[The complete course of 12 lectures on 6 AUDIO CDs, and the guidebook (Voice only -- NO VIDEO)]
Ask anyone about the significance of the year 1492, and you're almost certain to hear something about Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the New World. But there is also a perspective on 1492 far different than the one most of us know - one that is more complete and complex. A 1492 when there was no country called Spain and no language called Spanish. A 1492 whose biggest event - in the region that would eventually become Spain - was the surrender of the last Muslim stronghold, Granada, with the subsequent Edict of Expulsion that gave Jews three months to either convert to Christianity or leave the Kingdom of Castile and the Crown of Aragon. This 12-lecture series uses the year 1492 to examine the events that made Spain a country and an empire. It examines the centuries of developments that led up to that pivotal year in Spanish history and the consequences that followed for both Spain and the New World, presenting Spanish history from the perspective of both the victors and the defeated: the Muslims, Jews, and New World natives for whom 1492 was not a time of wonder but of terror and despair.
About This Course 12 lectures | 30 minutes per lecture
In 1492, there was no country called Spain and no language called Spanish. The biggest event of the year, in the region that would become Spain, was the surrender of the last Muslim stronghold, Granada. The Edict of Expulsion gave Jews three months to either convert to Christianity or leave the Kingdom of Castile and the Crown of Aragon.
In other words, there is a different 1492, than the one most of us know, one that is more complete and more complex.
This 12-lecture course uses 1492 as a focal point to follow events that enabled Spain to become a country and then an empire. It examines centuries of developments that led up to that pivotal date in Spanish history, and analyzes the consequences of the events that took place in 1492 for both Spain and the New World.
A Year that Symbolizes Spanish History
Presented by Professor Teofilo F. Ruiz, a foremost authority on Spanish history and an award-winning teacher and author, this course paints a portrait of 1492 as the centerpiece of the transformation of Spanish society by tying together several key themes:
The rise of Castile as the strongest of the Spanish realms, and the reforms of Ferdinand and Isabella. Catholic monarchs built a popular and stable monarchy in Castile—through such measures as new taxes, control of the military, and reform of the church—that enabled Spain to emerge as the most powerful nation in Europe.
The end of pluralism. For centuries, the Iberian Peninsula had been a multicultural mix of Christians, Muslims, and Jews. Beginning with the Christian victory over Muslim forces at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, and continuing with developments such as the conquest of Granada and the Edict of Expulsion, both in 1492, Muslims and Jews were either forced to convert to Christianity or sent into exile.
The world of Christopher Columbus. Developments such as the recovery of classical knowledge of geography and astronomy, and new knowledge of maps and the use of the compass and astrolabe, enabled Columbus to set sail confidently across the Ocean Sea (Atlantic). Columbus's discoveries gave Spain a foothold in the Caribbean that it used to test colonial institutions, and to explore and conquer Mexico and Central America.
The Experience of Muslims, Jews, and Native Americans: 1492 from "Below"
Today, we associate 1492 with a sense of wonder and discovery. But a major theme of this course is to look at history not only from "above"—the perspective of a victorious Castilian and Christian society—but from below, from the view of the defeated, the outsiders, those seen as "other." For many people of the time, 1492 inspired only despair and terror.
Professor Ruiz conveys a palpable sense of the experiences of Muslims and Jews as they faced the choice of renouncing their religious beliefs or leaving lands that they had called home for centuries. This discussion touches on topics such as the Muslim sense that their civilization was ultimately doomed after the defeat by Christian forces at Toledo in 1085, and the confusion felt by Conversos—Jewish converts to Christianity—who tried to mix elements of Judaism with their new religion and became prime targets of the Inquisition.
You will see how Castilian attitudes toward others were exported to the New World. Spanish accounts of native peoples were ambivalent. They praised natives' simplicity and seeming closeness to God, but labeled them with the same stereotypes that had been applied to Muslims and Jews, and questioned whether they were truly human.
Throughout, these lectures are an opportunity to understand the events of 1492 as they were perceived by people of the time, and to correct misconceptions that linger today. For example, you will learn why Columbus's voyages were not seen as the greatest of his time, that he and his fellow Europeans did not believe the Earth was flat, and that his first voyage did not produce doubts and fear among those who sailed with him.
This 1492, the "other" 1492, will greatly expand and often revise your understanding of one of history's most crucial dates.
1. Europe and the New World in 1492.
2. Reconquest, Pilgrimage, Crusade, Repopulation.
3. The Transformation of Values.
4. An Age of Crisis.
5. Isabella and Ferdinand—An Age of Reform.
6. Iberian Culture in the Fifteenth Century.
7. The Conquest of Granada—Muslim Life in Iberia.
8. The Edict of Expulsion—Jewish Life in Iberia.
9. Jews, Conversos, and the Inquisition.
10. The World of Christopher Columbus.
11. The Shock of the New.
12. Spain and Its Empire—The Aftermath of 1492.
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