Dark Episodes in Spanish History - Part I

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There are number of case studies in Spanish history involving an aggressive foreign policy and empire building ever since joint monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, expelled the Jews from Spain 1492, the same year Columbus sailed for the New World. The decimation of the Aztec and Inca empires of Central and South America followed. The horrors of the Trans Atlantic slave trade emerged. The Spanish Inquisition specialised in heretic hunting over four centuries. The long term impact of the acts of violent retribution by both fascist and republican adversaries during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 still resonates today in the 21st century.


  • ed. Adrian Shubert, The History of Modern Spain, Bloomsbury 2018
  • Antony Beevor, The Battle for Spain 1936-1939, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2006


  • Mediaeval Spain and the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, the same Day Columbus sailed for the New World, decimation of the Aztec and Inca empires in Central and South America, the horrors of the Trans Atlantic slave trade over 3 centuries
  • The invasion of Tudor England by the Armada 1588 and the relentless hunt for Protestants by the fanatical Philip II across the Spanish empire in Europe, The Spanish pope, Alexander VI and the decadent Borgia papacy 1492-1503
  • The Thirty Years War 1618-1648 and the role of Spain in the religious wars in 17th century Europe
  • The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939, neutrality in World War II and the fascist dictatorship of General Franco 1939-1975

By the end of this course, students should be able to

  1. Discuss significant case studies which shaped Spanish history since the 15th century.
  2. Understand the role of key individuals throughout the case study.
  3. Evaluate the role of the Catholic church in the development of Spanish history since 1492.