The Spanish: Shadows of Embarrassment
The fundamental question addressed in this volume on Spanish self-ascription was what drove Spain’s characteristic patterns of periods of glory and periods of decline and vacillations in the Spanish mindset between a spirit of openness and rigid orthodoxy of thought?
The Iberian Peninsula served as a springboard for Muslim expansion into Christian Europe; the reaction in Christendom was aggressive religious fanaticism. There was also a contrasting spirit – a trend toward tolerance in the Spanish experience – the “Golden Age” of Muslim rule in Spain, which was able to develop thanks to the country’s distance from centers of Islam.
The book surveys the evolution of the Spanish Empire in the aftermath of the Reconquista, and portrays the dire economic consequences it wrought when extremism and aggressive religious fanaticism that eschewed enlightenment became a dominant force in Spain.
The Spanish Civil War was the factor that eventually gave rise to Spanish unity and the emergence of a Spanish national identity, previously unattainable. This change of attitudes and values benefited the economy as well as society. Religious tolerance, only reintroduced after Franco’s rule, has had a similar beneficial effect.
The Spanish experience in successfully integrating Spain’s disparate parts in the wake of its civil war can serve as a model for an overarching European identity.
Hardback ISBN-13: 978-1-84519-392-8
Page Extent / Format: 235 pp. / 229 X 152 mm
Editions: 1st: Jan.2012
Hardback Price: 56.00 €