The first historical vestiges of the territory where the current city of Caceres is located date back approximately one million years. Archaeological and anthropological studies have found sites with artefacts, cave paintings and skeletons of what seemed to be a tribe.
The arrival of the Romans was necessary for these primitive settlements to become a true organized urban centre.
After the Roman decline of the 5th century, the Visigoths completely razed the old settlement, which remained abandoned for centuries.
Eventually, Muslim troops from North Africa seized the abandoned Roman strategic enclave and built a well-organized defensive fortress on it to face Christian armies.
Finally, Alfonso IX granted the territory to the kingdom of Leon. However, this administrative measure did not calm the spirits and greed of those involved; the strife lasted for two centuries until, after the War of the Castilian Succession, Queen Elisabeth I appeased the situation in 1477.
With the arrival of the 18th century, the situation of Caceres was absolutely null, as it was just another of the many existing towns in Extremadura.
However, after the arrival of a large number of new foreign settlers in the middle of the century, Caceres experienced a socioeconomic flourishing, creating a rural bourgeoisie that later fed on ranchers from the Sierra de Cameros and textile businessmen. Thus, the city recovered some economic influence.
Still, the town did not become the centre of regional politics until 1790, when Charles IV established the headquarters of the Royal Audience of Extremadura in Caceres.
This unexpected impulse translated into an urban flourishing, with Caceres growing exponentially in streets, avenues and new buildings.
Its growth was so great that it was declared the provincial capital. Ambitious projects took place such as the construction of the Bullring of Caceres, considered at that time the best in Spain, as well as mineral industrialization and an incipient tourist engine.
At the end of the 19th century, Caceres had a railway line, which at the time raised urban ordinance problems, and a dynamic productive focus, which motivated Alfonso XII to declare it a city in 1882.
With the arrival of the 20th century, Caceres had an urban nucleus of multi-story buildings, as well as commercial neighbourhoods that made the city a prosperous place.
The 20th and 21st centuries
The deep political instability was felt in Caceres for a good part of the new century and intensified after the crisis of 1929.
At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Caceres became an important place for the rebellious Francoist troops who unleashed bloody reprisals against the republican population of the city. This was later defended with blood and fire from republican counterattacks.
After the end of the war, the city underwent a repopulation stage to recover the economic level lost before the war. However, it was not until the democratic period that Caceres began to experience a rebound in all social and economic orders. This helped it become an important social, educational and academic centre.
By the beginning of the 1980s, the fruits of these long-term projects were being enjoyed in the form of a new urban layout and the creation of new schools and educational and academic centres.
The University of Extremadura, founded in 1973, acquired great importance thanks to its high-quality research and professorships.
The historic centre of the city underwent significant restoration, completely recovering the brilliance of ancient times and receiving the title of Historical Heritage of Humanity in 1986.
This marked a milestone within the city as a centre of great academic, patrimonial and tourist interest.
By the 21st century, Caceres had a reputation and credibility as a highly renowned cultural and academic city, not only in Spain but also in Western Europe. That is why it presented its candidacy as a European City of Culture in the year 2016 before the European Union.
At present, Caceres is one of the main tourist, educational and industrial poles of Extremadura. It stands out as a place that will mark the future of Spain in academic and cultural matters thanks to its close ties with Latin America and its notable influence within the academies and universities in America.