My name is Patricia Shaw and I would like to re-start the History Group, dealing with the History of Spain. I first came to Spain to work as a tour guide and I therefore had to read and learn about Spain’s history in order to able to able to give an interesting commentary to clients and also to be able to answer any questions that clients might have about Spain’s history, however I am always trying to add to my knowledge all the time and the study of history combines the excitement of exploration and discovery with the sense of reward of successfully confronting and making sense of complex and challenging problems.
Spain´s history differs greatly from the rest of the European countries and has helped to shape the modern world.
Modern humans in the form of Cro-Magnons began arriving in the Iberian Peninsula from north of the Pyrenees some 35,000 years ago and the most conspicuous sign of prehistoric human settlements are the famous paintings in the northern Spanish cave of Altamira, which were done c15,000 BC.
The Iberian Peninsula became home to a variety of civilizations: the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Visigoths. The Arabs were here for over 700 years, followed by the Catholic Monarchs. It was Queen Isabella of Castille who initiated the largest empire the world has ever seen with the conquest of the Americas. The empire grew with each generation, reaching its peak with King Felipe II ruler of various Spanish realms ranging from the islands of the Philippines all the way to the Americas, the unified Spanish-Portuguese territories, the Netherlands, Italy and areas of today’s Germany.
Following a period of growing political instability in the early 20th century, Spain was plunged into a bloody civil war in 1936.The war ended in a nationalist dictatorship and Franco controlled the Spanish government until 1975. The post-war decades were relatively stable but the death of Franco in 1975 resulted in the return of the Bourbon monarchy headed by the then Prince Juan Carlos and modern Spain has seen the development of a robust, modern democracy with a constitutional monarchy.
If you are interested in exploring Spain’s rich and diverse history in a relaxed, informal, and enjoyable atmosphere and visit places of historical interest at sites which are right on our door step then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also some people may have a special interest in a particular area of Spanish History and would like to share their knowledge and interest with the rest of us, during informal chats and discussions.