Province and town in Spain

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

     Catholic_Encyclopedia Madrid-Alcalá
    (MATRITENSIS -ALACHENSIS, or COMPLUTENSUS: Complutum being the name given by the Romans to the town called in later years Alcalá by the Moors).
    Madrid is the name of a province and town in Spain.
    Madrid is one of the five provinces into which New Castile is divided: area 3084 square miles; pop. (in 1900), 775,036. It lies in the basin of the Tagus; other rivers of the province being the Jarama, the Henares, the Logaza and the Manzanares, all tributaries of the Tagus. The soil is clayey and sandy, and on the whole treeless, except along the mountain slopes of the Guadarrama. The quarries of the Guadarrama contain granite, lime, iron, copper, and lead. The chief manufactures are cloth, paper, porcelain, bricks, and glass. In the neighbourhood of Madrid gardening is carried on extensively, and wine and oil are a source of wealth throughout the province. Commerce is mainly carried on with the town of Madrid, and of late years an improved railway system is developing the economical condition of country places. The great plain of Madrid lies in the heart of the province, an immense desert flanked by the Guadarrama mountains, and resembling the wide campagna in which Rome stands.
    The early history of Madrid is largely conjectural. Roman tablets and remains have been discovered in the neighbourhood, but nothing definite is known until the Moors took possession of the surrounding country and established a fortress called Majrît. Tradition relates that there were Christians in the town and that during the Moorish occupation they concealed an image of the Blessed Virgin, known as Our Lady of the Almudena, in a tower of the city walls, where it was found in after years. The Moors were driven out by Don Ramiro II of Leon in 939, the Moorish Alcázar became a royal palace, and the mosque a Christian church. The new cathedral, begun in 1885, and still unfinished, stands on the site of the mosque. Under the kings of Castile, Madrid attained no great prominence. In the fourteenth century the Cortes met there twice; John II and Henry IV resided occasionally in the royal palace, and Charles V visited it in 1524. In 1525 Francis I of France was imprisoned in Madrid, and in 1526 he signed the Treaty of Madrid by which he abandoned his rights over Italy. On regaining freedom, however, he refused to be bound by its terms. There were two other Treaties of Madrid, that of 1617 between Spain and Venice, and that of 1800 between Spain and Portugal. Philip II by decree dated 1561 declared the town of Madrid to be the unica corte, thereby establishing it as capital of all Spain, over the older and more historic towns of Valladolid, Seville, Toledo, etc., capitals of the kingdoms into which Spain had been divided.
    From this time dates the expansion of Madrid; Philip II built the Escorial palace and monastery in the vicinity; Philip III, the Plaza Mayor; Philip IV, the Buen Retiro; Charles III, the Prado Museum and the Alcalá Gateway. In 1789 Madrid had 18 parishes, 39 colleges, 15 gates, and 140,000 inhabitants. In 1808 it raised the standard of independence against the French invaders and the monument of the Dos de Mayo (2 May) commemorates the heroism of the Madrileños when the French assaulted the Puerta del Sol. The Duke of Wellington restored the town to Spain in 1812. In 1878 the walls were taken down and the urban boundaries enlarged and its population in 1900 was 539,835. After the abdication of King Amadeo (1873), of the House of Savoy, who accepted the crown on the assassination of General Prim, the town was for a time in a state of anarchy owing to the rival political passions of Carlists, Republicans, and Socialists. Eventually a republic was instituted which lasted till 1875 when the House of Bourbon returned to Madrid in the person of Alfonso XII, father of the present sovereign Alfonso XIII.
