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social sciences

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Madrid  
 
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The city, devastated by war, was not only rebuilt but expanded throughout the nineteenth century. The Liberal government, instituted in 1868, appropriated the grounds of the former royal palace of the Buen Retiro for the public, and numerous other municipal parks were developed. Luxurious upper middle-class homes were built in a neighborhood popularly called Salamanca (after a real estate speculator), laid out in a grid pattern to the northeast of the Buen Retiro.

Among the numerous public institutions founded in the nineteenth century were the Museo del Prado (established 1819), the repository of the extensive royal art collection, and the Biblioteca Nacional (completed 1892), one of the largest public libraries in the world. No provisions were made to ameliorate the rickety slums which were growing to the south of the city. Because they lacked sewage systems and other basic sanitation and health services, there were frequent outbreaks of typhoid and other deadly diseases in the poor neighborhoods.

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Within the areas of the city intended for the upper and middle classes, development continued in the early twentieth century with such projects as the impressive commercial boulevard Gran Via (1910) and University City (1927). Under the military dictatorship of Miguel Promo de Rivera (ruled 1923-30), Madrid experienced an exceptional period of economic growth and modernization. Thus, despite the political oppression, progressive theatrical and visual arts flourished; jazz was played in many nightclubs in the city center.

Although it emphasized the importance of improving the living conditions of workers and the poor, the Second Republic, instituted in 1931, was able to accomplish little in this regard because of the economic havoc, caused by frequent strikes and by military attacks, organized by disgruntled conservatives. During the Civil War (1936-39), the city of Madrid made a heroic stand against the Fascists, enduring frequent bombardments by the German air force and a blockade of food and other supplies.

The subsequent government of Franco was disastrous for the environment, as subsidized industries, founded by his supporters, polluted the environment and tore up trees and filled in parks to build factories. The industrial development prompted the immigration of workers, leading to a ten-fold increase of the city's population between 1948 and 1951; the urban plan of 1963 encouraged uncontrolled sprawl.

Utilizing the input of a series of official polls, the regional government since 1978 has sought to ameliorate the damage of the Franco years by rehabilitating older buildings and entire neighborhoods. Designed in a post-modernist variation of the Renaissance style, housing projects have been built in the city center for working- and middle-class families and individuals. After Franco's death, Madrid also was energized by the movida, a dynamic and sometimes chaotic movement, which encompassed both popular entertainment and "high" art forms.

In 1981, the establishment of democracy was celebrated by the much-anticipated arrival in Madrid of Pablo Picasso's Guernica (1937), an immense painting that employs Cubist forms to visualize the destruction of the Basque town by the Fascists. By the provisions of the artist's will, the painting was kept at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, until an elected government had been installed in his homeland. Since 1990, Guernica has been displayed at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, one of many recently founded institutions promoting modern and contemporary art in Madrid.

Prosecution of Sodomy

Although condemned in the Qu'ran, homosexual acts were tolerated by virtually all of the Islamic rulers of Spain (711-1492), and several of them openly indicated their preference for same-sex partners. The Catholic Monarchs, Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, who defeated the last stronghold of Islamic power (1492) and unified disparate territories into the Spanish nation, mandated in 1497 that all be burned, and they encouraged the Inquisition to prosecute homosexual acts throughout their territories. However, more interested in rooting out heresy, the Supreme Council did not allow the Inquisition to consider charges of sodomy in most regions of Spain. Thus, in Madrid and other parts of Castile, homosexual acts were prosecuted exclusively in secular courts.

Determined that the "unmentionable" crime would be rooted out of his new capital city, Philip II issued decrees in 1598 to facilitate the prosecution of sodomy by reducing the witnesses required from three to one and allowing hearsay as evidence.

The imprisonment of Antonio Pérez (1534-1611), Secretary of State (1566-79), on suspicion of sodomy demonstrated that Philip II was unwilling to tolerate homosexual acts, even when committed by wealthy and influential aristocrats. Because the evidence against Pérez did not fulfill the judicial requirements existing before 1598, he was never brought to trial. Managing to escape from his Madrid jail in April 1590, Pérez finally reached France in November, 1591. His Relaciones (first published in Paris, 1598, and reprinted many times) condemned the harsh enforcement of moral and religious codes in Spain.

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