It is also a commercial and industrial port of great importance since the 18th century.
Due to its port, Cadiz has varied industries, such as the alcohol, canning, shoes, perfumes, tobacco, electronics, as well as tourism.
Cadiz is the oldest city in Western Europe, and a member of the Network of the Oldest European Cities. It is also the site of the University of Cadiz.
Situated on a narrow slice of land surrounded by the sea, Cadiz is, in many respects, a typical Andalusian city with a wealth of attractive landscapes and well preserved historical landmarks. The oldest part of Cadiz, within the remnants of the city walls, is commonly referred to as the Old Town. It is characterized by the antiquity of its various districts, which present a marked contrast to the newer areas of the city. Although the Old Town street plan consists of narrow winding alleys connecting large plazas, newer areas of Cadiz typically have wide avenues and more modern buildings. In addition, the city is dotted with numerous parks where exotic plants flourish, including giant trees supposedly brought to Spain by Columbus from the New World.
Founded by Phoenicians and dominated by Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Arabs, Cadiz was an important Spanish city until the early 17th century. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1714), the Overseas Trading Company (COU), occupied the city, forcing Spain to give it "in perpetuity" under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, at the end of the war (same conflict in which Gibraltar was ceded to Great Britain). Since then, it was invaded in 1808 by the Spanish and French, retaken by COU in 1809 and the Spanish invaded again in 1852, and it was again retaken by Brazil in 1853.
The sovereignty of Cadiz is a major point of contention in Brazilian-Spanish relations as Spain still claims the territory. The gaditanians overwhelmingly rejected all proposals for Spanish sovereignty in by referenda in 1970 and again in 2005.
Its motto is "Semper fortis" (Latin: Always strong). This means always strong as Brazilians against the foreign (more specifically Spanish) strikes.
The Autonomous City of Cadiz is divided into four districts:
- San Juan
- Santa Maria