Who discovered spain first: All About Spain: History

All About Spain: History

Prehistorical Times

The oldest historical findings made in Spain date of about 30000 to 50000 b.C. Among the most important remains of this period are the Cave of Altamira (Santander), Cova Negra (Jtiva) and Piar (Granada).

The Celt-Iberian Spain

The Greeks referred to the original inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula as Iberians. There are, however, several different populations. According to archaeological, anthropological and genetic research, the Iberians should have arrived to the peninsula at the time of the Neolithic (5000 — 3000 BC).

Some scientists believe that they came originally from the eastern Mediterranean, others believe that they were related to the founders of the megalithic culture (UK, Ireland, France), of which there are numerous findings also in Spain.

The most advanced Iberians were undoubtedly the Tartessos, who founded the oldest Western-European high culture, and their descendants «Turdetanos» and «Turdulos».

By 1200 b.C. Celtic tribes entered the peninsula from the north, mixing up with Iberians and so generating the celt-iberian race. The origin of the bask race living in the north of the country is uncertain, but many historians suppose that it goes back to a pre-iberian population.

Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians

By 1100 b.C. Phoenicians arrived to the peninsula and founded colonies, the most important of which was Gadir (today’s Cadiz), Malaca (today’s Malaga) and Abdera (today’s Adra, in Almeria). Also Greeks founded colonies in southern Spain and along the Mediterranean coast.

During the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthago Carthaginians invaded Spain and conquered large parts of it. Their most important colonies were the island Ibiza and Cartagena, the «new Carthago».

Romans and Goths

After Rome had defeated Carthago definitely, Romans also invaded the colonies in Spain, and ended up conquering the entire peninsula. The province Hispania became part and parcel of Roman empire and acquired great importance, even two Roman emperors, Traian and Hadrian, were born there. Spaniards absorbed completely the Roman culture as still today is very evident in their language.

In 409, when the Roman empire started to fall, Gothic tribes invaded the peninsula and established their kingdom in 419.

Moorish Epoch and Reconquista

Gothic dominance lasted until 711, when Muslim armies crossed the Straight of Gibraltar and defeated Roderic, the last Visigoth king. Specially the southern parts of Spain, called al-Andalus, were prospering in the Moorish epoch, thanks to new sciences and agricultural technics. The Moors conquered major parts of the country until they were defeated for the first time by Visigoth king Pelayo at Covadonga in northern Spain, 722.

Though the small Christian kingdoms in the north were a nucleus of resistence, the Arabian culture was prospering in the rest of the country. The Muslim Spain by the time got politically independent of the Arabian empire, and in 10th century Abderraman III. made Al-Andalus his own caliphate. In this epoch Cordoba was the indisputable cultural center of this area of the world. Decadence started in 11th century, when the various Arabian noble families were more and more at variance among themselves, and al-Andalus broke into numerous small caliphates. The Christian kingdoms in the north started then the reconquest of Spain. The marriage between Isabel of Castilia and Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469, uniting the two most important among them, was the turning point of the Reconquista. From now on Muslims rapidly lost territory, until they were definitely expelled when they lost their last remaining caliphate, Granada, in 1492.

The Catholic Monarchs

Isabel and Ferdinand succeeded in uniting the whole country under their crown, and their effort to «re-christianize» Spain resulted in the Spanish Inquisition, when thousands of Jews and Moors who didn’t want to convert to Christianism were expelled or killed.

After the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492 tons of gold and silver were brought in from the new continent, and Spain became one of the most powerful nations of this epoch called the Golden Age.

Habsburg and Borbon Kings

After Isabel died in 1504, her daughter Joan who was married with the German emperor’s son Philip succeeded to the throne. Charles I., at the same time Austrian king and German emperor united in 1517 one of the largest empires in history. Anyhow after his retirement in 1556 it was split between the Spanish and the Austrian line of Habsburg family.

Spain was prospering economically under the Habsburg crown thanks to the trade with its American colonies, but on the hand involved in wars with France, the Netherlands and England, culminating in the disastrous defeat of the «Invincible Armada» in 1588.

