Aranjuez is a town and municipality lying 42 km south of Madrid in the southern part of the Madrid Region or Community of Madrid. It is located at the confluence of the Tagus and Jarama rivers, 44 km from Toledo. As of 2009, it had a population of 54,055.
There are several theories about the origin of the name. The most widely accepted one states that it comes from the Basque language, deriving from arantza ("hawthorn" in English). Other theories say that it comes from Latin Ara Jovis or Ara Iovia, which means Jupiter's altar, but currently the pre-Roman name is preferred.
In 1178, the area was acquired by the Order of Santiago. Ferdinand and Isabella, the "Catholic monarchs", converted Aranjuez into a royal site. It was the spring residence of the kings of Spain from the late 19th century.
During the reign of Philip II of Spain, in the second half of the 16th century, the royal palace was constructed, designed by Juan Bautista de Toledo and Juan de Herrera. About 200 years later the city of Aranjuez itself came into being during the reign of Ferdinand VI; previously, only relatives of the monarch had been allowed to live in Aranjuez. In 1808 after the city revolted, Charles IV of Spain was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Ferdinand VII of Spain.