Spring 2017 Spanish 42: Iberian Culture—Prof. Torrecilla
Lecture 1: Spanish and Portuguese Civilization
Highlighted = important for exams
Why is it important to learn about Iberian culture and civilization?
- Spanish Language: 450 million native speakers (ranks 2 ) & Portuguese Language: 220
million speakers (ranks 6 ) = the languages are part of a large community. Learning about these
people, you are learning about a large part of the world today.
- Due to its geographical location (Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts/ Proximity to Africa but
also in Europe.) it has been a crossroad for civilizations, creating a dynamic culture. It’s a
mixture (hybrid) culture
- They were able to build the first global empires in different countries- showcasing not only
technology advance but the influence/power they possessed. (culture, religion, language)
Understanding Spain. Basic Facts: Geography
- Geography: Iberian Peninsula (a “natural” unity).
- No natural borders between both countries (Portugal and Spain)
- Iberian Peninsula: 230,000 sq. miles. Smaller than Texas.
- Spain: 5/6 of the territory (195,000 sq. m., larger than California)
- Portugal: 1/6 (35,000 sq. m., the size of Maine)
- Spain and Portugal share the same space- mountain, rivers, lakes etc.
- First Stereotype: The conquistador (Violence, Cruelty, Greed, Fanatics)
- Second: Exoticism (Flamenco, Bullfighters, Passion, Love) RED (La roja- National Soccer
Spain Location: Farther South Corner of Europe, close to Africa
- Atlantic Coast/ Mediterranean Coast (P.T.: Double projection)
- Strait of Gibraltar. Columns of Hercules: Beyond that point, the unknown (mare
o According to greek mythology, Hercules put them there to signal the end of the World, with
the sign : “Non Plus Ultra:” – Don’t go further
- Dry and Green Spain – similar to the climate of California
Five Languages Spoken in Iberian Peninsula
- Spanish, Portugal, Castallan, Basque, Castilian
Spain and Portugal are historical creations, and are still in the making!
First cultural manifestation in Iberian Peninsula: Altamira Cave Paintings