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Talavera de la Reina is a city and municipality in the western part of the province of Toledomarker, which in turn is part of the autonomous community of Castile-La Manchamarker, Spainmarker. It is the second-largest nucleus of population in Castile-La Manchamarker and the largest in the province of Toledomarker: its population of 83,793 makes it larger than the city of Toledomarker, although the latter remains the provincial capital.

The city is settled along the river Tagusmarker (Tajo in Spanish) at a broad bank. There are two islands in the center of the city called Isla Grande (Big Island) and Chamelo Island. The second one is a magnificent survival of Mediterranean forest. The city is surrounded by two ranges of mountains, in the north the Sierra de San Vicente, and in the south Montes de Toledo.

The city is divided in two by the river Tagusmarker. The northern part is the larger and more populated; both parts are connected by three bridges, one of them built by the Romans.

The weather is continental; winter is wet and cold with dense fog in the mornings, and summer is quite warm. The area is very fertile with Mediterranean forests, elms, olive trees and corks.

Talavera's inhabitants are known in English as Talaverians and as Talaveranos or more correctly Talabricenses in Spanish.

Pottery

A gate of the ancient City Walls of Talavera
World-famous Talavera pottery


The city is internationally known for its ceramics, which Phillip II of Spain used as tiled revetments in many of his works, such as the monastery of El Escorialmarker. The nickname of Talavera de la Reina is 'The City of Pottery' (La Ciudad de la Cerámica, in Spanish). Mexicomarker's famous Talavera pottery was named after the city.

Toponymy

There are remnants of prehistoric cultures in the area. The village was founded by the Celts as a ford of the Tagus. The first mention of the city (with the name Aebura) occurs in Livy's description of a battle between the Romans and the Carpetanoi, a Celtiberian tribe. After the Roman conquest of Hispania, it was known as Caesarobriga, one of many Celtic toponyms preserved in Roman Hispania, with a name connoting "fortified" that was extended to many non-fortified rowns: "Caesarburg". Caesarobriga served as an important center for agriculture and ceramics in the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D. During the Visigothic period, Talavera reverted to a variant of its Celtiberian name: Elbora or Ebora. Its modern name is derived from Talabayra, the Muslim rendering of this Visigothic name. The city was conquered by Muslim forces in 713 and conquered by Christian forces under Alfonso VI of Castile in 1083.

History

Foundation

Basilica del Prado
Walls of the Monastery of San Benito
Colegial Church of Talavera de la Reina
Salvador Church's Apse


Talavera de la Reina was founded at the confluence of the rivers Alberche and Tagusmarker. This area of great ecological wealth was the settlement of Celtic people who built the most ancient ruins of the area.

Roman Empire and Visigothic Age

During the time of the Roman Empire the name of the city was Caesarobriga. In 182 B.C. Quinto Fulvio Flaco conquered the city, establishing it as part of the Roman province of Lusitania as a city that would pay a stipend, and as the capital of an extended area included in the legal convent of the city of Emerita Augustamarker. The leader Viriato, in his war against the Romans, lived in this territory between 145 and 139 B.C. In this period Talavera de la Reina was a rich city with cattle markets and commercial exchange. Christianity came early to the city, and with the fall of the Roman Empire the Visigoths established in the city. Talavera was known then as (Aküis) or (Aibura). In the year 602, King Liuva II made a present to the city: the sculpture of the Virgin Mary, who was from then to the present day the symbol of the Christians in Talavera de la Reina, and the substitute for the goddess Ceres. In honour of the goddess Ceres, Talaverian Romans celebrated the spring festival called Mondas, which is still celebrated for the Virgin Mary.

