Spain News - History

Spain News - History


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Dozens killed in 2nd Nigeria blast

Ancient Underwater Ruins Found off the Coast of Spain… Atlantis Again?

The coast of southern Spain is an archaeological wonderland with thousands of ruins from ancient Roman and Greek cultures, but hidden among these crumbling stones, scientists from a private satellite imaging firm claim to have found evidence of “a lost city with huge harbour walls", which they believe was built by the legendary “Atlanteans,” over 10,000 years ago – the legendary city of Atlantis.

In 400 BC Greek philosopher Plato wrote not the history of, but the ‘ story’ of Atlantis in his dialogues, the Timaeus and the Critias, written about 330 BC. Describing the catastrophic collapse of an island dwelling maritime civilization that had used high technology 9,000 years before Plato’s own lifetime , the capital city of Atlantis was described as having “huge entrance pillars, a temple to the god Poseidon, massive circular pieces of habitable land, and all this protected by ‘enormous harbour walls’.

Despite any proven truth to the story, countless Atlantis “experts” have all successfully located the famous lost continent in places such as: the Atlantic Ocean, Antarctica, Bolivia, Turkey, Germany, Malta and the Caribbean. Only two months ago The Express published a similar article claiming a researcher had “finally discovered Atlantis” in the Sahara. Plato, however, was crystal clear about where Atlantis was located: “in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, 'the pillars of Heracles,’ i.e. “The pillars of Hercules" or the Straits of Gibraltar, at the mouth of the Mediterranean.

Atlantis was described as having huge entrance pillars and enormous harbour walls. (Public domain illustration)

Spanish Music and Dancing

Inevitably, an immersive Spanish experience includes music and dance, of which Spain has no shortage. Flamenco music is often considered the country’s national music, but in reality, the style didn’t arrive in Spain until the early 19th century. Some of Spain’s older music, often traditional to specific regions in the nation, flies under the radar for visitors.

The Renaissance and Baroque periods proved pivotal in developing Spanish traditions in music. The Renaissance produced classical music, whereas lighter folk music came out of the Baroque period, in many ways overshadowing Renaissance-era Spanish music. Traditional folk music in Spain was stifled under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in the 20th century, as Franco banned regional music in an attempt to create a uniform, nationalist country. Franco's death in 1975 sparked a revival in regional pride and traditional folk music.

Now, music and dance genres abound in Spain, each telling its own story. Some of Spain’s most popular musical stylings include:

  • Jota: This fast-paced genre originated in Aragon, but it proves popular through the whole country. Jota dances traditionally consist of couples raising their hands above their heads, playing castanets.
  • Fandango: Before flamenco, fandango was the most popular dance in Spain. It’s traditionally performed by couples, and it's generally energetic and joyful.
  • Flamenco: No visit to Spain is complete without a flamenco night, so ask your concierge or Spanish contacts where to find the best ones. The genre originated in Andalusia’s gypsy culture, combining Jewish, Moorish and Andalusian influences.
  • Paso Doble: This is a one-step traditional dance, usually performed with a fast, lively attitude.
  • Sardana: This style of dance, in which several couples join hands to dance in a circle, originated in Catalonia.
  • Muneira: Accompanied by bagpipes, this dance is traditional to Galicia and Asturias, and it can be danced by singles or couples.
  • Bolero: This is one of the oldest traditional Spanish dances, and it features a fast-paced, spirited attitude, broken up by unexpected pauses and turns.
  • Sevillanas: Relatively similar to flamenco, these dances feature four-part music and a four-part dance.
  • Zambra: This dance is rooted in Moorish tradition, but the Moors adapted it to Spanish music and dance trends.

‘Study the History of Spain,’ Robin Padilla Tells Social Media User After He Was Criticized

MANILA, Philippines — Actor Robin Padilla told a Facebook user to “study the history of Spain it may give you some light where this ignorance is coming from” after he was criticized for defending a politician’s remark that Lapulapu is from Sulu.

