Spain & Portugal: key historical events
See also South-Central America for Spamish colonial history in South America
Spanish Civil War
War of the Spanish Succession
Eviction of the Arabs
9/11/2014, In Catalonia a poll was held by the regional government on independence from Spain. The national government had already declared it would not consider the poll result binding, and anti-separatists boycotted the poll. 2.3 million voted out of an electorate of 5.4 million. Of these, 1.6 million answered ‘yes’ to both questions, ‘Do you think Catalonia should be a State’, and ‘If so, should it be independent from Spain’. Artur Mas, leader of the independence campaign, claimed a success. Catalonia complained that as Spain’s wealthiest region, it contributed more to the State than it received in return. The Spanish Prime Minister, Mr Mariano Rajoy of the Popular Party, replied that money was short and Catalonia must wait until the general economy improved.
27/10/2012, Large protests in Madrid against austerity cuts.
20/10/2011, Basque separatist militant organisation ETA declared an end to its 43-year campaign of political violence, which had killed over 800 people since 1968.
30/12/2006, The Basque Nationalist group ETA detonated a bomb at Madrid-Barajas Airport, ending a 9-month ceasefire.
22/3/2006, The Basque terrorist group ETA announced a permanent ceasefire in Spain.
11/3/2004 Terrorist bombs killed 191 and injured 1200 more at Madrid’s main Atocha railway station and on trains outside the station in the morning rush hour. Ten bombs in all exploded on four separate trains. ETA, the Basque independence group, was blamed at first but later blame shifted to a Moroccan group with links to Al Quaeda.
16/9/1998, The Basque guerrilla group ETA announced a ‘total and indefinite ceasefire’ to take effect from 18/9/1998.
21/6/1993. Basque separatists set off a car bomb in Madrid, killing 5 senior military officers in a minibus. Two others were also killed, and 24 injured.
6/2/1992. The Basque separatist group ETA set off a bomb in the centre of Madrid.
14/1/1990, 43 died in a fire in a disco in Saragosa, Spain.
14/12/1988, In Spain, 8 million workers went on strike against government economic policies.
19/6/1987. 21 died and 45 were injured in a Basque separatist car bomb in an underground car park in Barcelona. Amongst the dead were several young children. The atrocity alienated all but the most militant ETA supporters; with Franco gone, the organisation now lacked any real purpose.
15/12/1982, The border between Spain and Gibraltar opened for the first time in 13 years, to pedestrians only.
28/10/1982, The Socialist Party won Spanish elections, and Felipe Gonzalez was elected Prime Minister.
30/5/1982. Spain joined NATO. She became the 16th member and the first to join NATO since West Germany was admitted in 1955.
8/1/1982. Spain ended its 12-year siege of Gibraltar and reopened the frontier. In return Britain ended its opposition to Spain joining the EEC and NATO. See 27/12/1978.
23/2/1981, In Spain, Fascist army officers loyal to the memory of dictator Francisco Franco stormed the Cortes (Parliament) ands held hundreds hostage. The rebel leader, Colonel Tejero de Molina, took the podium, gun in hand, to announce a coup. Meanwhile the Francoist General Jaime del Bosch, the man behind the coup, declared a state of emergency in eastern Spain and mobilised his troops. King Juan Carlos, that evening, made a TV broadcast saying he had ordered the army to suppress the revolt. King Carlos was counting on the support of the people and most of the army. The return of the Spanish monarchy after Franco’s death in 1975 had brought the first free elections in Spain for 40 years. The Fascist rebels hesitated, and Spanish democracy was saved.
10/4/1980, Spain and the UK agreed to reopen the border with Gibraltar, closed since 1969.
27/12/1978. Spain became a democracy as a new Constitution was approved, after 40 years of dictatorship. See 8/1/1982.
20/11/1978. An attempted military coup in Spain failed.
28/7/1977, Spain formally applied to join the EC.
15/6/1977, Spain held its first democratic elections, after 41 years of dictatorship under Franco.
29/4/1977, Trades Unions were legalised in Spain for the first time since 1936.
9/4/1977. Spain legalised the Communist Party after a 38-year ban.
25/4/1976. Portugal held its first free elections for fifty years.
22/11/1975. The Spanish monarchy was restored following the death of General Franco. King Juan Carlos II became King of Spain on 27/11/1975. See 30/10/1975.
20/11/1975. General Franco, Spanish Head of State from 1936, died aged 82. He became leader of Spain following the Spanish Civil War (1935-39), due to lack of intervention by other European countries and the backing of Fascist Italy and Germany. Franco stayed out of World War Two because Adolf Hitler would not agree to cede France’s North African territories to Spain. In 1949 Franco declared Spain to be a monarchy, although there was no monarch until, in 1954, he declared that his heir would be Juan Carlos, grandson of the last Spanish King. Carlos took Spain in a different political direction from Franco, adopting a democratic constitution in 1978 after referendum showed 90% of Spaniards in favour of this.
30/10/1975. Prince Juan Carlos became acting Head of State in Spain after dictator Franco became ill. See 20/11/1975.
21/10/1975. Spain’s 82 year old General Franco suffered his third heart attack in five days. He died on 20/11/1975. See 22/11/1975.
28/9/1975, Spanish dictator General Franco executed five Basque terrorists.
26/4/1975, In Portugal’s first free elections for 50 years, former exile Mario Soares won for the Portuguese Socialist Party.
15/5/1974, General Spinola became ruler of Portugal, see 25/4/1974. A moderate conservative senior army officer, Spinola was unable to block the rise of the Communists in Portugal and he resigned in September 1974. Spinola attempted a counter-coup against the Communists in March 1975 but this failed. In April 1975 Mario Soares’s moderate socialist party won elections, but power remained with the Supreme Revolutionary Council of Marxist Officers, led by Captain Otelo de Carvalho. Portugal seemed to be on the way to becoming a Communist state, but in November 1975 moderate socialists under Colonel Ramalho Eanes arrested Carvalho and other communist officers, with little resistance. Eanes became president in 1976 with Soares as Prime Minister, restoring democracy.
25/4/1974, A military coup in Portugal. PM Marcello Caetano was overthrown in an almost bloodless military coup organised by left-wing junior officers of the secret Movimento das Forcas Armadas (MFA). There was dissatisfaction with Portugal’s demoralising colonial wars in Angola and Mozambique. The coup provoked rejoicing in Lisbon and the red carnation was adopted as symbpl of the revolution. See 15/5/1974.
1973, Tourist arrivals in Spain numbered nearly 35 million, against just over 4 million in 1959. Tourist income in 1973 wsas US$ 3,1 billion, against US$ 125 million in 1959. The 1959 toursists came to see spain’s culture and history, the Prado and Alhambra. The 1973 tourists came for the sun, sand and sea.
20/12/1973, The Spanish Prime Minister, Luis Carrero Blanca, was killed in Madrid by a Basque ETA bomb which blew his car up. Every day Blanca attended Mass at the same church at the same time then took the same route beck to his office. This predictability enabled a group of five young ETA men, pretending to be arts students, to rent a ground floor flat on his route then dig a tunnel out under the road and detonate 80 kg of explosives as his car passed overhead. The car seemed to have completely disappeared; it had in fact been blasted over a four-storey building to land in the internal courtyard.
Luis Blanca had been chosen by General Franco as his successor, and had promised to continue Franco’s policies. Many Spaniards disliked this, not just the Basques, and after the event jokes circulated about ‘Spain’s first astronaut’ and a folk song went “Whoops, there he goes”.
7/12/1971, Fernando Quiroga y Palacios, Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, died aged 71.
1970, 90% of Spanish homes had a TV set, up from just 1% in 1960.
27/7/1970, The Portuguese Fascist dictator Antonio Salazar died, aged 81. He was replaced by Marcello Caerano.
22/7/1969, Spanish dictator General Franco named Juan Carlos, grandson of King Alfonso XIII, as his heir apparent.
4//7/1969. Franco offered Gibraltarians Spanish citizenship.
20/12/1968. Franco banished Prince Carlos from Spain.
27/9/1968, Antonio Salazar resigned as Prime Minister of Portugal, after holding the office for 36 years and 84 days, the longest term of office of any politician.
6/5/1968, Spain closed its border with Gibraltar to all but Spaniards.
10/9/1967. Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to stay British. 12,318 voted for Britain, and 44 for Spanish rule. In 2002 the British government was considering sharing sovereignty with Spain but the Gibraltarian governor was to hold an unauthorised referendum, which he believed would show the majority wished to stay British.
3/2/1965, Spain began a blockade of Gibraltar.
17/1/1966, A US bomber aircraft on exercises was attempting to refuel mid-air over Spain when an error resulted in the fuel boom from the other aircraft clipping the bomber’s wing. The bomber crashed in flames; its crew parachuted to safety. However the bomber was carrying four Hydrogen Bombs. The Bombs were not armed so the electrical sequence necessary to detonate the fission bomb that would have set off the Hydrogen bomb never initiated. In other fortunate events, the parachutes on the bombs failed so they buried themselves deep in the soil, limiting radiation dispersal, and a breeze carried much of the radiation out to see as flaming bits of aircraft rained down in the area.
10/9/1963. The people of Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly to remain under British rule.
1959, ETA was set up to secure the independence of the Basque Country, by violence if necessary.
7/6/1957. A travel report published in London said a small fishing village called Benidorm was the place for summer holidays, with guaranteed sun and low prices. Tourist development in Benidorm had just begun, with a German company building bed and breakfast accommodation there. There were warnings that the bathrooms may be spartan, with some taps only giving salt water.
29/6/1956, Pedro Santana Lopes, Prime Minister of Portugal, was born.
1/12/1954, The Estádio da Luz football stadium opened in Lisbon, Portugal.
27/12/1950. US and Spain resumed diplomatic relations.
6/7/1947. Spain voted to have a King when Franco died.
8/12/1945, At the Nuremberg Trials it emerged that Hitler had expected the Spanish General Franco to seize Gibraltar from Britain.
29/4/1944, Bernardino Machado, President of Portugal, died.
28/2/1941, Alfonso I, former King of Spain, who had been forced into exile when Spain became a Republic in 1931, died in Rome.
12/2/1941, General Franco travelled to Bordighera, Italy, to meet Mussolini. Again Franco avoided any significant commitment to the Axis cause.
For main events of World War Two in Europe see France-Germany
23/10/1940, General Franco travelled to Hendaye, France, to meet with Hitler. Franco avoided making a serious commitment to the Axis cause.
8/5/1939. Spain left the League of Nations.
29/3/1939, Franco was named ‘Caudillo’, or ‘Leader of the Nation’.
28/3/1939. Spanish Civil War ended. Franco entered Madrid, after a siege of almost three years.
1/3/1939. The US recognised Franco’s government in Spain.
28/2/1939. Britain and France recognised Franco’s regime in Spain.
26/1/1939. Barcelona fell without resistance to the Nationalists under Franco, with help from Italy. This doomed the Republican cause, which finally surrendered on 28/3/1939. Barcelona had been the seat of an autonomous Catalan government, established on 2/8/1936.