Muslim conquest

The Muslims conquered Talavera in 712. They built new walls and a castle in Talavera. They also brought the use of fountains, water mills and new products brought from Africa and Asia. The fertile soil produced quality vegetables, fruits and grass for animal feed. The markets gained new strength, and the population, a mixture of Christians, Muslims and Jews, lived in harmony for some centuries. Medina Al Talavayra took part in different wars between the kingdoms of Spain, becoming allied with Córdobamarker and Badajozmarker. Talavera was the capital of an ephemeral kingdom or taifa (principality). After the city was reconquered in the 11th Century by Alfonso VI, it was an important trade center in medieval Spain.

High Middle Ages

King Sancho IV gave the royal privilege to hold two royal markets each year.

15th and 16th centuries

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Talavera achieved great recognition, thanks to its pottery.Wonderful pieces of pottery and Talavera tiles are found in the main museums of the world and in the most luxurious palaces all over Europe.

Talaverian people participated in the conquest of America, like Francisco de Aguirre, Juan de Orellana and Jofrén de Loaisa.

Other important Talaverian people were Hernando de Talavera, Isabel la Católica´s confessor, and the Admiral Francisco Verdugo.The beginning of the 16th century saw the release of the most important theater work in Spanish literature, The Tragicomedy of Calixto and Melibea, or Celestina, written by the Talaverian mayor Fernando de Rojas.

17th century

During this century the city lived in a golden age of arts and culture. Its main exponent is the father of Spanish History, Juan de Mariana, who wrote several books about history, law and politics, and who was very important for French revolutionary theories.

Talavera in the 18th century and the Royal Silks Factories

Upon the death of Carlos II in November 1700, two powerful nations fought for the Spanish Crown. Talavera supported the Felipe V French faction, which was the winner.In 1750 the king founded the Royal Seeds Factories in Talavera, and 4,000 people worked there.

Talavera de la Reina in the 19th century

The independent war against Napoleon's army had great consequences for Talavera. On July 27 and July 28, 1809 the Battle of Talaveramarker took place between the Anglo-Spanish army and the French. During the fight the city was hardly damaged. The Duke of Wellington's army expelled the French from the city.

Talavera de la Reina before and during the Civil War

The city was getting large during the beginning of the 20th century. The railroad brought new opportunities for improvement. In 1931 the Republic was the new political system in Spain. Talavera changed its name to Talavera del Tajo. On July 18, 1936, when the Nationalists had risen in arms, the Republicans opened a period of terror in Talavera, killing people. On September 3 the Nationalist army conquered Talavera and reopened the terror, this time against communists and socialists. During the rest of the war Talavera de la Reina was damaged by the Republican bombing attacks.

Talavera de la Reina in the Franco period

During the Franco period there was a recovery project that created a large irrigated zone in Talavera. Two new municipalities were created, called Talavera la Nueva and Alberche del Caudillo. During the 1960s a baby boom caused an increase in the population, added to by the immigrants coming from the nearby villages and poor areas of Extremadura.

Trinidad Square

Talavera de la Reina today

In 1975 Franco died, and democracy came to Spain. Talavera's first democratic mayor tried to create the province of Talavera, but the idea was not successful. The next mayor, Pablo Tello from the Socialist Party, made large projects such as the Alameda Park.

Talaverian girls with its historical costumes
In 1989 a feeling of marginalization enveloped the city, and a group of people called NOSOTROS TALAVERA started fighting for the creation of a University Campus and other projects for the city.

The University started classes in 1994.

Talavera de la Reina is the most dynamic city in Toledo province. Its young population is a good foundation for the future. Manufacturing and commerce are creating a healthy economy, and the future high-speed train that joins Madrid and Lisbon, passing by Talavera, will also enhance the city.

Twin Towns

Talavera de la Reina is twinned with:

Notes

Historic ceramics stones in Talavera.
  1. Talavera of the Queen distinguishes it from Talavera, Lleida, in Segarra, Catalonia
  2. Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Spanish National Statistics Institute.
  3. Juan Luis García Alonso, "-Briga Toponyms in the Iberian Peninsula," e-Keltoi 6


References

  • This article is partly drawn from the corresponding article in the Spanish-language Wikipedia, retrieved October 16, 2004.
(Spanish Language References)

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