Splang Saturday: 15 – Catalán Edition

When I went to the beautiful Mediterranean island of Mallorca, I made sure not to come back empty-handed. In Mallorca, they speak a dialect of Catalán. Here are a few words I was taught by the friends I made there! It has been translated from Catalán to Spanish to English.

Gracis = shorthand for “Gràcies” = Gracias = Thank you

Molt bo = Muy bueno = Very good

Molt bé = Muy bien = Well; nice; good

Bon profit = buen provecho = Bon appetit

Festa = fiesta = party

Bon dia = buenos días = good morning/day

Bona nit = buenas noches = good night

Un poc = un poco = a little

Pa = pan = bread

GERMAN: (yes, German — Mallorca is a very popular German vacation spot!)

Das ist wichtig. = “That is important.”

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The Best and Worst Vacation of All Time

The perfect opportunity for an extended trip came about with a free weekend at the end of March that would lead into the start of Semana Santa (Holy Week), during which there’s no school.  I saw my friend Lis had posted that she was flying to Mallorca round-trip for 33 Euro, and she had asked if anyone would like to come with her.  Never having heard of Mallorca before, I Googled it, realized it was an island in the Mediterranean, saw some pictures, and was sold on the idea within five seconds.

Mediterranean beach weekend getaway and the round-trip flight’s only 33 pavos? ¡Apúntame!  I bought my ticket right away, and told Lis I’d join her. It ended up just being the two of us who went, but that’s no problem, man!  The less people, the less time gets wasted.  Or so I thought.  (Blatant foreshadowing)

We wanted this trip to be as cheap as possible (HA!), so we decided that we were going to try CouchSurfing (our first time!).  I looked at a few profiles of people who lived on the island, but I was nervous and a bit overwhelmed by the idea of just contacting someone to ask if we could stay at their house for a few days.  I ended up sending out a general post, letting local hosts know that two nice American girls were going to be there from March 28th until April 2nd (I really didn’t want to miss Semana Santa in Sevilla), and I was hoping that someone decent would contact me.

And by “decent,” I mean, “not a rapist or psycho killer.”

Brownie points if you suddenly got the Talking Heads song stuck in your head. (Fa fa fa faa fa fa fa fa faa…)

I was contacted by a potential host shortly afterward, named Dante.  I checked out his profile and references, and he seemed nice enough.  I accepted Dante’s invitation and just hoped that everything would go well.  And that, you know, I’d return to Sevilla alive.  That would be preferable.

The plan was that I would fly out on Wednesday evening and spend the first night in a hostel in Palma so that I could take advantage of having an entire beach day on Thursday, and Lis would join me Thursday night.  We would then pick up our rented car and drive to Dante’s place that night, and spend the rest of the days beach hopping and exploring the island.  Since I didn’t know how to drive stick-shift, Lis would be the one driving. It sounded simple enough, right? So we didn’t really plan ahead all that much.  IDIOT MISTAKE NUMBER 1.

As it turned out, it was for the best that I flew out on Wednesday, because that Thursday, March 29, was a national strike day in Spain (“29M – Huelga General” was pasted and spray-painted EVERYWHERE), and a lot of people were legitimately concerned about not being able to fly that day with so many workers on strike. But since I left on Wednesday, everything was normal for me.  This was probably the one positive thing with regards to transportation I had that whole week.

After an uneventful Ryanair flight to the island, I navigated the surprisingly large Palma airport and found my way to the bus stop.  I needed to get on the bus that would take me to S’Arenal.  I saw my bus chilling at the stop and was about to get on, but I saw it was almost empty and there was a big group of people waiting outside of it.  I figured there was a reason why they were waiting, so I decided to wait as well.  It was only when the bus doors closed and it drove off that I realized that this big group of people was waiting for a completely different bus and I had missed getting on the bus I needed.  I had literally sat there for 10 minutes staring at the bus I needed and I didn’t get on.  Now I would have to wait 30 more minutes until it came around again.  IDIOT MISTAKE NUMBER 2.

This started a sad trend of transportation errors that would haunt the rest of my trip and end up costing us a lot of $$$.

