Alcalá de Henares (älkäläˈ dā ānäˈrās) [key], town (1990 pop. 155,548), Madrid prov., central Spain, on the Henares River. Chemicals, plastics, electrical appliances, leather, and china are produced in the town. Once surrounded by wheat fields, an auto route has drawn it into the suburban orbit of Madrid. Called Complutum in Roman times, the town is triply famous as the former seat of a great university founded in 1508 and transferred in 1836 to Madrid, as the birthplace of Ferdinand I, Katherine of Aragón, and Cervantes, and as the scene of the Cortes in which Alfonso XI promulgated the Ordenamiento de Alcalá. The town was severely damaged in the Spanish civil war. Among the landmarks are a Gothic collegiate church and the former archiepiscopal palace. The Univ. of Alcalá de Henares was founded in 1977.