Badajoz

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Badajoz

Badajoz (bäŧħähōth´), city (1990 pop. 126,781), capital of Badajoz prov., SW Spain, in Extremadura, on the Guadiana River. Situated in an agricultural region, food processing is the main industry. Strategically located near the border of Portugal, it has an active trade with that country. Badajoz was a fortress city in Roman times that rose to prominence under the Moors as the seat (1022–94) of a vast independent emirate. Alfonso IX of León liberated it in 1228. Thereafter Badajoz was repeatedly attacked by the Portuguese and was consequently strongly fortified. The city has often been besieged; in the Peninsular War the French failed to take it in a long siege (1808–9) and succeeded in 1811 only to be driven out by Wellington in 1812 after bitter fighting. In the civil war of 1936–39 the capture (1936) of Badajoz by the Insurgents after a bloody battle was followed by hundreds of executions. A 1952 irrigation project, Plan Badajoz, intensified the city's development, raised its standard of living, and provided increased electrical power. Notable landmarks are the massive cathedral (begun in the 13th cent.) and the remains of the Moorish citadel. Manuel de Godoy, the favorite of Charles IV, and the painter Luis de Morales were born in Badajoz.

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