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When the Romans landed here in 21 BC, they named the place Portus Victoriae (Victory Harbour) and, indeed, within two years they had vanquished the Cantabrian tribes that had given them such strife.

From that time Santander, as the city became known, led a modestly successful existence. Its heyday came rather late, when King Alfonso XIII made a habit of spending summer here in the 1900s. The locals were so pleased they gave him the Península de la Magdalena and built him a little palace there. Everyone who wanted to see and be seen converged on Santander, giving rise to a belle époque building boom – most evident around El Sardinero.