SPAIN  |  Santander, Spain Travel Guide
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
1 Of 6

A Brief History of Santander

A Brief History of Santander

Santander dates from Roman times, well before the 3rd century. But in later years Santander endured a succession of problems. They began in 1497 on the heels of two centuries in which the city had profited as a leading port in the wool trade with Flanders. In that year Santander hosted the marriage of Don Juan, the crown prince of the Catholic Kings, to Margarita of Austria; the bride-to-be had arrived with a large escort of soldiers, servants and, unwittingly, the plague, which exacted a considerable toll on the city’s population. A century later, riches from the New World began to improve the city’s outlook and by the 19th century Santander had come on strong as an innovator in the Spanish banking industry, a role it still holds in the 21st century.

On a bleak day at the end of the 19th century Spanish newspaper headlines read: “Freighter Explodes in Santander Port, Over 100,000 Killed.” In addition to the startling death toll, the old town, which had grown up around the ill-fated port, was badly damaged as fires swept the city following the explosion. When the flames had died down a new fire station was quickly built in a show of perseverance and soon thereafter King Alfonso XIII established Santander as the summer retreat of Spanish Royalty; the well-healed followed and continue to do so.

In 1941 another fire raged in the city, devouring most of what the previous one hadn’t. That the city had avoided the devastating effects of the CivilWar a few years earlier was small consolation. Santander, arguably Spain’s most determined city, emerged from the ashes in the ensuing decades to take up its place alongside the País Vasco’s San Sebastián as one of the two favored resort cities on Spain’s Atlantic Coast. Despite pockets of grime and noisiness, Santander looks sleek and modern and – if the lack of old-world architecture is any indicator – braced for the future. The good times roll and the fire station still stands in case the past repeats itself.

Last updated September 21, 2011
Posted in   Spain  |  Santander
No votes yet
Explore the Destination
Amenities and Resources
  • Map
  • Weather Forecast
  • Overcast, heavy rain showers
    • Reported on:
      Wed, 06/16/2021 - 10:00
    Overcast, heavy rain showers Temperature: 20 °C
Trending Themes:

Guides to Popular Ski Resorts

  • Ischgl is a small mountain village turned hip ski resort, with massive appeal among the party-hearty young crowds. It is... Read More

  • Andorra la Vella is its own little world, and not just because it’s a 290-square-mile independent principality (a fifth the... Read More

  • Bariloche (officially San Carlos de Bariloche) is the place to be seen. It is to Argentina what Aspen is to the... Read More

  • Aspen is America's most famous ski resort. And that's an understatement. For, as a ski complex, Aspen is unsurpassed. Its... Read More

  • Zermatt is a small but glamorous mountain resort town, with a population of approximately 5,700. It is one of Switzerland's... Read More

  • St. Moritz is a glitzy, alpine resort town in the celebrated Engadin Valley of Switzerland, with huge notoriety as the... Read More

  • Lake Tahoe is the premier lake resort of America, and the largest alpine lake in all of North America. It is an absolutely... Read More

  • St. Anton, Sankt Anton am Arlberg in German, is Austria's premier ski-bum resort! It's actually a small village cum... Read More

  • Kitzbühel, a small, Tyrolian resort town in the Kitzbüheler Alps, comes with international renown and huge snob appeal, and... Read More


Copyright © 2010-2013 Indian Chief Travel Guides. Images tagged as (cc) are licensed under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.