Learn The History Of Spain Before Visiting
You will want to have knowledge of the history of Spain and Spanish culture if you plan on spending any significant amount of time in the country and, especially, if you will be living there. You will better understand the country’s current political and economic state, as well as the culture of its citizens. Further, understanding its history can help you enjoy traveling to Spain much more.
The Iberian Peninsula has been home to several different groups throughout different times in Spain’s history, including the Romans and Moors. As you travel, you can see the influence of these groups, particularly in the buildings and architecture styles. You can see this influence in the area’s remaining castles, old fortifications and churches, some of which show a combination of several styles.
At one time, Spain was the most dominant country in Europe and, thanks to political changes and an increase in tourism it is again one of the strongest countries as far as politics and economy. Unfortunately, though, it did have a period of decline and dictatorship before it returned to a strong nation.
As were most areas during ancient history, most of the area now known as Spain was ruled by the Roman Empire. The Moors occupied most of the area after the Roman empire declined, and many castles and walls built by the Moors can still be seen in various Spanish cities. Until the year 1000, there was a Muslim influence. From this time until the fourteenth century, there was continuous fighting between the Christian and Muslim groups involving wars, revolts and raids.
During the fifteenth century under the rule of Ferdinand and Isabella, the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile united and Spain unified politically, religiously and economically. It was during this time that Catholicism was named the state religion. Any Muslims that did not convert to Catholicism were expelled from the country. It was during this time that Columbus began his infamous exploration and discovered the New World. The gold and silver found turned Spain into one of the most powerful countries. The Hapsburgs ruled during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the Bourbons ruled during the eighteenth century.
In the 1930s, Spain experienced a civil war between the right wing and left wing groups each fighting for power. Ultimately, the Nationalists took power under Francisco Franco who ruled until he died in 1975. During this time of war and dictatorship, Spain had declined economically and in status. It regained economic strength during the 1960s and 1970s due to a variety of industries, including tourism. Prince Juan Carlos took the throne after Franco died and still rules today. Franco led Spain from dictatorship to a democracy and returned it to one of the strongest nations in Europe in terms of both economy and politics.
Spain is divided into seventeen different regions, all unique culturally and geographically, which can be seen in culture, lifestyle and language. You will begin to see these differences as you travel throughout the country.