Spanish History

The history of Spain from the Romans to the present, passing through the Inquisition, the Spanish flag, and art.

The history of Spain encompasses some of the most captivating, complex, and entertaining stories you can find in all the world. Spain is a small territory in southwest Europe whose history has run parallel to that of other countries throughout the centuries.

At different moments in time, the land of present-day Spain has been sought after by the greatest empires: the Carthaginians and the Romans fought over it, the Arabs conquered it, and the Catholic Monarchs recovered it and made it into the most powerful empire in the world with the Spanish conquest of America. In fact, under King Philip II of Spain there was no time in which the sun was not shining on one part of Spain’s territory, which stretched from the Philippines (guess which king they were named after!) to the Americas with Spain, Portugal, Flanders, Italy, and parts of what is now Germany in between.

However, the reign of Phillip II also marked the beginning of an era of economic and political decline, with wars both domestic and foreign. The American territories won independence over the course of the 1800s, culminating with Spain losing control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines just before the turn of the 20th century. These events have shaped a large part of the modern world into what it is today.

Follow the links below to learn more about the role Spain has played in world history as you read about the origin of the country’s flag, the wars it has fought, its times of great splendor, and much more.