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Spanish History

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The country of Spain has a rich and varied history. The furthest records go back date to 35,000 years ago in the area known as Prehistoric Iberia where records of the first human inhabitants have been found through cave paintings and archaeological digs. Evidence of these paintings can be seen in Almeria and Murcia and the era they have been dated to is recorded as the Bronze Age. The next significant time period for Spain was around 1100BC when the first Greek trading colonies were established in places such as Cartagena.

Bronze Age History Spain
The country was soon to be invaded by the ever-moving Roman empire in the 6th century BC. At this time the natives of Spain as we know it today were Iberians and the country was named Iberia by the Greeks. The native Spanish inhabitants at this time were divided between the Celts that occupied the north and the Iberians that resided in the south. As a combined nation the two different cultures were known as Celtiberian. With the arrival of the Romans and the enforcement of their ways, there erupted a war we all know as the Spanish Wars that lasted 50 years from 181BC till 133BC. The Romans overpowered the natives and Spain became part of the Roman Empire. The Romans did brought a lot of development to the country and cities throughout their occupation.

It was as the Roman Empire was dissolving in the 5th century the country was invaded by Germanic tribes that conquered and overthrew the remaining Roman settlers. Even with the infiltration of these new tribes, Spain as we know it continued to retain much of the culture and ways that the Roman Empire had brought to the country and even today there is clear evidence in the Spanish culture and language of the Roman occupation. The Germanic occupation occurred between the 5th and 8th century.

From the 8th century until the 15th century, Spain was constantly under a struggle between the Muslims and the Christians and medieval Spain historically is littered with the battles between the two. By the 15th century the Christians had firmly asserted their rule within Spain and it became a Kingdom ruled by Christian Kings. Spain was still divided at this point into two areas, the Kingdom of Castile and the Kingdom of Aragon. A uniting of the two kingdoms happened in 1469 with the marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. It was this marriage and the blessing of Pope Alexander VI that created Spain, as we know it today.
Map of Spanish empire Spain
It was through the efforts of Isabella that Spain became a stable country. She arranged marriages that would unite powerful families from around the region and other countries. This secured Spain’s strength and power as a formidable force. In the 16th century Imperial Spain had become a Global empire. With the union of Portugal and Spain, they began to explore the world and establish colonies across the Atlantic and as far as Asia, Mexico and the Philippines.

This was really the golden age for Spain both in cultural development as well as expanding of the Spanish Empire.
 

Timeline

More than 35,000 years ago Modern humans entered the Iberian Peninsula
In 181 to 133 BC The Celtiberian wars were fought between Romans and Celtic tribes
In 415 The Visigoths entered Spain.
In 711 The Moors conquered the Peninsula. Muslim states were established over the next 750 years.
In 1391 There were huge massacres of Jews in every major Spanish city. Around this time universities started to spring up around Spain and the Castilian dialect became the main language.
In 1492 Granada fell as the Christian peoples reclaimed their land – 'reconquista'. When the Kingdom of Aragon and Castille united this was the creation of modern Spain. This was also the year when Christopher Columbus sailed to discover the Americas.
In the 16th and 17th centuries Spain became the world's most powerful nation. The empire they created stretched all the way from Europe to California and South America.
In the 17th century Spain's power began to decline in part due to the neglect of the Habsburg Empire.
In 1886 Slavery was abolished in Spain's New World colonies.
In the 18th century The Bourban dynasty began to take power.
By the start of the 19th century The French had occupied much of Spain under the conquering influence of Napoleon.
By 1936 Spain was plunged into a very violent and bloody civil war.
In the 1940s During WW2 Spain was officially neutral, as it had been in WWI.
In the 1960s and 1970s Spain was rapidly modernised.
By 1975 General Franco, who ruled Spain in a fierce dictatorship after winning the civil war, had died
After 1975 The Bourbon monarchy of Prince Juan Carlos ruled the country.
In 1986 Spain joined the EEC, now known as the EU.
In 1992 Spain hosted the Summer Olympics.
In 2004 Terrorist bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero replaces Jose Maria Aznar as Prime Minister.
In 2005 Spain becomes the first country to give marriage and adoption rights to homosexuals

Quick facts
Government  Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarch
King   Juan Carlos I
Prime Minister  José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
Population  2010: 46.03 Million
Date Format  dd/mm/yyyy
Drives on the  Right Side
Internet TLD  .es
Dialling Code  34 (+ 00 34)
Time Zone  CET
Currency  EUR - €

Spain PublicHolidays

Thu
07
Running of the Bulls
Sun
10
Death of El Cid
Mon
25
Galicia National Day
Mon
25
Santiago Day
Mon
25
St. James Day

April

Wed
03
Fiesta de la Colmena
Wed
10
St. Lawrence Day
Mon
15
Assumption Day
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