XIX Century

Over time many docks were built, but at the end of eight hundred came the decadence increased by the construction of the railway which reduced the port area. It was only a small dock for ships of insignificant size, as witness of its glorious mercantile and naval past. It was in this context when Iron Wharf was made under the expert direction of the engineer Evaristo de Churruca.

This work of nineteenth century engineering was inaugurated on September 12, 1887. This ended with the terrible Bar of Portugalete, thereby facilitating the free passage of ships of greater tonnage. The town got involved in a progressive increase of the navigation, that would benefit all the region. All that was inscribing in the impact or industrialization that was taking place in the city under the influence of the surrounding villages. The industrialization process involved Portugalete about 1870, accelerating after the third Carlist War (1871-1875).

The town suffered in this contest a hard siege of the supporters of D. Carlos, since July, 1873 to March, 1874. The square was taken by the besiegers, visiting the same Claimant in person. The inauguration of the Bilbao-Portugalete railway had place on September 24, 1888.

Between 1891 and 1893 they built the Bridge of Portugalete or Palace Bridge (name of the engineer who designed it , Alberto de Palacio y Elissague), being the date of its putting inactivity on July 28, 1893. It was the first hanging bridge in the word of its time. At the end of the XIXth, Portugalete, enriched for his Indians and the magnates of the capitalist Biscay bourgeoisie, was formed as residential zone and fashionable tourist town, famous for its beaches (today already dissappeared) and for its health spa.

Chronological table

  • 1808 -  Napoleonic invasion On August 17
  • 1809 -  May 20 it was decided to build a new cemetery behind St. Mary's Church.
  • 1833 -  Don Castor Andéchaga besieged Portugalete. During the First Carlist War Portugalete had to fortify itself, and the occupation of Portugalete was the main asset to conquer Bilbao. Don Castor Andéchaga, Portugalete besieged, but Espartero forced him to retire.
  • 1834 -  Zumalacárregui besieging Bilbao until he was injured Portugalete became the base for the liberation of Bilbao 1841 Evaristo de Churruca and Brunet is born. Maker of the Port and Iron Wharf.
  • 1845 -  Queen Elizabeth II returns the title of Villa. On May 31 the Queen Isabel II came by ship to Portugalete escorted by almost a hundred of adorned boats, visited some parts of the village and countersigned the title of Villa.
  • 1852 -  It comes into operation the first electric telegraph line in Spain, belonging to the Main Road, between Portugalete and Bilbao to service the port of Bilbao
  • 1856 -  Alberto de Palacio, the Hanging Bridge builder, Jose Manuel Zubeldia Maestro and Bernardo Castet are born 1872 The creation of Port Works Board was authorized
  • 1873 -  Second War Carlist The first attempts of siege began in the summer, but in December after the bombardment and the long siege, Portugalete's garrison agreed and the town was occupied by the Carlists.
  • 1874 -  The first of May was the release and the next day in Bilbao
  • 1881 -  The prolongation of Portugalete's Wharf The works of the prolongation of the wharf began this year, Churruca designed a framework wharf of iron, engineering marvel, which used as scaffolding, for the construction of the mentioned wharf.
  • 1887 -  The wharf was ended On September 12 the Queen Dona Maria Cristina of Hapsburg, visited Portugalete to place the last stone of the new wharf, directed by Don Evaristo de Churruca and constructed by Port Works Board.
  • 1888 -  On September 24 the railway was inaugurated from Bilbao to Portugalete by Minister Don José Canalejas, whose Works were directed by engineer Don Pablo de Alzola. 1893 On July 28 The Palace Bridge was inaugurated (hanging bridge called Puente de Bizkaia), due to the genius of engineer Don Alberto de Palacio