Barceloneta, the city’s newest neighbourhood and the one nearest to the sea, is located in the Ciutat Vella district.
It is set on a triangular-shaped stretch of land between the beaches and the sea, flanked by Moll d’Espanya in Port Vell, the Ribera neighbourhood and the Port Olímpic. It was built upon the land that had been gradually recovered from the sea since the 15th century, in 1474, when the sea wall was built, which led to the gradual build-up of land from the river Besòs and the adjacent coast around the Illa de Maians.
Up until the 19th century, local commerce revolved around fishing, yacht building, and the manufacturing and selling of sailing hardware. In 1846, the Barcelona council passed a law prohibiting the installation of new steam-powered industries within the city’s walls. As a consequence, many that were already there as well as new ones decided to build their factories in the neighbourhoods outside the walls, such as Sants, Poblenou and Barceloneta. It was then that industrialisation took over the neighbourhood.
From the middle of the 20th century, other industries moved in to the area, such as carpenters and furniture makers, printers, small chemical factories, jewellers and watchmakers, clothes factories, and so on.
Once the walls of the city were demolished, and the two tramlines built, which connected the city centre with the sea, the industrial and port activity transformed Barceloneta into the city’s beach. From then on, shops and other services were set up, making Barceloneta what it is today.