215 Historical Facts About Spain For Your History Class | Kidadl


215 Historical Facts About Spain For Your History Class

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Separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenes in the north, and from Africa by the Strait of Gibraltar to the south, Spain shares the Iberian peninsula with Portugal.

Spain is the fourth largest country in Europe. Once reliant on farming and fishing for its income, Spain has experienced rapid economic growth since it became a member of the European Union in 1986.

Today, it is a major industrial nation with a large agricultural sector and a booming tourist trade. Read along to find out about the kingdom of Spain and its relation with the Islamic culture, Muslim rulers, the Roman empire during the middle ages, Spain during the World War, the Basque Country, and more! Afterward, also check out facts on Spain Christmas symbols and Spain crafts.

Fun Facts About Spain’s History

Jeweled with castles, aqueducts, ancient ruins, and cities, Spain has an artistic heritage that stands out from the rest.

The country since ancient times has been a center of the confluence of traditional folkways of various cultures. This diversity itself is the reason for the beautiful blend of customs, cultures, cuisines, and profiles making the country a spectacular artistic heritage.

We all know there have been historic cities in Spanish culture. The Spanish language, which is the official language of all the Spanish cities, has been forever dominated by Spanish people, to be precise, Spanish women and men, Spanish artists, and many a Spanish author.

For most of history, Spain has been ruled by foreign powers. Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors all left their mark on the country. In 1492, Spain was finally united. It became powerful and acquired a vast empire in the Americas. However, the effort of holding this huge empire together weakened Spain and by 1700, the country was exhausted. The ailing monarchy was finally overthrown in 1931 and after a vicious civil war, a Fascist government under General Franco took power. The monarchy was restored in 1975.

In 133 BC, Romans conquered Spain. They united the country and brought peace, prosperity, and later Christianity. Roman rule lasted for more than 500 years until Germanic invaders overran the country in the 5th century.

In 711, the Moors - Muslims from North Africa - invaded Spain, driving Christian rulers into the mountains of the north. For 700 years, the Moors ruled much of Spain. They introduced Islam but allowed Jews and Christians to worship freely. They were known for their scholarship and fine buildings.

In 1479, the two main Christian kingdoms of Spain were united when Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castille. By 1492, the Moors were expelled from Spain and the Christian 'reconquest' was complete. Spain was a single country for the first time since the Romans. This resulted in the unification of Aragon and Castille.

During the 16th as well as early 17th centuries, Spain was one of the world’s most powerful countries in Europe, controlling much of Italy and the Netherlands, as well as a vast American empire. Gold and silver from mines of the Americas flooded into the country, creating huge wealth. Artists such as EI Greco, Murillo, and Velasquez made Spain one of the artistic centers of Europe.

Phillip II (1527-1598) ruled Spain, southern Italy, and the Netherlands in the 1500s. Son of Charles V, a Holy Roman Emperor, he continued his father’s war against France and drew England into the conflict. A revolt by the Dutch weakened his rule and led him to send an ill-fated armada to invade England in 1588. His chief success was the conquest of Portugal in 1580.

In 1936, the Civil war began between the Nationalists, whose leaders included army officers and who supported Fascist political policies, and the Republicans who wanted to curb army power and to return a socialist government. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany backed the Nationalists and after three years of fighting and one million deaths, Nationalist leader Francisco Franco seized power.

The Basques of northern Spain are distinct people with their own language and culture and they sided with the Republicans. In response, German bombers supporting Franco attacked the towns of Guernica, killing many.

Franco died in 1975 and power passed to Juan Carlos in 1938, grandson of the last Spanish king. Under his rule, Spain became a multi-party democracy, reaching world prominence with events.

Facts About Spain’s Historical Monuments

Monuments are epitomes of historic kingdoms that glorify the rulers and their deeds, their love, spirituality, culture, scriptures, and a lot more. Spain has a great history of subjugation and imperialism alike.

Spain is a country with an incredibly turbulent history and beauty with its bustling and stunning cities of Barcelona, Madrid, and areas such as Asturias and Costa Del Sol showcasing a marvel of legendary monarchies, religious movements, glorious and potent kingdoms, and a lot more in its museums and architectural antiques.

The palace of Alhambra Granada displays the architectural charm of the Moor dynasty, which once ruled over Spain. This fortress encapsulates its enchanting blend of Islamic and western architecture embedded in the foothills of Sierra Nevada.

Second on the list to mention would be Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. This is a community cathedral built in tribute to the Catholic Church. The beauty of its towering spires and stained glass is enthralling. The Church is known not just for its religious significance, but also for symbolizing trees and other allegories for nature. The fascinating fact is that the cathedral came into being in 1882 waiting to be completed but will be the tallest church in the world on completion. The stupendousness of the Cathedral is beyond our imaginations.

