Short history of Madrid

It is a city full of contrast, where the old town and its character still mix with the Bourbon splendour and the modern architecture at the end of the twentieth century.

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State Administration Headquarters & the Government are here, along with the Royal Family. The people of Madrid are very heterogeneous, since Madrid had been an important focus of attraction for other regions.

The origin of the city dates back to the Palaeolithic, Archaeological remains have been found between the Jarama and the Manzanares rivers.

The abundance in bears and madrona trees gave rise to the court of arms of the city. Around 1,000 BC Madrid was inhabited by Iberian tribes, mingling later with Celtics, forming Celtiberian.

In 218 BC, the Roman colonisation began. Madrid became a focal point of important Roman roads. With the Arabic invasion in 1771, Madrid was taken over by the Muslims, who cohabited with Hispano-Romans and Visigoths.

Since then, in the turbulent years of the Christian reconquest, Mayrit (its Arabic name) changed hands on various occasions until it was finally taken by Alfonso VI around the year 1,080. Later Alfonso VIII granted the "code of law" of Madrid and during the 15th century the city became the usual residence of the Royal Family. In the 16th century, Madrid had 17,000 inhabitants.

It was then, that Felipe II moved the Court and converted Madrid into the capital of ”The Empire where the sun never sets”. The town started to become a city and for this reason the seventeenth century was significant

The civil and the religious architecture suffered a great expansion, and also a cultural splendour in all the arts. (This expansion was named "El Siglo de Oro", the Golden Age, with writers such as Cervantes, Lope de Vega, etc). The seventeenth century involved the establishment of Madrid as the most important city in Spain; especially due to the efforts of the so-names ”Best Mayor in Madrid” King Carlos III.

In the 19th century, the first uprising against Napoleon took place in the city and it was the origin of the War of Independence. Nowadays, Urban Development forms a great amount of what we know. Cultural atmospheres and especially literary ones, from Romanticism to Realism, give rise to the famous ”Tertulias” (gatherings).

In the 20th century, excluding the years of the Spanish Civil War, Madrid kept on growing until it became a large cosmopolitan city, having been named the European Cultural Capital in 1992.

Link to official Madrid City website



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