Spain: The Magic Fusion of Histories *
Spain is situated in Western Europe. Together with Portugal, Spain forms the Iberian Peninsula. Its name comes from its first inhabitants, peoplewho were known by the name of "Iberians" that lived essentially on agriculture. This Peninsula is surrounded by various seas and this feature has greatly influenced its history and culture because many people invaded the Peninsula from the seas and, later, they left their particular culture to this land. One of the cultures that arrived from abroad were the Celts, who came from Central Europe to the Iberian peninsula, settled there and leaved their stories and legends. Mainly settled in Galicia andAsturias in the north of Spain, being in the Atlantic and Cantabric coast, these lands have a common culture with other countries near these coasts that also received its influence as Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Brittany. In some areas of the peninsula, Celts joined indigenous people leading to the "Celtiberians" Celts merging with the native population. Celts used magic, and you can still see some rituals taken place nowadays. Arriving by sea from the Mediterranean to the easternmost peninsula not only came here the Greek with all this great culture but also the Phoenicians, people who created citystates along the sea and whose main activity was trade, they were the great merchants of the time. From this period are Ibiza (Spanish island) Malaga and Cadiz. One city, Carthage (near modern Tunis) was launched to the domain of theMediterranean with a big rival, the Romans. Romans dominated theMediterranean during a long period of time as well as the Iberian Peninsula, incorporating it into its empire; so their language, Latin, was imposed as the language in the region as they did it in Italy, Romania and France, and others at the same time. The significance of this expansion of Latin and Roman was the seed of that culture which was in the later history the major reason of the expansion of Latin culture worldwide.Latin divided into several Latin Romance languages depending? on the area and the way indigenous population used it. These languages ?are Castilian, Catalan, Galician-Portuguese, French, Romanian and Italian, and others. Basque is the only territory in the North of the Peninsula, is not influenced by Latin culture which has a the original language and the culture dated by ancient times. This special feature offers a distinctive character to this area within the Peninsula. In the eighth century Berbers / Muslims arrived. They came from the other side of theMediterranean which is the south tip of the Peninsula. They conquered the land, settled in it and leaving their cultural legacy not only in different words of the language, but in the use of new agricultural techniques or the mathematics and calling the Iberian Peninsula by the name of "Al-Andalus". This presence lasted until the eleventh century being very important for the development of the country. During the Middle Ages, various counties in the peninsula got their individual identity and status for example, the County of Portugal, the County ofAragón, Catalan counties or theKingdom of Pamplona or Castile. During the period, the Peninsula hit severe epidemic which shut the population behind the walls of their castles. It was also a time of legends of Templar and ladies and knights, that left the territory of Spain with Towers and walls in all their mountains, with populations that made long journeys to pray for the epidemic to end ... even today you can assist pilgrimages to the respective churches in little towns all over the country reminding those times. Among the religious pilgrimages "El camino de Santiago", no doubt, is one of the best known pilgrimage all over the world. It is said that something spiritual happens in the way that only the pilgrim feels.After the departure of the Arabs from the peninsula, the man from the Peninsula, Vasco de Gama, launched his expedition from another sea, called Atlantic Ocean. It is said that the Queen of Castille paid for his expedition and he, finally, found a new land on the other side of the Ocean, which is called now America. Through that successful expedition, Spanish and Portuguese, entered the land and conquered all the area from Mexico to the South tip of American continent, spreading over many countries. These countries adopt the name of "Latin America" by speaking Romance languages from Latin (Spanish, Portuguese and French). But, it was not only the language which they infused there but the religion Christianity and the Peninsula culture was also merged with the local knowledge in these territories. So, the history of Spain can be seen in its artistic monuments, memories of the past civilizations which came across the regions. The sculpture known as the Lady of Elche is an Iberian legacy, the Aqueduct of Segovia or Mérida or Sagunto Theatres as legacies of the Romans, the Mosque of Cordoba and theAlhambra in Granada as Islamic art, are among of these memoirs of the history. To better understand the history of the country, it is also important to know many local festivals that are celebrated in Spain, especially by the time whenArabsMuslims (until that time, they were not called Moors) and Christians used to live together and organised festivals according to their own rituals and beliefs. Christians used to celebrate their festivals. Likewise, many festivals were organises around the Sea and in the maritime cities, as the seas always has important place in the history of Peninsula. Similarly, we should not forget other important cultures that came into the Peninsula and infused their richness into it. Important among them were Jewish, French and Roma from the Punjab whose left the so important legacy to Spain that the typical folklore inAndalusia projected to theworld while singing Flamenco. The cultural wealth of Spain full of this miscegenation of different cultures is increased by the diverse landscapes, green in the north that can easily be identified with the Angloworld; harsh and arid lands in the inland with lots of mills in La Mancha that reminds us to the best book ever written in Spain “Don Quijote de la Mancha” by Cervantes, and of course, the sea that always exists, with a brave Atlantic Ocean in the west mainland, the powerful Cantabrian Sea in the north and a warmMediterranean Sea full of beaches and sun and surrounded by orange trees that welcome everyone who decides to spend few or a long time in this magical land. And this fusion of culture gives unique status among the countries of theworld.