Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Seville from Collins English Dictionary


1 a port in SW Spain, on the Guadalquivir River: chief town of S Spain under the Vandals and Visigoths (5th–8th centuries); centre of Spanish colonial trade (16th–17th centuries); tourist centre. Pop: 709 975 (2003 est) Ancient name: Hispalis Spanish name: Sevilla (seˈβiʎa)

Summary Article: Seville
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Capital of Seville province and of the autonomous community of Andalusia, southern Spain, on the River Guadalquivir, 96 km/60 mi north of Cádiz; population (2001 est) 702,500. Products include machinery, spirits, porcelain, armaments, explosives, pharmaceuticals, perfume, textiles, and tobacco; tourism is an important industry. Connected to the Atlantic by the river and a canal accessible to ocean-going vessels, Seville is a major port, exporting wines, fruit, olives, cork, and minerals. Seville's historically important river port allowed the city to enter its greatest period of prosperity during the 16th century, when it had a monopoly of trade with the West Indies.

Seville was an important town during Phoenician times as well as in Roman times, when it was known as Hispalis and was made a judicial centre of Baetica province. It continued as a chief city of southern Spain under the Vandals and the Visigoths, and was a centre of learning in the 6th century. In 712 it was taken by the Moors, and (as Isbiliya) became (c. 1023–91) seat of an independent emirate under the Abbadids and a flourishing commercial and cultural centre under the Almoravids and the Almohads. Ferdinand III of León and Castile captured it in 1248 and made it his residence. Under the rule of the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand II and Isabella I, Seville became one of the most affluent cities in Europe, and the newfound trade with the Americas ushered in a period of expansion. It was the chief port of trade with the new colonies until 1718, when it was superseded by Cádiz.

The city has kept much of its Moorish character. The alcázar (fortified palace) was built by Moors under the direction of Pedro I of Castile in the 1360s. The palace is one of the best examples of Mudéjar architecture. The 15th–16th-century Gothic cathedral, one of the world's largest, was built on the site of a 12th-century Almohad mosque, of which two parts remain – the Court of Oranges and the Giralda tower. It also contains the tomb of Christopher Columbus, although Seville is one of four places that claim to have his remains. Adjoining the cathedral is the magnificent alcázar (14th century), built in the Moorish style by Moorish artisans on the order of Peter I (Peter the Cruel). The university in Seville was founded in 1502. The Museo de Bellas Artes (1839) is one of Spain's finest art galleries. The international trade fair, Expo 92, was held here, and celebrated the 500th anniversary of Europeans reaching the Americas. Preparations for the fair led to considerable improvements to the city's infrastructure, such as the building of five new bridges, and the introduction of a high-speed train service.

Seville was the birthplace of the 17th-century artists Murillo and Velázquez. It was also the birthplace of the myth of Don Juan, which has inspired works by people as diverse as Austrian composer Wolfgang Mozart, English poet Lord Byron, and French novelist Gustave Flaubert. Seville is the capital of bullfighting in Spain and a centre of the Andalusian gypsies, famed for their flamenco songs and dances.


Seville, Spain

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles

Full text Article Seville
The Encyclopaedia of the Renaissance

A city and river port on the Guadalquivir in Andalusia, southern Spain, 54 miles (86 km) from the Atlantic. Seville was in turn Roman,...

Full text Article Seville (Spanish name: Sevilla)
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

37 24N 5 59W A city and port in SW Spain, in Andalusia on the River Guadalquivir. Important during Roman times, it also thrived under...

See more from Credo