Madrid, capital of Spain, is the largest city and the economic center in Spain, and also serves as the capital of Madrid province. Being a historically famous city in Europe, Madrid is the comprehensive economic center of Spain’s central economic zone. Additionally, it is the center of transportation, logistics, research and development, consumption, and the high tech industry of Spain.

Madrid is also the commercial center and “economic center” of Spain. It is located in the central area of Spain, with the Manzanares River running through it, in the center of the Meseta Plateau of the Iberian Peninsula, and in the basin of the plateau of the Sierra de Guadarrama. It is 670 meters above sea level and a city with the highest elevation in Europe. In the south, it stretches to the Strait of Gibraltar. Beyond the Pyrenees to the north is the hinterland of Europe. Therefore, its geographic location is quite important. In history, it had been called “Gate of Europe” because of its strategic location.


History of Madrid

The first historical written record of Madrid occurred in the 9th century, when Córdoban emir Muhammad I commanded a castle to be built on the site of the current Royal Palace of Madrid. A citadel, al-Mudayna, was built around this castle. Near the castle is the Manzanares River, called al-Majlī by Muslims. People named this place after this river’s name, which later turned to the basic structure of the word Majerit, later spelled Madrid. During the war waged by Afonso VI against Toledo in 1085, Alfonso VI occupied Mayrit, current day Madrid, without much resistance.

The Kingdom of Castile and the Kingdom of Aragon were combined by Carlos I to today’s Spain. Philip II (1527 - 1598) was the first person who moved the royal place to Madrid. Philip V thought that as a capital, the size of Madrid of that time was not suitable to represent Spain as one of the European capitals. Therefore, under his ruling, mass construction commenced in Madrid, including the building of the new royal palace (including the Royal Palace of Madrid).

During the Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939), Madrid was one of the cities which were seriously affected, and even the streets of Madrid turned to a battlefield. During the Civil War, Madrid was the first city where the civilians were the main target of the bombs. During the time of Franco’s dictatorship, and especially after the 1960s, the south of Madrid became quite industrialized and a large number of people moved from the countryside to the city. The southeast of Madrid turned to a large slum and an active base of culture and a government institute. Since the prosperous time of Spain’s 1980s, compared with other cities on the Iberian Peninsula, the capital of Madrid fortified its position as the leader of economy, culture, industry, education and science of Spain.

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