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Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, first made his idea of organising an international Latin American exhibition in his country known to the public on 31 May 1976. The event was to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. Six years later the Spanish government sent an official letter to the Bureau International des Expositions (B.I.E.) via the Spanish ambassador in Paris, stating that they would like to organise a world exposition in Seville in 1992 on the theme: "The Birth of a New World". Seville was considered the ideal place for the exposition because Columbus had left the inland port of the city to start his journey of discovery exactly 500 years before. Reference was also made to the Ibero-American exhibition of 1929 in Seville which had accompanied the main world exposition in Barcelona in the same year.

Despite initial scepticism on the part of the Spanish population, the project was turned into a welcome election issue by the socialists in Madrid, under their Seville-born leader, Felipe Gonzales. A world exposition - symbolising technical progress - was to present to the world a picture of modern Spain, and simultaneously give the south of Spain a much needed economic uplift and bring it closer to the North. Seville, very much aware of its past historical importance, would be able to present itself as a modern metropolis.

Naturally enough, a city of only 700,000 inhabitants was not capable of realising a major event of this type and scale without outside help. Indeed, it was clear that in order to organise an exposition at this symbolic site, the city of Seville itself would require a great deal of work - including the reconstruction of the Old Town, overall expansion of the city and modernisation of the infrastructure.

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The Seville World Exposition 1992
Transforming Seville into a modern metropolis
Year: 1992City: SevillaCountry: Spain
Duration: 20th April - 12th October 1992



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