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:: STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR HISTORY . . . .
         

THE PASSAGE OF THE STRAIT OF GIBRALTAR FROM ITS ORIGINS TO 1492 INTRODUCTION

Something more than four million years after the opening of the western flank of the great alpine mountain range that united both continents, that is to say, of the formation of the Straits of Gibraltar, assumes that they arrived the first homínidos ones at the region.

Diverse theories have considered how and when they arrived. Of between these it is possible to formulate two hypotheses, in opinion of Professor ESCACENA: first, coming from the Near East, it would arrive towards the inferior Paleolítico; second, which one takes place in the Achelense, it would arrive through the Straits. In so larguísimo period of time the climate, the average physicist, the fauna and other many factors have not been able to know than a multiplicity changes more, on which not always it is possible to establish the phases of his evolution. Nevertheless, we must start off of the base from which both borders come from a common trunk as far as their formation and geology, and have had to know climatic episodes similar. The oceanic influence, as much in the Spanish region as in the Moroccan, is made feel in an ample band that passes of one to the other end of the mouth of the Straits, from the coasts to mountains of the Rif (North of Morocco) and of the Rain tank (Cadiz, Spain).

The accumulation of similarities that can be discovered between one and another border from the physical and natural point of view conforms an almost homogenous scene where the slumses had to evolve without many differences. If there are very old testimonies on these coincidences in both borders of the Straits, relative to diverse times, the continuity of these relations without understanding the existence cannot be raised of periods of isolation and regression of the populations, in such a way that these connections seem to interrupt themselves.

The slow technological development of the prehistoric cultures acts in favor of a common evolution where, in spite of these lapsus of disconnection, the similarities stay. The discovery and the practice of navigation from before II the millenium a.C. could allow the sea communications between both borders of the Straits of regular way, with a certain fluidity of contacts and fluctuating but alternatively increasing relations, considered in long periods. Semblanza of the ships, coming from the islands of the western Mediterranean and the Aegean, to its passage by waters of the Straits will be immortalized by the gaditano rock art of the Cave of the High Laja, at the end of the second millenium a.C., as it honors Professor LUZON NOGUÉ, leaving a valuable testimony of the coexistence of different cultural manifestations. The similar evolution of the megalitismo and the implantation of the campaniforme glass in both borders, as Professor PONSICH attests, seems to respond so much to a coherent own evolution, like a the existence of fluid relations. The Greek arrival of the Eastern cultures of the Mediterranean, Phoenicians and mainly, do of this corner of planet one of their scenes where legend and myths are constructed to consecrate the past with happening of the times. The traveling Columns of Hercules (as it indicates the Professor Of the CASTLE), test of the yearning discoverer, meant the opening of the Straits and were represented in the mounts Abila (Hacho Mount, Ceuta) and Calpe (Gibraltar), beyond of which is the Tenebrous Sea. To borders of the Lucus river, and therefore of the city of Lixus, it seems to take place the episode of Gold Apples of the Garden of the Hespéridos; the slope to the Infier to us overcoming to Cancerbero when exceeding waters of the Straits towards the Ocean; and finally the rest after so prodigious works, in grottos today known like Hercules of the coast near the old city of Cotta. (Cabo Espartel, Tanger) The paradise of Tartessos, during silenced time, emerges from mythology to the reality of the well-known world. In him the conditions occur to incarnate a new myth, to which so the Greeks were given. Tartessos will be in the legend the country of the happiness, the longevity of its monarchs and the inexhaustability of its wealth. The Phoenicians, a key town and a culture of the history of the Mediterranean and the Straits of Gibraltar, are the travellers who reinauguran this new stage of relations and interchanges through this one last one, communicating the Eastern Mediterranean and the Atlantic. For them, to transfer the Columns of Hercules had of being a common fact, given the multitude of establishments that founded on the Atlantic coasts of both borders. Todavia in the Island of Tariff is left rest of an old Phoenician port, to the west of the island. Its Hercules, "Melkart" or "Melchartos", he will preside over the foundations of the Phoenicians: Marine sanctuaries and temples, factories and cities, will be appearing in the coasts of the Straits after the attainment of a selected location. It will be with them with whom the Straits knows a system organized establishments, specialized in diverse commercial functions: Gadir (Cadiz), Cartela (near Algeciras), Tingis (Tánger), Zilis (Arcila), Lixus (near Larache), Amogdul (Essauira), Room (Salé, as opposed to Rabat), among other cities, in addition to a constellation of salt meat factories, is colonizing the coasts of the Straits and their Atlantic surroundings, and with it creating new routes of communication. The interchanges between both borders were such made when complementing themselves their productions more intense and the development of commercial relations between cities united by Gods and governors. From these colonies it was exerted, as much in the north as in the south, a strong cultural and technological influence, patent in the numerous archaeological findings of this time in both borders. Tartessos interchanges gaditana marine salt, metal utensils and ajuares of ceramics, among other manufactured products, with Mauritania, receiving from this one eggs of ostrich, ivory and skins of fierce of African savannahs. Next to these, the routes that arrive from those cities at the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean, taking fished and salt meats, objects of silver and gold, wines and other products, will weave a network of contacts the sufficiently ample thing like affirming that the Fretum Tartessicum (Straits of Gibraltar) had become one of the places of greater commercial and marine transit. The strong winds of the Southeastern and Levante that whip waters of the Straits, mainly in the months of March to May, would paralyze the transit by their waters to the delay of the arrival of the summer. The knowledge of the conditions of winds, tides and navigation by its waters had to be as important as the technology, at that time limited, of its boats. The Sea of the Darknesses no longer so is not known for the Greeks of the century I SAW, when periplo of massaliotas is carried out that inspires Or the Marine one of Avieno. The coasts, the rivers, the regions, the towns, are described to show a reality, although with some shades. The arrival from Rome to the region of the Straits will suppose the development, until its last consequences, of the economic model initiated by the Phoenicians, to the time that will obtain a profit without comparison in history, as it were it the political unification of the Mediterranean with the extension of his dominions throughout his coastal perimeter: the Mare Nostrum. The colonies and cities will happen to integrate in territories or provinces and to organize itself hierarchically, united by new vias that communicate the cities to each other, old and the new ones now created, they contribute to organize the economic operation of its extensive territories. The aqueducts, bridges, ports, fortifications, temples, villas, and one expanded relation of types of establishments have gotten to complete the extended and intense colonization more of both borders of both continent. Gades (Cadiz), Baesippo (Barbate), Baelo (Stupid), lulia Tansducta (Algeciras), Carteia (opening of the Guadarranque), Barbesula (opening of the Guadiaro) and some other coastal cities of the Spanish border of the Straits, along with their sisters of Tingis, Zeles or Zilis (Arcila), Lixus, Banasa and Volubilis on rio Sebú, and other cities of Mauritania Tingitana, will reach their splendor under the Roman empire becoming active, lifting commercial and fishing centers of an appreciable level of wealth, as they demonstrate the ruins to it that have been conserved of this time and of that can be