A Brief History of Spain
Before embarking on a trip to Spain, learning a bit about its history can make your trip more meaningful. The Iberian Peninsula was first inhabited around 800,000 BC and proved to be a much-desired piece of real estate through the centuries, as evidenced by the large number of foreign invaders that chart Spain’s history.
Gothic Aqueduct outside Morella
First came the Phoenicians, then the Greeks, and then the Carthaginians. From Europe came the Celts, who settled with native Iberian tribes and merged to become Celtiliberians. They were followed by the Romans who coveted the great mineral wealth of the peninsula. For nearly two hundred years, the Romans fought the Carthaginians in an effort to conquer the divided provinces. They finally succeeded. But as the Roman Empire fell in the 5th century, the Visigoths, who invaded from the north, triumphed. In the 8th century, they in turn were conquered by Arab and Berber invaders from North Africa, known as Moors.
Note the Moorish influence in the ceiling at the Alhambra
Under the Moors, much of Spain, then called Al Andalus, thrived, and science, architecture, and the decorative arts flourished. The Moorish influence is still evident in architecture and customs throughout the country.
Of course, the Moors would not be the final victors. By this time, a number of divergent cultures existed throughout the peninsula, with many possessing a strong sense of independence (even today, many Basques and Catalans do not consider themselves to be Spanish). Under the Moors, the land was divided into numerous kingdoms (called taifas), with a concentration of Christian kingdoms in the north. In the 11th century, the Christians began to move south in an attempt to forcibly regain land from the Moors. A holy war ensued. Though militant North Africans came to the aid of the Moors, the Christians pushed the Moorish forces south until only Granada remained under Moorish rule.
Alcázar de Segovia
Spain was at last unified through the marriage of Isabel I of Castile and Fernando II of Aragon, and Granada was reclaimed by the “Catholic Monarchs”. The holy war continued by way of the Spanish Inquisition wherein large numbers of non-Christians were persecuted and often sentenced to death. Despite this turmoil, Spain flourished in art and architecture during this period. Further, Spain embarked on an age of discovery as the voyages of Columbus and the conquistadors opened new vistas in the New World. This Golden Age, which lasted through the 16th century, was also one of the great artistic and literary periods, producing the lasting achievements of such notable painters as El Greco and Valzquez; such writers as Cervantes; and such dramatists as Lope de Vega and Calderon de la Barca.
Barcelonetta in today’s Barcelona
For a time, Spain continued to war with France and the Low Countries and subsequently began to lose influence in Europe. Economic problems surfaced at home and, again, war ensued. The Bourbons won the War of the Spanish Succession, forcing Spain to become a centralized nation. The government of the First Republic, however, stood on shaky ground as it was faced with rampant political corruption while at the same time anarchism grew among the populace. Political upheaval resulted in a Second Republic being declared in 1931.
In 1936, the Spanish Civil War erupted, with Nationalists under General Franco fighting the seated Republicans. With the help of Hitler and Moussolini, the Nationalists eventually claimed victory and executed thousands of Republicans. After Franco’s death, the country shifted from a dictatorship to a democracy. The Socialist Workers’ Party, headed by Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, came to power by election in 1982 and has worked hard to modernize Spain. The current king, Juan Carlos I, is a constitutional monarch and is lauded for his support of democracy.
Written by Terri Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com
A Brief History of Spain
By Tim Lambert
From about 900 BC a seafaring people called the Phoenicians who came from what is now Lebanon traded with what is now Spain. They founded a chain of trading settlements along the coast on islands and peninsulas. The Iberians gave the Phoenicians silver in return for wine and olive oil as well as jewelry. The people of Spain were heavily influenced by the Phoenician culture. The Greeks also traded with Spain the Iberians were also influenced by Greek culture.
A Phoenician colony in North Africa called Carthage rose to be powerful and important. After the Romans defeated them in 241 BC the Carthaginians increased their influence in Spain. In 227 BC they founded New Carthage (modern Cartagena). However, in 226 the Carthaginians made a treaty with Spain. They agreed not to expand north of the River Ebro.
Yet in 119 BC the Carthaginians took the town of Saguntum. It was south of the Ebro but the Romans claimed Saguntum was their ally and they ordered the Carthaginian general, Hannibal to withdraw. He refused and war ensued. The Romans sent an army to Spain in 218 BC and they gradually pushed back the Carthaginians. By 206 BC the Carthaginians were gone from Spain. In 197 BC the Romans divided the Iberian peninsula into 2 areas, Hispania Citerior (east of the River Iberius) and Hispania Ulterior.
However, the Iberians wanted independence and they rebelled against the Romans. Rome sent a man named Cato who regained control of most of Spain. Nevertheless, the Iberians continued to resist, and fighting continued for nearly 200 years. Resistance finally ended when the Cantabrians were defeated in 19 BC. Afterward, Spain was gradually integrated into the Roman Empire.
The Romans built a network of roads and founded towns and Spain became highly civilized. Under Roman rule Spain became prosperous. Mining was an important industry. Gold and silver were exported. So were olives, grapes, and grain. Roman Spain also exported a fish sauce called garum.
However, in 171-173 raiders from North Africa swept into Spain. There were further attacks at the beginning of the 3rd century. In any case from the mid-3rd century, the Roman Empire gradually declined. Meanwhile, the people of Roman Spain were gradually converted to Christianity.
By the beginning of the 5th century, the Roman Empire was crumbling and Germanic peoples invaded. In 409 AD Alans, Sueves and Vandals crossed the Pyrenees and occupied most of Spain.
However another Germanic people, the Visigoths became allies of the Romans. In 416-418 they invaded Spain. They defeated the Alans but then withdrew into France. The Vandals then absorbed the remaining Alans but in 429 they crossed to North Africa leaving Spain to the Sueves.
The Visigoth king Theodoric II (453-466) led an army into Spain and in 456 he crushed the Sueves in battle. Most of Spain came under the rule of the Visigoths. After 409 one small part of Northeast Spain was left under Roman control. However, in 476 the Visigoths took it over. In 587 King Reccared became a Catholic and in 654 King Recceswinth made a single code of law for his kingdom.
The Visigoths founded new towns in Spain. They also preserved Roman culture and learning flourished. In the 6th century, Saint Isidore of Seville lived in Spain. He was a brilliant scholar. He wrote many books including works on history, theology, grammar, geography, and astronomy. However, the Visigoth kings were never very strong. The Visigoth kingdom in Spain suffered from internal divisions and in the end, it was easy prey for the Moors.
Spain in the Middle Ages
However, at the beginning of the 8th century, the Visigoth realm was destroyed by a Muslim invasion. In 711 an army of Berbers from North Africa, led by Arabs invaded Spain and they utterly defeated the Visigoths at the Barbate River on 19 July 711.
The Muslim army quickly advanced and by 714 most of Spain was under their control. The Muslims called the country al-Andalus, which became Andalusia. Between the 9th and 11th centuries Christian kingdoms emerged in northern Spain. Aragon, Castile, and Navarre. The kingdoms of Aragon and Castile gradually expanded south. (They were greatly helped by disunity among the Muslims).
The Castilians captured Toledo in 1085 and in the 12th century they continued to advance. In 1212 the combined armies of Aragon, Castile, and Navarre won a decisive victory at Las Navas de Tolosa. By 1250 only Granada, the southernmost part of Spain remained in Muslim hands.
In the 14th century, there were wars between Christians and Muslims. The Christians won a decisive victory at the Battle of Salado in 1340. The Aragonese captured the Balearic Islands in 1343. Then in 1348, the Black Death reached Spain and it decimated the population.
In the late 14th century Jews in Spain faced a wave of persecution. In 1391 a pogrom began in Seville and it spread to other cities. Persecution forced many Jews to convert to Christianity.
Meanwhile, in 1469 Ferdinand, heir of Aragon married Isabel, heir of Castile. Isabel became Queen of Castile in 1474 and Ferdinand became king of Aragon in 1479. In 1482 they began a war against Granada, the last Muslim stronghold in Spain. Granada surrendered in 1492. Then in 1512, Navarre was absorbed and Spain became a united country.
In 1492 the king and queen ordered all Jews to convert to Christianity or leave Spain. Many chose to leave. The Spanish Inquisition was formed in 1480. In Spain, at that time there were Jews who had converted to Christianity and Moriscos (Muslims who had converted to Christianity). Both groups were suspected of practicing their old religion in secret. Torture was sometimes used to obtain confessions. The Spanish Inquisition also persecuted Protestants.
1492 was also a significant year because Ferdinand and Isabel decided to finance an expedition by Christopher Columbus. He believed he could reach Asia by sailing across the Atlantic. However, Columbus underestimated the size of the earth and landed in the West Indies. Columbus made 4 voyages across the Atlantic and Spain began to build an empire in North and South America.
16th century Spain
The 16th century was a golden age for Spain when she was rich and ruled a great empire. Trade and commerce flourished and agriculture expanded. However, all did not go smoothly. When Ferdinand died in 1516 his grandson became Charles I (1516-1556). He was already ruler of Belgium and the Netherlands and he was heir to realms in Austria and Southern Germany. In 1519 Charles became Holy Roman Emperor as Charles V. (At that time there was no single German state. Instead many small German states and Austria formed a unit called the Holy Roman Empire). So the king of Spain was very powerful.
However, in 1520 there was a rebellion in Castile. However, the rebels were defeated at Vaillalar in April 1521. Yet abroad Spain went from strength to strength. In 1521 Hernando Cortes conquered the Aztecs of Mexico. The same year, in 1521, Magellan discovered the Philippines. Then in 1533 Francisco Pizarro conquered the Incas of Peru. Furthermore, in 1580, Spain annexed Portugal.
