Santa Cruz de La Palma has always had an important port and a developing trade with the other Canary Islands, mainland Spain and the rest of the world. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Santa Cruz de La Palma Port was the third most important in the world, after Seville and Antwerp, in consequence of its sugar and wine trade, which forged strong human and economic ties between the island and the outside world. This led to the arrival of many settlers from numerous European ports (the Low Countries, England, Italy), attracted by a flourishing trade in agricultural exports.
Since the time of the conquest, a short pier had acted as a quay and was constantly under threat from heavy seas. But, like most other Canary Islands harbours, it was rebuilt several times due to storm damage often made worse by a total lack of protection from the prevailing winds.
Repair work was carried out several times in the 18th century, in 1728, 1739 and successive years, but reconstruction was not completed until 1735. In winter, the harbour was exposed to the strong NE and NW winds that whipped up heavy swells, crashing into the bay and severely hindering the safety and movements of skiffs and ships at anchor.