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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
List of illustrations vi
List of maps ix
1 The land and its early inhabitants 1
2 Ancient legacies 21
3 Diversity in medieval Spain 47
4 The rise of Spain to international promience 82
5 Spain as the first global empire 134
6 Toward modernity: from the Napoleonic invasion to Alfonso XIII 206
7 The struggle for the Spanish soul: Republic, civil war, and dictatorhsip 246
8 New Spain, new Spaniards: European, democratic, and multi-cultural 281
Chronology and rules 305
Guide to further information 310