    Madrid is built on the Manzanares (a narrow river crossed by imposing bridges, the principal of which are Puente de Toledo and Puente de Segovia), on low irregular sandhills in the centre of a bleak plateau 2150 feet above sea-level to the south of, but unprotected by, the Sierra Guadarrama. The temperature ranges from 18° to 105° F; the climate while not unhealthy is treacherous; the winter cold is intense and the summer heat pitiless. The dust of the sandhills is a source of discomfort to the inhabitants, and baffles all the efforts of the municipality to overcome it. Modern improvements are to be seen everywhere. The streets are a network of electric cars; the telephone system is excellent; transportation facilities are provided for by the railways which give direct communication with Paris, Lisbon, etc.; water is supplied from the Logasa, by an aqueduct 47 miles long conveying 40,000,000 gallons of water daily to Madrid: this aqueduct was erected at a cost of $11,000,000. The working classes are well organized to defend their interests; the masons' and bricklayers' union has 15,000 members. Socialistic ideals find some favour among the working men, and May Day demonstrations are sometimes troublesome. Public peace is looked after by gendarmes and civil guards. The State maintains a savings bank, and the pawnbroking of the town is in Government hands. There are 3 foundling institutions, 6 orphanages, 20 hospitals, including the Princess Hospital, Hospital of St. John of God, military hospital, and a lunatic asylum. The birthrate is 37.5 per 1000; the mortality 37.4. The principal manufactures are tobacco (the tobacco monopoly employs over 4000 women and girls), metal ware, leather, gloves, and fans. It is a town of small traders, a frugal, industrious community reflecting the political ideals of the country. Barcelona, while commercially more important, has strong affinities with France; Burgos, Salamanca, and Cordova live in their past greatness, but Madrid is a thriving stately town, well fitted to be the capital of modern Spain.
    The arms of the town are a tree in leaf with a bear climbing the trunk, and the escutcheon is surmounted by a crown. Madrid has never been officially granted the title ciudad or city.
    Monuments.–Old Madrid ended on one side at the Puerta del Sol, now the centre of the town, whence the chief thoroughfares radiate: the Calle de Alcalá, the Calle del Arenal, the Calle Mayor, and the Carrera de San Jeronimo, or Fifth Avenue of Madrid. The Buen Retiro and Parque de Madrid are recreation grounds. In the Plaza Mayor is a bronze equestrian statue of Philip III, the work of Juan de Bologna. The Ministry of State dates from Philip IV and the town hall with its fine staircase is a seventeenth-century structure. The Palacio del Congreso, where the deputies meet, is a Corinthian building dating from 1850. The Plaza de Oriente, the largest square in Madrid, has a handsome fountain adorned with bronze lions. This square dates from the reign of Joseph Bonaparte (1808). The Royal Exchange and Bank of Spain are modern but imposing buildings. The Royal Palace, a large rectangular building designed by Sacchetti, overlooks the Manzanares and commands a view of the whole town. Before the twelfth century a Moorish Alcázar stood there and a palace was built on the site by Henry IV from designs by Herrera. This structure was destroyed by fire in 1738, and the present building was then erected at a cost of $15,000,000. It is built of granite and faces the south. The main staircase is of black and white marble; the throne room has paintings by Tiefolo; there is a hall by Gasparini; and the royal chapel has paintings by Mengs and contains the font at which St. Dominic was baptized. Another royal palace is La Granja (4000 feet above sea-level), the grange or farm, a summer residence in view of the Guadarrama mountains. It was built in 1746 by Philip V and is known officially as San Ildefonso. Its park and fountains are famous. El Pardo, a royal shooting box, 6 miles from Madrid, has Gobelin tapestries after designs by Teniers and Goya. Aranjuez, 30 miles from Madrid, is another royal palace, famous for its gardens (Garden of the Primavera) and for its paintings by Mengs, Maella, and Lopez. (See also ESCORIAL.)
    In the neighbourhood of the Royal Palace, Madrid, is the upper house of the Cortes, the House of Senators. The Senate consists of 80 members who are senators in their own right, 100 members nominated by the crown, and 180 members elected by state corporations, including ecclesiastical bodies, for 10 years, one half renewable every 5 years. The House of Deputies is nominally composed of one deputy to every 50,000 inhabitants; he must be over 25 years of age, and is elected for a term of 5 years. In all there are 406 deputies. Neither senators nor deputies are paid for their services to the nation. Suffrage is the right of every male adult who has arrived at the age of 25 years (Law of 26 June, 1890), and who has resided within a municipality for at least 2 years. The king's civil list is $1,900,000; and the queen has a state allowance of $90,000 annually.
