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Cáceres province

Cáceres is a province of western Spain, in the northern part of the autonomous community of Extremadura. It is bordered by the provinces of Salamanca, Ávila, Toledo, and Badajoz, and by Portugal.

Its capital is the city of Cáceres. Other cities in the province include Plasencia and Trujillo, the birthplace of Francisco Pizarro González. See also List of municipalities in Cáceres. 411,531 people (2007) live in Cáceres, of whom one-fifth live in the capital.

History

Maltravieso Cave

The origins of Cáceres go back to prehistoric times, as evidenced by the paintings in the Cuevas de Maltravieso (Maltravieso Caves) which date back to the late Paleolithic period. Visitors can see remains from medieval times, the Roman occupation, Moorish occupation and Jewish influences. Cáceres has four main areas to be explored: the historical quarter, the Jewish quarter, the modern center, and the outskirts.

As mentioned above, the first evidence of humans living in Caceres is from the Late Paleolithic era, around 25,000 B.C. Cáceres started to gain importance as a strategic city under Roman occupation, and remains found in the city suggest that it was a thriving center as early as 25 BC Some remains of the first wall built around the city by the Romans in the third and fourth centuries still exist, including one gateway, the Arco del Cristo.

After the end of the Roman Empire, the city was occupied by Germanic tribes - the Visigoths - and entered a period of decline and decay until the Arabs conquered Cáceres in the eighth century. The city spent the next few centuries mostly under Arab rule, although power alternated several times between Moors and Christians. During this time, the Arabs rebuilt the city, including a wall, palaces, and various towers, including the Torre de Bujaco. Cáceres was reconquered by the Christians in the 13th century. During this period the city had an important Jewish quarter: in the 15th century when the total population was 2,000, nearly 140 Jewish families lived in Cáceres. The Jewish population was expelled by Queen Isabella and Ferdinand of Aragon in 1492, but many remains can still be seen today in the Barrio San Antonio, evidence of Jewish influences during this period.

Cáceres flourished during the Reconquista and the Discovery of America, as influential Spanish families and nobles built homes and small palaces there, and many members of families from Extremadura participated in voyages to America where they made their fortunes. In the 19th century, Cáceres became the capital of the province, marking a period of growth which was halted by the Spanish Civil War. The headquarters of the University and several regional government departments are to be found in Cáceres, which today has a population of 90,000 inhabitants.

Santa María Cathedral

Coordinates: 39°40′N 6°00′W / 39.667°N 6°W / 39.667; -6

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