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Beginnings

imagen_inicialWe are seemingly able to state that the natural bay of Cadiz has always sheltered a port or important centre of harbour activity on its shores, perhaps even a certain number of them of relative splendour at some moments in time, dating from the founding of the present town of Cadiz (dating back to the year 1104 BC ) until the Punic and Roman domination, when Gades became the most important Hispanic city and the third most important of the Romain Empire in Europe.

Although not  pinpointed in time yet, we thus Know about the building of a quarrying pier at Rota which was destroyed in the tidal wave of 1755 that might have been one of the main ports of entrance to ancient Tartessos. Through written documentation, now (the first in the existence of the Port) we know from Estrabon to the construction, by order of Balbo, of the PORTUS GADITANUS on the banks of the River Guadalete and of the first dockyard dedicated to naval construction close to El Trocadero, existing reference to the building of 10 ships for the war between Julius Caesar and Pompey.

Whatever its geographical location might have been, it was during the time of Caesar when the Port of Cadiz acquired its first era of fame and splendour, exporting salted fish and wine to Rome and other European and African provinces of the Empire.

Its history becomes confused from the Fourth to the Fifteenth Centuries when the Spanish Crown, under the reign of the Catholic Kings, established the first port in the Bay of Cadiz, founding the town of Puerto Real under the protection of a Royal Decree which ordered its creation and granted its commercial exclusivity.

An era of supremacy in African commerce lasted to the end of this century and throughout the whole of the XVIth century. Meanwhile, the great event of the discovery of a new continent happened which would open up the gates of a new commerce: that of the overseas provinces.

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