I finally got on the bus I should’ve been on in the first place and sat in front of these two girls.  From their accents I knew they were American.  I turned around and struck up a conversation with Jillian and Jessie, and I found out they were also studying abroad in Sevilla and we were getting off at the same stop!  We exchanged phone numbers and planned to hang out that night after we had checked into our respective hostels.  I invited Jillian and Jessie to come stay at my hostel, but they had already paid in advance for their own.  So I got to enjoy an entire 3-bed room and bathroom to myself!

Got the place all to myself....

After checking in, I met up with Jillian and Jessie at the beach.  We explored for a bit and came across a playground, then spent the next hour or so fooling around on the equipment.  Tired, I bid them adieu and headed back to my hostel, but not before making plans to meet up at the beach the next day.

I'm in Mallorca, trick!New friends! Jillian and Jessie

Thursday was Strike Day, but it didn’t affect my plans in the slightest.  I checked out of my room, left my bag with the staff, and walked the two blocks down to the beach for what was supposed to have been a lovely, relaxed day enjoying the sun, sand and surf.  I called Jillian to ask when they’d get down to the beach, and they said that first they were going to explore Palma and then come hang out.  Then I called the rental car company, Hiper Rent-a-Car, to double-check that everything was in order.  And that was when I was joined by a guy named Murphy who had brought his infamous Law with him.  To tell the rest of the story, I’ll provide a list of facts:

1. 19-year-olds can’t rent cars. You would’ve known this if you had done your research. IDIOT MISTAKE NUMBER 3.

2. 21-year-olds can rent cars.  For an extra fee. Of course.

3. 21-year-olds who can rent cars but don’t know how to drive stick-shift will freak out and spend the next couple of hours looking up driving instructions, utilizing the free wi-fi in a McDonalds instead of relaxing on the beach.  At least the Mickey Ds provides you with a nice view.

Free wi-fi and a view? McD's got it!

4. Regardless of age, you can only rent a car if you have your driver’s license with you, and didn’t forget it back at your apartment in Sevilla. IDIOT MISTAKE NUMBER 4.

5. Your travel companion who hasn’t left Sevilla yet has the ability to go pick up your driver’s license and bring it with her, as long as your host-mom or host-sister or either one of your roommates are there and able to let her in.

6. Believing that the issue has been solved, you will happily listen to British music as you enjoy an Italian pizza at a Greek restaurant owned by German immigrants on a Spanish island.

Best pizza I've had in Spain, no contest

7. You find out that your travel companion cannot retrieve your driver’s license, because none of the other 4 inhabitants of your apartment were home. Damn you, Murphy.

8. Rental car companies might accept you if your local government authority will fax them a letter on official letterhead saying that you are legally allowed to drive along with a photocopy of your driver’s license.

9. You local government authority will not do this, despite your mother’s best efforts to convince them to do so.

10. Jillian and Jessie are both 21. Jessie did not bring her driver’s license. Jillian did. You make an illegal plan to meet with them and rent the car with Jillian’s driver’s license.

11. They cannot get to you because a massive crowd gathered for the general strike in Palma has stopped the buses from leaving Palma.

12. All of the phone calls that needed to be made in order for all of this exchange of information between the rental car company, your travel companion, Dante, your mother, and Jillian/Jessie have taken their toll on your pre-paid phone, and you are forced to add more money to it, even though the amount that you had placed in it the day before would have normally lasted you until the end of the following month.  At least you got to see the sunset and some hot half-naked guys emerge from the water.

Hot guys emerging from the waves, yes!

13. Night falls, and you are all FINALLY able to meet right before the car rental company closes.  By this point, your travel companion has arrived and meets you at the car rental place.

14. You have planned on paying for the rental car with your debit card. The rental car company only accepts credit cards. IDIOT MISTAKE NUMBER 5.

15. Your travel companion has a credit card. You breathe a sigh of relief.

16. You find out that Jillian’s driver’s license is only a temporary paper one issued to her by the state of Wyoming while she waits for her new driver’s license to arrive in the mail. The rental car company does not accept paper licenses. Only plastic.

17. Despite your begging, you are unable to rent a car.  The four of you dejectedly return to S’Arenal and get a hostel room together.

