The term “Hispanic” is a broad term than what it seems to mean. It is commonly misunderstood just as the term “American” is misunderstood by the English-speaking people. The people of the United States who speak English think that the term “American” refers to their nation exclusively, including the Northern and Southern America. This is the case with the term “Hispanic” to the people of the Spanish origin. Categorizing Hispanic as a race is similar to the mistakes the earlier people made when they considered the world as flat since it seemed to be so. It is also very difficult to differentiate the people of Canada with Americans while so easy to distinguish the Americans from the Mexicans. This is so because the Americans share an English culture with the Canadians and have European origins while the Mexicans have Spanish origin with native Indian cultures. The Mexicans and native Indians are usually referred to as Hispanic because of the association of their culture more closely to the Spanish people than to that of England. This category is not based on their look but the origin of their culture. The Hispanic civilization is multiracial and not oriented to race more so in the Americans. The culture is defined by the values and customs of a people and not a geographical origin or color. To understand this Hispanic civilization, it is important to look into the historical understanding of this concept.
The Historical Development of the Hispanic Civilization
The conquering of the early Spain during the eighth century marked the expansion of the Muslim kingdom. The kingdom of Visigothic collapsed, distracting the unity of Peninsula. The conquest changed the name since it was their territory to Al-Andalus. This name that referred to Atlantic region was able to conserve the memory of Vandals. Peninsula then acquired a name Al-Andalus and Hispania according to the Romans. This was the symbol for the enmity between the Christians and the Muslims.
In the course of the eighth century, the foundations of the Al-Andalus were laid independent of the caliphate of the east. There were a few states in the north of Peninsula, which came up and had Christian foundations. This emergence defined a struggle to re-conquer that lasted a long time. After seven hundred years, the Christians managed to challenge the Muslims successfully. The Christians wanted to re-unite peninsula. The name Al-Andalus did not disappear but remained as Andalusia. Andalusia describes the last stages of the occupation of the Muslims in south Spain. This struggle over many years did not prevent the interaction between the Christians and the Muslims. The interaction had a greater influence on the Hispanic civilization.
The struggle that was led by Musa collapsed due to their own strife. The people were still united by their religious background despite their hostilities. This struggle had led to a transfer of about eighteen thousand people who were Arabs to Spain. The people were from Qaysites and Kalbites ethnical backgrounds. These Arabs occupied some part of peninsula that was fertile. The forces of Tariq, on the other hand, were majorly Berbers. They also occupied parts of peninsula that were primarily the poorest lands. The Vanquish who occupied these regions had their legal status challenged. They had to be converted to Muslims or remain as Christians but pay tax to the Muslim occupants. This interaction, over time, led to the adoption of the Arabic culture and language likening the native Spanish people to the Arabs. This emergent culture was referred to as Mozarabic. It gave rise to communities, which included Merida, C’ordoba, Toledo and Seville.
The recurrent inclusion of the Muslims into the Christian territories led to the conversion of some Christians to Muslim for security reasons. This allowed them to be free from paying the tax levy on the Christian individuals. The Berbers and the Arabs also did not agree on some aspects and had a civil war. This war was stopped by the Syrians who entered Spain and settled there. As the Arabs were in this tribal war, the emirs, who were from al-Andalus spearheaded expeditions to Gaul. This was triggered by their desire for adventure, wealth, and getting involved in the holy war. This expedition led to the assault of Aquitaine. The Tariq were also interested in some part of the Visgothic kingdom and occupied Barcelona. These battles led to the advancement of the Muslims in the North and their defeat of 759 allowed the Franks to penetrate the Spanish land on the northeastern end.
In the mid Spain region, the Astrurias kingdom was being founded by the Astrias, Cantabria, and Galicia. This laid the championship of the Hispanic tradition. The leader of the Christians, Pelayo, moved to Asturia and intensified the resistance of the invasion by the Muslims. Pelayo was later elected king during the linkage of the Asturian monarchy and Visigothic. He unconsciously raised another revolt with the Muslims and had to flee. He, however, managed to overthrow the Muslim command and restored the liberty of the Christians. The victory of Paleyo and successive leadership made the establishment of Asturias kingdom. When the Berbers withdrew from the northern peninsula region, the Astrurians were established. Under the leadership of Alfonso, the kingdom was extended to Alava, Contabria, La Rioja, Galicia and northern Portugal. The Muslims, on the other hand, maintained the side of Coria, Toledo, Coimbra,Talavera, Tudela, Guadalaajara, and Pamplona. These territories had their boundaries along the river Duero, running to Osma from Porto. Alfonso I was unable to occupy the whole region and, therefore, had the Duero valley separating his kingdom from the al-Andalus. The Muslim kingdom then faced many attacks to the ninth century.
