Historia Ferrol



In its origin, Ferrol was a fishing port. However, its development was due to Philip V, who recognized the strategic value of its estuary and built the arsenal in A Graña and the shipyards. Ferrol went on to control the maritime interests of Spain in the North Atlantic, threatened by England.
The naval engineers built the A Magdalena neighborhood, characterized by its geometric layout typical of the Enlightenment. It gave rise to a city that at the end of the eighteenth century would reach 20.000 inhabitants.

In 1800 the landing of the British fleet took place on Doniños beach, in what is known as the Brion Battle. The objective was to take Ferrol and destroy the shipyards, but the local forces responded quickly causing the withdrawal of the English .

In the nineteenth century, King Ferdinand VII moved all naval units to Cádiz, leaving Ferrol without military activity or industry. Years later, the Marquis de Molíns promoted a naval rearmament plan that reactivated Ferrol’s shipyards. On October 13th, 1858, a Royal Decree granted Ferrol the title of city and Ferrol received the first real visit in its history, that of Isabella II of Spain. In this same year, Ferrol produced the launching of the first steam ship in Spain, which would be followed, as early as 1881, by the first ship with an iron hull.

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In 1909, the shipyards and part of the arsenals were leased to a private company: the Spanish Society of Shipbuilding, which with English social participation, ensured the transfer of technology. In the decades of 1910 and 1920, Ferrol was modernized: electrification, drinking water and sewerage, etc. It also improved its communications (rail, electric tram, commercial port) and it managed to reach 35.000 inhabitants in 1930, thereby becoming the third most important city of Galicia.

During the Spanish Civil War, Ferrol developed a strategic role as the most important center of construction, repairs and supply of ships of Franco’s Spain. After the war, the favor of the State explains the reactivation of the naval industry in Ferrol, which came to employ 20.000 workers. In 1950, Ferrol would reach 77.000 inhabitants.

At present, Ferrol continues to suffer the effects of the economic depression of the 1980s motivated by the naval crisis, and a lower military presence, plus the effects of the recent financial crisis of 2008. Even so, the works of the AP-9, the Ferrol-Villalba highway, the road to the outer port and the work of the Caneliñas port were completed. There is an embryo of industrial diversification with investments from the textile, wind, plastics, chemical, iron and steel industries, etc., without forgetting new industries, such as the Tourism sector. In addition, Ferrol has traditionally had low-crime rates.


This post is also available in: Spanish Galician

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