Palencia pälān´thēä [key], city (1990 pop. 77,464), capital of Palencia prov., N central Spain, in Castile and León. An industrial center with iron foundries, textile mills, and chemical plants, it was formerly noted for its woolen industry. Palencia was occupied by the Romans and sacked (6th cent.) by the Visigoths. It was recovered from the Moors in the 10th cent. and was in the 12th and 13th cent. a favorite residence of the kings of León. The first university in Spain was founded there (1212 or 1214) but was removed to Salamanca in 1238. There is a notable Gothic cathedral (14th–16th cent.) containing a fine collection of old Flemish tapestries and paintings by El Greco.

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