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.