A few hundred years ago Toledo was the capital of Spain. Back then, Madrid was a small town with a relatively small number of citizens. What is the reason that Toledo is not the capital anymore?

  • Since you have two distinct questions, you should probably post them separately - especially since Madrid became capital in the 16th century. – Semaphore Oct 13 '14 at 19:47
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    @Semaphore: Edited to remove secondary question as of-topic. Yair: You are free to undo my edit if you desire, but then I would vote to close the entire question as off-topic. – Pieter Geerkens Oct 13 '14 at 19:53

Madrid is the capital of Spain because King Philip II of Spain moved the court there. Where the court (and king) go, so does the government (in a monarchy). And he was arguably the most "dominant" Spanish king of "modern" times (Spain's navy declined after the failure of the Armada). No subsequent king of Spain saw fit to overturn Philip II's decision.

Earlier kings had moved the capital from Toledo (too close to Moorish possessions) north to Valladolid for safety. By the time of Philip II, it was safe to move the capital back south, (and Madrid is not far from Toledo). But Philip apparently liked a castle, the Escorial, nearer Madrid.

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  • @PieterGeerkens Philip II moved the capital to Madrid in 1561. Philip III temporarily moved it back to Valladolid for five years between 1601-1606. – Semaphore Oct 14 '14 at 3:54
  • @Semaphore: I must check my sources again then. – Pieter Geerkens Oct 14 '14 at 3:56
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    But what was the reason king Philip II of Spain decided to move the court in the first place? – Yair Oct 14 '14 at 10:06
  • @Yair: Toledo was close to what was then the border of "Moorish" Spain to the south, which is to say that it was "unsafe." In the 12th century, the capital was moved NORTH to Valladolid (safer). In 1492, Ferdinand and Isabella (F&I)kicked the Moors out of Spain, meaning that Toledo (and Madrid) were once again "safe." But F&I may have kept the capital in Valladolid because that's where they got married. But their grandson, Philip II seemed to like the architecture in Madrid, and that's why he may have chosen Madrid over (nearby) Toledo. – Tom Au Oct 14 '14 at 15:39

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