Profile of a bullfighter - the matador
© AA Photo Library
15,000-12,000 BC Caves at Altamira painted; earliest sign of habitation.
218-210 BC Rome begins conquest of Iberian peninsula.
AD 411 Visigoths invade and establish powerful kingdom at Toledo.
711 Moors defeat Visigoths and begin period of occupation.
1478-79 Spanish Inquisition against Jews, Moors and Protestants.
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers New World.
1519 Spanish conquistadores move across America.
1588 Spanish Armada is sent against Protestant England; fleet destroyed and maritime pre-eminence lost.
1808-14 Peninsular War (War of Independence) sees expulsion of French and defeat of Napoleon.
1898 Philippines and Cuba rebel against Spanish rule; the United States occupies Puerto Rico; end of Spanish Empire.
1914-18 Spain remains neutral in World War I.
1936-39 Spanish Civil War; General Francisco Franco leads Nationalist troops from Morocco against Republicans.
1939 Franco becomes head of state; Spain enters period of isolation and remains neutral throughout World War II.
1955 Spain joins United Nations.
1975 Death of Franco; Juan Carlos becomes king.
1986 Spain joins the European Union.
1992 Barcelona hosts Olympic Games; Madrid declared Cultural Capital of Europe; Seville is the venue for Expo 92.