Alicante

, meaning "White Mountain" or "White Point"), where Alicante stands today.Although the Carthaginians conquered much of the land around Alicante, the Romans would eventually rule Hispania Tarraconensis for over 700 years. By the 5th century AD, Rome was in decline; the Roman predecessor town of Alicante, known as "Lucentum" (Latin), was more or less under the control of the Visigothic warlord Teodmiro. However neither the Romans nor the Goths put up much resistance to the Arab conquest of "Medina Laqant" in the 8th century. The Moors gave the city its modern name - Alicante is Arabic for "city of lights". [ [http://www.lovealicante.com/areas/alicante/ Alicante City] ] The Moors ruled southern and eastern Spain until the 11th century "reconquista" (reconquest). Alicante was finally taken in 1246 by the Castilian king Alfonso X, but it passed soon and definitely to the Kingdom of Valencia in 1298 with the Catalonian King James II of Aragon. It gained the status of Royal Village ("Vila Reial") with representation in the medieval Valencian Parliament.

After several decades of being the battlefield where Kingdom of Castile and the Crown of Aragón clashed, Alicante became a major Mediterranean trading station exporting rice, wine, olive oil, oranges and wool. But between 1609 and 1614 King Felipe III expelled thousands of moriscos who had remained in Valencia after the reconquista, due to their allegiance with Barbary pirates who continually attacked coastal cities and caused much harm to trade. This act cost the region dearly; with so many skilled artisans and agricultural labourers gone, the feudal nobility found itself sliding into bankruptcy. Things got worse in the early 18th century; after the War of Spanish Succession, Alicante went into a long, slow decline, surviving through the 18th and 19th centuries by making shoes and agricultural products such as oranges and almonds, and its fisheries. The end of the 19th century witnessed a sharp recovery of the local economy with increasing international trade and the growth of the city harbour leading to increased exports of several products (particularly during World War I when Spain was a neutral country).

During the early twentieth century, Alicante was a minor capital which enjoyed the benefit of Spain's neutrality during the First World War, which provided new opportunities for the local industry and agriculture. The Rif War in the 1920s saw numerous "alicantinos" drafted to fight in the long and bloody campaigns at the former Spanish protectorate (Northern Morocco) against the Rif rebels. The political unrest of the late 1920s led to the victory of republican candidates in the local council elections throughout the country, and the abdication of King Alfonso XIII. The proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic was much celebrated in the city on April 14, 1931. The Spanish Civil War broke out on July 17, 1936. Alicante was the last city loyal to the Republican government to be occupied by General Franco's troops on April 1, 1939, and its harbour saw the last Republican government officials fleeing the country. Even if not as famous as the bombing of Guernica by the German Luftwaffe, Alicante was the target of some vicious air bombings during the three years of civil conflict, most remarkably the bombing by the Italian "Aviazione Legionaria" of the Mercado de Abastos in May 25, 1938 in which more than 300 civilians perished.

The next 20 years under Franco's dictatorship were difficult for Alicante as it was for the entire country. However, the late 1950s and early 1960s saw the onset of a lasting transformation of the city due to tourism. Large buildings and complexes rose in nearby Albufereta and Playa de San Juan, with the benign climate being the best tool to bring prospective buyers and tourists who kept hotels reasonably busy. The tourist development, aside from construction, also brought numerous businesses such as restaurants, bars and other businesses focused on visitors. Also, the old airfield at Rabasa was closed and air traffic moved to the new El Altet airport, which made for a convenient facility for charter flights bringing tourists from northern European countries.

When Franco died in 1975, his successor Juan Carlos I successfully oversaw the transition of Spain to a democratic constitutional monarchy. Governments of nationalities and regions were given more autonomy, and the Valencian region was not an exception.

Alicante is the Valencia region's second-largest town.

The port has been reinventing itself since the industrial decline the city suffered in the 1980s (with most mercantile traffic lost in favour of Valencia's harbour). In recent years, the Port Authority has established it as one of the most important ports in Spain for cruises, with 72 calls to port made by cruises in 2007 bringing some 80,000 cruise passengers and 30,000 crew to the city each year. [ [http://www.turijobs.com/noticias/343_noticia_alicante,_uno_de_los_puertos_mas_importantes.html El puerto de Alicante registrará 72 escalas de cruceros durante 2007 - Turijobs.com ] ] The moves to develop the port for more tourism have been welcomed by the city and its residents, but the latest plans to develop an industrial estate in the port have caused great controversy.

Main sights

Every summer in Alicante, a two-month-long programme of music, theatre and dance is staged in the Paseo del Puerto [ [http://www.alicante.com/v/festivals/ Alicante Festivals] ]

Transport

Alicante Airport outranks its Valencian counterpart, being among the busiest airports in Spain along with Madrid, Barcelona, Palma and Málaga and keeps expanding. It is connected with Madrid and Barcelona by frequent Iberia and Spanair flights, with many Western European cities through carriers such as Jet2.com, Monarch Airlines, Globespan, Ryanair and Air Berlin and has also flights to Algiers and Russia. In addition, Alicante's only link to South America, specifically Bogotá, is provided by Avianca.

Alicante railway station provides railroad connection with Murcia/Alicante suburban and RENFE network. Alicante Tram connects the city with outlying settlements.

Famous citizens

*George Washington Montgomery, (1804-1841), born in Alicante, United States diplomat and editor/publisher of the first Spanish language translation of the works of Washington Irving.cite book | title = Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896 | publisher = Marquis Who's Who | location = Chicago | year = 1963]
*Carlos Arniches (1866-1943), novelist
*Rafael Altamira y Crevea (1866-1951), co-founder of Permanent Court of International Justice so-called the World Court, after 1945 International Court of Justice
* Francisco Javier de Balmis (1753-1819) physician who headed the Balmis expedition to vaccinate the Spanish-colonies population against smallpox.
*Gabriel Miró (1879-1930), novelist
*Antonio Gades (1936-2004), Flamenco dancer
*Juan Escarré (1969), field hockey player
*Belen Rueda, actress
*Miriam Blasco, judoka Olympic winner
*Isabel Fernandez, judoka Olympic winner
*Vanessa Romero, model and actress
*Maria Jurado, model and actress
*Esther Cañadas, model and actress
*Pedro Ferrándiz, basketball coach
*Hannibal Laguna, fashion designer
*Francisco Rufete, footballer
*Miguel Hernández, poet

Twin towns

*flagicon|FRA Nice, France
*flagicon|ITA Carloforte, Italy
*flagicon|ISR Herzliya, Israel
*flagicon|Nicaragua León, Nicaragua
*flagicon|CUB Matanzas, Cuba
*flagicon|ALG Oran, Algeria
*flagicon|Latvia Riga, Latvia
*flagicon|Japan Toyooka, Japan
*flagicon|People's Republic of China Wenzhou, People's Republic of China

References

External links

* [http://www.alicante.es/ingles/ Official website of Alicante]
* [http://www.ladipu.com Official website of the Diputación Provincial de Alicante] es
* [http://www.dip-alicante.es/documentacion Dates and numbers of the municipalities of Alicante Province.] Diputación Provincial de Alicante, Area of Presidency, Documentation Unit es
* [http://www.ua.es/ Website of the Universitat d´Alacant]
* [http://wwwvalencianoticias.com News of Alicante. Noticias de Alicante]



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