Madrid in the Late 16th Century: Paradoxes of a City that Suddenly Became a Capital
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Madrid in the Late 16th Century: Paradoxes of a City that Suddenly Became a Capital
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Vladimir Védyushkin 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow

The article analyzes the historical experience of Madrid, which became the capital of Spain in 1561. The reasons for Philip II’s reluctance to establish the capital in Valladolid or Toledo, which previously often served as royal residences, are considered. The analysis of the ideas about Madrid in the texts of such authors of the 16th — early 17th centuries as Luis Cabrera de Córdoba, Lucio Marineo Siculo, Pedro de Medina shows that even before acquiring the capital status, it was a notable city of Castile, which had significant advantages, so that the choice in its favour was logical, although not predetermined. By the time the Court was transferred to Madrid, on the initiative of Philip II, a large-scale program of urban reforms was prepared, in which the features of Renaissance urbanism are clearly visible. The unusually rapid and uncontrolled growth of the city’s population after 1561 required the authorities to establish mechanisms for billeting courtiers and officials into the houses of Madrid residents and then standards for housing construction; the article analyzes the royal decree of 1567 dedicated to this matter. The most important tasks of the authorities were also to provide citizens with food, clean the streets and fight crime. The Royal decree of 1585 shows the attention of the authorities to these issues; the content and role of this decree are also discussed in the article. In general, the conceived program of urban reforms faced great difficulties, but the transformations that were carried out played an essential role in the history of Madrid.

Madrid, Capital, 16th century, Philip II, Renaissance urbanism, reforms, housing construction, food supply, Royal decree
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