Introduction of Oviedo
Mining center and capital of Oviedo province, NW Spain, 230 mi NNW of Madrid, near the mines of the Cantabrian Mountains. Founded c. a.d. 760 as a monastery, it was important in the ninth century as the capital of the Asturian kings until it was replaced in 924 by Leon. Noted for its fierce defense of independence, Ovieda was sacked by France in 1809 for disobedience during the Napoleonic era. It suffered during an uprising of Asturian miners in 1934 and again in a siege during the Spanish civil war of 1936 to 1939, when it was defended by the Nationalists. Its Gothic cathedral, begun in 1388, contains the tombs of the Asturian kings. Its university was founded in 1604.