Madrid needed, above all, a mirror to look
itself on, "so that the city would quit the
illusions and realises it has wasted the time on thinking it is perfect ".
And actually it had plenty of spontaneous
willing to give it all mirrors in the world: París, London and Berlin
become, from middle century, into books open by exiled and travellers, so that
Madrid knows what it is and learns to transform itself, and so achieve the rank
of capital deserved.
Deserving a monarchy on first instance,
deserving a big nation afterwards, deserving a Republic further on, and finally
deserving when they all disappeared from Spain to be proclaimed under 1978
Constitution as "State Capital.".
Madrid was Monarchy capital, Nation capital,
Republic capital, Spain capital, State capital.
The big four ideas and final added that
encouraged and accompanied Madrid growth from 1834 could be sum up as follows,
as the different impulses received to escape from its regrettable condition, of
prostration and apathy.
First one rises immediately after the death
of Fernando VII, which opens the eyes of an small group of madrilenians
previously satisfied of their Villa and Court, but when having the first chance
of looking under a different light and express freely, regret the city
abandoning and propose some remedies to make of Madrid the
Second one outlines due to the 1868
revolution and pretends to transform the city into a prosperous bourgeoisie
capital, but will remain as one among the dreamt Madrid.
Nation can hardly stand on its feet and
whilst forgets all plans to built the new future capital, it relays again on
crown, church and army's hands.
Third one emerges shyly to the warmth of the
changes coming with the new century and bursts in 1930, as a proposal to built
the "Big Madrid", - thought out by
professionals and intellectuals of the 1914 generation -, as worthy
capital of the Republic.
The fourth, drawn on a fascist rhetoric,
inherits from the previous one the master guidelines for its growth and
formulates them again, with the only aim of raising the big capital worth for
the new Spain.
The final added does not obey to any new
idea about Madrid. Constitution fathers call the state and the Villa of Madrid,
that is already a metropolis, declares itself as capital.
If we want to personalise, Mesonero, Fernández
de los Ríos and Azaña would show up as builders of the three first
ideas for Madrid - deserving a monarchy, deserving a
nation, deserving a republic -, although the paternity of the fourth
cannot be assumed by a single person, in case we did so, we should point out
Pedro Bidagor, General 1941 Plan author, on its technical dimension and same
General Franco on politic.
Each of them, in any case, would not be
comprehensible without attending what the city was at each moment, and social
classes and politic power, which guided its growth on each occasion.
First one appears on the age of the liberal
revolution, as summary of the ambitions of the buyers of buildings and alienated
plots during the big deal carried out by Mendizábal.
The second one on the democratic revolution
years, as dream of a medium class which guides the revolutionary people and
mixes with the nation.
The third is the one of the professionals
who in alliance with the organised working class, briefly reconstruct the idea
of unit among revolutionary people, to bring up the Republic.
The fourth one inherits all of the previous
one under a fascist and imperial rhetoric, to give in an urbanisation abandoned
to the will of big property promoters.
And the fifth, or better to say, the final
added, is only a consequence of constitutional consensus.
Without receiving the so overexposed heat on
1931, Madrid becomes in 1978, by constitutional declaration, from capital of
Spain into State capital.
To the static and almost essentialist vision
of Madrid as artificial capital, guilty, frustrated and torn out of its
secondary place by a dictatorial and centralist regimen will, it will oppose the
one of a city which surpasses on a century and a half the limits derived of its
origins as court of a vainly imperial monarchy and the break and ruin of such
monarchy, at the dawn of our days.
In time to this hard march, Madrid assumes,
gradually its function as capital of the state and of the emerging nation. Such
is the vision proposed on pages to follow.
With a real catastrophic starting point,
Madrid began to change its morphology as city, its classes structure and its
function as capital from its beginning - during the
fifty years of that century - the railway network, the big problem
of water supplying was solved and later on they decided to demolish its fence.
Afterwards, the city consolidated it
relevant position on the joint of the spanish economy with the residency, on the
historical centre, of the most important anonymous societies and the
installation of the big banks.
During the first thirty years of this
century, to its growing importance as communication, commercial and financial
centre, it added a new role as intellectual, cultural and politic capital, due
to a massive immigration of medium class and day labourers, and the irruption of
a urban people who kept until 1930, the language of popular revolution and the
mobilisation for a republic which would declare for the very first time, Madrid
as constitutional capital of the state.
It was in Madrid, because of the weight of
its working and medium classes, the place where the Spanish Monarchy collapsed,
in the clamour of a party, who had adopted the language and manners of the old
popular revolutions against the king.
Madrid had this way become, at April 1931,
and for it own right, on capital of Spain being the Republic capital.
The rest, up to yesterday itself, began with
a long and painful break up until in Madrid could be recovered again and later
on increase, the bases that had served for its grown of the first third of
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JLL / JRP
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