tablada base in Sevilla, which bombed ships.

Huelva has many important monuments and places to visit.

La Merced Cathedral – The statue of the Pinzon brothers in Palos de la Frontera – The monument to Christopher Columbus situated at the Punta de Sebo, overlooking the confluence of the Odiel and Tinto rivers. – La Soledad cemetery, which holds the body of William Martin, a supposed naval commander known as “The man who never was” – Jardines de Muelle, well-kept gardens located near the port, bordered on all sides by busy roads, with a statue of Alonso Sanchez. – Santuario de Nuestra Señora Virgen de La Cinta, a chapel where Columbus is said to have prayed before setting sail.

Huelva’s gastronomy is similar to the rest of Costa de la Luz and Andalucia. One of the most important products, includes in many dishes, and is Iberian ham from Jabugo in Aracena area. All sorts of fish and shellfish and meat products are widely grown and used in many recipes. Huelva also produces its own wines, brandies and vinegars like there neighbours in the south Jerez and Cadiz. Many British people have apartments and villas for holidays, but more and more is coming for living all year around.


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