Iberian Peninsula

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About us

The hope of this DNA Project is to better understand the ancient history of the Iberian Penninsula and its descedants within the last 10,000 years. The Project Administrator is a history professor who has done extensive research on the diffent peoples who have had an impact in this peninsula. By using DNA haplogroups and the history of the Iberian Peninsula it is possible to get the origin of an ancient forefather or ancient foremother.  In addition to advanced Genetic Genealogy, this DNA Project will use two other pioneering fields of study that expand our knowledge of our personal family history.  This project will use both Geographic Genetic Genealogy and Anthropological Genetic Genealogy/History in the analysis of DNA samples.

Here is a brief history of the Iberian Penninsula, which illustrates a few of the many peoples who have left descedants:

The Iberian Peninsula, or Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe. It has been inhabited for at least 500,000 years, first by Neanderthals and then by Cro-Magnon people (modern humans).

The original peoples of the Iberian peninsula, consisted of a number of separate tribes, were given the generic name of Iberians. This may have included the Basques, the only pre-Celtic people in Iberia surviving to the present day as a separate ethnic group.

In the early first millennium BCE, several waves of Celts invaded Iberia from central Europe and intermarried with the local Iberian people, forming the Celtiberians (with many different nations).

The seafaring Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians successively settled along the Mediterranean coast and founded trading colonies there over a period of several centuries.

Around 1100 BCE Phoenician merchants founded the trading colony of Gadir or Gades (modern day Cádiz) near Tartessos. In the 8th century BCE the first Greek colonies, such as Emporion (modern Empúries), were founded along the Mediterranean coast on the East, leaving the south coast to the Phoenicians. The Greeks are responsible for the name Iberia, after the river Iber (Ebro). In the 6th century BCE the Carthaginians arrived in Iberia while struggling with the Greeks for control of the Western Mediterranean. Their most important colony was Carthago Nova (Latin name of modern day Cartagena).

In 219 BCE, the first Roman troops invaded the Iberian Peninsula, during the Second Punic war against the Carthaginians, and annexed it under Augustus after two centuries of war with the Celtic and Iberian tribes and the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian colonies becoming the province of Hispania. It was divided in Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Citerior during the late Roman Republic; and, during the Roman Empire, Hispania Taraconensis in the northeast, Hispania Baetica in the south and Lusitania in the southwest.

Hispania supplied the Roman Empire with food, olive oil, wine and metal. The emperors Trajan, Hadrian and Theodosius I, the philosopher Seneca and the poets Martial and Lucan were born in Iberia.

In the early 5th century, Germanic tribes invaded the peninsula, namely the Suebi, the Vandals (Silingi and Hasdingi) and their allies, the Sarmatian Alans. Only the kingdom of the Suebi (Quadi and Marcomanni) would endure after the arrival of another wave of Germanic invaders, the Visigoths, who conquered all of the Iberian peninsula and expelled or partially integrated the Vandals and the Alans. The Visigoths eventually conquered the Suebi kingdom and its capital city Bracara (modern day Braga) in 584-585.

In 711 CE, a Moorish Umayyad army from North Africa invaded Visigoth Christian Spain. Under their leader Taric Bin Zeyad also known as "Taric El Tuerto," they landed at Gibraltar and brought most of the Iberian Peninsula under Islamic rule in an eight-year campaign. Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to the Iberian Peninsula by its Muslim conquerors.

From the 8th to the 15th centuries, parts of the Iberian peninsula were ruled by the Moors (mainly Berber with some Arab) who had crossed over from North Africa. Many of the ousted Gothic nobles took refuge in the unconquered north Asturian highlands. From there they aimed to reconquer their lands from the Moors: this war of reconquest is known as the Reconquista. Christian and Muslim kingdoms fought and allied among themselves. The Muslim taifa kings competed in patronage of the arts, the Way of Saint James attracted pilgrims from all Western Europe and the Jewish population of Iberia set the basis of Sephardic culture.

In medieval times the peninsula housed many small states including Castille, Aragon, Navarre, León and Portugal. The peninsula was part of the Islamic Almohad empire until they were finally uprooted. The last major Muslim stronghold was Granada which was eliminated by a combined Castillian and Aragonese force in 1492. The small states gradually amalgamated over time, and for a brief period (1580-1640) the whole peninsula was united politically under the Iberian Union. Today, Spain, Portugal, and Andorra encompass the entire peninsula of Iberia.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia