Franco's Spain:Unity through religion
To be "Spanish"=To be Catholic
The description of Spain
during the years of 1939-1975 is usually referred to as "Franco's Spain."
During these thirty six years Spain was
controlled by the dictator Francisco Franco. For some Spaniards this time in history was the best thing that happened
to Spain, for others the worst. After
the civil war in Spain(1936-1939) Franco
took over as dictator. His dictatorship held close relations with the Catholic Church. Catholicism in Spain was nothing new at this time. If one is to take a look
at the history of Catholicism concerning Spain
in the late fifteenth century, one would find great similarities between the two. Isabel and Fernando, known as the catholic
monarchs “los reyes catholicos,” reigned from 1474-1516. They had undertaken the reconquest of Spain, the conquest of the new world, and the inquisition.
These three elements all include Catholicism. The reconquest was the retaking of Muslim Spain to Catholic Spain. In the new
world Spain incorporated Christianity,
and the inquisition mainly expelled or converted the Jews. Unity was the goal among the monarchs, unity by religion. This
theme of unity is the same theme that coincides with the reign of Francisco Franco during middle twentieth century Spain. When Franco took power he converted Spain into the past. He outlawed anything that did not agree
with catholic beliefs; this included contraceptives, homosexuality, practice of any other religion, prostitution, and divorce(all
are presently legal). Franco even went as far has outlawing any other language than Spanish and took away all rights given
to the autonomous regions of Spain. At
this time church and state of Spain were
one body and it was the responsibility of both to enforce the change towards unity. All forms of education and censorship
were directed by the church. Franco was given the power from the Vatican to elect church officials, a rare privilege given by the Vatican. Isolation was another concept that described Spain. Franco did not want outside ideas to influence the society of Spain. Not until the late 1950’s did he become more
open to the rest of the world by making a military agreement with the United
States. Tourism began in 1960, which created a positive economical boom for Spain. Germans, British, and Scandinavian cultures began to influence the Spaniards.
The year of 1975, the year of Franco’s death, set the stage for the reconstruction of Spain yet again. Soon enough Spain
seems to invert itself while joining the rest of the world. Spain
created its constitution in 1978 and all rights and liberties taken from Franco were returned. Autonomies were returned to
the Basque countries and Catalan. The joining of the European Union in 1986 aided Spain
into its relations with Europe. In 1992 the Olympics were held in Barcelona,
These examples support the trend of Spain
into the nineteenth century. If you ask me, a trend that is quite opposite to Franco’s liking.
Timeline of Spain from 1936-2006
|Isabel and Fernando "Los reyes catolicos"
| The dictator of Spain 1936-1975
|In Spanish Franco was called "el caudillo," in English "the leader/boss."