The name of Teruel comes from the conjunction of the Aragonese words Tor; Bull and Uel; Star.
According to a legend, the followers of King Alfonso II of Aragón arrived at the place where the city is located today, after following a brave bull, on which a star moved to at the same speed. Once they arrived, on the place Teruel would grow later, they took over a Muslim fortification. Teruel was then occupied around the year 714 by the Tarik Arab, being the territory related to the near Alhambra, (present Alfambra) and that later belonged to the Reino of Taifa de Albarracín.

The earliest written records of the existence of Teruel can be traced to Muslim chronicles written in the 10th century. The Caliphate of Córdoba collapsed in 1031 and Spain was split up into a number of Moorish kingdoms. In 1238 Valencia was recaptured by King Jaime I and the kingdom of Aragón expanded.

The beginning of Teruel's importance as a centre of commerce came with King Alfonso II when it fell into Christian hands during the "Reconquest".The village of Teruel lay at the border of the Kingdom of Aragón where peace and harmony appeared to have been very important. The peaceful coexistence of Muslims and Christians also seems to be responsible for the outstanding mudejar architecture of the place. In 1347 King Pedro IV, finally declared Teruel of being a city.

Sadly, all was not peace and tranquillity. In the Middle Ages, in the 14th century to be exact, Teruel possessed a prominent Jewish community, that enjoyed several privileges, and that paid a yearly tax of some 300 sueldos. Its members were engaged in commerce and industry, especially in wool-weaving. During the persecutions of 1391 many of them were killed, while others accepted Christianity in order to save their lives.

Teruel acquired sad fame during the Civil War, being the scene of the denominated Battle of Teruel. It fell in the hands of the insurrectionists at the beginning of the war. It was the only city taken by the Republicans and later re-conquered by the troops of Franco. The city was practically destroyed. A peculiar data is that in the famous but sad battle of Teruel the German airplane Ju-87 Stuka was used for the first time, and like prelude of which it would happen in World War II.
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