Santander, city (1990 pop. 194,221), capital of the autonomous region and coextensive prov. of Cantabria, N Spain, on Santander Bay and the Bay of Biscay. It is a seaport, fishing center, and popular resort. On the Magdalena Peninsula is a former royal summer palace. An ancient port, Santander became, after the discovery of America, one of the busiest harbors of N Spain. The exploitation of nearby mines favored the development of industries (ironworks and shipyards). The 13th-century cathedral and the business district were destroyed by fire in 1941, but have been restored. The international university named for the writer Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo was established (1932) in the former royal palace and now has campuses elsewhere in Spain; the Univ. of Santander (1972) also is in the city. The Botín arts center (2017), designed by Renzo Piano, is perched on the edge of Santander Bay.

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