In the year 581 the Visigoth king Liuvigild founded the city of Victoriacum, trying to emulate the Roman foundations, as a celebration of the victory against the Vasconesnear what is assumed to be the hill occupied by the primitive village of Gasteiz. This however is not sufficiently proven, and some historians and experts believe that Victoriacum was located not on the site of present-day Vitoria-Gasteiz but nearby, maybe at Iruña-Veleia (cf. J.M. Lacarra) or at the foot of Mount Gorbea where there is a village called Vitoriano.
In the year 1181, Sancho VI the Wise, King of Navarre founded the town of Nueva Victoria as a defensive outpost on top of a hill at the site of the previous settlement of Gasteiz. In 1199, the town was besieged and captured by the troops of Alfonso VIII ofCastile, who annexed the town to the Kingdom of Castile. The town was progressively enlarged and in 1431 it was granted the title of City by King Juan II of Castile. In 1463, it was one of the five founding villas of the Brotherhood of Álava alongside Sajazarra, Miranda de Ebro, Pancorbo and Salvatierra.
The Battle of Vitoria of the Peninsular War occurred near Vitoria-Gasteiz along the river Zadorra on 21 June 1813. An allied British, Portuguese, and Spanish army under General the Marquess of Wellington broke theFrench army under Joseph Bonaparteand Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan. The victory assured the eventual end of French control in Spain. There is a monument commemorating this battle in the main square of the city known as the Monument to Independence – Monumento a la Independencia.
When news came to Vienna in late July of that year, Johann Nepomuk Mälzelcommissioned Ludwig van Beethoven to compose a symphony, the op. 91 Wellingtons Sieg oder die Schlacht bei Vittoria or Siegessymphonie.
Work began on Institute for Middle Education in 1843, with classes beginning during the 1853–54 academic year. It is now current headquarters of the Basque