On Saturday, a Facebook user commented on a post by news website The Filipino Times, which shared a link to a story that Padilla defended the lawmaker’s statement, saying that the actor is “a prime example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.” The social media user’s comment was accompanied by a quote from the website Science Direct, explaining the said cognitive bias.

In return, Padilla wrote a lengthy response through his Facebook page — directly addressing the Facebook user.

“Wow (redacted) you got to be kidding. Are you from Ateneo? de la salle? UST? All Spanish established schools for insulares, peninsulares and mestizos … No Reconquista will accept a defeat from a moor/Moro. Historians from this Reconquista schools will definitely say I am liar and a fool. Only a moro will fight a foreigner never a pagan. In the entire military and religious campaign of the Spanish in the 16th century only the Moros defended the islands of this country. Study the history of Spain it may give you some light where this ignorance is coming from. Your dunning- Kruger effect is you,” the actor said.

Padilla also expressed that “history is written by victors of the war” and told the social media user if they can only “set aside your biases and accept reality as it is. The first casualty of Colonization is the truth.”

“Professing to be wise but you are a fool,” he ended.

Meanwhile, a Facebook page named High School Philippine History Movement refuted Padilla’s claim that De La Salle University is a “Spanish-established school.”

“De La Salle University (DLSU-Manila) was founded on June 16, 1911 during the American era … It was not established during the Spanish period by the Spanish friars. These are irrefutable historical facts,” they wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.

“Let’s listen to the experts. Please avoid believing pseudohistorians,” they added.

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Timeline of Catalan separatism that has rocked Spain

Here’s a look at some key dates of Catalonia’s separatist movement.

Large demonstrations to protest this week’s conviction of 12 leaders of Catalonia‘s swelling separatist movement turned violent at times.

The 12 were at the forefront of a secession attempt in 2017 that led to the biggest political crisis in Spain‘s modern history.

Polls show that the 7.5 million residents in the prosperous industrial region remain roughly divided over the independence issue.

Here is a look at some key dates in the political crisis:

June 28, 2010 – Many Catalans are angered by a court ruling that watered downed a sweeping new law that gave more powers to its regional government. Pro-secession sentiment grows, driven by Spain’s economic troubles.

September 11, 2012 – Hundreds of thousands take to the streets of Barcelona to back independence.

November 25, 2012 – In a first, political parties supporting independence win the most seats – but not the most votes – in the Catalan regional parliament.

November 9, 2014 – After Spain’s government refused to authorize an independence referendum, Catalan authorities ignore a prohibition by the Constitutional Court and hold a mock vote anyway. The regional president at the time, Artur Mas, and three Catalan Cabinet members were later fined for disobedience and misuse of public funds.

June 9, 2017 – Carles Puigdemont, Mas’ successor, announces plans for a “binding” referendum on independence. That is despite repeated warnings by central authorities and courts that it would be illegal. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy pledges to stop the vote.

October 1, 2017 – Over two million people turn out at schools to vote in the referendum. Most of the Catalans who want to remain part of Spain stay at home. While Catalan police mostly stand down, Civil Guard and National Police officers in riot gear raid several polling stations, clashing violently with voters. Puigdemont claims an overwhelming victory for secession in the referendum.

October 16, 2017 – A judge orders the arrest of separatist leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart on suspicion of sedition.

October 27, 2017 – Puigdemont considers calling a snap election to defuse the crisis, but he decides to plough forward and the Catalan Parliament declares Catalonia an independent republic. No foreign power recognizes the declaration. Rajoy immediately invokes constitutional powers to take over Catalonia’s affairs, firing Puigdemont and his Cabinet.

October 31, 2017 – Puigdemont and several members of his deposed Cabinet flee to Belgium. Puigdemont will go on to successfully fight extradition to Spain. He establishes residence in Waterloo.

