Andalusia is a melting pot where several civilizations have been successful and have been enriched by the cultural stratum left by their predecessors.

Prehistory

Neanderthals. The Iberian Peninsula was inhabited by hominids when modern humans landed 35,000 years ago from the north. Neanderthals survived in Andalusia until 27,000 years ago. Rock paintings (“Southern Art”) are abundant, especially in the Campo de Gibraltar Region. Numerous remains have been found dating back to the Copper Age (Chalcolithic culture) in Andalusian reliefs overlooking the Guadalquivir Depression.

 

Old age

The mineral wealth of Sierra Morena explains the constantly renewed attraction of Andalusia by later civilizations: Iberians, Celts, Phoenicians and Greeks. The most important civilization in contact with Greek travelers was Tartessos, the people of the great river of Andalusia. During ancient times, the Romans and the people of Carthage (of Phoenician origin) fought for the hegemony of the western Mediterranean during the Punic wars. Carthage was powerful in Iberia, but finally defeated and destroyed by Rome. The first two centuries before Christ are witnesses of the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula that becomes Hispania.

The Romans. The Betic province (named after the Baetis River), whose capital is Corduba, is one of the richest provinces of the Roman Empire: barn, precious metal mines, almost exclusive source of “garum” (luxury fish-based food) and olive oil. The region was so prestigious that it produced four of the most influential emperors in the history of the Empire: Trajan, Hadrian, Marco Aurelius and Theodosius.

 

Middle Ages

The fall of the Roman Empire was a gradual process, but two dates stand out for Hispania. In 476, the Vandals crossed the frozen Rhine and then the Pyrenees and occupied Hispania. The year 410 marks the end of antiquity, when the Visigoths invaded Rome. They will occupy the south of Gaul, but will be later expelled by the Franks and in turn they will expel the Vandals (!). The Visigoth nobles, not less than 33 kings, will rule the region for more than two centuries, from their capital in Toledo.

Syrians, Arabs and Moorish Muslims conquered the kingdom in a few years since the Maghreb, in 711 the battle of the Guadalete took place. They founded Al-Ándalus, whose main city is Kuturba (Córdoba) on the banks of the Guadalquivir, the “Great River”. Eight centuries of presence summarized in four stages: the conquest by the Syrian troops of the Umayyad Caliphate followed by the independent emirate; the caliphate of Córdoba that marks the height of the Andalusian civilization; a period in which independent kingdoms, taifa, and control by North African Berber empires follow each other: Almorávides and Almohades; finally two centuries of resistance in “La Frontera” of the kingdom of Granada.

Medieval Christians. The crowns of Castile, Aragon, León and Navarra compete for the small northern kingdoms during the flourishing era of Al-Andalus, until their union allows them to conquer the Muslim territories definitively (a long and complex history: interreligious alliances were not uncommon, miracle of politics). Finally, the Catholic Monarchs reached their peak in 1492, the year that marked the end of the Middle Ages: Christopher Columbus, helped by the sailors of Huelva, discovered America (the Caribbean), the Kingdom of Granada capitula and Al-Andalus disappears, Jews are expelled from Spain. At the same time, on the one hand, the Canary Islands were conquered and, on the other hand, the Spanish Inquisition, founded to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in the kingdom, experienced its most intense period of activity, especially in Andalusian cities.

 

Modern age

The border spirit of the Castilians allows them to benefit from the glory and wealth inherited from Al-Andalus and the New World.

Juana, the daughter of the Catholic Monarchs, was married to a prince of the House of Austria and gave birth in Belgium to the future Carlos Quinto. It is the beginning of the Spanish Empire of the Habsburgs and the end of an independence of the proud Castilian nobles. The Guadalquivir being navigable, the port of Seville becomes the main gate of the West Indies and will be enriched during the following centuries. Note Úbeda and Baeza, two Renaissance cities in the province of Jaén. The Spanish fleet ensured the domination of the seas for three centuries (despite defeats such a the Invencible Spanish Armada). The first global empire was born, with Spanish possessions in all known continents, and reached its political peak with Felipe II (son of Carlos Quinto) and cultural with the Spanish Golden Age. The Habsburgs who abused a family marriage policy ended up succumbing to the negative effects of consanguinity: the last sovereign of the family, Carlos II, died tragically at age 38 in 1700. In the context of the war of succesion, from one hand the English invaded Gibraltar in 1704 and on the other hand the Bourbon family, of French origin, succeeded the throne, not without difficulty. Its first century is marked by the Enlightenment and Absolutism.

The preeminence of the Spanish Empire and its ally, the Roman Catholic Church, generated an anti-Spanish propaganda, known as Black Legend, by European political and religious powers in competition, which exaggerated (without inventing them) its negative aspects.

 

Contemporary age

Napoleon. The great event took place in 1805 with the Battle of Trafalgar. The British definitely won the French and Spanish allies the dominion of the seas that would propel the British Empire. Napoleon will subsequently carry out a continental policy: his troops will occupy Spain and form the French Empire. The Spanish independence war will continue (1808-1814), marked by the participation of England, the guerrillas and the total, cruel and devastating war, both for the loss of human lives, the suffering of the populations and for the destruction of industrial infrastructure and agricultural. The country is ruined and will lose its international influence, while the population is weakened and the countryside is full of former guerrillas. Spain experienced a strong political instability and the advent of democratic ideas: the Court of Cádiz (1814), the first republic (1873-1874), but finally knows the Restoration (1875).

The nineteenth century was the era of “romantic travelers” particularly passionate about Andalusia, mainly French and Anglo-Saxons, whose writings were the founders of an exotic and fantasized image of Spain.

Roman ornithophile mosaic in Italica.

The famous Patio des Lions, the height of the Kingdom of Granada.

Medieval gate to the Alhambra.