18. The hostel room is cold, and there are not enough blankets.  The two blankets that they have provided look like they haven’t been washed since the 1960’s.  Given the foul odor, you suspect that is the case.

19. Upon waking, you find that Jessie and Jillian have already left and you didn’t get to say good-bye.  After your breakfast, you walk to the bus stop and pay for the bus to take you to Dante’s town on the other side of the island.

20. You get off on the wrong stop (IDIOT MISTAKE NUMBER 6) and end up walking the rest of the way from one end of the town to the other.

21. You finally arrive at Dante’s place.

So, that’s how I spent my Thursday.  What would have been a fun and relaxing beach day turned into a Hiper-headache due to our ignorance, the mistakes we made with regards to that blasted rental car, and also some forces that were not within our control (Murphy! You’re on my Sh*t List!).  However, as I Whatsapped with my mother that night, she reminded me that I was on a gorgeous island in the Mediterranean.  That really put it into perspective.  Her words lifted my spirits and reminded me that I was incredibly lucky to even be there in the first place!

The next few days were spent with our CouchSurfing host, Dante!  As you can tell, I wasn’t murdered. Huzzah! In your face, Murphy!  The CouchSurfing experience is what made my vacation in Mallorca one of the best I have ever been on.  Details about that will come in the next post!  Until then, I hope you enjoyed my misery in this anecdote!  I know I can look back on it now and have a great laugh about it. 🙂

Splang Saturday: 14

Pijo (PEE-ho) = Noun: upper class conservative, kind of like a yuppy, just goes to Daddy for money; Adjective: preppy, stuck up, snooty, snobby. (Remember the Friki and Cani videos? Well, here’s the same guy making fun of the pijos.)

Tío bueno (TEE-oh BWEH-no) = hot guy

Tía buena (TEE-ah BWEH-na) = hot chick

Puente (PWEHN-teh) = taking a day off from work to make a long weekend. Let’s say you have work on Monday but then Tuesday is a day off. Most Andalusians will take that Monday off in order to have a long weekend. Our professors would tell us to not bother even showing up on those days. The Sevillanos are extremely fond of puentes!

Resaca (reh-SAH-cah) = hangover

Tener buen rollo (teh-nehr bwen RO-yo) = To have good vibes, to have good chemistry

Tener mal rollo (teh-nehr mal RO-yo) = To have bad vibes, to have bad chemistry

Splang Saturday: 13 – Sayings Edition

No pasa nada. = “No big deal.” / “No worries.” / “Don’t worry about it.” — Sometimes in Andalucía you’ll hear a shortened form of it: No pasa na’.

Me da igual. = “I don’t care.” — used when presented with a choice and you have no particular preference

¡Qué fuerte! = “Wow!” — Indicates great surprise or amazement, which can have positive or negative connotations, depending on the context.

¡Apúntame! = “Sign me up!” / “Count me in!”

Me sacas de quicio. = “You’re annoying me.”

Estoy ya a las tres menos cuarto. = “I’m already at a quarter to three.” — so ready for bed, very tired

¡Me lo pido! = “Dibs!”

¡Mío! = “Dibs!”

La noche me confunde. = “The night confuses me.” — used as an excuse for your behavior after a crazy night of partying/drinking/general debauchery. This is one of my all-time favorite phrases — it’s hilarious!

Ese _____, como mola, se merece una ola, uueeeeehhh!!! (Otra ola! Eeeehhh!! Un tsunami!! Eh! Eh! Eh!) = a cheer you use when you like someone or something. You insert the name of the person or object in the blank. — the section in parentheses is optional, but I always do it because it’s so much fun! The rough translation is, “That ______, how likeable, he/she/it deserves a wave! Woaaaaahhh! (Another wave! Woaahh! A tsunami! Hey! Hey! Hey!”)

Que viene, que viene! Eh! Eh! = “It’s coming, it’s coming! Hey! Hey!” — Meant to be said softly, like a murmer, in a sort of ominous fashion, it’s just a funny way to say something important is coming, like a birthday gift.

Follow the Flags

January 29, 2012:

My very first day in Spain (10 months ago, seriously?), I witnessed a protest from my hotel balcony in Madrid (click here to see video).  I was taken by surprise by the sudden appearance of protesters, and I had no idea what was going on at the time (I sound like a complete idiot in the video; please pardon my ignorance).  But now I can tell you it was to demonstrate solidarity with Judge Baltasar Garzón, and to protest against the crimes of Francosim and the Spanish judicial system.

