Travel through our timeline of major events in Spain's history.
Hispania becomes part of the Roman Empire. Rome rules it for 500 years.
Muslims from North Africa take control. They greatly influence art and architecture.
King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella marry, uniting the Christian portions of Spain.
Christopher Columbus arrives in the New World, beginning an era of exploration and conquest. Roman Catholicism is established as Spain’s state religion. Within 10 years, most Jews and Muslims are forced to convert or leave.
British forces defeat the Spanish Armada, or navy. Spain is no longer a sea power.
Miguel de Cervantes writes Don Quixote. It is considered the first modern novel.
Venezuela declares its independence from Spain. Soon, other colonies claim their independence. After losing the Spanish American War to the U.S. in 1898, Spain gives up control of Cuba, the Philippines and other possessions.
King Alfonso XIII is forced out. Spain becomes a republic. Five years later, the country is plunged into civil war.
General Francisco Franco emerges as the war’s victor. He rules as a dictator until his death in 1975. Juan Carlos de Borbon is named king, and Spain becomes a constitutional monarchy.
MICHEL GANGNE—AFP/GETTY IMAGES
The summer Olympic Games are held in Barcelona. The 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage to America is celebrated around the country.
A series of explosions at a train station in Madrid leaves 191 people dead and 1,460 wounded.
A Basque terrorist group, ETA, agrees to lay down its arms and work toward independence through diplomatic means.
In April, Prime Minister Zapatero reveals his new Cabinet. For the first time ever, there are more women than men serving in the Cabinet.