Las Rozas de Madrid (or simply, Las Rozas) is one of the larger townships and municipalities in the autonomous community of Madrid, Spain, with an area of between 58.8 and 59.14 km² . It is located some 17 – 20 km northwest of the city of Madrid itself, on the A-6 freeway to A Coruña. Las Rozas is the beginning of this freeway, near the fork road M-505 to El Escorial, which marks the southern boundary of this 'comarca' or rural district (although it is no longer rural).
The municipality is served by four RENFE railway stations– Las Rozas, Las Matas, El Pinar and El Tejar. A fifth stop, at Peñascales was closed. The municipality shares borders with Torrelodones to the north, Villanueva del Pardillo and Galapagar to the west, the national park of Monte del Pardo (Madrid) in the east and Majadahonda (south).
Las Rozas has one of the highest average per capita incomes in the Community of Madrid.
During the final decades of the 20th century the town has experienced a vigorous building program, mostly as a dormitory town for Madrid, with a correspondingly strong population growth, which more than doubled between 1991 and 2005 (from 35,137 to 76,246 inhabitants).
The provisioning for local services (such as schools and new dwellings) has at times been outpaced by the locality's high birth and immigration rates. However by 2010 the community was well served in all health, education and social sectors.
Main article: History of Las Rozas
Rozas means clearings in Spanish. Various theories exist, for example: The clearing by Romans for military exercises, the collection of firewood or the creation of farmland. According to some historians Las Rozas could be the old Miacum, the name associated with the city of Madrid, dating from about the third century.
Las Rozas is situated near the river Guadarrama (which flows all year round) and along the ancient road between Segovia and Titulcia (two of the most ancient settlements in the area). The part of this ancient road near Las Rozas is now approximately the A6/M505 route.
During the Spanish civil war it became the site of major battles, a reminder of this time are the concrete forms of bunkers that remain in the Dehesa of Navalcarbón and along the valley of the river Guadalajara.
In the winter of 1936 the pro-Franco troops advanced for the west of Madrid from their bases at Brunete, Villaviciosa de Odón and Campamento. In the middle of a dense fog with freezing temperature, Franco's nationalists, supported by the air force, engaged the republican forces in one of the bloodiest battles of the civil War. The inhabitants of Las Rozas took refuge in other places of the nearby Sierra (mountains) such as the caves in Hoyo de Manzanares. These roceños (inhabitants of Las Rozas) who fled were nicknamed cucos, (the sly ones).
When the war was over, the Church of San Miguel and of the 270 houses of the (pre-war) settlement, 92 were severely damaged and only 13 were intact. The Ministerio de la Gobernación created the Dirección General de Regiones Devastadas for the reconstruction of towns destroyed by the war and Las Rozas was included among them.