Spain (2)

Spain In ancient times what is now the kingdom of Spain was called Iberia. Its Latin name was Hispania, which, changed into Spanish, became Espana. With Portugal, it forms what is called the Pyrenean Peninsula, the whole constituting the most southerly and also the most westerly part of Europe. The average breadth of the whole peninsula is not far from 480 miles, and its length 600 miles, with an area of nearly 220,000 square miles. The area of Spain, which occupies by far the greater part of the Pyrenean Peninsula, is a little more than 184,000 square miles. It is bounded on the north by the Bay of Biscay and the Pyrenees, on the east by the Mediterranean Sea, on the south by the Mediterranean, the Straits of Gibraltar, and the Atlantic Ocean, and on the west, its southwesterly section by Portugal, and its northwesterly section by the Atlantic Ocean.

I. Physical Aspect. — Spain has an extended coastline, it being not far from 1400 miles in length, of which 770 miles belong to the Mediterranean and 600 miles to the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic. A part of this coast line is mountainous, and a part of it, especially to the southwest, is low and swampy, until it reaches the extreme south, when it rises suddenly to the well known Rock of Gibraltar. Another noticeable feature in the physical aspect of the country is its mountain system. Geographers lay down five distinct mountain belts, which are subdivided into minor ranges. These are the Pyrenees, which separate Spain from France, the Sierra de Guadarrama, the mountains of Toledo, the Sierra Morena, and the Sierra Nevada. Among the highest of these mountains are the Cerro de Mulahacen, 11,655 feet; Mount Nethou, 11,427 feet; Vignemale, 10,980 feet; Peak of Oo, 9730; and the Puerto del Pico, 8000. The river system of Spain embraces many deep and rapidly flowing streams. Among the largest of these are the Ebro, which flows east and empties into the Mediterranean, and the Douro, the Tagus, the Guadiana, and the Guadalquivir; the first two flowing nearly west and the last two southwest, and emptying into the Atlantic. Some of the smaller rivers are the Minho, the Guadalaviar, and the Xucar. So long a coastline as that of Spain furnishes, as might be supposed, many commodious bays and harbors. Among those on the east are Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia, Alicante, and Cartagena; on the north are Santander and Bilbao. The physical features of Spain to which allusion has been made give to this country marked variety in climate and soil and vegetable productions. The northern section of the kingdom is mountainous and hilly, and the character of the climate is such as to invite the labors of the husbandman. Accordingly this section of Spain has been given up largely to agriculture. The middle section is not so well situated. The absence of rains is followed by sterility and unproductiveness of the soil. There are great extremes of temperature, the summers being very hot and the winters very cold, while the springs and autumns are pleasant. Passing to the southern section, we find ourselves in a country having the characteristics of a tropical region. The winds from Africa blow upon it, and the effect of the hot rays of the sun reflected from the lofty mountain walls is very marked. And yet, as a whole, Southern Spain is exceedingly fertile. Frosts are not known in Andalusia. Snow seldom falls, and when it does melts at once. Such is the character of the climate and soil of the country that Spain ranks among the most fruitful of all the countries of Europe. Every kind of cereal can be grown in some part of the kingdom, and the fruits of the most northern part of the temperate zone and of the most southern part of the tropical regions are raised there. The cultivation of the vine has been carried to a high state of perfection, and the Spanish vines are reckoned among the finest in the world. Perhaps the most noted of these are the Xeres, or sherry, and the Malaga.

II. Political Divisions. — We give these as they were a few years ago, no essential changes having occurred since with the population as shown by the census of 1884.

Bible concordance for SPAIN.

III. History. — We divide the history of Spain into three periods: first, from the earliest traditions respecting its settlement down to A.D. 427, when it fell into the hands of the Goths; second, from A.D. 427 to the latter part of the 15th century, bringing us to the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella; third, from this latter period to the present time.

