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The history of A Corunna



The Ártabro gulf
The Brigantines, a branch of the Artabros were the first inhabitants of these lands, the Magnus Portus Artabrorum, of the classic geographers.
"The Artabros have many cities situated in a gulf the sailors call port of the Artabros" Strabo's Geography Book III

The Hercules Tower There are various legends about its foundation but it is certain that this lighthouse was working in Roman times.

Alfonso IX
Crunia formed part of the feudal estate of the diocese of Santiago de Compostela until granted exemptions and privileges by Alfonso IX in 1208.

Elizabeth the Catholic (Isabel la Católica)
A visit from the Catholic Kings to the city in 1486 leaves more privileges, a fairly exceptional deal bearing in mind the repressive politics adopted by the Catholic Kings with the Kingdom of Galicia.

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Image 1: Leiro helmet | Hercules Tower | Alfonso IX | Isabel La Católica

In 1520 Charles I celebrates court in the city before leaving for Germany for his coronation.

Philip II sets course for England to marry Mary Tudor.

In 1563 Philip II transfers the Royal Assizes of the Kingdom of Galicia from Santiago to Coruña.

The Spanish Armada left from here later to return to our port to take refuge, defeated by storms and the English ships in 1588

With the Spanish naval power broken down, an English squadron assaulted the city under the command of Francis Drake in 1589. María Pita excelled in the defence of the city.

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Image 2: Carlos I | Felipe II | The Invincible Army | Drake | America

A Coruña starts commercial trading with America in 1764.

The Tobacco Factory (Fábrica de Tabacos) is founded in 1808 which gives work to hundreds of workers.

Peninsular War (Guerra de la Independencia)
In 1809, during the Peninsular War, the city was occupied by French troops under the command of Marshal Soult. Sir John Moore, leading the British Army, died at the battle of Elviña. The French abandoned the city several months later.

In 1815 Marshal Díaz Porlier, "El Marquesito" declares himself against the dictatorship of Fernando VII and in favour of restoring the 1812 Constitution, with the support of the Coruña bourgeoisie and intellectuals. Days later he was betrayed and ended up being hung in the Plaza de la Leña.

The galleries become popular in 1860

The Galician Royal Academy is founded in 1905 and to this day still takes responsibility for supporting and investigating our culture and language.

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Imagen 3: Moore | Stout | Fernando VII | Galleries | Galician Royal Academy

In the twenties the city went through a stage of growth and expansion on all levels: demographic, economic, industrial... With this industrial development important anarcho-syndical organisations arose who achieved social advances such as the 8 hour day.

Vanguard and modernism left their mark on many of the city's buildings, on cafés, kiosks, shops....

The Republic wins in 1931
A Coruña: the Republican candidates' triumph was overwhelming as they won 34 seats to the Royalists' 3, whilst the Liberals had two and the Socialists one.
During the demonstration which took place at María Pita in front of the Town Hall, some youths threw Alfonso XIII's portrait from the top of the building's central tower, which was sprayed with petrol and burned before a general applause. It was substituted in the assembly chamber by a picture of a matron wearing the Phrygian cap which was brought from the Republican Casino. The first Republican mayor was Antonio Lens Viera. (The Voice of Galicia)

On 28th June 1936 the Galicians voted for the statute of Autonomy of Galicia in a plebiscite in which 74% of the electoral roll supported the passing of the Statute.

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Imagen 4: Coruna twenties | newspapers | La República | Pro-statut panflet | Galician statut

18th June 1936
The Army under the command of Franco revolted and the Civil War broke out. Hundreds of Republicans are assassinated in the A Coruña area. A few days after the start of the war, Franco's supporters kill Alexandre Bóveda, sponsor of the Statute of Autonomy. The belligerent confrontation would end three years later leaving behind thousands of dead, exiles, destruction and poverty.

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Imagen 5: Meeting pro-statut | Castelao panflet | Republican panflet | Fascist panflet

Many inhabitants of A Coruña who were against Franco's ideas were dealt with, that is to say, executed.

A Coruña Registrars Office:
31st August 1936 (those executed near the Torre de Hércules):
Guzmán García, Manuel, age 48, member of the Republican Left. F.
Suárez Ferrín, Alfredo, age 54, mayor of A Coruña, industrialist, of the Republican Union. F.
Martín, Joaquín, solicitor, commercial teacher, secretary to A Coruña town hall, of the Republican Union, 58. F.
Maseda, Ramón, age 56, president of the Socialist Union of A Coruña. F.
Mazariegos, Francisco, age 32, of the General Bank Workers Union. (His wife would be "dealt with”) F.
Prego, Francisco, age 44, council staff, secretary to Manuel Guzmán, of the IR. F.

The dictatorship
1939-1975 The Franco dictatorship suppresses and attempts to suppress the distinguishing characteristics of Galician culture, including the language. The exiles are the vehicles that see to it that both remain alive during the most difficult years of the dictatorship.

The Galician population is dispersed throughout the world. The need to emigrate grew further in this period. Many of the boats on course to America were leaving from the port of A Coruña

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Imagen 6: Civil War | Post-war | Execution camp | Emigration

1980 Five years after the dictator's death, the Statute of Autonomy of Galicia is passed. In the transition A Coruña is one of the most dynamic Galician cities.

1992 The oil tanker Mar Egeo runs aground on the coasts of A Coruña and nightmarish scenes are to be seen.

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Imagen 7: Mar Egeo oil tanker



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