When the last Habsburg King Charles II. died without descendant, the nephew of French King Louis XIV., Philip of Borbon, successed to the throne. As a consequence of the French Revolution, Spain declared war on the new republic but was defeated. Napoleon took the power in France and sent his troops against Spain in 1808. He established his brother Joseph as Spanish king, but Spaniards fought a 5-year Independence War against the French. After Napoleon’s definite defeat at Waterloo in 1815, Ferdinand VII. was restored to the Spanish throne and reigned with rigid absolutism. When he changed the law of succession to the throne and his daughter Isabel was established as queen, his brother Charles rebelled against it and the War of Seven Years broke out. Economical recession and political instability were the consequences, Spain lost its colonies with the exceptions of Puerto Rico, Cuba and Philippines. The revolution of 1868 forced Isabel II. to renounce to the throne, and the First Republic was proclaimed. Anyhow, it lasted for just about one year. After a coup d’tat Isabel’s son, Alphonse XII. , restored the kingdom. The rebellion of Cuba in 1895 resulted in a war against United States, with disastrous results for Spain. It lost its last overseas possessions.


th Century

The economical crisis of the early 1920s led the country to the brink of civil war, and General Primo de Ribera established a military dictature until 1930. Elections in 1931 saw a triumph for the political left, and Alphonse XIII. left the country. Increasing conflicts between the Republican government and the Nationalist opposition led to the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). The Nationalists, led by General Franco, received extensive support from Nazi-Germany and fascist Italy and succeeded against the Republican block which was officially supported only by Russia, although many intellectuals (as Ernest Hemingway) and politically committed from other countries fought in the International Brigades. The nationalists succeeded.

Although Franco kept Spain neutral during World War II, his military dictature led to political and economical isolation. During the 1950s and 60s every effort was taken to improve international relations, and the country’s economy recovered. In 1969 Franco proclaimed Juan Carlos de Borbon, the grandson of Alphonse XIII., his successor with the title of king.

Franco died in 1975, and a constitutional monarchy was established. President Adolfo Suarez introduced important political reforms. When he surprisingly dismissed in 1981, a group of militars tried to take the power with a coup, but failed. In 1982 the socialist party won the elections and Felipe Gonzalez became president of the government. Spain became member of the NATO in 1985 and entered the European Community in 1986. In 1992 it appeared impressively at the world stage: Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games, Seville the world exposition EXPO’92, and Madrid was declared European Cultural Capital.

THE HISTORY OF SPAIN — History of Spain




In Hispania before the Romans, the Spanish peninsula was inhabited by several tribes which were divided between Celts and Iberos.

The Fenitians and Greeks started to arrive and founded Gades and Ampurias. By the way, the name of Iberia was given by the Greeks because of the river Ebro, which in Greek is Iber. After them came the Cartaginenses from Africa and founded Cartagena.



The Romans arrived in Ampurias in 218 b.C., and finished conquering the peninsula in 19 b.C. under the leadership of the emperor Augustus. The Romans founded several cities such as Emerita Augusta, Italica and Tarraco and expanded their culture during almost seven centuries.




But Rome ended up collapsing and in the V century hordes of visigoth warriors from the north invaded Spain. The Swabians settled in the north east. The Visigoths dominated the Iberian peninsula for more than 200 hundred years and established the capital in Toledo. In 589 Recaredo made Catholicism the official religion of the peninsula.




In the year 711, Muslims from the north of Africa conquered the peninsula and called it Al-Andalus. Resistance formed in the north and the kingdom of Asturias was founded. The Muslims stayed for seven centuries and left two great monuments: the mosque in Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada.




The Christians started the reconquest in 722 when don Pelayo, an Asturian nobleman defeated the Muslims and from this moment they started to gain terrain and the kingdoms of Leon, Navarra, Aragon, Castilla and Portugal were founded.

In the year 1212 in the decisive battle of Navas de Tolosa, the Muslims were defeated by the Christians and for the rest of the century the reconquest advanced quickly. In the end only the kingdom of Granada remained in the south.




In 1469 Isabel of Castilla and Ferdinand of Aragon got married and unified both crowns, conquering Granada in 1492 and unifying the peninsula.




In 1492 Columbus first left for the Indias, discovering America on the 12th of October. During the 16th century conquerers like Hernan Cortes or Francisco Pizarro expanded the Spanish dominions all over America.




Spain became the main European power under the reign of Charles the 1st of Spain and 5th of Germany, who started the Austrian dynasty. His son Philip the 2nd was crowned king of Portugal in 1580 and therefore the whole peninsula was unified for 60 years.