25/1/1939, The Juan Negrín government fled Barcelona. Another capital was set up in Figueres the following day.
3/1/1939, The Battle of the Segre ended in Nationalist victory in the Spanish Civil War.
25/5/1938, Alicante was bombed by General Franco’s aircraft in the Spanish Civil War.
3/4/1938. Franco took Lerida, a key town in Catalonia.
16/3/1938, The Aviazione Legionaria began bombing Barcelona.
5/1/1938. King Juan Carlos I of Spain, who succeeded General Franco as Head of State, born.
21/12/1937. Republicans captured Franco’s stronghold of Teruel.
28/11/1937. Franco ordered the Spanish Republican government forces to surrender by 12/12/1937 or face a massive offensive.
28/10/1937. The Spanish Government moved from Valencia to Barcelona.
21/10/1937. Gijon, the last Republican stronghold in northern Spain, fell to Franco’s forces.
25/8/1937, Franco’s forces captured Santander.
10/8/1937, In the Spanish Civil War, the Regional Defence Council of Aragon was dissolved.
30/6/1937, Portugal stopped co-operating with the Non-Intervention Committee patrol agreement and ordered British observers off its soil.
29/6/1937, Italy and Germany opposed Anglo-French patrols around the coast of Spain.
19/6/1937. Franco’s forces captured Bilbao.
13/6/1937, The Nationalists came within two miles of Bilbao, capturing a range of hills east of the city.
31/5/1937. The German fleet bombarded the Spanish port of Almeria.
26/4/1937. The German air force destroyed the Basque city and cultural centre of Guernica, Spain. Thousands of civilians died. It was market day in Guernica when the Germans raided, in support of Franco’s Nationalists. The town was a communications centre with a munitions factory, but the bombing with incendiaries was random; aircraft also raked the town with machine gun fire. 1,000, mainly civilians, died. 43 aircraft from the German Condor Legion, under Colonel Wolfgang von Richtofen, carried out the raid. This became the scene of one of Picasso’s most famous paintings.
8/2/1937. Malaga fell to Franco’s forces, helped by 15,000 Italians.
17/1/1937. The USSR refused to stop helping the Republican forces in Spain.
1/12/1936. German forces landed at Cadiz to help Franco’s nationalist rebels.
18/11/1936, Hitler and Mussolini recognised Franco’s provisional government in Burgos.
7/11/1936. The Spanish Government fled to Valencia.
6/11/1936, Franco’s forces were besieging Madrid.
29/10/1936. Republican troops south of Madrid were holding back Franco’s Nationalist forces.
23/10/1936, Germany sent the ‘Condor’ legion to Spain to assist Franco’s forces.
7/10/1936, Aguirre was elected President of the Basque Republic (Euskadi), honouring a promise for autonomy within Spain.
28/9/1936. General Franco, 44, was made head of the rebel Nationalist forces in Spain.
17/9/1936. Franco’s troops took Maqueda, between Madrid and Toledo.
4/8/1936. Badajoz was captured by the Spanish Nationalists under Franco as they fought northwards. This cut off the Republicans from the route to Portugal, and prepared the way for a nationalist advance on Madrid from the north and west.
2/8/1936. An autonomous Catalan government was established in Barcelona. See 26/1/1939.
24/7/1936. The Spanish government appealed for foreign help in the Civil War.
18/7/1936. The Spanish Civil War began when the army, under Generals Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola, revolted against the Republican Government. It lasted three years.
7/4/1936, President Zamora of Spain was deposed.
20/2/1936, A left-wing government took control in Spain, under Manuel Azana.
19/2/1936, The Spanish Republic announced an amnesty for the rebels in the 1934 Asturian revolt.
16/2/1936. Victory for the Left in Spanish elections.
8/10/1934. Despite martial law, there was fierce fighting in Spain and Catalonia was trying to set up its own government, with Barcelona as the capital.
25/4/1934. Martial law was declared in Spain as the government resigned.
29/10/1933, The Falange Party, a Spanish version of fascism, advocating violence to gain its ends, was launched by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera. The Party won just 0.7% of the vote in the general elections of 16/2/1936; however the Falange then grew rapidly as Spanish middle-class youth, disillusioned with the mainstream parties, joined it en masse. Falange activists played a key role in organising the street fighting that was a prelude to the Civil war that broke out in July 1936; during the early stages of the Civil war itself, the Falange controlled the press and propaganda in the Natioinalist-controlled areas. However its leader, Jose Antonio, was executed in Alicante jail in November 1936. In April 1937 General Franco forcibly united the Falange with his own Carlist Nationalist organisation.
10/1/1933. Civil disorder broke out in Spain and the army declared martial law.
2/1/1933, Anarchist uprising in Barcelona.
25.9/1932, Catalonia in Spain became autonomous, with its own Parliament, language and flag.
5/7/1932. Oliveira Salazar became virtual dictator of Portugal at the head of a Fascist regime. Portugal was in the middle of an economic and political crisis.
2/7/1932, Manuel II, ex-King of Portugal, died.
22/1/1932. A Communist uprising in northern Spain was crushed.
28/6/1931. Socialists won the Spanish general elections.
11/6/1931. Martial law was imposed on 7 Spanish cities.
14/4/1931 King Alfonso XIII of Spain abdicated and left Spain to settle in Rome, when the Republicans gained overwhelming success in Spain’s municipal elections. Alfonso (1886 –1941) had ruled Spain since 1902. Alfonso had supported the dictator Primo de Rivera, who overthrew the Spanish Parliament in 1923; Rivera was ousted in 1930 and the army also opposed Alfonso.
