Though the current version of the club dates to 1902, Real traces its origin back to 1897, when students and faculty of Madrid's Institución Libre de Enseñanza founded Football Club Sky. In 1900, FC Sky split, with one half forming Club Español de Madrid, which itself split two years later when club president Julian Palácios left to create Sociedad Madrid FC. Madrid won its first silverware three years later, defeating Athletic Bilbao in the 1905 Spanish Cup Final.
In 1929, King Alfonso XIII conferred royal favor on the club, changing its name to Real Madrid. They also altered their crest to place the royal crown over their interlocking "MCF." Royal patronage identified Real as the "establishment" club in subsequent years, which in part fueled the rivalry with Barcelona, identified as leftist. The distinctions were especially pronounced during the regime of Francisco Franco, who supported Real while persecuting Barça and its Catalan supporters.
Real is Spain's most successful team, with 58 domestic trophies. Although they have won titles in every decade but one since their founding (they missed out in the 1940s, which, incidentally, was when Barcelona rose to prominence), their most successful period was during the 1960s, when they won the league in eight seasons out of ten. They have had tremendous international success as well, winning nine European Cup/UEFA Champions League titles, including five straight from 1956 to 1960. Their most recent piece of silverware was the 2007-08 La Liga title.