The Plaza Mayor in Madrid dates back to 1619 and earned huge fame at that time. From public executions to matches and inquisitions, the monument has witnessed all edges of human lives since its inception to date. One of the most photogenic spots in the country, Plaza Mayor enlivens the radiant city of Madrid.

The Plaza de Espana in Seville was originally constructed in the '20s for the Ibera-American Expo. A sprawling majestic landmark with details magnifying the baroque revival, Moorish revival and renaissance revival, the creation boasts of Spain’s long, complex history. The park with four bridges hailing from ancient Spain is indeed an iconic landmark and of the most allegorical plazas in Europe.

The Mosque of Cordoba situated in the heart of Cordoba is one of the oldest fascinating structures from the period of Moorish reign across Andalusia. The world’s third-largest mosque and an important point of pilgrimage for the whole of the western hemisphere, the Mosque of Cordoba is a magnificent building. Constructed during the reign of Abd Ar Rahman I in 785 CE, the mosque is grandiose with a grand prayer hall. 85 columns gouged from a Roman temple that once stood there, supporting this hall, are a marvel to behold.

The Cathedral of Barcelona, located in Barcelona, is a Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, making it one of the most important wholesome site pilgrimages and a monument in itself. Dating back to the 13th CE, the Cathedral of Barcelona is a gem that depicts the ancient Gothic quarter. The Cathedral gives a magnificent view of the sprawling town and is also known for its gothic spires and astounding architectural marvel.

Facts About Spain’s Timeline

Spain has witnessed several events throughout its history that leaves us in awe of this triumphant nation.

Though it has been under the rulership of rulers varying from distinct backgrounds, Spain soon transformed into a global imperial force that shaped Africa, Europe, and the Americas before its disintegration.

The Iberian peninsula of Spain was first occupied around 1.3 million years ago. This marked the beginning of the continuous occupation of the country. The arrival of the North African rulers of Carthage after the Punic Wars was a turning point in its history. Since then, this land of absolute beauty has undergone kingship of Visigoths, Christians, Muslims, English, and French among many others. Though Spain in itself was an imperial force at varying points in its history, it has faced invasions and annexations by neighboring rules in its long, winding history. The following sequences of events unveil the ups and downs the country has been through.

Carthage Conquered Spain In 241 BCE: After getting defeated in the First Punic War, the Carthaginians turned their attention to Spain. Hamilcar Barca, the ruler of Carthage, conquered Spain and made it their settlement. Cartagena was established in Spain and that was their palatial capital city. Following his death, Barca’s son-in-law Hasdrubal succeeded him. The dynasty fell into the hands of Barca’s son Hannibal after only seven years in 221, following the death of Hasdrubal. He went forth with the war but was defeated by Romans and their allies Marseille. They had colonies in Iberia.

Second Punic War In Spain 218-20 BCE: The Second Punic War was the tussle between Carthaginians and Romans. Both these groups were aided by Spanish natives and Spain had to witness another war. After 211, the Roman General Scipio Africanus won over the Carthaginians by 206 and marked the beginning of the Roman occupation in Spain.

Spain Was Fully Subdued By The Romans In 19 BCE: The Romans have had brutal warfares with several ethnic groups and kingdoms to gain control over Spain. The long siege of Numantia dotted the destruction of Carthage. Following this was the warfare with Cantabrians in 19 BCE after which Rome acquired control over the whole of the Iberian peninsula.

Germanic Peoples Conquered Spain In 409-470 CE: Because of Civil War, the Romans faced chaos in Spain. This was a golden opportunity for German groups like Visigoths, Stevens, Vandals, and Alans to invade Spain. On behalf of their Emperor, the Visigoths were the first to annex Spain in 416 CE. By the 470s, they had subdued Sueves and ruled over the region. With the Visigoths being pushed out of Gaul in 507 CE, Spain became the unified Visigothic Kingdom. However, it was a short-lived kingdom that failed to have a dynastic continuity.

Muslim Conquest Of Spain Began In 711 CE: The Muslim force led by Berbers and Arabs from North Africa invaded Spain in 711 CE. The collapse of the Visigothic Kingdom owing to fallen dynastic continuity was the chief reason for the Muslim invasion of Spain. Soon, they got hold of southern and central Spain. Northern Spain was still under Christian hands then. By this time, Spain had mingled with kingdoms from varied cultural backgrounds. The immigrants kept evolving the cultural structure of Spain.

Spain Under Ummayads Between 961 To 97 CE: The Muslim dynasty of Ummayads rushed to Spain after losing their power in Syria and ruled the country as Amirs and Caliphs until 1031 CE. The most powerful and strongest of Ummayad rulers was Caliph Al Hakem, who ruled over the mighty land of Spain from 961 to 976 CE. He brought several political and cultural transitions during this span. Present-day Cordoma was their capital.

