A Brief History of Spain

The history of Spain spans thousands of years and is chock full of rich events. We can date back inhabitants 800,000 years to the Iberian Peninsula, which is what is now known as Spain! Many cultures and groups have come and gone, and they’ve all contributed in shaping Spain into what it is today. This very brief guide will serve to help you understand how Spain was influenced, and add some historical information behind it all.

The Beginning: Historical Influence on Spain

ancient roman theater with people taking pictures of it

Starting off as far back as we can trace Homo-Sapiens’ influence, the Phoenicians had a lasting and impactful effect on early Spain around 3,000 years ago. The Phoenicians traded silver to the Iberians (now Spaniards) for olive oil and wine, thus the Iberians became very influenced by them. Afterwards, Spain was influenced by the culture and trade of both the Greeks, and the Romans.

We can still see well-preserved architecture from all of those periods of time, including shrines, temples, classical theaters (such as the Roman Theater of Mérida), and even entertainment stadiums that could fit thousands of people.

Spain During the Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages (around the 8th Century), Spain was overtaken from the Visigoths by Muslims from North Africa, who called the country Al-Andalus. Great and intricate works of art in the forms of Mosques were built all over, and of course, Alhambra, one of the twelve treasures of Spain.

The Muslim would remain in control of most of Spain until the Christian kingdoms of Aragon and Castile began expanding south, successfully taking Spanish land during the 10th and 11th centuries. The Christians would have ever-lasting control and slowly become the major religion in all of Spain, even during and after the Black Plague in the 15th century.

Spain During the 15th to 18th Centuries

During the late 15th and early 16th centuries, the golden age of Spain was upon us. Trade was booming like never before, and literature was more popular than ever, despite being in constant wars throughout this period of time. During the 18th century after multiple European wars, Spain was finally able to focus on and expand its agriculture, production, trade, and commerce once again, and with this expansion, the population of Spain grew larger too.

Spain from the 19th Century to Present Times

After years of political turmoil and multiple kings, queens, and even a brief republic party system, the industrial revolution was finally upon Spain in the middle of the 19th century. Mining, iron, and steel industries boomed, as the first railway was built in Spain and spread across the entire country. This was prosperous for a time, but Spain was still a heavily agricultural country, and the people suffered great famines and unemployment rates. 

From the 1800s to the 1950s, Spain saw many revolutions, coups, becoming a republic, that same republic being split, and even a civil war, but it wasn’t until after the second world war that Spain became a member of the United Nations, became a democracy, and began to turn around as a country.

The economy of Spain began to rapidly grow during the 1960s, as more cities began to form due to industrialized technology becoming widespread, and during the 1980s, Spain was both a wealthy country, and a member of the European Union; unemployment was still high, but after peak unemployment rates in 2013, Spain was able to recover from this crisis, and unemployment has been steadily decreasing.

As for 2020, Spain has a population of 47 million people, with over 30 million tourists visiting annually.


Spain is historically both one of the most influential and influenced countries in the world, with a past and culture dating back thousands and thousands of years, with just as many events occurring in that time. Even today, the rich mix of ancient history and the influence of different cultures on Spain is so well-preserved and respected, that it makes Spain one of the most unique countries in the world, and a tourist-favorite spot. Spain truly is one of the most magical places on earth, and no matter what your interest are or what your background is, you can always find something that uniquely speaks to you and almost feels like home in this beautiful country.



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