Ancient Times

From the 2nd century B.C. onwards in Hispania there is a growing development of trade exchanges with the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. The expedition of Decimus Junius Brutus who penetrated the Galician region from the south, through Portugal, irrefutably evidences these trade exchanges from an early time. In 61 B.C., according to Dión Casio, it was Julius Caesar himself, who was in Cadiz, who commanded the expedition that reached Brigantium, (currently A Coruña) by sea with the purpose of establishing trade relationships which could have come to fruition in the founding of a small colonial outpost of strategic importance at the limits of the Empire.

Obviously enough, Brigantium became an important rearguard port during the Cantabrian Wars (29-19 B.C.), playing a relevant role in the distribution of men and supplies for the war. Later on, during the peace of Augustus, there was a significant increase in trade exchanges that resulted in a development of a road structure and an increase in maritime traffic. This, in turn, favoured a process of deep Romanisation. It is in this context that the northwest of the Peninsula proved an essential ground for the conquest of Britannia and the port of Brigantium became one of the main ports of arrival of via XX, better known as authentic per loca maritima where Roman navies sought refuge on their way toward the conquest of Brittany. This military relevance would account for the building of a large proportion lighthouse at the mouth of the Gulf of Artrabo as from Gibartar to Fisterra ships navigated parallel to the coast just a few miles off it following the per loca maritima, but upon reaching Brigantium they must orient their bows toward the English channel and the northern territories, thus sailing into an open and rough sea where they lost any reference of the coast until they reached the French Brittany.

In the 5th century A.D., the lighthouse continued to play a very relevant role. Chronicler Paulo Orosio, a disciple of Saint Augustine, noted in his book entitled the Cosmografía that “the second angle of Hispania was oriented north, where the Galician city of Brigantia boasts a very high lighthouse for observation [of the sea] which deserves a mention as very few things do”.

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