Volubilis example, esplendorosa in the days of king Juba II, but without forgetting to us all the others, of which samples or witnesses of the importance have had left that they had in the past. In the refundadas Fretum Gaditanum, cities of Carteia (174 a.C.) and Tingis is the strategic enclaves of each border, although they will not reach the importance and magnitude of the cities of its surroundings. Cades and Lixus, according to describe to Professor GONZÁLEZ ROMAN to us. The Straits, by the characteristics of its coasts, sea currents and winds, only reunites good conditions of shelter for all type of boats in the three existing bays, Algeciras, Ceuta and Tánger, reason why the sea lanes between these borders do not admit many variants. For that reason the complementariness that suppose the ports of the surroundings of the Straits in the relations between the two borders, especially when the times used in their passage do not represent great differences, generally between average receives sense at diverse times and a complete day of navigation. The supremacy reached about Roman navy after the destruction and conquest of Carthage, for a long time cleared of the horizon the dangers of warlike conflicts in waters the Mediterranean. The actions of the pirates will not suppose a significant alteration of the commercial traffics. The marine traffic by waters of the Straits had to intensify to a great extent in these centuries of Roman domination. New merchandise like the oil, the weaves, the jewels, the arms, the metallic utensils and others traveled from the Bética to Rome and the Tingitana province, from which it was exported now enslaved, skins and gold. The salt meat industry of the tuna and the one of "garum", commonly developed in both borders (emphasizing the factories of Tingis and Baelo), it would come to contribute a great volume of traffic of merchandise by means of boats that made the passage of the Straits. The Roman ships, you trirow and galeras, would do the transport approximately taking advantage of the good conditions of winds and navigability, covering the distance between Gades and Rome in one week. The declivity of the Roman Empire will decrease its capacity of control of the western Mediterranean, to the time that will allow the penetration in the Iberian Peninsula of the Barbarian towns of the north of Europe; The aim of pax Roman had arrived: mastiff, vandals and visigodos, they put under the languid Híspanla to a hard punishment. The economic decay, together with not few problems related to the support of so vast empire, showed the exhaustion of the production system developed by the Romans. At the end of century IV, one shows desolation covers earth with the Bética, where the Christian faith of the hand of the disciples of the teacher has begun to introduce itself San Agustín, as it shows Professor HILLS SALMONTE. North Africa, from Carthage and Hipona, sends to its preachers to the other border seeding the new doctrine of the Christianity whose advance from other points of the Peninsula begins to radiate itself. The passage of the godos will open a stage of the loaded history of warlike encounter, destruction of towns and cities, dismemberment of an organized and centralist economic system. The western Mediterranean in the century I SAW presents/displays a map divided in several kingdoms, between visigodos (in the Iberian Peninsula), francs (beyond the Pyrenees), ostrogodos (in the Itálica Peninsula), and vandals (in North Africa), under the narrow monitoring of the flowing Bizantino Empire extended of the south from the Balkan Mountains to the north of Egypt. The instability of the borders between these, the conflicts between tribal clans, the frequent wars to consolidate the distribution of the conquered territories and the migrations of whole towns, are characteristics that will mark to this century and the following one. The Christianity will expand between the inhabitants of Hispania, where it will cohabit with the judaismo and other pagan religions. In the other border the Christianity also will expand between the magrebíes towns until the arrival, at the end of century VII, of the first followers of the religion of the Prophet, the Islam. The connections of the Straits of Gibraltar and the Atlantic with the towns of the central and Eastern Mediterranean, defeats as a result of the germanic invasions, will recover with the influence of Bizancio in both borders of the Straits: first in North Africa with the conquest of Ceuta, and later in the gaditana region of the Asidonense Bishopric, although visigodos push of in Andalusia and Arab will not last for a long time due to the vandal and omeyas in North Africa. The Islam in its expansion will be transformed into a sweeping force, developing by the deÁfrica North and later by the Iberian Peninsula. On year 682 the first Islamic city of Tunisia is based, Cayman; in the 710 Arabs omeyas obtains the support of beréberes who would support the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula; and it will be in the 789 when king Idris I founds the city of Fez on Morocco, although for those dates already the islamismo will be extended by all Morocco and al-Andalus. From year, with the irruption of 711 Arabs and beréberes in the North border, the flow of people, animals and merchandise through the Straits it will begin to acquire important proportions, which is justified by the strategic relevance that they reached the bays of Algeciras and Ceuta, as well as its respective ports sustained in the necessity to guarantee the support and the exit from North Africa for the created Muslim kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula. al-Yazira al-Jadra (Algeciras or Green Island), will be founded by the Muslims on the old Roman establishments of the Portus Albus and the cohill lulia Transducta. Its strategic importance was seen grow when becoming the most important port of the North border of the Straits: neither Tariff nor the Port of the Tree in Gibraltar will get to have the activity of that one. Its port will be described like "más idóneo" in order to cross the Straits by the maximum geographer of century XII, been born in Ceuta, al-Idrisi. al-Yazira will be the rear of al-Andalus and the door of the Magreb; in the other border, following the speech of Professor FERHAT, Sebta (Ceuta) will be the door of al-Andalus. Tánger and Melilla will not have this relevance, but if they will be taking off slowly and developing an increasing commercial traffic that will be to emphasize in century XV. The ships normandas will appear in the Straits in the middle of century IX seeding the panic. Their combat operations will