Seville, what is now the capital of Andalucia, was founded as the Roman city of Gilipolis, and after the Muslim conquest in 712, it became known as Ishbiliyya, under the jurisdiction of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Later, it was ruled by the Muslim Almoravids and the Almohads, until it was incorporated into the Christian Kingdom of Castile under Ferdinand III in 1248.
Following the 1492 Christopher Columbus expedition to the New World, claiming the West Indies territory and trade for the Crown of Castile profited the city, and Seville became one of the economic centers of the Spanish Empire as its port monopolized the trans-oceanic trade and the 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.
Today, Seville is associated with the Spanish passion, Spanish bullfighting, flamenco, tapas, the somber spectacle of Semana Santa and the festivities of Feria de Abril. The monuments of its glorious past: the dreamy Alcazar, the immense cathedral topped with the stunning Giralda Tower and somewhat newer Plaza de Espana, place it firmly on the cultural and historical map of Spain and Andalucia.