Madrid – capital of Spain and the supposed geographic and political centre of Spain; well the exact geographic centre of Spain is actually just outside Madrid but the centre of practically everything else Spanish, it certainly is. Madrid is the home of the Royal Family; the parliament; all major government ministeries; the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen museums; the football team Real Madrid and now even David Beckham!
Madrid – a history in 2 paragraphs
There has been some sort of settlement in Madrid for well over 2000 years. Probably, the most important first rulers were the Moors who occupied the area for around 200 years. Madrid was known as ‘Magerit’, and was founded during the reign of Emir Mohammed I of Córdoba. Alfonso VI of Castile took over power of Toledo and Madrid around 1085. Felip II made Madrid the home of the royal court in 1561 but, unfortunately, the city is under developed over the next century or so and in 1700 Hapsburg Spain comes to an end with the death of Carlos II.
Philip V became the first Bourbon king of Spain in 1700 and ruled until 1746. Between the years 1808 and 1813 the French occupy Spain under Napoleon. The next hundred years see a series of kings, 2 republics and a dictatorship; finally in 1939 General Franco, leader of the right-wing nationalists comes to power and holds on to it until he dies in 1975. King Juan Carlos becomes king on Franco´s death and the country´s first democratic elections in over 40 years take place in 1977.