    Adjoining the Royal Palace is the Royal Armoury where the student can view if not the evolution at least the highest expression of the armourer's craft. It contains the masterpieces of the Colmans of Augsburg and the Negrolis of Milan. Historically, perhaps less valuable than that of the Tower of London, in magnificence the Madrid collection is rivalled only by that of the Imperial Armoury at Vienna. The National Museum known as Museo del Prado from designs by Villanueva, dates from the reign of Charles III, and was completed under Ferdinand VII. It is a handsome building, badly lighted, and contains masterpieces of nearly all the schools of painting and sculpture of Europe. The early Spanish School is represented by Gallegos; Pedro Berruguete, Morales, El Greco, and Ribera (predecessor of Velasquez and Murillo) are also represented. Velasquez, a native of Seville, went to Madrid in 1623 where he died in 1660, and his masterpieces are to be seen in a sala of the Prado: "Las Meniñas", "The Forge of Vulcan", "Los Barrachos", "Las Lanzas". The Prado contains Murillo's "Holy Family", "The penitent Magdalen", "The Adoration of the Shepherds", etc. Among Italian painters there are works by Fra Angelico, Mantegna, Raffaele, Del Sarto, Corregio, Tintoretto, Veronese, Titian. There are examples of Van Eyck, a Van der Weyden, a Memlinc, a Holbein, and about 60 paintings by Rubens, who visited Madrid in 1628. The collection of paintings in The Prado rivals even that of The Louvre, and artists from every country are to be seen studying or copying its masterpieces. Its treasures include twoscore Murillos, nine canvases from the brush of El Greco, much of the work of Ribera (a decidedly modern painter, though he lived between 1588-1656), and a whole sala devoted to Velasquez. There too is to be seen the work of Antonio Moro, founder of the Spanish School of portraiture, whose painting of Mary Tudor of England, wife of Philip II of Spain, is of peculiar interest. Among other glories of The Prado are Rubens and Goya. This assemblage of canvases of all the great masters of painting makes The Prado collection one of the most famous and valuable in the world. The Museo de Arte Moderna has many pictures by contemporary artists, and much statuary. The Real Academia de Bellas Artes, built in 1752, has also a valuable picture gallery. There are moreover Academies of History (1738), Science (1847), and Medicine (1732), and a Naval Museum (1856).
    The first public library in Madrid was the San Isidro, founded by the Jesuits, and containing 60,000 volumes. The National Library was built in 1712; it has many editions of "Don Quixote", a Visigothic work of the tenth century and the "Siete Partidas" of Alfonso the Wise. The library of the Royal Academy of History has many valuable books and MSS.
    Francisco de Quevedo Villegas, poet and prose writer, was born in Madrid in 1580, and studied at Alcalá. His works have been collected in 3 vols in "Biblioteca de Autores Españoles". His "Visions" were translated into English in 1688 and republished in 1715. Calderon lived in the Calle Mayor, or Calle de Almudena, and Lope de Vega was born there (1562). There is a monument to Calderon by Figuéras in the Plaza de Santa Ana. The first part of Cervantes' masterpiece, "Don Quixote", was published in Madrid in 1605. He died in 1616 and there is a monument to him in the Plaza de las Cortes. The first newspaper was the "Gaceta de Madrid" printed in 1661: at first it appeared annually, but in 1667 every Saturday; later it was issued twice a week and in 1808 it was made a daily. The "Diario" was started in 1758, and its title afterwards became "Diario official de Avisos de Madrid". In 1825 it became the government newspaper. "Imparcial" began in 1806; and "El Imparcial", "La Correspondencia", and "El Dia" were published in 1867. "La Epoca" dates from 1848; and "El Universo" is newer in the field. Among the reviews published in Madrid are "Lectura", "Ateneo", "España Moderna", "Nuestra Tiempo", and "Razon y Fe."
    The Plaza de Toros or bull ring dates from 1874. It seats about 15,000 persons, and cost 3,000,000 reales. It is in the Moorish style of architecture, with a very imposing arch. Madrid remains the Mecca of the toreros, and the corrida is one of the chief institutions of the national capital.