The red, yellow and purple flag you see being held aloft by a demonstrator is the pre-Franco Spanish flag.  This flag represented the 2nd Republic of Spain.  The 2nd Spanish Republic was the government of Spain between April 14, 1931 until its destruction by a military rebellion, led by General Francisco Franco, in 1939.  Franco became a dictator, and established a Fascist regime.  The dictatorship ended with his death in 1975.  There are some Spaniards who are now calling for there to be a 3rd Republic, and are against having a monarchy (which is what they have now, headed by King Juan Carlos I).

This got me interested in the Spanish flag and history, and I discovered it has changed many times throughout the years.  I want to share what I learned (thank you, Wikipedia)! I’m going to try to make it informative and amusing.

Key word: TRY.

Well, here goes nothin’!  I present to you a highly abridged history of Spain and its flag, for your edification and delight:

The country of Spain as we now know it used to be made up of a bunch of different kingdoms before they were united.  The four most important kingdoms were: Castilla, León, Aragón, and Navarra.  The kingdoms of Castilla (castle) and León (lion) united in 1230 AD, and become known simply as “Castilla”.  And that’s where the story picks up:

The Standard of the Crown of Castilla:  The banner of Castilla was the first European symbol to arrive in the New World, brought over by good ol’ Chris Columbus.

File:Bandera de la Corona de Castilla.svg

The Standard of the Crown of Aragón (the Senyera):  The Senyera pattern is on the flags of four Spanish autonomous communities (Aragón, Catalunya, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands).

File:Estandarte de la Corona de Aragon.svg

The Marriage that Started It All

Before Castilla and Aragón united, this is what the kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula looked like:

File:CastillaLeon 1360.png

But then Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabel of Castilla tied the knot in 1475 AD, thus uniting the two most powerful kingdoms of Spain under one Royal House.  They are known as the Catholic Monarchs, but I prefer “Ferdisabel.”

File:Estandarte real de 1475-1492.svg

Royal Flag (1475 – 1492)

After they kicked the last Moors out of Spain when they conquered Granada in 1492, Ferdisabel added the symbol of a pomegranate to the bottom of their coat of arms.  Their motto was Tanto Monta, Monta Tanto (translates to “one and the same”).  The yoke on the bottom left represents Isabel, and the arrows on the bottom right represent Ferdinand.  The Catholic Monarchs are most famous for 1) Driving the Moors out of the Iberian Peninsula, 2) funding Columbus’ voyages, and 3) launching a lovely period of human history known as the Spanish Inquisition.  Their joint rule ended when Queen Isabel kicked the bucket in 1504.

File:Estandarte real de 1492-1508.svg

Royal Flag (1492 – 1508)

After Isabel’s death, the royal court of Castilla named Ferdisabel’s daughter, Joanna the Mad, the new Queen of Castilla.  Joanna was the wife of Philip the Handsome (way to go, Jo-Jo), who was a Habsburg (see: “powerful Austrian family”).  Shortly after her coronation, Joanna started turning a bit loony (hence her nickname).  In 1506, her hubby Philip the Handsome was declared jure uxoris king.  Philip is important because he instated the use of the Cross of Burgundy Flag.  This flag was used as Spain’s naval ensign from 1506 until 1701, and was flown as a secondary flag until 1785.  The background could be either white or red, and if they wanted to represent the king it would have his coat of arms over the Cross of Burgundy on a yellow background (yellow was the imperial color).  Fun Fact: The Cross of Burgundy is also on Florida’s state flag, paying homage to its Spanish origins.

File:Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg

Cross of Burgundy Flag (1506 – 1785)

Philip died the same year he was declared jure uxoris king under suspicious circumstances (possibly poisoned by his daddy-in-law, good ol’ Ferdinand).  Since Joanna and Philip’s oldest son, Charles, was only six, the royal court of Castilla reluctantly allowed Ferdinand to rule the country as the regent of Joanna and Charles.

