Sites & cities that bear the name of Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares

Today in : Spain
First trace of activity : ca. 20th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Ikesankom Konbouto, Iplacea, Complutum

Description : Alcalá de Henares (Spanish pronunciation: ) is a Spanish city in the Community of Madrid. Straddling the Henares River, it is located 35 kilometres (22 miles) to the northeast of the centre of Madrid. As of 2018, it has a population of 193,751, making it the region's third-most populated municipality. Predated by earlier settlements (oppida) on the left bank of the Henares, the city has its origins in the Complutum settlement founded in Roman times on the right bank (north) of the river, that became a bishopric seat in the 5th century. One of the several Muslim citadels in the Middle Mark of al-Andalus (hence the name Alcalá, a derivative of the Arabic term for citadel) was established on the left bank, while, after the Christian conquest culminated circa 1118, the bulk of the urban nucleus returned to the right bank. For much of the late middle-ages and the early modern period before becoming part of the province of Madrid, Alcalá de Henares was a seigneurial estate of the archbishops of Toledo. Its historical centre is one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The city has a long university tradition. Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros founded the Complutense University in Alcalá de Henares in the late 15th century. The city currently hosts the (refounded) University of Alcalá. It is the native city of Miguel de Cervantes. The city boundaries have been inhabited since the Chalcolithic phase of the Bronze Age. Romans conquered the area in the 1st century BC, and built the town of Complutum near a previous Carpetanian settlement, Iplacea. With 10,000 inhabitants, it reached the status of municipium and had its own governing institutions. It played an important role, located on the Roman road connecting Emerita Augusta and Caesaraugusta. After the downfall of the Roman Empire, under the Visigoths, it declined, although it also became a pilgrimage destination in remembrance of the Saints Justo and Pastor. When the Moors arrived in 711, they subdued the Visigothic city and founded another site, building an al-qalʿa, which means "citadel" in Arabic, on a nearby hill, today known as Alcalá la Vieja (Old Alcalá). On 3 May 1118, it was conquered by the Archbishop of Toledo Bernard de Sedirac at behest of Castile. Soon after, on 10 February 1129, Alfonso VII gifted Alcalá to Raymond de Sauvetât, also Archbishop of Toledo, becoming an archiepiscopal property for centuries to come. Raymond granted the town an old fuero (charter) in 1135. The Christians preferred the Burgo de Santiuste ("Saint Just's borough") on the original Roman site, and the Muslim one was abandoned. Under Christian rule until the end of the Reconquista, the town had both a Jewish and a Moorish quarter and a renowned marketplace. Its central position allowed it to be a frequent residence of the Kings of Castile, when travelling south. At some time in the 1480s, Christopher Columbus had his first meeting with the Reyes Católicos, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and his wife Queen Isabella I of Castile, who financed the travel for the Discovery of America. The Cardinal Cisneros granted the town a new fuero in 1509.

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