Cartagena. A millennial city and a civilisations port
Mastia is the name of an ancient Iberian ethnicity, belonging to the Tartessian confederation, located in southeastern Spain. It was founded around 227 B.C.
The Carthaginians named Qart Hadasht to the city and it was for them the most important place in the Iberian Peninsula in 223 B.C. They built a border wall around the city.
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC. The main cause of the Punic Wars was the conflict of interests between the existing Carthaginian Empire and the expanding Roman Republic. Cartagena was an important place in this war.
Hannibal, son of Hamilcar Barca (247 – 183/182 BC) was a Punic Carthaginian military commander, generally considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His father, Hamilcar Barca , was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War.
Publius Cornelius Scipio (died 211 BC) was a general and statesman of the Roma Republic. Scipio served as consul in 218 BC, the first year of the Second Punic War. His term of command was extended and the following year found him in Hispania with his brother Calvus, winning victories over the Carthaginians and strengthening Rome's position in the Iberian peninsula.
To remember this part of our history every year we celebrate the Festivity of Carthaginias and Romans.
Publius Cornelius Scipio said: "Capta Carthaginem, capta Hispaniam“. The battle for Qart Hadas was the end of the War. During the Roman Empire, it was known as Carthago Nova (the New Carthage) and Carthago Spartaria, capital of the province of Carthaginensis.
Most of the oldest monuments date from the ages of the Roman Empire when Cartagena flourished. Among its numerous Roman remains stands out the recently restored Roman theatre of Carthago Nova and the Augusteum, that was originally a site of the imperial cult of ancient Rome, named after the imperial title of Augustus
The Middle Ages in Cartagena
After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire (476 A.C.), Cartagena becamed a part of the Byzantine Empire.
During the Visigothic Kingdom Cartagena became a little town.
In the beginning of the VIII century, the Islamic Empire conquers the Visigothic Kingdom of Toledo. The Muslims named the small village Qartayannat al-Halfa and it began a period of growth. In the Islamic Kingdom, Cartagena recovers the importance as a port and the agriculture and minning industry grow again.
Alfonso X, called The Wise, conquers Murcia and adds Cartagena to the Kingdom of Castilla and León in the XII century With Alfonso “The Wise”, Cartagena recovers its commercial activity with the Mediterranean Sea. And in the XIV century Cartagena recovers its influence as a military port.
Cartagena in the Renaissance
The port of Cartagena gains in importance with the mediterranean politics of the Catholic Monarchs.
With the Habsburg dinasty the strategic and military importance of Cartagena grows to dominate the Mediterranean Sea.
In the XVII century, Cartagena suffers attacks from the Barbary corsairs. So, it´s necesary to build towers of vigilance around the coast.
It´s the beginning of an economic crisis that goes on for a century.
The XVIII century. A new growth
Time for economic growing because Cartagena is the Capital of the Maritime Mediterranean Department. It causes:
- The new Arsenal
- Bigger Shipyard
- More and better Fortifications.
The XIX Century
Minning Resurgence and urban transformations
- Resurgence of minning activity produces a prosperity time, and it causes…
- Bourgeoisie development because of the minning, and it brings…
- Wealth that causes the transformation of the city and a urban modernization
Minning activity in Cartagena´s Mountains: The most important minerals were lead, zinc and silver.
In 1873, while in Spain there was the First Republic, in Cartagena the Cantonal Rebellion began. It lasted for six months. During that time, 75% of the buildings were destroyed by the cannon shots.
Beginning of the XX century: Minning crisis
In the twenties Cartagena retakes again importance as a naval port. During the Spanish Civil War War Cartagena was bombed frecuently because of its strategic importance. After the War, from the fifties to the seventies, Cartagena has an important industrial activity based on shipyards and the chemical industry of fertilisers.
Nowadays, the economy is based on tourism, petroleum industry, shipyard and intensive agriculture.