As sole ruler of Spain and without Isabel there to keep his testosterone in check, Ferdinand adopted a more aggressive foreign policy.  He engaged in a number of conflicts in Italy to try to expand Spain’s influence.  He also married Germaine of Foix, which allowed him to claim the 4th ancient Spanish kingdom of Navarra.  Ferdinand died in 1516.

Emperor + King = Ballin’

Ferdinand’s death led to the ascension of his 16-year-old grandson to the throne as Charles I of Castile and Aragon, effectively founding the monarchy of Spain.  This kid inherited EVERYTHING.  His Spanish inheritance included all of the Spanish possessions in the New World and the Mediterranean.  Upon the death of his handsome Habsburg father in 1506, Charles had inherited the Netherlands and Franche-Comté.  In 1519, with the death of his paternal grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, Charles inherited the Habsburg territories in Germany, and was duly elected Emperor that year.  So in 1519, at the age of 19, Charles became both a king and an emperor.  Due to his mother’s mental perblerms and worried that Joanna might retake the crown, Charles kept her imprisoned until her death in 1555.  Nice.

Here’s a sure-fire way to impress anybody — Charlie boy’s list of titles:

Charles, by the grace of God, Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King of Germany, King of Italy, King of all Spains, of Castile, Aragon, León, Navarra, Grenada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Majorca, Sevilla, Cordova, Murcia, Jaén, Algarves, Algeciras, Gibraltar, the Canary Islands, King of Two Sicilies, of Sardinia, Corsica, King of Jerusalem, King of the Western and Eastern Indies, Lord of the Islands and Main Ocean Sea, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy, Brabant, Lorraine, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola, Limburg, Luxembourg, Gelderland, Neopatria, Württemberg, Landgrave of Alsace, Prince of Swabia, Asturia and Catalonia, Count of Flanders, Habsburg, Tyrol, Gorizia, Barcelona, Artois, Burgundy Palatine, Hainaut, Holland, Seeland, Ferrette, Kyburg, Namur, Roussillon, Cerdagne, Drenthe, Zutphen, Margrave of the Holy Roman Empire, Burgau, Oristano and Gociano, Lord of Frisia, the Wendish March, Pordenone, Biscay, Molin, Salins, Tripoli and Mechelen.

Charles inherited the blue and orange territory from his mom’s side of the family, and the purple and green from his dad’s side.

At this point, Charles was the most powerful man in Christendom.  In 1533, Pope Clement VII’s refusal to annul King Henry VIII of England’s marriage to Catherine of Aragón (Joanna’s sister and Charles’ aunt) was a direct consequence of the Pope’s unwillingness to offend Charles.  And we’re all familiar with what that led to in England. #anglicanchurch #divorce #boleyn #troubleinparadise #offwithherhead #4morewives

Charles’ personal motto became and remains Spain’s national motto: Plus Ultra (Latin for “further beyond”). This inspired conquistadores such as Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro (doing it for God, Gold, and Glory!) and voyagers like Ferdinand Magellan to sail beyond Gibraltar during his reign.  The concept of a flag the way we use it today to represent a nation did not exist back in the day.  In order to represent a country, they usually just used the coat of arms of their monarch.

File:Greater Coat of Arms of Charles V Holy Roman Emperor, Charles I as King of Spain.svg

Emperor and King Charles’ Coat of Arms

In 1526, Charles married his first cousin (standard royal inbreeding), Isabella of Portugal.  In 1556 he abdicated from his positions, giving his Spanish empire to his only surviving son, Philip II (a.k.a. Philip the Prudent), and the Holy Roman Empire to his younger brother, Ferdinand.  Charles retired to a monastery in Extremadura and died in 1558.

The Habsburg Bunch

Spain experienced its Golden Age while the Habsburgs ruled.  Altogether, Habsburg Spain was, for well over a century, the world’s greatest power.  This period of Spanish history is also known as the “Age of Expansion.”  Spain dominated Europe politically and militarily for much of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Culturally, Spain flourished as well.  Some of the most outstanding figures of this period were Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote), Lope de Vega, and Teresa of Ávila.

