Badajoz city is the capital of Badajoz province, in the Extremadura comunidad autónoma (“autonomous community”), in south-western Spain. It lies on the south bank of the Guadiana River, on a low range of hills crowned by a ruined Moorish castle, near the Portuguese frontier - it has an active trade with Portugal. A bastioned wall with moat and outworks and forts on the surrounding heights gives the city an appearance of great strength.
The Romans founded the colony Emerita Augusta in the 1st century B.C.; it became the capital of Lusitania.
It originated as Pax Augusta (Pacensis Colonia), a small Roman town, and later flourished as the Batalyaws of the Moors. Freed from Moorish control by Alfonso IX of León in 1229. 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.
It was the birthplace of Manuel de Godoy, duke de Alcudia y de Succa, of the painter Luis Morales, “the divine” and of the New World conquistador Pedro de Alvarado.
Its Roman remains, among the most important in Spain, include a magnificent bridge, a triumphal arch, a theatre with marble columns, an aqueduct, a temple, an imposing circus, and an amphitheatre.
Badajoz is a rail hub and agricultural centre producing textiles, leather, and cork. Situated in an agricultural region, food processing is the main industry.
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