Category: Spanish History

These are just some of the frequently asked questions about the rich and complex history of Spain.

What is the Reconquista?

The Reconquista is the period of approximately 800 years (711-1492) during which the Christian kingdoms in the north of the Iberian Peninsula fought to reclaim territory taken by the Muslims.

Who were the Catholic Monarchs?

The Catholic Monarchs refer to Queen Isabel I of Castile and King Fernando II of Aragón. Their marriage in 1469 united these two major kingdoms, laying the foundations for modern Spain.

What is the Spanish Inquisition?

Established in 1478 by the Catholic Monarchs, the Inquisition was an institution to pursue, judge, and eliminate heresies in the kingdom. It was particularly known for its persecution of Jews and Muslims who converted to Christianity.

What impact did the expulsion of the Jews in 1492 have?

The Catholic Monarchs issued a decree in 1492 expelling all Jews who did not convert to Christianity. This resulted in the dispersion of a thriving Jewish community and the loss of its cultural and economic influence.

What was the Invincible Armada?

The Invincible Armada was a naval fleet sent by King Philip II in 1588 to invade England, which at the time was ruled by Queen Elizabeth I. However, it was defeated by the English navy and by severe storms.

What impact did the Spanish Civil War have on the country?

Fought between 1936 and 1939, the Civil War pitted Republicans against Nationalists, resulting in the victory of the Nationalists under General Francisco Franco. The war caused deep divisions in Spanish society, and Franco ruled as a dictator until his death in 1975.

When and why did Spanish colonial expansion begin?

Colonial expansion began in the late 15th century, especially after the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Spain sought riches, to spread Christianity, and to gain strategic advantages.

Which territories were part of the Spanish Empire?

The Spanish Empire included parts of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceania, and Asia. It encompassed territories like Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, parts of Italy, the Netherlands, and many others.

What was the War of Spanish Succession?

Fought between 1701 and 1714, this war was sparked by the death without an heir of the last Habsburg king of Spain. It ended with the Treaty of Utrecht, which reconfigured the balance of power in Europe.

How was the Spanish transition to democracy?

After the death of Franco in 1975, Spain began a transition to democracy, culminating with the Constitution of 1978 and the election of a democratic government.

What is the “Generation of ’98”?

It is a group of Spanish writers, essayists, and poets who were deeply affected by Spain’s defeat in the Spanish-American War and the loss of its last colonies. They expressed profound criticism and renewal in Spanish literature.

How did the financial crisis of 2008 affect Spain?

Spain was one of the most affected European countries, with a collapse of the real estate market, high unemployment, and numerous cuts in public services. It took years for the economy to start recovering.