The Iberian peninsula enters written records as a land populated largely by the Iberians, Basques and Celts. After an arduous conquest, the peninsula came under the rule of Rome. During the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule but later, it was conquered by Moorish invaders from North Africa. In a process that took centuries, the small Christian kingdoms in the north gradually regained control of the peninsula. The last Moorish kingdom fell in the same year Columbus reached the Americas. A global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe and the leading world power for a century and a half and the largest overseas empire for three centuries.
Continued wars and other problems eventually led to a diminished status. The Napoleonic invasions of Spain led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire and left the country politically unstable. Prior to the Second World War, Spain suffered a devastating civil war and came under the rule of an authoritarian government, whose rule oversaw a period of stagnation but that finished with a powerful economic surge. Eventually democracy was peacefully restored in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. In 1986, Spain joined the European Union, experiencing a cultural renaissance and steady economic growth.
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Famous quotes containing the word history:
“The history of every country begins in the heart of a man or a woman.”
—Willa Cather (18761947)
“I believe that in the history of art and of thought there has always been at every living moment of culture a will to renewal. This is not the prerogative of the last decade only. All history is nothing but a succession of crisesMof rupture, repudiation and resistance.... When there is no crisis, there is stagnation, petrification and death. All thought, all art is aggressive.”
—Eugène Ionesco (b. 1912)
“My good friends, this is the second time in our history that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And now I recommend you to go home and sleep quietly in your beds.”
—Neville Chamberlain (18691940)