21. From beach to port
Maritime trade was the city’s main economic driving force and flourished even though it lacked a good natural or artificial harbour. Barcelona only had the relative protection of the sand bar running parallel to the coast known as Les Tasques, which shaped a coastal lagoon where vessels could load and unload in good weather. In stormy weather, ships might end up on the beach as shown by the Barceloneta I wreck.
In 1439, the city tried to build a breakwater but it was destroyed by storms. It was not until 1487 that it was able to complete its first artificial wharf which was then extended between 1590 and 1623 with two additional sections.