File:Estandarte real de 1556-1580 y 1668-1700.svg

Royal Flag (1556 – 1580)

In 1578, Portugal’s king died in a battle.  He’d been young and had no children.  This led to a succession crisis in 1580 that ultimately led to King Philip II of Spain gaining control and annexing Portugal.  The merge of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns became known as the Iberian Union.  Spain added Portugal’s Coat of Arms to its flag.

File:Estandarte real de 1580-1668.svg

We’ve got Portugal now!!!! (1580 – 1668)

But the Iberian Union was short lived.  60 years later, while Spain was distracted with the 30 Years’ War and a revolt in Catalunya, the Portuguese rebelled (Portuguese Restoration War) and won back their sovereignty.

File:Estandarte real de 1556-1580 y 1668-1700.svg

Just kidding about Portugal!!!!! (1668 – 1700)

THE FRENCH TAKE OVER

In 1700 AD the Habsburg dynasty was replaced with the Bourbons, so the flag changed to reflect the Bourbon coat of arms.  The first of these Bourbons was Philip V.

File:Estandarte real de 1700-1761.svg

Royal Flag (1700 – 1760)

Then, in 1760, the Bourbons added two new quarters that represented the House of Farnese (six blue lilies on gold) and Medici (blue disc with three lilies of gold and five red discs, all on gold).

File:Estandarte real de 1761-1833.svg

Royal Flag (1760 – 1785)

CHARLES III (a.k.a. BAMF)

Then, in 1785, King Charles III had a great idea.  He noticed that most of the countries in Europe used flags which were predominantly white and, since they were frequently at each others’ throats (pick a war, any war, it’s buy one get one free!), lamentable confusions occurred at sea. It was hard to tell if a ship was friend or foe until practically the last moment. For this reason, Charles ordered his Minister of the Navy to present several models of flags to him, having to be visible from great distances. Twelve sketches were shown to the king, and the one he chose as the war ensign is the direct ancestor of the current flag. It was a triband red-yellow-red, of which the yellow band was twice the width of the red bands, a unique feature that distinguished the Spanish tribanded flag from other tribanded European flags.  What a wascally wabbit Charles was.

File:Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg

Flag of Spain (1785 – 1873)

1st SPANISH REPUBLIC (a.k.a. Hmmmm… nice try, but no cigar)

Soooooo Charles III’s son, Charles IV (I’ll call him C4) was a major screw-up.  C4 ended up ruining a lot of the good things his daddy had done for Spain.  People even said that C4 had mental problems (which I guess wouldn’t be too much of a stretch, given the rampant inbreeding).  Because of C4’s ineptitude, Napoleon got annoyed with the Spanish.  So, France invaded Spain in 1808 and deposed the Spanish king, Ferdinand VII (C4 had abdicated the throne to his son Ferdinand only 48 days prior).  On July 20, 1808, Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s eldest brother, entered Madrid and established a government by which he became King of Spain, serving as a surrogate for Napoleon.  Thus began the War of Spanish Independence.  It was a long and bloody struggle (one of the earliest guerrilla wars in history), but the Spaniards finally emerged victorious in 1814 and Ferdinand VII returned to the throne.

In 1812, the Spaniards had created a Constitution (known as La Pepa), but when Ferdinand returned he opposed it.  Bad move.  This upset the Spanish colonies of “New Spain” in the Americas and revolution broke out.  Spain, nearly bankrupt from the war with France and the reconstruction of the country, was unable to pay her soldiers, and in 1819 was forced to sell Florida to the United States for 5 million dollars.  Ferdinand finally accepted La Pepa in 1820, but in the American colonies of New Spain, the revolutions led to independence.  In 1824, the last Spanish army on the American mainland was defeated. Only Cuba and Puerto Rico remained a part of Spain.

Tumult continued for decades, with revolution and anarchy erupting all over Spain.  In 1873, Spain’s king, Amadeus (random German, OK), declared the people of Spain to be ungovernable, abdicated the throne, and left the country.  In Amadeus’ absence, a government of radicals and Republicans was formed that declared Spain a republic.  The First Spanish Republic (1873–1874) was immediately under siege from all quarters.  There were calls for socialist revolution from the International Workingmen’s Association, revolts and unrest in the autonomous regions of Navarra and Catalunya, and pressure from the Catholic Church against the fledgling republic.  So it failed.  BUT the point of all this back story IS: Spain’s flag was different for a year!  Look at it without a crown.  Awwww!

