*Source: “Historia del Palacio de la Isla de Burgos (1883-12010)” de Isaac Rilova Pérez





The “Palacio de la Isla”, summer residence of The Muguiro family


Map of Burgos at the beginning of the 20th century (Colecc. Carlos Sainz Varona)

In 1833, Burgos reached the status of provincial capital. The city of Burgos carried out a remodelling of the urban environment under the auspices of the Minister of Public Works, Javier de Burgos. It is worth mentioning,that the building of the Provincial Council Palace and the awarding of a Territorial Court to Burgos.

On a military level, in 1837 a General Command was created, which, years later, became the General Captaincy, whose high command was located in the Cordon House in 1846. Because of this, a large number of civil servants and military personnel came to Burgos. In addition, the arrival of the railroad and the incipient industrialization favored the arrival of laborers, day laborers and servants, thus the the population of the city increased enormously.

It is also noteworthy, the demolition of the wall immediately next to the Santa María gate. This gave rise to a fast consolidation of the “Paseo de la Isla”, named like this because it was an island, between the Arlanzón River and the bed of a mill, which is currently covered.

In this context, although in winter the climate in Burgos is cold, in summer the temperatures are warm and nice, so that people from Madrid, such as Mariano Tomás de Liniers y Sarratea and Juan José Muguiro y Cerragería, considered the city appropriate to spend the summer seasons. Therefore they acquired various properties in the city. Thus, Mariano Tomás de Liniers y Sarratea bought a piece of land in the “Huertas de San Pedro” and Juan José Muguiro acquired the convent of San Francisco and built in the “Huerta de la Trinidad”.

At this time, The Liniers and The Muguiro families were often related families and representatives of the Madrid bourgeoisie settled in Burgos.

On the part of The Liniers Family, Santiago Liniers y Gallo-Alcántara, I Conde de Liniers was who built the family’s palace on Lavadores Street in 1879.

Concerning to The Muguiro family, Juan Muguiro y Casi was who started the construction of the “Palacio de la Isla, between 1882 and 1883.



Palacio de la Isla. Access. (AMB., 18-342)


Already in 1881, Juan Muguiro y Casi started his plans for the construction of the Palace. To this end, he purchased  an estate on the “Paseo de la Isla” whose owner was María Rojo Ortiz, a widow and native of Burgos. Once the documents of sale were signed, Muguiro’s lawyer, Juan García Sierra, went to the Town Hall to request the building permit, which was granted by the Works Section of the Town Hall in 1882.


Palacio de la Isla. Main facade. (AMB., AD-609/5)


On January 16, the construction of the building began. At the beginning of December 1883, the Palace was completed, excepting the garages and the stables, which were finisehd in 1884. In 1885, specifically on 25 November, King Alfonso XII died.



The “Palacio de la Isla” and Franco during the Civil War (1936-1939)

On July 17, 1936, the so-called ‘National Uprising’ broke out in Africa. The next day the uprising spread over the entire peninsula.  Afterwards, once the rebels controlled much of the national territory, they began to organize themselves as a new military state. But it was necessary to appoint the general who was to hold the sole command, so on September 21, 1936 a meeting was held in Salamanca for this purpose. The generals choose Franco.

During the war, The Franco family settled in the Palace, but after it ended in 1939, they returned to Madrid.

The Palace was acquired by the local government and the council from Mrs. María Francisca Muguiro y Cerragería, however, it was established that it would serve as the residence of the ‘Head of State’ during his stays in Burgos. These occurred every year during the summer period until 1961.

There are evidences of Franco’s stay in the Palace, like the two tombstones fixed on both sides on the lintel of the entrance door, with inscriptions in Latin and Spanish.


Palacio de la Isla. Memorial tombstones (Archivo Fotográfico FAE)


The “Palacio de la Isla”: From the post-war period to the democratic period (1940-1975)

Between 1940 and 1960, the Franco regime was characterized by a repressive and autarchic government.


Franco on his arrival at the Palacio de la Isla.1947. (Archivo Fotográfico Fede)


In the following years, Franco visited the city of Burgos during the summer, in order to attend some important events such as the Council of Ministers (1947), the closing of the IV National Games of the Youth Front (1948) and the Inauguration, in 1949, of Cellophane Española. It is also noteworthy, the inauguration of the monument to the Cid Campeador (1955), the inauguration of telephone services in twenty-eight villages in Burgos (1956), as well as the inauguration of a new blocks of flats (1957) and the inauguration of the new water supply to the city (1959).


Palacio de la Isla, photo prior to the Council of Ministers. 1947. (Archivo Fotográfico Fede)


From 1960 onwards, the ‘Stabilization Plan’ was launched, ushering in an era of political openness and social change that marked the end of autarchy and state interventionism. At that time, the Palace was ceded to National Heritage as the seat of the “Museo del Caudillo”.


The “Palacio de la Isla” in the pre-autonomic stage (1976-1938)

Palacio de la Isla. Meeting of the General Council of Castilla y León. January 11, 1983. (Archivo Fotográfico Villafranca)

After Franco’s death in 1975, Juan Carlos I was proclaimed King in a political context of great uncertainty. He initiated a programme, known as “Reforma”, which aimed for the transition from a Francoist to a democratic system. Likewise, an autonomic process was initiated, whereby the right to autonomy of nationalities and regions was recognized.

On June 30, 1978, the “Palacio de la Isla” became the provisional seat of the General Council of “Castilla y León”. Finally, in 1983, the “Junta de Castilla y León” returned the keys of the “Palacio de la Isla” the local government and the council.



