Cartagena, Spain

A large scale archaeological survey of the harbor seafloor. Aurora found the largest Roman wreck yet discovered.

The harbor city of Cartagena is located on the Mediterranean coast in southeast of Spain, in the Region of Murcia. Cartagena’s large natural harbor has, over the centuries, provided the site for one of the most important naval bases for Spain. Today, the Spanish navy still maintains a large presence in Cartagena, which also includes the navy diving center.

Cartagena was founded in approximately 227 BC by the Carthaginian General Hasdrubal brother of Hannibal. It was Hasdrubal who extended Carthaginian influence to the Iberian Peninsula. The Carthaginians mined silver which helped them finance the war against Rome.

In 209 BC, the city was taken by the Roman general Scipio Africanus Major and was renamed by its conqueror: Carthago. Under Roman rule the city prospered as is attested by the construction of large public buildings such as the large theatre.

In the early modern periods the city and its harbor became the main Mediterranean base for the Spanish imperial navy. Today, the harbor and maritime services remain the driving forces behind Cartagena’s economy although the tourism industry is on the rise.