The Celts are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Europe identified by their use of Celtic languages and cultural similarities. The history of pre-Celtic Europe and the exact relationship between ethnic and cultural factors in the Celtic world remains uncertain and controversial; the exact geographic spread of the ancient Celts is disputed. According to one theory, the common root of the Celtic languages, the Proto-Celtic language, arose in the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of Central Europe, which flourished from around 1200 BC. According to a theory proposed in the 19th century, the first people to adopt cultural characteristics regarded as Celtic were the people of the Iron Age Hallstatt culture in central Europe, named for the rich grave finds in Hallstatt, Austria, thus this area is sometimes called the "Celtic homeland". By or during the La Tène period, this Celtic culture was supposed to have expanded by trans-cultural diffusion or migration to the British Isles and the Low Countries, Bohemia and much of Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula and northern Italy and, following the Celtic settlement of Eastern Europe beginning in 279 BC, as far east as central Anatolia in modern-day Turkey.
The earliest undisputed direct examples of a Celtic language are the Lepontic inscriptions beginning in the 6th century BC. Continental Celtic languages are attested exclusively through inscriptions and place-names. Insular Celtic languages are attested beginning around the 4th century in Ogham inscriptions, although they were being spoken much earlier. Celtic literary tradition begins with Old Irish texts around the 8th century CE. Coherent texts of Early Irish literature, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge, survive in 12th-century recensions. By the mid-1st millennium, with the expansion of the Roman Empire and migrating Germanic tribes, Celtic culture and Insular Celtic languages had become restricted to Ireland, the western and northern parts of Great Britain, the Isle of Man, Brittany. Between the 5th and 8th centuries, the Celtic-speaking communities in these Atlantic regions emerged as a reasonably cohesive cultural entity, they had a common linguistic and artistic heritage that distinguished them from the culture of the surrounding polities.
By the 6th century, the Continental Celtic languages were no longer in wide use. Insular Celtic culture diversified into that of the Gaels and the Celtic Britons of the medieval and modern periods. A modern Celtic identity was constructed as part of the Romanticist Celtic Revival in Great Britain and other European territories, such as Portugal and Spanish Galicia. Today, Scottish Gaelic and Breton are still spoken in parts of their historical territories, Cornish and Manx are undergoing a revival; the first recorded use of the name of Celts – as Κελτοί – to refer to an ethnic group was by Hecataeus of Miletus, the Greek geographer, in 517 BC, when writing about a people living near Massilia. In the fifth century BC, Herodotus referred to Keltoi living around the head of the Danube and in the far west of Europe; the etymology of the term Keltoi is unclear. Possible roots include Indo-European *kʲel'to hide', IE *kʲel'to heat' or *kel'to impel'. Several authors have supposed it to be Celtic in origin, while others view it as a name coined by Greeks.
Linguist Patrizia De Bernardo Stempel falls in the latter group, suggests the meaning "the tall ones". In the 1st century BC, Julius Caesar reported that the people known to the Romans as Gauls called themselves Celts, which suggests that if the name Keltoi was bestowed by the Greeks, it had been adopted to some extent as a collective name by the tribes of Gaul; the geographer Strabo, writing about Gaul towards the end of the first century BC, refers to the "race, now called both Gallic and Galatic," though he uses the term Celtica as a synonym for Gaul, separated from Iberia by the Pyrenees. Yet he reports Celtic peoples in Iberia, uses the ethnic names Celtiberi and Celtici for peoples there, as distinct from Lusitani and Iberi. Pliny the Elder cited the use of Celtici in Lusitania as a tribal surname, which epigraphic findings have confirmed. Latin Gallus might stem from a Celtic ethnic or tribal name perhaps one borrowed into Latin during the Celtic expansions into Italy during the early fifth century BC.