The “Palacio de la Isla” in the last twenty-five years (1983-1998)


Palacio de la Isla. Police Station. (Archivo Fotográfico Fede)

On August 17, 1990, the Burgos Police Station was devastated due to a terrorist attack by ETA. As a result, it was necessary to find a new temporary location for the police services. This location was the “Palacio de la Isla”. Therefore, on August 19, it became the new Police Station.

Later, in 1993, the Archives Recovery Service was located in the Palace and, in 1996, the Edelweiss Speleological Group.



Towards the establishment of the “Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua” (1998-2008)

In the year 2000, the “Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua” was born in the cloister of the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos, thanks to the personalities from politics, culture, university and business who gathered there to support the birth of this new organization. Its work would consist on promoting cultural activities directly linked to Spanish language, its study and dissemination.



Monastery of Santo Domingo de Silos. Constitution of the Language Institute. The Infanta Elena, the abbot, Dom Clemente Serna and Authorities (Photographic Archive of the Instituto Castellano and Leonés de la Lengua). (Archivo Fotográfico Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua).


At the beginning, the “Instituto” was located in the Royal Abbey of San Agustín, but in 2005, the project to adapat the “Palacio de la Isla” and convert it into the seat of the “Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua”, began.


Real Convento de San Agustín (Archivo Fotográfico Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua).


The “Palacio de la Isla”, headquarters of “Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua”




On April 25, 2008, the “Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua” was installed in the “Palacio de la Isla”. The layout of the new Palace as the  language institute would be as follows:

In the ground floor there is an exhibition hall, an information point, a council hall, an assembly hall and a space for new technologies. Efforts have been made to maintain the original style as much as possible, in walls, ceilings and floors.

In the first floor, we can find the management, administration and cultural promotion offices, as well as the library and the Spanish Epigraphic Archive.

In the second floor, in addition to the management, there is a research department and training rooms.


Palacio de la Isla. Official inauguration of the headquarters of the Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua. Intervention by Víctor García de la Concha. (Archivo Fotográfico Fede)






Accident of Quintanilleja in 1891

On the night of September 23, 1891, a very serious railway accident occurred between the stations of Burgos and Quintanilleja. The express that came from San Sebastián collided with the mixed train, which was traveling in the opposite direction. The mixed travelers were saved thanks to the machinist, Pedro Jaca, who stopped in time and stayed at his post in front of an inevitable and frightening death.

Because of the magnitude of the tragedy, the royal family went to Burgos to attend, on October 13, a Requiem Mass for the victims of the accident.

During his stay in Burgos, the Muguiro family welcomed the royal family in the “Palacio de la Isla”, where they spent two days before returning to Madrid.


Railway accident of Quintanilleja.


Visit of the Kings to the act of the Armed Forces in 1983

While the “Palacio de la Isla” was the seat of the “Junta of Castilla y León”, King Juan Carlos I, who was accompanied by Queen Sofia and her children, the Prince and the Infantas, had the deference to attend the presidency of the parade of the Week of the Armed Forces. He also visited the “Palacio de la Isla”. Demetrio Madrid, president of the “Junta”, offered his Majesty a leather-bound copy of the Statute of Castilla y León, and a chest that contained a replica of the keys of the “Palacio de la Isla”.
Speech of  Demetrio Madrid in face of the Kings in Palacio de la Isla (Archivo Fotográfico Villafranca)


Visit of Marshal Pétain in 1939

Marshal Pétain visits Burgos

On March 2, Marshal Pétain was appointed ambassador of France to Spain. This appointment raised controversy in both countries.

Marshal Pétain visited Burgos on March 23, 1939. He entered the Alonso Martínez square, after being escorted by the Mora Guard along Laín Calvo Street, while the San Marcial music band played the ‘Marseillaise’.

The speech of the French ambassador, delivered in the great hall of the palace of the Sixth Military Region of Burgos, was focused on establishing a pact by which Spain will maintain a neutral position in case of the outbreak of World War II.

In exchange, Spain would achieve the repatriation of Spanish refugees in France, as well as the restitution of Spanish gold seized by the French government after the Civil War.




Visit of the Reichfürer Heinrich Himmler in 1940


On October 19, 1940, after the Civil War, Himmler traveled to Burgos to know the “Capital of the Crusade”, the place from which Franco led the development of the war to victory. But above all, he wanted to make contact with the German information services that operated in the Miranda de Ebro concentration camp, where numerous Allied prisoners and prisoners of other nationalities were held.

He entered the city by the “Paseo del Espolón”, to go to the Cathedral, and next to the great cross of the fallen, he was received by the Burgos authorities.

After his visit to the Cathedral, Himmler moved to the Cartuja where he was received and accompanied by the prior.

His visit ended in the “Palacio de la Isla”, where he dined in the company of the General Director of Security, among other personalities.


Visit of the Catalan president Jordi Pujol in 1981

On November 26, 1981, President Pujol arrived in Burgos, where an official reception took place at the “Palacio de la Isla”. Upon his arrival, the president stamped his signature on the Book of Honor of the General Council of Castilla y León. The purpose of this visit was to dissipate the doubts that could be with regard to the autonomic process and to demonstrate that the Spain of the Autonomies was possible.


Palacio de la Isla. Visit of Jordi Pujol. 1981 (Archivo Fotográfico Fede)


*Source: “Historia del Palacio de la Isla de Burgos (1883-12010)” de Isaac Rilova Pérez