The New World provided Spain with huge amounts of treasure. In the 16th century, 150,000 kilograms of gold and 7.4 million kilograms of silver were shipped to Spain. However, the sheer size of the Spanish Empire and the very long lines of communication made it difficult to control.
Yet even though gold and silver were flowing into Spain the Spanish kings faced financial problems largely because of the cost of fighting wars. During the 16th century, the Spaniards fought the Turks and the French. From 1568 The Netherlands, which was ruled by Spain, rebelled and began a long war of independence. Furthermore from 1587 to 1604 Spain also fought the English.
The 16th century was a great age for literature in Spain. The greatest writers were Miguel Cervantes (1547-1616) who wrote Don Quixote (published in 1605) and Lope de Vega (1562-1635). The 16th century was also a great age for architecture in Spain.
17th century Spain
At the beginning of the 17th century, Phillip III (1598-1621) decided that the Moriscos (Muslims who had converted to Christianity) could never be assimilated into Spanish society. Therefore in 1609, he expelled the Moriscos from Spain.
During the 17th century, the power of Spain declined sharply and parts of its great empire broke away. The Dutch won a great naval victory at the Battle of the Downs in 1639. Spain finally recognized Dutch independence in 1648. In 1640 Portugal rebelled against Spanish rule. Spain formally recognized Portuguese independence in 1668.
Meanwhile, in 1635, a war began between France and Spain. In 1643 a Spanish army tried to invade France but was utterly defeated. Then in 1655 England joined France against Spain. Eventually by the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 Spain was forced to cede territory to France.
In the late 17th century Spanish power continued to decline. At the beginning of the century, Spain was able to dominate Europe. By the end of the century it had ceased to be a great power. At home, Spain suffered outbreaks of plague in 1598-1602 and in 1647-1652.
18th century Spain
In 1700 King Carlos II died and in his will, he left the kingdom of Spain to a Frenchman named Philip of Anjou. However other European powers would not accept this as it would mean a powerful alliance between France and Spain.
In 1701 the War of the Spanish Succession began between Austria and France. Britain and the Netherlands joined Austria against France in 1702. The British captured Gibraltar in 1704 and Minorca in 1709. The Treaty of Utrecht, 1713, ceded both by Spain to Britain. By the Treaty of Rastatt and Baden in 1714, Austria took Belgium from Spain.
Despite the war, King Philip of Felipe strengthened the Spanish monarchy. The various regions of Spain were integrated into a single state. n Spain suffered poor harvests in 1708-1711 and in 1763-1766. Nevertheless, during the 18th-century Spanish agriculture expanded and became more productive. The population of Spain increased during the century. So did trade and commerce.
Enlightenment ideas reached Spain. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from Spain and between 1766 and 1776 a politician named Don Pablo de Olavide introduced a number of reforms to Spanish society. However, there was a reaction against him and in 1776 Olavide was arrested by the Inquisition. In 1778 he was declared a heretic and sentenced to 8 years in prison. However, he escaped to France.
From 1779 to 1783 Spain fought against Britain on the side of the American colonies who were fighting for independence. Later in the century, the French Revolution appalled many Spaniards and in 1793 war with France began. However, the French prevailed and in 1795 Spain made peace. Then, in 1796 Spain joined France in her war with Britain.
19th century Spain
In 1808 Napoleon forced the Spanish king to abdicate and he made his brother Joseph king of Spain. However, the Spanish people refused to accept him. So in November 1808, Napoleon led an army into Spain and in December he captured Madrid. Yet the Spaniards fought a guerrilla war against the French. This time the British were their allies.
In 1812 the Cortes, the Spanish parliament, published a constitution. It stated that the king was to be a constitutional monarch. Then in 1813, the French were driven out of Spain. Ferdinand became king in December 1813 but in 1814 he declared the 1812 constitution null and void and made it clear he intended to rule as an absolute monarch.
However, in 1820, there was an uprising in Spain and General Rafael de Riego forced Ferdinand to accept the constitution. Yet in 1823 the French king sent an army to restore Ferdinand to absolute power.
Meanwhile, Spain’s colonies in Central and South America rebelled, and between 1818 and 1824 they gained their independence. In 1819 Spain was forced to cede Florida to the USA.
Ferdinand died in 1833 and Spain was plunged into a civil war between liberals and conservatives. Ferdinand wanted his daughter Isabella to succeed him but Spanish conservatives wanted his brother Carlos to become king. The war went on till 1839 when the Carlists (conservatives) were finally defeated.
In 1835 to raise money the liberals sold land belonging to the Church. In 1851 the Pope accepted the situation. In return, the state became responsible for paying the clergy. However, Queen Isabella alienated the liberals and in 1868 a revolution took place. Isabella was forced to abdicate. In 1870 she was replaced by Amadeo I but he too abdicated in February 1873. For a short time, Spain was a republic but Alfonso XII became king in 1874. A new constitution was published in 1876. In 1892 all men were given the vote.
In the mid-19th century, the Industrial Revolution began to change Spain. The first railway in Spain was built in 1848 and by the 1860s railways had spread across Spain. Mining and the iron and steel industries in Spain grew in the late 19th century.
