The Sixth Fleet in Barcelona

September 14th, 2011 | by nick |

Sailor in Barcelona, in LIFE magazine (Nat Farbman 1953).

I’ve just come across the fascinating “la Sisena Flota a Barcelona” by Xavier Therus from where the above image is taken, about the The Sixth Fleet in Barcelona, which arrived in 1951 in an almost Third World Barcelona and stayed 37 years during which time the city developed a love-hate relationship with these boys in their crisp uniforms with their pockets stuffed with dollars, which the men and women of El Raval and Barceloneta were only too pleased to relieve them of.

Why do so many of the bars and cafés on Carrer d’Escudellers have English names? When did Plaça Reial stop being the haunt of nobles and become an almost underground venue? Who were “Las Gaviotas”? In his latest book, the writer and anthropologist Xavier Theros takes us to 1950s Barcelona, or more specifically, to the area next to the port, which played host to hundreds of sailors from the North American 6th Fleet. Stories and anecdotes full of the entertainment, daring and modernity which helped to change the city during that time.

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