La Coruña is an ancient city, founded by Hercules, according to local beliefs. Celts, Phoenicians and Romans have occupied its port.
The Romans arrived in Galicia on the 2nd century BC driven mainly by economic aims since the zone was rich in minerals. In 62 BC Julius Caesar came to the city, known at the time as Brigantium and found a population composed by a few fishermen living in primitive conditions. Due to its strategic position, the city soon became important for sea trade, as shows the building of the lighthouse on the 2nd century AD. The influence of the Romans was very significant and affected all areas of life from language to culture and religion.
The Arab invasion in the 8th century was brief in La Coruña due to resistance of locals and there aren’t many remains from that period.
The city was an important settlement during the Middle Ages, when in addition to its port and fishing, it became an outstanding centre for textile manufacture. When Spain became an important sailing nation it was frequent that expedition to explore unknown territories departed from the port of A Coruña.
The greatest event in the history of La Coruña took place in 1588, when the ships of the Spanish Armada (la Armada Invencible) sailed from the harbour of Ferrol to England. The fleet had some 130 galleons to attack the British but only half the ships returned to Spain. One year later the English Fleet under Sir Francis Drake attacked the port in reprisal. Drake’s invasion was ultimately repelled by the peoples of La Coruña, inspired by the city’s heroine Maria Pita.
La Coruña was officially recognised as a city in 1446. Under King Juan II who also authorised free commerce between England and the Spanish city, this meant a significant growth in the city’s trade.
The Government of Galicia was settled in La Coruña in 1716, after the Spanish Succession war.
During the first half of the 19th century the city’s population increased and there were significant transformations of the urban structure, with building of public squares and walkways.
Between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, Modernist architecture became present in La Coruña. Modernism arrived to houses, kiosks, cafeterias and shops thanks to architects like Antonio López, Pedro Mariño or Julio Galán.