World History

Spain Timeline and History Highlights

Spain Timeline Highlights


1800 – The Bronze Age begins on the Iberian Peninsula. El Algal civilization begins to form.

1100 – Phoenicians begin to settle the area. Introducing the iron and potter’s wheel.

900 – The Celts arrive and settle in northern Spain.

218 – Second Punic War is fought between Carthage and Rome. Part of Spain becomes a Roman province called Hispania.

19th – All of Spain falls under Roman rule.


500 – The Visigoths conquer most of Spain.

711 – The Moors invade Spain and name it Al-Andalus.

718 – The Reconquista begins with the Christian reconquest of Spain.

1094 – El Cid conquers the city of Valencia from the Moors.

1137 – The Kingdom of Aragon is established.

1139 – The first Kingdom of Portugal is established on the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

1469 – Marriage of Isabel I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.

1478 – The Spanish Inquisition begins.

1479 – Isabella and Ferdinand are declared king and queen, uniting Aragon and Castile to form the Kingdom of Spain.

1492 – The Reconquista ends with the conquest of Grenada. Jews are expelled from Spain.

1492 – Queen Isabella sponsors the expedition of explorer Christopher Columbus. he discovers a new world.

1520 – Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés conquers the Aztec Empire in Mexico.

1532 – Explorer Francisco Pizarro conquers the Inca Empire and establishes the city of Lima.

1556 – Felipe II becomes King of Spain.

1588 – An English fleet under Sir Francis Drake defeats the Spanish Armada.

1605 – Miguel de Cervantes publishes the first part of this epic novel Don Quixote.

1618 – The Thirty Years’ War begins.

1701 – The War of the Spanish Succession begins.

1761 – Spain enters the Seven Years’ War against England.

1808 – The Peninsular War breaks out with the French Empire led by Napoleon.

1808 – The Spanish-American War of Independence begins. By 1833, most Spanish territories in the Americas had gained independence.

1814 – Allied forces win the Peninsular War, freeing Spain from French rule.

1881 – Artist Pablo Picasso is born in Malaga, Spain.

1883 – Architect Antoni Gaudi begins construction of the Roman Catholic church of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia.

1898 – The Spanish-American War broke out. Spain cedes Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam to the United States.

1914 – Spain remains neutral at the outbreak of World War I.

1931 – Spain becomes a republic.

1936 – The Spanish Civil War begins between the Republicans and the National Party led by Francisco Franco. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy support nationalists.

1939 – The National Party wins the civil war and Francisco Franco becomes the dictator of Spain. He would remain a dictator for 36 years.

1939 – World War II begins. Spain remains neutral in combat, but supports the Axis powers and Germany.

1959 – The “Spanish Miracle” begins, a period of economic growth and prosperity for the country.

1975 – Dictator Francisco Franco dies. Juan Carlos I becomes king.

1976 – Spain begins its transition to democracy.

1978 – The Spanish Constitution is enacted, allowing freedom of speech, press, religion and association.

1982 – Spain joins NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).

1986 – Spain joins the European Union.

1992 – The Summer Olympics are held in Barcelona.

1996 – José María Aznar becomes Prime Minister of Spain.

2004 – Terrorists blow up a train in Madrid, killing 199 people and injuring thousands.

2009 – Spain falls into an economic crisis. The unemployment rate will rise to over 27% by 2013.

2010 – Spain wins the FIFA World Cup.

Spain History Highlights:

Spain is located in southwestern Europe, on the eastern part of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Portugal.

The Iberian Peninsula has been occupied by many empires over the centuries. The Phoenicians arrived in the 9th century BC. Next come the Greeks, the Carthaginians, and the Romans. The Roman Empire would have a lasting impact on Spanish culture. Then the Visigoths came and expelled the Romans. In 711, the Moors came across the Mediterranean from North Africa and conquered most of Spain. They remained there for hundreds of years until Europeans took Spain back as part of the Reconquista.

During the Age of Discovery in the 15th century, Spain became the most powerful nation in Europe and possibly the world. This was due to the money and great wealth they had from their colonies in America. Spanish conquistadors such as Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro conquered much of the Americas and claimed Spanish territory.

But in 1588, England defeated the Spanish Armada in the largest battle of naval power in the world. This was the beginning of the decline of the Spanish Empire. In the 19th century, many Spanish colonies revolutionized to secede from Spain. Spain fought too many wars and lost most of them. When Spain lost the Spanish-American War to the United States in 1898, Spain lost many of its major colonies.

In 1936 a civil war broke out in Spain. The Nationalist forces were victorious and General Francisco Franco took over as leader and ruled until 1975. Spain was able to remain neutral during World War II, but had sided with Germany to some extent, which made it difficult after the war. After the death of dictator Franco, Spain embarked on reforms to improve its economy. Spain she became a member of the European Union in 1986.