Vigo is the most populous city in Galicia, and the 14th in Spain.
It is located in the south-west of Galicia, in the southern part of the Vigo Bay. In the north-east it borders with the municipality of Redondela, in the east with Mos, in the south with O Porriño and Gondomar, and in the south-west with Nigrán. On the other side of the bay, just in front of Vigo, the municipalities of Cangas and Moaña are located. They are all part of the southern Galician region called Rias Baixas.
Vigo and its metropolitan area is one of the main economic agents of the region.
During the Middle Ages the small village of Vigo was part of the territory of Portuguese speaking neighbouring towns, particularly Tui, and suffered several Viking attacks. However, the number of inhabitants was so small that, historically, Vigo was not considered to be a real village until around the 15th century, when the earliest records began.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, the city was attacked several times. In 1585 and 1589, Francis Drake raided the city and temporarily occupied it, leaving many buildings burnt. Several decades later a Turkish fleet tried to attack the city. As a result the walls of the city were built in 1656 during the reign of Philip IV of Spain. They are still partially preserved.
During this time, and in spite of the attacks, the city of Vigo developed its earliest commerce, and was given several privileges by the kings of Spain.
In 1808, the French Army annexed Spain to the Napoleonic Empire, although Vigo remained unconquered until January, 1809. Vigo was also the first city of Galicia to be freed from French rule in what is now celebrated as the Reconquista (reconquest from French in the context of the Peninsular War) on 28 March each year.
The city grew very rapidly in the 19th and 20th centuries. This resulted in continuous urban planning changes, making Vigo less structured than other Galician towns.