España: Timeline

This timeline of the history of España is adapted from the Official website of the president of the Government of Spain and the Council of Ministers. It is posted here for educational purposes only. Prof Bailly changed the names from their English versions to the original Spanish (ex: Charles III to Carlos III) and added a few dates relevant to España: Ida y Vuelta


800,000 BCE
“Based on the findings at Atapuerca (Burgos province), estimated to be around 800,000 years old, the presence of hominids on the Iberian Peninsula dates back to the Lower Palaeolithic period. Experts are still debating the origin of these early settlers, who may have entered the peninsula directly from Africa via the Straits of Gibraltar, but more likely arrived by crossing over the Pyrenees.” La Moncloa

40,000-15,000 B. C. Altamira cave paintings

Spain before the Romans

1,200-800 B. C. Indo-Europeans, Phoenicians and Greeks invade the Iberian Peninsula

800-500 B. C. Tartessus

Roman Hispania (218 BCE – 409 CE)
“The Roman invasion and eventual conquest of the peninsula took place over the long period between 218 and 19 B.C. Hannibal’s defeat by Publius Cornelius Scipio (209 B.C.) not only marked the beginning of the end for his army in Italy; it was also the beginning of the Roman conquest of Spain.” Montcloa

The Visigothic Kingdom (472-710)

Moorish Spain (710-1492)

756-929 Umayyad emirate

929-1031 Caliphate

1031-1090 Taifa kingdoms

1090-1146 Almoravid invasion

1146-1224 Almohad invasion

1224-1232 Marinid invasion

1232-1492 Nasrid kingdom of Granada

Christian Spain (710-1492)

803 Kingdom of Navarre

1137 Crown of Aragón

1230 Kingdom of Castile and Leon

1479 Union of the Crowns of Castile and Aragón with the Catholic Monarchs

1492 Conquest of Granada, Columbus’ discovery of America and the publication of the first Spanish grammar text (Gramática Castellana)

1512 Incorporation of Navarre

1535-1545 Viceroyalties of Mexico and Peru

01 November 1478
Pope Sixtus IV issues the Bull Exigit Sinceras Devotionis Affectus which starts the Spanish Inquisition. The targets of the Spanish Inquisition are Jews that have converted to Catholicism.
“We learn that in various cities, sections and regions of the Spanish Kingdoms, many of those who of their own accord were born anew in Christ in the sacred waters of Baptism, while continuing to comport themselves externally as Christians, yet have secretly adopted or returned to the religious observances and customs of the Jews, and are living according to the principles and ordinances of Judaical superstition and falsehood, thus falling away from the true orthodox Faith, its worship, and belief in its doctrines.” Pope Sixtus IV

02 January 1492
King Boabdil of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada surrenders to Ferdinand and Isabella.

31 March 1492
The Alhambra Decree expelled all Jews from España. It was signed the Hall of the Ambassadors in the Alhambra.
“Ferdinand and Isabella promulgated a decree ordering the expulsion of Jews from all their kingdoms. Jewish subjects were given until July 31 of the same year to choose between accepting baptism and leaving the country definitively. Although the decree allowed them to take all their possessions with them, land-holdings, of course, had to be sold, and gold, silver and coined money were forfeit. The reason given to justify this measure was that the proximity of unconverted Jews served as a reminder of their former faith and seduced many conversos into relapsing and returning to the practice of Judaism.”

12 October 1492
Columbus enters the Western Hemisphere. Earlier in the year, Columbus had an audience with Ferdinand and Isabella in the Hall of the Ambassadors to request funding for his voyage.

11-13 May 1513
Ponce de Leon sails into Chequescha (Miami & Biscayne Bay). He names the land Florida and claims it for Spain. Antonio de Herrera’s 1601 text is the oldest record describing Ponce de Leon’s entry in Biscayne Bay. Below is a passage, translated by Florence P. Spofford. Bailly has inserted the likely contemporary names of places.

