Discover the unknown history of Aerostation in 18th and 19th century Seville.

Seville is the city of great legends. After the Discovery of America, the city became the centre of the world, the gateway to the New World in the 16th century.

In addition to the great maritime heritage due to city’s strategic location, which led Seville to become the point of departure for all expeditions, the city not only dared to sail the waters, but also the sky.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Seville began to forge an aeronautical tradition of which it is proud today.

The Real Colegio de San Telmo, located in Seville, witnessed a historic milestone on 21 September 1792: the first balloon ascent in the city. A second balloon took of on 4 October in Triana, in a house located in the Arquillo de Manuel Sánchez, although this street no longer exists. This balloon was made by Manuel de los Santos, who was the deputy pilot of the fleets to the Indies. The ascent was supervised by the mathematics professor José Portillo y Labaggi. The balloon landed behind the church of San Marcos, in the garden of the Convent of Santa Isabel.

Four days later, this same balloon carried out another test flight that ended in the Huerta de las Ranillas. However, on this occasion the balloon was attacked by a group of people, who destroyed it to prevent future flights.

The autumn of 1792 ended up with another outstanding event: on 4 November, another balloon was flown from number 47 Calle de la Mar (today known as García de Vinuesa) and managed to get travel leagues from Seville.

From then on, it became common to perform balloon ascents at the end of bullfights or at special celebrations. Notable examples include the visit of Charles IV in 1796 and the presence of Ferdinand VII in 1823, during which a woman named Virginia Cossul ascended to the sky as an aeronaut.


Seville's Aeronautical Tradition


The Plus Ultra seaplane in Rio de la Plata

Its aeronautical tradition has turned Seville into one of the cities with the most important industrial and technological heritage in Europe. The Tablada aerodrome in Seville (built in the 19th century) has witnessed major aviation milestones. In 1926 it hosted the flight of the Plus Ultra aircraft, which made the first transoceanic flight between Spain and America.

In 1927, the first postal airline was inaugurated between Seville and Larache (Morocco) and in 1929 the Jesús del Gran Poder aircraft flew from the Andalusian capital to Brazil, among others.

Seville's link to the development of aeronautics is an unwavering hallmark of the city's character. Nowadays, it is supported by its strength in the Andalusian aerospace ecosystem and its major investments in this area, such as the Aerópolis aerospace technology park, the core of the aerospace industry ecosystem in Andalusia, making it a benchmark for the industry in Spain.


Aircraft assembly at Aerópolis Seville

Seville, Emotions that Fly High!

Today, we bridge the gap between the past and present of aeronautics in Seville with a new inhabitant in its skies: the Seville Balloon "Nao Vigía"!

Source: ABC de Sevilla. Image: "Seville: View taken from above San Salvador", drawing by Alfred Guesdon on a photograph by Charles Clifford using the balloon daguerreotype technique. Between 1851 and 1855.

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