MADRID - HISTORY
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The City of Madrid
was given the name of Madjerīt by the Moors in the 10th Century.
During this same century the King of Leon, Ramiro I, managed to
conquer it but only for a short time as it was quickly repossessed
by the Moors. It was not until 1083 that the youthful King Alfonso
VI finally took undisputed possession.
Fernando IV assembled here in 1309 his first Parliament but later in
1380 King Juan I gave the place to King Leon VI, the last
exiled King of Armenia in reward for his services. It was not until
that King Felipe II proclaimed the city in 1561 as the capital
of Spain thus giving the Habsburg monarchy a permanent and strong centre
to control the continuous many political movements throughout the
kingdom. His father, the great Emperor Carlos V, had much liked
this location due to its climate as being good for his health. However,
many travellers reported from the 16th to the 18th Centuries that
the city was overcrowded, dirty and unhealthy. It was only in the
reign of King Carlos III that many of its present architectural
wonders were constructed.
The image on the Shield of the City has an interesting history. Due
to a strong disagreement between the church and the representatives
of the people about certain fields and forests. The church claimed
possession of the fields and the people took the forests - thus the
bear is leaning on a tree as shown on the shield. Also the City has
a title which leaves little to imagination - it is the most noble,
most loyal, most heroic, imperial crowned and most excellent town.
Possibly the first prominent political gesture of its inhabitants
was the famous revolt Dos de Mayo in 1808 when Napoleon's
army attempted to kidnap the Royal family. The people took to the
streets in support of their King in a true show of strength.
Unfortunately, this gallant supportive gesture failed against the
superior strength of the French. The next time was during the Spanish
Civil War when in the early part of 1937 the Republicans fought off
in the streets the Nationalist troops led by General Franco.
Untrained Republican fighters of which many were women commuted to
the fighting from their homes by commandeered cars or by the Metro.
Under General Franco's rule the city grew in both size and
population. Under his policy he encouraged new industry and commerce
to be based in the surroundings of the city and thus creating
employment. Unfortunately, he also failed to provide accommodation
and around the outskirts sprang up numberless shantytowns. In 1976 a
new Mayor was elected by the name of Enrique Tierno and under
his rule the city its quality of life much improved until his death
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