The rich cultural and political life of Spain has emerged from its complex history, from the diversity of its peoples, and from continual contact with outside influences. This book traces that history from prehistoric times to the present, focusing particularly on culture, society, politics, and personalities. Written in an engaging style, it introduces readers to the key themes that have shaped Spain's history and culture. These include its varied landscapes and climates; the impact of waves of diverse human migrations; the importance of its location as a bridge between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and Europe and Africa; and religion, particularly militant Catholic Christianity and its centuries of conflict with Islam and Protestantism, as well as debates over the place of the Church in modern Spain. Illustrations, maps, and a guide to further reading, major cultural figures, and places to see, make the history of this fascinating country come alive.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. The land and its early inhabitants; 2. Ancient legacies; 3. Diversity in medieval Spain; 4. The rise of Spain to international prominence; 5. Spain as the first global empire; 6. Toward modernity: from the Napoleonic invasion to Alfonso XIII; 7. The struggle for the Spanish soul: republic, civil war, and dictatorship; 8. New Spain, new Spaniards: European, democratic, and multicultural; List of rulers; Short guide to further sources of information.