*** Welcome to piglix ***

Roman conquest of Hispania

The Roman conquest of Hispania was a process by which the Roman Republic seized the Carthaginian territories in the south and east in 206 BC (during the Second Punic War) and then gradually extended control over most of the Iberian Peninsula without annexations. It was completed after the fall of the Republic (27 BC), by Augustus, the first Roman emperor, who annexed the whole of Hispania to the Roman Empire in 19 BC. Hispania was the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula. The peninsula had various ethnic groups and a large number of tribes.

This process started with the Roman acquisition of the former Carthaginian territories in southern Hispania and along the east coast as a result of defeating the Carthaginians (206 BC) during the Second Punic War (218-201 BC), leading to them leaving the peninsula. This established Roman territorial presence in Hispania. Four years after the end of this war, in 197 BC, the Romans established two Roman provinces. They were Hispania Citerior (Nearer Spain) along most of the east coast (an area roughly corresponding to the modern Spanish autonomous communities of Valencia, Catalonia and part of Aragon) and Hispania Ulterior (Further Spain) in the south, roughly corresponding to modern Andalusia.

Over the next 170 years the Roman Republic slowly expanded its control over Hispania. This was a gradual process of pacification, rather than the result of a policy of conquest. Roman actions in Hispania were reactive. They responded to rebellions to suppress them, rather seek annexation. It was driven by numerous rebellions by the local tribes. The Romans had to fight countless battles and lost a very large amount of men. On one occasion a Roman commander conducted a sweeping counterinsurgency operation in the west of the peninsula. Pacification and retention and extension of control over the local tribes was the priority. The Romans turned some of the native cities outside their provinces into tributary cities and established outposts and Roman colonies (settlements) to expand their control. There was little interest in Hispania on the part of the Roman senate. Governors who were sent there acted quite independently from the senate due to the great distance from Rome, and were interested mainly in military action for the political gains that came with victory. To Rome Hispania was a faraway land, remote from her main interests—Italy and the eastern Mediterranean. Administrative arrangements were ad hoc measures undertaken by men on the spot. in the later part of this period the Roman senate attempted to exercise more control in Hispania, but this was to try to curb abuse and extortion by the unsupervised officials in the peninsula. Hence, in this period conquest was a process assimilation of the local tribes into the Roman world and its economic system after pacification.