Spain Prehistory and Early History

Rate this post


The presence of man in Spain is attested in the lower Paleolithic (Abbevillian, Acheulean) and middle (Mousterian). Among the most ancient remains are the archaic forms of Homo sapiens coming from deposits of the Middle Pleistocene of the Sierra of Atapuerca (Burgos). During the Upper Paleolithic, in the north of the Iberian Peninsula there was a cultural succession with the Aurignacian, Solutrean and Magdalenian aspects. For Spain history, please check

● During this long period of time in the northern Spain Franco-Cantabrian art developed (➔ # 10132;) also widespread in the Spanish Levant (Grotta del Parpalló), and industrial aspects with North African affinities infiltrated in the South, as in the Pileta cave, where there are parietal representations of animals in a naturalistic style close to the Franco-Cantabrian one. This naturalistic rock painting then gradually transformed into a schematic art, with stylization of human and animal figures.

● At the beginning of the Holocene, Azilian Mesolithic industry spread in the northern part of Spain Mesolithic and Neolithic are the køkkenmøddinger (heaps of waste, mostly shells of molluscs, which indicate coastal settlements) extending near the Atlantic, from the region of Baiona to Portugal, partly connected with the Asturian industrial aspect. embossed ceramic and epicardial, facies of Chassey). In the transition period from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, the megalithic civilization developed, with dolmenic tombs and buildings that originated from the dolmen: the megalithic cells, preceded by an access corridor, and the cells covered by a sort of dome raised with blocks of overlapping stone, preceded by a corridor. This transition period, also known as the Iberian Eneolithic, flourished in the southern Spain with the city of Los Millares in Almería, made up of houses with stone walls, defenses from agger and pit; nearby were dolmenic tombs with a projecting dome. From Almería and the finitime regions come female idols of schist, alabaster and bone, in which the human figure is reduced to two triangles joined at the top, representation that is also observed in the coeval schematic rock art. Conspicuous the quantity of weapons and lithic tools; objects of copper and gold are scarce. In art ceramics, the bell-shaped glass, which spread to western and central Europe.

● The next short cultural facies, called argarica, were followed by many centuries throughout the Iberian Peninsula in which various local aspects developed. The talaiots (➔ # 10132;) of the Balearics, similar to Sardinian nuraghi, date back to a recent period of the Bronze Age civilization ; the ceramics of the Campi di Urne civilization in the north-east of the Spain finally the Iberian-Celtic culture appears, with a high degree of civilization.


The territory of the current Spain was colonized in the 1st millennium BC by Phoenicians, Celts, Greeks, Carthaginians, and finally conquered by the Romans (3rd-2nd century BC) thanks to the campaigns of P. Scipione Africano (210-206 B.C). During the republican age there were numerous uprisings of the indigenous peoples; the provinces were pacified under Augustus, and, thanks to the intense colonization, they were deeply Romanized and had a great economic development. Christianized in the 2nd-3rd century, early 5th century. they suffered the invasions of Vandals, Svevi and Alani (409), then of the Visigoths (415), who organized a vast Roman-barbarian kingdom with Toledo as its capital. However, they were not entirely successful in the work of consolidating the state. The conversion of King Recaredo followed(586-601) from the air; nth to Catholicism with the consequent participation of the high clergy in the government (Councils of Toledo), and the legislative unification carried out by King Recesvindo (649-72) with the promulgation of a Lex Wisigothorum, which abolished the traditional duality of rights between losers and winners: the high nobility, mistress of vast estates, maintained a high degree of autonomy in the face of royal power. In the last decades of the 7th century. it became clear that the king was unable to keep the high clergy and nobility under control even by force.

Arab domination

In 710 the Spain was overwhelmed by Arabs and Berbers of Muslim religion from northern Africa, who led by Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād put an end to the dominion of the Visigoths, now weakened, and conquered much of the Spanish territory (711), starting a a domination destined to last until 1492. ● The conquerors, later called Moors by the Spaniards and also, later, with a pejorative meaning, Moriscos, were well received by the indigenous population, intolerant of the exaggerated Visigothic fiscalism; the broad religious tolerance facilitated the transformation of the occupation of the country into a stable conquest (in 713 the caliph of Damascus was proclaimed sovereign of the occupied region in Toledo). The revolt of the Berbers (732-756), dissatisfied with having had the poorest regions (Galicia, Asturias, León), repressed in blood, it caused their emigration to the south. The border line of the Muslim Spain thus became a touching line Coimbra, Coria, Talavera, Toledo, Guadalajara, Tudela and Pamplona and, in the central Pyrenees, did not go beyond Alquézar (Sobrarbe), Roda (Ribagorza), Ager (Pallás), leaving out the north-western regions of the Iberian Peninsula. ● The Umayyad ‛Abd ar-Raḥmān I, who made himself recognized as Emir of Cordova (756), firmly organized the country, effectively removing it from the sovereignty of the Caliph of Baghdad. The serious crises that subsequently upset the Spain (the revolts of ‘renegades’, that is, Catholics converted to Islam, and of Catholics against the powerful fuqahā’ or jurisconsults; the attraction exercised on the Catholics subjects of the Arabs by the tiny saved Christian states from the invasion; the uprisings of noble Arabs and renegades; raids of the Normans started in 844; the struggle between Berbers and Arabs) failed to break the state created by ‛Abd ar-Raḥmān, which resisted until the 11th century. After a period of almost general anarchy (9th century), in fact, the unity was saved by ‛Abd ar-Raḥmān III, the greatest of the Spanish Umayyads (912-61) who assumed the title of caliph in Cordoba (929). The epoch of the Caliphate of Cordoba was the most splendid period of the Muslim Spain: a great civilization flourished, admirable for economic development (agricultural, but also industrial), sumptuous for buildings and cultural tone; the apex of political power was reached, under the caliphate of Hishām II (976-1008), with the general al-Manṣūr, who invaded the kingdom of León and conquered Barcelona, ​​reaching up to Santiago de Compostela (997). Dead al-Manṣūr (1002), civil and racial struggles, social upheavals with a religious background, etc. they upset the caliphate, which then collapsed due to an internal crisis in 1031 and was divided into small states, the so-called kingdoms of Taifas, ruled by powerful families.

Spain Prehistory

You may also like...