History Of Spain Essay

2306 words - 9 pages

SPAIN is a land of sun and passion, art and nature, culture and tradition.With an approximate population of 40 million, Spain has a constitutional monarchy. The current president of Spain is Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of the P.S.O.E. (Spanish Socialist Workers Party). He took over from José Maria Aznar of the Popular Party in the election of March 2004, just after the Madrid bombings. Jose Luis is 43 years old. His grandfather was Captain Juan Rodriguez Lozano of the Republican army who was executed by a firing squad of Franco's troops at the beginning of the civil war. Jose Luis studied law and graduated from the University of Leon in 1982 after which he became a teacher of political law. At 18 he was elected secretary general of the Young Socialists of Leon. At 22 he became the leader of that group in the capital. At 26 he became the youngest deputy in Spain and at 28 he became secretary general for Leon.Spain covers 504,750 square kilometers of the Iberian Peninsula, flanked by Portugal. Its fertile soil, wealth of underground minerals, abundance of fish in the seas have all contributed over the centuries to making this land a sought after place for many civilizations.OriginsMan started living here in 800,000 BC. The first inhabitants were groups of hunters, followed many years later by tribes of sheep farmers and, around 5000 BC, by agricultural farmers. Later colonizers arrived bringing their own cultures with them. The first to land on Spanish shores were the Phoenicians, around 1100 BC, finding prosperous settlements particularly along the south-east coastline. The Greeks were next settling along the north-east coast, and in 228 BC the Carthaginians began a surge of conquests in Andalucia.RomansThe Roman conquest of the peninsula began in 218 BC, overcoming the Carthaginians by 206 BC. Conquering the rest of the country, fiercely defended by local people, proved a more arduous task which was only completed in 19 BC.In 74 AD Roman citizenship was granted to all cities in the country, and for centuries afterwards Spain was the granary of the Roman Empire thanks to the vast areas where cereals were grown. It also became one of the Empire's principal sources of minerals.When Roman supremacy began to decline Spain, on the periphery of the Empire, was one of the first provinces to pay the consequences. Halfway through the 3rd century there had already been numerous incursions by the Franks coming down from the north, but the finishing blow came from the Vandals, Swabians and Alanians who crossed over the Pyrenees in 409 and ransacked the peninsula.VisigothsThe Visigoths, another Germanic tribe, took over from the Romans after conquering the peninsula in 415. Once they had established their court at Barcelona they left the political, juridical and administrative structures in place, supported by a solid military regime. Unable to impose Aryanism on a country where Christianity had been spreading since the 3rd century, the Visigoth king...

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