Seville in 1519

Take a look around one of the world's busiest ports and the gateway to the Americas.

By Seville City Council

Ayuntamiento de Sevilla

Sevilla in 1519 (2019) by Arturo RedondoSeville City Council

In 1500, Seville was a hive of activity. All sorts of people were drawn to the city, and it was the departure point for all those who dreamed of taking on the daunting challenge of crossing the oceans.

On August 10, 1519, Magellan's expedition set sail from this city, on the voyage that would eventually circumnavigate the world.

It was during this golden age that one of the world's greatest gothic cathedrals was built in the city and completed just as the Magellan-Elcano expedition was being planned. It was built on the site of what had been the city's main mosque. The mosque's minaret was turned into the Giralda bell tower, which would become one of the symbols of the city.

Magellan spent some time living in the Alcázar of Seville—a place that has provided the backdrop to numerous historical events. It was here that Magellan wrote his will, shortly before setting sail in search of the Spice Islands and his eventual death on that voyage.

In the 15th century, the city's El Arenal quarter, the Atarazanas shipyards, the Tower of Gold (Torre del Oro), and the Tagarete stream were the main points connecting the city with the river. These sites were of key importance in what was, at the time, one of the world's busiest ports.

Magellan set sail from Puerto de la Mulas (also known as Puerto de las Muelas), and it was here that Elcano arrived home three years later, making it the site of the beginning and the end of the greatest nautical feat in history.

To this day, the Church of Santa Ana has an image of Our Lady of Victory, to whom the crew on Magellan and Elcano's expedition prayed at the beginning and end of their journey.

In 15th-century Seville, the Castle of St. George (Castillo de San Jorge) stood as a reminder of the power and control that the Spanish Inquisition exerted over the city. Next to it was a pontoon bridge—the only bridge at that time connecting the suburb of Triana with the rest of the city.

The area that included the Church of the Savior (Iglesia del Salvador), Plaza de San Francisco, and the former Casa Grande de los Franciscanos convent (now the Town Hall and Plaza Nueva) was one of the most important locations in Seville at that time, and 500 years later, that is still the case.

La Alameda, a garden square in the city, and the Convent of Santa Clara, were located at the southern edge of the city, marked by the old riverbed of the Guadalquivir River. This was later filled in, becoming one of the city's main urban spaces.

Credits: Story

Map of Seville, 1519
Illustration by Arturo Redondo

This exhibition is part of the First Voyage Around the World project.

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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