HISTORY OF THE CITY
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Badajoz was founded by Ibn Marwan "El Gallego" in the year 875, in the limits of the Caliphate of Córdoba. Practically independent of the authority of the caliph, it was the capital of one of the most extensive Taifas of the peninsula. All the lands located to the south of the Duero, the current Extremadura and the Lusitanian territory to the Atlantic, from Coimbra in the North to Sines in the South, depended on it.

The city was born under the Muslim domination, was founded by the Muladian Marwan of Mérida, staying under the orbit of Islam until the year 1230, when it was conquered by Alfonso IX de Léon.

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Although there have been abundant prehistoric and Visigothic remains, there are no known urban settlements prior to the tenth century. Invaded the Peninsula in 711, the Arabs beat the Visgoths in Guadalete, where King Don Rodrigotraicionado by the sons of Witiza, loses life or disappears without a trace. After this disaster, small bags of resistance emerge in Mérida and other cities, but in a short time the invaders control almost the entire territory, except for some small areas located in the north of the peninsula.

In the last third of the ninth century, great internal struggles shook the Caliphate of Cordoba. By then the city of Merida, was governed by the family of the Marwan. They were Hispan-Ottomans of Galician or Asturian origin, Muladies who after the invasion converted to Islam. His rebellious and independent character, caused frequent confrontations with Cordova. Ibn Marwan Yunuf "al Yiliqui" is claiming the caliph's court, where he is humiliated and despised.

Shortly after he flees from the city and takes refuge in Alange, defying Caliphate authority. The castle is besieged, but the caudillo muiladí resists and manages to flee to the north accompanied by his supporters. Their way of life is guerrilla warfare, allying according to convenience, with Muslim or Christian groups. A "movie" life, similar to other historical figures such as El Cid Campeador or Geraldo sen Avor.

Before the threat that the bellicosity of Marwan supposed, the Cordovan armies persecute and besiege it continuously, taking place numerous battles and sieges of which the muladí manages to survive, answering each attack with the corresponding retaliation. Given this situation is granted in the year 875, authorization to settle in the Cerro de la Muela, raising the primitive city located within its first fortress.

He always enjoyed a wide margin of independence from Cordoba until the fall of the Caliphate, at which time the Marwan ruled an increasingly prosperous city. Badajoz declares its independence when Slavic Sapur, betraying the trust of the founder's grandson, proclaimed himself king of Badajoz.

With the extinction of the Caliphate in the year 1022 the Aftasidas dynasty was established, which has since reigned in a large territory limited to the north by the Duero basin, to the south by the Sierra Morena and from the confines of Toledo to the east, until the Atlantic in the west, including the lands of central Portugal, with important towns such as Lisbon or Evora. Remaining under the constant pressure of Leon, Portugal and the neighboring taifas.

The invasion of the Almoróvides, called to the peninsula before the harassment of the kingdoms of the north, motivated the Christian defeats in Sagrajas and Uclés. The process of reconquest suffered an important setback, at the same time that the taifas lost their independence, decreeing the union of Al-Alandalus. The arrival of the Almohads in 1146 meant the renovation and reinforcement of the defenses of Badajoz, extending the citadel to the edge of the Guadiana and raising albarrana towers on the western flank of the citadel the most vulnerable population. The one of Espantaperros the most representative element of the time. The Christian victory of the Navas de Tolosa in 1212, takes the border to Despeñaperros, resisting for a time the lands of Badajoz, Sevillla and Cordoba, next to the kingdom of Granada.

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In March of 1230 the troops of Alfonso IX of Leon took the city. This ceased to be a border between the north and the south, as the Reconquista advanced unstoppably towards Seville, Cordoba and the Algarve. Thus Badajoz becomes a dividing line between the kingdoms of Castile and Portugal, becoming a "pillar" that absorbed the continuous tensions between the two monarchies. The succession struggles between these kingdoms and mutual territorial desires, caused frequent wars and invasions. In the year 1336 sieges and sieges repeatedly took place on the part of the Portuguese kingdom, which for a long time coveted the possession of Badajoz.
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When Felipe II, claims the throne of Portugal, Badajoz becomes the base of operations of his army in 1580. In the city takes place the death of Queen Anne of Austria.

In 1589 the Spanish sovereign calls Cortes in the city of Badajoz. The continuous struggles with Portugal, caused by the War of Restoration, turn the square and its surroundings into a battlefield, the region being repeatedly devastated.

