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Spanish History Guide : History Overview, Part One

Historical Overview of Spain: Part One

Around 1100 BC, Phoenicians from present-day Lebanon set up trading colonies along the Spanish coast. Greeks also traded along the north-eastern coast. With the fall of Phoenicia, the Iberian peninsula came under the rule of Carthage, but was then occupied by Rome following the Punic Wars. The Romans ruled in Iberia for six centuries, laying such important foundations as the Latin language, Roman law, the municipality and the Christian religion.

After the Roman Empire fell, the Suevi, Vandals and Alans came to Spain but were defeated by the Visigoths who, by the end of the 6th century, had occupied most of the Peninsula.

The Arabs entered from the south at the beginning of the 8th Century. They conquered the country quickly except for a small area in the North which would become the initial springboard for the Reconquest, not to come until eight centuries later. The period of Muslim sway is divided into three periods: the Emirate (711 to 756), the Caliphate (756-1031) and the Reinos de Taifas (small independent kingdoms) (1031 to 1492).

In 1469, two Catholic Monarchs were married: Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, who prepared the way for the two kingdoms to be united. This union marked the opening of a period of growing success for Spain.

1492 heralded the discovery of America by the Crown of Castile under the command of Christopher Columbus. Then the Canary Islands became part of Spanish territory (1495), the Kingdom of Naples was taken from France and Navarre was incorporated into the Kingdom.

During the 16th and the 17th, witnessed the Spanish Empire become the world's foremost power, and a huge presence in European politics.

In 1808 Joseph Bonaparte was installed on the Spanish throne, following the Napoleonic invasion. A fierce resistance followed and Spanish rule was restored with Fernando VII occupying the throne.

Historical Overview of Spain Part Two



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