Its root may be the Proto-Celtic *galno, meaning "power, strength", hence Old Irish gal "boldness, ferocity" and Welsh gallu "to be able, power". The tribal names of Gallaeci and the Greek Γαλάται most have the same origin; the suffix -atai might be an Ancient Greek inflection. Classical writers did not apply the terms Κελτοί or Celtae to the inhabitants of Britain or Ireland, which has led to some scholars preferring not to use the term for the Iron Age inhabitants of those islands. Celt is a modern English word, first attested in 1707, in the writing of Edward Lhuyd, whose work, along with that of other late 17th-century scholars, brought academic attention to the languages and history of the early Celtic inhabitants of Great Britain; the English form Gaul (first recorded in the 17th cent
The Oretani or Oretanii were a pre-Roman ancient Iberian people of the Iberian Peninsula, that lived in today's northeastern Andalusia, in the high Baetis river valley, eastern Marianus Mons, the southern area of today's La Mancha. They could have been an Iberian tribe, a Celtic one, or a mixed Celtic and Iberian tribe or tribal confederacy; the Mantesani/Mentesani/Mantasani of today's La Mancha and the Germani in eastern Marianus Mons and west Jabalón river valley are sometimes included in the Oretani but it is not certain if they were Oretani tribes. Oretania, the country of the Oretani, was located in the eastern Sierra Morena, which included most of the province of Ciudad Real except its western end, the northern section of the province of Jaén, the western half of the province of Albacete and the southern rim of the province of Cuenca; the Roman geographer Pliny the Elder lists 14 cities, including Tuia/Tugia, Biatia, Castulo = Castulum, Luparia and Salica, whilst Diodorus Siculus lists 12 towns.
Other sources mention the towns of Libissosa, Ilorci, Helicen/Helike, Baecula/Bekor, Ilucia and Cusibi. They are believed by some to have spoken an Iberian language, by others to have been Celtic language, akin to the Celtiberians, as the northern Oretani were called Germani and Mantesani; the main archaeological sites in the oretanian area are Linares, La Carolina, Valdepeñas, Almagro and Zuqueca, Cerro de las Cabezas. The Oretani remained independent until the late 3rd Century BC, when their powerful King Orison was defeated at the Battle of Helicen in 228 BC. Orison’s defeat in 227 BC and the subsequent alliance with Carthage, caused major friction with their Germani allies who continued to resist Punic expansion until being subdued by Hannibal in 221 BC. Like the Germani, the Oretani appear to have adopted a less hostile stance towards Rome and in 156 BC both peoples were included into Hispania Citerior Province, though retaining their Iberian cultural identity for several more centuries.
Biche of Balazote Germani Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula Ángel Montenegro et alii, Historia de España 2 - colonizaciones y formación de los pueblos prerromanos, Editorial Gredos, Madrid ISBN 84-249-1386-8 Francisco Burillo Motoza, Los Celtíberos – Etnias y Estados, Crítica, Grijalbo Mondadori, S. A. Barcelona ISBN 84-7423-891-9 Juan Pereira Siesto, Prehistoria y Protohistoria de la Meseta Sur, Biblioteca Añil n.º 31, ALMUD, Ediciones de Castilla-La Mancha, Ciudad Real ISBN 84-934858-5-3 Detailed map of the Pre-Roman Peoples of Iberia
The Astures or Asturs named Astyrs, were the Hispano-Celtic inhabitants of the northwest area of Hispania that now comprises the entire modern autonomous community of Principality of Asturias, the modern province of León, the northern part of the modern province of Zamora, east of Trás os Montes in Portugal. They were a horse-riding highland cattle-raising people who lived in circular huts of stone drywall construction; the Albiones were a major tribe from western Asturias. Isidore of Seville gave an etymology as coming from a river Asturia, identified by David Magie with Órbigo river in the plain of León, by others the modern Esla river; the Asturian homeland encompassed the modern autonomous community of Asturias and the León, eastern Lugo and northern Zamora provinces, along with the northeastern tip of the Portuguese region of Trás-os-Montes. Here they held the towns of Lancia, Mons Medullius, Bedunia, Curunda, Lucus Asturum and Nemetobriga, the religious center; the Astures may have been part of the early Hallstatt expansion that left the Bavarian-Bohemian homeland and migrated into Gaul, some continuing over the mountains into Spain and Portugal.
By the 6th century BC, they occupied castros, such as Coanna and Mohias near Navia on the coast of the Bay of Biscay. From the Roman point-of-view, expressed in the brief remarks of the historians Florus, epitomising Livy, Orosius, the Astures were divided into two factions, following the natural division made by the alpine karst mountains of the Picos de Europa range: the Transmontani and Cismontani; the Transmontani, placed between the Navia River and the central massif of the Picos de Europa, comprised the Cabarci, Luggones, Paenii, Vinciani, Viromenici and Baedunienses. Prior to the Roman conquest in the late 1st century BC, they were united into a tribal federation with the mountain-top citadel of Asturica as their capital. Recent epigraphic studies suggest that they spoke a ‘Q-Celtic’ language akin to the neighbouring Gallaeci Lucenses and Braccarenses. Although the Celtic language was lost during the Low Middle Ages it still endures in many names of villages and geographical features associated to Celtic deities: the parish of Taranes and the villages of Tereñes, Táranu, Tarañu and Torañu related to the god Taranis, the parish of Lugones related to the god Lugus or the parish of Beleño related to the god Belenus, just to name a few.
According to classic authors, their family structure was matrilineal, whereby the woman inherits the ownership of property. The Astures lived in hill forts, established in strategic areas and built with round walls in today's Asturias and the mountainous areas of León, with rectangular walls in flatter areas to their fellow Galicians, their warrior class consisted of men and women and both sexes were considered fierce fighters. Most of their tribes, like the Lugones, worshipped the Celtic god Lugh, references to other Celtic deities like Taranis or Belenos still remain in the toponomy of the places inhabited by the Astures, they may have venerated the deity Busgosu. The Astures were vigorous hunter-gatherer highlanders, they reared sheep, goats, a few oxen and a local breed of mountain horse famed in Antiquity, the Asturcon, which still exists today. According to Pliny the Elder, these were small-stature saddle horses larger than ponies, of graceful walk and fast, being trained for both hunting and mountain warfare.
During a large part of the year they used acorns as a staple food source and powdering them and using the flour for a type of preserved bread. Due to the scarcity of their agricultural production, as well as their strong war-like character, they made frequent incursions into the lands of the Vaccaei, who had a much more developed agriculture. Lucan calls them "Pale seekers after gold"; the Astures entered the historical record in the late 3rd century BC, being listed amongst the Iberian Peninsula mercenaries of Hasdrubal Barca’s army at the battle of Metaurus River in 207 BC. After the 2nd Punic War, their history is less clear. Mentioned in the sources regarding the Lusitanian, Celtiberian or Roman Civil Wars of the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, they re-emerged from a relative obscurity just prior to the outbreak of the first Astur-Cantabrian war in the late 1st century BC. Led by the ex-mercenary General Gausón, the Astures joined forces with the Cantabri in an effort to forestall Emperor Augustus’ all-out offensive to
The Lusitanians were an Indo-European people living in the west of the Iberian Peninsula prior to its conquest by the Roman Republic and the subsequent incorporation of the territory into the Roman province of Lusitania. Classical sources mention Lusitanian leader Viriathus as the leader of the Celtiberians, in their war against the Romans; the Greco-Roman historian Diodorus Siculus attributed them a name of another Celtic tribe: "Those who are called Lusitanians are the bravest of all Cimbri". The Lusitanians were called Belitanians, according to the diviner Artemidorus. Strabo differentiated the Lusitanians from the Iberian tribes. Pliny the Elder and Pomponius Mela distinguished the Lusitanians from neighboring Celtic groups in their geographical writings; the original Roman province of Lusitania included the territories of Asturia and Gallaecia, but these were soon ceded to the jurisdiction of the Provincia Tarraconensis in the north, while the south remained the Provincia Lusitania et Vettones.
After this, Lusitania's northern border was along the Douro River, while its eastern border passed through Salmantica and Caesarobriga to the Anas river. Categorising Lusitanian culture including the language, is proving difficult and contentious; some believe it was a pre-Celtic Iberian culture with substantial Celtic influences, while others argue that it was an Celtic culture with strong indigenous pre-Celtic influences. The Lusitanians worshiped various gods in a diverse polytheism, using animal sacrifice, they represented their warriors in rudimentary sculpture. Endovelicus, was the most important god: his cult spread across the Iberian peninsula and beyond, to the rest of the Roman Empire and his cult was maintained until the fifth century; the goddess Ataegina was popular in the south. Lusitanian mythology was influenced or related to Celtic mythology. Well attested in inscriptions are the names Bandua with a second name linked to a locality such as Bandua Aetobrico, Nabia a goddess of rivers and streams.
The Lusitanian language was a Paleohispanic language that belongs to the Indo-European family. The precise affiliation of the Lusitanian language inside the Indo-European family is still in debate: there are those who endorse that it is a Celtic language with an obvious ‘celticity’ to most of the lexicon, over many anthroponyms and toponyms. A second theory relates Lusitanian with the Gallo-Italic languages; the Lusitanians were a people formed by several tribes that lived between the rivers Douro and Tagus, in most of today's Beira and Estremadura regions of central Portugal, some areas of the Extremadura region. They were a tribal confederation, not a single political entity. However, they had a common name for the tribes; each tribe was ruled by chief. Many members of the Lusitanian tribal aristocracy were warriors as happened in many other pre-Roman peoples of the Iron Age. Only when an external threat occurred did the different tribes politically unite, as happened at the time of the Roman conquest of their territory when Viriathus became the single leader of the Lusitanian tribes.
Punicus was another important Lusitanian chief before the Roman conquest. He ruled the Lusitanians for some time, leading the tribes in the resistance against Roman attempts of conquest, was successful; the known Lusitanian tribes were: Arabrigenses Aravi Coelarni/Colarni Interamnienses Lancienses Lancienses Oppidani Lancienses Transcudani Ocelenses Lancienses Meidubrigenses Paesuri - Douro and Vouga Palanti Calontienses Caluri Coerenses Tangi Elbocori Igaeditani Tapori/Tapoli - River Tagus, around the border area of Portugal and Spain TaluresIt remains to be known if the Turduli Veteres, Turduli Oppidani, Turduli Bardili, Turduli were Lusitanian tribes, were related Celtic peoples, or were instead related to the Turdetani and came from the south. The name Turduli Veteres, a tribe that dwelt in today's Aveiro District, seems to indicate they came from the north and not from the south. Several Turduli peoples or tribes were originally not Lusitanians, but instead were Callaeci tribes that came from the north towards the south along the coast and migrated inland along the Tagus and the Anas valleys.
More Lusitanian tribes are but their names are unknown. The Lusitanians were considered by historians to be adept at guerrilla warfare; the strongest amongst. They used hooked javelins or saunions made of iron, wielded swords and helmets like those of the Celtiberians, they threw their darts from some distance, yet hit their marks and wounded their targets deeply. Being active and nimble warriors, they would decapitate them. In times of peace, they ha
The Arevaci or Aravaci, were a Celtic people who settled in the Meseta Central of northern Hispania and which dominated most of Celtiberia from the 4th to late 2nd centuries BC. The Vaccaei were their allies; the Arevaci were of Celtic part of the Celtiberians. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that the ancestors of the Celtiberian groups were installed in the Meseta area of the Iberian peninsula from at least 1000 BC and much earlier; some think their ancestors were early ‘Q-Celtic’ speakers from Gaul who migrated to the peninsula around the mid-6th century BC, arriving at about the same time as the powerful Vaccaei people of the western meseta. This led some modern historians to state that the Arevaci were an offshoot of the latter, thus their tribal name which means ‘Are-Vaccei’ or ‘eastern’ Vacceians. However, an alternative etymology is given by the Roman geographer Pliny the elder who calls them Celtiberi Arevaci, adding that they borrowed their name from the river Areva and thus their designation could be translated as ‘those who dwell at the Areva’ or ‘on the Areva’.
The nucleus of the Arevaci homeland was centered on the modern provinces of Soria and most of Guadalajara up to the Tagus sources, extending to the eastern half of Segovia and the southeastern Burgos, but for a while they dominated parts of neighbouring Zaragoza province. They founded or seized several important city-states in northern Celtiberia, namely: Clunia, Voluce/Veluka, Uxama Argelae, Termantia named Termes or Termesos, Savia Numantia. Other towns mentioned in the sources, such as Segovia, Comfluenta, Lutia, Mallia and Colenda have not yet been located, they shared with the Vaccaei the same social structure of collectivist type which enabled the latter to exploit the wheat- and grass-growing areas of the western plateau, though archeological evidence suggests that the Arevaci were predominantly stock-raisers who practiced transhumance in the grazing lowlands of the upper Ebro valley. They reared sheep and oxen, as attested by the tribute of thirty talents imposed upon Numantia and Termantia by Consul Quintus Aulus Pompeius in 139 BC, for which the numantines and termantines paid in the form of 3,000 ox-hides, 800 horses, 9,000 Sagum woolen cloaks.
They practiced the rite of excarnation by exposing the corpses of warriors slain in battle to the vultures, as described by Silius Italicus and Claudius Aelianus, attested by funerary stelae and painted pottery from Numantia. Regarded by the Greeks and Romans as the most militaristic people of the eastern Meseta, the Arevaci were said by Herodotus to have embarked early on an expansionist policy by taking part in the Celtici migrations of the 5th century BC alongside off-shots of Lusones and Vaccaei peoples to settle in the Iberian southwest. In the late 4th-early 3rd centuries BC however, the Arevaci shifted the direction of their expansion to the east, towards the upper Duero and south into the central Iberian system mountains. Here they displaced the earlier inhabitants the Pellendones, conquering the towns of Savia and Numantia and submitted the Uraci, thus gaining control over the strategic towns of Aregrada, Cortona and Arcobriga. In around the mid-3rd century BC, the Arevaci founded with their neighbours the Lusones and Titii a tribal federation designated the Celtiberian confederacy, with Numantia as federal capital.
During the Second Punic War the confederacy kept itself neutral, though Celtiberian mercenaries are mentioned fighting for both sides on a number of occasions. The first Roman incursion into the Celtiberian heartland occurred around 195 BC under Consul Cato the Elder, who attacked unsuccessfully the towns of Seguntia Celtiberorum and Numantia, where he delivered a speech to the numantines; the Arevaci and the Belli revolted against Roman rule in the Celtiberian War. Upon the fall of Numantia in 134-133 BC, the Romans forcibly disbanded the Celtiberian confederacy and allowed the Pellendones and Uraci to regain their independence from the Arevaci, who were now technically submitted and absorbed into Hispania Citerior province; the remaining Arevacian cities managed to keep much of their military capabilities intact, led by Clunia and Termantia they helped defending Celtiberia from invasion attempts by both the Lusitani in 114 BC and the Cimbri, who poured from the Pyrenees around 104-103 BC.
Emboldened by these successes – and resented by the lack of Roman recognition for their efforts – the Arevaci began secretly hatching plots against Roman rule by stirring up their disgruntled Celtiberian neighbours into the 99-81 BC uprisings. However, not only were the Arevacians ruthlessly quashed by Proconsul Titus Didius in 92 BC, but had to endure the destruction of their new capital, Termantia. In spite of being technically submitted and aggregated to Hispania Citerior after 93 BC, the Arevacians’ own relationship with Rome remained uneasy. During the Sertorian Wars, the Arevaci sided with Quintus Sertorius and provided unspecified troops to his army. In fact, they still continued to resist Roman integration and assimilation policies for decades, a situation coupled by fiscal abuse that led to sporadic outbursts of violence well into the 1st century AD
History of Galicia
The Iberian Peninsula has been inhabited for at least 500,000 years, first by Neanderthals and by modern humans. Galicia, northern Portugal, western León, Zamora formed a single megalithic area since the Neolithic and Chalcolithic Ages, around 4500–1500 BC; this was the first great culture to appear in Galicia, with a great capacity for construction and architecture. This was combined with a deep sense of religion, based on the cult of the dead, the mediators between man and the gods. Many historians believe that the Megalithic culture had two sources: an oriental source, predominant in the Mediterranean area, an Atlantic source, which originated north of the Tagus River; the latter, because of its geographical proximity to Galicia, would explain the abundant traces of megalithic culture in this area. As this was the first great culture, it was an important source of Galicia's cultural personality. From this era there remain thousands of dolmens, a type of tomb or sepulchre, throughout the entire territory.
From its social organization it has been confirmed that it corresponded to some type of clan structure. The introduction of bronze-working techniques introduced a new cultural era, in which the new importance of metals resulted in intense mining activity; some historians attribute this to the dry and warm climate of the time, resulting in erosion which revealed the rich mineral resources of the North. Peoples from the Castilian plateau moved to Galicia, thus increasing the population, because its position near the Atlantic Ocean gave it a humid climate; the increase in population caused certain conflicts, but led to increased mining and production of weapons, useful objects, ornamental objects of gold and bronze. Pieces of jewellery crafted from Galician metals circulated throughout the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe. At the end of the Iron Age, people from northwestern Iberian Peninsula formed a homogeneous and distinct cultural group, identified by early Greek and Latin authors, who called them "Gallaeci" due to their apparent similarity with the Galli and Gallati.
The Gallaeci were a Celtic people who for centuries had occupied the territory of modern Galicia and northern Portugal. In ethnic terms, they were the first Galicians; the Gallaecians lived in fortified villages now called castros:, ranging from small villages of less than a hectare, to great hillforts with more than 10 hectares, named "Oppida" or "Citânia", which were more common in the southern half of the traditional settlement area. This mode of inhabiting the territory – in hillforts – was common throughout Europe during the Bronze and Iron Ages, having received in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula the name of "culture of hillforts" or "Castro Culture", what refers to this type of cultural manifestation before the arrival of the Roman Empire; however after the Roman's fall, the Gallaeci-Romans continued living in hillforts until the 8th century A. C. Only in the territory of actual Galicia exist more than two thousand hillforts, which shows the greatest dispersion of population from the Iron Age in Europe, which would be the origin of the Galician occupation of the territory inherited until nowadays, characterized by small and high numerous populations so distant from each other.
The Gallaeci's political organization was based on small independent states formed by a large number of hillforts. Each Gallaecian identified himself as a member of the hillfort where he lived, as well as the state / people to whom it belonged, which the Romans called Populus. Among the Galleci there were many named tribes: the Artabri, the Bracari, the Coelerni, the Grovii, the Nemetati, etc. In the same way, at the end of the 18th century, Galicians identified themselves with their parish and their county. In religious terms, the Gallaeci showed a Celtic religion based on the cult to pan-Celtic gods as Bormanus and Lugus; the knowledge that we have today about the society of the hillforts is limited. But today it appears that in the last five centuries BCE they developed an aristocratic and perhaps a feudal social model; the division of the country into concelhos, a concept similar to the counties of the islands or Romania, seems to be based on this class of social organization. The structure based on hillforts seems to be associated with a fortified occupation of the territory, resembling the Central European classic Celtic habitat.
On the other hand, this kind of territorial occupation was associated with its mineral resources. It is clear that the Romans' interest in this region was related to its gold mines; when Iberia was involved in the Punic Wars between the Carthaginians and the Romans, the strategic alliance that they maintained with the Phoenicians enabled Hannibal to recruit many Gallegans. When the Romans undertook the conquest of Iberia, the Gallaicoi faced them in 137 BC. in the battle at the river Douro that resulted in a great Roman victory against 60,000 Galicians. At the end of Brutus' campaigns, Rome controlled the territory between the Dour
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia