VIGO,Galicia » City Info » History

The name Vigo comes from the Latin word Vicus. Earlier the small village of Vigo was a part of the territory of neighbouring towns, mainly Tui and suffered several Viking attacks. Once the Pax Romana was established, it lasted almost six hundred years. Recent archaeological researches have indicated possible existence, at least between the 3rd and 6th Century AD. This concluded human settlements, such as The Roman vicus, which coincides with the area where the historical Centre is located, between Areal and O Berbes streets.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the city was attacked several times by various emperors or pirates. In 1585 and 1589 Francis Drake raided the city and occupied it, leaving many buildings burnt. Several decades later, a Turkish fleet tried to attack the city. The walls of Vigo were built to protect the town from lootings, during Philip IV’s reign, in 1656. By that time, A Laxe bastion and San Sebastian castle were built, together with the chapel of the same name.

In 1702 the Battle of Rande took place, and in 1719, because a Spanish fleet, which departed from Vigo attempted to invade Scotland, the city was seized by an English fleet. In 1778 Charles III ended the monopoly of the authorized ports to trade with America, and Vigo started benefiting from it.

In the 19th Century, the French army conquered Vigo. However, the popular resistance resulted in the expulsion of the French military force. Due to this, people started recognising Vigo as a faithful, loyal and brave city. Vigo was also the first city of Galicia to be freed from French rule, which is now celebrated every year on 28th of March as the Reconquista.

The city grew very rapidly in the 19th and 20th centuries. This resulted in continuous urban planning changes, making Vigo less structured than other Galician towns.

The second half of the 19th Century was a growing period for Vigo. It increased its relationships with America. During this time, many factories of salted meat and derivatives from sea products kept on opening, which made the growth of wages and financial bourgeoisie possible. Vigo expanded beyond the walls and built new roads and important stone buildings. Now it is a famous tourist destination.

This large city is the main port of seafood in the world.