The long road to modernisation: Spain since 1808

Course Material 2024/25
Picasso's Guernica

This course will analyse the main political developments and social, economic and cultural changes experienced in Spain since the start of the Peninsular War to the present, with emphasis on the 20th century, the causes and development of the Civil War and the profound consequences of Franco’s dictatorship.  

How did Spain experience the fall of the Old Regime? What was the impact of the loss of the American colonies, whereby Spain went from Empire to second-rate European power? Why did anarchism gain such appeal in Spain? How did Basque and Catalan nationalisms survive Franco’s regime? These are some of the questions we will explore, alongside the analysis of the origins and development of the Spanish Civil War, the political and ideological bases of Franco’s regime, and the transition to democracy, the latter considered by many as an exceptionally successful process but at present under critical scrutiny. The course will close with a reflection on the politics of memory in contemporary Spain and on the political challenges of democracy.

Page credits & information

 Image: Painting by Pablo Picasso entitled 'Guernica' (1937). 

Section notice

This material is intended for current students but will be interesting to prospective students. It is indicative only.