Spain History

Even today, modern Spanish cities maintain an undeniable influence of structure and culture from their neighbors across the Mediterranean. The Romans, of course, were the ones that taught the natives the Latin language, but Spain was being colonized far before the Italians ever set foot on it. In fact, it was inhabited before the Romans even existed as a nation.

Gaelic, North African and other Germanic peoples all migrated to Spain, and by around 1000 B.C. they had a distinguishing presence on the Iberian Peninsula. With this influx of immigrants, the original natives of Spain were forced to accept the customs and languages of each occupier. Eventually, the Celts from France and the Iberians from North Africa merged into a single society, referenced to as the Celtiberians. These people were originally in occupation of central Spain, but they eventually moved toward the eastern side of the peninsula.

With these people thinly spread over the entire region, with Iberians mining metals in the south and other ethnic groups living as simple farmers or shepherds, the Celtiberians still had their differences. For instance, the Celtic culture dominated the northern regions, closer to France, while on the other hand, the Iberian culture was concentrated in the south, towards Africa.

The 'lure of the ore' brought many Mediterranean powers to colonize Spain. Aside from Phoenicians and Greeks, hailing from across the sea itself, the most notable visitors were the Carthaginians. While these people from Africa were actually once a Phoenician colony themselves, they did not, by evidence seen today, impose onto the Celtiberians and the other native peoples of the land. They lived together in harmony as the Carthaginians prospered greatly from the trade supplies produced from the deep mines of the Iberian Peninsula.

However, as the new Roman power surfaced and began to find reason for hostilities with Carthage, and as Carthage was usually defeated, they solidified their grip on all of Spain. In this period, Hamilcar Barca conquered most of Spain, including the old Greek cities, and established a colony at Barcelona.

Through the years, Spain was used as a base to war with Rome, but eventually it was conquered by the Carthaginians' foe. It took 200 years for the Roman legions to fully secure their Hispania. The immigrants that had made their homes in Spain centuries before resisted the Roman incursion, even going as far to commit suicide rather than live under Roman rule. Perhaps they were wiser for doing that, since the Roman governors that ruled over the new province were often cruel and greedy. They exploited the Spanish people for service in the legions, and also as objects for taxation.

When the Roman Republic reformed into the Roman Empire, things began to improve. With any Roman conquest, the peoples that live in the land conquered are often 'Romanized.' They were taught Roman ways, the Latin language and their commerce was expanded. Traditional rulers of Spanish tribes were also allowed to participate actively in the Roman governance over Hispania. Within a short while, many of the Spanish had achieved full citizenship and life was more or less good for the people.

However, Germanic tribes began a push into Gaul, but were repelled by the Visigoths into Hispania, which prompted Roman emperors to secure the disputed region. The remaining Germans left in Spain were assimilated into the culture and their impact was more or less null. Nevertheless, starting in 484 A.D., they ruled in the stead of Roman emperors, and civilization in Spain was not quite as civilized as it had been under direct Roman rule.

As the reader surely knows, the Dark Ages soon fell onto Europe. During that period, Spain was a cauldron mixed with Frankish, Moorish and even Greeks. They were a religious light to the medieval world, which possibly could have aided in evolving from the Dark Ages into a more civilized age than the Spanish had ever experienced, even under the Romans.