A Brief History of León
In the provincial capital, the Leónes take pride in their history as a seat of the Christian Reconquest. Their city was founded at the confluence of the Rivers Bernesga and Torio as the Legio VII Gemina Pia Felix by the Romans in 68 AD and charged with overseeing mines in the area. It was occupied briefly by the Visigoths and then the Moors before King Ordoño I made it part of the kingdom of Asturias in the ninth century. León would serve as a base for the southward push of the reconquest and in due time reclaim Salamanca, Valladolid, Palencia and Zamora.
The city suffered a devastating blow in the 10th century when the Moorish ruler Almanzor, in a lethal push across the region, burned it down. León was gradually repopulated and slowly rose from the ashes under King Alfonso V. By the 12th century, with the establishment of the Court of the Kingdom of León, the city was home to one of the earliest parliaments in Europe. The great cathedral was built and owed its styling in part to France, linked to the city via the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. With the betrothal of King Fernando of Castilla to Sancha of León a century later, the two kingdoms of Castilla and León were united once and for all.
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