Spain, formally called the Kingdom of Spain, has a unique history including a past of civil war, the power of an empire, famous rulers, and a constant battle over its primary religion. Spain is a country where it is considered a compliment to the chef when one takes a second serving at a meal and it is also a place where students are not offered sports teams at school so they have to join private club teams. There are 40,280,190 people living across the Mediterranean climate which spans over 194,897 miles of land.
There have been civilizations on the Iberian Peninsula where current-day Spain is dating back to 2000 B.C. By 218 B.C. Roman began to influence the area and took full control over the whole peninsula within the next 200 years. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Spain was controlled by the Germanic tribe of the Visigoths in the 5th century. After being in control by the Visigoths, the territory was invaded by the Muslim Moors who occupied the area by 711. For the next several years in Spain’s history there was a constant battle between Christians and Muslims for control of the area.
Eventually the Christians won the battle over the Muslims and Spain was a Christian country. The famous couple, Queen Isabella and Fernando II united two separate kingdoms to expand the area of Spain in 1469. Before their marriage, Elizabeth was the queen of Castile while Fernando was the king of Aragon. In hope to earn more riches for Spain, Isabella and Fernando II funded Christopher Columbus’s voyage to retrieve spices from India. Around the same time of Columbus’s famous voyage, Muslims were expelled from Spain as the reconquista of Spain was accomplished. Throughout the 16th century, Spain was one of the most powerful empires in the world, thanks to many of their riches from exploration. The territories which they had gained in the Americas thanks to Columbus were very extensive and affluent.
Spain started to loose its power and territory in the 18th century due to involvement in various wars. The first cause of the loss of power began in 1701 with the War of the Spanish Succession which lasted for 13 years and then a few years later the Napoleonic Wars took the power away from Spain. By 1850, Spain had lost many of its territories including the Philippines and other overseas possessions including Cuba. By 1898 Spain lost more territory to the United States. Spain’s reign as a powerful empire had truly begun to end and then governmental system conflicts began.
During the 19th and 20th centuries battles began over the type of governmental system that would control Spain. The big issue over the government was with the decision of whether to have one national government or a government that acknowledged the country’s regional differences. King Alfonso was the last king of Spain as he gave up the throne in 1931 because of the peoples’ outcry to be a republic. This then led to a brutal civil war between the Nationalists and the Republicans. The Nationalists who were led by Francisco Franco won the war in 1939, so he then led the nation as a dictator until his death in 1975. During his lifetime Franco had instituted that Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon would be his successor, so after Franco’s death Juan Carlos took the throne. He declared that the government would become a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy along with having a system of regional governments.
Felipe Gonzalez won the country’s elections in 1982 and he remained in office until 1996. Under his control, Spain joined the European Union in 1986. Spain still had a few governmental struggles with some separatists push for independence in Northern Spain. Violent terrorists’ attacks by these people have resulted in the death of about 850 people in Spain since the 1960s. There has yet to be a peaceful resolution between the terrorist group and Spain’s government.
Currently, Spain is working to improve its economy and find its place with the richer countries of the European Union. Another goal of Spain is to also mark its standing in the international community as a place of power. Spain has overcome some brutal battles in its past and is in a forward-moving path as a country. Spain is overall a place of peace and has been through a lot since its beginnings.