The late 1950s and early 1960s saw the onset of a lasting transformation of the city by the tourist industry.
Large buildings and complexes rose in nearby Albufereta (e.g.
The proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic was much celebrated in the city on 14 April 1931. Alicante was the last city loyal to the Republican government to be occupied by General Franco's troops on 1 April 1939, and its harbour saw the last Republican government officials fleeing the country.
Vicious air bombings were targeted on Alicante during the three years of civil conflict, most notably the bombing by the Italian Aviazione Legionaria of the Mercado de Abastos on in which more than 300 civilians perished.
Also, the old airfield at Rabassa was closed and air traffic moved to the new El Altet Airport, which made a more convenient and modern facility for charter flights bringing tourists from northern European countries.
When Franco died in 1975, his successor Juan Carlos I played his part as the living symbol of the transition of Spain to a democratic constitutional monarchy.
The governments of regional communities were given constitutional status as nationalities, and their governments were given more autonomy, including that of the Valencian region, the Generalitat Valenciana.
The Port of Alicante has been reinventing itself since the industrial decline the city suffered in the 1980s (with most mercantile traffic lost to Valencia's harbour).
In the previous municipal elections of May 2011, Sonia Castedo of People's Party won the elections with an absolute majority, but resigned in December 2014 due to her involvement in several corruption scandals, at present being under investigation.
The end of the 19th century witnessed a sharp recovery of the local economy with increasing international trade and the growth of the city harbour leading to increased exports of several products (particularly during World War I when Spain was a neutral country).
During the early 20th century, Alicante was a minor capital that enjoyed the benefit of Spain's neutrality during World War I, and that provided new opportunities for local industry and agriculture.
The latest of many public battles concerns the plans of the Port Authority of Alicante to construct an industrial estate on reclaimed land in front of the city's coastal strip, in breach of local, national and European regulations. The city serves as the headquarters of the European Union Intellectual Property Office and a sizeable population of European public workers live there.
The campus of the University of Alicante lies in San Vicente del Raspeig, bordering the city of Alicante to the north. Since 2005 Ciudad de la Luz, one of the largest film studios in Europe, has had its base in Alicante.