La Rioja, which name appeared in a charter of 1099 was formerly known as the province of Logroño. The 12th-century church Iglesia de Santa Maria de Palacio recalls its origin as a chapel of the administrative palace. Logroño was a borderland disputed between the kings of Navarre and the kings of Castile starting in the 10th century; the region was awarded to The Kingdom of Castile in a judgement by Henry I of England and annexed in 1173 (Its importance was that here the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino de Santiago, crossed the River Ebro on the stone bridge, the Puente de Piedra.
Arnedillo, in La RiojaLa Rioja was taken by Napoleonic forces in the Peninsular War and remained solidly in French hands until 1814. In the 1810 project of Llorente it was to be a part of the prefecture of Arlanzón (capital in Burgos). The Constitutional Cortes declared La Rioja an independent province at the time of the Liberal Constitution of 1812, and in January 1822 the province of Logroño was created by royal decree, taking in the whole of the historical geography of La Rioja. However, Ferdinand VII soon annulled these decisions and recovered most of the divisions of the Ancient Regime. In the 1833 reorganization, a province of Logroño appeared again in the region of Castilla la Vieja. In 1841, the province increased its territory temporarily.
It was made into an autonomous community during the reorganization following the democratic transition following the death of Francisco Franco, owing to its economic distinction from the surrounding regions. It is the smallest autonomous community in Spain and has the smallest population; fully half of its 174 municipalities have populations under 200. Nearly half of its citizens live in the capital.
It is bordered by the Basque Country (province of Álava), Navarre, Aragón (province of Zaragoza), and Castile and León (provinces of Soria and Burgos).