A Brief History of Spain

Second Millenium - the 18th and 19th Centuries

1700 CE Spanish War of Succession. King Charles II died; he was the last of the Habsburg Spanish line and he had chosen his sister's grandson Philip Duke of Anjou as his heir. Philip was only 18 when he entered Madrid in 1701 and proclaimed himself King Philip V. He married Princess Marie-Louise of Savoy. His Castilian court was supported by King Louis XIV of France.

1701 Archduke Charles of Austria opposed King Philipís claim to the Spanish throne. He was second in line to the title and had proclaimed himself King Charles III of Spain under the auspices of Catalonia, Aragon and Valencia. Charles set up his court in Barcelona. He was supported by an anti French coalition consisting of Austria, Britain, Holland, Brandenburg, Savoy and Denmark.

Much of the fighting was on the Iberian Peninsular, Madrid being taken a number of times by both Philipís forces and by Charlesí forces. The war continued until Emperor Joseph I of Austria died in 1711 leaving Charles III of Spain as his successor to the Austrian throne. This likely tie up between the Spanish crown and Austria caused many of Charles' supporters to cease their alliance. Charles' forces retreated back to their base in Barcelona which was then laid to siege by Philip's forces. Charles was forced to relinquish all claims to the Spanish throne and Barcelona surrendered on Sept 11th 1714.

1793 CE Louis XVI of France was guillotined and Spain declared war on the new French Republic but was defeated.

1805 CE Battle of Trafalgar between the British Fleet under Admiral Lord Nelson and the combined French and Spanish fleets. Most opinions consider the battle was won by Nelsonís brilliant non-conformist battle tactics whilst there are those who claim that it was lost by the miss-management of tactics by the French Admiral Pierre de Villeneuve who was in overall command of the opposing fleets.

1807 CE Spanish/French war. The French Army marched through Spain to invade Portugal which was a British ally and in December captured Lisbon.

1808 CE. Spanish War of Independence. In March of this year, a French army occupied Spain and took King Charles and his family to France on the pretext of protecting them. France then took control of Madrid. Later in the year Napoleon Bonaparte visited Spain and placed his brother Joseph on the throne. The Spanish Crown began to lose its hold on its colonies. Sparked by an uprising in Madrid, the Spanish people united against the French and fought a five-year War of Independence.

1808 CE. Portugal The Peninsular Wars. A British army commanded by General Arthur Wellesley (Wellington) arrived in Portugal to join the fight against France. He won two short battles at Rolica and Vimeiro.

1809 CE On the 27th July the combined forces under Wellington, fought and won the Battle of Talavera (Lleida) against King Joseph Bonaparte's army. The Spanish Cortes (parliament) made Wellington a Grandee of Spain with the title Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo and he was awarded the title Viscount Wellington of Talavera by the British. He was also made Generalissimo of the combined armies of England, Spain and Portugal.

1810-1811 General Wellesley together with his combined Spanish, Portuguese and English forces fought a number of campaigns against the French. It was a prolonged series of battles across the Portuguese-Spanish borders culminating in the Battle at Badajoz.

1813 CE The Battle of Vitoria and expulsion of Napoleon's forces - 21st June in Alava province saw the Emporer Napoleonís brother, King Joseph, defeated by the combined armies at the battle of Vitoria followed by the loss of his Spanish throne and expulsion of all French forces from Spain.

1814 CE King Fernando VII was restored to the Spanish throne. Fernando's 20-year reign was a disaster for the reputation of the monarchy. He re-established the Inquisition. Liberals and Constitutionalists who opposed his rule were persecuted; just to express an objection or alternative opinion was enough to ensure a free ride to the dungeons. Free speech became a thing of the past. Spainís economy collapsed and their American colonies won independence.

1881-1973 Pablo Picasso
Born in Spain, Picasso was a child prodigy who went on to dominate 20th century art. He helped to create Cubism, pioneered innovations in sculpture and lithography, experimented with new media and captivated imaginations around the world with his powerful personality and boundless energy. This prolific Spaniard, who painted subjects ranging from the women he lived with to the devastating effects of war, had a career that spanned 70 years and an influence that spans every generation and culture.
see www.artchive.com/artchive/P/picasso.htm

1852-1934 Santiago Ramon y Cajal
At the end of the 19th century most scientists believed brain fibres were fused together to form a continuous net. But Santiago Ramon y Cajal showed that the brain was made up of distinct nerve cells. His work helped to point the way to the understanding that these cells, or neurons, communicated with each other. Ramon y Cajal's work is the basis of modern neuroscience, the study of everything from the biological basis of psychology to how a person learns, remembers, smells, sees, walks and talks, in essence, how the brain makes us what we are.

1898 CE The disastrous Spanish-American War of 1898 marked the end of the Spanish Empire. Spain was defeated by the USA in a series of one-sided naval battles resulting in the loss of Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, Spain's last overseas possessions.

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