1. There are some traditions which refer the early settlement of Spain to the grandson of Noah, Tubal, who was said to have conducted colonies thither from the East. Little confidence, however, can be placed in these traditions. The Iberians are the earliest inhabitants of whom we have any trustworthy account. At what time the Celts migrated to this section of Europe, and precisely from what region they came, is matter of unsettled dispute. The Phoenicians, whose colonies were found in so many places, established themselves at an early period on the coasts of Spain, founding such places as Tartesus (the Tarshish of the Bible) and Gades, now Cadiz. Next came the Carthaginians, who succeeded in gradually subduing no small part of Andalusia, and brought it under subjection to Carthage, B.C. 238. Then followed the conquest of Spain by the Roman arms, two centuries being occupied in almost continual fighting. The Punic wars are among the most celebrated in history — wars which always more or less affected the fortunes of Spain, because of the intimate connection which that country held with Carthage, the rival and foe of Rome. Upon its subjugation the name by which the country had been known, Iberia, was changed to Hispania; and the whole region, brought under the Roman power, was divided by the river Ebro into two sections, the one called Citerior and the other Ulterior. These two sections Augustus formed into three, giving them the names of Baetica, Lusitania, and Tarraco, the second of these divisions corresponding in large part with what is now Portugal. The Roman emperor, with a wise policy, removed the cohorts of the army, composed mostly of natives of the country, to other and more distant sections of the empire, substituting for them the imperial legions, and in this way Romanizing the country which he had brought under his subjection. The end aimed at was at length in great measure secured, and Hispania, or Spain, became very largely Roman in spirit and manners, and perhaps the wealthiest and the most productive of all the provinces annexed to the empire. Gibbon, quoting from Strabo and Pliny, after alluding to the circumstance that almost "every part of the soil was found pregnant with copper, silver, and gold," says that "mention is made of a mine near Cartagena which, yielded every day twenty-five thousand drachms of silver, or about three hundred thousand pounds a year. Twenty thousand pounds' weight of gold was annually received from the provinces of Asturia, Galicia, and Lusitania." On the whole, general prosperity attended the administration of affairs under the emperors down to the death of Constantine, A.D. 337. Somewhat more than a half century passed away when the vast hordes of Northern barbarians, who brought such desolation to the Roman empire, had made no inconsiderable progress in their attacks upon their more civilized neighbors of the South. Spain fell before their victorious onsets. The Vandals, the Suevi, and other Germanic tribes so wasted the country that many parts of it became almost literally a desert. After the conquerors had somewhat restored the desolated region, there came another fierce tribe, the Goths, who under Wallia wrested it from their hands. The tribes which for so many years had held sway over the land were in part subjugated and in part destroyed or exiled from the country, and the Goths remained masters of nearly the whole of Spain (427).

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

2. We date the commencement of the second period of the history of Spain at A.D. 427, when, as we have seen, the Goths were in possession of the country. But that possession was never an undisturbed one. The subjugated Suevi called to their aid the Romans, and succeeded in recovering a part of the territory they had lost. "The peninsula, having become one great battlefield to three contending hosts — the Goths, the Romans, and the Suevi — was plunged into the most abject misery, and, from the Pyrenees to the Sea of Africa, was overspread with innumerable swarms, which, like so many locusts, utterly destroyed the spots on which they settled." The names of the Gothic kings which stand out in special prominence during the next century or two are Euric, who ascended the throne in A.D. 466, and was really the founder of the Gothic kingdom in Spain and its first legislator; Amalaric, the grandson of Euric, A.D. 522, the first king who set up anything like a court in Spain; Recared I, A.D. 587, who induced the Goths, who had been Arians, to adopt the Catholic faith; Wamba, A.D. 673; who, anticipating the inroads of the Saracens into Spain, built a fleet to guard the coasts against their attacks; and Roderic, who came into possession of the throne in A.D. 680. A party was formed against him which called to its assistance the Arabs dwelling on the north coast of Africa, in Mauritania, and hence called Moors — a name so memorable in subsequent Spanish history. A battle, waged for three days and accompanied with fearful slaughter on both sides, was fought on the plains of Jeres de la Frontera in July, 711, and the Goths were defeated. Other victories of the Moors in a few years brought the whole of Spain, with the exception of some mountain fastnesses, under the dominion of the Moors. The story of Moorish ascendency in Spain is too long to rehearse in this place. There were periods of great prosperity under the rule of the Moors. So celebrated became some of their institutions of learning that they were resorted to by Christian scholars from all parts of civilized Europe. Gradually the Christians of Spain, who, under the general subjugation of the country, had fled to its hills and mountains, grew more courageous, and were able not only to stand on the defensive, but even to attack the common foe. Three confederated provinces Navarre, Castile, and Leon took up arms against the foe, and nearly succeeded in gaining a victory over the Moors in 1001. A check was given to their hitherto successful career from which they never fully recovered; and henceforth there was very distinctly a Christian Spain in the more northerly sections of the country, and a Mohammedan Spain in the more southerly sections, which were continually at war with each other. Neither side was seldom in perfect accord within its own domains. Petty rivalries existed among both the Christian and the Moorish princes, which prevented long continued success on the side of either party. At last, the Christian princes succeeded in laying aside for a time their petty animosities, and formed a league combining all their forces. A sanguinary battle was fought in A.D. 1212 on the plains of Tolosa, in the Sierra Morena, in which the Moors were defeated. During the next half century the conquest of the Moors went on. Their territorial limits continually grew more restricted, until there was left to them little besides the kingdom of Granada. At length, in the year 1482, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, the last sovereign of Granada, Boabdil, was defeated, and the empire of the Moors in Spain, after an existence of nearly eight centuries, came to an end.