The Reconquista From 900 CE To 1250 CE: Christian forces had occupied the northern Iberian peninsula out of religious and population pressures. They fought with the Muslims in the northern and central Muslim states and defeated them by the 13th century. Granada was, however, still in Muslim hands. By 1492, the Reconquista came to an end with absolute control over all places including Grenada.

Domination Of Aragon And Castile Over Spain From 1250 CE To 1479 CE: Muslims who had occupied Portugal, Aragon, and Castile were thrown out during the last phase of Reconquista. Following this was the domination of Aragon and Castile over Spain. Some mild tensions continued in Navarre and Granada. When Castile was the largest kingdom in Spain, Aragon was a federation of several regions. Their frequent conflicts with Muslim invaders threatened the peaceful atmosphere.

The Hundred Years War In Spain From 1366 CE To 1389 CE: It’s evident that Spain has never been under peaceful times for long. She kept facing challenges and The Hundred Years War was one. In the second half of the 14th century, a war was fought between England and France and Spain was the battleground. The tussle started when Henry of Trastamora asserted to have the throne of Peter I. When England stood by the side of Peter, France took the side of Henry. Following the marriage of the Duke of Lancaster and Peter’s daughter, an invasion was pursued in 1386 but that was in vain. After 1389, the conflicts took a near full stop when the foreign interventions halted. Ultimately, the heir of Henry, Henry III, ascended the throne.

Ferdinand And Isabella United Spain Along 1479 CE To 151 CE: Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, who were Catholics, married in 1479 and ascended the throne. They brought Navarre, Granada, Aragon, Castile, and other regions under one single head.

Spain On Her Journey To Build An Overseas Imperial Empire In 1492: Christopher Columbus was a Spanish-funded Italian explorer who set out to explore the Americas after which Spaniards started migrating to the ‘newly founded land’ of the Americas. They built a Spanish empire in central and Latin America. They clashed with the indigenous peoples in islands and inland to displace them. They took tons of treasures to Spain. With the adjoining of Portugal to Spain in 1580, the Portuguese were also colonized by the Spaniards.

The Golden Age Of The 16th And 17th Centuries: The 16th and 17th centuries brought with it several artistic endeavors and ushered peace in Spain. The Spanish armies were indomitable in their power to conquer any part of the world with utmost ease. Resources and wealth kept flowing from the Americas to Spain. But Castile was troubled with inflation.

The Spanish Civil War From 1936 To 1939: Following the elections of 1936 after becoming Republics, there were several political and geographical divisions that culminated in a civil war. Tensions took the form of violence and resulted in a military coup. A right-wing leader was assassinated on July 17th, which further triggered the army. The military coup was an utter failure as a result of resistance from the republicans and leftists. All these incidents ended up in a civil war that lasted for three years. The Nationalists under General Francisco Franco were supported by Germany and Italy while the Republicans were supported by the leftists. Finally, the Nationalists won in 1939. This was followed by Franco’s dictatorship from 1939-1975. Spain made a return to democracy in 1975 which lasted until 1978.

Spain is one of the most important nations in Europe.

Facts About Spain’s Rulers

Here are a few popular Spanish monarchs who weaved Spanish history and took it to its present form.

Payelo, a Christian ruler from the kingdom of Asturias, was the most significant of all leaders to lead the Reconquista in the early 8th century. Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon married to unify these two territories and drafted the present form of Spain. They also signed the charter to finance the voyage of Christopher Columbus who set out to discover the New World.

Unarguably, this incident changed the course of Spanish and American history. Charles V, also known as Carlos, ascended as the King of Spain in 1516. He not only acquired the title of King of Spain, but also the King of Italy, the Archduke of Austria, the Holy Roman Emperor, and the Lord of Netherlands. The then-Pope recognized him as the most powerful emperor in Europe. King Philip II made Madrid the capital of Spain in 1561 because he liked the climate and location in the center of the country.

Home to around five million people, it has many fine buildings including the Prado, one of Europe’s leading art galleries. The city is a center of finance, government, and industry. He brought cultural, artistic, and musical excellence to his empire. Alfonso XIII, also known as El Africano, was the King of Spain from his birth in 1886 to the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for historical facts about Spain then why not take a look at soccer in Spain facts or Spain food facts?

Hemant Oswal
Written By
Hemant Oswal

<p>With global experience in marketing and business development, Hemant is a seasoned professional with a unique perspective. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of Delhi and a Master's degree in Marketing from The University of Adelaide in Australia. Hemant's work in China, Hong Kong, and Dubai has honed his skills and provided valuable experience. He broadens his understanding of the world through reading non-fiction books and watching documentaries.</p>

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