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History of Spain
University of Barcelona (UB)
Barcelona, Spain

Subject Area(s) Level(s) Instruction in Credits Contact Hours Prerequisites
History Intermediate and Advanced Spanish 3 45 Two to three semesters of college level Spanish is recommended

TERM 2 : The Long Road to Democracy


To introduce students to the history of Spain since the unification of the peninsula under the Catholic Monarchs (end of the 15th century) until the crisis of the Ancien Régime at the end of the 18th century. During this long period Spain was ruled by two monarchies – the Habsburg and Bourbons. The course deals with interesting periods such as the Empire of Charles V, the Austrias and the Reformation of the Bourbons. Visits to the historical area of Barcelona will show students the beginnings of the modern city.

During the second term and throughout the course we will study the history of contemporary Spain in the 19th and 20th centuries with special attention to events such as the establishment of the Liberal Régime, the Carlist wars, the Bourbon Restoration, the military dictatorships, the division of society, right and left wing ideologies, the proclamation of the Second Republic, the crisis that led to a bloody civil war (1936-1939), the Franco Régime and Spain today. 


• From the crisis of the Ancien Régime to the Liberal system (1788-1833)
• Isabella II (1833-1868)
• The Revolutionary Sexennium (1868-1874)
• The Bourbon Restoration: Alfonso XII and Maria Cristina’s Regency (1875-1902)
• From parliamentary monarchy to Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship (1902-1931)
• The Second Republic and the Civil War (1931-1939)
• Franco’s dictatorship (1939-1975)


Geografía e Historia de España y de los Países Hispánicos, IBÉRICA, (1989), Barcelona, Vicens Vives.
ARTOLA, M., (1975-1976), Los orígenes de la España contemporánea, Madrid, Instituto de Estudios Políticos.
BIESCAS, J.A.-TUÑÓN DE LARA, M., (1980), España bajo la dictadura franquista (1939-1975), Barcelona, Labor.
CARR, R.-FUSI, J.-P., (1983), España, de la dictadura a la democracia, Barcelona, Planeta.
CARR, R., (1988), España, 1808-1988, Barcelona, Ariel.
FERNÁNDEZ ALMAGRO, M., (1977), Historia del reinado de Alfonso XIII, Barcelona, Montaner y Simón.
JACKSON, G., (1977), La República española y la guerra civil (1931-1939), Madrid, Crítica.
PRESTON, P., (1978), España en crisis. Evolución y decadencia del régimen de Franco, Madrid, Fondo de Cultura Económica.
THOMAS, H., (1976), La guerra civil española, Barcelona, Grijalbo.

A written test, on one general or four specific questions, will be given at the end of the term in order to test students’ understanding of the course material.

TERM 2 : Spain, within the framework of Medieval Europe


The second term will enable students to confront the new reality that the Mediterranean world showcases after the Islamic expansion in North Africa, the conquest of Spain and the domination of part of the Mediterranean. The transformations and changes that took place within the European framework will be analyzed, including the formation of the Carolingian empire, the ascent of the Papacy, the rise of cities and the appearance of Universities., as well as the new mentalities in the Romanesque world, the Gothic and first Humanism. Special attention will be paid to the Hispanic world and guided visits to city of Barcelona will be carried out, as example of a low-Medieval city, with the splendour of the Gothic.


1. Islam and its expansion within the Mediterranean area. Al-andalus.
2. Politics, society, economy and urban life in Andalusian Islamic times.
3. Carolingian Europe. Spain: Christian kingdoms of the North.
4. The great European expansion (XI-XIII centuries). The new monarchies.
Medieval plenitude in Spain: Christian kingdoms against Islam.
5. The Low Medieval crises. The Iberian Peninsula kingdoms and their tensions.
6. The results of the crises. The arrival of the first Humanism.


Geografía e Historia de España y de los Países Hispánicos, IBÉRICA, (1989), Barcelona, Vicens Vives.
ARIÉ, R., (1982), Historia de España III. La España musulmana (s. VIII-XV), Barcelona, Labor.
CHEJNE, A.G., (1980), Historia de España musulmana, Madrid, Cátedra.
DUFOURCQ, Ch.E. - GAUTIER-DALCHÉ, J., (1983) Historia económica y social de la España cristiana en la Edad Media, Barcelona, El Albir.

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