The documented history of Madrid dates to the 9th century, even though the area has been inhabited since the Stone Age. The development of Madrid as administrative centre began when Philip II set his court there in the 1560s. Madrid has been the country's capital continuously since 1606.
- 1 History of name
- 2 Early history
- 3 Becoming capital of Spain
- 4 War of independence
- 5 Fernandine Madrid (1814–1833)
- 6 Reign of Isabella II (1833–1868)
- 7 The Sexenio Democrático (1868–1874)
- 8 Restoration (1874–1931)
- 9 Second Republic
- 10 Civil War (1936–1939)
- 11 Francoist dictatorship (1939–1975)
- 12 Contemporary Madrid
- 13 Population
- 14 See also
- 15 References
History of name
There are several theories regarding the origin of the name "Madrid". According to legend, Madrid was founded by Ocno Bianor (son of King Tyrrhenius of Tuscany and Mantua) and was named "Metragirta" or "Mantua Carpetana". Others contend that the original name of the city was "Ursaria" ("land of bears" in Latin), because of the many bears that were to be found in the nearby forests, which, together with the strawberry tree (Spanish madroño), have been the emblem of the city from the Middle Ages.
The most ancient recorded name of the city "Magerit" (for *Materit or *Mageterit?) comes from the name of a fortress built on the Manzanares River in the 9th century AD, and means "Place of abundant water." If the form is correct, it could be a Celtic place-name from ritu- 'ford' (Old Welsh rit, Welsh rhyd, Old Breton rit, Old Northern French roy) and a first element, that is not clearly identified *mageto derivation of magos 'field, plain' (Old Irish mag 'field', Breton ma 'place'), or matu 'bear', that could explain the Latin translation Ursalia.
Nevertheless, it is now commonly believed that the origin of the current name of the city comes from the 2nd century BC. The Roman Empire established a settlement on the banks of the Manzanares river. The name of this first village was "Matrice" (a reference to the river that crossed the settlement). Following the invasions carried out by the Germanic Sueves and Vandals, as well as the Sarmatic Alans during the 5th century AD, the Roman Empire no longer had the military presence required to defend its territories on the Iberian Peninsula.
As a consequence, these territories were soon occupied by the Vandals, who were in turn dispelled by the Visigoths, who then ruled Hispania in the name of the Roman emperor, also taking control of "Matrice". In the 8th century, the Umayyad conquest of the Iberian Peninsula saw the name changed to "Mayrit", from the Arabic term ميرا Mayra (referencing water as a 'tree' or 'giver of life') and the Ibero-Roman suffix it that means 'place'. The modern "Madrid" evolved from the Mozarabic "Matrit", which is still in the Madrilenian gentilic.
In the mid-9th century, Muhammad I of Córdoba constructed a small castle where the Palacio Real stands today. The Moors built a citadel, al-Mudayna, around this castle. They named the area after the nearby Manzanares River, which the Muslims called al-Majrīṭ (Arabic: المجريط "source of water"). From this came the name Majerit or Magerit  in Spanish, later spelled Madrid.
The place is mentioned in the work of the 10th-century Cordobese chronicler Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Razi, with the later locating the Castle of Madrid within the district of Guadalajara. After the Christian conquest, in the first half of the 12th century Al-Idrisi described Madrid as "small city and solid fortress, well populated. In the age of Islam, it had a small mosque where the khuṭbah was always delivered," and placed it in the province of the sierra, "al-Sārrāt". It was ascribed by most post-Christian conquest Muslim commentators, including Ibn Sa'id al-Maghribi, to Toledo. This may tentatively suggest that the settlement, part of the cora of Guadalajara according to al-Razi, could have been transferred to Toledo following the Fitna of al-Andalus.
The Moors controlled the citadel until Alfonso VI of León and Castile conquered them in 1085 in his advance towards Toledo. He reconsecrated the mosque as the church of the Virgin of Almudena (almudin, the garrison's granary).
In 1329 Ferdinand IV of Castile first assembled the Cortes, a precursor to the modern Spanish parliament.
Becoming capital of Spain
In 1383, Leo VI of Armenia was named Lord of Madrid by King John I of Castile. John had previously ransomed Leo from Egyptian Mamluks, offering precious stones, silks and birds of prey for Leo's release.