However, in 1900 Spain was still mainly an agricultural country and it was still poor. Illiteracy was common in Spain and in 1880-1882 there was a famine in the South. Furthermore, in 1898, Spain was defeated in a war with the USA. She lost Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines.
20th century Spain
From the end of the 19th century, there was increasing labor unrest in Spain. It boiled over into the ‘tragic week’ of 1909. At that time working-class Spaniards were being conscripted for war in Morocco, much to their annoyance. Worse rich people could escape conscription by paying a fee. A week of rioting began in Barcelona, which spread to other cities in Catalonia. Many of the workers were also anti-clerical and they turned their anger on the Church. Several churches and convents were burned.
Socialism and anarchism continued to grow in Spain and labor unrest spread. In 1917 there was a general strike, which broke into violence. Finally, in 1923 General Primo de Riviera staged a coup to restore order.
In the mid-1920s Spain enjoyed a measure of prosperity. For many Spaniards, living standards rose and industrialization continued. However, de Riviera eventually lost support and he resigned in 1930. King Alfonso XIII abdicated in 1931 and Spain became a republic again. A new constitution was published in December 1931. Socialists and radicals welcomed the new republic but conservatives feared and detested it. The Catholic Church was strongly opposed to it.
However, the new regime was slow to carry out reforms and many workers became disillusioned. Meanwhile, Spain was affected by the world depression and unemployment rose. Disaffected workers held strikes, which often became violent.
In November 1933 the right won a general election and they set about undoing the modest reforms of the previous government. The result was an uprising in Asturias, Northwest Spain. However, the government brought in troops from Morocco to crush the revolt.
In February 1936 the left-wing won an election and Spain became bitterly divided between right and left. Finally, in July 1936 the assassination of Jose Calvo Sotelo, leader of the opposition gave the army an excuse to try and seize power. The result was a terrible civil war. The army managed to take control of some parts of Spain but in others, armed workers fought back. The rebels became known as Nationalists and supporters of the left-wing government became known as Republicans. On 1 October 1936 General Franco became the leader of the Nationalist army.
Mussolini and Hitler sent aid to the Nationalists while Stalin sent aid to the Republicans. The war became very bloody and both sides committed atrocities. At first, the Nationalists tried to capture Madrid but failed. However, in 1937 the Nationalists advanced. They captured Bilbao in June and Santander in August 1937. In April 1938 the Nationalists managed to split the Republican-held area in two. Then in January 1939 they captured Barcelona and on 27 March 1939 they entered Madrid bringing the war to an end.
In September 1939 General Franco was made head of state. Under Franco Spain became a repressive dictatorship. In the first years of the new regime, thousands of people were shot.
The 1940s were years of economic hardship for Spain. Officially Spain was neutral during the Second World War. However, 20,000 Spanish volunteers fought with Germany against the Soviet Union.
After the end of the Second World War, Franco was unpopular with the other nations of Europe but with the onset of the Cold War, the West needed him as an ally. In 1953 Spain signed a treaty with the USA. In 1955 Spain became a member of the UN.
From the early 1960s, the Spanish economy began to grow rapidly. Many Spaniards went to work abroad. Others moved from the Spanish countryside to the cities to work in booming industries. By the 1970s Spain was an affluent society. Consumer goods became common. However, Franco remained dictator of Spain until his death in November 1975.
Before his death, Franco decreed that after his death Spain would become a monarchy so he was succeeded as head of state by King Juan Carlos who oversaw a transition to democracy. Elections were held in 1977 and a new constitution was published in 1978. It was approved by a referendum in December 1978. In February 1981 some army officers attempted a coup but failed.
Meanwhile, the Spanish economy continued to grow strongly during the late 20th century, although unemployment was high. In 1986 Spain joined the EU.
21st century Spain
In 1999 Spain joined the Euro. Spain suffered badly in the recession from 2008 and unemployment rose to a very high level. Unemployment in Spain reached a peak in 2013. However, it then fell. From 2014 onward Spain recovered from the crisis. Today the economy of Spain is growing steadily. In 2020 the population of Spain was 47 million.
Last Revised 2022
Jeremy Black – A Brief History of Spain read online free
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Jeremy Black 0003
A BRIEF HISTORY OF SPAIN
Indispensable for Travelers
© Jeremy Black, 2019
© Stepanova V.V., translation into Russian, 2021
© Russian edition, layout. Azbuka-Atticus Publishing Group LLC, 2021
Map of Spain (p. 6). © Porcupen / shutterstock.com
Traveling through the Catalan Pyrenees in 1787, Arthur Young found only squalid inns with hard beds and hordes of fleas, rats and mice. But George Carleton in 1742 managed to find more pleasant things in Spain. Here is what he wrote about Madrid:
The variety of delicious fruits is so great that, I must admit, I have never seen anything like it in any other place. The rabbits here are not as good as our English ones, but partridges are found in abundance – they are larger than ours and have softer feathers. There is very little beef in Spain, because there is almost no grass, but lamb is plentiful, and it is extremely good, since the local sheep eat only wild herbs. Pork is also excellent, and pigs are fattened exclusively on chestnuts and acorns.
