Spanish History 101. Ep. 13: The Muslim “Invasion”

More than an invasion, the arrival of the Muslims, popularly called the Moors in Spanish history, came about probably as a result of a number of circumstances that made it perfect for them to go in and take control of the Iberian Peninsula. Was it deceit? Betrayal? Ambition? A combination of the three? It’s not easy to know for sure, but scholars have got a pretty good idea of what might have happened. One thing is for sure, once they did appear, conquer and settle down, they were there for the long haul. This episode takes to when it all got started. Listen and enjoy!

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Fiestas in Spain: Why do the People of Madrid Celebrate “2 de Mayo”?

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a famous celebration associated with Mexico, but in the region of Madrid, the 2 de Mayo is an annual holiday. The painting in the podcast was done by Goya and it powerfully depicts the horror of the executions carried out during the famous uprising against Napoleon’s troops in 1808. And it all started in Madrid. Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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FIESTAS IN SPAIN: Lunes de Aguas

Foto: Turismo de Salamanca

This picnic food featuring a hearty meat pie, called “Hornazo” in Spanish, is eaten on Easter Monday along the green banks of the River Tormes in the city of Salamanca. This is the traditional celebration of the Lunes de Aguas (literally, Monday of Waters) and it is almost exclusive to this city and surrounding villages. The wholesomeness of the modern version of the event belies its lewd origins, making it one of the funniest fiestas of the Easter season. Listen to this podcast and learn more. Enjoy!

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SEMANA SANTA MADRID

Madridiario

Processions are a ubiquitous image of Semana Santa in Spain, as hundreds of towns and cities celebrate Holy Week. The most famous are generally down in Andalusia (Seville, Malaga, Cordoba, etc) or up north (Valladolid, Zamora, etc.). Madrid has an old tradition of processions, but the custom had largely disappeared up until recently. In the past two decades they’ve become enormously popular and today locals and tourists flock to enjoy them. Listen and enjoy!

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SPANISH HISTORY 101 EP 12: The Visigoths

Hispania has become orphanied by the fall of the Roman Empire, and vulnerable to a new wave of foreign peoples vying for control of the peninsula. But only the Visigoths would emerge on top. They will rise as the next great power to take over and they will make an earnest effort to brong the former Roman territory together. Do they achieve it?   Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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Prince Juan and his Stunning Tomb

Juan of Asturias, only son of Isabella and Ferdinand, is an obscure figure in Spanish history who did little more to influence the course of this nation than die. But what a death! He left his world at the age of 19 in 1497, and because of that, Spain would never be the same. The stunningly beautiful tomb is the centerpiece of the church at the magnificent Royal Monastery of Santo Tomás, in Avila, Listen and learn more! Enjoy!

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SPANISH HISTORY 101 EP. 11 – The Barbarians Come on the Scene

The painting we see in this podcast was the creation of Ulpiano Checa, from Spain, and it is a famous depiction of how the artist envisioned the arrival of the Germanic tribes around the Fall of the Roman Empire. It’s a fanciful image by today’s standards, but it has left an indeleble mark on our collective memory of those events. Spain was, indeed, invaded by several Germanic peoples (the Vandals, Alans and Suebi), and the finally the Visigoths, who would hang around for a few hundred years. This is a period of transition in our series on the History of Spain. Check it out and enjoy. 

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Madrid’s Segovia Viaduct: Tales of Progress and Tragedy

The Segovia Viaduct in the heart of Madrid is a handsome-looking bridge that helped to join the city where there was once a large geographic gap; and yet from practically the first day it opened back in 1874, it also served as one of the most popular places for people to commit suicide, Not until fairly recently has this grim secondary use been more or less brought under control. Today it is a popular way for both tourists and locals to move about the downtown. It’s dark past has not been easily forgotten. Listen and…try to enjoy! 

SPANISH HISTORY 101, EP 10: What did the Spanish ever do for the Romans?

Here’s our friend the Roman emperor Trajan looking very serene, dignified and stately. He has gone down in history one of the most effective and beloved leaders of the Roman Empire, and my guess is that few recall that he was actually born in a town just outside of present-day Seville, Spain. He was just one of the many ways in which Hispania proved to be a major asset for Rome. Check out this next episode of our series Spanish History 101, and learn more. Enjoy! 

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Alfonso XIII and the European War Office: Spain’s great humanitarian effort during WWI

Spain stayed out of both world wars, but it was not indifferent to what was going on near its borders. One person, King Alfonso XIII, took it upon himself to try and aid the victims of World War I at a time when many of the governments of the belligerent nations failed. His efforts earned him two Nobel Peace Prize nominations and the love and admiration of millions in Europe. And yet, today, his story is practially unknown. Today’s podcast hopes to bring this extraordinary moment to light again. Listen and enjoy!

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