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A Brief History of Spain

Bloomsbury Publishing

España Download image

ISBN10: 1639730575
ISBN13: 9781639730575


320 Pages



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Spain's position on Europe's southwestern corner has exposed the country to cultural, political, and literal winds blowing from all quadrants throughout the country's ancient history. Africa lies a mere nine miles to the south, separated by the Strait of Gibraltar—a mountain range struck, Spaniards believe, by Hercules, in an immaculate and divine display of strength. The Mediterranean connects Spain to the civilizational currents of Phoenicians, Romans, Carthaginians, and Byzantines as well as the Arabic lands of the near east. Hordes from the Russian steppes were amongst the first to arrive. They would be followed by Visigoths, Arabs, and Napoleonic armies and many more invaders and immigrants. Circular winds and currents extended its borders to the American continent, allowing it to conquer and colonize much of the New World as the first ever global empire. Spain, as we know it today, was made by generations-worth of changing peoples, worshipping Christian, Jewish, and Muslim gods over time. The foundation of its story has been drawn and debated, celebrated and reproached. Whenever it has tried to deny its heterogeneity and create a “pure” national identity, the narrative has proved impossible to maintain.

In España, Giles Tremlett, who has lived in and written about Spain for over thirty years, swiftly traces every stretch of Spain's history to argue that a lack of a homogenous identity is Spain's defining trait. With gorgeous color images, España is perfect for lovers of Spain and fans of international history.


Praise for España

“An enthusiastic history . . . A fresh, accessible take on a rich history; ideal reading for anyone planning a trip to Spain.”Kirkus Reviews

“[A] brisk and informative account . . . an accessible introduction to Spain's multifaceted history.”Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Giles Tremlett is a prize-winning historian, author and journalist based in Madrid, Spain. He has lived in, and written extensively about, Spain almost continuously since graduating from Oxford University thirty-five years ago. He is Visiting Fellow of the Cañada Blanch Centre at the London School of Economics, writes opinion and long form reportage for the Guardian and is a former Madrid correspondent for The Economist.