Roman legions took two centuries to complete the conquest of Spain, which became final in the first century A.D. Vandals and Visigoths (Germanic tribes) entered Spain from the north in the fifth century and settled there. Because of its proximity to North Africa, the southern parts of Spain came under Muslim control for many centuries. Muslims (Moors) fought with Catholic kings over Spain for many decades. In 1492 Granada, the final Moorish stronghold in Spain, was conquered.
An age of Spanish exploration and conquest began soon after, with the Spanish Armada ruling much of the open seas. However, storms destroyed the Armada, and the Spanish Empire went into decline. Modern times have seen Spain at the center of other major world events. From 1939 to 1975, Francisco Franco, a fascist dictator, controlled Spain. When Franco died, Spain became a democracy.
Although Catholicism has been present in Spain for many centuries, the Pentecostal movement entered Spain in the 1920s. Swedish missionaries pioneered a church in Madrid, the capital, in the 1930s, and other missionaries soon followed. When civil war broke out in 1936, all missionaries were forced out. Anti-evangelical sentiments continued after the war, hampering further evangelism efforts. In 1950 in the city of Ronda, Pentecostal ministers, Roman and Carmen Perruc, discovered a group of Pentecostal believers who had survived the war and subsequent persecutions. This group became an Assemblies of God church. The national organization of the Assemblies of God in Spain was formed in 1963.
The Movement Today
Though small, the Pentecostal Fellowship in Spain is growing. Evangelism, evangelism literature, and correspondence courses have touched tens of thousands in Spain. Recent immigration and accelerated church-planting efforts have helped churches to grow in Spain, although the percentage of born-again Christians in Spain is still below 1 percent of the population. Many congregations have bivocational pastors. The people and church of Spain need prayer and more workers. The Assemblies of God in Spain report the following statistics: 476 credentialed ministers, 680 churches and outstations, 20,000 members and adherents, 1 Bible school with 69 students, and a network of extension programs. The Assemblies of God in Spain have developed a missions department with missionaries in Peru, Holland, Burkina Faso, China, Bolivia, and North Central Europe, and also aid programs in Ecuador, Cuba, Honduras, Venezuela, and other countries.
Additional Facts About Spain
Area: 195,124 square miles
Population: 49.3 million
Ethnic groups: Spanish 86.4 percent, Morocco 1.8 percent, Romania 1.3 percent, other 10.5 percent
Languages: Castilian Spanish (official), Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Aranese
Agriculture: grain, vegetables, olives, wine grapes, sugar beets, citrus; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish
Industry: textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and refractory products, footwear, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment