What does it mean to be…?
“What does it mean to be …?” is a new small project I decided to launch, it will consist of short essays written by guest writers telling us what it means to be from various European countries. This small project is about identitarianism and European diversity and also a way to give voice to the various followers of Defend Europa from all around the continent.
It is important to remind ourselves how rich Europe is when it comes to the various regional identities, our beautiful European diversity, the good diversity. The third episode will be on Spain, Historia Española (follow him on Twitter @HistoriaEspanna) will tell us what it means to be Spanish.
What does it mean to be Spanish?
To be Spanish means to be an heir by blood and culture of our ancestors, to be part of
one of the nations that have had a major influence in the course of the European and world
history. I believe that in order to get closer to what is the significance of being part of a nation
it is very important to know its history; that’s the reason why I’ll start with a little summary of
the history of Spain.
At the arrival of the Romans, the Iberian Peninsula was inhabited by several groups of
peoples resulting from the union of Indo-Europeans and pre-Indo-Europeans people, such as
the brave Celtiberian (Celtic) and the cult Iberian. Alongside the Romanization, a strong
regional Hispanic identity was growing within the Roman Empire, where Hispania was one of
its main regions. After the fall of the empire, the first Kingdom of Spain was born from the
union of the Hispanic population and the Visigothic and Suevian Germanic peoples under the
Goth monarchy and Hispanic culture as a unified kingdom. That was the origin of the Spanish
In the year 711, the Islamic invasion took place. It led to a great destruction and the
beginning of a long reconquest for about 8 centuries, beginning from the mountains of the
north to the reconquest of Granada in 1492. Fortunately during the Reconquest, which is
called in the chronicles “the Salvation of Spain” or “the liberation of the fatherland”, although
the Spaniards were divided in several kingdoms and counties, our ancestors did not forget the
identity that united them to each other and to the land. The reunification of Spain (without
Portugal that despite it used to belong to the Spanish Monarchy between 1580 and 1640 will
continue as a separate nation) was born from the union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon in
1479 by the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the annexation of Navarre in 1512.
Successively, Spain began its imperial era, which lasted until the nineteenth century.
The Spanish Empire proved itself to be one of the major powerhouses in Europe for more than a century (end of the 15th century – beginning of the 19th century), one of its major challenges was the long fight against the Turkish threat in the Mediterranean in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
The glorious Battle of Lepanto and the great expansion of the Spanish Empire in the world are the most known characteristics of that era.
Above all, the Spaniards are honest and hardworking people that, up to now, have
always proven to be up to the demands of the History when needed.
We value the beauty of our land, Spain has very varied natural environments and
traditional architecture, our traditions, and gastronomy, such as cured ham, our wines or our
typical dishes. And, of course, our great historical-cultural heritage. In addition, we obviously
get excited about our latest sporting or scientific achievements. We also have a very rich
folklore and we are people with strong regional identities, most of them forged during the
Reconquest. Several regions are even bilingual, Spanish and the regional language are co-official
We currently have problems, such as the serious problem of migrant invasion. Some
people are pessimistic but many others trust in the great capacity for resistance that we have
always shown. In fact, there were two outstanding moments in our history, the Islamic
invasion and the Napoleonic invasion of 1808, in which our State fell and even some of its
remains were passed on to the invader, but the people rose again and began the struggle for
the salvation of Spain by assuming all the necessary sacrifices. You could say that this is the
most necessary sample of Spanishness in these times: not giving up.
To conclude, as claiming our history is also a very good example of Spanishness, I take
this opportunity to vindicate a great Spanish and therefore a great European figure, Jerónimo
de Ayanz, as the true inventor of the steam engine. He obtained the patent of his invention in
1606, he built it and put into practice successfully in the mines of Guadalcanal (Seville).
Countries already taken: Portugal, France, Montenegro, Switzerland, Spain
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