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History of the road

The Spanish roads in the twentieth century

tight curves, steep slopes and pavement dust given off both vehicles passing pedestrians and drivers could barely stand. So were the roads in the early twentieth century. For them circulating carts and wagons, carriages and stagecoaches. Nothing at that time did suspect that, very soon, these roads become obsolete, and that the whole society would require adaptation to the requirements of a fast and sophisticated driving the motor vehicle.

In the early twentieth century the roads were designed for the transit of carts and wagons.It is precisely in the year 1900 when the Spaniards contemplated for the first time, astonished, how curious vehicles circulated through the streets of their cities that did not need animal help to move: the car. And it has undoubtedly been this artifact - almost magical in its beginnings, so essential today - that has determined the history of roads, in Spain and throughout the world. These pages will try to vindicate the evolution of road infrastructures from their own progress and deficiencies, from their unique circumstances and their differential facts, but always relying on that inseparable friend who has conditioned, and will continue to condition their development.

Inventions of the eighteenth century

Although roads as such did not exist until the 1755th century, it must not be forgotten that some of the considered modern methods were discovered a few centuries ago. Thus, the legal and political Treaty of public roads and possadas, published in XNUMX, already speaks of the use of vegetable water, to "make a strong ground, which for the heras says Fray Miguel Agustín in his Agriculture, it is convenient to use, and not It is despicable for the Roads, it is to know, that the crumbled earth, and made dust, is kneaded with alpechin de azeyte, and then in being ready, tamp it, or level it with a cylinder, ultimately bolting it to sprinkle with the alpechin; and others , I say, do the same with ox blood and azeyte "(...)

The first quarter century. 1900 1925 from to:

The twentieth century opens in Spain with a road network of over 36.000 kilometers. For her circulating carts, wagons, cavalry and ... automobiles. Exactly three were the only cars registered in the year 1900.

The Civil War and its aftermath. 1925 1950 from to:

Spain is set in this period as a tourist power, backed by a great artistic and cultural wealth. The authorities are aware that they should promote such tourism and, to this end, have to offer travelers a road without potholes and dust, a comfortable and safe roads. The reality was, however, different, since the civil war put paid to all road development plans.

The Spain of 600. 1950 1975 from to:

For the first time, the hardships caused by the war seem to begin to be overcome and Spain tries to get out of the autarky of the postwar years. In 1952 the ration cards are suppressed and the following year the Treaty for Economic and Mutual Defense Aid is signed with the United States. After a period of international isolation, dollars also arrive in Spain, which even gets its membership in the United Nations Organization in 1955. A few years before, in 1950, an important event took place: the Spanish Society of Automobile of Tourism was born. The SEAT, the first national automobile manufacturing company. In 1953 it put its first car on sale: the SEAT 1400, and at the end of the 50s more than 50.000 cars of this brand were circulating. The car is already the vehicle of transport par excellence.

The roads in the era of the information superhighway. 1975 2000 from to:

The late twentieth century is characterized by events of various kinds: the transfer of powers to the autonomous communities, the entry of Spain into the European Community and the emergence of the Internet and the development of new communication technologies are some of them.

The entry of Spain into the European Community is a new challenge for the national road network.Investment in roads will follow the ups and downs of the economy: in the first part of this period, a new oil crisis caused the decline in investment and growth rate of the car park. A mid 80, and the Socialist government of Felipe González, the new General Plan Highway receives a major boost, which is reinforced with the entry of Spain into the European Community, now the European Union.


  • History of the roads of Spain. Volume II. Nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Joseph L. Uriol Salcedo.
  • Roads in the history of Spain, Gonzalo Menendez Pidal.
  • Highways Madrid-Valencia and Valencia-Xátiva (1925-1936) of Francisco Javier Rodriguez Lazaro and Jose Maria Menendez.
  • Yesterday and today the road signs.
  • Highways magazine, published by the Spanish Road Association. Several numbers.
  • 50 Years of the Spanish Road Association.
  • legal and political Treaty of public roads and possadas. 1755.

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