Ferrol city



Ferrol (Galician: [feˈrɔl] , Spanish: [feˈrol] ) is a city in the province of A Coruña in Galicia, Spain. It is located in the Rías Altas, in the vicinity of Strabo's Cape Nerium (modern day Cape Prior). According to the 2021 census, the city has a population of 64,785, making it the seventh largest settlement in Galicia. With Eume to the south and Ortegal the north, Ferrol forms the comarca of Ferrolterra, and together with A Coruña forms the second largest conurbation in Galicia, with a total population of 640,000 in 2016. The harbour, for depth, capacity and safety, has few equals in Europe. The entrance is very narrow, commanded by forts, and may even be shut by a boom.The city has been a major naval shipbuilding centre for most of its history, being the capital of the Spanish Navy's Maritime Department of the North since the time of the early Bourbons. Before that, in the 17th century, Ferrol had the largest arsenal in Europe. Today, the city contains some of the major shipbuilding yards of the Navantia Group. Ferrol was the birthplace of the dictator Francisco Franco in 1892. The municipality was officially named after him as "El Ferrol del Caudillo" from September 1938 to December 1982. It was also the birthplace of the founder of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), Pablo Iglesias, in 1850. The city is one of the starting points of the English Way path of the Camino de Santiago. Because of the modern requirement that pilgrims must travel 100 km by foot in order to be officially recognized, Ferrol is the preferred starting point for pilgrims traversing the English Way. The existence of prehistoric human settlements in the area that would later become Ferrol is suggested by the abundance of burial chambers and megalithic monuments, as well as petroglyphs and other archaeological findings. The Phoenicians established in this area several dried and salted cod stations and their presence, together with that of the Ancient Greeks, is well documented by such classical historians as Herodotus, Strabo, Pomponius Mela, and Ptolemy. In Roman times, in the 1st century BC, a fishing port existed which also traded in metals (like silver, gold, tin and iron ), and wild horses. Near Ferrol there is a place called Naraío (famous for its medieval castle), whose name bears a phonetic resemblance Strabo's Nerium, modern day Cape Prior. In ancient Hispania, these parts of the Iberia were dominated by the Artabri (or Arrotrebae), who gave their name to the Portus Magnus Artabrorum ("Great Port of the Artabri"), formed not only by the bay of Ferrol but the three rias of Ferrol, Betanzos and A Coruña. Ferrol was then, as it is today, a first class natural harbour in the treacherous waters of the Atlantic, and very well guarded. Historically, it has often been described as the best natural port in Europe.After the fall of the Western Roman Empire the whole Iberian Peninsula, including Ferrol, was raided by the Vandals and incorporated in 411 to the Suebic Kingdom of Galicia; their kingdom was incorporated in 584 by Leovigild to the Visigothic Kingdom. Following the collapse of the Suebic-Visigothic state, these Christian parts of Iberia saw very little change in comparison with other parts of the peninsula, becoming part of the Kingdom of Asturias as early as 750AD. Over time, the Kingdom of Asturias would split into further Christian kingdoms, causing the area to change hands several times between Galicia, Leon, and finally Castile.Ferrol served as a strategic safe port during the Hundred Years' War and sided with the House of Trastamara during the Castilian Civil War. As a personal reward to Fernan Perez de Andrade, in 1371, Henry II gave the town to the powerful Andrade family.In 1568 a fire reduced the old medieval town to rubble; in the same period some parts of the existing fortifications at the entrance of the estuary were built. The town was considered more important as a royal arsenal at this time than as a harbour.With the arrival of the Bourbons in the 18th century, Ferrol became a leading naval centre. Ferrol was made capital of the Maritime Department of the North, formed under Ferdinand VI and Charles III for the defence of the Spanish Colonial Empire in America. Rapid improvements followed, notably under the leadership of the Marquis of Ensenada, and the position of Ferrol was made almost unassailable from the sea, the difficulties of disembarking troops on its precipitous coast being strengthened by a renewed line of fortresses and newly built castles, including that of San Carlos. The Royal Dockyards of A Graña and Ferrol, built between 1726–1783, produced ships protected with copper sheets from the rolling mills of Xubia. In 1772, The Spanish Royal Academy of Naval Engineers of Ferrol, the first such academy in Spain, was created. For the most laborious work, six hundred galley slaves were employed in the harbour.Ferrol is famous in the history of the struggle between the Spanish Empire and the British for being one of the only enclaves in the world, together with Cartagena de Indias, that always resisted occupation successfully; Ferrol was virtually impossible to blockade in the age of sail, as strong westerly winds would take any blockading force away along the treacherous north coast of Spain towards the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death), where they had no safe haven. The geography of Ferrol meant that an entire Spanish fleet could slip out on a single tide. By the time the British were able to resume the blockade, the Spanish would be safely away and out to sea. Despite these advantages, a decline set in during the reign of Charles IV, and in 1800, during the Ferrol Expedition, after the defences had been reduced, a British fleet of 109 vessels landed troops on the beach of Doniños to take the Castle of San Felipe. Although only equipped with meagre artillery, the castle's small defence force under the command Count Donadio, together with a sizable number of volunteer citizens of Ferrol, successfully resisted the attack and the fleet withdrew. The alliance with the United Kingdom during the Peninsular War of 1808–1814 failed to prevent the deterioration in the town's fortunes. The arsenals and fortresses were abandoned and they were easily occupied by the French in 1809.When the war with Napoleonic France was over, many of the South American colonies chose to pursue independence from Spain and the shipyards of Ferrol went into a serious decline, losing most of their civilian, clergy and military population. By 