In the center of Seville you can find the university building of Seville, which is the biggest building in Seville. This building has not always been a university. Where did they use the building for, before 1949 when it became a university?
The university building of Seville is also known as the former Real Fábrica de Tabacos (Royal Tobacco Factory). Yes, that's right! The building was a tobacco factory built in the 18th-century.
How it started
It all started in 1492 when the Spanish encountered the tobacco plant almost immediately upon their first arrival in the Americas. The city of Seville held a monopoly on commerce with the Americas. The first tobacco manufacturers established themselves in Seville, At the beginning of the 16th century. In the 18th century, the royal government decided to build this large tobacco factory, this was the first anywhere in Europe.
There were many employees in the factory, almost 10.000! Women who daily worked in the Tobacco Factory in Seville were called “the cigarreras”. The most famous employee was Carmen, they said that she was famous because of the fact that she could roll the cigarettes between her legs. The opera from the French componist Georges Bizet is also named by this famous employee Carmen.
Working in the factory did not earn a lot of money, because of this reason many cigarreras stole tobacco to sell it in the city center of Seville by extra costs. Unfortunately, the management found out and took measures. They built really high fences, constructed a canal and built a prison and frisked the women.
University of Seville
Nowadays, the building is used by the University of Seville for its main offices. The faculties’ geography, history, and literature are situated in the building.
Curious about the university building of Seville? During our daily bike tours, you´ll see the building by yourself! Do you prefer to read a dutch blog about the tobacco factory? You can read it here!