File:Flag of the First Spanish Republic.svg

Flag of the 1st Spanish Republic (1873 – 1875)

Alfonso XII (Alfie 12) was crowned king in December of 1874 after returning from exile.  After the tumult of the First Spanish Republic, Spaniards were willing to accept a return to stability under Bourbon rule.  So the flag got its crown back!

File:Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg

Flag of Spain (1875 – 1931)

Let’s Try Again, Shall We? (The 2nd Spanish Republic)

Constitutional monarchy continued under King Alfonso XIII (Fonz 13).  Fonz 13 was born after Alfie 12’s death and was proclaimed king upon his birth.  However, the government had become destabilized by Alfie 12’s unexpected death in 1885.  The reign of Fonz 13 (1886–1931) saw the Spanish-American War of 1898 (which culminated in the loss of the Philippines, Guam, Cuba and Puerto Rico); WWI (Spain stayed neutral); the Spanish Flu pandemic; and the Rif War in Morocco (1920–1926).  Fonz 13’s reign also saw the rise to dictatorship of General Miguel Primo de Rivera, who seized control of the government by military coup in 1923 and ruled as a dictator – with the monarch’s support – for seven years (1923–1930). The world-wide recession, marked first by the Wall Street Crash of 1929, caused deepening economic hardships in Spain and the resignation of Primo de Rivera’s government in 1930.  General elections were held in 1931 to replace the government, with Republican and anticlerical candidates winning the majority of votes.  Fonz 13 left the country in response to the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic, though he never abdicated.

File:Flag of Spain 1931 1939.svg

Flag of 2nd Spanish Republic (1931 – 1939)

Under the 2nd Spanish Republic, women were allowed to vote in general elections for the first time.  The Republic also gave much more autonomy to the Basque Country and to Catalunya.  However, economic turmoil, substantial debt inherited from the Primo de Rivera regime, and rapidly changing governing coalitions led to serious political unrest.  In the 1930s, Spanish politics were polarized at the left and right of the political spectrum.  In 1933, the right-wing Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right (CEDA) won power.  An armed rising of workers in October 1934 was forcefully put down by the CEDA government.  This in turn energized political movements across the spectrum in Spain, including a revived anarchist movement and new reactionary and fascist groups.  In 1936, the left united in the Popular Front and was elected to power.  However, this coalition was undermined both by the anarchist groups and by anti-democratic far-right groups.  The political violence of previous years began to start again.

The Republican democracy never generated the consensus or mutual trust between the various political groups that it needed in order to function peacefully.  As a result, the country slid into civil war.  The right wing of the country and high-ranking figures in the army began to plan a coup, and when a Falangist politician was shot by Republican police, they used it as a signal to act.

CIVIL WAR

In July of 1936, General Francisco Franco led the colonial army from Morocco to attack the mainland, while another force from the north moved south from Navarra.  Military units were also mobilized elsewhere to take over government institutions.  Franco’s move was intended to seize power immediately, but successful resistance by Republicans in places such as Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, the Basque country and elsewhere meant that Spain faced a prolonged civil war.

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Spanish Nationalist Flag during Civil War (1936 – 1938)

When Barcelona fell to the Nationalists in early 1939, it was clear the war was over.  The remaining Republican fronts collapsed and Madrid fell in March 1939.  The war, which cost between 300,000 to 1,000,000 lives, ended with the destruction of the Republic and Franco becoming the dictator of Spain. He amalgamated all the right wing parties into a reconstituted fascist party and banned the left-wing and Republican parties and trade unions.  The conduct of the war was brutal on both sides, with widespread massacres of civilians and prisoners.  After the war, many thousands of Republicans were imprisoned and up to 151,000 were executed between 1939 and 1943.  Many other Republicans remained in exile for the entire Franco period.

FRANCO

During Franco’s rule, Spain was officially neutral in World War II and remained largely economically and culturally isolated from the outside world.  Under a military dictatorship, Spain saw its political parties banned, except for the official party (Falange).  Franco also made it illegal to speak or teach any language other than Spanish (Castilian), which means that languages like Euskera and Catalan were banned.  Labor unions were banned and all political activity using violence or intimidation to achieve its goals was forbidden.  Spain also gave up or lost its remaining colonies in Africa.

