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About Asturias
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History
Prehistory

The Sidron cave, in Piloña municipality, has revealed the oldest fossil human Neanderthal remains in Asturias so far: latest dated 49.000 years old. Some other important prehistorically regional remains are related to Homo Sapiens and particularly, the cave paintings in Tito Bustillo cave, in Ribadesella, are considered on the world’s greatest representatives of Upper Paleolithic art. Around 9500 B.C., a specific Epipaleolithic culture is dated known as Asturiense. The main remains are located at the coast, in caves or shelters near the sea. During the revolutionary Neolithic period, groups of human people travelled around the current territory of Asturias, limited it and began to develop agricultural and stockbreeding methods. Several remains proved this significant evolution, such as the funeral concept of the tombs found in Monte Areo (Carreño). Metals began to be used. During the Cooper, Bronze, and Iron ages, human communities settled around the “castros”. This social structure would remain for centuries and would be gradually changed with the lifestyle of the Roman Empire (this process can be seen in Chao Martin site)

 

Romanization

“Castro” culture was abandoned and Roman lifestyle was adopted as it can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Gijón (Campa de Torres, Campo Valdés thermal baths the Roman villa of Veranes). Recently, this historical process has been reconsidered. It was believed that it had not been caught on the territory of Asturias. But now, it seems that those pre-roman regional inhabitants were not so reluctant to new customs and so, the invaders were not so alien to the culture they found beyond the Cantabrian Mountain Range. The “asturianización” of the Roman socio-cultural organization is closely related to the creation of the Kingdom of Asturias later on.

 

The Kingdom of Asturias

One of the most particular episodes of the History of Asturias took place after the fall of the Visigoth kingdom and the arrival of Muslims. In the 8th century after the mythologized battle of Covadonga, the Kingdom of Asturias burst into the political scene of the Peninsula and led the “Reconquest” process. As to proof this, several kings of Asturias acted as patrons to artistic activities involving architecture and craftsmanship in precious metals known as Pre romanic Art in Asturias nowadays. When Alfonso III (911) died and the kingdom was divided into his heirs, Asturias missed its prominence in favor of new peninsular kingdoms. The remaining of the Middle Ages witnessed several rebellions of the nobility. In 1388, the Principality of Asturias was created and attached to the first heir to the Castile throne (to submit the territory to his jurisdiction). The House of Representatives of the Principality of Asturias was also created between that time and the year 1444. The Modern Ages and the Enlightenment: One of the most remarkable regional events was the foundation of the University of Oviedo (16th-17th centuries). By mid 18th century, according to the Ensenada’s cadastre, Asturias had at least a population of 200,000 inhabitants, 90% of them were devoted to agriculture. Within this context, one of the most influencing people in the Spanish Enlightenment, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, was born in Gijon.

 

Modern Ages

From mid 19th century onwards, a great amount of people immigrated to America; the immigration process became one of the key points of the recent regional history. This period also set another main feature of Asturias: the beginning and strength of an economic area related to coal mining and the iron and steel industry. The confusion of Humanity in general and of Spain in particular during the 20th century brought about tragic episodes that affected considerably the Principality, such as the October Revolution of 1934 or the Spanish Civil War which was particularly cruel. By the middle of the previous century, Franco regime began certain economic liberalization that allowed constituting the iron and steel company of ENSIDESA and later on, the mining exploitation of HUNOSA, both public. Democracy came in the middle of a worldwide crisis in the 70’s. Asturias began a complicated of financial problems with the restructuring of its main production sectors. The entry of Spain into the European Community in 1986 meant the highest point of the adjustment of the regional economy in the agriculture, mining, milk, iron and steel, fishing and naval sectors. The Structural Funds contributed to reduce the effects of this transformation.

More info about Asturias

Information about Asturias in 'Tourism in Spain' website

InfoAsturias Official tourism website of Asturias



 

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