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Huesca

Uesca  (Aragonese)
The city of Huesca as seen from the cathedral
The city of Huesca as seen from the cathedral
Flag of Huesca
Flag
Coat of arms of Huesca
Coat of arms
Motto(s): 
Gate of the Pyrenees
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Aragon
Province Huesca
Comarca Hoya de Huesca
Judicial district Huesca
Founded by Iberians
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Body Ayuntamiento de Huesca
Area
 • Total 161.0 km2 (62.2 sq mi)
Elevation
488 m (1,601 ft)
Demonym(s) Oscense
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
22001 - 22006
Dialing code 974
Patron Saints Saint Lawrence
Saint Vincent
Website Official website

Huesca ( Aragonese: Uesca) is a city in north-eastern Spain, within the autonomous community of Aragon. It is also the capital of the Spanish province of the same name and of the comarca of Hoya de Huesca. In 2009 it had a population of 52,059, almost a quarter of the total population of the province. The city is one of the smallest provincial capitals in Spain.

Huesca celebrates its main festival Fiestas de San Lorenzo from 9 to 15 August.

History

Huesca dates from pre-Roman times, and was once known as Bolskan in the ancient Iberian language. It was once the capital of the Vescetani, in the north of Hispania Tarraconensis, on the road from Tarraco (modern Tarragona) and Ilerda (modern Lleida) to Caesaraugusta (modern Zaragoza). During Roman times, the city was known as Osca, and was a Roman colony under the rule of Quintus Sertorius, who made Osca his base. The city minted its own coinage and was the site of a prestigious school founded by Sertorius to educate young Iberians in Latin and Roman customs. After Sertorius, it is thought that it was renamed Ileoscan (Ἰλεόσκαν) by Strabo. It appears to have been situated on silver mines.

Eighteenth-century Spanish historian Enrique Flórez has pointed out the impossibility of one city supplying such vast quantities of minted silver as has been recorded by ancient writers under the terms argentum Oscense, signatum Oscense; and is of the opinion that "Oscense" meant "Spanish", being a corruption of "Eus-cara". The Romanised city was made a municipium by decree of Augustus in 30 BC.

The Arabs conquered the city in the late 8th century, and the city came to be called Washqah (وشقة in Arabic), falling within the Upper March of the Emirate of Córdoba. It was ruled by a local governor appointed from Córdoba, but was repeatedly subject to political turmoil, rebellion and assassination as the Banu Qasi, Banu Amrus and Banu al-Tawil clans, as well as the Arista dynasty of Pamplona, struggled for control, autonomy and independence from the Emirate. In the mid-10th century, Wasqah was transferred to the Banu Tujib, who governed the Upper March from Zaragoza, and it became part of the Taifa of Zaragoza in 1018 when they successfully freed themselves from the disintegrating Caliphate. In 1094 Sancho Ramirez built the nearby Castle of Montearagón with the intention of laying siege to Wasqah but was killed by a stray arrow as he reached the city's walls. It was conquered in 1096 by Peter I of Aragon.

In 1354, King Peter IV of Aragon founded the University of Huesca [es], which initially had a faculty of theology. The school expanded, but by the end of the 16th century was eclipsed by the University of Zaragoza. The university was abolished in 1845.

During the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) the "Huesca Front" was the scene of some of the worst fighting between the Republicans and Franco's army. The city was besieged by the Republicans, George Orwell among them, but didn't fall.

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