show the marine weakness of the califato omeya of Cordova and the urgent necessity to control waters and the cities bridge of both borders, as it indicates Professor VALL YOU GO Abderrahmán III commands to construct a fleet for the defense of the entrance of the Guadalquivir and the Straits, and will occupy Ceuta and Melilla. Nevertheless, the subsequent dismemberment in the kingdoms of Taifas will make the consolidation impossible of these objectives. The North of Morocco, during centuries VII to the X, knows the foundation new cities of small size and denotes a tenuous one to resurge. Sebta and Ardi'a will be the most important ports of this stage but others like Salé (capital beréber of the Zeneta tribe in century X), Essauira, Anfa (near Casablanca), Larache and Tánger had begun to wake up of their ruins. This urban and harbor weakness must consider to value the magnitude of the possible demographic interchanges as as much commercial between both borders of the Straits. Seville had become a commercial center key of the sea lanes towards the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The internationalization of the routes seems to be sprightly with the presence of retailers of Lisbon, Barcelona, Genova, Ragusa and Venice, among others. Navigation will present/display, nevertheless, a stage of similar technological development which the Romans knew. Ships of small bearing (inferior to the 100 tons) and driven complementarily by oars and candles will be characteristic: the galera will continue being typical of these centuries, whereas a certain evolution is known in the navigation instruments, like the introduction of astrolabio. From principles of century XI the political instability in the andalusíes cities of the Straits is increased by the dynastic rivalries and the intense movements of armies that as of this century are going away to produce. The battle of az-Zallaqa (1086), will be an historical landmark, as it points Professor BENABOUD, reason why supposed of union between Moroccans and andalusíes against the Christian army of Alfonso I SAW and by his political importance when preserving the continuity of the Islamic culture in the Iberian Peninsula. Almorávides, almohades, meriníes, and numerous tribal groups beréberes will cross the Straits to support the defense of al-Andalus in front of the advance of the Christian kings, who will end up daring to attack this good kept flank from the Straits in 1194, when Alfonso I SAW besieges Tariff for the first time although he would be Sancho IV in 1292 who incorporates to the crown of Castile with the armed intervention of Don Alonso Perez de Guzmán (instaurador of the dynasty of the Dukes of Medina Sidonia). In the delayed Average Age (1275-1515), as QUESADA M To the ascent of the meriníes of Abu Yusuf indicates to the LATERAL Professor and its later control of the Emirate of the western Magreb, it will take step to a stage of great political and commercial changes, that will end up transforming the geopolitical map of the region. Of another part, Christian navy had introduced some innovations in its fleets, commercial companies and routes, and mtesmfica its activity, so that its force will be supplanting to the Muslim power in the seas of the region. The militarization of the Straits until the fall of Granada would be a consequence of the state military in which it was lived. Gibraltar, as Professor TAZI stands out, is the key of the European continent, refortificada and being extended by 'Abd al-Mu-min towards 1160 with the intention to make be worth its superb conditions strategic to control the Straits and the Bay of Algeciras; other cities as Tariff, Algeciras Ceuta, Lavenders, Gomara and Alcazarseguer, among others well were defended by their walled enclosures and palaces. The Straits, when blunting century XIV, has been put in the eye of the hurricane. Its place in history rises at the moment, when discerning itself here the continuity or the end of the Islamic presence in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, its last redoubt in the European continent. Symptom of it will be that the Christian conquest of Algeciras becomes one develops international, in which participate next to Castilian, leonine Catalan and Aragonese, the armies of the crossed ones of Portugal, France, Italy and England, being its success celebrated in the European cuts and in the seat of Aviñón of the Merciful Pope I SAW, to whom king Alfonso XI possibly gave ten horses to thank for the interest that would have been taken in mobilizing the Crossed one. A fleet of 40 galeras and 30 ships met in this occasion for one of the decisive battles in the military-political history of both continents. The warlike encounter of centuries XIV and XV will mark the cities of the Straits of an almost irreparable way, and will put the bases so that the end of the fight extends in an inexhaustible source of future conflicts. Gibraltar in 1349 is the only Muslim redoubt in the bay and the Straits, and therefore the last redoubt to conquer; in its siege, a year later, the plague will seize of Alfonso XI and will find the death the Rock in addition is disputed by the kings of Granada and Fez, that will be alternated in their government until in 1462, in the day of the festividad of San Bernardo de Claraval, since then pattern of the city finished conquered by the Castilian troops directed by D. Alonso de Arcos. Gibraltar had been last - and therefore the only Muslim port to cross the Straits. The Moroccan coast would not have greater fortune, and in few years the expansion of the Portuguese crown arrived until the Straits, taking advantage of the weakness of the meriní dynasty in the first-decades of century XV. Ceuta (1415) and Tánger, covered by their commercial traffic, will suppose serious a setback the Muslim power in the Straits, kept now, after the conquest of Gibraltar, by Spaniards and Portuguese. Mülay Horseradish tree Ráád will found Xauen on 1471 to stop the advance towards the interior of these and will get to take Larache, that will pass to be the main port and marine city more important of Berbería. The capture Castilian-Portuguese will open a new stage of the history of the Straits and the relations between its borders At the moment the Straits of Gibraltar is journeyed every year by but of 100,000 merchant boats that cross in both senses East and West, also, the 30,000 that make North and the South Is necessary to also add all the fishing boats and sport boats to him that sail by their waters that do of this Straits one of the zones of more marine traffic of the world.

 

 
         
         
 

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