VIGO, a seaport and naval station of north-western Spain, in the province of Pontevedra; on Vigo Bay (Ria de Vigo) and on a branch of the railway from Tuy to Corunna. Pop. (1900) 23,259. Vigo Bay, one of the finest of the Galician fjords, extends inland for 19 m., and is sheltered by low mountains and by the islands (Islas de Cies, ancient Insulae Siccae) at its mouth. The town is built on the south-eastern shore, and occupies a hilly site dominated by two obsolete forts. The older streets are steep, narrow and tortuous, but there is also a large modern quarter. Vigo owes its importance to its deep and spacious harbour, and to its fisheries. It is a port of call for many lines trading between Western Europe and South America. Shipbuilding is carried on, and large quantities of sardines are canned for export. In 1909, 2041 ships of 2,710,691 tons (1,153,564 being British) entered at Vigo; the imports in that year, including tin and tinplate, coal, machinery, cement, sulphate of copper and foodstuffs, were valued at 481,752; the exports, including sardines, mineral waters and eggs, were valued at 554,824. The town contains flour, paper and sawmills, sugar and petroleum refineries, tanneries, distilleries and soap works; it has also a large agricultural trade and is visited in summer for sea-bathing.
Vigo was attacked by Sir Francis Drake in 1585 and 1589. In 1702 a combined British and Dutch fleet under Sir George Rooke and the duke of Ormonde destroyed a Franco-Spanish fleet in the bay, and captured treasure to the value of about 1,000,000; numerous attempts have been made to recover the larger quantity of treasure which was supposed, on doubtful evidence, to have been sunk during the battle. In 1719 Vigo was captured by the British under Viscount Cobham.