November 2, 2017 – A judge orders Puigdemont’s number two, Oriol Junqueras, and eight other members of the former Catalan government who did not flee to be taken into custody.

February 12, 2019 – The trial of Junqueras, Cuixart, Sanchez, and nine associates begins at the Supreme Court in Madrid.

June 12, 2019 – The hearings conclude after questioning 500 witnesses, all broadcast live on television.

October 14, 2019 – The Supreme Court issues a guilty verdict for all 12 and sends nine to prison. Junqueras receives 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds. Eight more, including Cuixart and Sànchez, get sentences ranging from nine to 12 years.

They are all acquitted of the most serious charge of rebellion which carries sentences up to 25 years.

Separately, a judge issues an international arrest warrant for Puigdemont. Peaceful protests ensue, with riots breaking out for five days in a row in Barcelona and other towns.

The history of Spain’s iconic chiringuitos

A little late this year, perhaps, but COVID-19 has not altered the allure of wining and dining on the Mediterranean shoreline with your toes in the sand.

And where else can you enjoy the freshest fish, caught the same morning from the very ocean lapping at your feet.

Sardinas! The daily catch is threaded onto wooden espeto skewers and gently grilled over hot embers, often from traditional blue fishing boats.

Along with an ice cold beer or a chilled white wine and uninterrupted Med views, it’s the perfect treat on a hot summer’s day.

Often ‘temporary’ establishments boarded up in winter or dismantled and reassembled from scratch, chiringuitos blossom into thriving locations come summer to become an indispensable aspect of beachgoing in Spain.

INCEPTION: Spain’s ‘first’ chiringuito in Sitges

Yet for such an iconic Spanish summer tradition, their history is not well known, maybe because it is hotly disputed.

In the 1930s, ‘chiringuito’ was used to describe open air food and drink stalls in Catalunya and the Balearic Islands, and the term spread throughout the country. However, a chiringuito in Barcelona claims to be the original and first of its kind in Spain.

Taking pride of place on Ribera de Sitges beach, ‘El Chiringuito’ first opened its doors in 1913. The name was bestowed by one of their most regular customers, a journalist called Cesar Gonzales-Ruano who nicknamed his favourite writing spot after the Cuban name for coffee, ‘chiringo’.

Ruano is said to have chosen the name in homage to his time in Cuba, where ‘chiringo’ was the name given to the coffee 19th century sugar cane workers drank during their break time. It is believed that small kiosks made of cane and leaves were built so that the workers would have somewhere to sit and sip their chiringos.

However, Diario de León recently published an article claiming an alternative origin. Their theory is based on an 1899 report in La Publicidad detailing an arrest on Barcelona’s Paseo de Colón, right next to a drinks kiosk called ‘El Chiringuito.’ The article also theorised that the word chiringuito originates from rum, not coffee, as it was the name for cane brandy in 18th century Spain.

The Real Academia Española, however, considers the Sitges ‘El Chiringuito’ as the first and original in Spain, and the first to coin the word with that meaning. A letter sent to the owners in 1983, still displayed on the wall to this day, confirms that the word ‘chiringuito’ and its new meaning would be added to the official Spanish dictionary.

Traditionally, chiringuitos open in June for midsummer’s San Juan beach bonfires (cancelled this year) and close in mid-October. Between those dates, you’ll be most unlucky to find a beach in Spain without one.

With their reputation for fresh fish, a repertoire that extends to cod, swordfish, prawns, squid, octopus, and sea bass, garnished with crisp and colourful salads harvested from the local huertas, you can’t miss this quintessential beach dining experience.

Ancient battlefield, site of Hannibal's first major victory, discovered in Spain, researchers say

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An ancient battlefield believed to be the site of Hannibal’s first major victory has been discovered in central Spain.

The Carthaginian general famously led his army and dozens of elephants to invade Italy. His audacious trek across the Alps occurred during the second Punic War against Rome, which lasted from 218 B.C. to 201 B.C.

