The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

Watch The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

  • 2017
  • 1 Season

Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. Learn its epic history, from its rule under Rome and the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain to its emergence into the modern world, as well as its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, and learning. Travel with us to this remarkable culture, and savor the great human drama of the story of Spain.

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Seasons
Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad
24. Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad
July 21, 2017
Conclude with reflections on Spain's recent history. Look into such subjects as the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Spain's contemporary links with Latin America, separatist movements within the country, its new secularism and religious freedoms, its popularity as a travel destination, and its diverse economy. Contemplate why this great land stands on a crossroads of the future.
The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign
23. The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign
July 21, 2017
Study the political antagonisms within Spain which led to the outbreak of civil war in 1936. Track the unfolding of the war, leading to the ascension to power of the dictator Francisco Franco. Then take account of Franco's lengthy, authoritarian regime, and how he strove to create a national identity for Spain through the mediums of the church, language, and Spanish culture.
20th-Century Spanish Modernism
22. 20th-Century Spanish Modernism
July 21, 2017
Following World War I, Spain emerged at the forefront of a revolution in the European arts. Grasp the extraordinary innovations of the painters Picasso, Miro and Dali, the architect Antoni Gaudi, and the contributions of musical masters Segovia and Casals. Also, delve into the political factors that led to the disintegration of Spain's constitutional monarchy.
Spain Loses Its Empire
21. Spain Loses Its Empire
July 21, 2017
Follow Napoleon's crusade to impose a new French dynasty on Spain, and the cultural backlash of Romanticism that rejected the "universal" principles of the Enlightenment. Witness the emergence of Spanish nationalism, the ensuing deep political strife regarding how to govern the country, and see how the spread of nationalist ideologies culminated in the independence of Spain's colonies.
The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain
20. The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain
July 21, 2017
Learn how the French House of Bourbon assumed the Spanish throne, and how they transformed Habsburg Spain. In particular, review the reforms instituted by Carlos III, highlighting his architectural and urban planning achievements, and his reforms of education, industry, banking, and religion. Then trace the effects on Spain of the French Revolution and the ascension of Napoleon.
Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants
19. Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants
July 21, 2017
Now witness the Ottoman incursions against Christian lands and shipping that resulted in the massive naval battle of Lepanto. Then, see how the clash with Protestants involved Spain in religious bloodshed in the Netherlands, the assault on Britain of the Spanish Armada, and the Thirty Years War. Note how the ruinous costs of these wars prefigured the downfall of the Habsburg Dynasty.
The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs
18. The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs
July 21, 2017
Here, encounter Spain's king Philip II, architect of a magnificent era. Observe his strategic moving of the royal capital to Madrid, and his creation of architectural works such as the fabulous El Escorial. Learn how Philip and his sons fostered an artistic heritage emblemized by visionaries such as the painter Velasquez, composers de Victoria and Guererro, and writers Lope de Vega and Cervantes.
The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy
17. The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy
July 21, 2017
Spain's empire in the New World spawned a vast commercial revolution. Learn about Spanish silver mining in South America, and agricultural riches from giant haciendas producing sugar and tobacco. Follow the transport of Spanish goods in armed convoys, and the resulting golden age of piracy, as both pirates and government-sanctioned privateers preyed on treasure-laden ships.
Conquistadors and Missionaries
16. Conquistadors and Missionaries
July 21, 2017
Spain now extended both its empire and its Catholicism into the New World. Witness the exploits of HernĂ¡n Cortes, who battled the Aztec Empire in the quest for gold, and of Francisco Pizarro and his brutal subjugation of the Incas. Then, take account of the Catholic missionaries who followed, intent on converting native souls, and how Spanish empire building was undergirded by slavery.
Columbus and the New World
15. Columbus and the New World
July 21, 2017
European contact with the isolated Americas dramatically changed the world. Begin by delving into the self-education of Columbus, and the lead-up to his legendary voyages. Follow Columbus's travels, and the impact of his "opening" of the New World. Finally, track further European ventures into the Americas, the Columbian Exchange of foodstuffs, and the devastation wrought by European diseases.
The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion
14. The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion
July 21, 2017
Grasp how Spain was brought into the conflict of the Protestant Reformation. Assess the Catholic Counter-Reformation, as it sought to connect the faithful more directly to God through reinvigorated spirituality and mysticism. Learn how the Council of Trent, codifying Catholic doctrine, led to the horrors of the Inquisition, and how Catholic theology was expressed in glorious Baroque art.
Gypsy Influences on Spain
13. Gypsy Influences on Spain
July 21, 2017
Gypsy immigrants to Spain left a far-reaching imprint on Spanish culture. Here, uncover the origins of gypsy peoples, their itinerant nature, and note how they were originally welcomed by Spanish kings and nobles. Study subsequent oppression of gypsies, the nature of gypsy culture, and the iconic flamenco music and dance that is deeply linked with Spanish gypsies.
