In the year 62 BC, Julius Caesar’s troops reached the enclave that is currently A Coruña and established a strategic port towards the Atlantic. This became an important shipping and commercial route which was known as
When the Roman Empire fell, the settlement fell into the hands of the Visigoths. It was one of the few towns that did not fall into Muslim hands after the invasion of 711 because it was in the extreme northwest. Thus, it became part of the Kingdom of Asturias.
However, A Coruña could not escape the continuous attacks of the Viking fleets during the 10th and 11th centuries. Both the settlement and the port were depopulated.
The enormous wealth and prosperity of A Coruña made it worthy of the title of city in 1446, further increasing its influence and geographical and strategic importance.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, A Coruña was involved in the wars and intrigues that broke out between the different Spanish kingdoms. This resulted in an economic blow due to the imposition of high taxes and the compulsory recruitment of the population.
In 1588 and 1589, the city suffered a continuous attack from the British army, led by Francis Drake. The British saw A Coruña as a highly coveted strategic point for its trade routes and its enormous wealth. The city heroically resisted the siege.
To prevent something similar from happening again, Philip III ordered the transfer of the Royal Audience from Santiago de Compostela to A Coruña to strengthen it and shield its security, creating the School of the Boys of the Sea in 1620.
A serious setback occurred during the Succession War, which forced taxes to be increased again and compulsory recruitment to be reactivated. After the conflict ended in 1716, the city experienced a new impulse thanks to the exports of the Catalan business community.
However, the real moment of splendour occurred when Charles III ordered the dissolution of the commercial monopoly of Cadiz, allowing 13 ports to trade directly with the Spanish colonies, including A Coruña. This led to an unprecedented economic upturn, especially in the tobacco industry.
The turbulent and profitable 19th century
During the first years of the 19th century, A Coruña had a developed port and very active shipping lines. This prosperity was cut short when Napoleonic troops invaded Spain in 1808. Immediately, all of Galicia rose up against the invader.
After a brief French occupation of nine months in 1809, A Coruña held its position by offering resistance through intense guerrilla warfare. It beat the invader, which fled without fighting.
After the war of independence against the French, A Coruña found itself immersed in an intense and turbulent series of conflicts that included an unsuccessful attempt to restore the constitution in 1815 and the Carlist Wars in 1833.
This political instability ended in 1849 when Elisabeth II named A Coruña the capital of the province.
During the second half of the 19th century, the city was modernized with the installation of large industries, a powerful banking network and urban reordering.
Another great impulse from which A Coruña benefitted came after 1898, when the colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines were lost. This forced the large Galician landowners to return to A Coruña with their accumulated fortunes, which they injected into the local economy.
The 20th century and the future
By the year 1912, the population of A Coruña had tripled in relation to the previous century. It increased later with the industrial development of the port and goods and services companies. This resulted in an immense real estate boom, taking advantage of the “Ensanche” at the end of the 19th century.
However, the city could not escape the terrible political instability generated in Spain after the proclamation of the second republic in 1931, which, although it did not affect the unstoppable economic revival, could not avoid suffering the outbreak of the Civil War of 1936.
Under the Franco dictatorship, the city flourished amid the so-called Spanish Economic Miracle, which was relaunched with the advent of democracy. Although it lost the status of Galician capital in 1981, the city has splendour and significant urban, shipping and industrial development.
With the arrival of the new century, A Coruña faced great challenges, especially after the 2008 crash, which affected the real estate and industrial sectors. Its port industry had to compete with other commercial ports in an increasingly globalized world.