3. Our survey of the history of Spain from the overthrow of the Moors, in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, down to the present time must necessarily be rapid. The condition of the conquered race was made exceedingly wretched, worse even, as it would seem, than was that of the Christians while under the Saracenic authority. It has justly been remarked by Robertson, the historian, that "the followers of Mohammed are the only enthusiasts who have united the spirit of toleration with zeal for making proselytes, and who, at the same time that they took arms to propagate the doctrine of their prophet, permitted such as would not embrace it to adhere to their own tenets and to practice their own rites." As a consequence of the persecutions which they suffered at the hands of the Spaniards, the Moors abandoned the country in which for so many hundreds of years they had lived, and to the possession of which their natural right was just as good as that of the Spaniards. It is estimated that from the reign of Ferdinand of Castile to that of Philip III more than three millions of these people left their native land, carrying with them not only a great part of their acquired wealth, but that industry and love of labor which are the foundation of national prosperity. Another fatal blow to the prosperity of Spain was the expulsion of the Jews, who directed the commerce of the country, and held in their hands so large a part of its movable property in the form of the precious metals and of costly jewels.

The great events which occurred under the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella are too familiar to need a special recital, and we may pass on to the times of Charles V (the title by which he is best known), being Charles I of Spain, the grandson of Isabella. During his long reign of forty years Spain reached the highest point of her prosperity. What she accomplished on both sides of the Atlantic, how the Spanish arms were everywhere victorious in Europe, how the proud Francis I of France and the Protestant princes of Germany were humbled, and the onsets of the barbarous Turks were repelled, and how Charles V saw himself standing first among the sovereigns of Europe — all these things are well known to readers of history. Philip II succeeded his father, Charles V. The great aim of his administration was the extirpation of heresy and the complete establishment of the Roman Catholic faith. The process of decay in Spain commenced under his reign. The immense riches which flowed into the country from the Spanish possessions in America proved a curse instead of a blessing. The people became luxurious, indolent, and effeminate, so that when Philip II, who, with all the glaring faults of his character, was an energetic monarch, died, and the scepter came into the hands of his successor, Philip III, a weak and unenterprising prince, Spain rapidly fell from its high estate. The destruction or expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Moriscos, descendants of the Moors, brought about the same state of things in Spain which the destruction and expulsion of the Huguenots had produced in France. Some of the most profitable of the industrial arts almost ceased to be practiced. Large sections of the country were so completely depopulated that they have been but little better than barren wastes ever since. Under succeeding monarchs the decline in the fortunes of unhappy Spain continued. The falling off in the population was so great that in thirty-two years, from 1668 to 1700, it had gone down from eleven millions to eight millions. With the accession to the throne of Philip of Anjou, a Bourbon prince, who was king of Spain under the title of Philip 5, a better day seemed to dawn on Spain, not because her own sons took the lead in civil affairs, but because they were guided by the more skilful hands of French statesmen. But the claim of Philip to the throne was resisted by Germany, England, and Holland; and the "War of the Spanish Succession," continued on for thirteen years, was the result of the controversy. Although Philip retained his throne, yet he came out of the contest stripped of no small part of the territories which had once belonged to Spain. Coming down to the times of Charles III (1759-88), we find an improved state of things, at least so far as the internal affairs of the kingdom were concerned.

