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History of Toledo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain, Europe
The ancient city of Toledo sits atop a high rocky hilltop partially surrounded by the Tajo River. The lands that surround it are some of the flattest on the peninsular, offering forests, grazing land, and substantial arable land for the growing of crops. These facts give Toledo a clear advantage when it comes to settlement, especially considering that it offers a clear line of sight for many miles and is an easily defended position. It is perhaps not surprising then to hear that the spot occupied by modern day Toledo has been inhabited since the pre-historic era.
As a city Toledo has over 2000 years of history, though at first as a Celtiberian settlement. The first major civilisation to arrive were the Romans in 193BC, naming the city Toletum, and upon recognising it's natural strategic advantage heavily developed and fortified it. Toledo has remained a walled city ever since. When the Roman empire eventually declined they were replaced by Germanic tribes, the most succesful of which were the Visigoths who conquered much of the territory which now consistutes Spain. In 569AD their king, Leovigildo, established his court at Toledo and in the years that followed the city became their capital. Another major event (upon the Visigothic conversion to Catholicism) was Toledo's transformation into the religious centre of Spain; a role which the city fulfills to this very day.
In the year 711AD the armies of the Moors engulfed Toledo in their conquest of the peninsular. Power was transferred from Toledo to Cordoba, though the city still prospered under their management. Toledo became a melting pot for different cultures, with Muslim, Christian, and Jewish peoples all living in the city. Great advances were made in agriculture, architecture, metalwork, the arts, and education; resulting in a lasting mark left on the city which can still be witnessed today. Aside from their monuments the streets of the oldest parts of town still have the same layout as they did during Moorish occupation.
In 1085AD the first major leap in the reconquest of the peninsular by Christian forces was made by King Alfonso VI of Castile; the conquest of Toledo. Many techniques and skills were learned by the Christians in the years that followed, including advances in the manufacture of swords. Toledo became a centre of specialisation in this art and has been a major world exporter of swords and other cutting implements since. Toledo remained of importance for many hunderds of years under Christian rule, enjoying the role as national capital for varying periods until the permanent relocation of state business to Madrid in 1561. Toledo never fully recovered from this event, and has not enjoyed the levels of economic and population growth experinced by other Spanish cities. However Toledo is the capital of the autonomous region of Castile-La Mancha, and remains one of the most beautiful cities in all of Spain.
Toledo Tourist Office
TEL +34 925 220843
FAX +34 925 252648
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Toledo History, History of Toledo, Castile-La Mancha, Spain, Europe
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