Everyone wants to go to Spain.
Glistening Mediterranean waters, delicious Spanish tapas, and fascinating architecture make it a premiere destination.
However, there’s more to this country than food and fun.
The history of Spain is an intense and dramatic saga, with the ability to captivate even the most uninterested hearts.
From its origins thousands of years ago to its artistic renaissance, Spanish history is fraught with surprises, ironies, and personal stories.
There’s enough information to fill a book with.
However, we don’t have that much space. So we’ve decided to craft an article featuring the historic highlights of this great nation.
Read on to discover the true past of Spain.
History of Spain: Kingdoms of the Beginning
Spain was first settled by the early Iberians between 3500 and 4000 BCE.
They were closely followed by settlers originating from Greece, Rome, and North Africa. The Romans gained control around the 2nd century, incorporating Spain into their vast empire.
They imparted upon the country their religious beliefs, laws, and the language — Latin — from which Spanish is derived.
Moorish Spain was a relatively peaceful period. The new Islamic rulers impacted the artistic direction of the country greatly. They imparted much of the intricate architecture, art, and music that Spain is known for still.
The Moors valued education, science, and open discussion. The religious tolerance practiced in Moorish Spain meant that it became a place of learning and acceptance. Students and scholars came from all over to participate in lectures and courses.
However, all this came to an end when Christian leaders once again took control.
History of Spain: The Reconquista and The Inquisition
The periods of the Reconquista and the Inquisition mark an era of violence, passion, and intensity in the nation.
The history of Spain during this long era is fraught with turmoil.
The Reconquista refers to the period of time between 718 and 1492 when Christian leaders completed the process of wresting control away from the Moors.
This time was marked by much political and religious upheaval. The previously peaceful nature of the three monotheistic religions in the country meant that the following struggle for dominance was that much more harrowing.
The Christians gained control gradually, though the battle was pretty much won when Pope Innocent III put the backing of the Catholic church behind the crusaders in the early 1200s.
As the Reconquista wound down, the Moors were defeated in both body and spirit. The Christian religion had grown quite powerful by these days, and communities across the nation desired a country wholly unified in the Catholic faith.
This ultimately led to one of the worst periods of persecution in the history of the world.
The Spanish Inquisition
Late in the 1300s, the seeds for the Spanish Inquisition were sown.
During this time the Jewish Pogroms began, wherein many Jews were attacked and murdered by an angry mob. Hatred in the streets rose not only for the Jews but for Protestants, Muslims, and other “heretics”.
This led to an official decree in 1478 by Pope Sixtus, giving the Spanish monarchs power to appoint religious Inquisitors. The role of this official Inquisitor was to ensure the that the Catholic doctrine was adhered to.
In practice, this meant that several years of extreme violence and the expulsion and forced conversion of many Spanish Jews and Muslims.
During this time, the Spanish Empire rose to be a great colonial power, conquering much of South America and the Caribbean. As such, their influence began to grow around the world.
History of Spain: 18th Century to Modern Day
The growing wealth and power of Spain led to what some call the Golden Age, a renaissance of Spanish culture, literature, and art.
19th-century Spain is characterized by the War of Spanish Independence, which was fought after a crushing defeat by France in the Napoleonic Wars.
Although the war was won, Spain lost its colonies and much of its influence. The early 20th century saw much conflict and division with the World Wars and the Spanish Civil War.
Though Spain has experienced many hardships, today it enjoys its status as one of the top destinations in the world.
History of Spain: Fun Facts to Surprise You
Can’t get enough of Spain? Check out these three Spain facts:
- There are four official languages in the country of Spain. They are Spanish, Catalan, Basque, and Galician.
- Around 45 million tourists visit Spain each year.
- Spain’s National Anthem has no lyrics.
Knowing the History of Spain Will Ensure an Enjoyable Visit
Having basic knowledge about the history of Spain will allow you to more fully appreciate all its wonders.
The unique blend of people and culture in the country fuse together to give Spain a unique vibe. You just can’t find it anywhere else.