12/4/1931. In Spain, elections showed a big majority for the Republicans. King Alfonso XIII abdicated on 14/4/1931, and left for exile in Rome.
16/12/1930, A General Strike began in Spain..
12/12/1930. The Spanish revolution began.
30/7/1930, In Portugal, the Fascist National Union Party was formed.
16/3/1930, The Spanish dictator Primo de Rivera died, aged 59, having fallen ill on 28/1/1930.
3/2/1927, In Portugal, a revolt began against dictator General Carmona; the revolt was defeated on 13/2/1927.
7/9/1926. Spain left the League of Nations after being denied a permanent seat on the council.
19/10/1921, Portuguese PM Antonio Granjo was assassinated.
19/1/1919. A pro-monarchist uprising in Portugal; the monarchy was proclaimed at Oporto.
15/12/1918, The Portuguese President Sidonio Paes was assassinated.
1917, In Spain, the Conferedacion Nacional Catolica-Agrario (CNCA) was set up by large landowners, to combat the rising power of the rural and urban working classes. The middle-c;lass, Conservative, religious, CNCA attracted the support of smaller landowners particularly in northern and central Spain and by 1919 boasted 500,000 members. It supported the Right wing during the Spanish Civil War. In 1942 it became the National Union of Rural Co-operatives (UNCC).
1917, Manoel Jose de Arriaga, first elected President of Portugal 1911-15 after the overthrow of King Manuel II (born 1840), died.
27/11/1912. France and Spain agreed on their respective spheres of influence in Morocco.
1911, In Spain the Comferedacion Nacional de Trabajo (CNT), a leftist-anarchist movement, was founded. It became the largest trade union in Spain, drawing support from the Barcelona, Madrid and Saragossa regions. However the CNT’s anarchist tendencies caused differences with the Republicans, and these splits undermined the Leftist war effort against the Nationalists in the Civil War.
4/10/1910, Portugal, having been a monarchy since 1128, became a Republic. King Manuel II fled to Britain, where he died in 1932, after a 2-year reign. The new Portuguese Republic was headed by 67-year old Teofilo Braga.
3/10/1910. A revolution in Portugal ousted King Manoel II. He and his mother left for England and Portugal became a Republic on 7/10/1910.
1/2/1908, Carlos I, King of Portugal, was assassinated along with his son, Prince Luiz, by soldiers after a failed revolution. He was succeeded by his 18-year old younger son, Manoel II.
9/4/1904, Isabella II, Queen of Spain, died.
17/2/1902, A general strike in Barcelona and nearby towns led to military reprisals that left 40 dead.
19/1/1902, Maria Cristina, Infanta of Portugal and Spain, died aged 68/
31/7/1895, The Basque Nationalist Party was founded by Sabino de Arana Goiri (1865-1903). He did much to revive the Basque language, publishing newspapers, magazines, and books on subjects ranging from grammar to history in this language. He also coined the word Euzkadi for the Basque national people, and designed the first Basque national flag, the Ikurrrina.
4/12/1892, General Franco, Spanish dictator, was born in El Ferrol.
27/3/1890, Spain adopted universal (male) suffrage.
18/1/1890, Death of King Amadeus I of Spain (born 1845).
19/10/1889, King Luis I of Portugal died aged 51 (born 1838). He was succeeded by his son, Carlos I, aged 26.
24/11/1885, Alphonso XII of Spain died of tuberculosis, aged 27. He was later succeeded by his posthumous son, Alphonso XIII.
25/6/1870, Queen Isabella of Spain abdicated.
14/11/1866, Miguel I, King of Portugal, died.
18/5/1845, Don Carlos relinquished his right to the Spanish Crown in favour of his son.
13/5/1844, Spain set up a military peacekeeping force, the Guardia Civil.
25/10/1839. Spain passed a law removing all independence from the Basque provinces. This law was applied to Navarre in 1841, and to Alava, Guipuzcoa, and Vizcaya in 1876, and converted these into provinces of Spain.
15/7/1834, The Spanish Inquisition, founded in 1478, was disbanded.
16/5/1834, The 6-year civil war in Portugal ended. Miguel was defeated and left the country.
29/9/1833, Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, died, aged 48. He was succeeded by his 2-year old daughter, Isabella II. Ferdinand’s brother, Don Carlos, claimed the throne, threatening civil war.
10/10/1830, Isabella II, Queen of Spain, was born.
24/2/1829, Cadiz was made a free port.
4/7/1828, Dom Miguel, Regent of Portugal, had himself proclaimed King after a coup in May 1828. Civil war began and his niece, 9-year old Maria, was taken to England for her safety.
10/3/1826, King John VI of Portugal died aged 56. He was succeeded by his son, Dom Pedro of Brazil, as Pedro IV; however Pedro IV refused to leave Brazil, and abdicated in favour of his infant daughter, Maria.
23/9/1823, French troops, suppressing a rebellion in Spain, took Cadiz. The rebels surrendered Ferdinand VII, who was restored to the Spanish throne.
31/8/1823, At the Battle of the Trocadero, French troops defeated Spanish rebels.
30/6/1822, In Spain, rebels took King Ferdinand VII prisoner.
24/8/1820, A revolt broke out in Portugal as discontent grew over excessive British influence in the country, and the absence of the King, who was still in Portugal.
20/3/1816, Queen Maria I of Portugal died aged 81. She was succeeded by her son, Joao I, but he remained in Portugal.
1814, By decree, Spain exiled the ‘Afrencesados’, some 10,000 in number, the Spanish politicians and intellectuals who had supported Napoleon and the reforms he introduced to Spain during his occupation of the country.
