Spain has a huge list of legends who excel in various fields and are recognized worldwide. Here is a tribute to all of them who did something or the other to enrich their country’s present and future and happened to become famous.
Stated below are few testimonies of the Spaniards whose contribution is widely known and esteemed in Hispanic history and across the globe.
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde – A Leader (4 December 1892 – 20 November 1975)
His maternal family name is Bahamonde and the paternal family name is Franco. He was a Spanish dictator, general and leader of the Nationalist military rebellion in the Spanish Civil War. He became the head of state of Spain in 1939. He established a one-man rule after the defeat of the Republican government. Franco had striking abilities of endurance and survived long. His famous quote was, “I am responsible only to God and history.”
Pablo Picasso – An Artist/Painter (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973)
Picasso was a world-famous painter, sculptor, draftsman, ceramicist and a stage designer. He is one of the most accredited and influential figures in the 20th century art. He is widely acknowledged for co-founding the Cubist movement and the vast variety of styles incarnated in his work. Proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) and Guernica (1937), his portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War were his famous works amongst the others.
He always used to recall his mother’s ambition for him, “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as Pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
Francisco Pizarro – A Conquistador (c. 1471 or 1476 – 26 June 1541)
Born in Trujillo, Spain, Pizarro was the Spanish conqueror of Peru in 1532. Along with Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres who was the newly assigned Governor of Hispaniola, Pizarro sailed from Spain on February 13, 1502 on a largest fleet of 30 ships. Vasco Nuñez de Balboa and Pizarro together discovered the Pacific Ocean. On January 18, 1535, he established the city of Lima and captured the Inca empire. He was killed by the supporters of Diego Almagro II on June 26, 1541.
Raúl González Blanco – A Soccer Player (27 June 1977 – present)
He was born and brought up in Madrid, Spain. He started his career by representing the country at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, 1995. Since then, he has played for the giants, Real Madrid. He is known for his dribbling, versatility and élan. Raúl is the only active footballer and the most crested one who has played 11 World Cup tournaments till date. He has made Spain proud as he is the only player who has played more than 100 matches for his own country.
His achievements till date are – Real Madrid (games – 411, goals – 179, assists – 74), European Cup (games – 107, goals – 49, assists – nil), Spain (games – 102, goals – 44, assists – nil).
Penélope Cruz Sánchez – An Actor (28 April 1974)
This beautiful actor was born in Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain. She began working at the age of 16 on television. Cruz’s first full length featured movie was Jamón Jamón in 1992 which was critically acclaimed. She is also known for the time and money that she has given to charity. She donated her entire pay that she received for her first Hollywood movie, The Hi-Lo Country, to Mother Teresa’s Mission. She is also an active member of PETA’s anti-fur campaign.
Few of her best movies till date are La Ribelle (1993), La Celestina (1996), Abre Los Ojos (Open Your Eyes, 1997), La niña de tus ojos (The Girl of Your Dreams, 1998), Bandidas (2006) and Vicky Christina Barcelona (2008).
Rafael Nadal – A Tennis Star (3 June 1986)
When one thinks about tennis, whether Spanish or not, Rafael Nadal, born in Majorca, Spain, is a name that instantly strikes us. It would be an understatement to say that he is a powerhouse on the tennis circuit currently. Popularly known as “Rafa” by millions of his fans, he is currently the number one tennis player from Spain. Nadal has won many tennis singles and doubles titles and not to forget the Olympic Gold in Beijing in 2008. His success has earned him the nickname – “The King of Clay”.
Some of the world-famous musicians like Manuel de Falla, Albeniz, Pau Casals, etc., and world-renowned singers like Ricky Martin, Miguel Bose, Jose Carreras and Enrique Iglesias are from Spain. In fact, there are many more Spaniards who excel in different areas and who have given their enormous contribution towards Spain’s history.