The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism
12. The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism
July 21, 2017
Follow the changing fortunes of the Jewish people on Spanish soil, beginning with how they arrived in Spain, and how they prospered under Roman rule. Trace repression of Jews under the Visigoths, and how Jewish scholarship and poetic art thrived in Muslim Spain. Then witness the trials of Jews under subsequent Christian rule, leading to the 15th century exodus of many Jews from Spain.
Medieval Spanish Culture
11. Medieval Spanish Culture
July 21, 2017
Discover how the melding of Spanish Islamic culture and medieval Christian ideas produced dazzling masterpieces of architecture. Travel to the times of king Alfonso the Wise, whose rich court life fostered scholarship and medicine, as well as courtly entertainments such as music, sports, and bullfighting. Learn about the flourishing of trade, highlighting the complex wool and textile industry.
The Christian Reconquista
10. The Christian Reconquista
July 21, 2017
This lecture charts the centuries-long process by which Christians gradually reclaimed the lands of Islamic Spain. Learn how pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela became a catalyst for the Christian cause. Explore four critical events in the Reconquista: the conquest of Toledo, the taking of Valencia by "El Cid", the creation of Portugal, and the final conquest of Granada.
The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus
9. The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus
July 21, 2017
Relive the golden age of Islamic Spain, as the capital city of Cordoba emerged as a center of learning, art, and beauty. First, take account of the agricultural advancements and artisanal industries that underlay Cordoba's prosperity. Then, follow developments in music, poetry, intellectual life, science, engineering, and architecture that made al-Andalus famous throughout the world.
Conflict within Islam
8. Conflict within Islam
July 21, 2017
Internal divisions in the Muslim world shaped Islamic rule of Spain. Investigate issues concerning the larger governance of Islam that led to enmity between Muslim Spain and the Caliphate in Bagdad. Study the role of the Frankish king Charlemagne in these conflicts, and trace conspiracies and rebellions within Muslim Spain that culminated in the establishment of the Caliphate of Cordoba.
Islam: The New Religion
7. Islam: The New Religion
July 21, 2017
Islam was to play a critical role in Spanish history. As background, delve into the founding of Islam by Muhammad, its five tenets or "pillars", and how the new religion spread with astonishing speed. Witness the Muslim invasion that conquered most of Spain, and observe how the invaders ruled, coexisting effectively with Jews and Christians.
The Visigoths Unite Spain
6. The Visigoths Unite Spain
July 21, 2017
As a prelude to the three-century rule of the Visigoths, learn how the Goths penetrated Roman territories, and how they came to dominate Spain. Study the structure of Visigoth society, which gave rise to influential legal codes, monasticism, and great scholars such as Isidore of Seville. Take account of Toledo as a center of learning, and the diffusion of Visigothic scholarship and culture.
Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula
5. Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula
July 21, 2017
As Rome's empire waned, Germanic and Iranian tribal groups besieged Spanish territories. Take the measure of these peoples, and the new agricultural technology, clothing, and other innovations they brought with them. Observe how they partitioned and ruled different areas of the peninsula, and how their culture and religion kept them separate from Spain's Roman population.
Christianity Comes to Hispania
4. Christianity Comes to Hispania
July 21, 2017
Witness the events through which Christianity took root on Spanish soil. Learn about early Christian communities in Spain, and the factors that led to persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Chart the role of Spanish churchmen in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, how pagan practices were transformed into Christian ones, and how Spain became a bulwark of church orthodoxy.
Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula
3. Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula
July 21, 2017
Roman conquest changed the peninsula in ways that endure today. Track the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage, through which Iberia became part of the Roman Empire. Observe how Rome joined the Iberian provinces together, created thriving cities, and developed commerce. Learn about the marvels of Roman engineering, infrastructure, and mining, through which Spain grew rich.
Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists
2. Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists
July 21, 2017
Follow three remarkable immigrant groups who left their mark on Spanish culture. First, trace the impact of the Celts and the technology they brought to the region. Learn about the Phoenicians, famous as mariners, and their legacy of trade and engineering. Continue with the singular influence of the Greeks, who shaped the history and culture of the peninsula for future immigrants.
From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain
1. From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain
July 21, 2017
Begin by exploring the origins of human settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. Learn how the rich spiritual life of early hunter/gatherers in Spain is reflected in magnificent cave paintings. Study the geography of the peninsula, and how it drew peoples from Africa and the Middle East. Finally, discover the extraordinary megalithic tombs of early Copper and Bronze Age builders. #History
Description

Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. Learn its epic history, from its rule under Rome and the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain to its emergence into the modern world, as well as its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, and learning. Travel with us to this remarkable culture, and savor the great human drama of the story of Spain.

The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on July 21, 2017.

Where to Watch The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad on demand at Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime and Amazon.

  • Premiere Date
    July 21, 2017