21/6/1813. The victory of Wellington at Vitoria in the Peninsular War. Spain was lost by the French. Napoleon had deposed the Spanish monarch and replaced him with his own brother, Joseph. However this act provoked major Spanish popular resistance against France and led to Napoleon’s defeat there.
16/5/1811, The Battle of Albuera in Spain, at which a combined English (under Sir Arthur Wellesley), Portuguese, and Spanish force defeated the French under Marshal Soult.
10/3/1811. During the Peninsular War, Badajoz was surrendered to the French after its Spanish Commander had been bribed into the capitulation. The French had unsuccessfully attacked Badajoz in 1808 and 1809.
16/1/1809, The British won a rearguard action against the French, under Nicolas Soult, at Corunna in the Peninsular War. Britain had invaded Spain in the hope of raising anti-Napoleonic support but found this lacking. Corunna enabled the British forces to be successfully evacuated. However the British commander, Sir John Moore, was killed in this battle.
For more events of Peninsular War, see France-Germany
4/12/1808. Napoleon abolished the Spanish Inquision.
21/8/1808, British troops under Wellington defeated the French under General Junot. This was at the Battle of Vimiero, during the Peninsular War. The Peninsular War absorbed some 300,000 of Napoleon’s best troops, and was ended when Napoleon heard reports that Austria, backed by Britain, was arming against him.
2/5/1808. The people of Madrid rebelled against Napoleon’s rule.
21/10/1805. Battle of Trafalgar. Death of Nelson. Nelson blockaded the combined fleets of France and Spain in Cadiz. The French Admiral, Villeneuve, attempted to break out, but British ships sank or captured most of the French and Spanish ships. The French had planned to link up with the Spanish fleet in the West Indies and so lure the British into giving chase across the Atlantic. However Nelson guessed at the French tactics and the Admiralty was warned. A British fleet under Calder found the French fleet off Cape Finistere and they put into Spanish harbours. The French fleet later emerged to sail, not for Britain, but to return to the Mediterranean. The French were intercepted off Cape Trafalgar, and destroyed in the Battle of Trafalgar.
6/7/1801, The English and Spanish fleets were defeated off Algeceiras.
14/2/1797. Horatio Nelson and Admiral Jervis defeated the Spanish fleet off Cape St Vincent, south west Portugal.
5/10/1796. Spain declared war on Britain by signing the Treaty of San Il Defonso, allying it with Revolutionary France. The Treaty was engineered by Spanish Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, lover of King Charles IV’s wife Maria Luisa. De Godoy was opposed to monarchist Britain. Many ordinary Spanish opposed the Treaty, which diminished Spain as an imperial power and weakened her influence in The Americas.
14/12/1788, Charles IV (1748-1819) became King of Spain.
14/10/1784, Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, was born.
6/2/1783, The siege of Gibraltar ended.
5/2/1782, Spain captured Minorca from Britain.
16/1/1780. British troops under Admiral Rodney defeated the Spanish, destroying all but four ships of their fleet, at Cape St Vincent. This temporarily lifted the siege of Gibraltar.
16/6/1779, The siege of Gibraltar began.
24/2/1777, Joseph I, King of Portugal, died.
25/8/1762, The city of Almeida was captured by Spain, from Portugal. Portugal was allied with Britain in a war against Spain.
2/1/1762, Britain declared war on Spain, three months after William Pitt resigned
10/8/1759, Ferdinand VI, King of Spain, died.
14/3/1757, Admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad on the Monarque at Portsmouth, for his failure to relieve the island of Minorca, under attack by the French, at the start of the Seven Years War. In fact his fleet was probably inadequate for the task; having failed to prevent a French landing on Minorca, he took advice to leave the British garrison to its fate.
31/7/1750, Joao V of Portugal died aged 61, after reigning for 44 years. He was succeeded by his son, 35, Jose Manuel.
9/7/1746, Philip V, King of Spain, died, insane, aged 62. He reigned for 46 years. He was succeeded by his son, Ferdinand VI.
9/11/1729. Spain signed the Treaty of Seville, renouncing its right to Gibraltar in favour of the British.
17/2/1720, By the Treaty of the Hague, the Allies forced King Philip V of Spain to renounce his claim on Sicily; also Victor Amadeus II of Savoy gave up Sicily to Austria in exchange for Sardinia (see 2/8/1718).
11/8/1718, Admiral Byng destroyed the Spanish fleet off Cape Passaro.
2/8/1718, A Quadruple Alliance was formed between Britain, France, Holland, and Austria, against Spain, after Spain seized Sardinia and Sicily, threatening another European war. Under the Treaty of Utrecht (11/4/1713) Sardinia had been assigned to Austria and Sicily to Savoy (see also 17/2/1720). However King Philip V of Spain, influenced by his wife Elizabeth Farnese of Parma and her advisor Giulio Alberoni, seized these islands. Admiral Byng was sent to defend Sicily, with Austrian troops. In a sea battle off Cape Passaro, he totally destroyed the Spanish fleet. Meanwhile French troops occupied northern Spain. The purpose of the Quadruple Alliance were, to maintain the terms of the Peace of Utrecht, for Spain to renounce any claim to the French throne, and to guarantee the Protestant succession in Britain. The four powers would also assist each other if any were attacked. Spain initially backed a Jacobite invasion of Britain, but after the dismissal of Cardinal Alberoni in December 1719 Spain changed policy and joined the Alliance, which provided a forum to discuss territorial disputes in Europe.
23/9/1713, Ferdinand VI, King of Spain, was born.
10/12/1710, The Battle of Villaviciosa.
