The area where Burgos is located is of great human antiquity. In fact, archaeological studies calculate that the first inhabitants found in the deposits of the Sierra de Atapuerca date back a million years. However, it was not until the Bronze Age that this human settlement was truly organized.
After the Roman occupation during the 2nd century BC and the subsequent Christianization, Burgos was a constant target of Muslim invasions due to its strategic position – something that the Christian kingdoms did not overlook.
The Kingdom of Castile
From the year 884, Alfonso III highlighted a powerful defence of the city to contain the Muslim advance.
However, not until 1038 did the city consolidate its importance when Ferdinand I was crowned, formed the Kingdom of Castile and established Burgos as the capital.
By the year 1085, Alfonso VI had managed to reconquer Toledo, which became the new capital. Still, Burgos maintained its influence due to its courts.
One of the important aspects of this influence is revealed by the fact that, from Burgos, new Spanish cities were founded, as well as cities on the American continent.
The century of plenitude and decadence
With the arrival of the 16th century, Burgos experienced what has been called the “Century of Plenitude”. This was due to its excellent geographical location, where various commercial activities increased.
However, a series of events – such as the War of Flanders, the American conquest, endemic epidemics and the transfer of the absolutist crown to Madrid – caused a period of decline at the end of the 16th century.
This reduced its population, causing the city to rapidly lose influence.
Thus, its trade route, which had been thriving and competitive for centuries, lapsed into isolation.
By the middle of 1763, a dramatic measure was taken to reinstall the Consulate and try to get the city back on track. After many years, this goal was achieved.
The contemporary era
Towards the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, the decline of Burgos took hold due to the economic crisis, the new mercantile influence exhibited by the United States and a series of bad harvests that were exacerbated during the war against Napoleonic troops.
With the arrival of the year 1812, the situation was critical and hunger was rampant. This caused a sharp drop in the important wool textile industrial sector – a product of the slaughter of sheep to alleviate hunger.
Another consequence of the French invasion was the widespread looting of works of art kept inside the temples and churches of the city. This looting was so widespread that it affected the remains of El Cid Campeador.
This situation continued until the cessation of hostilities, when the city barely managed to recover enough to reactivate its productive apparatus.
However, political and social instability was a constant until well into the 20th century.
The Civil War and the new Franco government
At the time of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Burgos was the headquarters of the National Defence Board of the rebellious Francoist troops. It was where the military actions aimed at seizing power were directed.
In Burgos, the First National Government of Spain was formed. Francisco Franco took over as the new head of State and Government until, in October 1939, he transferred the government to Madrid after the end of the bloody conflict. However, before that, in August 1939, the so-called Second Francoist Government was formed in Burgos.
Once the Franco dictatorship was consolidated, Burgos experienced a new industrial revival throughout the 20th century, especially in the automotive and agro industries, both locally and abroad, thanks to the Development Poles policy.
Its excellent geographical location in the central area of the north of the peninsula made it a communication centre with all national and international routes.
The 21st century
With the arrival of the new millennium, Burgos has fed on new technologies and its long pedagogical tradition to relaunch the city thanks to various schools and academies of great strategic value.
In addition, various research areas are closely linked to the business and commercial world.
For much of this century, Burgos was the venue for events of great importance within the web ecosystem, for example, the Social Networks Congress.
In the same way, its excellent gastronomy made it worthy of being the venue for important culinary events. Its extensive and important patrimonial and cultural legacy has made Burgos an important tourist site in the region.
All this has translated into a bonanza of ambitious projects, among which is the impressive Boulevard del Ferrocarril, with an extension of 12 kilometres. This has become one of the longest and most important commercial avenues in Europe.