Externally, however, constant humiliation attended the military movements of Spain. Both on the land and the sea defeat was the rule, victory the exception. In 1797 occurred the defeat of the Spanish fleet near Cape St. Vincent, and the almost complete annihilation of the combined fleets of France and Spain by Lord Nelson at Trafalgar, Oct. 21, 1805. A few years later we find Napoleon setting aside the claims of all aspirants to royal authority in Spain, and placing his brother Joseph on the throne. Insurrection everywhere followed what was considered a high handed outrage. A treaty of alliance was formed with England, which recognized Ferdinand VII as lawful monarch of Spain. Fortune, for a time, everywhere favored the French arms. The two victories of Wellington, however — that at Victoria, June 21, 1813, and at Toulouse, April 10, 1814 — turned the scale, and Spain was once more free. But for years everything was in a most unsettled condition. Liberal opinions gradually gained a foothold among the people. Attempts were made to bring about radical reforms. At times success seemed to crown these efforts, but soon the order of things would be reversed. Absolutism and despotism would crush out all progress, and the liberal party be thrown again into the shade. Such has been the state of things the last half century. The story of the reign of queen Isabella II is full of interest, but it is too long to relate in a brief article like this. It must suffice to say that from the time when she was declared to be of age, Nov. 8, 1843, down to her flight to France, on the defeat of the royal army at Alcala, Sept. 28, 1868, her life and fortunes were of a singularly checkered character. The departure of Isabella led to the formation of a provincial government, which in a year or two was followed by the accession to the throne of king Amadeus, the second son of Victor Emmanuel of Italy, who accepted the crown Dec. 4, 1870. It was an uncomfortable position in which the new king found himself, and he resigned it Feb. 11, 1873. The attempt to establish a republic (the most distinguished leader in which movement was Don Emilio Castelar), the efforts put forth by Don Carlos to obtain the throne, and the failure of both republicans and, royalists to accomplish their purposes bring us down almost to our own times. Alfonso, the son of Isabella II, was proclaimed king Jan. 9, 1875, and is now apparently in permanent possession of the crown. But in a kingdom whose history for so many centuries has been a history of change and revolution there can be but little stability; and he must be a wise man who can with certainty predict what will be the condition of things in Spain a year hence.

4. Religion. — When the Christian religion was introduced into Spain is not a settled question with ecclesiastical historians. Paul, writing from Corinth to the disciples in Rome, alludes to a journey which he proposes to take into Spain, but whether he went or not is not known. One of the fathers, Theodoret, says that after Paul was released from his captivity — when he had been tried at the bar of Nero and acquitted — he went to Spain, and there spent two years. In Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul, the authorities on the subject are given (2, 437-439), and the conclusion is reached that the apostle went to Spain and there preached the Gospel. Tradition also asserts that James the elder went to Spain as a herald of the Gospel. If we come down to the times of the persecutions by the Roman emperors, we shall find abundant evidence that all along during those ages of trial through which Christianity passed martyrs to the faith were found in Spain as well as in other parts of the Roman empire. The conversion of Constantine the Great was followed everywhere throughout the countries which had been brought into subjection to the Roman arms by the widest toleration of the faith which he had embraced. And when, subsequently, the Goths obtained possession of Spain, we find that as, in the lapse of time, the affairs of the kingdom became settled, the jurisdiction of the monarch extended to the nomination of bishops, and that he presided, if he wished, at ecclesiastical tribunals, convoked national councils, and regulated the discipline of the Church. In due time the supremacy of the pope came to be acknowledged, and the peculiarities of the episcopal form of Church government were generally carried out. There were metropolitan sees, the heads of which held jurisdiction over their subordinates; while these subordinates, in turn, exercised authority over the lower grades of the ministry. It is said that the cathedrals and parish churches were in general well endowed, lay patronage excited, and monasteries introduced. The conquest of Spain by the Moors introduced a new state of things into the country. The Moors were Mohammedans; but, as has already been stated, they were inclined to be tolerant so long as the Christians conducted themselves in an orderly manner and did not oppose or revile the religious faith of their conquerors. There were not wanting cases of persons who, because they could not do otherwise, in the exercise of their conscientious convictions, than attempt to make converts from Mohammedanism, or in some way show their contempt for the religion of the Moors, suffered martyrdom. A candid review, however, of the whole history of Spain during the eight hundred years nearly that the Saracens held sway over that country must convince us that the sufferings which the Christians endured during this very long period bore no comparison to those which the Moors endured in the comparatively short period that Philip II was on the throne.