When Leo arrived in Medina del Campo, he was sick and poor. John granted him the town of Madrid for life, Villa Real and Andújar and a yearly gift of 150,000 maravedis. He rebuilt the towers of the Royal Alcazar.
Leo ruled for only a few years. Later, Henry III of Castile (1379–1406) rebuilt the city after it was destroyed by fire, and he founded El Pardo just outside its walls. The kingdom of Castile controlled the city until the death of King Henry IV of Castile, when the Kingdom of Aragon disputed the succession. The marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella united the Crowns of Castile and Aragon, leading to the beginnings of modern Spain, but the two kingdoms retained their own national laws until 1714, when under the new Dynasty of the Bourboun a centralised State was built under the "ways and laws of Castile".
The Kingdoms of Castile and Aragón were fully united by Charles I (more commonly known as the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V). Though Charles favored Seville, his son, Philip II (1527–1598), moved the court to Madrid in 1561. Although he made no official declaration, the seat of the court became the de facto capital. Aside from a brief period from 1601 to 1606, when King Philip III installed his court in Valladolid, Madrid has been Spain's capital city.
During the 17th century, Spain's Siglo de Oro (Golden Century), Madrid grew rapidly. The royal court attracted many of Spain's leading artists and writers to Madrid, including Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Velázquez.
In 1739 Philip V began constructing new palaces, including the Palacio Real de Madrid. Under Charles III (1716–1788) that Madrid became a truly modern city. Charles III, who cleaned up the city and its government, became one of the most popular kings to rule Madrid, and the saying "the best mayor, the king" became widespread. Besides completing the Palacio Real, Charles III is responsible for many of Madrid's finest buildings and monuments, including the Prado and the Puerta de Alcalá.
War of independence
On 27 October 1807, Charles IV and Napoleon signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau, which allowed French troops passage through Spanish territory to join Spanish troops and invade Portugal, which had refused to obey the order for an international blockade against England. In February 1808, Napoleon used the excuse that the blockade against England was not being respected at Portuguese ports to send a powerful army under his brother-in-law, General Joachim Murat. Contrary to the treaty, French troops entered via Catalonia, occupying the plazas along the way. Thus, throughout February and March 1808, cities like Barcelona and Pamplona remained under French rule.
While all this was happening, the [Mutiny of Aranjuez] (17 March 1808) took place, led by Charles IV's own son, crown prince Ferdinand, and directed against him. Charles IV resigned and Ferdinand took his place as King Ferdinand VII. In May 1808 Napoleon's troops entered the city. On 2 May 1808 (Spanish: Dos de Mayo) the Madrileños revolted against the French forces, whose brutal behavior would have a lasting impact on French rule in Spain and France's image in Europe in general. Thus Ferdinand VII returned to a Madrid that had been occupied by Murat.
Both the king and his father became virtual prisoners of the French army. Napoleon, taking advantage of the weakness of the Bourbons, forced both, first the father and then the son, to meet him at Bayonne, where Ferdinand VII arrived on 20 April. Here Napoleon forced both kings to abdicate on 5 May, handing the throne to his brother Joseph Bonaparte.
On 2 May, the crowd began to concentrate at the Palacio Real and watched as the French soldiers removed the royal family members from the palace. On seeing the infante Francisco de Paula struggling with his captor, the crowd launched an assault on the carriages, shouting ¡Que se lo llevan! (They're taking him away from us!). French soldiers fired into the crowd. The fighting lasted for hours and is reflected in Goya's painting, The Second of May 1808, also known as The Charge of the Mamelukes.
Meanwhile, the Spanish military remained garrisoned and passive. Only the artillery barracks at Monteleón under Captain Luis Daoíz y Torres, manned by four officers, three NCOs and ten men, resisted. They were later reinforced by a further 33 men and two officers led by Pedro Velarde y Santillán, and distributed weapons to the civilian population. After repelling a first attack under French General Lefranc, both Spanish commanders died fighting heroically against reinforcements sent by Murat. Gradually, the pockets of resistance fell. Hundreds of Spanish men and women and French soldiers were killed in this skirmish.
