The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

Join a seasoned expert on Spain and witness the dazzling history of the Spanish culture and its unique role in the West.
The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 165.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Happy So Far I have viewed the 1st 2 lessons and was happy with them.
Date published: 2021-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good for podcast too! I like the storytelling and her gestures. Ms. Joyce presented the highlights of Spanish history with varying emotions in her voice. I enjoyed the most her narration of the Arabic influence in Spanish culture.
Date published: 2021-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good, but falls short in one important aspect This course is a thorough and enjoyable survey of Spanish history. Most of the content is well presented, but I have one issue with how Professor presents the Franco era. To me, she leans too far in portraying Franco as the only bad guy in town, and implying that the republican cause as enlightened. As Gary Kasparov noted recently, “Nobody should want to rerun the Spanish Civil War, with extremes dominant and everyone in the middle forced to pick a side or become irrelevant - if not worse.” The example of George Orwell, escaping Civil War Spain one step ahead of the Stalinist executioners (and he was supposedly on THEIR side), shows how vicious the contest was. Franco could never had succeeded if he didn't have some appeal to a large number of Spaniards, and that fact, however unpleasant, must be acknowledged.
Date published: 2021-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A detailed study of a unique country I thoroughly enjoyed this series. I had not studied much about the country before, and several other courses that I've taken, seem to mention Spain only in passing. Such as the Renaissance , the Middle Ages, and the Medieval World all gave Spain a cursory mention. I never realized what an important part Spain played in the Roman Empire, and in fact several of their leaders came from Spain. Professor Salisbury changed all that. She starts out with the Stone Age and the Bronze Age , weaves her way through different colonizations of the Mediterranean powers, then moves on to the point that Spain is a power in her own right. Professor Salisbury has a great delivery, she seems to be excited in passing on all the information she has to her students. I recommend this course to any one who wants to know more about Spain, and why it is at the crossroads so often.
Date published: 2021-05-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Biased and Not Balanced One of the most biased courses on this site so far. Very disappointed, this could have been great course if the teacher had abstained from adding color and nudging the listener in her preferred direction. A lost opportunity at possibly a very enjoyable journey through time....
Date published: 2021-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from YEAH! Loved this course! The professor's enthusiasm is very inviting. Very deftly throughout the course, she goes seemingly off topic, to provide a robust background for a particular topical point, leaving the viewer with a full contextual understanding.
Date published: 2021-05-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unfortunately it is a superficial full of topics Unfortunately it is a superficial and full view of the typical topics without addressing or questioning them. Not recommended if you are looking for a complete vision of Spain, with all its complexity coming from a variety of influences, ideas, wars, relationships, successes and misfortunes. Understand how a region went from an insignificant region to an empire and how this empire disintegrated in 300 years, creating an internal conflict of identity and meaning. Such conflict, which still exists, can help other countries understand each other better It seems that the author is based on very biased history books, and not very critical of the topics. In any case, the author, if she tries to sell a positive, not very credible image of what Spain is without fully understanding the problem I recommend reading, for example, Maria Elvira Roca Barea to complement and provide a different vision on the classic clichés. And thus help reflection on preconceptions
Date published: 2021-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad My wife and I watched this every day until we finished the course. We have previously been to Spain, although too briefly, and so were already a bit familiar with the topic. The teacher's lectures were well-crafted and thoughtful, and explained in just enough detail the highlights of Spanish history. We though she covered the relevant points very well and were actually a bit sad to see it end.
Date published: 2021-03-16
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Overview

Spain has played a unique and pivotal role in Western civilization. In this course, you'll learn its epic history, from its rule under Rome and the breathtaking drama of Islamic Spain to its emergence into the modern world, as well as its phenomenal contributions to art, architecture, literature, music, and learning. Travel with us to this remarkable culture, and savor the great human drama of the story of Spain.

About

Joyce E. Salisbury
Joyce E. Salisbury

We humans do not walk lightly. We leave our imprint as we go, and I want to show you how each group has left its mark on Spain.

INSTITUTION

University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

Joyce E. Salisbury is Professor Emerita of Humanistic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she taught history and served as associate dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and director of International Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Medieval History at Rutgers University, specializing in religious and social history.

Professor Salisbury began her career performing research in Spain, and she has continued to travel there to conduct further research, lecture, and guide students and other travelers. She is currently working on a book about the history of early Christian martyrdom.

In addition to receiving the University of Wisconsin's Outstanding Teaching award, she was named Professor of the Year in 1991 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She has taught three times on Semester at Sea, a study-abroad program on a ship that circumnavigates the world with more than 500 students for a full semester.

Professor Salisbury is a prolific author whose books include the award-winning Perpetua's Passion: Death and Memory of a Young Roman Woman; The Beast Within: Animals in the Middle Ages; Rome's Christian Empress: Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire; and the widely used textbook The West in the World. She has been interviewed many times on National Public Radio on topics from religion to the books she has written, and she appeared on the PBS special The Road from Christ to Constantine.

By This Professor

The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad
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The History of Spain: Land on a Crossroad

Trailer

From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain

01: From Stones to Bronze: Prehistoric Spain

Begin by exploring the origins of human settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. Learn how the rich spiritual life of early hunter/gatherers in Spain is reflected in magnificent cave paintings. Study the geography of the peninsula, and how it drew peoples from Africa and the Middle East. Finally, discover the extraordinary megalithic tombs of early Copper and Bronze Age builders....

31 min
Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists

02: Celtic, Phoenician, and Greek Colonists

Follow three remarkable immigrant groups who left their mark on Spanish culture. First, trace the impact of the Celts and the technology they brought to the region. Learn about the Phoenicians, famous as mariners, and their legacy of trade and engineering. Continue with the singular influence of the Greeks, who shaped the history and culture of the peninsula for future immigrants....

29 min
Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula

03: Rome Conquers the Iberian Peninsula

Roman conquest changed the peninsula in ways that endure today. Track the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage, through which Iberia became part of the Roman Empire. Observe how Rome joined the Iberian provinces together, created thriving cities, and developed commerce. Learn about the marvels of Roman engineering, infrastructure, and mining, through which Spain grew rich....

30 min
Christianity Comes to Hispania

04: Christianity Comes to Hispania

Witness the events through which Christianity took root on Spanish soil. Learn about early Christian communities in Spain, and the factors that led to persecution and martyrdom of Christians. Chart the role of Spanish churchmen in the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church, how pagan practices were transformed into Christian ones, and how Spain became a bulwark of church orthodoxy.

32 min
Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula

05: Barbarian Tribes Divide the Peninsula

As Rome's empire waned, Germanic and Iranian tribal groups besieged Spanish territories. Take the measure of these peoples, and the new agricultural technology, clothing, and other innovations they brought with them. Observe how they partitioned and ruled different areas of the peninsula, and how their culture and religion kept them separate from Spain's Roman population....

30 min
The Visigoths Unite Spain

06: The Visigoths Unite Spain

As a prelude to the three-century rule of the Visigoths, learn how the Goths penetrated Roman territories, and how they came to dominate Spain. Study the structure of Visigoth society, which gave rise to influential legal codes, monasticism, and great scholars such as Isidore of Seville. Take account of Toledo as a center of learning, and the diffusion of Visigothic scholarship and culture....

29 min
Islam: The New Religion

07: Islam: The New Religion

Islam was to play a critical role in Spanish history. As background, delve into the founding of Islam by Muhammad, its five tenets or "pillars", and how the new religion spread with astonishing speed. Witness the Muslim invasion that conquered most of Spain, and observe how the invaders ruled, coexisting effectively with Jews and Christians....

30 min
Conflict within Islam

08: Conflict within Islam

Internal divisions in the Muslim world shaped Islamic rule of Spain. Investigate issues concerning the larger governance of Islam that led to enmity between Muslim Spain and the Caliphate in Bagdad. Study the role of the Frankish king Charlemagne in these conflicts, and trace conspiracies and rebellions within Muslim Spain that culminated in the establishment of the Caliphate of Córdoba....

31 min
The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus

09: The Moors and the Glory of al-Andalus

Relive the golden age of Islamic Spain, as the capital city of Córdoba emerged as a center of learning, art, and beauty. First, take account of the agricultural advancements and artisanal industries that underlay Córdoba's prosperity. Then, follow developments in music, poetry, intellectual life, science, engineering, and architecture that made al-Andalus famous throughout the world....

31 min
The Christian Reconquista

10: The Christian Reconquista

This lecture charts the centuries-long process by which Christians gradually reclaimed the lands of Islamic Spain. Learn how pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela became a catalyst for the Christian cause. Explore four critical events in the Reconquista: the conquest of Toledo, the taking of Valencia by "El Cid", the creation of Portugal, and the final conquest of Granada....

28 min
Medieval Spanish Culture

11: Medieval Spanish Culture

Discover how the melding of Spanish Islamic culture and medieval Christian ideas produced dazzling masterpieces of architecture. Travel to the times of king Alfonso the Wise, whose rich court life fostered scholarship and medicine, as well as courtly entertainments such as music, sports, and bullfighting. Learn about the flourishing of trade, highlighting the complex wool and textile industry....

30 min
The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism

12: The Sephardim: Iberian Judaism

Follow the changing fortunes of the Jewish people on Spanish soil, beginning with how they arrived in Spain, and how they prospered under Roman rule. Trace repression of Jews under the Visigoths, and how Jewish scholarship and poetic art thrived in Muslim Spain. Then witness the trials of Jews under subsequent Christian rule, leading to the 15th century exodus of many Jews from Spain....

29 min
Gypsy Influences on Spain

13: Gypsy Influences on Spain

Gypsy immigrants to Spain left a far-reaching imprint on Spanish culture. Here, uncover the origins of gypsy peoples, their itinerant nature, and note how they were originally welcomed by Spanish kings and nobles. Study subsequent oppression of gypsies, the nature of gypsy culture, and the iconic flamenco music and dance that is deeply linked with Spanish gypsies....

31 min
The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion

14: The Growth of Catholic Religious Passion

Grasp how Spain was brought into the conflict of the Protestant Reformation. Assess the Catholic Counter-Reformation, as it sought to connect the faithful more directly to God through reinvigorated spirituality and mysticism. Learn how the Council of Trent, codifying Catholic doctrine, led to the horrors of the Inquisition, and how Catholic theology was expressed in glorious Baroque art....

31 min
Columbus and the New World

15: Columbus and the New World

European contact with the isolated Americas dramatically changed the world. Begin by delving into the self-education of Columbus, and the lead-up to his legendary voyages. Follow Columbus's travels, and the impact of his "opening" of the New World. Finally, track further European ventures into the Americas, the Columbian Exchange of foodstuffs, and the devastation wrought by European diseases....

30 min
Conquistadors and Missionaries

16: Conquistadors and Missionaries

Spain now extended both its empire and its Catholicism into the New World. Witness the exploits of Hernán Cortés, who battled the Aztec Empire in the quest for gold, and of Francisco Pizarro and his brutal subjugation of the Incas. Then, take account of the Catholic missionaries who followed, intent on converting native souls, and how Spanish empire building was undergirded by slaver...

28 min
The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy

17: The Spanish Main: Trade Convoys and Piracy

Spain's empire in the New World spawned a vast commercial revolution. Learn about Spanish silver mining in South America, and agricultural riches from giant haciendas producing sugar and tobacco. Follow the transport of Spanish goods in armed convoys, and the resulting golden age of piracy, as both pirates and government-sanctioned privateers preyed on treasure-laden ships....

30 min
The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs

18: The Golden Age of the Spanish Habsburgs

Here, encounter Spain's king Philip II, architect of a magnificent era. Observe his strategic moving of the royal capital to Madrid, and his creation of architectural works such as the fabulous El Escorial. Learn how Philip and his sons fostered an artistic heritage emblemized by visionaries such as the painter Velasquez, composers de Victoria and Guererro, and writers Lope de Vega and Cervantes....

30 min
Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants

19: Religious Wars on Muslims and Protestants

Now witness the Ottoman incursions against Christian lands and shipping that resulted in the massive naval battle of Lepanto. Then, see how the clash with Protestants involved Spain in religious bloodshed in the Netherlands, the assault on Britain of the Spanish Armada, and the Thirty Years War. Note how the ruinous costs of these wars prefigured the downfall of the Habsburg Dynasty....

30 min
The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain

20: The 18th-Century Bourbon Kings of Spain

Learn how the French House of Bourbon assumed the Spanish throne, and how they transformed Habsburg Spain. In particular, review the reforms instituted by Carlos III, highlighting his architectural and urban planning achievements, and his reforms of education, industry, banking, and religion. Then trace the effects on Spain of the French Revolution and the ascension of Napoleon....

32 min
Spain Loses Its Empire

21: Spain Loses Its Empire

Follow Napoleon's crusade to impose a new French dynasty on Spain, and the cultural backlash of Romanticism that rejected the "universal" principles of the Enlightenment. Witness the emergence of Spanish nationalism, the ensuing deep political strife regarding how to govern the country, and see how the spread of nationalist ideologies culminated in the independence of Spain's colonies....

31 min
20th-Century Spanish Modernism

22: 20th-Century Spanish Modernism

Following World War I, Spain emerged at the forefront of a revolution in the European arts. Grasp the extraordinary innovations of the painters Picasso, Miró and Dalí, the architect Antoni Gaudí, and the contributions of musical masters Segovia and Casals. Also, delve into the political factors that led to the disintegration of Spain's constitutional monarchy....

30 min
The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign

23: The Spanish Civil War and Franco's Reign

Study the political antagonisms within Spain which led to the outbreak of civil war in 1936. Track the unfolding of the war, leading to the ascension to power of the dictator Francisco Franco. Then take account of Franco's lengthy, authoritarian regime, and how he strove to create a national identity for Spain through the mediums of the church, language, and Spanish culture....

29 min
Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad

24: Modern Spain: Still on a Crossroad

Conclude with reflections on Spain's recent history. Look into such subjects as the restoration of the Spanish monarchy, Spain's contemporary links with Latin America, separatist movements within the country, its new secularism and religious freedoms, its popularity as a travel destination, and its diverse economy. Contemplate why this great land stands on a crossroads of the future.

34 min