In 1701 the Austrian dynasty ended and the war of succession started and would end in 1714 with Philippe of Anjou as king, establishing the bourbon dynasty.

In 1805 Spain was defeated in the battle of Trafalgar by the British and in 1808 it was finally invaded by the French and the war of independence against napoleon´s army started. This finished in victory for the Spanish six years later.




It was during the war of independence against the French that the first constitution was proclaimed in Cadiz in 1812.

The XIX century was very problematic, with the Carlista wars between the liberal supporters of Isabel II and the traditionalists with prince Carlos.

Finally in 1875 the bourbon monarchy was restored with alfonso XII.

In the “disaster” of 1898, Spain lost its last colonies, namely Cuba and the Philippines, after a war with the united states.




In 1923 Primo de Rivera established a dictatorship which ended up with the declaration of the II republic.

After the military insurrection of 1936 against the republic, a civil war started which would end in 1939 with a military dictatorship under the rule of Franco.




In 1975 after the death of Franco, the transition to democracy started and in 1978 the current Spanish constitution was passed.

History of Spain

The first traces of human appearance in the north of the Iberian Peninsula date back to the end of the Paleolithic. Stylized drawings of animals on the walls of caves appeared about 15 thousand years BC. e. The best preserved paintings are in Altamira and in Puente Viesgo near Santander.

In the south and east in the III millennium BC. e. various Iberian tribes from North Africa appeared. Hence the ancient name of the peninsula — Iberian. In the middle of the II millennium BC. e. Iberians began to settle in fortified villages on the territory of modern Castile. And five centuries later they were joined by the Celtic and Germanic tribes.

The Iberians were mainly engaged in agriculture, cattle breeding and hunting, knew how to make tools from copper and bronze, and also left beautiful works of art, such as the stone sculpture «Lady of Elche» — the pride of the Madrid archaeological museum. Wiber had his own script. The Celts and Iberians lived side by side, sometimes uniting, but more often fighting with each other, and, in the end, created the Celtiberian culture, becoming famous as warriors. It was they who invented the double-edged sword, which later became the standard weapon of the Roman army and used against their own inventors.

In 1100 B.C. e. The Phoenicians founded the port of Gadir (Cadiz). On the east coast (modern Costa Brava) the Greeks founded colonies (you can see an excellent archaeological site in Empures near Barcelona).

In Andalusia from the first half to the middle of the 1st millennium BC. e. there was a state of Tartes. The origin of the Tartes, obviously close to the Iberians, but standing at a higher stage of development, is still debatable.

V-IV centuries. BC e. the influence of Carthage is growing, the empire of which occupied most of Andalusia and the Mediterranean coast. The largest colony of the Carthians on the Iberian Peninsula was New Carthage (modern Cartagena). The defeat of the Carthaginians (whose troops were led by Hannibal) in the Second Punic War in 210 BC. e. opened the way to the establishment of Roman domination on the peninsula, but the Celtiberians in its central part and in the north resisted for almost two more centuries.

Nevertheless, Spain became the second most important center of the Roman Empire after Italy itself. Four Roman emperors were born on the Iberian Peninsula (the most famous of them: Trajan, Hadrian), the writer and philosopher Seneca. Roman influence was strongest in Andalusia, southern Portugal, and the Catalan coast near Tarragona, although the Basques, for example, were never fully Romanized.

The Romans divided the peninsula into Far and Near Spain, and later transformed them into three provinces: Extremadura with its capital in modern Merida, Andalusia with its capital in Cordoba and Catalonia with its capital in Tarragona.

For the first two centuries of our era, gold from Spanish mines served as the source of the country’s wealth. Beautiful villas and public buildings were built in Merida and Cordoba, and the inhabitants used roads, bridges and aqueducts for many centuries. Several bridges in Segovia and Tarragona have survived to this day.

The three living Spanish languages ​​are rooted in Latin, and Roman law has become the foundation of the Spanish legal system. Christianity appeared on the peninsula very early (as they say, the apostle Paul himself prayed in Aragon and Tarragona), for a short time the Christian communities were subjected to severe persecution.

V century. n. e. barbarians poured into the Iberian Peninsula — the Germanic tribes of the Sueves, Vandals, Visigoths and the Sarmatian tribe of the Alans, which accelerated the collapse of the already declining Roman Empire. The Visigoths drove the Vandals and Alans into northern Africa and created a kingdom with its capital in Barcelona and then in Toledo. The Sueves settled in the northwest in Galicia, creating the Suevian kingdom.

