History of Segovia
Segovia is a city with an ancient history. Crudely made zoomorphic sculptures confirm distant Celtiberian roots, the magnificent Aqueduct and many other vestiges of the same era testify to its integration into the Roman Empire, and the Visigoth necropolises discovered nearby are evidence that Germanic people settled here.
The almost complete lack of Muslim archaeological remains and the existence of one of the richest Romanesque collections in Europe supports historians’ theory that the city was abandoned after the Islamic invasion and repopulated from the end of the 11th century by Christians coming from the north of the peninsula and from the other side of the Pyrenees, led by the son-in-law of king Alfonso VI, Raimundo of Bourgogne, and by the first bishop of the reconstituted diocese of Segovia, another Frenchman, Pedro of Agen.
The latter part of the Middle Ages was a glorious time for Segovia. It expanded greatly, reaching out with borders on both sides of the mountains. It was home to a large Jewish community which in the end was confined to the Jewish Quarter. The foundations for an important textile industry were laid, one which would enjoy great renown in centuries to come. Gothic art left its mark on notable monasteries and convents. It was court for the kings of the House of Trastámara and, finally, on the 13th December 1474, it was in Segovia that Isabel la Católica (Isabella I) was proclaimed queen of Castile.
Aristocratic families and proud cloth-makers competed throughout the 16th and 17th centuries in the construction of town palaces rendered more elegant by Renaissance courtyards, gardens and extravagant Baroque coats of arms.
But the defeat of Castilian cities in the Revolt of the Comuneros (Guerra de las Comunidades), in which Segovian militias led by Juan Bravo played a prominent role, together with the focal point of the Spanish economy moving south following the discovery of America, started a decline which the Bourbons could not stop in spite of either of the Royal Palaces which were built at La Granja or Riofrío near Segovia, or the Royal Artillery College which they founded in the city.
The subsequent impoverishment was uncontrollable in the 19th century when Segovia suffered French and Carlist occupations. To a great extent this has led to the city, which has managed better than many to keep within its worn stones the essence of Castile, being handed down to us with its beauty hardly changed.
The autonomous region Castilla y León was created from the union of the former two separate kingdoms: León and Castilla.
Historically and culturally declared, Castilla y León became a meeting, tolerance and respect reference for the different realities it contains. Its strong personality has contributed throughout time to the formation of Spain as a country and has been an important union connection between Europe and America.
Its 94,225 square Km make it the third biggest region in the European Union. It is made up of nine provinces: Ávila, Burgos, León, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid and Zamora. It is located on the north-east side of the Iberian Peninsula. It borders on Castilla La Mancha, Madrid and Extremadura on the South, Asturias, Cantabria, Pais Vasco and La Rioja on the North, Aragon on the East and Portugal an Galicia on the West, so it borders on nine of the seventeen Spanish Autonomous Regions, which makes it be a strategic point among numerous Spanish regions with which it shares many cultural ties.
Castilla y León has experienced a population growth within recent years because of, to a great extent, immigration and birth rates. According to the last population census Castilla y León currently has 2,523,020 inhabitants settled in 2,248 townships; Cattle raising, agriculture, mining and forests have determined the location of these townships.
The steady growth of towns, due to the different industrial revolutions, implies that 56% of the population is urban. This urban development has enabled an industrial and service growth. However, Castilla y León keeps on supplying the country with resources such as agricultural products or electricity distributed from the rural and surrounding areas of the region.