Spain, this subcontinent pretending to be a country, dominates the Iberian Peninsula, pushing Portugal to the very edge. This is the quintessence of everything Spanish and at the same time a complex fusion of several original cultures and unique natural conditions. Internal contradictions affected not only Spain itself and its regions, but also Spain as a figure in world politics – and consequently, the whole world. This became especially noticeable from the first trip of Columbus in 1492 year. The reverse is also true: until the loss of Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico in 1898, the Spanish colonies continued to play an important role in its domestic and European politics. However, I will try to show that in Spanish history not a single turn was inevitable and inevitable – no matter how hard the politicians and generals tried.
The history of Spain has been reshaped many times in the course of “historical wars”, in which the contradictions of one time were intertwined with the strife of another. This theme will constantly appear on the pages of the book. It is important because it allows you to understand what is happening now with those historical places that have been preserved, and in general – which of them have been preserved and are available for visiting. When studying guidebooks and books, always remember about “historical wars”, because this is far from a new phenomenon, the tradition goes back two millennia. One of its first examples is how the Roman conquest of Spain was perceived, including by opponents of the victorious generals. After the Roman period, there were others: the Muslim conquest, the Christian Reconquista, the rule of the Habsburgs in the 16th and 17th centuries, the centralization under the Bourbons in the 18th century, the reaction to the French Revolution and the struggle against Napoleon, the endless transitions from liberalism to conservatism and back – between 1812 and the modern end of the monarchy at 1931 years – which served as a background for the Civil War of 1936-1939, the Civil War itself, the years of Franco’s rule (1939-1975) and what happened after … In each of these periods, contradictory conditions were created for the most different interpretations of the history of Spain and for its subsequent ratings.
This process is still ongoing. The chances of finding an unpoliticized version of Spanish history are extremely slim, not least because history has had a profound effect on the formation of Spain as such. For example, the Reconquista indirectly led to the conquest of the Americas, and the gold and silver mined in the colonies became one of the factors of economic stagnation in Spain, much like what is happening now with oil wealth in the Middle East.
The opportunity to write a short history of Spain is a happy occasion that gives me an occasion to look back and thank my hospitable hosts and travel companions. I have lectured in Barcelona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Ciudad Rodrigo, La Coruña, Escorial, Granada, Madrid, Malaga, Pamplona, Salamanca, San Sebastian, Santiago and Vitoria and I want to thank the teachers and all those who organized these events and welcomed me. I have greatly benefited from helpful comments from colleagues (Simon Burton, Sylvia Espelt Bombin, Sergio José Rodriguez González, Enrique Garcia Hernan, Richard Hitchcock, Nicholas Inman, Richard Kagan, Max King, Mark Lawrence, Nick Lipscomb, and Heiko Werner Henning) on a draft of this book. And I would like to share with many the regret of the untimely passing away of Simon, a longtime colleague and friend. I want to thank my parents who took me to Alicante and Sarah for the holidays in Cordoba, Madrid, Seville and northern Spain. This book is dedicated to Taylor Downing, my good friend.
1. Natural conditions
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain . No, actually, but that famous line from the musical My Fair Lady (1956), which was then perfectly satirized by the comic duo of Flanders and Swann, is a kind of unequivocal hint that the natural conditions and climate of Spain deserve the closest attention. Bernard Shaw’s original play Pygmalion (1913) did not include this phrase – it only appeared in the 1938 film adaptation, and the musical 1956 years old (libretto by Alan Jay Lerner). This phrase was translated into Spanish as follows: La lluvia en Sevilla es una maravilla (“rain in Seville is a miracle”).
In reality, the natural conditions are not so simple: in Spain they are so diverse and heterogeneous that they can greatly puzzle the traveler. However, in the past few decades, this heterogeneity has ceased to be evident due to the development of transport, primarily the construction of excellent high-speed railways. Stretching for 1900 miles (3100 km) Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) links Madrid with Barcelona and Seville, with plans to connect Barcelona to Seville via Valencia and Granada. The first phase of the AVE, from Madrid to Seville, opened in 1992. In 2015, the railway reached Cadiz. In 2004, AVE linked Madrid with Malaga – the journey lasts two and a half hours. Opened in 2008, the line from Madrid to Barcelona via Zaragoza can cover 386 miles (621 km) in the same two-plus hours. In addition, AVE connects Spain with France. The Spanish railway industry has a good international reputation and is involved in the construction of roads around the world – for example, the Spanish built a high-speed line between Mecca and Medina.
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History of Spain (briefly) Latin America. The history of Spain is full of drama, ups and downs, contradictions that determined the course of development of the medieval state, the formation of a national state with a single nation and culture, and the identification of the main directions of foreign policy.
