Spain - History (Grades 6-8)

Spain - History (Grades 6-8)
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.51

     challenging words:    non-Catholics, non-Christians, ruling, conquest, prosperity, monopoly, long-range, execution, colonize, unrest, dictatorship, tactics, invasion, riches, democracy, conquistador
     content words:    Roman Hispania, Some Visigoths, Ferdinand II, Renaissance Monarchs, Spanish Inquisition, Christopher Columbus, Far East, New World, South America, North America

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Spain - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman

1     For most of its history, Spain has been at the center of exploration and conquest. From the earliest years, Spanish territory was the source of wars with Romans, Greeks, Goths, and Arabs. In its later years, Spain was a driving force in Europe's expansion into the "New World."
2     Cave paintings in Spain suggest human history there as far back as 30,000 BC. Iberians, Celts, Basques, and other, smaller, ethnic groups were native to the region. Phoenicians and Greeks occupied Spanish lands until the 3rd century BC, when the Romans arrived on the Spanish peninsula. Taking over Spain wasn't an easy fight for the Romans. In fact, it took them about 200 years to fully take over the country. Only after these two centuries of struggles were Roman laws and customs adopted by the Spanish natives.
3     Roman rule lasted about five hundred years. Then invaders poured into Spain. In 409 AD, Visigoths from Germany invaded Roman Hispania (Spain's name under Roman rule.) In ten short years, the Visigoths took Spain from the Romans. The Visigoths ruled for just fewer than 300 years.
4     The Visigoths lost Spain to the Muslims--called Moors--who entered Spain across the Strait of Gibraltar from Africa. The Moors arrived in Spain in 711 AD and took most of the country over in seven years. All but the very northern parts of Spain fell to the Muslims.
5     The years that followed the Moors' conquest of Spain were some of the most productive years in Spain's history. Schools, mosques, and public baths were built, and arts and sciences grew tremendously during Moorish rule. Also, new ways of farming were developed.
6     Despite the prosperity, not everyone was happy to live under Moorish rule. Some Visigoths who remained in the northern parts of Spain fought back. In 722 in a town called Covadonga, the Visigoths won a battle against the Moors. Although the Moors would rule Spain for another 800 years, this one battle was considered the beginning of the Reconquista.
7     The Reconquista was the name for the Christian overthrow of the Moors. For the 800 years of Moorish rule, the Christians who remained in the north grew in strength and numbers. By the 13th century, most of the Christian part of Spain was divided into two kingdoms, called Castile and Aragón. In 1469, the princess of Castile, named Isabella, married Ferdinand II, prince of Aragón. This marriage created a strong unified kingdom that brought about the end of Moorish rule.
8     This new ruling Catholic family, called the Renaissance Monarchs, used horrible methods to rid Spain of all non-Catholics. Called the Spanish Inquisition, these methods included torture and execution of Jews, Muslims, and other non-Christians. The Spanish Inquisition is remembered as one of the most brutal times in European history.

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