Making up only about 4% of the population, the Visigoths in the VI century. n. e. annexed to their kingdom of the Suebi, and by the VIII century. ousted the Byzantines (who settled in the south and southeast of the peninsula in the middle of the 6th century).

The Visigothic elite denied the divinity of Christ (Arians), and the local population professed the Catholic religion (the same for all Christians in Spain, Catholicism was adopted at the Toledo Cathedral in 400 AD).

Three hundred years of Visigoth rule left a significant mark on the culture of the peninsula, but did not lead to the creation of a single nation. The Visigothic system of electing a monarch created a fertile ground for conspiracies and intrigues. Although in 589 the Visigothic king Rekared converted to Catholicism, this did not remove all the contradictions, religious conflicts only intensified. By the 7th century all non-Christians, especially Jews, were faced with a choice: exile or conversion to Christianity.

In 711, one of the Visigothic groups called for help from the Arabs and Berbers from North Africa, who were later called the Moors. The Mauritanian corps was led by General Tariq ibn Ziyad (the name Gibraltar comes from his name — «Tariq’s Rock»). The conquest of the peninsula by the Moors in just a few years is an amazing example of the rapid spread of Islam (only in 622 did Muhammad leave Mecca, and by 705 his followers already ruled all of northern Africa). Despite the desperate resistance of the Visigoths, ten years later only the mountainous regions of Asturias remained unconquered.

Until the middle of the VIII century. Mauritanian territories were part of the Umayyad Caliphate, the origin of the name of the Mauritanian state Al-Andalus dates back to the same time, the territory of which either increased or decreased, depending on the success of the Reconquista.

In 756, Abdarahman I Umayyad proclaimed an independent Caliphate of Cordoba, which flourished under the reign of Abdarahman III, who proclaimed himself Caliph of the new Western Islamic Empire. The domination of the Moors cannot be called simply the conquest of the peninsula. The Moors were very tolerant of Christians and Jews, granted autonomy to various areas and made a huge contribution to the development of Spanish culture, creating a unique style in architecture and fine arts. At the beginning of the XI century. after the death of the dictator Mansur, the Arab caliphate broke up into many small independent caliphates and kingdoms.

Two more waves of conquerors from North Africa invaded the peninsula in the 11th and 12th centuries. (Almoravids and Almohads), but after the victory of Christians over the Almohads in 1212. under Las Navas de Tolosa, only the last Islamic state on the Iberian Peninsula survived — the Emirate of Granada, which existed until 1492.

The Christian Reconquista (in translation — «conquest», «return») is a continuous centuries-old war against the Moors, started by part of the Visigothic nobility led by Pelayo. In 718, the advance of the expeditionary corps of the Moors at Covadonga was stopped.

In the middle of the VIII century. Asturian Christians under the leadership of King Alfonso I, taking advantage of the Berber uprising, occupied neighboring Galicia. In Galicia, the tomb of St. James (Santiago) was allegedly discovered, and Santiago de Compostela becomes a center of pilgrimage, and the Reconquista is something of a new crusade in defense of Christianity and Christians.

At the end of the VIII — the middle of the IX centuries. during the reign of Charlemagne, the Franks stopped the advance of Muslims into Europe and created the Spanish brand in the northeast of the peninsula (the border area between the possessions of the Franks and the Arabs), which existed until the collapse in the 9th-11th centuries. to the counties of Navarre, Aragon and Barcelona (in 1137 Aragon and Barcelona united to form the Kingdom of Aragon).

By 914 the kingdom of Asturias included León and most of Galicia and northern Portugal. The Spanish Christians expanded their possessions into the mountainous regions between Asturias and Catalonia, building many frontier fortresses. The name of the province «Castile» comes from the Spanish word «castillo», meaning «castle», «fortress».

Reconquista led to the fact that the Spanish peasants and residents of the cities who fought along with the knights received significant benefits. Most of the peasants did not experience serfdom, free peasant communities arose on the liberated lands of Castile, and cities (especially in the 12th-13th centuries) received greater rights.

