On the southern bank of the Río Tagus near its confluence with the Jarama. Inhabited in Roman tines, it was called Ara Jovis.
The town was the headquarters of the Knights of Santiago (1387-1409) and became the seat of a royal summer residence and hunting lodge in the 17th century. It was rebuilt c. 1750 by Ferdinand VI. The royal palace (completed in 1778 after being damaged several times by fire) has a large collection of treasures, and the Casita del Labrador, built by Charles IV, who abdicated at Aranjuez in 1808, recalls the Trianons (châteaux) at Versailles.
Aranjuez is on the main railway from Madrid city (29 mi (47 km) north) and serves a rich agricultural district in which asparagus and strawberries are especially important and horses are bred. Industries include the manufacture of chemicals, metal products, textiles, and the preservation of fruits.