Spanish Cultural Diversity II

Lead: Attempts to suppress cultural and religious diversity have been one of the hallmarks of modern Spain. From the work of the Spanish Inquisition to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, these efforts have only lightly covered over real differences. In 1978 Spain tried a new way.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: For thirty-six years, the last caudillo, Francisco Franco held his thumb in dike of progress. It was a valiant, but futile attempt at keeping parts of Spanish life, religion, culture, and politics under wraps, while opening the way to economic innovation, outside markets, and prosperity. Franco failed, but it remained to be seen how post-Franco Spain would deal with the changing world outside as well how it would accommodate long-standing and suppressed internal regional conflict.

Transatlantic Cable

Lead: The first transatlantic telegraph linked Europe with North America in 1858. It quickly failed, but the prospect of near instant intercontinental communication was an idea that would not be allowed to die.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: The problem was primitive technology: cable construction, transmission equipment and laying apparatus. After the brief exchange between Queen Victoria and U.S. President James Buchanan in 1858, massive celebrations on both sides of the Atlantic heralded a new day in communications. The new day lasted 271 messages before the 1858 submarine cable sputtered out. Suddenly the temporarily cowed skeptics were in full cry and potential investment began to dry up. This did not discourage cable advocates, Charles Bright, William Thompson Fleeming Jenkins and New York businessman Cyrus Field. For them the expeditions of the 1850s served as laboratories from which they learned things about the infant science of electricity, submarine cable design and cable laying. They went back to work and by 1861, the Atlantic Telegraph Company and the British Board of Trade had produced an analysis of previous failures and a plan that led to success. More importantly, experience had convinced the government in London that submarine telegraphy would smooth governance of a vast Empire.

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Spanish Cultural Diversity I

Lead: After the death of in 1975 Francisco Franco and the coming of democracy, Spain set out to deal with its rich cultural diversity. It was a complex task, centuries overdue.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: From the outside, a casual observer might be forgiven if they did not recognize that modern Spain is a rich tapestry of cultural variety. Spain’s geographical proximity to Africa, a scant 20 miles across the Straits of Gibraltar, and its long northern border with France and the rest of Europe, have made it an ethnic land bridge, a magnet for different cultures, religions and peoples since long before the Roman Empire. The Greeks came, Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Visigoths and other Germanic tribes swirled into the void left by a collapsing Rome and then in the eighth century, crusading Arabs and Berbers from Africa brought evangelical Islam at the point of a sword. Then, for over seven centuries, Spain became one of the violent frontiers between Christian Europe and the Islamic culture to the south.