The Caliphate of Cordoba
The early tenth century seemed to have lead to a change in the events. The changing of leadership from Abd Allah to ‘Abd al-Rahman III was very significant. The latter leader had a very long rule which enabled the Spanish-Islamic state to increase in power and position. This position of power was later maintained by three leaders afterwards. However, the position was lost forever in the eleventh century by a sharp crisis that they faced. This was because of their ancestry, which had both Islamic and Christian parents of the kings. The rulers were more of Spanish ancestry than the Arab ancestry. This ancestry relationship brought up the Hispanian civilization.
The Theme of Leadership (the Legacy of Iberian Peninsula)
The Iberian Peninsula has the theme of leadership as its legacy. The establishment of the original kingdom was as a result of the stable leadership over the people. Strong and influential leaders of the Muslim, Christian and their neighbours led the expansion and diversification of the kingdom. This theme is clearly discussed as follows;
The early tenth century seemed to have lead to a change in the events. The changing of leadership from Abd Allah to ‘Abd al-Rahman III was very significant. The latter leader had a very long rule which enabled the Spanish-Islamic state to increase in power and position. This position of power was later maintained by three leaders afterwards. However, the position was lost forever in the Eleventh Century by a sharp crisis that they faced. This was because of their ancestry, which had both Islamic and Christian parents of the kings. The rulers were more of Spanish ancestry than the Arab ancestry. This ancestry relationship brought up the Hispanian civilization.
The thought of raising a united Spanish kingdom never departed from the minds of the people of peninsula despite their challenges. During the late eleventh century, the Iberian Peninsula who was fighting infidelity arrived. They were supporting Christian princes due to the threat of Almoravid. They had French Knights with then and fey men on foot. This interaction with the French people led to intermarriages also even among the Kings. Raymond also married Urraca, the daughter of Alfonso VI. Raymond later became the head of the Portuguese government and started military campaigns in the region. This later resulted in a union between the kingdom of Raymond and that of Alfonso but collapsed and resulted in a civil war. These occurrences allowed the successful separation of Portugal from Leon to form an independent state.
The fall of Toledo
The seat of the original Visigothic monarchy was successfully taken by the king Alfonso VII as a legacy. He had followed the ways of the father in tribute payment but changed the objective to conquest. He had gained some profits from the tribute but was tempted to have more. He then focused on increasing rivalry among the Muslims to continue gaining the tribute and later deplete their resources. He believed that having an army and a good economic support would create him more success. The belief led to increased oppression of other kings and provoked a reaction. They complained of humiliation and betrayal of the principles of Muslims. However, he gained nothing after this reaction. Valencia became independent and al-Mutamid seized C’ordopa. Toledo conqured Coria and promised to restore al-Qadir but later surrendered. Alfonso had to flee to Valencia and Toledo was then overthrown. Cid then began his peregrination that focused on Valencia and Zerogoza. He successfully moved to Zerogoza and defended it. Cid was not helping the neighbors but had the support of the Christians. The al-Qudir was facing threats often-in Toledo and they finally surrendered in peace. The Christians and the Muslims were now coexisting in this region and brought up one leader over them. This gave rise to the Hispaniae nations.
On the other hand, Cid became an important resource to the alQudir when he protected them from an invasion by Almoravids. His help and generosity gained him a friendship with his neighbors. He was later to become the Lord of Valencia. Cid remained unchallenged to his death. This was also followed by a union of intermarriages between the Christians and the Muslim. It was helpful for the Christians and gave them stability for a moment. Cid was later overthrown, but after being the leader of the two religions.
The Theme of Education
Education changed the minds of the Hispanics. It was the introduction of education by the Christians that brought about the spreading of the Hispanics throughout Spain. The young people were thirsty for this call for education and seized every opportunity to have it. This led to enlighten of that generation which transformed Hispanic civilization as discussed below.
The Spanish history was revived by the expulsion of the Jews. This was activated by the introduction of baptism to the Jews. The rejection of this proposal by portions of the Jews led to a proposal that would lead to their expulsion from the region. The Roman Catholic was increasing with false converts by this time. Ferdinand and Isabella made the proposal of removing the Jews from amongst themselves with the aim of purifying their Spanish nation. They also thought that it would lead to the unity of the nation. They feared that the presence of the Jews would increase the spread of the Jewish practices. This would also increase the growing heresy amongst their false converts. The issue brought up a dilemma that was hard to solve.
The society of the Jews did not change in 1492. The later occupants of the Jewish position, the conveyors, remained as an urban population with similar activities as the Jews. The new Christians and the old Jews were easy to identify. The newly converted Christians also found themselves following the Jewish traditions like abstinence from pork meat. Though they had not had many changes, some of them were already gaining prominent positions in the Spanish leadership. The Count Duke of Olivares gained increasing an interest in the Jewish finance system and opted to have the Jews back to Spain.
