The Camino Inglés  has two traditional starting points: the port cities A Coruña and Ferrol. A compostela will only be granted to a pilgrim if he completes 100 kilometers on the way to Santiago de Compostela, due to this criteria Ferrol has become the main starting place for most people who walk the Camino Inglés today.

The existence of prehistoric human settlements in this Galician city is backed up by the abundance of burial chambers, megalithic monuments and Petroglyphs and other archaeological findings. The Phoenicians established dried and salted cod stations and their presence along with the presence of the ancient Greeks is well documented by historians.

In Roman times, in the 1st century BC, a fishing port existed in the bay of Ferrol. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire the entire Iberian Peninsula, including Ferrol was raided by the Vandals and incorporated in 584 by Leovigild to the Visigothic Kingdom. 

Ferrol served as a strategic safe port during the Hundred Years' War and was important during the Castilian Civil War. In 1371, Henry II gave the town to the powerful Andrade family.

The city has been a major naval shipbuilding centre for most of its history, being the capital of the Spanish Navy's Maritime Department of the North Spanish Navy's Maritime Department of the North since the time of the early Bourbons. In the 17th century, Ferrol was the most important arsenal in Europe. Today the city is also knows as the home of the Navantia shipbuilding yards.

Ferrol was the birthplace of the Spanish General and dictator Francisco Franco in 1892, and was officially known as El Ferrol del Caudillo from 1938 to 1982.

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