11/9/1709, At the Battle of Malplaquet in northern France, near Mons, The Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene won a costly victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession.
31/8/1709, Battle of Malplaquet began.
12/7/1708. The French were defeated at Oudenarde in western Belgium, by Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy. Marlborough also captured Lille after a four-month siege. This was during the War of the Spanish Succession.
30/6/1708, Battle of Oudenarde began.
25/4/1707, The Battle of Alamanza, fought during the War of the Spanish Succession. The British and the Dutch together defeated the French.
For more events of the War of Spanish Succession, see France-Germany
23/5/1706, The Battle of Ramillies, between Louvain and Namur in Belgium. Allied British and Dutch armies under Marlborough intercepted a French offensive. 15,000 French and 5,000 Allied soldiers died. The result of Ramillies was that Brussels, Antwerp and most of the Spanish Netherlands surrendered. By the end of 1706 the French held only Namur and Mons in The Netherlands.
4/10/1705, Lord Peterborough captured Barcelona.
24/7/1704, Admiral Sir George Rooke and Sir Cloudesley Shovel captured Gibraltar from the Spanish, during the War of the Spanish Succession. Gibraltar was formally ceded to the UK by the Treaty of Utrecht, 1713.
12//9/1703, The Hapsburg Archduke Ferdinand was proclaimed King of Spain, War of the Spanish Succession began. France had already, in 1701, begun to occupy key fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands, following the death of the Spanish monarch Charles II on 2/10./1700, with no heir.
12//9/1703, The Hapsburg Archduke Ferdinand was proclaimed King of Spain, War of the Spanish Succession began
2/10/1700, The Spanish monarch, Charles II, died, aged 39, with no heir. England, Austria and Holland were alarmed that Charles had named Philip, Duke of Anjou, as his successor; these nations had agreed that Joseph Ferdinand, Prince of Bavaria, should get the Spanish Crown. Spanish territory would be ceded to buy off the rival French and Austrian claimants to the throne, Philip the second grandson of King Louis XIV and Archduke Charles, second son of the Hapsburg Emperor Leopold I. However Ferdinand predeceased the Spanish King, leaving Charles, who was physically and mentally handicapped, susceptible to the influences of the French Court. War seemed inevitable, see 12/9/1703.
22/10/1689, John V, King of Portugal, was born.
19/12/1683, Philip V, King of Spain, was born.
17/9/1665, Philip IV, King of Spain, died, aged 60. He was succeeded by his son, Charles II.
7/11/1659. The war between France and Spain ended. Spain’s treasury was empty and England had joined on the side of the French.
6/11/1656, Joao V of Portugal died, aged 53. He was succeeded by his 13-year old son, Alfonso VI.
18/1/1641, Pau Claris proclaimed the Catalan Republic.
1/12/1640. Portugal regained its independence from the Spanish.
15/8/1636, The Spanish besieged Corbie, France.
19/5/1635, France declared war on Spain. Spain initially had success, capturing Corbie, near Amiens. However the Spaniards did not follow up their successes and faced with revolts in Portugal and Catalonia, lost Artois and Roussillion.
31/3/1621, Philip III, King of Spain, died aged 42. He was succeeded by his 15-year old son, Philip IV.
9/10/1617, The Treaty of Pavia was signed, between Spain and Savoy. Savoy returned Monferrato to Mantua.
27/3/1615, Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre, died.
8/4/1605, Philip IV, King of Spain, born.
13/9/1598. King Philip II of Spain died after a reign of over 40 years, aged 71. Spain had acquired great wealth from its conquest of South America, but had squandered it in a series of wars, and had suffered the defeat of the Great Armada. He was succeeded by his fourth wife’s fourth son, Philip III.
29/11/1596. Spain admitted that the Royal Treasury was bankrupt, drained by a series of wars and especially the attempt to invade England. Revolts against Spanish rule in the Americas were also costly.
1594, Lisbon closed its spice market to Dutch and English traders; at this time Portugal was in personal union with Spain, both being ruled by Philip II, and England was helping the Dutch to gain independecnce from Spain. This forced traders from those countries to get their spices directly from India, and the creation of the Dutch East India Company followed.
10/8/1585, Elizabeth I of England signed the Treaty of Nonsuch, promising 64,000 foot soldiers, 1,000 cavalry, and 600,000 florins a year to support Protestant rebels in The Netherlands against Spain. Although Elizabeth disliked involvement in foreign European wars, the Spanish presence in The Netherlands was too close to England to ignore. King Philip II of Spain, who had laid siege to Antwerp in 1584, saw this Treaty as a declaration of war.
See Great Britain for events of 1588 Spanish Armada
14/4/1578, Philip III, King of Spain, was born.
15/6/1572, Jeanne III, Queen of Navarre, died.
23/4/1563, King Philip II of Spain began construction of El Escorial.
2/4/1559, The Peace of Cateau-Cambresis, ending the wars of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in Europe. Italy was recognised as a Spanish sphere of influence, and Franche Comte was to be part of the Spanish monarchy. French possession of Metz, Toul and Verdun was confirmed. A strategic marriage was arranged between King Philip II of Spain and Elizabeth Valois, daughter of King Henry II of France.
10/8/1557, The Battle of St Quentin. Spanish forces under the Duke of Savoy defeated the French under the Constable of Montmorency. The French were driven out of Italy.
6/6/1557, John III, King of Portugal, died on his 55th birthday. He was succeeded by his 3-year old grandson, Sebastian.
25/10/1556, Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, retired to a Spanish monastery, dividing his possessions between his son and his brother.
14/5/1553, Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre, was born.