    The national Church of Spain is the Catholic Church. A restricted liberty of worship is allowed to Protestants (Protestantism) of whom there are about 3000 in the whole kingdom: statistics for Madrid are lacking. The first Protestant (Protestantism) Bishop of Madrid was appointed in 1895. There is a Protestant (Protestantism) cemetery, and schools are conducted by Protestants (Protestantism) of various denominations in the town. A project of law for extending greater liberty to non-Catholic forms of religion is at present (1910) in contemplation. The total non-Catholic population of the country was 30,000 in 1900, of whom 4000 were Jews, 3000 Protestants (Protestantism), the remainder being Rationalists etc. The chief religious restrictions complained of are the forbidding of the ringing of service bells and the prohibition of non-Catholic houses of worship with doors abutting on to the streets of the town. A letter from Mr. William Collier, U. S. minister at Madrid to the Secretary of State, Washington, 17 February, 1906, contains the following passage: "The study of the statutes [of Spain] which I have made and the advice of counsel lead me to the opinion that non-Catholics who are Spanish subjects may by complying with the provisions of the law, form legal associations vested with a legal personality, subject of course in their ceremonies and religious observances to the restrictions of the constitutional provisions" The province of Madrid is mainly a region of small agriculturists, large towns are few, and the peasant does not love to be taxed for educational purposes. That education is making rapid progress in Spain is proved by statistics. In 1860, about 75 per cent. of the people could neither read nor write; in 1880 the number stood at 68 per cent.; in 1900 the illiterates had been reduced to 30 per cent. In other words the young generation is growing up well educated. The public schools of the country are in the hands of lay teachers appointed after competitive examination, while the teaching orders of the Church conduct private schools and institutos or high schools in which about one-fifth of the children of the country are educated.
    Churches.–San Pedro in the Calle de Segovia, is a building in Moorish architecture and dates from the fourteenth century. It is the oldest church in Madrid. San Jerónimo el Real, a handsome Gothic building, dates from 1503 and has been much restored. In this church the heir-apparent takes the Constitutional oath, and in the convent close by, Charles of England stayed when he visited Madrid, in 1623, on the occasion of the contemplated "Spanish Match". San Francisco el Grande, the finest church in Madrid is modelled on the Pantheon at Rome, and was built in 1784. Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Velasquez are buried there. San Isidro, the church of the patron saint of Madrid, an ornate building, dates from 1626- 51, and has paintings by Rizi and Morales. It serves as pro- cathedral to the diocese. The Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida has a frescoed dome by Goya. Santa Barbara dates from the reign of Ferdinand VI (1746-59), who lies buried in the transept. The Church of the Atocha contains the tombs of Palafox, hero of the war against Napoleon, and of Prim, leader of the insurgents in 1868, who was shot in 1870.
    The Diocese of Madrid which includes the civil province of Madrid; area 3084 sq. miles; is suffragan of Toledo, and while its foundation dates from the Concordat of 1851, it was not canonically erected until the issuing of the Bull of 7 March, 1885, which united Alcalá and Madrid. The first bishop, Mgr Narciso Martinez Izquierdo, took possession of the see, 2 August, 1885; and the Cathedral chapter, erected 24 November, 1885, consists of 20 canons and 8 beneficed ecclesiastics. The total population of the Diocese in 1900 was 775,034 souls, divided into 240 parishes (of which 21 are in the town of Madrid), containing 776 churches or chapels and the diocesan clergy numbers 664. The principal towns within the Diocese of Alcalá with their populations in 1904, are as follows:–Alcalá (10,300), Colmenar de Oreja (3694), Colmenar Viejo (4758), Chinchon (4200), Escorial (4570), Getafe (3820), Leganes (5412), Morata (4000), Navalcarnero (3788), Pinto (2396), San Martin de Valdeiglesias (3290), San Sebastian de los Reyes (1477), Tetuan (2825), Torrejon (3081), Valdemoro (2726), Vallecas (5625).