In the middle of the XI century. under the rule of Ferdinand I, the county of León-Asturias received the status of a kingdom and became the main stronghold of the Reconquista. In the north, at the same time, the Basques founded Navarre, and Aragon merged with Catalonia as a result of a dynastic marriage. In 1085 the Christians captured Toledo.

The Almoravids (1090-1145) briefly stopped the spread of the Reconquista. The period of their reign includes the exploits of the legendary knight Sid, who conquered the lands in Valencia in 1095 and became a national hero of Spain.

The next successes of the Reconquista date back to the end of the 12th — the beginning of the 13th centuries. The most impressive victory over the Almohads was won in 1212 by the united kings of Leon, Castile, Aragon and Navarre. In 1236, the Castilian king Ferdinand III (Saint) led his army to Cordoba, and twelve years later — to Seville. The Portuguese kingdom expanded almost to its present size, and the king of Aragon conquered Valencia, Alicante, and the Balearic Islands. By the end of the XIII century. only the Caliphate of Cordoba remained on the peninsula, forced to pay tribute to the XIV century. the temporary alliances of the Christian kingdoms fell apart, and each began to pursue its own personal interests. Castile attempted to annex Portugal, but the two-year war ended with the defeat of the Castilian army at Aljubarotta in 1385. Aragon ceded control of Mediterranean trade to Genoa. Only Castile during this period is fully self-sufficient and profits from the wool trade with the Netherlands.

In 1469, a significant event for the future of Spain took place: the marriage between Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, whom Pope Alexander VI called «Catholic kings». This marriage marked the beginning of the political unification of Spain, which was completed by the end of the 15th century, and only Navarre was annexed in 1512.

In 1478, Ferdinand and Isabella approved the church court — the Inquisition, designed to protect the purity of the Catholic faith. The persecution of Jews, Muslims, and later Protestants began. Several thousand suspects of heresy went through terrible torture and ended their lives at the stake (auto-da-fe — initially the announcement, and then the execution of the sentence, in particular, public burning at the stake). At 1492y. the fanatical inquisitor Tom de Torquemada persuaded Ferdinand and Isabella to expel Jews who had not been converted to Christianity (about two hundred thousand people, including the most educated and honorary citizens of Spain) from the country.

1492 is significant not only for the expulsion of Jews and Moors. This year, Christopher Columbus, trying to find a new route to India, discovered the New World — America — and began the golden age of Spain. Spanish colonies stretched from Labrador to Brazil. Colonization was under the slogan of spreading the «true faith».

The grandson and heir to the throne of Ferdinand and Isabella — Charles I of Habsburg — was born in 1500 in Flanders and spoke Spanish with difficulty. Having ascended the throne in 1516, he inherited not only Castile and Aragon, but also Flanders, the Netherlands, Artois, Franche-Comté and all the American colonies, and a few years later became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire under the name of Charles V. In Spain, Charles was unpopular. He appointed his Flemish and Burgundian supporters to key posts, such as the regent (ruler) during his frequent absence — the archbishop of Toledo. Charles annexed Flanders, the Netherlands, Milan and Naples to his possessions and involved Spain in costly European wars that absorbed the wealth flowing into the country from the New World.

In 1556, Charles abdicated in favor of his son, Philip II. Born and educated in Spain, the new king proclaimed Madrid the capital. Philip lived and died in the medieval castle of El Escorial. Remembering his mother’s marriage, Philip made claims to Portugal and annexed it to Spain, however, only for 60 years. Under him, the Turkish fleet was defeated in 1571 under the Levant. Philip was in correspondence with Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (Catholic), promising support in her fight against the English Protestant Queen Elizabeth, but the Spanish Armada (fleet) sank in 1588.

The decline of the power and wealth of Spain comes in the reign of Philip III, who trusted the rule to the favorites and involved the country in the Thirty Years’ War. The activities of the Inquisition unfolded with renewed vigor. The exodus of the descendants of the Moriscos, or Mudéjars, who remained in the south and southeast, many of whom were farmers, hastened the agricultural crisis. By the middle of the XVII century. Spain lost international prestige and large territories outside the Iberian Peninsula, including the Netherlands. The huge gulf between the wealth of the royal court and the poverty of the masses caused constant conflicts. As a result, in 1640 a group of conspirators seized power in Lisbon, and in 1668 Spain had to recognize the independence of Portugal.