21/9/1549, Marguerite d’Angoulmeme, Queen of Navarre, died.
12/1/1539, The Treaty of Toledo was signed by Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor, and King of Spain), and Francis I (King of France). Each agreed to make no further alliances with England. The origin of this Treaty was the dispute between King Henry VIII of England and Pope Paul III.
23/2/1530, Carlos I of Spain was crowned Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and King of Italy by Pope Clement V.
22/4/1529, The Treaty of Saragossa divided the eastern hemisphere between Spain and Portugal, along a north-south line 17 degrees 9297.5 leagues) east of the Moluccas.
14/4/1527, King Philip of Spain was born; in 1588 he sent an Armada against England but was defeated.
24/2/1525. The Battle of Pavia. Pavia, held by the French, had been under siege by Spanish forces since October 1524. Italy itself was a territory being fought over by the rival powers of France, Germany, Turkey and Spain. The French under King Charles VIII defended Pavia with cavalry and cannon, but the Spanish had adopted the arquebus or hackenbushe, an early version of the handgun; this weapon replaced the Spanish crossbow. The arquebus meant an unskilled infantryman could kill a skilled knight and Pavia was the start of the dominance of the handgun as a military weapon.
13/12/1521, Manuel I, King of Portugal, died aged 52. He was succeeded by his son, Joao III.
1517, Aragon became part of a united Spain.
23/1/1516, Ferdinand V, King of Castile and Leon, also Ferdinand II of Aragon, died aged 63. He was succeeded by his 16-year old grandson, Carlos I, then a student in Flanders
12/3/1507, Cesare Borgia died at the siege of Viana in Navarre.
25/9/1506, Philip the Handsome, King of Spain, died suddenly aged 28, at Burgos. His wife went mad after his death. Her father Ferdinand II of Aragon ruled as Regent of Castile, as Ferdinand V.
20/5/1506. Christopher Columbus, Italian navigator who discovered the New World in 1492, died aged 55 in Valladolid, Spain. See 3/8/1492. He was virtually penniless. However his discovery of favourable winds in both directions across the Atlantic opened up the way for European exploration of the New World.
24/11/1504, Isabella, Queen of Castille and Leon, died aged 53. She was succeeded by her daughter Juana and Juana’s husband, Philip. However they remained in Flanders, and Ferdinand ruled instead.
23/2/1503, At the Battle of Ruvo, the Spanish defeated the French.
20/1/1503, Seville, in Castille, was awarded exclusive rights to trade with the New World.
6/6/1502, John III, King of Portugal, was born.
21/5/1502, The Portuguese explorer Joao de Nova discovered the island of St Helena, in the south Atlantic.
11/5/1502. Christopher Columbus left on his fourth voyage of exploration, returning on 7/11/1504.
12/2/1502. Spain expelled all Moors who had not been baptised as Christians. See 30/3/1492
7/6/1498. Christopher Columbus left on his third journey of exploration.
25/12/1495, At the Second Battle of Acentejo, Spanish forces crushed the natives of the island of Tenerife, destroying the last bastion of resistance on the Canary Islands.
25/10/1495, King Manuel I became rule of Portugal, on the death of King Joao II, aged 40.
7/6/1494, The Treaty of Tordesillas was signed. In 1493, Pope Alexander VI had set a line at 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands from north to south Pole; Spain had the rights to colonise west of this line, Portugal to the east. The 1494 Treaty moved this line a further 270 leagues to the west.
25/9/1493. Christopher Columbus left Spain on a second voyage of exploration with a fleet of 20 ships.
4/3/1493. Christopher Columbus arrived back in Lisbon, then travelled to Spain.
See America, Christopher Columbus
3/8/1492. Christopher Columbus left Palos de la Frontera, Andalusia, south-west Spain, on his first voyage to search for a passage to the Far East via the Atlantic. He actually found the Americas. He sailed in the Santa Maria, accompanied by the Nina and the Pinta. Columbus had delayed his sailing until after 2/8/1492 as that was the deadline for Jews to leave Spain; therefore Columbus was now departing from a ‘cleansed’ Spain.
11/4/1492, Marguerite d’Angoulmeme, Queen of Navarre, was born.
2/1/1492. The Spanish Army under Queen Isabella recaptured Granada from the Moors. This had been the last remaining Moslem territory in Spain.
25/11/1491, The siege of Granada, last stronghold of the Moors in Spain, began.
4/12/1489. The fall of Baza, in southern Spain. The Catholic Spanish army had besieged this town, held by the Muslims; both siege and defence were financed by the sale of the jewels of the ladies on both sides. Baza had been a bishopric since at least before 302, when its bishop was recorded as attending the Council of Elvira.
1/5/1486. The navigator Christopher Columbus persuaded Queen Isabella of Spain to grant him funds to find a western sea passage to the Indies.
29/4/1483, Gran Canaria, the main of the Canary Islands was conquered by the Kingdom of Castile, an important step in the expansion of Spain.
29/8/1481, John II of Portugal began to rule in his own right.
6/3/1480, The Treaty of Toledo: Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain recognised the African conquests of Alphonso of Portugal, and he ceded the Canary Islands to Spain.
20/1/1479, Ferdinand II took the throne of Aragon and ruled together with his wife Isabella, Queen of Castile, over most of the Iberian Peninsula. In 1492 they conquered Granada, ending 900 years of Moorish rule.
22/7/1478, Philip II, King of Spain, was born. Son of Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy, he married Joanna the Mad; she inherited the throne of Castile in 1504 but due to her insanity Philip assumed full control in 1506.