The lack of security and an unstable socioeconomic structure prevents the establishment of the nobility in the capital and its surroundings, since it was not desirable that their properties were exposed to the rigors of those situations.

During the War of Spanish Succession in 1705, an Anglo-Portuguese army took the city in the name of the suitor the Archduke Charles.

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medieval

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The new techniques of attack and siege, based on a greater destructive power of the artillery, made old medieval fortifications obsolete.

For this reason they have to adapt to new geometric lines, which avoid the directing impacts of the artillery, lowering the height of the walls (converted into curtains) and giving a lower height to the towers, which became pentagonal bastions.

Between 1810 and 1812, during the War of Independence (Peninsular Wars of Independence), the square was fortified extraordinarily, according to the bastioned lines, providing it with bastions, moats and lunettes, as well as forts, which defended it from the outside, during those years, terrible sieges and important battles took place in its surroundings.

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Expelled definitively the Frenchmen of Badajoz for allied tropas, the city enjoys a period of peace, which does not take paired an economic progress, since eliminated the Portuguese danger, she remains removed from the power royal and relegated to a simple peripheral city.

In the XVIIIth and IXXth century it changes very little the situation and Badajoz especially and Estremadura in general, they do not manage to take off up to half of the 21st century.

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Halfway through the 20th century, the Civil War of 1936 marked its last war episode, sadly known for the terrible executions and reprisals that took place in and around it after the capture of the city by the troops of General Franco.

Until the 50s of the last century, the capital was limited to the limits of the bastioned fortification, except for the exit to Madrid and the surroundings of the railway station, later known as the neighborhoods of San Fernando and Santa Isabel and San Roque . A badly planned expansion of the city, destroyed the San Juan bastion and the annexed wall paintings, giving way to the Avenida de Huelva and somewhat later to that of Colón, breaking the continuity of the bastioned fortification and disappearing pits, lunettes and other defensive structures. This is how the Avenida de Santa Marina was born, limited later by the badly named "highway", which tried to circumnavigate the city to the west. New districts, among which Valdepasillas stands out, greatly exceeded this belt, with the majority population extending westward around the Olivenza road. At the same time, other areas such as Pardaleras were developed, and the ones mentioned were San Roque and San Fernando, which were configured as essential parts of the new city.

Badajoz, is currently the most prosperous population and with the highest growth rate in its area of ​​influence. The happy reality of the European Union has reserved for it a new role, which overcomes the old borders and transnational limitations, making new and great opportunities augur. The desired layout of the High Speed ​​Train (AVE) and its international station, the Caya Logistics Platform, the Sines-Badajoz merchandise line, "Manuel Rojas" Conference Center and the new IFEBA, are among other incentives, the triggers that will allow the takeoff of Badajoz, towards a hopeful future. All this, apart from the booming activity of the commercial sector, which attracts a large number of visitors to the city, eager for its wide and varied offer.

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Despite all that has been said before, some researchers insist on the existence of the city as a population before the Arab invasion. From the end of the 15th century until the beginning of the 20th century, the theory that the origin of the population was a pre-existing Roman city, known as Pax Augusta, was maintained. According to the historians and the existing documentation, this is not an acquired fact, even if the name of Badajoz has always been that of "pacenses". After the conquest of Badajoz for the kingdom of León, the bishopric of the city was established, what the clergy of the time called "diocese pacensis", although its existence was not demonstrated before the invasion and after the defeat of the Visigoths of Guadalete. The neighboring cities of Emerita Augusta, Pax Julia and Evora were perhaps (although other evidence does not show) the cause of this contradiction.

However, the abundance of remains of Roman villas and burials in Badajoz and its terminus (La Cocosa, Céspedes, Montesinos, La Picuriña, the village and the La Crispita dam, etc.) cast doubt on the important Roman presence in Badajoz. And after the Romans ... Well, the Visigoths. The many pieces of this historical period associated with the Arab fortification and in other parts of the city have never been sufficiently justified.

The hill of La Muela, whose present level is the result of the resurgence of the old city, the ruins and the previous constructions, undoubtedly contains incalculable secrets and a historical memory shamefully buried and forgotten by so many authorities that it seems that the historical remains of Badajoz, constitute an important obstacle for the development of the city.

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  Antonio García Candelas     l   Suggestions and impressions

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