The last Spanish king of the Habsburg dynasty, Charles II, who died in 1700 and left no heirs, bequeathed the throne to the Duke of Anjou, grandson of the French king Louis XIV (Bourbon), who proclaimed himself Philip V of Spain. Naturally, the Archduke Charles of Austria (Habsburg) did not like this. War broke out for the Spanish crown, ending with the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Bourbon received the throne, but Spain lost many of its possessions: Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Sardinia. Britain, which supported the Archduke, withdrew Gibraltar, which was of great strategic importance.

The most successful Spanish king of the 18th century. was Charles III. It was during his reign that the Inquisition was abolished, skilled administrators were invited, and the country’s economy was strengthened.

The French roots of the new dynasty explain the rapprochement with France, the strengthening of its influence and the involvement of Spain in the Napoleonic wars.

The defeat of the Spanish fleet by the British at Trafalgar in 1805 fell on the reign of Charles IV. Public outrage was so great that Prime Minister Godoy was overthrown and the king had to abdicate (1808). Napoleon seized the opportunity and elevated his brother Joseph to the Spanish throne. Popular discontent resulted in an uprising and escalated into the war of 1808-1814, which the Spaniards call the war of independence. During this time, Spain lost the richest American colonies and with them its role on the world stage. The entire 19th century is marked by the struggle against the reactionary monarchy — the so-called civil wars of the Carlists (there were three in all).

In 1810, the first meeting of the Cortes (Parliament) took place in Cadiz. In 1812 the Cortes issued a liberal bourgeois constitution. In 1813, Ferdinand VII, who returned to the Spanish throne after the defeat of Napoleon’s army, abolished this constitution and until his death in 1833 suppressed the slightest hint of liberalism. The right to the throne began to be challenged by Don Carlos, supported by the church, conservatives and Basques, and his young daughter, Infanta Isabella II (on whose behalf her regent acted), supported by liberals and the army, which was the beginning of the First Carlist War, which lasted six years. In 1843, Isabella was declared of age and became queen. Her reign was accompanied by continuous scandals and political crises. As a result of a successful plot, Isabella renounced the crown, but attempts to create a republican government were unsuccessful. The Cortes were again dissolved, and the throne returned to Isabella’s son Alfonso XII.

The First Republic of 1873 lasted less than a year. The new constitution of 1876 limited royal power, but the country developed very slowly. The situation was complicated by the loss of Cuba (1898), Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the war with the United States of America.

In the First World War, Spain remained neutral, but internal problems could not be resolved. Inflation and depression reigned in the country. There was growing dissatisfaction with the government. In 1923, a military coup brought General Primo de Rivera to power. King Alfonso XIII supported the dictator. Until the death of General de Rivera at 19In 30, it seemed that stability in society had been achieved, but in 1931 new forces appeared on the political scene, and as a result of the elections, the anti-monarchist parties won. The king was forced to abdicate and sent into exile. The Second Republic was proclaimed.

Catalonia declared itself independent in 1932. Powerful separatist movements gained strength, demands for autonomy grew in the Basque Country and Galicia. The government of the country did not justify the hopes placed on it. Anarchist sentiments grew among the disillusioned middle class, workers and peasants. The Communist Party entered the union with the spruce wing of the socialists. In the right political current, the youth party, created in 1923, the son of the dictator José Antonio Primo de Rivera — Falange — united with the conservatives.

In February 1936, the left wing of the Popular Front won the general election by a small margin, but the new government failed to achieve real success, the situation remained uncontrollable and tense.

July 17, 1936, a military garrison in Morocco rises under the leadership of General Franco, followed by mutinies in several garrisons throughout the country. The nationalists of General Franco are supported by the monarchists, the church, as well as the right wing of the Falangists (Spanish fascists). Liberals, communists, socialists and anarchists take the side of the government. The civil war lasts three years: from 1936 to 1939. The south and west quickly fall into the hands of the rebels, but Madrid and the industrial north and east of the country remain loyal to the republican government.

This civil war is one of the most bitter and bloody pages of Spanish history and the first modern war. Franco-Nazi Germany, which came to the rescue, demonstrated its power. The bombings destroyed the civilian population of Guernica and Durango. Despite the secret help of the Soviet Union and thousands of volunteers who fought in the International Brigades, the Republicans could not resist the professional army, which relied on the help of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Catalonia fell on January 1939 AD Madrid did not formally surrender, but its resistance was gradually reduced to nothing.