19/10/1469, The Crowns of Castile and Aragon were joined with the marriage of Prince Ferdinand of Aragon and the Infanta Isabella of Castile
13/11/1460, Prince Henry the Navigator died, aged 66.
21/7/1454, Juan II of Castile died and was succeeded by his son, Enrique.
22/4/1451, Isabella, Queen of Castile and Leon was born.
11/8/1433, John I, King of Portugal, died.
1419, The Portuguese occupied Madiera.
2/4/1416, Ferdinand I, King of Aragon, died.
4/3/1394, Prince Henry the Navigator, Portuguese Prince, born.
9/5/1386, The Treaty of Windsor cemented the alliance between England and Portugal.
14/8/1385, The Battle of Aljubarrota. Portugal secured its independence against Spain.
22/10/1383, Ferdinand I, King of Portugal, died.
23/3/1369, Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile and Leon, was murdered by his brother, Henry.
13/10/1340. In alliance with Portugal, Alfonso XI of Castile conquered the Moors at the River Salado.
30/8/1334, Pedro the Cruel, King of Castile and Leon, was born.
7/9/1312, Ferdinand IV, King of Castile and Leon, died.
15/6/1300, The city of Bilbao received its royal foundation charter.
12/9/1297, King Denis of Portugal and King Ferdinand IV of Castile signed the Treaty of Alcanizes. The geographic limits of Portugal were fixed permanently, with the exception of São Félix de Galegos, lost in 1640 and Olivenza, lost in 1801.
1292, The town of Tarifa was captured by Sancho IV of Castile from the Moors (see 710 AD). The Moors attempted to retake the town in 1294, besieging it, but were repulsed.
17/1/1287, King Alfonso III of Aragon conquered the island of Minorca from the Moors.
4/1/1248, King Sancho II of Portugal died. He was succeeded by King Alfonso III (born 2/5/1210, died 16/2/1279)..
1/12/1247, A rebellion arose among the Muslim subjects of the Crown of Aragon in the region of Valencia. As a punishment, the king issued an order of expulsion of the Muslims from his realm leading numerous people into exile in Andalusia and North Africa in the subsequent year.
22/5/1244, James I of Aragon took the Muslim-held city of Janita after several months of siege This success was followed by the capture of Biar later that year
28/9/1238, James I of Aragon captured the city of Valencia from the Moors, who retreated to Granada
29/6/1236. Ferdinand III of Leon and Castile (see 24/9/1230) took Cordoba.
24/9/1230. On the death of Alfonso IX of Leon, Ferdinand III of Castile was accepted as King of Leon, unifying the two kingdoms. See 29/6/1236.
1224, The town of San Felipe Jativa was taken from the Arabs by King James I.
16/7/1212. . Battle of Navas de Tolosa, near Toledo The Christian kingdoms of Spain decisively defeated the Almohads. This victory however left the Kingdom of Castile in a difficult financial position as the numerous soldiers had to be paid by the treasury
1185, Death of King Alfonso Henriques I of Portugal. He had proclaimed himself King of Portugal in 1139,after a successful defeat of the Moors, seizing power from his mother; his father, Henry of Burgundy, First Count of Portugal, had died when Alfonso (born 1110) was just two years old. He defeated the Moors at Ourique (1139) and Lisbon (1147), later taking from them the provinces of Galicia, Estremadura and Elvas.
28/10/1147. The Moslems in Lisbon surrendered peacefully to an allied Christian force under Portugal’s Alfonso Henriques I. The Moslem inhabitants were allowed to depart peacefully.
7/10/1147, Almeria, one of the most important maritime and commercial centres of al-Andalus, fell into Christian hands after two months of siege
25/7/1139, King Alfonso Henriques I of Portugal defeated the Moors.
11/12/1118. The Christians captured Saragossa, Spain, from the Muslims.
17/6/1094. Valencia, Spain, was captured by the Christians from the Arabs; the city surrendered due to starvation after a 20 month siege.
25/5/1085. The Christian, Alfonso VI of Leon, captured Toledo (the old Visigothic capital) from the Arabs.
28/10/1069. Death of Abbad-al-Motadid, Arab ruler in Spain.
24/6/1065, Ferdinand I, King of Castile and Leon, died.
1035, The House of Aragon was founded by Ramiro I, illegitimate son of Sancho the Great of Navarre. In 1131 it was united by marriage with the rulers of Barcelona.
939, The Arabs lost Madrid to the Kingdom of Leon.
715, Lisbon fell to the Arabs.
712, Seville conquered by the Arabs.
19/7/711, Battle of Guadalete: Umayyad Moors' victory over the Visigothic army. Visigothic king Roderic (Rodrigo in Spanish and Portuguese) died in the battle.
710, The Spanish town of Tarifa, in the far south, was conquered by the Moors – the first part of Spain to be occupied by them. It was retaken by the Spanish in 1292 after a long siege by Sancho IV of Castile.
585, Leovigild conquered the whole of Spain.
567, The Visigoths under King Leovigild drove the Byzantines from western Spain.
534, Toledo became capital of the Visigoth Kingdom of Spain.
28/12/484. Alaric II, eighth king of the Visigoths in Spain, succeeded his father Euric or Evaric. His dominions included all of Spain, except for the north-west, and also Aquitaine and much of Provence.
4/10/456, The Visigoths under King Theodoric II, acting on orders of Avitus, invaded Spain with an army of Burgundians, Franks and Goths, They defeated the Suebi; this shattered the power of the Suebi. During the battle Rechiar was captured and later executed.
416, The Vandal Kingdom in Spain was invaded by the Visigoths.
257, The Franks invaded Spain.
See Roman Empire for conquest of Spain by Carthaginians.