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Flag of Spain under Franco (1938 – 1945)

The latter years of Franco’s rule saw some economic and political liberalization, an economic boom known as the “Spanish Miracle,” and the birth of a tourism industry.  Spain began to catch up economically with its European neighbors.  Franco ruled until his death on November 20, 1975, when control was given to King Juan Carlos I (the current king of Spain).

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Flag of Spain under Franco (1945 – 1977)

TRANSITION (a.k.a. Catching Up With the Rest of the First World)

The Spanish Transition was the era when Spain moved from Franco’s dictatorship to a liberal democratic state.  The transition began with Franco’s death and, while the date of completion remains a topic of debate, it’s usually considered to be the electoral victory of the socialist PSOE on October 28, 1982.  Between 1978 and 1982, Spain was led by the Unión del Centro Democrático governments.  There was a coup d’état attempt that took place on February 23, 1981, but the coup d’état failed due to the intervention of King Juan Carlos.  (Thanks, Juan.  Now, if only you’d stop shooting elephants for fun!)

Along with political change came radical change in Spanish society.  Spanish society had been extremely conservative under Franco, but the transition to democracy also began a liberalization of values and societal mores (see: La Movida Madrileña).  Spain even became one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage!

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Flag of Spain during Transition Era (1977 – 1981)

TODAY’S FLAG!!!

So! After aaaaaaaaall that history and info, we have finally arrived at our destination: the current Spanish flag! HUZZAH!!!  The future of this flag is not certain (as I mentioned at the beginning, many Spaniards are calling for a 3rd Spanish Republic, but also, Catalunya is trying to have a referendum to see if the majority of its population wants to secede from Spain and form its own country).  So maybe in the near future I’ll have to write about a new flag? Who knows??  What I do know is that I learned a whole heck of a lot about Spanish history, and I hope you did, too!  I got all of the info from various Wikipedia pages, but just added my own twist to it in the hopes of making it more interesting.

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Flag of Spain (1981 – present day); YAAAYYY!!!
…But why does the lion have to be that Pepto Bismol pink??

BONUS FLAG!!

At some point during the 1990s an unofficial version of the Spanish flag sporting an Osborne bull superimposed as some sort of “coat of arms” began appearing in football arenas.  This usage has become increasingly popular and this flag is easily seen nowadays during sports events, football or others, which include a Spanish team, player or the Spanish national team itself.

VIVA ESPAÑA

Splang Saturday: 12

Borde (BOR-deh) = too vulgar; too much (e.g. Qué borde.) — literally means “edge/border/rim”

Mosqueado (mos-keh-AH-do) = ticked off; angry

Pringado (preen-GAH-do) – someone with bad luck; useless; unsuccessful

Meadera (meh-ah-DEH-ra) – a place used for peeing — it’s a crude way to say it, though

Guarro (GWA-rro) – dirty; filthy; disgusting; pig

Cachondear (ka-chon-deh-AR) – make fun of; laugh at someone

Splang Saturday: 11

Tostonazo (tos-to-NA-tho) = something that is super boring — Used in a sentence: La conferencia fue un tostonazo. = “The conference was a huge bore.”

Farola (fa-RO-la) = third wheel; literally means “lamp post” — picture a romantic movie where the two lovers are happily dancing around in the rain on a street at night, and they are next to a lamp post shining light on them and their joy. For the Spaniards, being a third wheel is like being that awkward lamp post; close to them, but not a part of it.

Sujetavelas (soo-heh-ta-VEH-las) – third wheel; literally means “candle-lighter” — once again, utilizing the image of the awkward light shining on the happy couple. Imagine being the dude who lights the candles at the table where a romantic dinner is taking place.

Ligar (lee-GAR) = to flirt; pick up; to make out — literally means “to bind”

Soso (SO-so) = missing salt; needs more salt on it — I love how they have a word for this!

Telebasura (teh-leh-ba-SU-ra) = trashy television shows

Enteradillo (ehn-teh-ra-DEE-yo) = smarty-pants; wiseguy