In Spain the 1980s and 1990s have seen a dramatic revival of regional aspirations towards greater self-expression and increased political autonomy, following a period of rigid centralisation of government in Madrid and the attempted imposition of cultural uniformity. This tension between the ethnic and cultural diversity of the different regions of the Iberian peninsula and the attempts of various rulers to impose political and 'national' unity goes back to at least the time of the Roman Empire. In the period covered in this book there occurred many of the major events that shaped the subsequent history of Spain: the unification of the peninsula under Rome, the attempted imposition of a unitary Christian culture under the Visigoths, and the shattering of both of these by Arab conquest in 711. At the same time the Basque and Catalan national identities began to take shape, and the resistance to the Arab conquest by the Asturians, Galicians, Leonese and Castillians formed these and other distinctive components of the Hispanic cultural mix. In this fully corrected, revised and partly rewritten version of this authoritative study, first published in 1983, account has been taken of the substantial new research undertaken on all relevant periods of Spanish history since the first edition. In particular, the discussion of the Arab conquest and its impact has been entirely reconsidered. The bibliography and notes have been fully updated. Some challenging new interpretations are also presented here for the first time. This volume forms a companion to Angus MacKay's Spain in the Middle Ages: From Frontier to Empire, 1000-1500, from the same publishers, and contains maps, genealogical tables, alist of rulers, full references and bibliographies.