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A History of Spain
By Charles E. Chapman (1918)


IN these days of Spanish study it is of real use to read a history like this and to be able to recommend it heartily to other students. The Spanish authority on which it is founded gives his hearty approval to the way it is constructed, and the American writer adds three chapters of his own of special interest, that on Charles III. and England, 1759-1788,' and the two modern ones, 1808 to 1917. It is difficult to find special points to comment on in so long and so excellent a vista of the descent of the Spanish people and the history, political and economic, of the different provinces of Spain which have such varied origins. The author is right in drawing special attention to the close connection of the whole country with Africa, even during the late Roman time, when the two lands were conjoined in one diocese, which was no doubt prepared by their earlier associations through Carthage. It explains also how the foreign Visigothic Kings were, at first, so easily overcome by the Moslems, and how it took quite a long time before the Church was able to inspire the Christians with hatred and crusading zeal against the tolerant rule of their African masters. The account of this rule and the gradual expulsion of the 'Moors' is particularly well given, and one reads the succession of events with great interest as the Christian sovereigns gradually, by union, gained power for themselves while the nobles lost it, until there was almost absolute autocracy during the great reigns of Charles V. (here called Charles I.) and Philip II. which preceded such a long period of decline. This study deals with the progress (one way or the other) of government, law, literature and foreign politics. While adequate in its narrative it is by no means a dynastic history, and anyone who wishes stories of the sad and sombre Court life of Spain must go elsewhere. The writer is more concerned with the popular development than with the pedigrees of kings. It is perhaps this that causes a curious slip on page 74 when he calls the first ruler of the House of Burgundy in Portugal 'a French Count, Henry of Lorraine.'

A. FRANCIS STEUART.

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