Spain has a very long history of different civilizations occupying the country. And a great place to go and discover this history is the big archeological museum of Madrid. The museum is located close to the more famous Prado museum on one of the major streets around the center of Madrid.
The exhibition starts with a section of the development of ancient humans originating 4 million years ago in Africa. It might seem a bit strange an archeological museum in Spain has a large section just for the ancient human species. But when you realize Spain actually has the longest history in Europe of human habitations it starts to make more sense. The first Homo erectus arrived in Spain about 1.3 million years ago. And Spain was the final hold out for the last Neanderthals living in the world.
The rest of the museum is dedicated to more recent finds and covers the many different cultures who have been occupying Spain over the millennia’s.
There a section of the old Carthaginians who made Spain their new European stronghold after they had lost Sicily to Rome in the first Punic War. The Carthaginians were kick out of Spain when they lost the second Punic war against Rome when Hannibal was defeated. The romans took over Spain as a province and they left many buildings in the country. I found the most impressive section of the museum was indeed the Roman mosaics which has been collected from different old Roman villas around Spain and been taken to the museum.
After the Romans left the Moors from Morocco came and took over most of Spain. They changed the architecture of Spain and there are good sections of this era as well. Before the museum ends up taking you up to more recent history of Spain.