A Brief History of Spain 1.2Mil BC Evidence was discovered in 2007 by Spanish researchers who said they had unearthed a human tooth more than one million years old, the oldest human fossil remain ever discovered in western Europe. 41000BC Cannibalism in Asturias. Discovered in 2006 at the El Sidron cave in the Asturias region. 12000 BC Evidence of Stone Age hunters from paintings on cave walls near Santander. 1100 BC Southern Iberia colonized by Phonecians. 800BC Influenced by the Phoenicians and Greeks, the Tartesses culture develops in Western Andalusia, trading in oil, textiles and metals. 500-500BC The Greeks established settlements in NE Spain that included Emporio. 228 BC Carthaginians occupy southern Iberia. 218-220 BC Romans invade Iberian Peninsula in Second Punic War. Emporio was called by the Romans Emporiae. It later came to be called Empuries 53 Marcus Trajanus (d.117), 13th Roman emperor (Trajan’s Arch) (98-117), was born at Italica near Seville, Spain. 74 Roman citizenship given to all inhabitants of Iberia. 237 Carthage invades the Iberian Peninsula. 346 Theodosius was born in Spain. He served as emperor East Roman Republic 379-395. 400AD The Vandals invade Spain from Germany. 466 The Visigoths invade Spain from Gaul after being pushed out of their homeland by the Franks. 633 The 4th Synod of Toledo took on the right to confirm elected kings. Jews were obliged to be baptized. The vernacular language, of Latin origin, prevailed over that of the Visigoths. 694 King Egica accused Jews of aiding Moslems and sentenced them to slavery. 711 Iberia invaded by Muslim army. The Muslim troops crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and defeated the Visigoth king Rodrigo at the battle of Guadalete. Berbers under Tarik-ibn Ziyad occupied Northern Spain. The Umayyads with the help of the Berbers in North Africa moved across the Strait of Gibraltar and began the conquest of Spain and Portugal. The word Gibraltar comes from the term Jabal-al-Tarik, which means the hill of Tarik. Gebel-al-Tarik means “Rock of Tarik.” 712 Muza ben-Nosair completed the Muslim conquest of Spain. The Visigothic period ended. 756 Abd-al-Rahman was proclaimed the emir of Cordoba, Spain. Abd al Rahman united the Umayyad forces in Spain and made the ancient Roman city of Córdoba capital of new independent Emirate. 778 At the Battle at Roncesvalles the Basques beat Charlemagne. 813 Pelayo to Santiago, a Spanish hermit, discovered the long-forgotten tomb of the apostle St. James (San Tiago). This led others to make pilgrimages across northern Spain to the city of Santiago de Compostela. 842 Alfonso II the Chaste, king of Asturia (791-842), died. 913 Christians set up capital in Leon after retaking northern territories. 976 The Great Mosque of Cordoba (Spain) was completed and served as a religious, social and educational centre. The largest of the 70 libraries in Cordoba contained 500,000 volumes. 70,000 books a year were hand-copied to satisfy the citizen’s literary appetites. 1013 Spain separated into small kingdoms. 1075 The 3rd Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela in Spain was built on the site of the tomb of St. James. There had been a Cathedral on the site since the 9th century. 1085 Christian kingdom takes over Toledo. 1094 Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar [El Cid] occupied Valencia on the Moren. 1118 Afonso the Battler, the Christian King of Aragon captured Saragossa, Spain, a major blow to Muslim Spain. 1137 Kingdom of Aragon formed. 1158 Sancho III, King of Castilia, died. 1160-63 Al-Andalus controlled by Muslim sect. 1212 Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa . Reconquista eliminates Moorish rule in Spain. 1218 The university at Salamanca, Spain, was founded by King Alfonso IX. 1227 Construction of the Gothic Cathedral in Toledo was begun. 1236 Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon took Cordoba in Spain. Cordoba, Spain, fell to Christian forces. The last Islamic kingdom left in Spain is that of the Berbers in Granada. 1238 James of Aragon retook Valencia, Spain, from the Arabs. 1248 Fernando 3rd invades Seville forcing the Muslims to retreat. 1340 Battle of Salado, Spain, the last Moor invasion was driven back. 1391 Mob led by Ferrand Martinez surrounded and set fire to the Jewish quarter of Seville, Spain. The surviving Jews were sold into slavery. Castilian sailors in Barcelona, Spain set fire to a Jewish ghetto, killing 100 people and setting off four days of violence against the Jews. Jews of Palma Majorca, Spain, were massacred. 1424 Don Alfonso V of Aragon granted Barcelona the right to exclude Jews. 1431 Rodrigo Borgia Lanzol was born in Xativa, Spain. His mother was the sister of Pope Calixtus III. He was elected Pope Alexander VI in 1492 and amassed a fortune by pocketing church funds. His reign helped inspire the Protestant reformation. He fathered numerous children including Lucrezia Borgia. Machiavelli based “The Prince” on him. 1451 Isabella I of Castile, Queen of Spain (1479-1504), patron of Christopher Columbus, was born in Madrigal, Spain. 1452 Ferdinand II, the Catholic King of Aragon (1479-1516) and Sicily (1468-1516), was born. He bankrolled Columbus and expelled Jews. 1455 Jews fled Spain. 1460 Ponce de Leon was born in Spain. He searched for fountain of youth and found Florida. 1469 Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile marry, bringing much needed stability. 1471 Henry IV of Castile issued copper coins of small denominations known as blancas. 1474 Bartolome de Las Casas, “Apostle to the Indians,” was born in Seville, Spain. 1478 Queen Isabel and Fernando set up the Spanish inquisition to enable the crown to control the inquiries into whether or not converted Jews were really secret “Judaizers” who kept their original faith. 1479 After four years of war, Spain agreed to allow a Portuguese monopoly of trade along Africa’s west coast and Portugal acknowledged Spain’s rights in the Canary Islands. 1481 The first burnings of people occurred as a result of the Inquisition trials. Over the period 1481-1530 some 2000 people were burned. 1486 In Toledo, some 750 lapsed Christians were paraded through the streets of Toledo from the Church of San Pedro Martir to the cathedral in order to be reconciled to the Christian faith. Christopher Columbus convinced Queen Isabella to fund expedition to the West Indies. 1492 Under the supervision of the Catholic Church. Jews are ordered to be baptised or leave Spain. Many Jews flee from Spain leaving a shortage of educated and skilled people. The last Moorish kingdom, Granada, is captured by a united Spain. Christopher Columbus began his voyages of discovery. 1493 Christopher Columbus set sail from Cadiz, Spain, with a flotilla of 17 ships on his 2nd voyage to the Western Hemisphere. 1498 Columbus departed Spain with 6 ships for his 3rd trip to America. He took 30 women along on his third trip to the New World. 1499 The Spanish play “Celestine” was published. 1500 Charles V, king of Spain (1516-1556), was born in Ghent, Belgium. 1502 Isabella issued a royal order giving all remaining Moors in the realms of Castile the choice between baptism and expulsion. Columbus embarked on his 4th voyage with 150 men in 4 caravels. Spain legalized slave shipments to the Americas. 1503 Christopher Columbus beached his sinking ships in St. Anne’s Bay, Jamaica, and spent a year shipwrecked and marooned there before returning to Spain. Queen Isabella of Spain banned violence against Indians. 1504 Columbus returned to Spain following his 4th voyage after suffering a shipwreck at Jamaica. Columbus brought back cocoa beans and chocolate drinks. Isabella I (53), Catholic Queen of Castile and Aragon (1474-1504), patron of Columbus died. 1506 Christopher Columbus (55) died in poverty in Valladolid, still believing he discovered the coast of Asia. 1508 The Spanish introduce sugarcane to the New World (renamed America in 1507). By 1523 some 24 mills operate on Hispaniola, and the crop soon becomes a major export from the Caribbean. 1511 Diego de Velazquez, Spanish commander, occupied Cuba. 1513 Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida. Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Spanish explorer, crossed the Isthmus of Panama and claimed the Pacific Ocean for Spain. 1514 Spanish soldiers conquered the natives of Cuba. 1,500 Spanish settlers went to Panama. 1516 Seville University was founded. The Treaty of Noyon brought peace between France and Spain. 1517 King Carlos 1st becomes the first Habsburg king of Spain. Carlos is also king of Austria, much of Italy and the South American colonies. Carlos rules until 1556. 1518 Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Spanish explorer, was wrongly charged with treason and beheaded. 1521 French king Francois I declared war on Spain. The first running of the bulls was held at Pamplona. 1522 Treaty of Brussels: Habsburgers split into Spanish and Austrian Branches. Pascual de Andagoya, Spanish explorer, became the first European to set foot in Peru. 1523 The first turkeys were introduced to Spain and Europe from America by the conquistadors. 1527 German and Spanish troops under Charles V began ransacking Rome, bringing about the end of the Renaissance. Libraries were destroyed, Pope Clement VII was captured and thousands were killed. Philip II (d.1598), king of Spain and Portugal (1556-98), was born. 1528 England & France declared war on Emperor Charles V of Spain. 1529 Spain and Portugal divided the eastern hemisphere in Treaty of Saragosa. 1533 Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) was founded by Spain and served as a major port for the trade of slaves, gold and cargo. 1536 The Argentine city of Buenos Aires was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain. France and Portugal signed the naval treaty of Lyons aligning themselves against Spain. 1539 Hernando De Soto claimed Florida for Spain. 1542 New laws were passed in Spain giving protection against the enslavement of Indians in America. 1547 Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born, at Alcala de Henares, near Madrid. Writer of “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha” 1554 Queen Mary of England married Philip II, king of Spain and the Catholic son of Emp. Charles V. 1556 Emperor Charles resigned and his brother Ferdinand of Austria took over. Charles V resigned and ended his days in a Spanish monastery. He bequeathed Spain to his son Philip II, and the Holy Roman Empire to his brother Ferdinand I. A few years of peace in Europe followed. The event formed the basis for a later historical play by Friedrich Schiller, which was in turn used by Verdi for his opera “Don Carlos.” Philip II, was crowned king of Spain. 1557 Spanish and English troops in alliance defeated the French at the Battle of St. Quentin (San Quintino). The world’s first sovereign bankruptcy took place following the indulgence of Genoese lenders for Spain’s Philip II expensive taste for warfare. 1558 Led by the court of Egmont, the Spanish army defeated the French at Gravelines, France. 1560 Spanish king Philip II married Elisabeth de Valois. 1561 Philip II moved his court to Madrid, which was but a village until this time, and proclaimed Madrid as capital of Spain. 1566 Spanish king Philip II named Fernando Alvarez, duke of Alba. 1570 Spain’s King Philip II banned foreign Dutch students. 1571 Spanish troops occupied Manila. 1572 The Spanish army under Duke of Alva’s son Don Frederik plundered Mechelen (Flanders). The Dutch town of Naarden surrendered to Imperial Spanish troops under the Duke of Alba. The town was then burned and the entire population massacred. 1574 Spanish forces in the Netherlands besieged Leyden, but William the Silent breached the dykes to flood the land. This allowed his ships to sail up to the walls and lift the siege. Turkish troops captured Tunis from the Spaniards. 1577 Painter El Greco born in Crete as Domenikos Theotokopoulos, went to Spain and settled there permanently in Toledo. 1578 Philip III, king of Spain and Portugal (1598-1621), was born. 1580 Spain defeated Portugal in the Battle of Alcantara. Spanish troops landed in Ireland. The Duke of Alba invaded Portugal and put it under Spain’s rule. Spain’s Philip II was proclaimed King Philip I of Portugal and united the colonial empires of Spain and Portugal. 1582 The Gregorian (or New World) calendar was adopted in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal. 1587 Sir Frances Drake sailed into Cadiz, Spain, and sank the Spanish fleet. 1588 The Spanish Armada of 130 ships with 30,000 men left Lisbon for England. 1595 Henry IV’s army defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Fontaine-Francaise. 1596 An English fleet under the Earl of Essex, Lord Howard of Effingham and Francis Vere captured and ransacked Cadiz, Spain. The Spanish fleet sailed from Lisbon to Ireland. 1598 Philip II , King of Spain (1556-98), died. He had ordered the 1588 Spanish Armada attack on England. After its failure he dispatched 3 smaller armadas, but they all failed. 1602 Battle at Kinsale, Ireland: English army beat the Spanish. 1604 After a two-year siege, the Spanish retook Ostend [NW Belgium], the Netherlands, from the Dutch. 1605 Philip IV king of Spain and Portugal (1621-65), was born. 1609 Spanish ships began visiting Japan and Spanish Dominicans began missionary work. 1616 Miguel de Cervantes , Spanish poet and novelist, died in Madrid. 1622 A Spanish silver fleet disappeared off Florida Keys; thousands died. The Santa Margarita, sank by a hurricane, was discovered off of Key West in 1980. 1634 Battle at Nordlingen: King Ferdinand III & Catholic Spain beat Sweden & German protestants. 1635 Cardinal Richelieu of France intervened in the great conflict in Europe by declaring war on the Hapsburgs in Spain. 1640 Spain lost Portugal as the Duke of Braganza was proclaimed João IV (John IV), king of Portugal. 1643 A French army destroyed Spanish army at the Battle at Rocroi /Allersheim in France. 1648 The independence of the Netherlands was finally recognized with the Dutch and Spanish ratification of the Treaty of Munster. 1649 In Seville one in three died of the Black Plague. 1657 France and England formed an alliance against Spain. 1679 Don Juan, ruler of Spain, died. 1683 Philip V, first Bourbon King of Spain, was born in Versailles, France. 1689 French king Louis XIV declared war on Spain. 1697 The Treaty of Ryswick was signed in Holland. It ended the War of the Grand Alliance (aka War of the League of Augsburg,1688-1697) between France and the Grand Alliance. Under the Treaty France’s King Louis XIV (1638-1715) recognized William III (1650-1702) as King of England. The Dutch received trade concessions, and France and the Grand Alliance members (Holland and the Austrian Hapsburgs) gave up most of the land they had conquered since 1679. The signees included France, England, Spain and Holland. By the Treaty of Ryswick, a portion of Hispaniola was formally ceded to France and became known as Saint-Domingue. The remaining Spanish section was called Santo Domingo. 1699 The King of Spain, due to competition, banned the production of wine in the Americas, except for that made by the church. 1702 The War of Spanish Succession began. Bourbon dynasty accepts Spanish throne. 1704 Admiral George Rooke took Gibraltar from the Spanish. 1705 The English Navy captured Barcelona in Spain. 1707 At the Battle of Almansa, Franco-Spanish forces defeated Anglo-Portuguese. 1713 Spain ceded the 2.5-sq. mile Gibraltar in perpetuity to Britain under the Treaty of Utrecht. 1739 England declared war on Spain over borderlines in Florida. 1762 The British captured Cuba from Spain after a two month siege. The British fleet bombarded and captured Spanish-held Manila in the Philippines. France ceded to Spain all lands west of the Mississippi- the territory known as Upper Louisiana. 1766 France handed its settlement on the Falkland Islands over to Spain. 1779 Spain, in support of the US, declared war on England. 1782 The British fortress at Gibraltar came under attack by French and Spanish forces. 1783 Spain recognized United States’ independence. 1797 The Spanish fleet was destroyed by the British under Admiral Jervis (with Nelson in support) at the battle of Cape St. Vincent, off Portugal. 1800 Spain ceded Louisiana to France in a secret treaty. 1805 The Spanish naval fleet is defeated by Lord Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar. The Spanish fleet is hugely diminished and Spain never regains naval power. 1808-14 The Peninsular War began when Napoleon ordered a large French force into Spain under the pretext of sending reinforcements to the French army occupying Portugal. Spain’s King Charles IV abdicated. Napoleon’s brother Joseph took the throne of Spain. The citizens of Madrid rose up against Napoleon. It culminated in a fierce battle fought out in the Puerta del Sol, Madrid’s central square. The Spanish were defeated, and during the night the French army lead by Grand Duke Joachim Murat slaughtered hundreds of citizens along the Prado promenade in reprisal. 1810 Argentina declared independence and began its revolt from Napoleonic Spain. Colombia declared independence from Spain. Chile declared its independence from Spain. US annexed West Florida from Spain. 1811 Paraguay gained independence from Spain (Nat’l Day). 1812 English troops under the Duke of Wellington defeated the French at the Battle of Salamanca in Spain. British troops under the Duke of Wellington pillaged the Spanish town of Badajos. This prompted Wellington to call his troops “the scum of the earth.” British commander the Duke of Wellington occupied Madrid, Spain, forcing out Joseph Bonaparte. 1818 The last prosecution of the Spanish Inquisition was held. 1819 Spain signed the Adams-Onis Treaty with the United States ceding eastern Florida. Spain’s Prado opened as the Real Mueso de Pintura y Escultura. 1833 King Ferdinand of Spain died and his daughter Isabella was proclaimed as queen. A civil war broke out in Spain between Carlisists, who believed Don Carlos deserved the throne, and supporters of Queen Isabella. 1836 Spain recognized the independence of Mexico. 1852 Antoni Gaudi, Spanish modernist architect (Sagrada Familia, Barcelona), was born. 1857 Banco Santander was founded in Spain to finance trade between the port city of Santander and Latin America. 1859 Spain declared war on the Moors in Morocco. 1881 Pablo Picasso (d.1973), painter and sculptor, was born in Malaga. 1886 Spain abolished slavery in Cuba. 1898 Spanish-American five-month War; Spain losses colonies including Cuba, Guam and Puerto Rico. 1899 A peace treaty between the United States and Spain was ratified by the U.S. Senate. Spanish-American War ended. 1904 Salvador Dali, surrealist painter, was born in Figueres. 1906 A general act was issued by the international conference of Algeciras, Spain. Thirteen powers participated in the deliberations on the Moroccan question, and despite strong German objections, agreed to entrust to France and Spain the management of the Moroccan police. The powers also made arrangements regarding Morocco’s state bank, system of taxation, customs administration, and public works. In Madrid, Spain, an anarchist bomb exploded under the wedding carriage King Alfonso and Queen Ena. 20 people were killed. 1912 Spanish steamer “Principe de Asturias” sank NE of Spain and 500 died. Jose Canalejas Y Mendez (b.1854), premier of Spain, was assassinated by anarchist Manuel Pardinas. 1919 Madrid opened a subway system. 1921 Spanish Premier Eduardo Dato was assassinated while leaving Parliament in Madrid. 1925 France and Spain agreed to join forces against Abd el Krim in Morocco. 1926 Spain threatened to quit the League of Nations if Germany was allowed to join. The United States declared non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War. The Marques de la Vega Inclan, the Royal Commissioner for Tourism under Alfonso III, began to promote hotels in remote places to boost local economies. The “Paradores” were to be built by the government. The first one opened in 1928 in the mountains of Gredos. 1930 Madrid was paralyzed by general strikes and riots. 1931 Spanish voters rejected the monarchy. Spain becomes a Republic. 1932 The town of Bunol banned bullfighting. An annual Tomatina festival later took its place where participants pelt each other with tomatoes. 1933 An uprising of Guardia Civil in Spain left 25 dead. Montserrat Caballe, soprano, was born in Barcelona, Spain. 1933 Spanish Basques voted for autonomy. 1936-39 Francisco Franco forces victorious in Spanish Civil War. Dictatorship established. 350,000 people in Spain lose their lives in a war between right wing nationalists and Spanish republicans. 1938 Juan Carlos I, King of Spain, was born. 1941 Placido Domingo, opera tenor (Pinkerton-Mme Butterfly), was born in Madrid, Spain. 1944 In Leon Province, Spain, train wrecks in the Torro Tunnel killed more than 500 people. 1946 Jose Carreras, opera tenor (I Lombardi, Werther, Three Tenors), was born in Barcelona, Spain. 1946-50 Franco regime ostracised by United Nations; many countries cut off diplomatic relations. 1953 US and Spain signed a defense treaty with 4 US bases to be set in Spain . 1954 Gen. Franco closed the Spanish consulate on Gibraltar in a fit of rage over a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. 1955 Spain admitted to UN. 1956 Holland and Spain withdrew from Olympics, to protest Soviets in Hungary. 1957 A flood devastated the Ciutat Vella, the historic district of Valencia. To avoid another such deluge the government diverted the Turia River and turned the riverbed into a public green zone. 1959 ETA (Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna – meaning Basque Fatherland and Freedom) established. 1960 Antonio Banderas, actor, was born in Malaga, Spain. Fire in a cinema killed 152 children in Amude, Spain. 1961 Eta’s attempts to derail a train transporting politicians. Spain accepted equal rights for men and women. 1962 Princess Sophia of Greece wed Don Juan Carlos of Spain. 1965 Generalissimo Francisco Franco met with Jewish representatives to discuss legitimizing Jewish communities in Spain. 1966 The 1st Jewish child was born in Spain since the 1492 expulsion. A US Air Force B-52 carrying four unarmed hydrogen bombs crashed on the Spanish coast. Three of the bombs were quickly recovered, but the fourth wasn’t found until April. Two US Air Force jets collided in the skies over Spanish coastal village of Palomares. The mid-air crash of the B-52 bomber and a KC-135 refueling plane killed 8 crew members. 1968 West African colony of Spanish Guinea is granted independence as Equatorial Guinea. Greece, Portugal and Spain’s embassies were bombed in the Hague. Spain closed the border to Gibraltar, except to Spaniards. Eta shot and killed Civil Guard Jose Pardines Arcay at a checkpoint. This marked ETA’s 1st killing. 1969 Spain returned the Ifni province to Morocco. Gregorio Ordonez, deputy mayor of San Sebastian, Spain, was assassinated by an ETA terrorist. Dictator Francisco Franco appointed Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon as official successor to the position of Head of State. A block of flats near Segovia, Spain, collapsed killing 58 people. Developer Jesus Gil y Gil was jailed for 5 years for criminal negligence, but was pardoned after 18 months. 1970 A British aircraft crashed at Barcelona and 112 were killed. 1973 Basque nationalists assassinate Prime Minister Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco with a bomb in Madrid. 1974 In its 1st major attack ETA killed 12 people with a bomb at a Madrid cafe. 1975 Franco dies, Juan Carlos de Borbon is declared king. Spain becomes a constitutional monarchy. 1976 Spain’s parliament approved a bill to establish a democracy after 37 years of dictatorship. 1977 Democratic elections held, the first in 4 decades. 1978 Spain’s new constitution establishes a parliamentary monarchy. Many powers centralized under Franco were devolved to the 17 autonomous regions. Eta’s political wing, Herri Batasuna, is founded. 216 people were killed at a camping site when a tanker truck overfilled with propylene gas exploded on a coastal highway south of Tarragona. 1980 ETA fighting kills 118 people. 1981 An attempted coup began in Spain as 200 members of the Civil Guard and some of the military invaded the Parliament, taking lawmakers hostage. The attempt, led by Colonel Antonio Tejero, collapsed 18 hours later. Juan Carlos spoke to the nation on behalf of democracy and the coup collapsed. 1982 Spain joins NATO. Coup plot by right-wing extremists discovered. Socialist government wins sizeable majority. Felipe Gonzalez became prime minister. 1983 181 people were killed when a Colombian Avianca Airlines Boeing 747 crashed near Madrid’s Barajas airport. In Madrid, an Aviaco DC-9 collided on a runway with an Iberia Air Lines Boeing 727 that was accelerating for takeoff, killing all 42 people aboard the DC-9 and 51 aboard the Iberia jet. 1984 The Socialist government permanently shuttered its nuclear facilities. 1985 150 were killed when a Spanish jetliner crashed approaching Bilbao, Spain. Thousands demonstrated in Madrid against the NATO presence in Spain. A bombing in Madrid, Spain, killed 18 and injured 82. Shia Muslim extremists claimed responsibility. Divers found the wreck of Spanish galleon Atocha. The Socialist government approved pensions for 60,000 soldiers or their dependents who supported the losing Republican side in the Civil War. 1986 Spain joins EEC. Jose Ignacio De Juana Chaos (b.1955), a former police officer who joined one of ETA’s most active commando units, took part in a Madrid car bombing that killed 12 Civil Guard policemen. 45 people were wounded. 1987 Ignacio De Juana Chaos (b.1955), a former police officer who joined one of ETA’s most active commando units, was arrested. The Bank of Spain signed an agreement to join the European Monetary System. An ETA car bomb in the parking lot of the Hipercor department store in Barcelona killed 21 and wounds 45. A bomb exploded at a USO bar in Barcelona, Spain, killing one U.S. sailor and injuring nine others; a little-known group called the Red Army of Catalonian Liberation claimed responsibility. 1989 The Spanish peseta entered the European Monetary System (EMS) exchange-rate mechanism; the composition of the ECU is adjusted following the inclusion of the Spanish peseta and the Portuguese escudo. The 300-sq. km. Donana wetland, the richest in Europe, was declared a national park. The belt around Donana was managed by the regional government of Andalusia. The Madrid government managed the park. 1992 Barcelona hosts Summer Olympic games. Seville hosts Expo 92. Celebrations mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage to America. The Greek tanker Aegean Sea spilled 21.5 million gallons of crude oil when it ran aground at La Coruna, Spain. Spain signed accords with Islamic, Jewish and Protestant representatives. Leaders of the Basque Separatist Group (ETA) were captured. 1994 Barcelona opera theater “Gran Teatro del Liceo” burned down. 1995 Spain joins European Community. Leader of opposition Popular Party Jose Maria Aznar survives a car bomb blast. Princess Elena married a banker, Jaime de Marichalar y Saenz de Tejada, in Seville; it was Spain’s first royal wedding in 89 years. A car bomb killed six and injured 15 in southern Madrid. Authorities suspected Basque separatists. Foreign Minister Javier Solana was elected as secretary of NATO. Spain and Morocco agreed to build a channel tunnel under the Strait of Gibraltar. The plan was for 3 tunnels at a cost of $4 bil. 1996 ETA abducted a prison officer and held him for 532 days. Jose Maria Aznar (PP) becomes Prime Minister. Judge Jose Jimenez Alfaro lost most of his right hand when a letter bomb exploded at his courthouse in Madrid. He had sent policemen to jail for Spain’s “dirty war” war on Basque rebels in the 1980s. ETA set off 3 bombs at tourist sites. One at the airport of Reus, and 2 at the beach resorts of Cambrils and Salou. Flash floods in the Pyranees killed at least 71 people at a campground. 1997 Eta, demanding that Basque prisoners be transferred closer to home, kidnaps and kills Basque councillor Miguel Angel Blanco. Killing sparks national outrage and brings an estimated 6 million Spaniards onto the streets. A Supreme Court Jusdge, Rafael Martinez Emperador, was shot dead in Madrid. A Basque court guard, Modesto Rico Pasarin (33), was killed by a car bomb attributed to the ETA. 23 leaders of Herri Batasuna jailed for seven years for collaborating with Eta – the first time any members of the party have been jailed as a result of Eta links. Matadors across the country went on strike as the bullfighting season opened. A passenger train north of Pamplona derailed and killed at least 22 and injured some 87 people. Thousands of olive oil workers protested in Madrid against the EU plan to force a cut in olive oil production and to lower subsidies. The parliament approved a labor reform pact to reduce the 22% unemployment. Former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez quit as the leader of the Spanish Socialist Party. He was succeeded by Joaquin Almunia. In San Sebastian, some 30,000 marched in support of the ETA separatist movement. Princess Christina Federica de Borbon y Grecia (32) married Inaki Urdangarin (29), a Basque professional handball team player. In Bilbao the new Guggenheim Museum Bilbao opened. A separatist guerrilla group killed a policeman while trying to bomb the new Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Jose Maria Aguirre was killed when he helped foil the ETA attack. One of three gunmen, Kepa Arronnategui, was captured. Flooding of the Guadiana River killed 18 people in Badajoz. A total of 31 died along the Spanish-Portuguese border from the storm induced flood. In San Sebastian a politician’s bodyguard was shot to death hours before authorities arrested 19 of 23 leaders of the pro-Basque independence party, Herri Batasuna. Protestors also commandeered a bus and burned it. Tens of thousands marched in San Sebastian to protest the murder of Jose Luis Caso. In Bilbao thousands marched on behalf of the 23 Basque separatists of the Herri Batasuna separatist group, who were recently sentenced to 7 years each in prison. Mohamad Kamal Mustafa, imam of Fuengirola, Spain, authored “Women in Islam,” in which he defended a husband’s right to beat his wife. Pernod Ricard SA acquired the Spanish gin Larios. 1998 Crops destroyed and wildlife wiped out when an iron pyrite mine reservoir belonging to a Canadian-Swedish company bursts its banks causing toxic waste spillage. Waterways feeding Europe’s largest wildlife reserve, the Donana national park, are severely contaminated. Eta announces its first indefinite ceasefire since its campaign of violence began. A Boeing 727 with 131 people was hijacked and diverted to Valencia. Jose Antonio Ardanza, 14-year president of the Basque country, dissolved the regional parliament and set elections for Oct 25. He urged ETA extremists to lay down their arms. An excursion boat capsized and sank on Lake Banyoles and 20 French tourists were drowned. Spain deregulated its energy market. Ramon Sampredro, a Spanish paraplegic who campaigned for euthanasia and spent 30 years in bed, died by sipping water laced with cyanide. He did this after crafting a complex scheme to have friends prepare and deliver the poison in incremental steps so no single one of them could be charged criminally. The story was made into the movie “El Mar Adentro” (The Sea Inside). 1999 Spain along with 10 other European Union nations made the transition to the new Euro monetary system. Eta ends its ceasefire, blaming lack of progress in talks with the Spanish government. In Barcelona the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house opened after a 3-year, $120 million renovation due to a 1994 fire. Police found a 2nd van loaded with 1,650 pounds of explosives in Alhama de Aragon. Two days earlier a van, bound for Madrid, was stopped with 1,980 pounds of explosives. Parliament approved an amnesty for illegal immigrants and authorized visas for those able to prove that they had arrived before July 1, 1999. 2000 ETA carry out car bombings in Madrid. Some 1.1 million people marched in Madrid to protest the recent car-bomb attack by Basque separatists. A car bomb killed Fernando Buesa, a Socialist Party leader in Vitoria, and his bodyguard Jorge Diez Elorza. Aznar’s Popular Party (PP) wins landslide in general elections. Jose Luis Lopez de La Calle, a columnist for El Mundo, was shot and killed in Andoain. The ETA was blamed. A bus enroute to a summer camp for teens collided with a truck hauling pigs near Soria and at least 25 people were killed. A car bomb exploded at the entrance of the El Corte Ingles department store in Madrid. 10 people were injured. Relations with Britain strained after British nuclear submarine HMS Tireless docks for repairs in Gibraltar despite protests from environmentalists. A bomb exploded in Bilbao and killed 3 suspected Basque separatists, who appeared to be transporting explosives. A car bomb exploded in Madrid, where 11 people were injured and in Zumaia where 1 man was Francisco Casanova Vicente, army officer, was shot twice in the back as he arrived home in Pamplona. The murder was blamed on the ETA. A bomb killed 2 Spanish Civil Guard officers in Sallent de Gallego. The ETA was blamed. Manuel Indiano (29), a councilman in Zumarraga, was shot and killed outside his candy store. The ETA was blamed. Masked police raided the EKIN offices, the fund-raising wing of the ETA. 20 people were arrested. Ramon Rekalde, a former Socialist Party official, was wounded with a shot in the head in San Sebastian. The ETA was blamed. Truckers across Europe blocked highways to protest high fuel costs. Protests hit Spain, Germany, Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic. Jose Luis Ruiz Casado (42), a town councilor, was shot and killed in Sant Adria de Besos outside of Barcelona. The ETA was blamed. Luis Portero, a head state attorney for the Andalusian Superior Court, was shot to death in Granada. The ETA was suspected. Col. Antonio Munoz Carinanos (58), a military doctor, was killed in Seville by 3 suspected Basque gunmen. 2 suspects were arrested. Maximo Casada Carrera (44), a prison officer, was killed by a car bomb in Vitoria. The ETA was blamed. In Madrid a car bomb killed Supreme Court magistrate Jose Francisco Querol (69), his driver and an escort. 35 were wounded and the ETA was blamed. Ernest Lluch (63), a former government minister, was killed by suspected ETA gunmen in a Barcelona suburb. The government reported its 1st case of mad cow disease. 2001 Parliament grants political recognition to Republican guerrillas – known as the maquis – who continued resisting the nationalist dictator, General Francisco Franco, after the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939. A weekend storm killed 7 people, including 5 in the Pyranees. A commuter train hit a van near Lorca and 12 Ecuadoran farm workers were killed. A crowd of 10-40 thousand marched in Barcelona to protest a tough new against illegal immigrants. Two people were killed when suspected Basque separatists bombed a train station in San Sebastian. Separately French police arrested the alleged ETA military chief. Over 100,000 people protested in Madrid against a $23 billion plan to divert water from the Ebro river to areas in the south. Santos Santamaria Avedano (32), a police officer, was killed when a car bomb went off as he evacuated guests from a hotel in Roses. Froilan Elespe, Socialist deputy mayor of Lasarte, was shot and killed. The ETA was blamed. Manuel Jimenez Abad (52), a politician of the ruling Popular Party, was shot to death in Zaragoza. Basque elections were held in Spain. Nationalists won the regional elections. In San Sebastian Santiago Oleaga Elejabarrieta (54), financial director of the El Diario Vasco daily newspaper, was shot and killed. The ETA was blamed. Thousands marched in Madrid to protest an upcoming visit by Pres. Bush. Pres. Bush on his 1st major overseas trip met with Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar in Madrid and pushed for his missile defense shield. parcel bomb in Madrid injured Gen. Justo Oreja Pedraza (63), a defense minister, along with 15 others. The ETA was blamed. In Madrid a policeman was killed by a bomb. Basque rebels were blamed. In Spain gunmen shot and killed a police officer, Mikel Uribe (44), in Leaburu and a bomb killed a local politician, Jose Javier Mugica (50), in Leiza. The ETA was blamed. A Basque rebel car bomb exploded outside 2 resort hotels in Salou. A Basque bomb went off in the parking structure of Madrid’s main airport. There were no injuries due to a phoned in tip. A Binter Mediterraneo CN-235 airplane crash-landed near Malaga’s airport and at least 3 of 47 people aboard were killed. detained 6 Algerians with alleged links to Osama bin Laden and a group planning attacks on US targets in Europe. In Spain suspected Basque militants exploded a car bomb in Vitoria that caused much damage to the city center. The EU made a joint announcement with Spain that the Basque ETA would be put on the list of terrorist organizations whose assets would be frozen by the EU. A bombing caused wide damage in Madrid. Basque separatists were suspected. In Madrid a rush hour car bomb blast injured 95 people. The ETA was suspected and a man and woman were arrested. Judge Jose Maria Lidon Corbi was shot to death as he drove out of his garage in Gexto, a suburb of Bilbao. The ETA was held responsible. Spanish police arrested 11 people with suspected links to Osama bin Laden. 2002 Peseta replaced by the Euro. Eta suspected of being behind bomb blasts in several tourist resorts as EU summit held in Seville. General strike by nearly a million people protesting at government moves to cut employment benefits. Morocco sends troops to counter alleged illegal activities on disputed rocky outcrop of Perejil off Moroccan coast. Spain sends forces to eject them and gunboats to guard its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Spain pulls troops out after Spanish, Moroccan foreign ministers agree to restore status quo, leaving Perejil unoccupied. A court suspends the radical Basque separatist party Batasuna for three years because of its suspected links with Eta. North-west coastline suffers ecological disaster after oil tanker Prestige breaks up and sinks about 130 miles out to sea. Police discovered at least 19 corpses at the home and car of an ex-funeral parlor employee in Malaga. A local Spanish official was shot to death by gunmen in the Basque region. Police suspected the ETA. Spanish police arrested Mohamed Zouaydi on charges of financing terrorist activities around the world. In Madrid a bomb exploded near a sports stadium and 17 people were injured. Police arrested 2 suspected ETA members who planned to bomb an upcoming meeting of Latin American and European leaders. Tens of thousands of people marched through Bilbao protesting the government’s intention to outlaw a political party that refuses to condemn terrorism in the name of independence. Two car bombs exploded at Spanish coastal resort as a European Union summit got under way about 90 miles away at a heavily guarded convention center in Seville. Two new bombs rocked Spain’s tourist coasts, making five in two days that the government blamed on Basque separatist group ETA trying to disrupt a European Union summit in Seville. Tens of thousands of people banged drums, blew whistles and danced their way through Seville’s streets in a rally against globalization. The EU Summit ended with new measures to deter illegal immigration. A judge froze all bank accounts of Batasuna, the radical Basque political party. The 14th Int’l. AIDS Conference opened in Barcelona. Estimates said AIDS had claimed 20 million lives to date and threatened 40 million currently infected. African cases were estimated at 28.5 million. The Spanish government welcomed a British proposal to turn its military base in Gibraltar into a NATO facility, a move that would open it to all alliance members including Spain. Spain and Britain came up with the idea of sharing sovereignty over the Rock. This was rejected resoundingly in a nonbinding referendum in Gibraltar. In southeastern Spain 2 people, including a 6-year-old girl, were killed and several others were injured when a car bomb exploded in front of a military police barracks. Twenty-five others were injured. A booby-trapped sign bearing the logo of the armed Basque separatist group ETA exploded, killing one police officer and wounding three others. Jose Antonio Rodriguez Vega (44), a serial killer sentenced to 440 years in jail for raping and strangling 16 elderly widows, was murdered in prison. Two prisoners with makeshift knives attacked Vega in the courtyard of Topas jail in western Salamanca province. 2003 A motorized rubber boat carrying 41 illegal immigrants sank off the southern coast of Spain, and six passengers drowned. The European Union’s Court of Justice ordered Spain and Italy to drop national rules on what constitutes chocolate, saying they can no longer bar British and Irish confections made with vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter. France and Spain opened the new 5.3-mile Somport tunnel through the western Pyrenees mountains. a female doctor described as mentally unbalanced stabbed several people at a Madrid hospital, killing a colleague and a patient and wounding six others. 62 Spanish peacekeepers returning from Afghanistan killed in plane crash in Turkey. ETA committed its final fatal attack. A car bomb, placed by Basque separatists, killed two police officers in Sanguesa in northern Navarra region. a head-on train collision near Chinchilla in Albacete province left at least 11 people dead and another 16 missing. In Barcelona, Spain, more than 7,000 people gathered at daybreak and shed their clothes to take part in artist Spencer Tunick’s largest work yet, an installation featuring a sea of nude bodies covering a central Barcelona avenue. Grenada, Spain, unveiled its first mosque since 1492 when the Moors were expelled. Spain agreed to send 1,300 soldiers to Iraq. Spain’s new Madrid-Leida bullet train made its maiden journey. The train had an average speed of 108 mph, with a peak of 124 mph. This was slower than the intended average speed of 186 mph with peaks of 217 mph. In northern Spain 2 bombs exploded in a parking lot, destroying 11 freight trucks. No one was injured in the blast blamed on the armed Basque separatist group ETA. Spanish authorities closed the border with the British colony of Gibraltar before the arrival of a virus-stricken cruise ship carrying some 2,000 passengers. More than 400 passengers on the ship fell ill with a norovirus after the ship left Southampton, England, for a Mediterranean voyage on Oct. 20. The world’s richest lottery spread $2.2 billion in Christmas cheer throughout Spain, including to a village whose name means luck. 2004 The armed Basque separatist group ETA unilaterally declared a cease-fire for the northeastern region of Catalonia, but the move was immediately criticized by Spain’s prime minister and politicians who refuse to negotiate with the militant group. Spain averted a bombing by the Basque separatist group ETA after the Civil Guard stopped a small truck and found about 1,100 pounds of bomb-making chemicals. Islamic terrorists attack the Atocha train station in Madrid with bombs; 191 people killed and hundreds injured. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (PSOE) elected Prime Minister. Spanish troops leave Iraq. A Spanish railroad inspector found a 26-pound bomb hidden in a bag on a busy high-speed line. Police said the device may contain the same dynamite used in last month’s Madrid train bombings. In Spain Sarhane Abdelmajid Fakhet (35), a Tunisian national and the alleged ringleader of last month’s train bombings in Madrid, was among 5 suspects who blew themselves up as police raided their apartment. The Barcelona city council passed a resolution condemning bullfighting and declaring the city Spain’s first to come out against the centuries-old sport. Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe married former TV anchorwoman Letizia Ortiz, the first commoner in line to be queen in Spanish history. Animal rights activists protested in Pamplona, Spain, on the eve of the start of the famous running of the bulls ‘San Fermin’ festival. Close to 5,000 ‘cybernauts’ gathered for a weeklong computer party in Spain’s southeastern city of Valencia. Bombs injured at least 18 people in 7 cities following warnings from callers claiming to represent the Basque separatist group ETA. The Spanish government has reached an agreement with unions and employers to raise the minimum monthly wage by 4.5 percent to euro512.90 ($699) on Jan. 1. Spain approved new guidelines on immigration, including a partial amnesty aimed at giving papers to some of the 800,000 illegal immigrants estimated to be living in the country. An explosion killed seven workers at a warehouse in the northern city of Burgos. A gas leak was suspected. The bodies of 18 victims of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas heater were found at a cottage near the village of Todolella in Spain’s Castellon province. 2005 Madrid car bombing kills 40. Spain begins the process of granting legal amnesty for up to 800,000 undocumented immigrants. Voters approve the EU constitution in a referendum. Government offers peace talks with Eta if the group disarms. Parliament defies Roman Catholic Church by legalising gay marriage and granting homosexual couples same adoption and inheritance rights as heterosexual ones. At least 11 die and many more are injured in a series of mass attempts by African migrants to enter the enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta from Morocco in a bid to reach Spain. Spain reviews decision to deport those who do get through back to Morocco after expressions of international concern. Spanish authorities said police had arrested 16 Islamic terror suspects in raids in several cities, including 11 men accused of having ties to Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi’s group al-Qaida in Iraq and recruiting people for suicide attacks there. ETA announced it will no longer kill elected members of political parties. Voters in Spain’s northwest Galicia region were deciding whether to extend the 15-year rule of Manuel Fraga (82), the last surviving politician of Gen. Francisco Franco’s regime. In Madrid a Tibetan group presented a criminal case against top Chinese officials for genocide and crimes against humanity, seeking to take advantage of Spain’s laws on international human rights crimes. In central Spain 11 firefighters trying to extinguish a forest fire sparked by a smoldering barbeque were killed. Spain banned lighting fires in open spaces nationwide until November. This was Spain’s worst drought since 1947. Spaniards will no longer allowed to smoke as they take a Sunday stroll in the woods, under new government rules aimed at curbing the risk of fires such as a recent one in which 11 firefighters died in Guadalajara. France Telecom bought an 80% stake in Amena, Spain’s 3rd largest mobile telephone operator. Two helicopters carrying NATO-led forces to prepare for next month’s elections crashed in the desert in western Afghanistan, killing at least 17 Spanish troops. In Spain tens of thousands of people armed with 100 tons of plum tomatoes took part in the “Tomatina,” joyously splattering each other in the town of Bunol. Hundreds of African migrants charged a razor-wire border fence at a Spanish enclave in northern Morocco before dawn, and five people were killed and 50 injured, prompting Spain to send troops to secure the frontier. Catalonia’s parliament approved a new charter that called the wealthy region in northeastern Spain “a nation,” wording that has some worried that the region is heading toward a break with Spain. More than 300 Africans tore through a razor-wire fence separating Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Melilla, clashing with police in the latest wave of undocumented immigrants seeking a foothold in Europe. Spain said it will build a third high-security fence between its Melilla enclave and Morocco after undocumented immigrants repeatedly stormed two existing barriers. Some 500 African immigrants defied increased security and tried to surge across razor-wire fences separating Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla, the 5th such rush in a week. The assault in a week prompted Spain to announce plans to expel the illegal migrants. Spanish authorities said police have seized 3.5 tons of cocaine in a fishing boat bound for Spain from Venezuela after tip-offs from U.S. authorities. In northeastern Spanish at least 5 north African men were killed, four were injured and one was believed still trapped under rubble after a three-storey 17th century building collapsed in the town of Piera. A court officials said a Spanish judge has issued an international arrest warrant for three U.S. soldiers whose tank fired on a Baghdad hotel during the Iraq war, killing a Spanish journalist and one other. Jose Couso, who worked for the Spanish television network Telecinco, died April 8, 2003, after a U.S. army tank crew fired a shell on Hotel Palestine. In Spain the Basque country’s ruling party called for new initiatives to end violence by ETA guerrillas in Spain and break a political deadlock over the region’s status. The Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica announced an agreed $31.5 billion takeover of mobile-phone operator O2, to be paid in cash. A section of a bridge under construction in southern Spain collapsed on workers, killing at least five of them. Spanish police arrested 11 people suspected of financing and giving logistical support to an Islamic extremist group linked to al-Qaida. Spain agreed to sell 12 military planes and eight patrol boats to Venezuela in a $2 billion deal that the United States has threatened to block. Spain announced it plans to sell planes and helicopters to Colombia. In western Spain officers of Seprona, the environmental unit of the paramilitary Civil Guard, arrested hunters skinning a Bengal tiger. Agents also found another tiger and lion in cages waiting their turn to be hunted. In the 1st half of the year officers confiscated 678 illegally imported live animals. Spanish authorities arrested former Gen. Ante Gotovina, the top Croatian war crimes suspect, after four years on the run. He was captured in the Canary Islands when special police agents surprised him as he dined in a luxury beach hotel. A lottery known as “El Gordo” — the Fat One — sprinkled more than $2.4 billion in Christmas cheer around Spain, with this Catalan town known for its churches and convents blessed with a quarter of the windfall. In Spain a new law that took effect ordering government ministries to close no later than 6 p.m., part of a broad package of measures that are geared to help Spaniards juggle their jobs and families. Spain unveiled a Renewable Energy Plan. Some 650,000 people arrived in Spain pushing the total population to over 44 million. Some 700,000 illegal immigrants were granted amnesty. 2006 Spanish smokers faced a wrenching change New Year’s Day as a nationwide ban on tobacco in the workplace came into force in a country known for its smoky bars. Spanish police arrested 20 people, mostly Moroccans, linked to Islamic terrorism and violence in Iraq in raids across Spain. Spanish police detained Omar Nakcha (23), a Moroccan whom they suspect of being the leader of two extremist groups recruiting volunteers to fight in Iraq. Spanish police in Madrid arrested Ricardo Taddei (63), a former Argentine police officer, wanted in connection with kidnappings and torture during his country’s “dirty war” against leftist dissidents. In Spain survivors and relatives of people killed in terrorist attacks worldwide gathered to share stories of their common tragedy, discuss ways to fight the scourge and hear what governments plan to do to make their citizens safer. Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero expressed reticence about a takeover bid for leading domestic electricity group Endesa by E.ON of Germany, saying national interest was paramount. In July Spain’s energy regulator (CNE) imposed 19 conditions on the bid for Endesa. On Aug 25 EU regulators warned that government restrictions on E.ON’s bid were illegal. Eta declares a ceasefire. In June, Prime Minister Zapatero says the government will hold peace talks with the group. Voters in Catalonia back proposals to give the region greater autonomy as well as the status of a nation within Spain. A Spanish judge indicted 32 people for allegedly plotting to drive a truck packed with explosives into a courthouse that has been the hub for anti-terrorism investigations. Authorities suspected that Mohamed Achraf was planning to ram a truck loaded with 1,100 pounds of explosives into the court in downtown Madrid. The Basque separatist group ETA announced a permanent cease-fire, ending a decades-long campaign of violence and closing the door on one of Western Europe’s last active armed separatist movements. Spain tries to rally international support over illegal immigration from Africa. Canary Islands officials say more than 22,000 immigrants have arrived on the islands since the start of the year and hundreds have died while attempting the sea crossing. Prime Minister Zapatero suspends moves to seek dialogue with Eta after a car bomb attack at a Madrid airport. Tens of thousands of people gathered at a rally in the northern city of Bilbao to call for greater Basque self-determination and negotiations between the Spanish government and separatists. In Spain a judge handed down the first indictments in the Madrid train bombings, charging 29 people with murder, terrorism or other crimes after a two-year investigation. In Spain a bus carrying Boy Scouts overturned on a northern highway, killing at least four people, including three minors. In Madrid, hundreds of thousands of small investors who fell victim to a stamp scam demonstrated to try to recover lost savings potentially amounting to billions of euros. A day earlier police arrested nine directors of two philately organizations, Afinsa and Forum Filatelico. Spain’s Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) agreed to the French bank BNP Paribas’ purchase of its 14.75-percent stake in Italy’s Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL), saying it will reap 567 million euros (731 million dollars) in capital gains from the sale. Spanish police and rescue vessels intercepted six boats carrying over 460 sub-Saharan illegal migrants off the coast of the Canary Island of Tenerife. Officials said as many as 1,000 immigrants may have drowned on this route over just the last 6 months. The armed Basque group ETA stated publicly for the first time since a ceasefire declaration in March that it still demands self-determination for the Basque Country. The Spanish interior ministry said that 67 suspects had been arrested for accessing child porn on the Internet over the past five days. The international police operation arrested 38 in France, 10 in Spain, 9 in Slovakia, 7 in Belgium and 3 in the Netherlands. Britain’s BAA, owners of Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick airports, accepted an $18.8 billion bid from Spain’s Grupo Ferrovial, led by Rafael del Pino. Tens of thousands of Spaniards marched in Madrid to demand the government not hold talks with Basque separatists. Catalans went to the polls in a referendum on giving their region increased autonomy, in a crucial test for Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as he seeks to rally support for peace talks with Basque separatists. Catalan voters overwhelmingly approved a blueprint that some fear could leave Spain’s government cash-strapped and powerless. In Spain and France 12 people, including one of the founders of the Basque separatists ETA, were arrested in pre-dawn raids in a crackdown on illegal financing of the armed group. Spain officially announced the start of peace negotiations with the Basque separatist group ETA after formally informing parliament, and PM Zapatero warned that talks to end decades of bloodshed would be long and difficult. A subway train derailed in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia, killing 43 people. “Initial investigations show it was an accident,” said Vicente Rambla, spokesman for the Valencia regional government. Spain’s Agriculture Ministry said it has recorded its first case of H5N1 bird flu. The deadly strain was found in a water fowl in a marsh area outside the northern city of Vitoria. Bio Fuel Systems, a Spanish company, claimed to have developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, providing a potentially inexhaustible source of clean fuel. Police found the bodies of four Africans on a boat packed with 26 other would-be immigrants that was intercepted off Spain’s Canary Islands. The Spanish government approved a divisive bill allowing reparations for victims of the Spanish Civil War and the ensuing dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco. Crews fought more than 20 forest fires in northern Spain and stopped blazes from advancing into two historic towns. The fires killed three people and destroyed thousands of acres of woodland. Authorities said most of the blazes were deliberately set. Hundreds of paratroopers joined the struggle to control scores of forest fires in northwestern Spain. A total of 24 people have been arrested since Aug. 1 on suspicion of deliberately starting many of the fires. In northern Spain at least 6 people died in a train derailment. Spain’s Cabinet approved sending 1,100 troops to the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon, calling it a “legitimate” mission to help maintain peace in the region. In Spain self-contained, nonsmoking areas with their own ventilation systems, became requisite for larger restaurants and bars. Alberto Linero (27) and Alberto Sanchez (24) both privates in the Spanish air force, exchanged vows in a reception room at Seville’s town hall, in the first known wedding among same-sex members of the military since Spain legalized gay marriage last year. Britain and Spain reached a historic deal to resolve side issues stemming from their 300-year-old dispute over Gibraltar, but sidestepped the main one, their claims to the Rock’s sovereignty. In northwestern Spain activists freed over 15,000 minks from breeding farms. Swathes of Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and the Netherlands and went dark for up to an hour in the late evening as cold Germans rushing to switch on heaters sucked up electricity from Europe’s interconnected networks. Spanish farmers led a flock of hundreds of bleating sheep through downtown Madrid in a protest urging the protection of ancient grazing routes threatened by urban sprawl. Residents of Almazan, a small town in rural Spain, won the top prize of 390 million euros in the world’s richest lottery, known as El Gordo or “the fat one”. A new study was published saying traces of cocaine can be found on 94% of banknotes in Spain, a country that has one of the world’s highest rates of users. A car bomb exploded in a parking lot at Madrid’s glittery new airport terminal, and the government blamed the Basque separatist group ETA. 26 were slightly injured. The bodies of two people from Ecuador were later recovered. This signaled the apparent end of a nine-month ceasefire. A 67-year-old Spanish woman became the world’s oldest mother after she gave birth to twins in the northern city of Barcelona. She had previously undergone in vitro fertilization in the United States. Spain prepared to launch production of solar energy from what will be Europe’s largest thermo-electric plant at Sanlucar La Mayor, near the southern city of Seville. 2007 Trial begins of 29 suspects charged with involvement in the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Eta calls off ceasefire. Eta blamed for Basque country car bomb. Leading Eta bomb maker arrested near Toulouse, France. Several people are found guilty and given jail sentences for the Madrid train bombings in 2004. Parliament passes a bill formally denouncing Franco’s rule and ordering the removal of all Franco-era statues and symbols from streets and buildings. King Juan Carlos visits the Spanish-held enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, angering Morocco which demands the return of the territories. 2008 Parliamentary elections. The ruling Socialist Workers’ Party wins re-election with an increased margin, but falls short of an absolute majority. Prime Minister Zapatero unveils new cabinet, which for the first time includes more women than men.