On 12 August 1812, following the defeat of the French forces at Salamanca, English and Portuguese troops entered Madrid and surrounded the fortified area occupied by the French in the district of Retiro. Following two days of Siege warfare, the 1,700 French surrendered and a large store of arms, 20,000 muskets and 180 cannon, together with many other supplies were captured, along with two French Imperial Eagles.
On 29 October, Hill received Wellington's positive order to abandon Madrid and march to join him. After a clash with Soult's advance guard at Perales de Tajuña on the 30th, Hill broke contact and withdrew in the direction of Alba de Tormes. Joseph re-entered his capital on 2 November.
Fernandine Madrid (1814–1833)
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After the war of independence Ferdinand VII returned to the throne (1814). The projects of reform by Joseph Bonaparte were abandoned; during the Fernandine period, despite the proposal of several architectural projects for the city, the lack of ability to finance those led to works often being postponed or halted.
After a liberal military revolution, Colonel Riego made the king swear to respect the Constitution. Liberal and conservative government thereafter alternated, ending with the enthronement of Isabella II.
Reign of Isabella II (1833–1868)
By the time the reign of Isabella II started, the city was still enclosed behind its walls, featuring a relatively slow demographic growth as well as very high population density. After the 1833 administrative reforms for the country devised by Javier de Burgos (including the configuration of the current province of Madrid), Madrid was to become the capital of the new Liberal state.
The reforms enacted by Finance Minister Juan Álvarez Mendizábal in 1835–1836 led to the confiscation of ecclesiastical properties and the subsequent demolition of churches, convents and adjacent orchards in the city (similarly to other Spanish cities); the widening of streets and squares ensued.
In 1854, amid economic and political crisis, following the pronunciamiento of group of high officers commanded by Leopoldo O'Donnell garrisoned in the nearby town of Vicálvaro in June 1854 (the so-called "Vicalvarada"), the 7 July Manifesto of Manzanares, calling for popular rebellion, and the ousting of Luis José Sartorius from the premiership on 17 July, popular mutiny broke out in Madrid, asking for a real change of system, in what it was to be known as the Revolution of 1854. With the uprising in Madrid reaching its pinnacle on 17, 18 and 19 July, the insurrects, who erected barricades in the streets, were bluntly crushed by the new government.
1858 was a marked year for the city with the arrival of the waters from the Lozoya. The Canal de Isabel II was inaugurated on 24 June 1858. A ceremony took place soon after in calle Ancha de San Bernardo to celebrate it, unveiling a 30-metre high water source in the middle of the street.[n. 1]
The plan for the Ensanche de Madrid ('widening of Madrid') by Carlos María de Castro was passed through a Royal Decree issued on 19 July 1860. The plan for urban expansion by Castro, a staunch Conservative, delivered a segregation of the well-off class, the middle class and the artisanate into different zones.
Student unrest took place in 1865 following the ministerial decree against the expression of ideas against the monarchy and the Church and the forced removal of the rector of the Universidad Central, unwilling to submit. In a crescendo of protests, the night of 10 April 2,000 protesters clashed against the Civil Guard. The unrest was crudely quashed, leaving 14 deaths, 74 wounded students and 114 arrests (in what became known as the "Night of Saint Daniel"), becoming the precursor of more serious revolutionary attempts.
The Sexenio Democrático (1868–1874)
The Glorious Revolution resulting in the deposition of Queen Isabella II started with a pronunciamiento in the bay of Cádiz in September 1868. The success of the uprising in Madrid on 29 September prompted the French exile of the Queen, who was on holiday in San Sebastián and was unable to reach the capital by train. General Juan Prim, the leader of the liberal progressives, was received by the Madrilenian people at his arrival to the city in early October in a festive mood. He pronounced his famous speech of the "three nevers" directed against the Bourbons, and delivered a highly symbolical hug to General Serrano, leader of the revolutionary forces triumphant in the 28 September battle of Alcolea, in the Puerta del Sol.
On 27 December 1870 the car in which General Prim, the prime minister, was travelling, was shot by unknown hit-men in the Turk Street, nearby the Congress of Deputies. Prim, wounded in the attack, died three days later, with the elected monarch Amadeus, Duke of Aosta, yet to swear the constitution.
The late 19th century saw the introduction of the electric power distribution. As by Law, the city council could not concede an industrial monopoly to any company, the city experienced a huge competition among the companies in the electricity sector. The absence of a monopoly led to an overlapping of distribution networks, to the point that in the centre of Madrid 5 different networks could travel through the same street.
By the end of the 19th century the city featured access to water, a central status in the rail network, a cheap workforce and access to financial capital. With the onset of the new century, the Ensanche Sur (in the current day district of Arganzuela) started to grow to become the main industrial area of the municipality along the first half of the 20th century.
In the early 20th century Madrid undertook a major urban intervention in its city centre with the creation of the Gran Vía, a monumental thoroughfare (then divided in three segments with different names) whose construction slit the city from top to bottom with the demolition of multitude of housing and small streets. Anticipated in earlier projects, and following the signature of the contract, the works formally started in April 1910 with a ceremony led by King Alfonso XIII.
Also with the turn of the century, Madrid had become the cultural capital of Spain as centre of top knowledge institutions (the Central University, the Royal Academies, the Institución Libre de Enseñanza or the Ateneo de Madrid), also concentrating the most publishing houses and big daily newspapers, amounting for the bulk of the intellectual production in the country.
In the 1919–1920 biennium Madrid witnessed the biggest wave of protests seen in the city up to that date, being the centre of innumerable strikes; despite being still surpassed by Barcelona's, the industrial city par excellence in that time, this cycle decisively set the foundations for the social unrest that took place in the 1930s in the city.
The situation the Monarchy had left Madrid in 1931 was catastrophic, with tens of thousands of kids receiving no education and a huge rate of unemployment.
After the proclamation of the Second Republic on 14 April 1931 the citizens of Madrid understood the free access to the Casa de Campo (until then an enclosed property with exclusive access for the Royalty), was a consequence of the Fall of the Monarchy, and informally occupied the area on 15 April. After the signing of a decree on 20 April which granted the area to the Madrilenian citizens in order to become a "park for recreation and instruction", the transfer was formally sealed on 6 May when Minister Indalecio Prieto formally delivered the Casa de Campo to the Mayor Pedro Rico.
In order to deal with the unemployment the new Republican city council hired many jobless people as gardeners and street cleaners.
Prieto, who sought to turn the city into the "Great Madrid", capital of the Republic, charged Secundino Zuazo with the project for the opening of a South-North axis in the city through the northward enlargement of the Paseo de la Castellana and the construction of the Nuevos Ministerios administrative complex in the area (halted by the Civil War, works in the Nuevos Ministerios would finish in 1942). Works on the Ciudad Universitaria, already started during the monarchy in 1929, also resumed.
Civil War (1936–1939)
- Botched coup
The military uprising of July 1936 was defeated in Madrid by a combination of loyal forces and workers' militias. On 20 July armed workers and loyal troops stormed the single focus of resistance, the Cuartel de La Montaña, defended by a contingent of 2,000 rebel soldiers accompanied by 500 falangists under the command of General Fanjul, killing over one hundred of rebels after their surrender. Aside from the Cuartel de la Montaña episode, the wider scheme for the coup in the capital largely failed both due to disastrous rebel planning and due to the Government delivering weapons to the people wanting to defend the Republic, with the city becoming a symbol of popular resistance, "the people in arms".
After the quelling of the coup d'état, from 1936–1939, Madrid was held by forces loyal to the Spanish Republic. Following the seemingly unstopable advance towards Madrid of rebel land troops, the first air bombings on Madrid also started. Immediately after the bombing of the nearing airports of Getafe and Cuatro Vientos, Madrid proper was bombed for the first time in the night of the 27–28 August 1936 by a Luftwaffe's Junkers Ju 52 that threw several bombs on the Ministry of War and the Station of the North. Madrid "was to become the first big european city to be bombed by aviation".
Rebel General Francisco Franco, recently given the supreme military command over his faction, took a detour in late September to "liberate" the besieged Alcázar de Toledo. Meanwhile, this operation gave time to the republicans in Madrid to build defenses and start receiving some foreign support.
The Summer and Autumn of 1936 saw the Republican Madrid witness of heavy-hand repression by Communist and Socialist groups, symbolised by the murder of prisoners in checas and sacas directed mostly against military personnel and leading politicians linked to the rebels, which, culminated by the horrific Paracuellos massacres in the context of a simultaneous major rebel offensive against the city, were halted by early December. Madrid, besieged from October 1936, saw a major offensive in its western suburbs in November of that year.
In the last weeks of the war the collapse of the republic was speeded by Colonel Segismundo Casado, who, endorsed by some political figures such as Anarchist Cipriano Mera and Julián Besteiro, a PSOE leader who had held talks with the Falangist fifth column in the city, threw a military coup against the legitimate government under the pretext of excessive communist preponderance, propelling a mini-civil war in Madrid that, won by the casadistas, left roughly 2,000 casualties between 5–10 March 1939.
The city fell to the nationalists on 28 March 1939.
Francoist dictatorship (1939–1975)
Following the onset of the Francoist dictatorship in the city, the absence of personal and associative freedoms and the heavy-hand repression of people linked to a republican past greatly deprived the city from social mobilization, trade unionism and intellectual life. This added to a climate of general shortage, with ration coupons rampant and a lingering autarchic economy lasting until the mid 1950s.
With the country ruined after the war, the Falange command had nonetheless high plans for the city and professionals sympathetic to the regime dreamed (based on an organicist conception) about the notion of building a body for the "Spanish Greatness" placing a great emphasis in Madrid, what they thought to be the imperial capital of the New State. In this sense, urban planners sought to highlight and symbolically put in value the façade the city offered to the Manzanares River, the "Imperial Cornice", bringing projects to accompany the Royal Palace such as the finishing of the unfinished cathedral (with the start of works postponed to 1950 and ultimately finished in the late 20th century), a never built "house of the Party" and many others. Nonetheless these delusions of grandeur catched up with reality and the scarcity during the Post-War and most of the projects ended up either filed, unfinished or mutilated, with the single clear success being the Gutiérrez Soto's Cuartel del Ejército del Aire.
During the dictatorship, especially after the sixties, the south of Madrid became very industrialized and experienced massive migrations from rural environments into the city. Madrid's south-eastern periphery became an extensive slum settlement, which was the base for an active cultural and political life.
In the 1948–1954 period the municipality greatly increased in size through the annexation of 13 surrounding municipalities, as its total area went up from 68,42 km2 to 607,09 km2. The annexed municipalities were Chamartín de la Rosa (5 June 1948), Carabanchel Alto (29 April 1948), Carabanchel Bajo (29 April 1948), Canillas (30 March 1950), Canillejas (30 March 1950), Hortaleza (31 March 1950), Barajas (31 March 1950), Vallecas (22 December 1950), El Pardo (27 March 1951), Vicálvaro (20 October 1951), Fuencarral (20 October 1951) Aravaca (20 October 1951) and Villaverde (31 July 1954).
The population of the city peaked in 1975 at 3,228,057 inhabitants.
Benefiting from prosperity in the 1980s, Spain's capital city has consolidated its position as the leading economic, cultural, industrial, educational and technological center of the Iberian peninsula.
The relative decline in population since 1975 reverted in the 1990s, with the city recovering a population of roughly 3 million inhabitants by the end of the 20th century.
On 11 March 2004, three days before Spain's general elections and exactly 2 years and 6 months after the September 11 attacks in the US, Madrid was hit by a terrorist attack when Islamic terrorists belonging to an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell placed a series of bombs on several trains during the morning rush hour, killing 191 people and injuring 1,800.
- Informational notes
- The following hymn was sung during the ceremony: Honor, glory to the Science, irresistible lever to the creator genius. Thanks to it, the fiery Lozoya uproots from its seat and elevates towards the firmament its immense water dispenser ("Honor, gloria a la Ciencia, palanca irresistible al genio creador. Por él Lozoya altivo se arranca de su asiento y eleva al firmamento su inmenso surtidor").
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- "El Madrid Medieval (Medieval Madrid). Includes Pre-historic, roman and medieval up to the Catholic Monarchs times.". History of Madrid. (in Spanish). José Manuel Castellanos. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
- Mazzoli-Guintard & Viguera Molins 2017, p. 106.
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- María Jesús Viguera Molins 2017, pp. 102, 108.
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