1824, Ferrol had a population of just 10,000 civilians and about 6,000 military personnel (stationed locally, if not permanently, at least during most of the year). Its mathematical school for marine artillerists, the pilot school, and the Spanish Royal Academy of Naval Engineers were almost completely empty, in stark contrast to the glorious years of abundance before the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Ferrol built only two ships of the line between 1794 and 1845, although nine frigates and a considerable number of smaller warships were also constructed in this period. After half a century of decreased activity, it lost its title of capital under Ferdinand VII. However, there was a massive renovation during the leadership of Cardinal Alberoni and in just a few years fourteen great line-of-battle-ships were launched. New activities sprang up and Ferrol was employing 2,000 workmen in its foundries, now in full operation. A School of Naval Engineers was established where 40 students were taught the scientific principles of their profession by competent instructors educated in England and France. So successful in bringing the world's most advanced technologies was the administration of the Marquis de Molina, the Spanish Minister for Naval affairs, that by 1858 the Royal Dockyards of Ferrol were launching Spain's first steam propelled ship, which was also its first iron-hulled sailing ship. The second half of the 19th century brought to the Royal Dockyards of Ferrol not only employment, but also concomitant social and political tensions, which culminated in the failed republican uprising of 1872. Steamers between Ferrol and the port of Havana in Spanish Cuba were in frequent operation at the time, such that shipyard workers who got into trouble with the local authorities in Ferrol often fled to the Spanish Main. From the days of the Armada to the present, the Bay of Ferrol has attracted numerous ships seeking repairs or refuge after meeting with disaster or rough waters trying to cross the Bay of Biscay in bad weather. Such was the case of Cleopatra, carrying one of the two Cleopatra Needles, which stands today on the Thames Embankment in London, UK. It arrived in Ferrol on 19 October 1877 after almost sinking off the west coast of France five days earlier. A plaque commemorating the event and those who died can be seen at the base of the Needle in London. Ten years after the Spanish–American War of 1898, in which Spain lost Cuba and the Philippines, the Antonio Maura government, in an attempt to restore the Spanish Navy and Spanish shipbuilding industry, hired the Spanish Society for Naval Construction, whose major investors were a British-Spanish conglomerate taking contracts In the following proportions: 40% Vickers Sons and Maxim, 30% Marquis of Comillas of the Spanish Transatlantic Company, and 30% Biscay Furnace Company. All the previously state-owned shipbuilding yards, workshops, foundries and dry docks at Ferrol were handed over to the technical expertise of some of finest British shipbuilders; John Brown, Vickers and Armstrong were now in charge of building the new Spanish fleet.For a period of sixteen years, the technicians were exclusively British, and the situation was not altered till 1925, when management was taken over by Spanish engineers. This was one of the new policies introduced by the newly-installed government of the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923–1930). The arrival of the British coincided with the construction of a local tram system (1924–1961).In view of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, and due to the fear of social unrest in the naval station, the Foreign Office in London organized a ship to repatriate all the remaining British citizens. On 22 July 1936, HMS Witch left Ferrol bound for Britain. At the beginning of the war, the shipbuilding yards, workshops, foundries and dry docks in Ferrol were taken over by the state. They were fully nationalized in 1945 under the name "Bazán", later renamed "IZAR", and, from January 2005, Navantia. The town was the birthplace of Francisco Franco, after whom the city was officially known as El Ferrol del Caudillo from 1938 to 1982. The end of the Spanish State and the arrival of democracy in 1978 did little to arrest Ferrol's economic decline, and from 1982 to the early 1990s, the city faced numerous problems due to the waning of the naval sector. The beginning of the new millennium, however, has been a time of economic expansion and prosperity in general. A new motorway and an outer-port have been built, as have numerous arcades and shopping centres, mostly in the outskirts of the city between Ferrol and Naron. Young shoppers and their families frequent the stores and enjoy weekend days out with amenities like bowling, cafeterias, fast food outlets, cinemas and sports facilities. The Spanish Navy Spanish Squadron still takes part in naval demonstrations and in June 2008 Ferrol hosted the large NATO Maritime Exercise Loyal Mariner (RN).The Ferrol Terminus railway station, connecting Lugo to Ferrol, branching off from the line from Madrid to nearby A Coruña, was sanctioned by the Cortes in Madrid as early as 1865 but was not finally inaugurated until 1904. A century later, the High Speed AVE Railway suffered similar delays, eventually opening in 2013In September 2017, a new local railway branch serving the outer port of Ferrol (known as the Canelinas-Ferrol container port), the inside of the bay docks and the Ferrol Terminus railway station was given the green light to begin construction, and aims to move large numbers modern containers in and out of Ferrol, distributing goods throughout Galicia and the rest of Spain and Europe. A small railway local branch operated here in the early years of the 20th century. At that time, Ferrol itself and its ports were intended solely for the Royal Navy and its shipyards, and hence were not open to the general commerce per se. Historically, however, there have been many exceptions, with local businesses including PEMSA (timber), PYSBE (dried and salted cod) and HISPANIA (pencils), in addition to manufacturers of hats, paper and leather, plus naval and hardware stores. Items such as corn, wine, brandy, vinegar, pilchards and herrings (and other produce from Ferrol's own fisheries) have also been exported.

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Ferrol is the starting point of The Camino Ingles. You can reach Santiago de Compostela in 5 days.

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