The Jews had also thrived in the medical field. They had gained much fame from their medical practices. For instance, most of the Jews were physicians. With a long time of tradition, many of the Converso families married in the church and generated a new religious order. This path was meant for the sincere converts but they were not alone. The other young people chose this path of clerics that seemed easy to have educational gains. The universities in Spain were now having most of these youths. Towards the middle of the sixteenth century, most of the individuals who were of the Spanish clergy had originated from the Jews. They were also residents of Rome by this time.
This led to increased hostility in Spain against false converts who were actually Jews. The genuine converts began to act against the false converts with the aim of justifying themselves. This gave birth to anti-Semitism. It was now spreading and the culture of the Jews was gaining ground in Spain. It also built rivalry that later resulted in a civil war. This later gave rise to the inquisition that was aided by the Spanish people.
The Theme of Exploration
As the fifteenth century went on, the Portuguese nation was more stable in Europe. The passage to India had been closed by the Turks and the trade in the area was getting poor every day. The state of Italy was bankrupt. The Portuguese had greatly expanded their territory and links to the south and to the Arabs in the west. The workers of the Mediterranean world who had lost their jobs were now moving to Lisbon. They included the Columbus. They were sailing under the flag of the Portuguese. However, there was one native Gonea who was sailed to Iceland. Having the knowledge of the stories about the riches of Orient, the ship was said to have reached these mythical islands.
There was increased desire in sailing by the Columbus that led to the discovery of America. This was the world’s greatest revolution that ever happened, leading to a change in goals from the known parts of the world to civilization. It was the end of the middle ages that revolutionized the thoughts of man. It impacted their economy with the exchange of gold and silver amongst these two parts of the world.
Religion was not left out in this conquest since Christianity also spread to the Americans. The great geographical barrier was now reducing, and exchange of art, paintings literature and sculpture took place. The pagan spirit now began to grow and the Spanish and Portuguese were able to increase these links. The other counties were not able to be involved in this enterprise. The church was the tool of unity and war was re-defined to a larger scale that needed a reason for war and strategies of winning the war.
The Struggle for Independence
Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the Latin Americans were still in the practices of the middle ages. They were still under inquisition of feudal and vassal practices. In addition, the people were still under the oppression of the great taxations that were being experienced. Some agricultural nations such as Mexico, were getting very rich. They had more economic strength than the Spanish Americans did. This wretchedness in the economy and exploration of the people with taxes led to the vassalage of a lower class. These lower classes led to the emergence of a rebellion. This revolt by the Indians, Amaru and Tupac was one of the reasons that led to the struggle for their freedom. To the Spanish enemies, the war had a long historical cause.
Dolores armed the people through a church alarm. Some of the people were already having horses and prepared them for a war against the Spanish regime. However, his conspiracy was soon discovered. Their own priest, father Hidago, called upon the people to go ahead and remove the oppression that they had experienced for a long time. This cry spread throughout Spain and led to a very strong mass sentiment. The government was informed but it though it was too late to stop the revolt. The end result of this revolt was the unity of the Americans.
The guerrilla warfare was the origin of the people’s struggle to redeem themselves from their diverse challenges. This war demonstrated how the people’s forces can win against an army. It used the parts of America, which had not developed, as areas for the armed fighting. It was also important to launch an insurrection at the appropriate time. These struggles were the basis of the Hispanic civilization.
These wars that were originating from the poor and native owners of peninsula transformed Spain. The struggles were prolonged but gave birth to independent nations with people who shared a common civilization. The struggles led to the wide spread of the culture of the Hispanics. It is because of this quest for independence that Hispanics are found in different places in the world. Although they are divergently located, all of them converge to form one culture: the Hispanic culture.
The Hispanic cultural identification is far much diverse than what the Americans who speak English can comprehend. It includes the people who speak Spanish and incorporates the Roman Catholic religion. It has strong cultural bonds that date many years ago and include people of diverse national origin. It covers the European, Indians, Americans, and even Africans. It spreads up to nine states. The word Hispanic civilization is suitable to describe this civilization just as the Romans had coined it when peninsula was invaded by the Muslims. The term Hispanic is sufficient for the description of this civilization since it revolved around the Spanish people.
These nations have revolved their revolution around the religious themes. All the struggles they had between the Muslims and the Christians were built around the peninsula Iberians, giving them the legacy of the parents of the Hispanic civilization. Evidently, this Hispanic civilization is still continuing to the present day and still has great enmity and rivalry between the Christians and the Muslims in the European and American nations. Similarly, the Jews are still an important part of this civilization.