History of Salamanca, Spain
The city of Salamanca, or “Helmantika”, was founded in the 4th century BC by the Celts and Romanized short after. It constituted an important link of communications of the Ruta de la Plata, the Roman “Road of the Silver” which crossed the Peninsula from North to South. Helmantika was later called Salmantica and finally, since the 13th century, the city got its present name, Salamanca.
In the 8th century, during the Muslim invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, the city was conquered by Musa Ibh Nusair, and Muslim culture took over Christianity.
After the Christian Reconquest, in the 13th century, the king Alfonso IX boosted the development of the city and founded the University of Salamanca, which was ratified by the Pope Alexander in 1255. The city and its university reached great prestige at the time and afterwards, with outstanding figures such as the famous writer Miguel de Unamuno, who was vice-Chancellor at the University of Salamanca.
Another outstanding episode of the Spanish history takes place in Salamanca, when during the Spanish war of Independence, the French army was defeated in the Battle of Arapiles, in 1812.
Salamanca was also a key city during the Spanish Civil War. All the documents obtained by the national troops during the occupation of the country where concentrated in Salamanca, creating a famous archive of documents of the Spanish war.
With the establishment of democracy and the arrival of monarchy in Spain, the prestige of the city and its University flourished again. Salamanca has become a cosmopolitan city and is continuously growing in culture and heritage, as shows its recognition by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, and its recent designation as European Capital of Culture, in the year 2002.