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What are the highlights of Spain's history?

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Quick Answer

Some of the most important and, in some cases celebrated, events in Spanish history are the reconquest of the country from Moorish rule, the rise of Spain as a colonial power and the fall of Francisco Franco's dictatorial regime. The Moorish influence in Spain, particularly between the 11th and 15th centuries, was culturally and economically positive. It ended in 1502 with the surrender of King Boabdil to the Spanish crown, after which Muslims were either converted to Christianity or forced to leave the country.

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After the Moors were defeated in Spain, money became available to fund the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the Americas. Although he could not return with the gold promised to King Ferdinand, the introduction of New World staples such as potatoes and tomatoes changed Spanish and European populations forever. The interaction between Spaniards and native South Americans also made Spanish a dominant language in the Western hemisphere.

The Spanish Civil War ended with the victory of Francisco Franco on April 1, 1939. The country was in economic and political ruin by this time but Franco's largely dictatorial government lasted until his death in 1975 at the age of 83. He named Prince Juan Carlos as a successor, but instead of continuing Franco's legacy, Juan Carlos reinstated Spain as a democratic constitutional monarchy.

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