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|City of Plasencia|
Top:Plasencia Nova Cathedral, Second left:Casa Consistorial (Consistorial House), Second right:Palacio dos Monroy (Monroy Palace), Third left:Muralhas de Plasencia (Plasencia Defensive Wall), Third right:Jerte River, Bottom:Apueduto de San Anton (Aqueduct of San Anton)
|Comarca||Valle del Jerte|
|o Mayor||Fernando Pizarro (PP)|
|o Total||218 km2 (84 sq mi)|
|Elevation||415 m (1,362 ft)|
|o Density||180/km2 (480/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
Situated on the bank of the Jerte River, Plasencia has a historic quarter that is a consequence of the city's strategic location along the Silver Route, or Ruta de la Plata. Since the 15th century, the noblemen of the region began to move to Plasencia, defining its current appearance.
Although Plasencia was not founded until 1186, pieces of pottery found in Boquique's Cave provide evidence that this territory was inhabited long before. Pascual Madoz's dictionary details that this ancient territory, either called Ambroz or Ambracia, was originally given the name Ambrosia before becoming Plasencia.
In the same year that the city was founded, Alfonso VIII of Castile gave the city its independence and the Diocese of Plasencia was created. The original motto of the city, Ut placeat Deo et Hominibus, means to please God and man. Ten years after its birth, Plasencia was taken over by the Almohad Caliphate, a Moroccan Berber-Muslim dynasty that dominated the Iberian peninsula throughout much of the 12th century. King Alfonso VIII and his forces recaptured the city within the same day.
At the end of the 13th century, the Charter of Plasencia was created, allowing the Christian, Muslim and Jewish people to live peacefully together within the city. This charter prompted the formation of a Jewish community in Plasencia, which became the largest Jewish community in Extremadura at that time and held a considerable amount of economic power.
The 15th century was a vital period in Plasencia's history, because it was at this time that a jurisdiction of lordship was established. In 1442, King John II of Castile gifted the city to the House of Zúñiga and its right to vote in the Cortes of Castile was lost. In 1446, the first university in Extremadura was installed in Plasencia, according to the wish of the Bishop. As a result, everyone from the surrounding areas who could afford to study in the university moved to Plasencia.
In the second half of the 15th century, Plasencia got caught up in some warlike affairs. Henry IV of Castile was deposed from the throne in favour of the infant Alfonso after the count of Plasencia stole the sword of this king's wooden statue, signifying that without the sword, he had no power. A decade later, the queen of Castile, Joanna la Beltraneja, and Afonso V of Portugal were married and were proclaimed the rulers of Castile and Portugal.
In 1488, the duke died and his grandson, Ávaro de Zuñiga y Perez de Guzmán, succeeded him. The nobility took advantage of this situation and rebelled against the House of Zúñiga, trying to recover the power that they had over Plasencia before it was gifted away. The Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, stood by them and made the revolt a success. Ferdinand swore to defend and protect the freedom and charters of Plasencia until his death.
Plasencia had a certain importance in the American conquest too. Doctors recommended this place to King Ferdinand as the healthiest place in his kingdom and the place where he should establish his residence. The monarch moved here in 1515, and died in Madrigalejo during his travel to Guadalupe.
In 1573, the Bishop of Plasencia, Pedro Ponce de León, donated a significant part of his own library to the monastery of El Escorial, and a decade later, another bishop had a library formed, containing more than 3,880 works in more than 10,000 volumes.
When the original 18 provinces of Castile arose in 1502, they were established according to their votes in the Cortes. There were no cities in Extremadura with the right of vote, because most of them were property of Salamanca. Due to this, the inhabitants of Plasencia decided to buy the right which they previously held, and asked other important cities such as Alcántara, Badajoz, Cáceres, Mérida and Trujillo to help them. This was the moment in which the province of Extremadura was formed.
During the Peninsular War, Plasencia became a strategic location for French troops. In June 1808, uprisings occurred which later were ended through murder and lynching of French. Some time later, the inhabitants of Plasencia established a local military junta to defend their own interests; however, the city was overtaken and villages, such as Malpartida, were burnt down. French soldiers took control of Plasencia 12 times by forcible means and apart from the high number of buildings that were destroyed, the inhabitants too were also tortured and killed.
Once the Old Regime was abolished, Extremadura was divided into two different provinces: Cáceres and Badajoz. Plasencia argued with Cáceres about which of them should be the capital of the province, arguing that it had a higher number of population, it was more affluent and it had the bishop's palace. Despite these advantages, other traits were considered more important and Cáceres was chosen as the capital of the province.
The Restoration was a revolutionary era for Plasencia because the city witnessed many reforms that affected its economy and society. For the first time the city had a drinking water network, public lighting, and an improved sewer system. Furthermore, the agrarian economy evolved into an industrial one thanks to the railway station which was founded in the city. A curiosity of this period, the painter Joaquín Sorolla immortalized the city in his painting El mercado in 1917, in which you can see the landscape of the city from the river Jerte.
During the Spanish Civil War, the military uprising of 1936 led by Francisco Franco rapidly swept Plasencia. The Lieutenant Colonel José Puente took control of the city easily, and as a result, the Republican prisoners were forced to build one of the city's most famous parks, The Pines Park.
The final chapter of the 20th century was an extraordinary period for Plasencia and its development; the number of inhabitants has tripled in the last 60 years, and during this period of time many public works have been constructed including the hospital Virgen del Pueto, the reservoir of Plasencia, the Municipal Sport Centre and many useful roads. In addition, several university degrees are offered at the present university campus.
The market, oil painting by Joaquín Sorolla showing an image of the city in 1917.
Plasencia had three city bus routes
The specialities of the local cuisine include "migas" (breadcrumbs with Spanish sausage and bacon), casseroles, stews and tench, an exceptional freshwater game fish.
Plasencia was the birthplace of: