History of Jaca

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Jaca is a city with a very dense history, that traces back centuries before Christ. Frontier pass, military fortress, town of agricultors, military uprisings, royal residences, all of this helps make up Jaca's ancient past.

The origins of the city of Jaca trace back ten centuries before Christ when, according to ancient texts, the inhabitants were dedicated to livestock and agriculture. The presence of this population has been confirmed by various archeological excavations, and apparently, this culture resided in the area of Jaca until about 200 BC, when the Romans came.

With the arrival Romans came the construction of Roman roads, and the city began to grow and thrive with a prosperity that lasted until 300 AD. At that time, the thievery and crime that took place on the roads among these valleys made them so dangerous that nobody dared come near Jaca. For this reason (and also that of repeated bandit incursions into the town), Jaca's population began to dwindle away, finally leading to the city being completely abandoned, and its walls deteriorating.

The abandonment of the town took place somewhere between the 5th and 10th century, five hundred years that Jaca's glory was lost in history.

In the year 935 AD, the Count of Aragon, Galindo Aznarez, built the Monastery San Pedro in Jaca, and because of his fondness for the area he built a residence in the San Pedro de Sirena Mountains. Because of him, Jaca began to breathe again, and slowly came back to life.

In the 11th century, Jaca returned to its ancient origins, becoming an important place again for livestock and agriculture, and this time it was protected by the Kingdom of Aragon.

The King Sancho the Fourth officially turned Jaca into a city in the 11th century, and also the home residence of the monarchs. This is the historic reason why Jaca is an important stop on the Camino de Santiago.

At the end of the 14th century, Jaca suffered the wrath of the black plague, but because Jaca was already established as an important city, after the plague passed, Fernando el Católico iniciated a quick restauration of the city and of its local government.

Jaca was also a very valuable city as its natural environment made it strategic point of defence from foreign invaders, and thus, the kings didn't have to worry about defending it too much.

The citizens of Jaca called Felipe V "very noble, very loyal, and very victorious" because of his successful squashing of the various invading armies that came through the Pyranees (such as the Austrians, and the French). So revered was he in the locality that in 1705 the city of Jaca continued to support after he had been rejected by the rest of the kingdom.

A historic moment in Jaca was the uprising of 1868.

In the 20th century, we have what is known as the great expansion of the city. The great moment of its recognized expansion was when they demolished the medieval city walls in 1914, followed by the Lamolla Urban Plan.

In 1930, history repeated itself with another uprising (the Republican Uprising) that ended with the death sentence of all the protesters involved.

With the passing of the years, Jaca again enjoyed prosperity and growth, and began the foundations of the city that we now know today. The Pyrenees Folkloric Festival that is celebrated today was created in 1945.

In the second half of the 20th century was the real boom of Jaca, and as years went by, Jaca again returned somewhat to its roots, making large profits from livestock and agriculture, but this time, adding tourism to the mix.

The train station of Canfranc Ski Resort was the cornerstone of tourist development in Jaca, as its success and income started the ski tourism boom, and has allowed this city to grow in population to the level it has today.

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