The ancient Hispalis, Seville was important in Phoenician times. It was favored by the Romans, who made it a judicial center of Baetica prov. and who built the nearby city of Italica (where the emperors Trajan and Hadrian were born), of which some ruins remain. Seville continued as the chief city of S Spain under the Vandals and the Visigoths. In the 6th cent. Seville was a center of learning. Falling to the Moors in 712, it was (c.1023–1091) the seat of an independent emirate under the Abbadids and a flourishing commercial and cultural center under the Almoravids and the Almohads. In 1248, Ferdinand III of Castile conquered it after a long siege and made it his residence. It is said that 300,000 Moors, the majority of its population, left Seville at that time. With the discovery of the New World, Seville entered its greatest period of prosperity. It was the chief port of trade with the new colonies. In addition to its economic prosperity, it was the seat of a flourishing school of painting to which Velázquez, Murillo (both natives), and Pacheco belonged. In 1718, Seville was superseded as a port by Cádiz. Its economic recovery from the subsequent decline is only recent. In 1810 the French sacked the city. Seville was held by the Nationalists throughout the civil war (1936–39). The 1992 World Exposition was held at Seville.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.