“On Sunday, the 8th of May, they doubled the cape of La Florida, which they named Cabo de Corrientes (Lake Worth Inlet), because the water ran so swift there that it had more force than the wind, and would not allow the ships to go for- ward, although they put out all sails. They anchored behind a cape close to a village called Abaioa. All this coast from Punta de Arracifes as far as this Cabo de Corrientes runs north and south a quarter by southeast, and it is quite clear with a depth of six fathoms; and the cape is in twenty- eight degrees and fifteen minutes. They sailed on until they found two islands (Virginia Key and Key Biscayne) to the south in twenty- seven degrees. The one having an extent of one league they named Santa Marta (Key Biscayne, and there they found water. On Friday, the 13th of May, they hoisted sail, running along the coast of a sandbank and reef of islands as far as the vicinity of an island that they named Pola (Key Largo), which is in twenty-six’ and one-half degrees, and between the shoal, the reef of islands, and the mainland, the open sea extends in the form of a bay. On Sunday, the day of the Feast of the Holy Spirit, the 15th of May, they ran along the coast of rocky islets ten leagues, as far as two white rocky islets. To all this line of islands and rocky islets they gave the name of Los Martires (The Florida Keys) because, seen from a distance, the rocks as they rose to view appeared like men who were suffering; and the name has remained fitting, because of the many that have been lost there since.”

Christianity is introduced to Miami. In 1567, Governor Pedro Menendez de Aviles establishes a Jesuit Mission in Tequesta. Jesuit Francisco de Villarreal is in charge of the Tequesta Mission.

29 January 1568
Villarreal writes a letter to fellow Jesuit Brother Rogel.
Villarreal letter of 29 January 1568

“Spanish/Indian friendships were renewed when the brother of Tequesta, one of those that had been baptized in Spain (and given the name “Don Diego”) arrived back at his village on the Miami River, accompanied by Father Juan Bautista de Segura.” Swanson

Chief Cosmographer-Chronicler of the Indies, Juan López de Velasco (c. 1530–1598) described Tequesta, present day Miami, in the following manner in 1571.

“At the very point of Tequesta there enters into the sea a freshwater river, which comes from the interior, and to all appearances runs from west to east. There are many fish and eels in it. Alongside it on the north side is the Indian settlement that is called Tequesta. A settlement of Spaniards was established here in the year of 1567, which was abandoned later, in the year of 1570. They say it would be advantageous to build a fort there for the security of the ships that might have to come out of the (Bahama) Channel and because the land is good for settlement.”

Florida becomes part of Britain. The remaining Tequesta at the mouth of the Miami River depart Miami with the Spanish. It is hypothesized a few may have resettled in the Everglades. The Tequesta, as a culture and people, become extinct.

03 September 1783
The Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolution, and Britain relinquished rule over the thirteen colonies. Florida returned to Spanish rule.
Treaty of Versailles 1783

22 February 1819
Spain and Florida sign the Florida Purchase Treaty, effectively ceding Florida to the United States in exchange for about $5 million in debt claims. The treaty would be ratified in 1821 and Florida would be formally admitted as a US territory in 1822 and as a slave state in 1845.

  • 1516-1556 Carlos I
  • 1526 Treaty of Madrid
  • 1556 Felipe II
  • 1571 Battle of Lepanto
  • 1598-1621 Felipe III
  • 1605 Don Quixote
  • 1621-1665 Felipe IV
  • 1640 Secession of Portugal
  • 1659 Treaty of the Pyrenees
  • 1665-1700 Carlos II

House of Bourbon (1700-1808)

  • 1700-1746 Felipe V
  • 1713 Treaty of Utrecht
  • 1746-1759 Ferdinand VI
  • 1759-1788 Carlos III
  • 1760-1790 Enlightenment and reform
  • 1788-1808 Carlos IV
  • 1805 Battle of Trafalgar
  • 1807 Treaty of Fontainebleau

Dissolution of the Old Regime and the Peninsular War (1808- 1814)

  • 1808 Abdication of Carlos IV and Ferdinand VII in Bayonne. Entry of Joseph Bonaparte I in Madrid.
  • 1810-1812 The Cortes and Constitution of Cádiz

Liberal reaction and Revolution (1814-1833)

  • 1814 Arrival of Ferdinand VII in Madrid
  • 1814-1820 First Absolutist Restoration
  • 1820-1823 The Uprising and Liberal Triennium
  • 1823-1833 Second Absolutist Restoration

