Pre- and early history

  • Archaeological evidence suggests that the Iberian Peninsula was inhabited by hominids as early as 1.2 million years ago and was later inhabited by various pre-Roman tribes, including the Gallaecians, Celts and the Iberians.
  • 218 BC: The Roman Republic conquers the Iberian Peninsula and establishes the province of Hispania.
  • 5th century AD: The Roman Empire collapses, and the Iberian Peninsula is ruled by the Visigoths.
  • 711: The Moors, a Muslim people from North Africa, conquer the Iberian Peninsula, establishing the Islamic state of Al-Andalus.
  • 1031: The Taifa kingdoms, a series of Muslim states, emerge in Al-Andalus.
  • 1085: The Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon begin the Reconquista, a centuries-long effort to reclaim the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors.
  • 1469: The marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile marks the start of a unified Spain.
  • 1492: Columbus sets sail on his first voyage to the Americas, opening the way for Spanish colonisation and empire building. The Spanish Inquisition leads to the expulsion of Jews and later Muslims from Spain. 
  • 1516: Charles I of Spain is elected Holy Roman Emperor, marking the beginning of the Habsburg dynasty in Spain.
  • 1588: The Spanish Armada is defeated by the English, marking the decline of Spanish naval power.
  • 1648: The Treaty of Westphalia marks the end of the Thirty Years' War and the decline of Spanish influence in Europe.
  • 18th century: Spain experiences political, social, and economic change, influenced by the Enlightenment and the American Revolution.
  • 1808-1814: The Peninsular War takes place, with Spanish and Portuguese forces fighting against Napoleon's army.
  • 1873: A revolution leads to the establishment of the First Spanish Republic. 
  • 1874: The monarchy is restored, with King Alfonso XII taking the throne.
  • 1898: The Spanish-American War takes place, with Spain losing its colonies in the Americas.

The 20th century

  • 1923-1930: General Miguel Primo de Rivera establishes a dictatorship in Spain.
  • 1936-1939: The Spanish Civil War takes place, with General Francisco Franco emerging as the victor.
  • 1975: Franco dies and King Juan Carlos I takes the throne, marking the start of the transition to democracy.
  • 1986: Spain joins the European Union.

The 21st century

  • 2000: Spain becomes one of the first countries to ratify the Rome Statute before it's forced into entry in 2002, the treaty establishes the International Criminal Court.
  • 2004: A series of train bombings in Madrid kill 193 people and injures approximately 2,000. Occurring three days before Spain's national elections, this attack is attributed to Islamist terrorists for Spain's involvement in the Iraqi invasion.
  • 2005: Same-sex marriage is legalised in Spain, despite the Roman Catholic Church's disapproval. 
  • 2006: The citizens of Catalonia vote for proposals aiming to give the region greater autonomy and independence from Spain. 
  • 2008: The country experiences the global financial crisis, leading to high levels of unemployment and economic hardship.
  • 2013: Spain registers economic growth for the first time since 2008, formally lifting the country out of recession. 
  • 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic has a major impact on the country, leading to widespread economic hardship and social changes, as well as the deaths of around 28,000 people.