The site appears to have been inhabited since prehistoric times. The name is of Arabic origin, but little is known of Alcorcón before the Reconquista. An early written reference to Alcorcón is in a medieval document that dates from 28 July 1208. Alcorcón has a small historic centre (including the church of Santa María la Blanca), which is protected as an "archaeological zone". The centre is surrounded by modern developments, as Alcorcón has been growing rapidly in recent times due to migration from other parts of Spain and Latin America.
The Madrid Metropolitan Area (Spanish: Área metropolitana de Madrid) comprises the city of Madrid and 20 surrounding municipalities. It has a population of 6,321,398 people and covers an area of 5,335.97 square kilometres (2,060.23 sq mi).
It is the largest metropolitan area in Spain, the 4th largest in the European Union and the 54th largest in the world.
As with many metropolitan areas of similar size, two distinct zones of urbanisation can be distinguished:
Inner ring (primera corona): Alcorcón, Leganés, Getafe, Móstoles, Fuenlabrada, Coslada, Alcobendas, Pozuelo de Alarcón, San Fernando de Henares
Outer ring (segunda corona): Villaviciosa de Odón, Parla, Pinto, Valdemoro, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Torrejón de Ardoz, Alcalá de Henares, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Tres Cantos, Las Rozas de Madrid, Majadahonda, Boadilla del Monte
The largest suburbs are to the south, and in general along the main routes leading out of Madrid.
The GDP of the metropolitan area of Madrid was estimated to be 189 billion euros in 2009 and represents over 90% of the GDP of the region of Madrid. The GDP per capita was 37,758 euros in the metropolitan area while it reached 30,453 euros for the Madrid region.
The creation of the contemporary Community of Madrid was preceded by an intense political debate. Since the 1833 territorial division of Spain, the main administrative division had consisted of provinces. Autonomous communities were to be created by one or more provinces with a distinct regional identity. Since the 1833 provincial organization, Madrid was part of the historical region of New Castile along with the provinces of Guadalajara, Toledo, Cuenca and Ciudad Real. Thus, it was first planned that the province of Madrid would be part of the future community of Castile–La Mancha (which was roughly similar to New Castile, with the addition of the Albacete) but with some special considerations as the home of the national capital. The other provinces of the community of Castile–La Mancha expressed fears of inequality if Madrid were associated with them. The integrating provinces of Castile–La Mancha opposed such a special status, and after considering other options—like its inclusion in the community of Castile and León or its constitution as an entity similar to a federal district. —it was decided that the province of Madrid would become a single-province autonomous community by virtue of Article 144 of the Constitution, which empowers the Cortes to create an autonomous community in the "nation's interest" even if it did not satisfy the requirement of having a distinct historical identity. Thus, in 1983, the Community of Madrid was constituted and a Statute of Autonomy was approved taking over all the competences of the old Diputación Provincial and the new ones the Statute considered. The Community of Madrid statute recognizes the Castilian association of the community, and its membership in the Castilian region. Several failed proposals have been made to alleviate the concentration of institutions in Madrid city by transferring the Community's capital to other towns, such as Alcalá de Henares, in the 1980s, and more recently, Getafe
The Community of Madrid is the third most populous in Spain, after Andalusia and Catalonia, and the most populous province, with 6,369,167 inhabitants. Population density is 779.36 hab/km2, much higher than the national average of 91.3 hab/km2. Population density varies with the community itself; the municipality of Madrid has a density of 5,160.57 hab/km2, whereas the Sierra Norte has a population density of less than 9.9 hab/km2. The great majority of the population lives in the capital and its metropolitan area, which is the most populated in Spain.
Madrid also has the greatest population density in Spain. Its inhabitants are mainly concentrated in the capital (which is the Spanish city with the highest resident population) and in a series of municipalities (Móstoles, Alcalá de Henares, Fuenlabrada, Leganés, Alcorcón, Getafe, Torrejón de Ardoz, and Alcobendas), as opposed to in rural areas with low population density. Its citizens have diverse origins, and Madrid is the province with the highest number of residents born outside its territory and with the largest foreign population (13.32%). It is a focus of attraction for those migrating for reasons of employment. Population growth in Madrid is mainly due to the arrival of foreigners.
For the most part of its history, the Community of Madrid was overwhelmingly Catholic, with minor Jewish and Muslim populations.
The Complutense University of Madrid is one of the most prestigious, and the largest, university in Spain and one of the oldest universities in the world. It has 10,000 staff members and a student population of 117,000. Nearly all academic staff are Spanish. It is located on two campuses, in the university quarter Ciudad Universitaria at Moncloa in Madrid, and in Somosaguas. The Complutense University of Madrid was founded in Alcalá de Henares, old Complutum, by Cardinal Cisneros in 1499. Nevertherless, its real origin dates back from 1293, when King Sancho IV of Castile built the General Schools of Alcalá, which would give rise to Cisnero's Complutense University. During the course of 1509-1510 five schools were already operative: Artes y Filosofía (Arts & Philosophy), Teología (Theology), Derecho Canónico (Canonical Laws), Letras (Liberal Arts) and Medicina (Medicine). In 1836, during the reign of Isabel II, the University was moved to Madrid, where it took the name of Central University and was located at San Bernardo Street. Subsequently, in 1927, a new University City ("Ciudad Universitaria") was planned to be built in the district of Moncloa-Aravaca, in lands handed over by the King Alfonso XIII to this purpose. The Spanish Civil War turned the University City into a war zone, causing the destruction of several schools in the area, as well as the loss of part of its rich scientific, artistic and bibliographic heritage. In 1970 the Government reformed the High Education, and the Central University became the Complutense University of Madrid. It was then when the new campus at Somosaguas was created in order to house the new School of Social Sciences. The old Alcalá campus was reopened as the independent University of Alcalá in 1977.