Until a volcanic eruption in the 18th century destroyed the then capital Garachico, Santa Cruz had been a quiet fishing village, but from that time it has steadily grown into the thriving commercial and shipping centre it is today. Its port is one of the busiest in Spain, and, as well as its passenger and commercial traffic, it is one of the main ports of call of cruise liners from Europe to the Caribbean.
The shopping area of Santa Cruz has many designer shops, as well as the more well known shops. The city also has a vibrant night life.
In 1797 Lord Nelson and his fleet attempted to storm the harbour but were defeated, and it was in this battle that Nelson lost his arm.
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