December 6: Spain’s Constitution Day

December 6th is a holiday in Spain and it commemorates the referendum in 1978 when millions of Spaniards went to the polls to vote in favor of the new constitution, ushering in a new era of democracy for Spain after nearly 40 years of dictatorship. It’s a landmark in contemporary Spanish history, but the road leading to its approval was no cake-walk. Listen and learn a little about the history of Spain and its different constitutions. Enjoy!

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SPANISH HISTORY 101, EP. 20: 12th Century and the Plot Thickens

Alfonso I el Batallador – King of Aragon

The 12th Century and Spain is still a land of half a dozen kingdoms vying for control and a score of Muslim principalities known as taifas. Throw in an invasion or two by the Moors and what you have is unimaginable instability. Little by little, the Muslims are beginning to lose their grip on Al Andalus, but it is ever so slow. Castile is on the rise, Aragon has come of age, and even Portugal has come out and become its own kingdom. Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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Let’s Open a Bottle: Wines from Madrid

Store featuring wines from Madrid in the Mercado de las Ventas

It may seem counterintuitive to think that the region of Madrid, with its massive capital and built-up bedroom communities, would in anyway be a place for bodegas to make wine, but the reality is quite the opposite. Wine-producing has been going on here for centuries, and after overcoming a rough streak in the middle of the 20th Century, the winemakers of D.O. Vinos de Madrid are enjoying a renaissance.  Listen and enjoy!

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The Zugarramurdi Witch Trials: Spain’s Salem

Aquelarre, a painting by Goya

1609 marked the beginning of the famous witch trials in the city of Logroño. Many of the accused were from a small town of Navarra known as Zugarramurdi. They are also known as the Basque Witch Trials. Unlike other countries in the north of Europe or in colonial America, witchcraft was viewed with skepticism in Spain and there were relatively few cases. But this was the big one. Ironically, it would be a thorough investigation led by a member of the Spanish Inquisition that would deem the witch hunt absurd and bring an end to it. Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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SPANISH HISTORY 101, EP. 19: The 11th Century and the Madness Goes On

It’s the 11th Century and the situation in the Iberian Peninsula is as chaotic and uncertain as ever. Power struggles, civil wars, fratricide, invasions; it seems as if nothing is under control. Not for anyone. But it makes for some pretty exciting, albeit, confusing history. Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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Cordials for Kids: the bizarre story of alcoholic drinks that were given to minors to whet their appetite.

We know that in the 1960s and 1970s certain products, namely cigarettes, were often unabashedly sold as something nearly harmless, if not beneficial for conditions like asthma. But who would have guessed that booze, like beer and sweet wine, were sometimes marketed as ideal for children for nutritional and dietary reasons. Two drinks, Quina Santa Catalina, and Kina San Clemente, were sweet wine cordials and particularly famous for this purpose. But they weren’t the only ones. Listen and discover more about this mind-boggling publicity campaign. 

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¡Olé! The mysterious origin of one of Spain’s most international words

Easily one of Spanish’s most international words, and one which the Spanish themselves still say all the time, the origin of “olé”, just where it came from, has been the center of debate for many years. Theories have been posed and debunked many times over. Where do academics stand now? Listen and learn more!

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Let’s Open a Bottle (4): D.O. Bierzo

No long ago the wines from this small region were relegated to supermarket service with little future of any substance to look forward to. At least as a region worth respecting. But that suddenly got turned around and, almost out of nowhere, Bierzo wines, captained by the reds made with the Mencia grape, have bcome some of Spain’s most exciting offer. And they have firmly established themselves in tricky markets like Madrid, as well as abroad.

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SPANISH HISTORY 101, EP.18: The 10th Century

Muslim Spain, Al Andalus, is at the height of its splendor as the Calipahte of Cordoba. Meanwhile, the Christian regions to the north try to stabilize. But infighting on both sides make things difficult. The great military Almanzor emerges as the terror of the Christian kingdoms. These are times of uncertainty for the Reconquista period of Spain. Listen and learn more. Enjoy!

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Let’s Open a Bottle (3) – D.O. Rueda

We’ll start our wine region review with a visit to what just may be the white wine capital of Spain, D.O. Rueda. Not that there aren’t other regions with fantastic white wine, but I think we’d be hard pressed to find one which has taken the market by storm the way Rueda has. It’s one of the most successful chapters of the Spanish Wine Revolution. Listen and enjoy!

You can subscribe to our podcasts on Spotify, Amazon. Apple and Castos. Or if you wish to support Brian’s Spain Domain, click on our PayPal donate button or check us out at Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/briansspaindomain