    In the town of Madrid there are 67 houses of religious women (including 18 homes or institutes for orphans or old and infirm people under the care of the Sisters of St. Vincent of Paul), and 14 monasteries for men, Dominicans (Orator del Olivar; Nuestra Señora de la Rosario), Augustinians (San Roque and Espíritu Santo), Jesuits (San Miguel), Trinitarians (San Ignacio), Redemptorists (San Justo), and Servites (San Nicolás). Besides the Hospital of San Rafael in Madrid, the Brothers of St. John of God have hospitals at Pinto and Ciempozuelos; the Capuchins have a house at El Pardo; the Jesuits a college at Chamartin; the Piarist Fathers a college at Alcalá and another at Getafe, where the Trappists also have a farm; the Augustinians have a college and monastery at Escorial and the Fathers of the Mission a house at Valdemoro. There are Carmelite nuns at Loeches, Boadilla and Alcalá; Dominican nuns at Loeches and Alcalá; Capuchin nuns at Pinto; Franciscan nuns at Valdemoro, Carabanchel Bajo, Cubas, Chinchon, Ciempozuelos, Griñon and Alcalá; Augustinian nuns at Colemar de Oreja and at Alcalá, where the Sisters of St. Vincent of Paul maintain a hospital. The total number of convents, hospices, and hospitals in the hands of religious is 145.
    The present bishop, Mgr. Salvador y Barrera was born at Marchena in the Diocese of Seville, 1 October, 1851; appointed Bishop of Tarazona, 16 December, 1901; transferred to Madrid, 14 December, 1905, where he succeeded Mgr Guisasola y Mendez. The holydays of the Diocese are Christmas, Epiphany, Purification, Ash Wednesday, Annunciation, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Ascension, Corpus Christi, All Saints, and Immaculate Conception.
    ALCALÁ on the Henares, 21 miles from Madrid, at a height of 2000 feet above sea level is a town of historic importance and one of the first bishoprics founded in Spain. Cervantes was born there, and baptized in the Church of Santa Maria in 1547, and the unhappy Catherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII of England, was a native of the place. The name by which it was known to the Romans was Complutum, but under the Moors it became a fortified town and was known as Alcalá, the stronghold or castle. In the Middle Ages it was famous for its university founded by Cardinal Ximenez, which stood on the site of the modern Colegio de San Ildefonso. The bishop's residence is now used for preserving historical archives. It was designed by Berruguete, and has a famous staircase. The university chapel dedicated to Saints Just and Pastor has a monument to Cardinal Ximenez by Fancelli, an Italian sculptor. The surroundings of the town are austere and bleak, but it is protected by hills on the north side. The University buildings are in ruins, and the town which at one time had a population of 60,000, numbered in 1900 about 10,000 inhabitants. At Alcalá was printed under Cardinal Ximenez' care the polyglot Bible known as the Complutensian Bible, the first of the many similar Bibles produced during the revival of Biblical studies that took place in the sixteenth century.
    A school was founded in Madrid in 1590, known as the College of Doña Maria of Aragon, which may in a sense be considered as the foundation of the modern University of Madrid, but Madrid had no university previous to 1836. A university had been established at Alcalá in 1508 by Cardinal Ximenez, which in 1518, owing to disputes between the students and the townsfolk it was resolved to remove to Madrid. The plan fell through, though it was again discussed in 1623. In 1822 the Alcalá University staff did actually open their lectures in Madrid, but 1823 found them once more at Alcalá. It was not until 1836 that the final transference of the Alcalá University to the Calle de San Bernardo, Madrid, was acomplished (see ALCALÁ, UNIVERSITY OF). At the time of its transference the university included a theological faculty, but this was suppressed in 1868. In 1906 there were 5300 students (550 philosophy; 900 science; 1600 law; 1500 medicine, and 102 professors). The rector is Señor Rafael Conde y Luque. The library contains 204,000 volumes and 5500 MSS. Its endowment in 1906 amounted to $180,000. Affiliated to it is the College of San Isidro founded in 1770.
    SHAW, Spain of to-day (New York, 1909); SEYMOUR, Saunterings in Spain (London, 1906); HUTTON, Cities of Spain (London, 1908); CALVERT, Madrid (London, 1909); Annuaire Pontifical (1910); Gerarchia (1910); Statesman's Year Book (1910); ANGULO in Dicc. di Ciencias Ecles., s. v.; Anuario Eclesiástico de España, 1909.
    J. C. GREY.
    Transcribed by WGKofron In memory of Fr. John Hilkert, Akron, OhioFidelis servus et prudens, quem constituit Dominus super familiam suam

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.

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