Sea and trade

Obvious Rocha Forte is not a maritime castle but it cannot be understood without its  connection with the Rías Baixas. The archbishopric of Santiago built this monument to defend its political interests against the City Council of Santiago but also for profit. It is located at a crossroad going south there was the Portuguese Road or Route and going west.

Noia, Padrón, Rianxo and Pontevedra were the port of entry of sea produce, fish or shellfish from the estuaries as well as expensive goods from the northern sea and the Mediterranean. The inlet of Rianxo, controlled by the archbishop from Castle of Lúa, was the oyster area par excellence of Galicia. 

One of the routes that fish may have followed on its way to Santiago would be up River Ulla, which was then navigable, and where castelo do Oeste is located and where remains of fish were also unearthed during archaeological excavations.

Epicentre of trade

But the sea not only brought precious food but also ideas, people and luxury goods. Archaeological excavations provide material evidence of long-distance trade. In the Late Middle Ages, the Galician Rías Baixas and Rías Altas were the epicentre of trade between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

The Galician fishing industry had contacts with mercantile centres of the Crown of Aragón, especially with the port of Valencia. During the journey, Galician ships made stops at several ports, like Seville’s. There, they sold their fresh and salted fish and bought luxury objects that were hard to find in Galicia, like the decorated tableware from Manises and Paterna.

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