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An Empires
of History

The Kingdom of Spain

Starting Resource: 39
-- From Land: 32
-- From Trade: 7

Capital Territory: Toledo
Nation Class: Large

Total Starting Military
Infantry: 11
Cavalry: 3
Knights: 0
Artillery: 0
Generals: 1
Merchantmen: 2
Frigates: 2
Ships of the Line: 1

Click on the map to view your nation's position and starting troops

The indigenous peoples of the Iberian peninsula, consisting of a number of separate tribes, are given the generic name of Iberians. This may have included the Basques, as one of the pre-Celtic people. The most important culture of this period is that of the city of Tartessos. Beginning in the 9th century BC, Celtic tribes entered the Iberian peninsula through the Pyrenees and settled throughout the peninsula, becoming the Celtiberians. The seafaring Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians successively settled along the Mediterranean coast and founded trading colonies there over a period of several centuries. Around 1100 BC, Phoenician merchants founded the trading colony of Gadir or Gades (modern day Cadiz) near Tartessos. In the 8th century BC the first Greek colonies, such as Emporion (modern Empuries), were founded along the Mediterranean coast on the East, leaving the south coast to the Phoenicians. The Greeks are responsible for the name Iberia, after the river Iber (Ebro in Spanish). In the 6th century BC the Carthaginians arrived in Iberia while struggling with the Greeks for control of the Western Mediterranean.

The Romans arrived in the Iberian peninsula during the Second Punic war in the 2nd century BC, and annexed it under Augustus after two centuries of war with the tenacious Celtic and Iberian tribes (from whom they copied the short sword) along with the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian coastal colonies becoming the province of Hispania. It was divided in Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Citerior during the late Roman Republic; and, during the Roman Empire, Hispania Taraconensis in the northeast, Hispania Baetica in the south and Lusitania in the southwest.

In the 8th century, nearly all the Iberian peninsula, which had been under Visigothic rule, was quickly conquered (711 - 718), by Muslims (the Moors), who had crossed over from North Africa. Visigothic Spain was the last of a series of Christian and pagan lands conquered in a great westward charge from the Middle East and across north Africa by the religiously inspired armies of the Umayyad empire. Indeed this onslaught continued northwards until it was decisively defeated in central France at the Battle of Tours in 732. Astonishingly the invasion started off as an invitation from a Visgothic faction within Spain for support. But instead the Berber army, having defeated King Roderic, with its superior tactics and the help of internal infighting among the Visigoths, proceeded to conquer the entire peninsula for itself. Only three small counties in the mountains of the north of Spain managed to cling to their independence: Asturias, Navarra and Aragon, which eventually became kingdoms.

The Muslim emirate proved strong in its first three centuries and was able to stop Charlemagne's massive forces at Saragossa and, after suffering from a massive Viking surprise attack, was able to quickly establish effective defences at a time when they were the terror of Europe. The Christian kingdoms were able to seize the harsh depopulated lands north of the Duero river from their mountain redoubts, and the Franks were able to seize Barcelona (801) and nearby areas (Spanish Marches), but save for these and some other small incursions in the north, the Christians were unable to make headway against the superior forces of Al-Andalus for several centuries. War settled into a pattern of raids and retaliations. It was only in the 11th century, when Muslim Spain split into small warring kingdoms that the small Christian kingdoms were able to make large, sustained advances southward. By this stage the Christian kingdoms had attained such power that they were much more afraid of each other than of the Muslim kingdoms, and so a free-for-all fight, involving alliances and divisions which barely followed religious lines, developed among the Muslim and Christian kingdoms.

The long, convoluted period of expansion of the Christian kingdoms, beginning in 722, only eleven years after the Moorish invasion, is called the Reconquista. As early as 739, the north-western region of Galicia, which became one of the most important centres of western medieval Christian pilgrimage (Santiago de Compostela), had been liberated from Moorish occupation by forces from neighbouring Asturias. The 1085 conquest of the central city of Toledo had largely brought to an end the reconquest of the northern half of Spain. In 1086 the Almoravids, an ascetic Islamic sect from Africa, quickly conquered the small Moorish states in the south and then launched an invasion in which they captured the east coast as far north as Saragossa. This Islamic revival was short-lived, as by the middle of the 12th century the Almoravid empire had collapsed. The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 heralded the collapse of the great Moorish strongholds in the south, most notably Cordoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248. By the middle of the 13th century nearly all of the Iberian peninsula had been reconquered, leaving only Granada as a small tributary state in the south.

By 1483 the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon had merged through marriage and the kingdom of Spain was created. Spain begins with a fair army, a strong fleet and no major enemies in a position to attack them directly. Spains chief enemies or allies could be Portugal, France or England, with Scotland mainly only a viable ally if Spain sets its sights on the conquests of England.

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