Guest Author - Denise Hart
''A Brief History of Spain'' (to borrow a phrase from my favourite scientist.) The history of the country we now know and love as Spain is very long, varied and interesting. As time goes on, I will be dealing with some historical aspects, but to start here is broad overview - a historical timeline starting in the very dim and distant past. The information on which this timeline is based has come from various sources, many of which agree to disagree with regards exact dates (pretty much par for the course when dealing with history). Therefore this is a general source of information. If you are considering jumping into your time machine and travelling back to any of these eras, please check your dates with other sources before setting out or contact your friendly local time travel agency.
We see the first signs of human habitation on the Iberian Peninsula. (Who was actually there to record this fact? ''The fossil record!'' I hear you cry.)
The last of the Neanderthals, a precursor hominid race, are to be found in Gibraltar (this is of course before it becomes a British Empire outpost, although a night-time visit to some ''Brits Abroad'' holiday resorts here in modern-day Spain may change one's opinion on the actual extinction of said Neanderthal race!).
Cave paintings found at Alta Mira are dated as coming from this period. We therefore see the start of a very long Spanish tradition of drawing on walls - more commonly known nowadays as graffiti.
The first Iberians begin settling in Almeria.
The southern part of the peninsular is home to a flourishing Megalithic civilisation.
The Celtic and Germanic tribes start arriving from the cold north in search of warmer climes - something they still continue to do every summer - I am led to believe the sun-lounger chair hails from this period (see previously mentioned fossil record). The Germans start as they mean to go on and it is still difficult to beat them to the beach chairs on a sunny morning (no offence German friends – I’m just kidding).
Phoenician traders arrive and set up shop in what is now the costal town of Cadiz, where they trade metals found in the Guadalquivir valley. The Greeks also begin setting up trading colonies all along the eastern coast of Spain. A remaining example of one of these posts is the town of Empuries near Barcelona.
The Carthaginians are expelled from Sicily (they weren't sufficiently ''family oriented''). They occupy most of Andalucia whilst making preparations to invade Italy.
The city of Barcio, now better known as Barcelona is founded by the Carthaginians, who by now have expanded north.
During this period the Romans occupy the Iberian Peninsular, part of their empire-building plans. Around this time, Julius Caesar is made governor of Andalucia in the south of Spain.
(Historical note: Perhaps Brutus didn't really mean to stab Caesar to death - perhaps it was just a boisterous game of ''bullfighting'', with Brutus as the matador (he is said to have had a liking for sparkly suits) and Caesar as the hapless bull, which got out of hand.)
210BC - 0AD
Over the next two centuries, we see the Roman colonization of Spain. However, there is a lot of resistance from the northern Celtic tribes and those of the Basque country never come fully under the Roman thumb. Spain becomes the most important part of the Roman Empire after Italy and produces four emperors during this period.
0 - 200AD
The ''Golden Age'' of Roman Spain. Rome's coffers are bursting with the profits from Andalucian mines and granaries.
Please come back soon for more.