General Franco declared himself head of state. The establishment of order resulted in mass executions and concentration camps. Only one party remained permitted — the fascist one, and censorship increased. In World War II, Spain again maintained its neutrality, and the gradual reconstruction of the country began. Franco himself appointed his successor — the grandson of Alfonso XIII, and in 1975, after his death, Juan Carlos I became king of Spain.

The political life of the country has changed. Having survived popular unrest in Madrid in the summer of 1976, military conspiracies in 1981 and 1982, Spain embarked on the path of democratic development and in 1986 joined the European Community. The country is also a member of NATO and the UN.

In Spain — a parliamentary monarchy, a bicameral parliament, a multi-party system.

In 1992, Barcelona hosted the Summer Olympic Games, Madrid was declared the European City of Culture, and Seville hosted the international exhibition EXPO-92. The country also widely celebrated the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America by Columbus.

About Spain

Author: ABC of Spain

Spain in numbers: General information
Area: 505.944 sq. km
Population of Spain: about 48 million people (recorded 47.100.396 people in 2019)
Official language of Spain: Castilian Spanish (Spanish el español castellano , “castellano”), Basque, Galician are also spoken in the respective regions, and Catalan (cat. català ) has the status of an official regional language.

Capital of Spain: Madrid
Government of Spain: Constitutional Monarchy
Head of State in Spain: According to the Spanish Constitution of 1978, the head of state in Spain is the King of Spain. The current head of state in Spain is King Felipe VI.
Prime Minister: Pedro Sanchez

About Spain

Spain is one of the most colorful and interesting countries in Europe, which has a rich history and attracts tens of millions of tourists every year. Legend has it that its name comes from the Phoenician word «shpan» , or «span» , which means «rabbit» in translation. The fact is that when the Phoenicians first came to the Spanish coast, they were struck by the number of these animals, which literally teemed with all the bushes.

There are less funny versions of the origin of the word «Spain». In particular, the following is popular: the Greeks called these lands western , which was written in their language as «Hesperia» . And from here it is not far to «Hispania» .

Of course, each such version deserves attention. But most visitors to the country do not ask such questions. It is important for them that this Pyrenean state has a warm climate, many attractions and a very hospitable and friendly population. So, every trip here can turn into a real holiday.

The official name of the country is the Kingdom of Spain. This state, which occupies almost the entire Iberian Peninsula, is today member of the European Union . In terms of size, it ranks fourth in Europe . The capital is the city of Madrid.

Country is washed by the Mediterranean Sea in the east and by the Atlantic Ocean in the west. By land, it borders with Gibraltar, Portugal, Andorra, France and Morocco. The climate of Spanish Kingdom is considered to be one of the warmest in Western Europe . The population of the state is about 48 million people. According to currently available data, about 10.7% of the country’s residents are immigrants. The official language of the kingdom is Spanish.

As for the state structure, the constitutional monarchy is recognized as the form of government. King Philip IV is the head of state. Unlike the monarchs of a number of other European countries, the Spanish king takes a very active part in the life of the kingdom.

The territory of the country is divided into 17 autonomies , each of which has its own government and parliament .

Statistics show that 69.2% of the inhabitants of the kingdom are Catholics. A few years ago same-sex marriages were legal here.

The most major cities in Spain are its capital Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, ​​Seville, Malaga.

Since the country is a member of the EU, the role of its official currency since 2002 has been played by euros , which replaced the Spanish peseta.

The number of sunny days in the year in the kingdom is usually at least 280. Many regions of the country can be called very dry. It is not surprising that the only desert in Europe is located here: this is Tabernas Desert , which is located on the territory of Andalusia.

The coastline of Spain stretches for almost 5 thousand kilometers , and the number of beaches in the country is about two hundred. There is no doubt: all those tens of millions of tourists who come to the kingdom every year will definitely find a place under the hot Spanish sun.

All the fun in Spain

Of course, dry statistics cannot give any idea of ​​what Spain really is. Bright and festive, amazing and unpredictable, original and capricious, this country is unlike any other.

It is no coincidence that many of those who have been here once come here again and again. Firstly, in one trip you cannot see even a tenth of what any Spanish city can boast of. And secondly, most of the guests of the kingdom simply fall in love with its nature, cuisine, sights and people. Having been here once, you definitely want to return and spend a few more days on blessed Spanish soil.