Regency periods (1833-1843)

  • 1833-1841 Death of Ferdinand VIl and Regency of Maria Christina Carlist War
  • 1834 Royal Statute
  • 1837 Liberal Constitution
  • 1841-1843 Regency of Espartero

Reign of Isabella II (1843-1868)

1843-1854 Moderate Decade

1845 Constitution

1854-1856 Liberal Biennium

1856 “Non nata” constitution

1856-1868 Moderate Predominance

Revolutionary Six Years (1868- 1874)

1869 Constitution of 1869

1869-1871 Regency of General Serrano

1871-1873 Reign of Amadeus of Savoy

1873-1874 First Spanish Republic

1874 Coup staged by Martínez Campos on behalf of Alfonso XII.

Restoration (1875-1923)

1875 Entry of Alfonso XII in Madrid

1876 Constitution

1881 Liberal government

1885 Death of Alfonso XII Regency of Maria Christina

1890 Universal suffrage

1898 Spanish-American War and Treaty of Paris

1902-1931 Reign of Alfonso XIII

Dictatorship of Primo de Rivera and the fall of the Monarchy (1923-1931)

1931 Municipal elections (14 April) and Proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic

Second Republic and Spanish Civil War (1931-1939)

1931 Republican Constitution

1933 Electoral victory of CEDA

1936 Electoral victory of the Popular Front (February) and military coup (July)

Civil War (1936-1939)

General Franco’s regime (1939-1975)

1959 Stabilization Plan

1969 Appointment of Prince Juan Carlos as successor

Democratic transition

1975 Death of Franco Proclamation of King Juan Carlos I

1976 Common Law on Political Reform (November) and Referendum (December)

1977 General elections (15 June) Relative majority for the UCD President Adolfo Suárez (4 July) Spain requests membership in the EEC (28 July)

1978 Constitutional referendum (6 December) Constitution sanctioned by H.M. the King on 27 December in Parliament Enters into force on 28 December

Constitutional Monarchy

1979 General elections (1 March).

1979 Congress approves Spain’s accession to NATO (29 October)

1982 General elections. Absolute majority for the PSOE (28 October). New government with Felipe González as president (3 December)

1985 Signature of Spain’s treaty of adhesion to the EEC (12 June)

1986 Spain and Portugal become full EEC members (1 January). Prince Felipe swears allegiance to the Constitution in Parliament (30 January). Positive results in the referendum on Spain remaining in NATO (12 March). General elections. New absolute majority for the PSOE (22 June)

1989 Spanish presidency of the EC (first half). European elections (15 June). General elections. Victory for the PSOE (29 October). Felipe González takes the presidential oath of office before Parliament (5 December)

1993 General elections (6 June). Relative majority for the PSOE. Felipe González takes the presidential oath of office before Parliament (9 July)

1995 Spanish presidency of the European Union (second half). The European Council of Madrid approves the name of the future European currency: the euro (15-16 December)

1996 General elections (relative majority for the PP). José María Aznar is sworn in as president before Parliament (3 May)

2000 General elections (victory with an absolute majority for the PP). José María Aznar takes the presidential oath of office before Parliament (25 April)

2002 Spanish presidency of the European Union (first half)

2004 General elections (victory for the PSOE with a relative majority). José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero takes the presidential oath of office before Parliament (17 April). European elections (13 June)

2005 European Constitution Referendum (20 February)

2008 General elections (victory for the PSOE with a relative majority). José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero takes the presidential oath of office before Parliament (8 April)

2010 Spanish presidency of the European Union (first half)

2011 General elections (20 November). Victory for the PP with an absolute majority. Mariano Rajoy takes the presidential oath of office before Parliament (20 December)


Ham, Anthony; Quintero, Josephine. Lonely Planet Madrid (Travel Guide). Lonely Planet Global Limited, 2021.

Phillips, Jr, William D.; Rahn Phillips, Carla. A Concise History of Spain (Cambridge Concise Histories). Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Shields, Graham. Madrid (World Bibliographical Series). ABC-CLIO, 1996.

Steves, Rick. Rick Steves Spain (Travel Guide). Avalon Travel, 2016.

John William Bailly 28 November 2022

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