Alcalá de Henares is a municipality in Madrid that has always had a lot of history, especially literary in the Golden Age, spanning two aesthetic periods, corresponding to the Renaissance of the 16th century (Catholic kings, Carlos I and Felipe II), and the Baroque of the seventeenth century (Philip III, Felipe IV and Carlos II). Visiting the city of Alcalá de Henares is much more than a journey through an environment surrounded by monuments.
We are presented with a city full of elements to see, since Celtiberian cultures, Romanian, Visigoth and Muslim left their mark through each of their squares, streets, corners and corners. In fact, Alcalá de Henares has been the birthplace, death, passage or destiny of hundreds of thousands of illustrious people of all kinds: reyes, nobles, saints and saints, scholars, students, writers, printers, teachers, monks, religious, military, merchants, guerrillas, adventurers, politicians ... all of them were an indispensable part of our city. Four of them stand out for having had their birthplace in our city: Miguel de Cervantes, Manuel Azana, Catherine of Aragon and Ferdinand of Habsburg.
Miguel de Cervantes
The binomial Miguel de Cervantes and Alcalá de Henares will always go hand in hand. To mention Cervantes is to refer to the roots of Spanish literature, to the epicenter of all things and that marked a before and after in the history of Spain. But nevertheless, It is difficult to treat his figure by restricting ourselves to the interior of our borders: Miguel de Cervantes is not only the axis of our literature, but also the foundation stone of the modern novel; one of the foundational columns of universal literature. The Quijote, long ago inscribed in western and eastern mythology, goes beyond Cervantes himself.
This novelist, Spanish poet and playwright is considered to have been born 29 September 1547 in Alcalá de Henares and died on 22 April 1616 in Madrid, but he was buried on 23 April and this date is popularly known as that of his death. He is considered the greatest figure of Spanish literature, as we have commented previously and it is universally known, especially for having written Don Quixote de la Mancha, which many critics have described as the first modern novel and one of the best works of world literature.
When in 1605 published the first part of Don Quixote, achieved great success, which allowed him to publish in a few years what he had been writing. But nevertheless, despite the success of Don Quixote, Cervantes always lived with difficulties, seeking the protection of a patron among the nobles, which he got only partially from the Count of Lemos, to whom he dedicated his last work, The works of Persiles and Sigismund.
Manuel Azana, the alcalaíno who became president
Azaña was little in 1936 the first and only Spanish President born in Alcalá de Henares. A city that, of which without denying, it always caused him sadness because, from his house on Imagen street, orphaned him with just 10 years. Son of Esteban Azaña Catarinéu and María Josefina Díaz-Gallo Muguruza. His father was mayor of the city and, among other things, was the promoter of the installation of the statue of Miguel de Cervantes in the main square.
Manuel Azaña was appointed Minister of War in the first Government formed after the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic, the 14 April 1931. He came to this ministerial portfolio with the prestige of having dedicated a good part of his intellectual reflections to the Army and its incardination in a democratic State and the objective of his political action was to turn it into a tool exclusively for the defense of foreign aggressions..
Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England
Known as Queen of England and daughter of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabel de Castilla, Alcalá de Henares was born on 16 from December to 1485. In 1501 she married Arturo, eldest son of Henry VII of England, as part of the alliance policy designed by his parents to diplomatically isolate France. Arturo died the following year, and the interests of the State led to negotiate the marriage of the widow with the new heir, prince henry.
From the union of both six children were born, although of all of them only Maria Tudor survived, future queen of england. Henry VIII, worried about the need for a male successor, and at the same time in love with Ana Bolena, filed for divorce from the ecclesiastical authorities (1527) under the pretext of the illegality of the marriage between brothers-in-law.
In full Protestant effervescence, the question became a lively controversy about papal primacy in which theologians and men of letters participated. By last, Enrique definitely broke up with Catalina (1531) and he married Ana Bolena, already pregnant with the future queen Elizabeth I. The Archbishop of Canterbuy, Cranmer, annulled the king's marriage to Catherine (1533), it broke away from obedience to the Roman Catholic Church (1534) and made himself known as the supreme head of the new Church of England. Catherine was confined to Kimbolton Castle, but she never gave up the title of queen.
Ferdinand of Habsburg, the german emperor
Fernando I of Habsburg was born in Alcalá de Henares the year 1503. Son of Felipe el Hermoso and Juana la Loca, He was the favorite grandson of Fernando the Catholic, who, however he revoked his will (1512) in which he named him regent until the arrival of Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany. He was educated by his grandfather, since her mother went to Brussels with her husband and her other 3 children shortly after birth.
The family returned a year and a half after leaving for Brussels due to the death of Isabel la Católica. Juana, fue desheredada, in favor of his son Fernando, who was granted various rents and a house of his own. When his father died (Felipe), He was again in charge of his grandfather Fernando el Catolico, who always considered him his favorite grandson. He can be considered as the first infant of the Habsburgs born on Spanish soil.
Alcalá de Henares is considered the Spanish literary city and that is why visiting the many monuments of these illustrious characters is interesting to visit a quality restaurant such as Scorching Casa Benito, which is located in the city and has specialties in grilled meats such as the yearling veal and the Iberian field bait pig of their own breeding and first quality.