Nazarenos with capirotes
Beginning 35,000 BC, Celtic, Phoenician, and Romans landed in their turn, by fifth century A.D. Vandals arrived from North Germany, Visigoths from Eastern Europe, and then the Moors out of Northern Africa. A millennium ago local kingdoms arose with El Cid, and by 1469 Isabel and Fernando, the Catholic Kings, ran out the last Moors, reestablish Christianity and established the Inquisition the same year they dispatched Christopher Columbus westward. Isabel’s grandson was the Habsburg Carlos I/Carlos V who became the Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. The Crown passed from the Austrian Habsburgs to the French Bourbons in 1700. Napoleon invaded in 1808. Thus began 167 years of Civil Wars to drive out either the French, the Bourbon monarchy, the Habsburg monarchy, the Carlist, the separatist, the church. In 1936 all Hell broke loose with the Mother of all Civil Wars. Enter the meddling and manipulations of the Falangists, Communists, Nazis, and extreme Nationalist. Enter and exit The Caudillo, Franco.
Today, Franco’s hagiographers are gone, there remain strong separatist feelings, Catholicism is strong, Spain is still struggling to compete economically in the EU world, but its culture is rich. Having travelled two weeks and 1850 miles through provinces of Madrid, Andalusia, Valencian, Catalonia, Aragón, and Castile y León, there is much to love about España.