The Spanish were one of the greatest colonizers of North and South America and were known for having acquired great wealth from the colonies during the 17th century. While Spain focused primarily on South America, developments in Europe often entangled it in the affairs of other colonizing nations.
The Spanish are a European Catholic nation that was the first European country to reach America and create a world empire. They are well known for having defeated and annexed the majority of native civilizations there, especially the Aztecs, Mayas (Mesoamerica) and the Incas (South America). In addition to gaining an immeasurable amount of precious metals of America, especially gold and silver, they also waged several wars with religious excursions in Protestant countries such as the Netherlands and England.
The Spanish are primarily an offensive civilization. They have a strong military and a stable economy, and less experience is required for each Home City shipment. They will only be able to use one Factory and one Fort, unless The Asian Dynasties is played. That expansion gives all European civilizations with only one Factory a second one for balancing purposes.
The Cathedral in the Home City of Seville is inaccurately based on the Florence Cathedral. The same cathedral is also depicted in the Portuguese Home City of Lisbon. This has been corrected in the Definitive Edition for the Portuguese, where they get the appropriate Lisbon Cathedral; however, the same model is also reused inaccurately in the Spanish Home City.
Before the Definitive Edition, the Spanish were the only civilization that could upgrade their Pikemen beyond the Veteran level.
In 1492 the combined kingdoms of Aragon and Castile completed the reconquest of Spain, driving the last of the Moors back to North Africa. At this moment the discoveries of Columbus fell into their lap. They followed his first voyage with more that were disappointing at first, revealing new continents but not the Asian source of gold or riches they sought. That changed, however, when first the Aztec and then Incan civilizations were discovered in the interior. Both were destroyed in audacious and brutal campaigns, and looted of enormous treasure.
These conquests revitalized interest in the New World, and Spanish conquistadors searched north and south for more treasure and more civilizations, especially the legendary El Dorado, the city of gold. When these searches proved largely fruitless, the Spanish settled where they found precious metal to be mined, or where surviving native populations could be put to work. Other European nations and assorted pirates began preying on Spanish outposts and returning treasure fleets. While Spain fought endless wars in Europe against Protestantism, it was also engaged in the New World, defending its colonies and sources of wealth.
By the late eighteenth century Spain's opportunity for greatness on a worldwide scale had passed. The wealth it extracted from the New World had largely spent on luxuries and wasteful wars. Spain resisted change and progress at home and abroad. Its colonial system installed a ruling elite over indigenous populations. The costs of maintaining its empire outstripped the income it generated, and one by one the colonies wrested control from Spain. The Spanish fell behind the other contending nations in Europe in economic and military power, and when the French under Napoleon marched in they could offer little organized resistance.