With its tentacles spreading in every sphere of European politics, education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, culture, and the arts; the city of Madrid is a big tourists' magnet. It has a population of 6.5 million people, it is the capital of Spain and it is the third largest metropolitan area after London and Berlin. The city has a long history, but here is a brief overview.
1. Middle Ages - There are indications that the city of Madrid has been inhabited since the prehistory era with archaeological sites finding Carpetani settlement, Roman villas, a Visigoth basilica and three Visigoth necropolises near Casa de Campo, Tetúan and Vicálvaro. However, the first documented history of Madrid is during the Muslim Age in the 9th century.
Emir Muhammad I of Córdoba built headland near the river Manzanares among many other buildings.
2. 1085 - The City of Madrid proper starts with surrendering of Alfonso VI of León and Castile, the city was conquered by Christian.
3. 1202 - King Alfonso VIII of Castile gave Madrid its first charter to operate the municipal council and this was later expanded in 1222 by Fernando III of Castile.
4. 1309 -1435 - The kingdoms of Spain came under a common Crown and thus became a more cohesive unit. Most of the court's duties were concentrated in Madrid.
5. June 1561 - Philip II of Spain moved his capital from Toledo to Madrid
6. 19th Century - On 27 October 1807, Charles IV and Napoleon I signed treaty allowing the French troops to pass through Spain to attack Portugal which had refused to obey the international order to Blockade England. As fate would have it Ferdinand VII, the son of Charles IV mutinied and forced his father out of the throne. Unfortunately for both of them, this created uncertainty in Madrid and this created a weakness which Napoleon fully took advantage of. This saw the last of strong monarchy in Madrid and helped Madrid experience the first fruits of popular government.
7. 1931 - The Spanish constitution expressly states that Madrid is the capital of Spain.
8. 1936–1939 - Madrid saw the worst of Spanish civil war and was also the first city to be bombed by Japanese aircrafts in the WWII.
9. 1959 to 1973 - This period saw unprecedented economic boom in Spain and the city quickly became the third largest in Europe - a position it retains to date.
Today, Madrid is an important economic, cultural, industrial, educational, and technological hub on the European continent. It is also one of the most visited cities in the world. You wouldn't want to miss some of the festivals held in this city if you are touring Europe.