Posts related to: History and Culture
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A Short History of Spain- Part 2: The Roman Project

A Short History of Spain- Part 2: The Roman Project

As I started to collect my notes for this post, I realized that I might have gotten in over my head. How can I produce almost 600 years of...

Let’s start with the fact that the Romans suffered. Unlike the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Carthaginians, the Romans were not satisfied with the coastal areas. They wanted to...

Although the spirit of resistance is an important legacy of the Roman period, it is hardly the end of the story. Iberia would go on to be a crown...

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A Short History of Spain- Part 1: Iberia Before the Romans

A Short History of Spain- Part 1: Iberia Before the Romans

When we think about Spain today we think about the political entity that loosely binds the population of about 85% of the landmass of the Iberian Peninsula. This political...

While these two groups did not typically interfere with each other, it was the Iberians that had first contact with the emerging sophisticated cultures of the Mediterranean, and thus...

Today, many people refer to these pre-Roman residents of the Peninsula simply as Celtiberians, reflecting a gradual fusion. It's interesting to note that there is general agreement that the...

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Mirrors and Myths: An Introduction to Spain's Past

Mirrors and Myths: An Introduction to Spain's Past

Today’s Spain faces a wide range of challenges. From separatist movements to rapidly changing demographics, there are both static and dynamic pressure points that seem to threaten the stability...

Spain, like our own country, is a nation-state. It’s easy to take this for granted but it is one of the most fundamental truths that shape our perception of...

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Miguel de Cervantes: That Ingenious Gentleman

Miguel de Cervantes: That Ingenious Gentleman

It is hard to imagine Spain without the legacy of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Cervantes created much of...

Cervantes was born (1547) into a Spain that was experiencing a serious case of imperial indigestion. The riches from the new American conquests were making Spain nominally wealthy, but...

Cervantes was the son of a struggling barber-surgeon in Alcala de Henares near Madrid whose own father had been an attorney and person of relative importance in the Andalusian...

By now, you are probably feeling a connection between Cervantes' disillusion and the “illusions” that plague the protagonist of his great novel. Let’s take some time to consider the...

This new approach to literature landed in a Spain that was discontent with its place in the world and its stagnant feudalistic society. The printing press spread Don Quijote...

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Altamira: A Chance to Reconsider the Past

Altamira: A Chance to Reconsider the Past

I drove through my town in Ohio last weekend with out-of-town guests and was proud to show off a building constructed (at least the original foundation) almost 180 years...

Most of us can conceptualize our existence in an “historical context”. History is often defined as the human story since the development of writing systems. Most historians agree that...

Connecting with those that came before is more conceptually challenging for us not just because of the scale of time, but also because they did not leave as many...

The cave complex at Altamira is world-renowned for its remarkable etchings and paintings, especially of now-extinct bison. There are several things that make it special, even when compared to...

A second reason that these caves are so special is that we know (through modern dating techniques) that these paintings were created over a period of 20,000 years. Think...

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Bad Winds and Bad Marriages: A Brief History of Portuguese Independence

Bad Winds and Bad Marriages: A Brief History of Portuguese Independence

“Bad winds and bad marriages!” So jest the Portuguese about Spain, their conjoined Iberian sibling. Although the winds may continue, there have not been any “bad marriages” lately and...

Eventually, three major Christian Kingdoms vied for power: Portugal, Aragon, and Castile. In 1384, the Army of Castile invaded Portugal to impose control. Remarkably, after two years (and with...