After the Berbers demolished the Visigoth kingdom of Iberia, the last remnants of resistance took up arms in the mountains of Asturias and strove to slowly turn the tide. Launch the Reconquista, lead deadly galleons of Conquistadors overseas to explore and conquer unknown lands, and experience the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. From the tyranny of Pedro the Cruel to the heroism and tolerance of El Cid, the path to follow is yours to choose.
The Spanish were best known for exploring much of the world across the Atlantic and for being among the first Europeans to establish colonies along the Caribbean and the Americas. That fact is reflected in their fast working builders. They were also known for defeating powerful Amerindian empires of the New World and introducing Christianity to the region as a result of their powerful navy and superior weaponry. To reflect this achievement, Spanish gunpowder units fire faster and their Cannon Galleons fire more accurately with a Ballistics-like effect and also, their cannonballs travel faster. Their superior weaponry and metallurgy is represented by the fact that their Blacksmith technologies require no gold to be researched. In addition, they can train more than one unique unit, namely the Conquistador and the Missionary which are both mounted units.
To reflect their widespread religious activity in the Americas, Inquisition allows their Monks and Missionaries to convert faster. As another result of their overseas conquest and their successful search for riches, the Spanish team bonus increases productivity of all allied trade units.
The Spanish are classified as a gunpowder and Monk civilization. They excel at these two particular areas, getting all possible upgrades there bar Siege Engineers as well as specific bonuses and technologies, but the Spanish are far from being limited to their areas of expertise. Their infantry and cavalry units are great and do not miss out on a single feature. The Paladin deserves a special mention here as very few civilizations can utilize them. Their archers rank below average, though. The Spanish navy is simply excellent; their technology tree there is perfect (a feature that is only shared with the Byzantines) and their Cannon Galleons can effectively be used in naval battles and are not limited to razing buildings thanks to the faster and more accurate cannonballs. The siege weapons are overall average, but the faster attacking Bombard Cannons make a notable difference. The defensive structures are also strong for the Spanish, which leaves their economy to be the shallow part in their tree. Overall, the Spanish have a very complete technology tree that enables them to pick from a wide variety of viable strategies.
When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Spanish AI characters:
Álvarez de Toledo: Surname of a prominent aristocratic Spanish family, may refer to Fernando, 3rd Duke of Alba (1507–1582), the brilliant military tactician who conquered Portugal in 1580, or García, 1st Duke of Alba (c. 1424–1488).
Cardinal Jimenez (1436–1517): Religious and political figure influential in the Spanish clergy and government; promoted forced conversion of the Moors and crusades into North Africa. Also known for founding what is now the Complutense University of Madrid.
Catherine of Aragon (1485–1536): Spanish royal, daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II. Aragonese ambassador to England before becoming Queen of England upon her marriage to Henry VIII. His annulment of the marriage against the will of the Pope famously led to England's schism with the papacy.
Count Berengeur: Misspelled, the title could refer to any of the many Counts of Barcelona or Providence from the Berenguer family from the 11th to 13th centuries.
El Cid Campeador (c. 1043–1099): Famous nobleman and military leader in Spain. Originally served under King Alfonso VI, but exiled after attacking a Moorish protectorate of the Spanish King; in exile, he conquered the Moorish Kingdom of Valencia. Immortalized by legend, poetry, and theater.
Gonzalo de Codóba: Misspelled, most likely General Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba (1453–1515) known for military success in Italy often using innovative tactics such as trench warfare.
Hernan Cortéz (1485–1547): His full name was Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro Altamirano, Conquistador famous for defeating Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc and conquering his empire, leading a campaign between 1519 and 1521 with the aide of indigenous states hostile to the Aztecs.
King Alfonso : Many Christian Kings of the name Alfonso ruled over parts of Spain, including Alfonso I "the Catholic" of Asturias (c. 693–757), Alfonso VI "the brave" of León and Castile (bef. 1040–1109), and Alfonso VIII of Castile (1155–1214).
King Charles VIII: Likely a mistake; the only kings of the name Charles VIII were of Sweden (1408–1470) and of France (1470–1498).
King Ferdinand: Multiple Christian Kings of the name Ferdinand ruled over parts of Spain, including Ferdinand I "the Great" of León (c. 1016–1065), Ferdinand I of Aragon (1379–1416), and Ferdinand II of Aragon and Castile (1452–1516) who jointly presided over the beginning of the global Spanish Empire with his wife Queen Isabella.
King Ramiro of León: Could refer to Ramiro II (c. 900–951), king from 931–951 and famous for his military success, or Ramiro III (961–985), king from 966–984 who came to the throne at the age of five and later tried but failed to install; an absolutist regime in León.
King Sancho: Many Christian Kings of the name Sancho ruled over parts of Spain, including the first King of Navarre, Sancho VI "the Wise" (died 1194), Sancho IV "the Brave" (1257–1295) of León and Castile, and Sancho II "the Strong" (1037–1072) of Castile (and later León) who was the son of Ferdinand I.