Before his invasion of Italy, however, Hannibal fought a number of engagements in what is now Spain. A site near Driebes in the province of Guadalajara has now been identified as the possible location of the Battle of the Tagus in 220 B.C., according to experts.

Spanish news site ABC reported that the location of the battle has long been a mystery, with a number of different locations suggested. Now, however, archaeologists have identified a site on a pre-Roman road that crossed the river Tagus near the ancient settlement of Caraca.

Detail of the fresco on Hannibal, Hannibal riding his elephant, Italy, Rome, Capitole museum. (Photo by Photo12/UIG/Getty Images)

Researchers think that the site also offered Hannibal and his outnumbered troops a key tactical advantage, according to El Pais. Hannibal, regarded as one of the foremost military tacticians of the ancient world, cleverly placed his 25,000-strong Carthaginian army and 40 elephants in defensive positions on the bank of the river Tagus to defeat a 100,000-strong force of local tribes.

In their study, the experts explained that Hannibal’s army was returning to its base Qart Hadasht, which is now the modern-day Spanish city of Cartagena, after conquering the city of Helmantica (now modern-day Salamanca). Laid down with the spoils of war, Hannibal’s forces would have taken the fastest route back to Qart Hadasht, researches said, which would have taken them across the Tagus near Driebes.

Temporarily stable fords are also a feature of that part of the river Tagus, according to researchers. Local tribes are believed to have used the fords to attack Hannibal’s forces, effectively entering into a trap where they were picked off by the Carthaginian troops.

Researchers also identified the remains of a square or quadrangular structure at the site, believed to be part of a palisade designed to force the tribes through two of the fords over the Tagus.

In a translation of the research paper, experts also noted that what appears to be a moat was discovered near the structure. “There is a depression of about one meter [3.28 feet] as a channel on both the N [north] and W [west] edges of said quadrangular structure,” they explained. “This channel or depression could be associated with a moat excavated before the battle.”

Other clues into Hannibal’s military campaigns have been uncovered in recent years. In 2016, scientists revealed that they may have unlocked one of the great puzzles of the ancient world, analyzing microbes from horse manure to discover where Hannibal and his army crossed the Alps.

Ceuta, Melilla profile

Ceuta and its larger sister city Melilla, situated some 250 miles further south along the coast, trace their Spanish past to the 15th century.

Coveted by Morocco, they have long been a flashpoint in diplomatic relations with Spain. Madrid asserts that both territories are integral parts of Spain and have the same status as the semi-autonomous regions on its mainland.

Historically, both port cities developed as military and trade centres linking Africa to Europe. Since 1995, they have enjoyed a limited degree of self-government as Autonomous Communities.

Unemployment among the native workforce is more than 30%, among the highest rates in Spain. The cities are a magnet for thousands of traders and menial workers who cross the border from Morocco each day to earn a living.

Increasingly Ceuta and Melilla's heavily fortified borders have come under pressure from African migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Human rights groups and the European Union have raised concerns with Madrid about the deportation of illegal immigrants.

About the data

The Times has identified reporting anomalies or methodology changes in the data.

  • June 19, 2020: Spain added many deaths that were not properly recorded from earlier in the pandemic.
  • Spain does not regularly report new data on weekends.

Confirmed cases and deaths, which are widely considered to be an undercount of the true toll, are counts of individuals whose coronavirus infections were confirmed by a molecular laboratory test. Probable cases and deaths count individuals who meet criteria for other types of testing, symptoms and exposure, as developed by national and local governments.

Governments often revise data or report a single-day large increase in cases or deaths from unspecified days without historical revisions, which can cause an irregular pattern in the daily reported figures. The Times is excluding these anomalies from seven-day averages when possible.

Note: Data are based on reports at the time of publication. At times, officials revise reports or offer incomplete information. Population data are from the National Statistics Institute of Spain.

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