Spain in the primitive period
Archaeologists find finds on the territory of the Iberian Peninsula that belong to the Paleolithic period. This means that the Neanderthals reached Gibraltar in the Paleolithic and began to explore the shores of the mainland. Settlements of primitive people are found not only in Gibraltar, but also in the province of Soria, on the Manzanares River, near Madrid.
14-12 thousand years ago in the north of Spain there was a developed Magdalenian culture, the bearers of which drew animals on the walls of caves, painted them with different colors. There are also traces of other cultures in Spain:
- Neolithic El Argar.
- Bronze El Garcel and Los Millares.
In 3000 BC, people were already building fortified settlements that protected the fields and crops on them. There are tombs in Spain – large stone structures in the form of trapeziums, rectangles, in which the nobility were buried. At the end of the Bronze Age, the Tartessian culture appeared in Spain, whose carriers used the letter, the alphabet, built ships, were engaged in navigation and trade. This culture contributed to the formation of the Greco-Iberian civilization.
- 1000 BC – Indo-European peoples came: Proto-Celts, who settled in the north and center; Iberians who lived in the center of the peninsula. The Iberians were Hamitic tribes who sailed to Spain from North Africa and took over the southern and eastern regions of Spain.
- The Phoenicians simultaneously with the Proto-Celts penetrated the Pyrenees, founding here in the 11th century. BC the city of Cadiz.
- In the east from the 7th c. BC. the Greeks settled, creating their colonies on the sea coast.
V 3 in. BC, the inhabitants of Carthage separated from Phenicia, and actively began to develop the south and southeast of Spain. The Romans drove the Carthaginians out of their colonies, marking the beginning of the Romanization of the Iberian Peninsula. East coast The Romans completely controlled the east coast, establishing many settlements here. This province was called Near Spain. The Greeks owned Anladusia and the interior of the peninsula, traded with the Romans and the Carthaginians. The Romans called this province Farther Spain.
The Celtiberian tribes were conquered by Rome in 182 BC. Next came the turn of the Lusitanians and the Celts, the tribes that lived in modern Portugal.
The Romans evicted the local population to the most remote regions, as the inhabitants resisted the colonizers. The southern provinces experienced the strongest influence. Roman emperors lived in Spain, theaters, arenas, hippodromes, bridges, aqueducts were built in cities, new ports were opened on the coast. In 74, the Spaniards received full citizenship in Rome. In the 1st-2nd centuries AD, Christianity began to penetrate into Spain, and after a hundred years there were many Christian communities here, with which the Romans actively fought. But this did not stop Christianity. At the beginning of the 4th c. AD in Iliberis, near Granada, the first cathedral appeared.
One of the longest stages in the development of Spain, which is associated with the conquest by the barbarians, the foundation of their first kingdoms, the Arab conquest, the Reconquista. In the 5th c. Spain was conquered by the Germanic tribes, who formed the Visigothic kingdom with its capital in Toledo. The power of the Visigoths was recognized by Rome at the end of the 5th century. AD In the following centuries, the struggle for the right to own the Iberian Peninsula proceeded between the Romans, the Byzantines and the Visigoths. Spain was divided into several parts. Political fragmentation was intensified by the religious split. The Visigoths professed Arianism, which was banned by the Council of Nicaea as heresy. The Byzantines brought Orthodoxy with them, which the supporters of the Catholic faith tried to oust. Catholicism, as the state religion, was adopted in Spain at the end of the 6th century, which made it possible to erase the boundaries in the development of the Goths and the Romano-Spaniards. In the 8th c. between the Visigoths, an internecine struggle began, which weakened the kingdom, and allowed the Arabs to capture the Pyrenees. They brought with them not only a new government, but also Islam. The Arabs called the new lands Al-Andalus, and ruled them with the help of a governor. He obeyed the caliph, who was sitting in Damascus. In the middle of the 8th c. The Emirate of Cordoba was founded, and its ruler Abdarrahman the Third in the 10th century. assumed the title of Caliph. The caliphate existed until the 11th century, and then broke up into small emirates.
In the 11th c. inside the Caliphate, a movement against the Muslim Arabs intensified. On the one hand, the Arabs fought, and on the other, the local population, which sought to overthrow the rule of the Caliphate. This movement was called the Reconquista, which caused the collapse of the Caliphate of Cordoba. In the 11th-12th centuries. on the territory of Spain there were several large state entities – the kingdom of Asturias or Leon, the county of Castile, which united with Leon, the kingdom of Navarre, the county of Aragon, several small counties belonging to the Franks.
Catalonia in the 12th century became part of Aragon, which expanded its territories to the south, capturing the Balearic Islands.
The Reconquista ended with the victory of the crusaders and the undermining of the influence of the emirs in the Pyrenees. In the 13th century King Ferdinand the Third was able to unite Leon, Castile, captured Cordoba, Murcia, Seville. Independence in the new kingdom was maintained only by Granada, which remained free until 1492.