Ordono II of León (c. 873–924): King of Galicia from 910–924, King of León from 914–924. Ruled in the northern part of the Iberian Peninsula, most of which was ruled by Muslim kingdoms against which he often went to war.
Pedro the Cruel (1334–1369): King of Castile and León from 1350–1369. Fought a decades of war against the Kingdom Aragon (which eventually defeated Pedro with the support of the Pope and the French King). Labelled "The Cruel" by his contemporaries, others have called him "Pedro the Just."
Pelayo of Asturias (685–737): Also called Pelagius, was an Iberian Visigoth monarch who founded the Kingdom of Asturias in 718. Pelagius is credited with initiating the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors, and establishing the Asturian monarchy, making him the forefather of all the future Iberian monarchies, including the Kings of Castile, the Kings of León, and the Kings of Portugal.
Queen Isabella (1451–1504): Queen of Castile from 1474–1504. Ruled jointly with her husband, Ferdinand II or Aragon, forming the basis for Spanish unification. Also famous for financing Christopher Columbus's expedition, leading to the Age of European colonization of the Americas. She is the personality of the Spanish in Age of Empires III.
Ramiro I of Aragon (bef. 1007–1063): The first King of Aragon, ruled from 1035–1062. Took part in the Reconquista, subjugating small Moorish kingdoms on his borders. Killed in the Battle of Graus.
The history of Spain in the Middle Ages is written in three principal chapters: the creation of Visigothic Spain, then Muslim Spain, and then Reconquista, the reconquest of Spain by Christians.
The Iberian peninsula was an appendage of the Roman Empire that was discarded as the empire disintegrated because it could not be defended in the face of barbarian invasions that brought devastation to the streets of Rome itself. The peninsula was occupied in large part by one of the migrating barbarian groups, the Visigoths, who had come most recently from the southwestern plains of modern Russia, displaced by the Huns. The Visigoths became Christian and occupied the center of the peninsula for several centuries.
When one of the Visigoth lords appealed to Muslims in North Africa in the 8th century for aid against the king, the door was opened for Muslim expansion across the Straits of Gibraltar. Within 50 years the Muslims had taken most of the peninsula, leaving only small areas in the mountains and to the north outside their control. Muslim, or Moorish, Spain quickly developed into one of the most advanced European civilizations of the Middle Ages. It prospered in relative peace thanks to good agriculture, trade, coinage, and industry. It benefited from the spread of learning throughout the Muslim world. Cordoba became the largest and most sophisticated city in Europe after Constantinople, featuring a population of over 500,000, wonderful architecture, great works of art, a fabulous library, and important centers of learning.
Peace and prosperity were disrupted by internal disruption, however, as important local rulers competed for overall power, and by external attack, both from the Christian north and Muslim North Africa. By the middle of the 13th century, Muslim Spain was reduced to a single kingdom centered on Granada. The Christian kingdoms of the north gradually ate away at Muslim power, though their effort was often dispersed when they fought with each other. Portugal split off and created a separate kingdom. Muslim Granada survived for several centuries thanks to liberal tribute paid to the Christians to its north and to clever diplomacy that played their enemies against each other. In 1469, however, Isabel I of Castile married Fernando II of Aragon, uniting the two competing Christian kingdoms and foreshadowing the end of Muslim Spain.
Spain of the Middle Ages was a world of contrasts. It featured the great advantages of a multi-ethnic society, merging Latin, Jewish, Christian, Arab, and Muslim influences into a unique and rich culture. At the same time, however, many of these same cultural forces clashed violently. When two different cultures clash, the result is often grim. The reconquest dragged on for eight centuries, mirroring the Crusades in the holy land and creating an atmosphere that became increasingly pitiless and intolerant. The Christian warriors who eventually expelled the Muslims earned a reputation for being among the best fighters in Europe.
Granada fell to the forces of Aragon and Castile at the start of 1492, a momentous year, as under the patronage of Queen Isabel, Christopher Columbus subsequently discovered for Europeans the great continents of the New World and their native populations.
Before the Definitive Edition user interface image displayed the lion from the Shield of León.
The Morion helmet worn by the Conquistador is used as The Conquerors icon and is also displayed on the user interface image in the Definitive Edition.
Originally, the unique unit of the Spanish was planned to be the Genitour, but it was replaced by the Conquistador before release.
The Spanish Wonder, the Torre del Oro, was actually built by the BerberAlmohad Caliphate, colloquially known as the 'Moors' and only fell into Spanish hands after the capture of Seville during the Reconquista.
Together with the Bulgarians, the Spanish are the only civilization to lack access to the Crossbowman upgrade.
The Crossbowman's absence is made for gameplay consideration; historically, the Castilian and Aragonese armies did deploy crossbowmen.