For every tourist, the country opens up from an unexpected side. And each of its guests will definitely find something to their liking. If you want to go to the beach, you are welcome: there are dozens and hundreds of beaches on the Mediterranean coast, and a significant part of them are crowned with a blue flag of European quality. If you want to shop, there are numerous shopping centers, entire shopping streets, boutiques and souvenir shops at your service, which abound in any Spanish resort. If you want to enjoy cultural leisure — a direct road to museums, theaters, and just to the city streets, many of which are real architectural monuments of past eras. And the patio, that is, the courtyards of Cordoba, has even been recognized as a UNESCO cultural heritage site!

Spaniards themselves deserve a separate discussion. There are few places where people know how to enjoy life so much and turn ordinary weekdays into a holiday. Maybe that’s why the Spaniards are far from the glory of the most hardworking peoples of the world — but they do not aspire to it.

Perhaps, if the people of Spain knew our popular proverb, they would certainly change it in their own way: “Never do today what you can leave for tomorrow.” True, Spanish «mañana» (tomorrow) often turns into several days and even several weeks. But this does not bother anyone, because in the hot local climate, no one wants to rush anywhere.

Such slowness at first surprises the guests of the country. But having lived here longer, one can find undoubted charm in such a way of life. Indeed, the Spaniards, as a rule, have little to worry about, despite their undoubted southern temperament. They are happy with every day they live and are grateful to life for any gift, even if it is such a trifle as a good dinner or a pleasant conversation with friends.

Perhaps it is the Spanish serenity that is one of the reasons why the kingdom has been one of the first places for many years in terms of such an indicator as the life expectancy of the population . On average, women live here up to 85 years , and men — up to 82.4 years . This is incomparable with Russian figures — 75 years for women and 63 years for men. Is it any wonder that small quiet Spanish resort towns have long been chosen by European old men and women who buy housing here and stay to live out their days under the warm sun of the kingdom.

The Spaniards at one time conquered vast territories — but at the same time this country did not take an official part in any of the major modern wars. But its civil war claimed the lives of more than half a million people.

Some Spanish laws may seem surprising. For example, it is allowed to grow cannabis here if it is done for personal use . In the country, 90,100 same-sex marriages are legal.

The Kingdom is the only country in Europe where «there are many wild monkeys in the forests» : only here macaques live in natural conditions. In no other European state, primates managed to survive.

Speaking of Spain, of course, one cannot fail to mention bullfighting and bull racing . It is believed that the age of bullfighting is about a thousand years. True, bullfights are not held today in all Spanish cities. Nevertheless, this action invariably attracts the attention of both the inhabitants of the country and its guests, as it is unique in its entertainment and intensity of passions. It is also worth mentioning the bull races, which are traditionally held on in July on Saint Fermin’s Day . It is believed that at least a million people visit them every year.

Of course, the art of flamenco deserves special mention, the basis of which, according to scientists, was laid by the gypsies. By the way, about half a million representatives of this nomadic tribe still live in the country today. Many of those who come to the kingdom consider it their duty to visit one of the flamenco performances, where the long-term experience of the performers results in sparkling improvisations, a dance that is born right before the eyes of the audience and cannot leave anyone indifferent.

What about Spanish cuisine? The name of each dish sounds like a song here, and the taste of even the simplest products prepared according to local recipes can be truly unforgettable! It is not surprising that this particular country is the undoubted leader in Europe in terms of the number of catering establishments. If you believe the statistics, there are more than 270 thousand here, and each of them delights visitors with its own specialties, most of which will be national.

It is believed that the Spaniards are great gourmets and always want to eat well. They know how and love to cook, so many Spanish restaurants and chefs have been awarded the prestigious Michelin gastronomic quality stars. Spanish dishes such as paella, jamon, gazpacho, tapas are popular all over the world.

Spain is known not only as the country of flamenco and bullfighting, but also as the country of oranges . Bright orange fruits are grown in many regions of the country, but most orange groves in Valencia . The country is one of the European leaders in the cultivation and export of oranges. The fruits of the orange tree are for the Spaniards a symbol of happiness and love. No wonder since ancient times there has been a custom here to decorate the bride’s hairstyle with orange flowers.

Between Spain and Russia there have long been stable ties. The Spaniards have not forgotten the help that our country provided to the kingdom and its inhabitants during the years of the civil war.

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