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Like so many Castilian towns, Burgos began life as a strategic fortress – in 884 – in the frontline between the Muslims and the rival kingdom of Navarra. It was surrounded by several burgos (villages), which eventually melded together to form the basis of a new city. Centuries later, Burgos thrived as a staging post for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago and as a trading centre between the interior and the northern ports.