The reasons for the success of the Reconquista were:
The unification of the state
The reconquista and the suppression of the emirs contributed to the fact that the Spanish kingdoms, duchies, counties embarked on the path of independent development. Stronger state associations, for example, Castile and Aragon, tried to capture the weaker counties, within which there were constant clashes and civil wars. The weakness of the Spanish state formations was used by neighboring countries – France and England. The prerequisites for the future unification of Spain into a single state began to take shape in the 15th century, Castile was headed by Juan II, the son of the deceased King Enrique III. But instead of Juan, the kingdom was ruled by his brother Ferdinand, who became his brother’s co-regent. Ferdinand managed to defend power in Aragon, interfering in the affairs of Castile. In this kingdom, a political alliance was formed against the Aragonese, whose members did not want to strengthen power in Castile.
Between Aragon and Castile during the 15th century. there was a confrontation, internecine wars that provoked a civil slaughter. Only the appointment of Isabella of Castile as heir to the throne could stop the confrontation. She married Ferdinand of Aragon, who was the Infante of Aragon. In 1474, Isabella became queen of Castile, and five years later her husband took the royal throne of Aragon. This marked the beginning of the unification of the Spanish state. It gradually included the following territories:
- Southern Italy.
In the occupied lands, the positions of governors or viceroys were introduced, who ruled the provinces. The power of the kings was limited by the Cortes, i.e. parliaments. They were representative governments. The Cortes in Castile were weak, and did not have much influence on the policy of the kings, but in Aragon it was the other way around. For the internal life of Spain in the 15th century. the following is typical:
- Revolt of serfs or remens who demanded the abolition of feudal duties.
- Civil War 1462-1472
- Abolition of serfdom and heavy feudal duties.
- Actions against the Jews who lived apart in Spain.
- The Spanish Inquisition is established.
Spain in the 16th-19th centuries
- 16th c. Spain became part of the Holy Roman Empire, where it served the interests of the Habsburgs, who used it against the Lutherans, Turks, and French. Madrid became the capital of the Kingdom of Spain, which happened in the second half of the 16th century. The participation of Spain in many European conflicts, one of which in 1588 destroyed the “Invincible Armada”. As a result, Spain lost its dominance at sea. Spanish kings in the 16th century succeeded in strengthening centralized power, limiting the power of the Cortes, which were convened less and less. At the same time, the Spanish Inquisition intensified, controlling all spheres of social and spiritual life of Spanish society.
- Late 16th century – 17th century were difficult for a state that had lost its status as a world power. The revenues of the kingdoms and the receipts to the treasury constantly increased, but only at the expense of receipts from the colonies. In general, Philip II had to declare the country bankrupt twice. The reign of his heirs – Philip the Third and Philip the Fourth – did not change the situation, although they managed to sign a truce with Holland, France, England, and expel the Moriscos. Spain was also drawn into the Thirty Years’ War, which depleted the kingdom’s resources. After the defeat in the conflict, the colonies began to rebel in turn, as well as Catalonia and Portugal.
- The last ruler of the Habsburg dynasty, who was on the Spanish throne, was Charles II. His reign lasted until 1700, when the Bourbon dynasty was established on the throne. Philip the Fifth during 1700-1746 kept Spain from civil war, but lost many territories, including Sicily, Naples, Sardinia and other Italian provinces, the Netherlands and Gibraltar. Ferdinand the Sixth and Charles the Third, who carried out successful political and economic reforms, tried to stop the collapse of the Spanish empire and fought on the side of France against Britain. C 1793 AD Spain fell into the sphere of influence of France.
- 19th c. was associated with constant political changes in the history of Spain. The deposition of Napoleon the First Bonaparte, attempts to restore the monarchy through the heirs of the Bourbon dynasty, the adoption of a constitution, the implementation of liberal reforms, the restoration of absolute monarchy – these are the main features of the political and social development of Spain in the 19th century. The instability ended in 1868 when Spain became a hereditary monarchy. The restoration of the representatives of the ruling dynasty took place several times, and ended with the fact that in 1874 the minor Alphonse the Twelfth ascended the throne. He was succeeded by Alphonse the Thirteenth, who ruled the country until 1931
Features of development in the 20th-21st centuries.
Spain in the 20th century “thrown” from side to side – from democracy to dictatorship and totalitarianism, then there was a return to democratic values, political and economic instability, social crisis. In 1933, a coup d’etat took place, as a result of which the fascist party of F. Franco came to power. He and his associates used terrorist measures to quell Spanish discontent and dissent. Franco struggled for power in Spain with the Republicans for several years, which provoked the outbreak of the Civil War (1936-1939). The final victory was achieved by Franco, who established a dictatorship. More than one million people fell victim to his rule in the early years and were sent to prisons and labor camps. 400 thousand people died during the three years of the Civil War, another 200 thousand were executed from 1939 to 1943.
