Cover image for The history of Spain
The history of Spain
Pierson, Peter.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xx, 223 pages : maps ; 24 cm.
Reading Level:
1260 Lexile.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DP66 .P53 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Every school and public library should update its resources on Spain with this lively and succinct narrative of Spain's long and rich historical experience. Emphasizing people rather than abstract developments, this narrative makes Spanish history readable and engaging. Based on the most recent scholarship, it examines the politics, society, economy, and culture of Spain chronologically, focusing on the last two centuries. Pierson, a noted authority on Spanish history, traces Spain's foundations in the Roman empire and Muslim conquest to its golden age in the late Middle Ages, its subsequent decline, and its struggle to build a democratic government and modern economy following the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The work provides a timeline of events in Spanish history, brief biographies of key figures, and a bibliographic essay of interest to students and general readers.

An introductory chapter offers an overview of Spain today, its geography, government and politics, economy, religion, and culture. The next few chapters discuss its earliest cultures, its place in the Roman empire, its Christianization and years as a Germanic kingdom, and its incorporation in 711 C.E. by military conquest into the world of Islam. The energies developed in the Christian reconquest of Spain led to its embarkation on the conquest of an overseas empire in the Americas and the Philippines that lasted for more than 300 years and had a profound effect on global history. The interests of the Habsburg (1516-1700) and Bourbon (1700-1808, 1814-1868, and 1875-1931) dynasties on the Spanish throne made Spain a major player in European power politics into the years of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. By 1825, its resources drained, Spain painfully adjusted to straightened circumstances, endured civil wars and dictatorships, and struggled to build a democratic government and modern economy, which it has accomplished today.

Author Notes

PETER PIERSON is Lee and Seymour Graff Professor of History at Santa Clara University. The history of Spain is one of his main interests and he regularly undertakes research trips to Spain. A former Fulbright fellow in Spain, he is a member of the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies and author of Philip II of Spain (1975) and Commander of the Armada (1989) and numerous articles and book chapters on early modern Spanish history.

Table of Contents

A Note on Usage Chronology of Spanish History Spain Today
The Foundations of Spain Reconquest Union and World Empire
Imperial Spain Tradition and Enlightenment
Six Troubled Decades A Search for Stability
A Troubled New Century Republic and Civil War Dicatorship
Democracy Brief Biographies