The San Rafael on the Roman Bridge of Cordoba.

Détails typiques d’une rue quelconque en Andalousie.


Andalusia is a melting pot where several civilizations have been successful and have been enriched by the cultural stratum left by their predecessors.

Prehistory

Neanderthals. The Iberian Peninsula was inhabited by hominids when modern humans landed 35,000 years ago from the north. Neanderthals survived in Andalusia until 27,000 years ago. Rock paintings (“Southern Art”) are abundant, especially in the Campo de Gibraltar Region. Numerous remains have been found dating back to the Copper Age (Chalcolithic culture) in Andalusian reliefs overlooking the Guadalquivir Depression.

 

 

Old age

The mineral wealth of Sierra Morena explains the constantly renewed attraction of Andalusia by later civilizations: Iberians, Celts, Phoenicians and Greeks. The most important civilization in contact with Greek travelers was Tartessos, the people of the great river of Andalusia. During ancient times, the Romans and the people of Carthage (of Phoenician origin) fought for the hegemony of the western Mediterranean during the Punic wars. Carthage was powerful in Iberia, but finally defeated and destroyed by Rome. The first two centuries before Christ are witnesses of the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula that becomes Hispania.

The Romans. The Betic province (named after the Baetis River), whose capital is Corduba, is one of the richest provinces of the Roman Empire: barn, precious metal mines, almost exclusive source of “garum” (luxury fish-based food) and olive oil. The region was so prestigious that it produced four of the most influential emperors in the history of the Empire: Trajan, Hadrian, Marco Aurelius and Theodosius.

Middle Ages

The fall of the Roman Empire was a gradual process, but two dates stand out for Hispania. In 476, the Vandals crossed the frozen Rhine and then the Pyrenees and occupied Hispania. The year 410 marks the end of antiquity, when the Visigoths invaded Rome. They will occupy the south of Gaul, but will be later expelled by the Franks and in turn they will expel the Vandals (!). The Visigoth nobles, not less than 33 kings, will rule the region for more than two centuries, from their capital in Toledo.

Syrians, Arabs and Moorish Muslims conquered the kingdom in a few years since the Maghreb, in 711 the battle of the Guadalete took place. They founded Al-Ándalus, whose main city is Kuturba (Córdoba) on the banks of the Guadalquivir, the “Great River”. Eight centuries of presence summarized in four stages: the conquest by the Syrian troops of the Umayyad Caliphate followed by the independent emirate; the caliphate of Córdoba that marks the height of the Andalusian civilization; a period in which independent kingdoms, taifa, and control by North African Berber empires follow each other: Almorávides and Almohades; finally two centuries of resistance in “La Frontera” of the kingdom of Granada.

Medieval Christians. The crowns of Castile, Aragon, León and Navarra compete for the small northern kingdoms during the flourishing era of Al-Andalus, until their union allows them to conquer the Muslim territories definitively (a long and complex history: interreligious alliances were not uncommon, miracle of politics). Finally, the Catholic Monarchs reached their peak in 1492, the year that marked the end of the Middle Ages: Christopher Columbus, helped by the sailors of Huelva, discovered America (the Caribbean), the Kingdom of Granada capitula and Al-Andalus disappears, Jews are expelled from Spain. At the same time, on the one hand, the Canary Islands were conquered and, on the other hand, the Spanish Inquisition, founded to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in the kingdom, experienced its most intense period of activity, especially in Andalusian cities.

 

Modern age

The border spirit of the Castilians allows them to benefit from the glory and wealth inherited from Al-Andalus and the New World.

Juana, the daughter of the Catholic Monarchs, was married to a prince of the House of Austria and gave birth in Belgium to the future Carlos Quinto. It is the beginning of the Spanish Empire of the Habsburgs and the end of an independence of the proud Castilian nobles. The Guadalquivir being navigable, the port of Seville becomes the main gate of the West Indies and will be enriched during the following centuries. Note Úbeda and Baeza, two Renaissance cities in the province of Jaén. The Spanish fleet ensured the domination of the seas for three centuries (despite defeats such a the Invencible Spanish Armada). The first global empire was born, with Spanish possessions in all known continents, and reached its political peak with Felipe II (son of Carlos Quinto) and cultural with the Spanish Golden Age. The Habsburgs who abused a family marriage policy ended up succumbing to the negative effects of consanguinity: the last sovereign of the family, Carlos II, died tragically at age 38 in 1700. In the context of the war of succesion, from one hand the English invaded Gibraltar in 1704 and on the other hand the Bourbon family, of French origin, succeeded the throne, not without difficulty. Its first century is marked by the Enlightenment and Absolutism.

The preeminence of the Spanish Empire and its ally, the Roman Catholic Church, generated an anti-Spanish propaganda, known as Black Legend, by European political and religious powers in competition, which exaggerated (without inventing them) its negative aspects.

 

Contemporary age

Napoleon. The great event took place in 1805 with the Battle of Trafalgar. The British definitely won the French and Spanish allies the dominion of the seas that would propel the British Empire. Napoleon will subsequently carry out a continental policy: his troops will occupy Spain and form the French Empire. The Spanish independence war will continue (1808-1814), marked by the participation of England, the guerrillas and the total, cruel and devastating war, both for the loss of human lives, the suffering of the populations and for the destruction of industrial infrastructure and agricultural. The country is ruined and will lose its international influence, while the population is weakened and the countryside is full of former guerrillas. Spain experienced a strong political instability and the advent of democratic ideas: the Court of Cádiz (1814), the first republic (1873-1874), but finally knows the Restoration (1875).

The nineteenth century was the era of “romantic travelers” particularly passionate about Andalusia, mainly French and Anglo-Saxons, whose writings were the founders of an exotic and fantasized image of Spain.