Cartagena (Murcia)

History of Cartagena

According to 2019 records, Cartagena has more than 200,000 inhabitants, making it the second most important city in the Murcia province.

The city of Cartagena was founded by the Carthaginian general Asdrubal in the year 227 B.C. with the name of Qart Hadasht. Cartagena was not in Carthaginian hands for very long, as in 209 B.C. the city was conquered by the Romans during the Second Punic War.
Roman theater (Cartagena - Murcia) 
Under Roman rule, the city had its greatest moment of splendour between the end of the 3rd century B.C. and the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. It was a very important city for the Romans due to the mining wealth of the surrounding mountains and its privileged location, which allowed easy defence of the city. The port of Cartagena has been a great economic source for the city since historic times.

In the year 734 due to the capitulation of the Cora de Tudmir, Cartagena passed into Muslim hands. The city lived through a long Muslim period until 1245, when the then Prince Alfonso (later to be King Alfonso X the Wise) conquered the city, recovering its status as episcopal see.
In 1272 Alfonso X the Wise established a military order focused on naval defence. It is known as the “Order of Saint Mary of Spain.” This determined that the Crown of Castile would have its defence in Cartagena. Although later, the fact of moving the episcopal see towards Murcia halted the growth of several areas of Cartagena.

Since the 16th century, Cartagena has been strengthening its military work due to the tactical relevance of its port. In this way, in the 18th century it became the capital of the Mediterranean Maritime Department and construction began of the Arsenal, the castles and barracks provided for in the city's fortification plan. This great activity around the city caused the population to increase fivefold in a very short time, going from 10,000 to 50,000 inhabitants.
During the 19th century other industries were created that meant a renovation for Cartagena, such as acquiring silver, lead and zinc. This mining boom served as a stimulus for industry and commerce. Furthermore, Cartagena also took advantage in the chemical sector, obtaining compounds such as sulphur, phosphate fertilizers and explosives.

The mining crisis and the great international economic crisis of the second decade of the 20th century caused strong social tensions for Cartagena. In the midst of this scenario, Cartagena faced the Second Republic and suffered the dramatic consequences of the Spanish Civil War, being one of the great bastions of the republican government and, along with Alicante, the last city to fall into the hands of Francisco Franco.
Cartagena (Murcia-Spain)
Today, an important part of Cartagena's economy is the oil refining industry and the export of agricultural products. In addition, Cartagena stands out for being one of the largest naval bases in all of Spain, with naval repair being one of its most important activities. The other great industry of Cartagena is tourism, being one of the most visited cities in the Spanish southeast thanks to its immense heritage, such as the Roman Theatre and the Old Cathedral of Saint Mary.