Spain could not take the side of Italy and Germany in World War II, because it was exhausted by internal confrontations. Franco provided assistance to his allies by sending a division to the Eastern Front. The cooling of relations between Franco and Hitler began at 1943, when it became clear that the Third Reich was losing the war. Spain after the Second World War fell into international isolation, was not part of either the UN or NATO. Diplomatic relations with Western countries began to be gradually restored only in 1953:
- The country was admitted to the UN.
- Agreements were signed with the USA, one of which was that American bases would be located on the territory of Spain.
- Adoption of a new constitution, the Organic Law.
At the same time, most Spaniards did not take part in the political and public life of the country. And the government did not seek to rectify the situation, as a result of which illegal trade unions began to arise, strikes began, separatist movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country became more active, and the nationalist organization ETA arose.
The Franco regime was supported by the Catholic Church, with which the dictator entered into a concordat. The document was signed between Spain and the Vatican, and allowed the secular authorities to choose the highest hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Spain. This situation continued until 1960, when the church gradually began to separate from the political regime of Franco.
In the 1960s Spain established ties with Western Europe, which increased the flow of tourists to this country. At the same time, the migration of Spaniards to other European countries increased. The country’s participation in military and economic organizations was blocked, so Spain did not immediately join the European Economic Community.
Franco died in 1975, having declared Prince Juan Carlos Bourbon, who was the grandson of Alfonso XIII, a few years earlier, as his heir. Under him, reforms began to be carried out, the liberalization of the country’s socio-political life began, and a new democratic constitution was adopted. Early 1980s Spain joined NATO and the EU.
The reforms helped relieve tension in society and stabilize the economic situation. The number of tourists who, since the late 1980s. visited Madrid, Barcelona, Catalonia, Valencia, Aragon and other provinces of the country, increases annually. At the same time, the government is constantly fighting the separatists – the Basque Country and Catalonia.
The problem of Catalonia
There are many contradictory phenomena and problems in the history of Spain, and one of them – Catalan – has a long history of confrontation for its independence. The Catalans have believed for centuries that they are a separate nation with their own culture, language, traditions and mentality.
The region now known as Catalonia was settled by Greeks in 575 BC during the colonization of the sea coast. Here they founded a colony, calling it Empyrion, the ports of Cartagena and Alicante appeared nearby, which are now the largest “sea” gates of Spain.
The capital of Catalonia, the city of Barcelona, was founded by a resident of Carthage, the commander Hamilcar, who arrived here in 237 BC. Most likely, Hamilcar was nicknamed Barca, which means Lightning. The soldiers allegedly named a new settlement in his honor – Barsina. Barcelona, like Tarragona, became major cities of the Roman Empire, which captured the Pyrenees in 218-201. BC.
During the Great Migration in the 5th c. already AD, the Romans were expelled from the peninsula by the Visigoths, who founded their kingdom of Gotalania here. Gradually the name was transformed into Catalonia. Ancient Roman and Greek historians wrote that they tried to call the Pyrenees Catalonia, but the Carthaginian word “i-spanim” was more sonorous. This is how the name Spain appeared, and only a separate region was called Catalonia.
The secession of Catalonia began at the end of the 8th century, when Emperor Charlemagne made his loyal subject Sunifred count of Barcelona. His possessions included the following lands:
Under Sunifred and his descendants, Catalonia began to form its own language, which is actually a mixture of French and Spanish. In the 10th c. Count Borrell II declared Catalonia independent. Supporters of Catalan nationalism and the developers of the concept of secession from Spain call the reign of Borrell II the turning point in the struggle for independence. In the second half of the 12th c. The County of Barcelona became part of the Kingdom of Aragon, which was the result of a dynastic marriage between the rulers of the two regions of Spain.
When Aragon united with Castile, the Catalans reacted to this event ambiguously. Some of them supported the representatives of the Austrian dynasty for centuries, and some – the heirs of the Bourbons. Catalans were considered second class people in Spain. The population of the region declared the right to secession in the second half of the 19th century, when a new constitution was adopted in Spain. The idea of the independence of Catalonia was either revived or lost against the background of other events, but continued to live on. In the 1930s General F. Franco came to power, under whom the idea of Catalan separatism began to flourish.
In October 1934, the Catalan Parliament voted for independence and secession, but this did not happen. The Spanish government began to carry out mass arrests of activists, political leaders, and intellectuals. The actions of the Catalan Parliament were declared treason. During the civil war, Catalan autonomy was abolished and the language was banned.
Autonomy was restored in 1979, when Spain again took the path of democratic development. The Catalan language in the province received official status. Local parties and activists have repeatedly sought the expansion of rights and freedoms. Only by 2006 did the government partially satisfy their demands:
- The rights of local governments have been expanded.
- Catalonia independently began to manage its taxes and half of the taxes that came to the central authorities.
All this only catalyzed the aspirations of the population of Catalonia to secede from Spain. In this regard, an independence referendum was held in October 2017, in which more than 90% of those who voted said “yes” to secession. Now the issue of the independence of the province is one of the most urgent in the internal political life of the country.