Seville is the capital of Andalucia and the cultural and financial centre of southern Spain. A city of just over 700,000 inhabitants (1.6 million in the metropolitan area, making it Spain's 4th largest city), Seville is Andalucia's top destination, with much to offer the traveler.
Seville was founded as the Roman city of Hispalis, and was known as Ishbiliya after the Muslim conquest in 712. During the Muslim rule in Spain, Seville came under the jurisdiction of the Caliphate of Cordoba before becoming the independent Taifa of Seville; later it was ruled by the Muslim Almoravids and the Almohads until finally being incorporated into the Christian Kingdom of Castile under Ferdinand III in 1248.
After the discovery of the Americas, Seville became one of the economic centres of the Spanish Empire as its port monopolised the trans-oceanic trade and the Casa de Contratacion (House of Trade) wielded its power, opening a Golden Age of arts and literature. In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan departed from Seville for the first circumnavigation of the Earth.
Coinciding with the Baroque period of European history, the 17th century in Seville represented the most brilliant flowering of the city's culture; then began a gradual economic and demographic decline as silting in the Guadalquivir forced the trade monopoly to relocate to the nearby port of Cadiz.
Existing Roman features in Seville include the remnants of an aqueduct, a temple in M¨˘rmoles Street, the columns of La Alameda de Hercules, the remains exposed in situ in the underground Antiquarium of the Metropol Parasol building and the remains in the Patio de Banderas square near of the Seville Cathedral. The walls surrounding the city were originally built during the rule of Julius Caesar, but their current course and design were the result of Moorish reconstructions.
The 20th century in Seville saw the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, decisive cultural milestones such as the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and Expo'92, and the city's election as the capital of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia.