By Ethan Wilson (6EP)
Multiculturism in Spain is nothing new.
The mixture of cultures is a reality that is thousands of years old.
Different cultures have been combined in the Iberian Peninsula as far back as the times of the Neanderthals. Neanderthals lived all over Europe more than fifty thousand years ago before going extinct, around the time when modern humans reached Europe from Africa. Many archaeologists believe that the last Neanderthals lived in the Iberian Peninsula. This means that there was definite cultural contact between modern humans and Neanderthals in Spain. As it turned out, modern humans drove the Neanderthals away.
The history of Spain is a history of constant cultural blending. From the Neolithic period to the iron age, it’s all a complex development of different cultures. In 1800 BC the people of El Argar (what is today Aragon) developed bronze technology, which soon spread to other regions in the land. The same happened with language, customs, and habits. All these facts are examples of pure multiculturism.
Later, with the arrival of the Phoenicians, the Romans, and the Greeks cultural mingling became even more significant. This resulted in great cultural advancements in philosophy, art, mathematics, music, architecture, science, and poetry, among other things. Some important examples of the extensive mixing of cultures during this period; the great philosopher Seneca, the Roman emperors Trajan and Hadrian, and the poets Martial and Lucan were all born in Spain (back then called Hispania).
In the Middle Ages there was a strong multicultural cohabitation between the Jews, the Christians, and the Moors, especially in the south of Spain, which back then was called Al-Andalus.
The process of cultural blending continues right up until the present day. The only fact that has essentially changed is the types of new, incoming cultures and where they’re from.
The new cultures that are influencing our present society have many different origins. Most significantly these origins include South America and Morocco. But also of growing importance is the effect of the number of people coming from China, Africa, Russia, Pakistan, and India, among others.
The result of all these new cultural additions is that we aregoing to have a new and dynamic society full of changes. Exactly what kinds of changes will come about and what form society will take is something impossible to know.
What we do know, what history has taught us, is that change in our cultural identity is certain. But the question facing us today seems to be, will these changes in the future make our society unrecognisable? Only time will tell.