Black Legend  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Black Legend (Spanish: La Leyenda Negra) is a term coined by Julián Juderías in his 1914 book La leyenda negra y la verdad histórica (The Black Legend and Historical Truth), to describe what he argued was the unfair depiction of Spain and Spaniards as bloodthirsty, cruel, intolerant, greedy and fanatical. The Black Legend is said to be influenced by national and religious rivalries, as seen in works by early Protestant historians describing the period of Spanish imperialism. Other examples of the Black Legend are said to be the historical revision of the Inquisition, and in the villains and storylines of modern fiction and film.

The nature of Spain and its policies at home and abroad has also been a cause of contention amongst Spaniards themselves, from Gongora's Soledades until the Generation of '98. Traditionally, the Black Legend has been used by nationalists of non-Castilian regions as a political weapon against the central government or Spanish nationalism, which the conservative parties have countered with the White Legend, attempts to describe Spain's history as gentler, more virtuous, and generally better than that of other European countries. The White Legend was associated with Spanish Nationalistic politics and with the regime of dictator Francisco Franco.

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