|The Muslim Conquest
Torralba and Ambrona, two archeological
sites, have been known to have prehistoric
cave paintings of bison, horses, and other animals. There is proof
that people have lived in Spain for about one-half million years.
Torralba and Ambrona have also been known to have elephant bones where
prehistoric Spaniards have trapped and killed them.
About 3000 B.C., settlers
started farming and herding. The Romans invaded Iberia in the beginning
of the Second Punic War in 218 B.C. Iberians soon were taught Latin and
had acquired Roman citizenship. Many of the Roman structures built
by their architects and engineers have fallen down, but a few are still
standing, including the Aqueduct of Segovia, the Theater of Merida, and
the Bridge of Cordoba.
In the early fifth century,
the Roman Empire was attacked by Germans. Some of those who settled
in Spanish territories were Vandals and Visigoths. Most Visigoths
moved into Spain at about 415 A.D. It wasn't until King Leovigild
took over that they moved to Toledo, Spain from France. The Visigothic
kings, who ruled with the help of nobles and bishops, also built churches.
The Muslim Reconquest
By 718 A.D., the Muslims had
defeated the Visigoths. Then, many Christians converted to Islam.
The Muslim rulers allowed the Christians and Jews to worship freely.
Science, medicine, and philosophy flourished in Cordoba, Spain's capitol.
Muslim scholars studied and translated works of Aristotle and other Greeks
into Latin. These works spread throughout Europe, but would have been lost
if not for the Muslims.
After about 1000 A.D., the kingdom
was broken up into small quarreling kingdoms, and Muslim Spain was on the
decline. Christians gradually regained control over Spain.
Muslim attacks in North Africa continued throughout Christian Spain until
1492 A.D., when the Christians overtook Granada.
Spain During the Sixteenth Century
During the sixteenth century
Spain was ruled by Catholic Kings. Some of the famous Catholic kings
that ruled during the sixteenth century were Ferdinand
and Isabella, Philip I, King Charles I, and Philip II.