The Atlantic Ports in Cadiz

Endowed with numerous buildings linked to the route to the Indies, the cities have been active since the dawn of the Discovery. The hegemony of Cadiz from the 17th Century onwards in exchanges with America is particularly noteworthy. Sanlucar de Barrameda, located at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River, became a crucial communication hub for controlling the shipping of the port of Seville. Cadiz and Puerto de Santa Maria emerged as trading emporiums in the 18th century when trade with America was centralized on the bay of Cadiz. The trading houses, fortifications, and religious foundations that remain to this day are a testament to this activity.

Sanlucar de Barrameda

Sanlucar de Barrameda is steeped in the characteristic Atlantic flavour. The Castle of Santiago (15th C.) in the Barrio Alto is a military stronghold that protects the port, dominates the city, and serves as a privileged vantage point. Nearby is the Palacio de Medina Sidonia (14th-19th C.), the residence of the Dukes, the lords of the town during its greatest moments. In the Barrio Bajo, a trading, seafaring quarter, historic areas of the market can still be made out, such as the Calle Bretones, and several trading houses, such as the Casa Arizón (18th C.). This is a perfect example of the residence of a merchant involved in trade with America, a house with a patio, chapel, warehouse, and lookout tower to watch out for the arrival of the fleets. Among the religious foundations, the most renowned are the Convents of Madre de Dios, La Victoria, San Francisco, and Santo Domingo.

Puerto de Santa Maria

In Puerto de Santa Maria, there are early indications of the influence of the emigrants returning from America. In its Castle OF San Marcos (13th C.), a fortified church built upon a mosque, legend has it that Columbus lodged here when he came to the port to put his proposals to the Dukes of Medinaceli. The Monastery of La Victoria (16th C.), was founded by Bernard Boil, considered to be the first apostle of the New World. In the 17th and the 18th Centuries, civic buildings abounded; such as the Fuente de las Galeras, the Real Aduana (The Royal Customs) and many trading houses dotted all over the town, as the Houses of Vizarron, Rivas, of Aranibar, the house of Valdivieso, Roque Aguado and the Palacio de Villareal.


Cadiz, the capital of the Atlantic ports in the 18th century, acquired a landscape characterized by Castles and Bastions (17th 18th C.) which make for a singular horizon. Cadiz would come to possess 160 of these vantage points from which the ships could be seen arriving from America.

Cadiz street

Institutional Buildings

Institutional buildings such as the Real Aduana, Casa de Contratacion (Chamber of Commerce in c/ San Francisco), the Consulate of Merchands of the Indias (in C/ Rubio y Diaz) , all dating back to the 18th century, stand in testimony of an age when galleons and sailing ships crowded the harbour.

Religious Buildings

Amongst the religious buildings, the most outstanding are the Convent of Santo Domingo and the Church of El Rosario (17th-18th C.) the virgin of which is the patron saint of the city and of the Route to the Indias (An image of her called La Galeona sailed the seas with the fleet to lend them her protection); The monumental Cathedral Church (18th C.) financed by the riches brought from overseas; the church of El Carmen, and San Felipe Neri, where the Liberal Constitution of 1812 was promulgated, a decisive event in the evolution of Latin American architecture of Cadiz, which in most cases, belonged to the traders or Officers of the fleet; Casa del Almirante, (17th C., Plaza San Juan de Dios), Casa de las Cadenas, Casa de las Cuatro Torres, a typical example of Cadiz buildings, the houses of El Gas (C/ Sopranis), the house of Tavira (C/ Marques del Real Tesoro) with the highest lookout tower, and the house of Estopiñan.

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