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ANDALUCÍA: Birthplace and Inspiration
of Extraordinary People: a 2000-year sampling

Born in Andalucía

Three Roman Emperors: Trajan, Claudius and Hadrian were born during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD in the then-flourishing Roman City of Itálica when Spain was part of the Roman Empire.  Don’t miss the spectacular Roman remains of ancient Itálica, just ten minutes north of Seville.

In Córdoba, historically a prolific and harmonious multicultural center, statues commemorate a triumvirate of enlightened thinkers born there:  Roman philosopher Seneca (1st century AD), Arab philosopher-astronomer Averroes (12th century), and Jewish philosopher-physician Maimonides (12th century).

Born in Seville’s vibrant Triana quarter, Rodrigo de Triana was a seaman aboard Christopher Columbus’ discovery voyage across the Atlantic, sailing from the Andalusian port of Palos de la Frontera (Province of Huelva). Triana was the first to see the New World when he shouted Land ho! on that momentous morning of October 12, 1492.

The world was first circumnavigated from Andalucía.Juan Sebastián Elcano, explorer and sailor, was the first man to sail around the world, aboard the only surviving ship of the Magellan voyage, returning in 1522 to Atlantic port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Province of Cádiz) from which they embarked in 1519.

Two of Spain’s greatest 17th-century baroque-era painters were born in Seville: Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), and Bartolomé Murillo (1617-1682).

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-70), born in Seville, was a premier lyric poet of the 19th century. In Seville’s María Luis Park, a lyrical marble sculpture by  Lorenzo Coullaut Valera (1876-1932 from Marchena, Seville) honors Bécquer. The life-size tableau wraps around a bald cypress from Louisiana.

Ángel Ganivet (1865-1898) Born in Granada. Writer, social philosopher and diplomat, considered a precursor to the literati “Generation of 1898”.

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946), supreme Spanish classical composer, born in Cádiz and lived 18 prolific years in Granada. He shared his fervor for flamenco cante hondo with coleague Federico García Lorca.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), considered the most important artist of the 20th century, was born in the city of Málaga. In the historic center, Museo Picasso Málaga, opened 2003, is housed in a 16th-century Andalusian-renaissance palace with modernized exhibit interiors. (Walk downstairs to the basement and view amazing situ Phoenician, Roman and Arab ruins discovered here.)

Federico García Lorca (1898-1936), immortal writer, poet and dramatist, also painter, pianist and composer, born in Fuente Vaqueros near the city of Granada. He compiled and preserved a treasured collection of flamenco poems, lyrics and music, a legacy adored and performed today.

Rafael Alberti (1902-1999), celebrated poet and painter, born in El Puerto de Santa María (province of Cádiz).

María Zambrano (1904-1991), philosopher, born in Vélez-Málaga (Province of Málaga).

Paco de Lucía, astonishing virtuoso flamenco guitarist-composer of our time, born in 1947 in Algeciras, located at the southernmost tip of Spain (Province of Cádiz).

Lola Flores (1923-1995), lovingly nicknamed “La Faraona”, born in Jerez de la Frontera (Province of Cádiz): singer, dancer, actress, and 20th-century legend.

Carlos Cano (1946-2000) popular Andalusian singer, born in Granada.

Camarón de la Isla (1950-1992) flamenco Gypsy cantaor and powerful influence and legend, born in San Fernando (Province of Cádiz).

Baltasar Garzón, born 1955 in Jaén, and studied in Seville; dynamic and revered judge and Nobel Prize candidate.

Antonio Banderas, award-winning actor, producer, director, born 1960 in Málaga.

Joaquín Cortés celebrated flamenco dancer, born in Córdoba, 1969.

Among the great bullfighters:  "Manolete" (Manuel Rodríguez Sánchez) born in the city of Córdoba (1917);  Antonio Ordoñez , Ronda (1932-1998);  "El Cordobés”  (Manuel Benítez Pérez), born in Palma del Río, Province of Córdoba (1936)

Rocio Jurado (1944-2006) from coastal Chipiona (Province of Cádiz), a brilliant singer, performing artist and personage lovingly known as La más grande (The Greatest).


Inspired in Andalucía:

Ibn Khaldun  (1332-1406) Tunis-born Arab scholar who settled in Carmona (Province of Seville) where his illustrious 14th-century accomplishments made him a forerunner of modern historiography and economics. A major 2006 exhibition at the Real Alcázar Palace in Seville, honored his profound contributions to the of culture Al-Andalus (the early name of Andalucía).

Washington Irving, New York-born author and “travel writer” (1783-1859). You can see his house in Seville’s Old Jewish Quarter (Barrio de Santa Cruz). From there he went to live in Granada where he was inspired to write Tales of the Alhambra

Gerald Brenan (1894-1987). Renowned author who loved Spain, and especially Málaga where he was buried at his request. He was acclaimed by the London Times as “a brilliant interpreter of Spain to the rest of the world” for his book South from Granada, a Sojourn in Southern Spain.

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961). His life had profound ties with Andalucía, as reflected in The Sun Also Rises, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Dangerous Summer.

Orson Welles (1915-1985) shared Hemmingway’s fascination with Andalucía, especially Ronda and bullfighting. Welles told his dear friend Antonio Ordoñez, “I would love to have my ashes buried in your well, so my name will be always present in your garden [in Ronda]…A man is not from where he is born, but from where he chooses to die.”  Indeed, his ashes are buried there.

Hugh Thomas (1931- ) British author, distinguished historian and devotee of Spanish culture and history. His book Rivers of Gold: The Rise of the Spanish Empire, from Columbus to Magellan is praised as  “…a grand and sweeping account.” (NY Times)

Ian Gibson  (1939- ) Dublin-born biographer, Hispanist, and eminent authority on Lorca, Machado and Dalí. He went to live in Granada.

See also:

· Land of Flamenco
· Fairs and Festivals 2010
· Great People


media contact: Frank Shiell / Shiell Communications, New York
tel 212-242-2204