The History of Infrastructure and Transported Goods in Andalusia

Discover how transportation has played a vital role in Andalusia's history

By Andalusian Archives

Archivos de Andalucía

Dam of the electricity factory of the Castle on the road to Sierra Nevada ([S.XX]) by Luciano Roisin.Andalusian Archives

Throughout history, transportation—the movement of people and goods from one place to another, and the mode or vehicles used for that purpose—has played a vital role in the corresponding development, or lack of it, in different towns.

According to the mode by which the movement takes place, they are classified as either land, water, or air transport, and each demands specific infrastructure in order to function: bridleways for transporting animals and people, roads for cars and vehicles to drive on, railroads and stations for trains, ports for ships, airports for airplanes, etc.

The electric tram of Sierra Nevada at a travel stop ([1945?])Andalusian Archives

Transportation did not undergo major transformation until the Industrial Revolution. Significant advances were made to both vehicles and infrastructures, and there were important changes in terms of the people and goods being moved.

This exhibition will take you on a virtual journey in which we will examine two of the elements that, along with vehicles, define transportation: infrastructure and transported goods.

Maitena Station, tram line to Sierra Nevada ([1945?])Andalusian Archives


For hundreds of years, transportation has been an essential part of the development and smooth running of countries. The construction of infrastructure (highways, roads, railroads, ports, airports, etc.) therefore results from national planning or strategies.

Map of the Guadalquivir River from La Algaba (Sevilla) to Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz) (1778/1784) by Francisco PizarroAndalusian Archives

Map of the Guadalquivir river from La Algaba to Sanlúcar de Barrameda

The Guadalquivir river as the backbone of Andalusia.

Map of the Guadiana River Mouth (1840) by Saturnino Montojo y Antonio Martínez.Andalusian Archives

Map of the Guadiana river mouth, with the docks of Ayamonte, Villa Real, and Isla Cristina

Maps are key to understanding the land, as they indicate not only natural phenomena, but also human-built infrastructure.

Nautical Chart of the Gulf of Huelva (1873) by Luis María Moliní.Andalusian Archives

Nautical chart of the Gulf of Huelva, from the Guadiana to the Guadalquivir

Nautical charts are vital tools for sailors.

Ships Loading Ore in Puerto de La Laja, on the Banks of the Guadiana River (Approximate data 1920)Andalusian Archives

Boats loading minerals in the port of La Laja, on the banks of the Guadiana river

Mining development in Andalusia required the construction of major infrastructure in order to transport the minerals to the coast.

Rio Tinto Company Dock (Approximate data 1910) by Josep Thomas Bigas.Andalusian Archives

Pier belonging to Río Tinto in Huelva.

Open-Pit Mining in Minas de Riotinto (Approximate data 1895)Andalusian Archives

Río Tinto mines. Opencast mining. Cart at the entrance to a gallery.

Opening of the "Iron Road" from Tharsis to Odiel. (Approximate data 1880)Andalusian Archives

The opening of the railroad from Tharsis to Odiel.

Map of communal lands expropriated for the construction of the railway (1895-10-20)Andalusian Archives

Map of the communal land expropriated for the construction of the railroad

The building of railroads entailed the expropriation of the necessary land…

Blanquillo bridge, tram line to Sierra Nevada (1946)Andalusian Archives

…as well as the construction of stations, overhead cables, tunnels, viaducts, etc.

Blanquillo bridge.

Wine boot's design, where tobacco's contraband is hidden (1764-10-22)Andalusian Archives

Transported goods: People and merchandise

The transportation of merchandise is illustrated by the products being moved, which are the result of a specific economic activity. The transportation of travelers reflects the society of the period, shown by the movement of citizens for different reasons: political, economical, leisure, etc.

Objects' delivery list coming from Marques de Ureña's trip across Europe (1788-11-26) by Sebastián Martínes.Andalusian Archives

List of objects brought back by the Marquis of Ureña on his return from Europe

During the Enlightenment, it was common among the upper classes to embark on voyages of discovery.

Thanks to documents like this, we are able to see what goods and merchandise were transported on these voyages.

Certificate for Driving Cars (1908-01-28)Andalusian Archives

Certificate of competency authorizing Antonio López Gómez to drive automobiles with petrol or gasoline engines.

Muster roll of the boat Jaime and Bárbara (1955)Andalusian Archives

"Jaime y Bárbara" ship in the port of Almería

The role of the officers and crew, a reference for the graphical history of the sailing.

Statistics of passenger departure by sea (1920-11-09)Andalusian Archives

Statistics for passengers departing by sea

Passengers were not only transported for leisure purposes; it was also sometimes necessary to journey across oceans. Emigration was recorded on documents such as this.

Jose Antonio de Riaño's American Passport, New Orleans' bussinesman, issued in Paris Jose Antonio de Riaño's American Passport, New Orleans' bussinesman, issued in Paris (1816-08-20/1843-10-30) by Albert Gallatin.Andalusian Archives

American passport belonging to José Antonio de Riaño, from New Orleans, issued in Paris and terminated in Cádiz

Since olden times, travelers have needed a document to allow them to travel freely through different countries; in more recent times, passports have been used.

Passport from Havana to La Coruña Passport from Havana to La Coruña (1840-07-04/1840-12-30) by Pedro Téllez Girón.Andalusian Archives

Passport from Havana to A Coruña belonging to Dolores Rosi.

Poster announcing the "Jovellanos" steamboat (1857) by José Esteban Gómez.Andalusian Archives

Poster for the "Jovellanos" steamboat

Tourism, a phenomenon once reserved for the few, boomed in the mid-19th century. This led to the large-scale development of road transport and boat voyages to connect diverse points on the peninsula with other countries.

Poster for a Trip from Lisbon to Seville via Huelva and La Rábida (Approximate data 1920)Andalusian Archives

Poster for a voyage from Lisbon to Seville, via Huelva and La Rábida, on a ferry carrying both cars and foot passengers

The Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 in Seville as a tourist attraction.

Temporary workers and employees aboard the San Telmo steamboat (1911-03-30) by Fernando Carmona DíazAndalusian Archives

Excursion down the Guadalquivir river in order to visit the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 in Seville.

Members of the ER 77 comedy club raising the club's flag in front of the facade of a vineyard belonging to González Byass en Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz)Andalusian Archives

Bus on the Cádiz-Algeciras line

In the early 20th century, journeying by stagecoach was overtaken by motor vehicles for intercity travel. During that time, the first regular lines for passengers and merchandise were established.

Credits: Story

Transportation in Andalusia: Infrastructure and transported goods

Organized by:
Ministry of Culture and Heritage of the Regional Government of Andalusia
Curated by: Mateo Páez García and Abilio Aguilar Diosdado
Text: Mateo Páez García and Abilio Aguilar Diosdado
General Archive of Andalusia
Photographs: Provincial Historical Archives of Almería, Cádiz, Granada, Huelva, and Seville, and General Archive of Andalusia
Digital design: Charo Andreu Abrio. Directorate General of Cultural Innovation and Museums

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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