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History

It is possible that human life has existed in the area currently known as Blanes since prehistoric times. In fact the earliest clear indications we have of the settlement of our lands are of the pre-Roman Iberian society. Several classical authors make reference to the presence of such peoples prior to the third century BC, situating them geographically somewhere between Empuries and Barcelona, along the banks of the Larnum River.

With the Romanizing of the land, after 218 BC, the settlement came to be known as Blanda or Blandae, the Roman form of the indigenous toponym. The use of the plural could indicate the existence of several settlements. Archaeological excavations place the settlement in the area of "la Penya dels Padrets", where several houses, dating to the first century BC and inhabited up to the middle of the first century AD, have been unearthed.

Latin documents have been found which also refer to it as a town -a walled place- and as a colony ruled by Roman Law.

After the fall of the Roman Empire and the advent of the Visigoths, the town suffered several Moorish incursions at the end of the 8th century. It also suffered the passing of the Franks, later becoming a feudal dependence. The earliest mention of Blanes or Forcadell Castle is dated in 1002, and towards the end of 1050 his successors, the Cabreras, are known to have Counts of Barcelona. With the Cabreras, from the 12th to the 14th century, the townsfolk came under the rule of the noble Blanes family.

In the 12th century, the feudal lords Guerau IV de Cabrera and his deputy, Guillem de Blanes, granted the port and town of Blanes a series of privileges and rights to encourage settlement and economic growth. From 1381 onwards, the Cabreras, as the sole lords of the township, fostered a series of architectural transformations and town planning changes: the Viscount's Palace, the new parish church, the rebuilding of the walls with new gates (Virgin Mary) and streets (Nou). And, at the beginning of the 15th century, the Gothic Fountain in Carrer Ample was erected and the Sant Jaume Hospital for the poor built (1423). In the 15th century the municipal system was consolidated and the rules for the "honourable government of the University" or Town Council, the body from which our modern day Town Councils derive, were established.

In 1583, thanks to the initiative of the town councils, a group of Capuchin monks founded a monastery, still to be seen on the Santa Anna promontory.

<> The town was also greatly affected by the wars of the 17th century. During the "Harvesters' War" (1652), Blanes was set ablaze by the Castilian troops and nigh on 300 of those that defended the town were condemned to the galleys. And, in 1694, the town was again burnt down and the Viscount's Palace razed.

After the War of Succession (1714), the local economy entered into a period of growth and records show extensive maritime-fishery, boat building- and industrial (lacework - rope making - cork - barrel making...) activities. During the course of the century, the town made a significant demographic leap forwards, 1.993 inhabitants at the beginning of the century and 3.783 at the end. Towards the close of the century (1793), the votive festival of Sant Rafael was first instituted, to thank the "Mare de Déu del Vilar" for having saved the town from the Great War. Some years later, during the war with the French (1808-14), Blanes was used by the French as their headquarters when preparing to attack the fortress at Hostalric. It is from this period that we find the earliest records of the townsfolk refusing to pay their feudal levies, a symbol of the new times and the swan song of the old regime. The last Lord of the town was the Duke of Medinacelli.

The town's high level of maritime activity led to the opening of a school for pilots, coinciding with the heyday of the town's shipyards, the largest on the northern Catalan coast through to the end of the century.

Technical innovations, such as the coming of the railway (1859), gas lighting (1881) and the first electrical grid (1889) favoured the growth of the town. Despite all of this, the end of the century was marked by a crisis in the ship building trade, the vineyards and by emigration to the Americas.

The beginning of the 20th century was marked by the opening of the docks (1916) and the founding of the SAFA-now Nylstar-factory (1923), decisive elements in the restructuring of the town's economy. As far as the social life of the town was concerned, many recreational clubs and groups were formed alongside an important workers movement, one which still lives on today. It was at this time that the Botanical Gardens were initially laid and the fishing fleet modernised with the fitting of internal combustion engines.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the town suffered bombing, famine and, moreover, afterwards, there were deep divisions between the "victors" and the "vanquished". Shortages were to continue into the postwar period, accompanied by the total repression of anything considered to be contrary to the interests of the regime. After the political openness in the 50's two important phenomena occurred: the arrival of the first tourists from abroad and large-scale immigration from other parts of Spain, leading to the doubling of the town's population between 1955 and 1970. The aforementioned period also saw significant growth in the construction, service and textile sectors.




Data de realització: 03/12/2002 | Data de la darrera actualització: 06/29/2004

© Ajuntament de Blanes

Passeig Dintre 29 | 17300 | Blanes Telèfon: 972 379 300 | Informació

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© Ajuntament de Blanes | Passeig Dintre 29 | 17300 | Blanes | Telèfon: 972 379 300