Spain

Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian and the Art of Wisdom

On January 8, 1601, Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher Baltasar Gracián y Morales was born. He is best known as the leading Spanish exponent of conceptism (conceptismo), a style of dealing with ideas that involves the use of terse and subtle displays of exaggerated wit. His writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.[7] “If you cannot make knowledge your servant, make it your friend.” — Baltasar Gracian, The Art of…
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Averroes – The Commentator and Polymath

Averroes – The Commentator and Polymath

On December 10, 1198, medieval Andalusian polymath Abū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rušd, better known as Averroes, passed away. Averroes wrote on logic, Aristotelian and Islamic philosophy, theology, the Maliki school of Islamic jurisprudence, psychology, political and Andalusian classical music theory, geography, mathematics, and the mediæval sciences of medicine, astronomy, physics, and celestial mechanics. Averroes had a greater impact on Christian Europe: he has been described as the “founding father of…
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Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Neurons

Santiago Ramón y Cajal and the Neurons

On May 1, 1852, Spanish pathologist, histologist, neuroscientist and Nobel laureate Santiago Ramón y Cajal was born. His original pioneering investigations of the microscopic structure of the brain have led him to be designated by many as the father of modern neuroscience. His medical artistry was legendary, and hundreds of his drawings illustrating the delicate arborizations of brain cells are still in use for educational and training purposes. Santiago Ramón y Cajal…
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Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

On November 23, 1221, Spanish King and astronomer Alfonso X of Castile was born, who encouraged the preparation of revised planetary tables. These “Alfonsine Tables” a revision and improvement of the Ptolemaic tables, were the best available during the Middle Ages. Alfonso was born in Toledo, Spain. It is not much known about his early life. However, it is widely believed that he started his career as a soldier when he was…
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Joseph Proust and the Law of Constant Composition

Joseph Proust and the Law of Constant Composition

Joseph Proust (1754-1826) On September 26, 1754, French chemist Joseph Louis Proust was born. He was best known for his discovery of the law of constant composition in 1799, stating that in chemical reactions matter is neither created nor destroyed. Joseph L. Proust was born on September 26, 1754 in Angers, France as the second son of Joseph Proust, an apothecary, and Rosalie Sartre. Joseph studied chemistry in his father’s shop and later came to…
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Juan de la Cierva and the Autogiro

Juan de la Cierva and the Autogiro

Demonstration of Cierva C.6 autogiro at Farnborough, Oct. 1925 On September 21, 1895, Spanish civil engineer and aviation pioneer Juan de la Cierva y Codorníu was born. His most famous accomplishment was the invention in 1920 of the Autogiro, a single-rotor type of aircraft, a predecessor of today‘s helicopter. Juan de la Cierva was born in Murcia, Spain to a wealthy family. Although trained as a civil engineer, Cierva became interested in…
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El Escorial – The World’s largest Renaissance Building

El Escorial – The World’s largest Renaissance Building

A distant view of the Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial Image by Ecemaml On September 13, 1584, the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, about 45 kilometers northwest of the Spanish capital, Madrid, is finished. El Escorial is the world largest Renaissance building. Philip II of Spain appointed the Spanish architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo, to be his collaborator in the design of El Escorial. The architect…
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Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica

Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, 1937, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain On July 12, 1937, Pablo Picasso presents his famous painting Guernica for the very first time at the Spanish Pavilion at the Paris International Exposition. It was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country village in northern Spain, by German and Italian warplanes at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist forces on 26 April 1937 during the Spanish Civil…
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How the Pope divided the New World among Spain and the Rest of the World

How the Pope divided the New World among Spain and the Rest of the World

On May 4, 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull ‘Inter caetera‘ (Among other [works]), which granted to Spain all lands to the “west and south” of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde islands. In the late 15th century, Spain and Portugal had a quite difficult relationship due to their competing explorers and the wish to own as…
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Miguel de Cervantes and his Don Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes and his Don Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) (Probably) on September 29, 1547, famous Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright Miguel de Cervantes was born. His magnum opus, Don Quixote, is considered to be the first modern European novel, a classic of Western literature, and is regarded amongst the best works of fiction ever written. Moreover it has been translated into nearly every major language, making it one of the most widely distributed books after the…
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