Upon the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, the whole country may be said to have come under the jurisdiction of the pope of Rome, and to have become as intensely Roman Catholic as any country in Europe, not excepting Italy itself. Previous to the year 1868 no other religion was recognized by law, and to attempt to introduce any one of the forms of the Protestant faith was an indictable offense. This is not the place to speak at large of the persecutions which the, Romish Church for ages carried on against heretics and infidels, of the establishment and atrocities of the Inquisition — first introduced by St. Dominic to "inquire" after the condition of the Jews and Moors who became Christians — or of the acts of the Jesuits in Spain. It is more pleasant to speak of the dawn of what, it is to be hoped, will prove to be a brighter day in respect to religious toleration. Although Protestantism has gained but the smallest foothold, comparatively, in the kingdom, and its followers are still subject to many disabilities, it is matter for congratulation that the right of private judgment in matters of religion is, in form at least, recognized, and the hope may reasonably be cherished that persecution on account of one's religious faith will not again be sanctioned by law.

5. The authorities to which the general reader is referred on matters relating to the history, etc., of Spain are very numerous. Among English and American writers are Gibbon, Robertson, Hallam, Prescott, Irving, and Ticknor, whose Spanish Literature (N.Y. 1854) holds a place acknowledged even by Spanish writers to be second to the production of no other author. Sketches of the history of the introduction and progress of Christianity in Spain may be found in all ecclesiastical historians. Likewise all writers of French and English histories treat largely of matters connected with Spanish history, because of the intimate connection which these three countries have sustained to each other. The article in the Encyclopedia Britannica gives a good account of the history of Spain. See also the following: Hurtado de Mendoza, Guerra de Granada, que hizo el Rei D. Felipe II contra los Moriscos de aquel Reino sus Rebeldos (Valencia, 1776, sm. 4to, new ed.); History of Spain, from the Establishment of the Colony of Gades by the Phoenicians to the Death of Ferdinand, surnamed the Sage, by the Author of the History of France (Lond. 1793), vol. 1-3, map; Beawes, Civil, Commercial, Political, and

Literary History of Spain and Portugal (ibid. 1793, 2 vols. fol.); Murphy, The History of the Mohammedan Empire in Spain, containing a General History of the Arabs, their Institutions, Conquests, Literature, Arts, Sciences, and Manners, to the Expulsion of the Moors, designed as an Introduction to the Arabian Antiquities of Spain; Power, The History of the Empire of the Mussulmans in Spain and Portugal from the First Invasion of the Moors to their Ultimate Expulsion from the Peninsula (Lond. 1815, 8vo); Dunham, History of Spain and Portugal (ibid. 1832- 33, 5 vols. 12mo) Viardot, Essai sur l'Histoire des Arabes et des Mores d'Espagne (Paris, 1833-34, 3 vols. 8vo); Mahon [Lord], History of the War of the Succession in Spain (2d ed. Lond. 1836); Ahmed Ben Jusof Teifacite, The History of the Mohammedan Dynasty in Spain, transl. by Pascal de Gayangos (ibid. 1840, 4 vols. 4to); Londonderry [Marquis of], Story of the Peninsular War (new ed. revised, with considerable additions, N.Y. 1848, 12mo); Southey, The Chronicle of the Cid, from the Spanish (Lond. 1846, 8vo); Ferreras, Histoire Générale d'Espagne, transl. from the Spanish by M. d'Hermilly (Amsterdam, 1851, 10 vols. 4to). (J.C.S.)

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