The History of Spain40,000 years of blendingThe cave paintings of Altamira(40,000 years ago)Flutter Butter by Salvador Dalí (75years ago)
Celts and the Iberians were not alone in the peninsula. In the farsouthwest of the Iberian area was Tartessos, and in the farnortheast of the Celtic area were the Basques.
Dama de Galera(7th cent. BCE)Dama de Elche(4th cent. BCE)Dama de Ibiza(3rd cent. BCE)
Ruins of a Celtic village in in Galicia. Very little physicalmaterial remains from the Celtic era outside the region ofGalicia.
Verraco (in Ciudad Rodrigo); about 400 such large, graniteanimals have been found, dating to between the 4thand 1stcenturies BCE. Some are clrearly toros, some may be cerdos.
Tower of Hercules on the Galician coast, then and now(1stcent. CE)
The amphitheater of Italica was the third largest in the Roman Empire.Because Italica was abandoned for the current site of Sevilla, thecity was not altered or built over in later times, making it one ofthe best examples of a Roman-era city in existence today.
The Roman Bridge ofCordoba (built 1st cent.BCE). Above it leads tothe Great Mosque ofCordoba (first built in the700s); below it looks tothe Calahorra Tower (builtby the Almohads in the1100s).
Visigoth-era ArchitectureSanta Maria de Melque in Toledo, built late600s.Santa Maria del Naranco in Oviedo,consecrated in 848.
The extent of Islamic Al-Andalus at its greatest. The border betweenAl-Andalus and the Christian kingdoms was constantly changingthrough the 781 years between 711 and 1492.
Muhammad died in 632; by 732 the Islamic world reached from westernChina and India to the Atlantic Ocean. Part of its success was due tothe Muslim conquerors’ willingness to allow Christians and Jews tocontinue to worship as they wished, and even practice a large degree ofself-governance.
This statue of Abd ar-Rahman Iis in Almuñécar, on theMediterranean coast, 60 milessouth of Granada.
The progression of Islamic arches …Top left, the mosque of Cordoba, begunby Abd ar-Rahman I in the 700s, butwith additions into the 900s. Bottom left,Madinat al-Zahara in the late 900s. Andbottom right, arch details from theAlhambra, 1300s and 1400s.
In Muslim culture, the baths (which had a sauna, a warm room and acool room) were places of socializing and, in the case of the palace, thebusiness of governing.
From the verylarge to the verysmall, the beautyof the 10thcenturyCordoba califatewas renowned.Carved ivory chestmade for thedaughter of Abd ar-Rahman III.The mihrab of theGreat Mosque,decorated with tilesgiven by theByzantine emperor.
After the Christian capture of Toledo in 1085, it became the gatewayfor the flow of Islamic knowledge into Europe, and was madepossible by a great translation movement of Arabic texts into Latin.Today the city proudly claims the title of “City of the Three Cultures”.
Alfonso X is credited with the establishment of Castilian (betterknown as castellano, the royal branch of the Spanish language) asa literary and scholarly language in the 1200s.
The Alhambra was originally a small Jewish fortress up on the hillabove Granada’s Jewish quarter (the original “Granada”). At first,the new Nasrid rulers lived on the small hill opposite the fortress(now in ruins). But soon they initiated a complete rebuilding.
The defeat of Islamic areas by Christian rulers did not always endthe convivencia. The Alcazar of Sevilla was completely renovatedin the days of Pedro the Cruel – and he hired architects fromGranada to make it the Alhambra’s Christian cousin.
The marriage of Isabel of Castile and Fernando of Aragon unitedthe two kingdoms, giving them the might to launch the war thatended Islamic rule on the peninsula. They were rewarded by thepope with the title, “the Catholic Monarchs.”
Isabel sought and was givenauthority to establish the SpanishInquisition in Spain, and its firstvictims were six “crypto-jews” whowere burned alive on February 6,1481.
Columbus received the financial endorsement of Isabel (andFernando) while in Granada. With his three journeys, an enormousamount of wealth began flowing into Spain.Columbus’s tomb in the Sevilla CathedralIsabel y Colón (Granada)
Spain’s new empire reached itsgreatest extent in the days of CarlosI, grandson of Isabel and Fernando.But in the 1600s, conflict took itstoll.
The late 1500s through the 1600s isSpain’s Siglo de Oro (The Golden Age).Clockwise from above: El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz; Juande la Cruz; Teresa of Avila; Miguel Cervantes
Carlos I was from the Hapsburg wing of the royal family (fromAustria). The Hapsburg line continued until Philip V, a distantrelative from France, took the throne in 1700. That began theBourbon line (including today’s king Juan Carlos).Francisco Goya’sportrait of the royalfamily in 1800 iswidely viewed as hiscritique of the familyas less than regal.
Following the horror of the Spanish Civil War(1936-1939), Francisco Franco was theauthoritarian ruler of Spain until his death in 1975.Francisco FrancoPicasso’s Guernica
Shortly before his death,Franco restored themonarchy by naming JuanCarlos as the king. Heexpected Juan Carloswould continue hisdirection. He didn’t.
Barcelona from Gaudí’s Park Güell Sevilla’s Barrio de Santa CruzMálaga at night A bodega in Jerez de la Frontera