The study of the History of
Madrid frecuently opens up during the fundamental period of the Austria's, being
located suddenly in the transcendental year of 1561, when Philip II orders to
transfer the Court to this village.
It is forgotten or
overlooked, the long previous century, as if it was a historical last lagoon, as
if nothing had happened in Madrid during this period, and the reality is very
different, although it is necessary to admit that, the political and cultural
importance taken place later was such that it darkened the previous matters.
The first half of the 16th
century was, mainly, the emperor Charles' reign, and although Madrid is not
convulsed by big changes or events, it did not remain static.
Following a previous
impulse, it continued growing, and certain decisive facts took place, in the
general context of the country.
As soon as Charles I began
his reign when all over Castile something ran like the gunpowder, the
dissatisfaction and the distrust against the new foreign king, and against his
ministers and consultants.
The Communities War also
affected to the life of the village, dividing the population into two factions.
Many Madrilenian noblemen remained faithful to the king, although they were not
organized in active military factions.
The Austrian emperor
Charles I's domains.
The garnish of the Fortress
remained loyal to the king, that could not be acepted by the Communers Board.
They had taken the control of the Town Council in 1520, surrounding the
Fortress, although making inmediately a pact of mutual respect that was soon
Before surrendering those
from the Fortress to the Madrilenian Communers Board, it was made a pact again.
With this pact, the Board accepted the fact that after the surrender, people and
their properties would be respected.
In April of 1521, with the
Communers defeat in Villalar, people calmed down, and very soon after, nobody in
the village boasted of revolution.
Although a part of the village had rebelled against
Charles I, some others had remained faithful, so it was difficult to punish
Madrid or those who never accepted the Emperor.
According to the old chronicler, Charles I showed a
kindly affection for the village, soon after of the Communers revolution, when
he stayed in Madrid because he was ill of some fevers, declared in one of his
many trips between Toledo and Valladolid.
During his convalescence in
the Fortress, he could appreciate the fresh air and nice weather of Madrid.
In 1525, very soon after
this stay, the king from France, Francis I, was made prisoner in the battle of
Pavía, by the imperial troops and transferred to Madrid, where the
For a long time there was
discussion subject about the place of the French sovereign's lodging.
Today, it seems for sure that the first days he
passed in the tower of the large Lujanes' house, in the middle of the heart of
the city, in the old Plaza San Salvador (today the Villa Square) but then he
moved at once to the Fortress, where he spent the rest of his madrilenian
In spite of becoming
prisoner, the refined French king's elegance caused such sensation in the
village and such a lot was spoken about the behavior and the prisoner's
distinction that, according to the legend, he lifted certain displeasure and
envy in the emperor's person.
1526 and after several months, the called Concord of Madrid was signed,
returning Francis I to France, although he left his two daughters in Madrid in
guarantee to complete the made pact.
Two years later, in 1528,
the emperor summoned courts in Madrid, to name the future Philip II Prince of
Asturias. This act took place in the church of the monastery of the
Hieronymites, in the Prado, that it might have been simple and quick, because of
the scarce resonances in the columnists.
In 1542, a partly fire
destroyed the old Guadalajara Gate, so the emperor ordered its total demolition,
with the intention of enlarging and to relieve the traffic of all type of
carriages and the most remarjable people in the Guadalajara Street -
today Mayor Street - moved in the Village.
The old gate that had been part of the Christian wall
of the 12th century, for a long time with a defensive and strategic purpose,
being totally put in the Village, once this had grown extraordinarily toward the
Although the madrilenian
town treated it with adoration, and the columnists described it with panegyrics,
exaggerating its values still after its demolish, the gate hindered the internal
circulation of a lively and prosperous village. The urban growth of Madrid was
This growth, had
always been operated towards the east because of the best conditions in the
land, and already in time of the Catholic Kings, the limits of the village were
at the Sun Gate in the east, at the Cebada Square in the south, and at the
Callao Square in the north.
The construction licenses
did not cease, and in the emperor's times, the limits of Madrid comprised a
considerable surface. It is said that certain gates have no architectural value,
being just big entrance and exit gates joined to a tapial or modest fence.
These gates or extreme
points of limit were one by Atocha, then in the Antón Martin Square, one
by Alcalá, then in the modern cross of Seville and Alcalá Streets,
and one by San Luis or Fuencarral, near the modern Gran Vía, next to San
In 1550, Charles I stayed
once more in the Fortress of Madrid, he ordered the execution of important
architectural and ornamental reformations, so that the old and ruinous castle
became a palace in accordance with the times of the Renaissance, then the
emperor felt as an authentic paladin.
Along his reign, numerous
religious and monastic foundations have been carried out and moved away, which
proved that the village was not in the 16th century, a miserable and mean place.
In 1523, it is founded the dominican sanctuary of Our
Lady from Atocha that will be soon the worshipped and visited place by the
madrilenians. In 1541, St Louis Bishop's parish has founded, helped by the one
of St Ginés, to cover the religious demand of the populous neighbourhood
arisen at this point.
according to the tradition, the prince Philip founded the augustinian convent of
St Philip the Real, located in the Sun Gate whose high tiers were the most
lively places where people gossiped in the village.
In 1552, Antón Martín
founded the hospital that took his name, in the outskirts of Atocha Gate, for
venereal and contagious illnesses.
And in 1564, the emperor's
daughter, the princess Jane, the sister of the future Philip II and the wife of
the king from Portugal and the mother of the unlucky Sebastian, already widow,
founded the Franciscans convent, known soon as the Royal Discalced, in where her
father's treasurer's palace was located, Alonso Gutiérrez, where the
princess was born.
One of the best
constructions lifted in this first half of the 16th century, among so many
losses, we fortunately conserve, it is the well-known Bishop's Chapel, built
closed to the San Andrés' old parish.
It was conceived as a family
vault by the rich and powerful Vargas's family, who had been patrons of the
legendary San Isidro, but also as a worthy shelter for the very popular mortal
remains of the patron saint of Madrid, because in fact they were not such, since
the mummified body of Isidro was conserved in magnificent state.
The chapel was founded by
Gutierre of Vargas and Carvajal, bishop of Plasencia, who finished it in 1535.
The construction began at
the beginning of the century, toward the year 1520, and the chapel was conceived
in the Gothic style, already for that time something out of step, with a wide
ship but short, of magnificent height with cruceria vaults.
However, the decoration was
already made in the modern plateresque style, with the paternal sepulchers, the
own of the bishop, the beautiful entrance doors and the splendid major
altarpiece, masterpieces of the plateresque in Madrid whose author was Francisc
At the beginning of the 16th
century, the Vargas, as old patrons of San Isidro were given the incorrupt body
of the Saint. So, they decided to lift the chapel, but San Andrés' parish
priest won't cease in his zeal of recovering the valuable mummy, getting a papal
bull of the Pope Urban III, for which the case was settled down, declaring as
the true possessor of the mortal remains from San Isidro to the parochial
temple, in which they will remain until the 19th century.
The pictures shows:
- Emperor Charles, the first king belonging to
the Austria's dinasty, painted by Pantoja de la Cruz.
- The Austrian emperor Charles I' coat of
- Communers leader Padilla, Bravo and
Maldonado being decapitated.
Painting by Antonio Gisbert - Madrid's Deputies
- To the left the so-called The Lujanes' tower
according to popular legend,
French king Francis I was held
To the right, The Lujanes' house..
- Royal Barefoot 's convent facade, foundation
by Juana of Austria, sister of king Charles I.
- Bishop's Chapel - The Carvajals' sepulchre.
- Bishop's Chapel main altarpiece.
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by JLL & JRP
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