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The 20th Century

The construction and development of the port of Bilbao became its main outlook for economic progress. It was during this period that Santurtzi “Pretty Village” became popular, being a fisherman’s village with a large number of illustrious holidaymakers who enjoyed the clean beaches of Loliso and La Pesquera. A large number of manor houses and holiday homes give an idea of its popularity. Some of the buildings that date back to that period are still standing.

It was during this period that Santurtzi “Pretty Village” became popular, being a fisherman’s village with a large number of illustrious holidaymakers who enjoyed the clean beaches of Loliso and La Pesquera. A large number of manor houses and holiday homes give an idea of its popularity. Some of the buildings that date back to that period are still standing.

The first third of the 20th century witnessed a vertiginous activity. As regards infrastructures, the external breakwater was concluded, beaches were drained, coastal spaces were filled in, a new port was built as well as the central park located on the land that was gained from the bed of the Nervión river. Social facilities improved with the setting up of new state and public schools, the hospital, the old people’s home, orphanage and nautical training facilities, where local benefactors played an important role.

The Civil War set some of these achievements aside, immersing the population in a decade of poverty and shortages. Towards 1949, Santurtzi began to resume the pulse of progress, undertaking new fillings of the coast skirting to provide spaces for the shipbuilding industry, the construction of the municipal market and social dwellings for fishermen. The 3000 inhabitants registered in the far-off 1901, increased to 15,000 in 1955.

But Santurtzi’s real demographic explosion was yet to come during the third quarter of the 20th century; the growth in population reached its peak in 1978, with 55,159 inhabitants, which entailed an acceleration in the construction of dwellings, that led to the loss of the rural landscape consisting of vegetable gardens, vineyards and pastures.

The arrival of the democratic period coincided with a deep economic crisis in the region, which was also reflected in Santurtzi. As was previously the case, the municipality has overcome these difficulties, adapting its resources and the increasingly scarce available space to the demands posed by 21st century lifestyle.