A little information about the country that one intends to visit or that one has visited often allows us to put into context the past or future emotions specific to each trip. A little history or anecdotes are often welcome ... This is what you can find on this page dedicated to Spain. But nothing like (short) videos to get a more precise idea of the places visited or to visit. Beside is a list of the videos edited from the photographic material I brought back from the trips


Spain: Semana Santa in Andalusia

Spain: Toledo • Holy Week 2012 .

You just have to click on the image to access the page giving more information on the place treated in the video and of course, to see this video ...



Spain is the third largest country in Europe by area if we do not count the European part of Russia, a country that straddles two continents and most of which is in Asia.

Like all European countries, Spain was divided into a multitude of states maintaining feudal relations between them, that is to say relations of suzerainty and vassalage.


Ancient populations of Spain


Spain which covers most of the Hispanic peninsula in southern Europe was populated by Iberians during the last millennium BC. In the south of the peninsula, the populations very early knew how to exploit their mineral resources and from the 10th century BC, intense commercial links had been forged with the Phoenicians, a people established in the approximate territory of present-day Lebanon and then with the Carthagenians who occupied what has become present-day Tunisia.

The north was rather agricultural and will trade rather with the peoples of the northern Mediterranean: the Gauls, and the Greeks and then the Romans. Celtic populations also came to settle in the north-west of the peninsula, which corresponds approximately to the current Basque country.


The Roman era.


Following the Second Punic War and their victory over Carthage, Rome moved to the Iberian Peninsula. The conquest begins with the territories near the Mediterranean Sea and the territories are divided into two provinces, covering the entire Mediterranean coastline of the peninsula. The northern province is called Hispania Citerior with Tarragona as its capital and the southern one takes the name of Hispania Ulterior and Cordoba becomes its capital.

Then it was the turn of the Celtic part of the Iberian Peninsula to submit to the laws of Rome, not without a long and intense resistance which did not end until about 150 years later. The territory occupied by present-day Spain was also an important battleground in the various civil wars which tore the Republic of Rome apart, notably those which opposed the partisans of Caesar and those of Pompey. Caesar will emerge victorious after a few campaigns against the last leaders of the Republicans and took the opportunity to add some provinces of the Iberian Peninsula to the empire of Rome.

After the pacification of Hispania, Vespasian allowed the elite of the peninsula to access Roman citizenship. Thus some famous figures of Roman antiquity were of Iberian descent, such as the Emperor Trajan or the philosopher Seneca.

Latin became the official language and Roman law prevailed there, and strongly influenced society even after the fall of Rome.

Christianity spread rapidly from the 2nd century and will continue to influence Hispanic culture for many centuries.

The Roman period will end with the fall of the empire in the 5th century and the Germanic barbarians of the Suevian, Vandal and Visigoth tribes invaded the peninsula and would remain masters of the place for 3 centuries.


Visigoth Kingdom 


The Visigoths conquered the entire peninsula except for a coastal strip to the north, roughly corresponding to the Basque country. However, the invaders did not impose their traditions on the conquered peoples, who retained their Roman and Mediterranean culture. The conversion of the goths to Christianity towards the end of the 6th century encouraged intermarriage and the differences between natives and invaders were reduced. 

A Christian culture respectful of the ancient period imposed itself on the country by intermingling the influence of the king and the bishops. The arts also experienced significant growth, particularly that of goldsmithing.


Muslim Spain 


The troops of Tariq Ibn Ziyad conquered the country in 711. In 756, the Umayyads founded the emirate of Cordoba, Later, in 929, Muslim Spain was transformed into a caliphate which would crumble 200 years later and break up into twenty small states. The name given to Muslim Spain is Al-Andalus and this country will become a symbol of the golden age of Islam between the 8th and 13th centuries. Cities such as Cordoba, Seville and Granada experienced an unequaled cultural influence. 

Very tolerant, the Islam of the time guaranteed a peaceful coexistence between the various religions of the territory, Islam, Judaism and Catholicism.

This Muslim period in Spain corresponds to an artistic golden age for all the communities and in particular for the Jews who participated fully in the development of the arts, science and culture of this period.


The northern Christian kingdoms dreamed of reconquering the entire territory. Taking advantage of the weakening of the caliphate, they began the reconquest (Reconquista in Spanish) from the 11th century. This reconquista ended in 1492, a prosperous year for the Catholic power of Fernand and Isabella, since it was also this year that Christopher Columbus discovered America. The last pocket of Muslim resistance on the Iberian Peninsula was the Kingdom of Granada.


To consolidate their victory, the Catholic kings set up a policy of colonization (or repopulation) of the lands of the former Al-Andalus, favoring the establishment of Catholics from the north, an overpopulated and poor region at the time.

However, Jews and Muslims were tolerated and could continue to live without problems in the lands of the former caliphate until the 15th century.

As Catholic conquests progressed, palaces and mosques were transformed into Christian monuments when they were not destroyed. A remarkable example of transformation is the famous cathedral of Cordoba, built inside a pre-existing mosque.


While during these centuries of reconquest, Al-Andalus was gradually dismantled, the Christian kingdoms experienced a certain economic prosperity and gradually united by forming 4 kingdoms. These kingdoms were that of Navarre, that of Aragon, Castile and Leon.

A process of unification of all Spain begins with the union of Castile and Aragon through the marriage between Fernand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. At this same time, Spain would become a world power thanks to its colonial expansion following the discoveries of explorers of the time like Christopher Columbus.


Spain, colonial power


This new spirit of power was to give Ferdinand and Isabella ideas about the religious composition of the country. Gone is the beautiful tolerance of the Muslim era. The Catholic kings would invent the inquisition, forcing everything that was not Catholic to become so at the risk of being burned at the stake. It was a particularly dark time for Jews and Muslims in Spain.

The Spanish Inquisition was particularly cruel to "non-ethnic Christians", and new converts also incurred the wrath of the inquisitors.

These persecutions encouraged many revolts and uprisings of the population. Massive waves of expulsions of ex-Muslim populations have had disastrous consequences for the demography and economy of the Crown of Aragon and Valencia, these populations being the majority in these regions.


During this time, the Spanish monarchy, allied with the Holy Roman Empire of the Germanic Nation were the essential elements of the Habsburg Empire, was to become the first colonial empire enriching itself disproportionately thanks to the plunder of pre-Columbian civilizations, in particular of the Aztec and Inca empires. The Habsburg Empire extended over a large part of Europe, encompassing among others the Kingdom of Naples and the Spanish Netherlands, approximate territory of the present-day Netherlands.

This Spanish power within the Habsburg Empire also gave rise to significant patronage, promoting the development of the arts from the end of the 16th century, spreading Spanish culture throughout Europe. This was what was called the golden age of Spain.


The decline


In the 17th century, Spanish power crumbled for various reasons. Among these, the numerous revolts and the costly wars, but also the collapse of an artificial economy based solely on the plunder of the wealth of the colonies.

Later, in the 18th century, infighting continued to weaken the Spanish crown, leaving Napoleon Bonaparte to conquer the country in the early 19th century.

Little by little Spain lost its colonies, and a large part of its wealth with them.

The 20th century saw the advent of the Second Republic which drove out the Bourbon monarchy in 1931 but also the terrible civil war of 1936 which ended in a bloody dictatorship, that of General Franco.

This Francoist power lasted until Franco's death in 1969 and then, in 1975, the monarchy was restored, and the new king, Juan Carlos I restored representative democracy.

The country joined the European Community in 1986.

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