A Spanish True Crime Story

(Image: 20 Minutos)

This week we are shifting gears and focusing on a different subject: a recent true crime in Spain. Three elderly family members from a small town outside Madrid were found murdered in their home. They had been beaten to death. The news rocked the community and baffled the nation. It soon came out that for years they had been victims of an internet scam called the military romance con. They were ruined financially, and eventually killed. Listen and learn more about this shocking tragedy

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Spanish History 101, Ep. 30: The War of the Spanish Succession

The death of King Carlos II in 1700 left Spain without an heir, but Carlos’ chosen successor, the Frenchman Philip of Anjou, would find taking control of the country a tougher challenge than he originally expected, as geopolitics, dynastic ambitions and the interests of the different kingdoms and regions of Spain got in the way. As well as a handful of nations who got involved to ensure no one would tilt the balance of power in Western Europe too much in anyone’s favor. Philip (or Felipe V) would creat the Crown of Spain and centralize much of the administrative sectors of the country, much to several regions’ frustration. The unification of Spain was now pretty much complete. Listen and enjoy.

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Spanish Sayings In Danger

With the increasing effects of climate change looming, and a deep drought continuing to drain Spain of its water supply, classic Spanish sayings and idioms find themselves in danger of being rendered obsolete. Listen and learn more!

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Follow-up episode: More on stolen wine and A-bombs!

I recently read some articles about the same subjects I featured in a couple of episodes. One is about a famous wine heist that took place in Caceres in November of 2021; and the other retold the infamous story of a mid-air collision between a B-52 and a refueling plane that resulted in the avcidental dropping of 4 nuclear bombs on the coast of Spain. The consequences could have been apocalyptic but miraculously the damage was moderate at worst. Still, the area has yet to be fully cleared of the radioactive waste left behind. The authorities are inching towards this aim. 

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SPANISH UNIVERSITIES

Some of the oldest and most venerable higher learning institutions in Europe (and the world, for that matter) are located in Spain. Many were founded as this country was initiating a rise to world power. Swords to engage in warfare with their traditional enemies the Moors were now being substituted for pens to take on intellectual endeavors. Listen to this brief rundown on some of Spain’s earliest universities. Enjoy!

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The Almudena: Why is Nov. 9th a holiday in Madrid?

Image: El Mundo

November 9th is a holiday in Madrid and it’s in honor of the Virgin Mary of the Almudena, one of the two patrons of the city. It’s a very old tradition and a very old figure in the history of the city. Listen and learn where we get the name from and some of things that people do on this day. Enjoy!

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FIESTAS IN SPAIN: The mid-August fiestas

It’s a long weekend here in Spain and that’s because August 15th is a public holiday. It’s also when the most fiestas are celebrated in the entire year. Some 1,200 parties will energize nightlife throughout the country. From big cities like Madrid to the tiniest hamlet, music and revelry (as well as a religious act or two) are the order of the day. Most mark the Feast of the Assumption, but in today’s podcast we’ll pay special attention to a lesser known figure, San Roque, or St. Roch, whose feast day is August 16th. 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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The Boy King and the Massacre

The coat of arms of the city of Avila has the curious image of a young king in a kind of castle/church. As you might be guess, there is a story behind it and one that is as fascinating as it is tragic. And it represents the complexity of the geopolitical situation in Spain during the early 12th century. History? Legend? Both? Listen and enjoy and let us know what you think. 

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