Hispania Tarraconensis

Last updated
Provincia Hispania Tarraconense
Province of the Roman Empire
27 BC–459
Roman Empire - Tarraconensis (125 AD).svg
Capital Tarraco
Historical era Antiquity
27 BC
 Visigothic conquest
Succeeded by
Visigothic Kingdom Blank.png
Today part ofFlag of Spain.svg  Spain
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal

Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the Mediterranean coast of modern Spain along with the central plateau. Southern Spain, the region now called Andalusia, was the province of Hispania Baetica . On the Atlantic west lay the province of Lusitania, partially coincident with modern-day Portugal.



Tarraconensis in 27 BC. Hispania 2a division provincial.svg
Tarraconensis in 27 BC.

The Phoenicians and Carthaginians colonised the Mediterranean coast in the 8th to 6th centuries BC. The Greeks later also established colonies along the coast. The Romans arrived in the 2nd century BC.

The Imperial Roman province called Tarraconensis supplanted Hispania Citerior, which had been ruled by a propraetor [1] in the late Republic by Augustus's reorganization of 27 BC.

Its capital was at Tarraco (modern Tarragona, Catalonia). The Cantabrian Wars (2919 BC) brought all of Iberia under Roman domination, within the Tarraconensis. Astures and Cantabri, on the northern coast of Iberia were the last people to be pacified. Tarraconensis was an Imperial province and separate from the two other Iberian provinces Lusitania (corresponding to modern Portugal, apart from the northern region of the modern country, plus Spanish Extremadura) and the Senatorial province Baetica, corresponding to the southern part of Spain, or Andalusia. Servius Sulpicius Galba, who served as Emperor briefly in 6869, governed the province since 61. Pliny the Elder served as procurator in Tarraconensis (73). Under Diocletian, in 293, Hispania Tarraconensis was divided in three smaller provinces: Gallaecia, Carthaginensis and Tarraconensis. The Imperial province of Hispania Tarraconensis lasted until the invasions of the 5th century, beginning in 409, when Suebi, Vandals and Alans crossed the Pyrenees, and ended with the establishment of a Visigothic kingdom.

The invasion resulted in widespread exploitation of metals, especially gold, tin and silver. The alluvial gold mines at Las Medulas show that Roman engineers worked the deposits on a very large scale using several aqueducts up to 30 miles (48 km) long to tap water in the surrounding mountains. By running fast water streams on the soft rocks, they were able to extract large quantities of gold by hydraulic mining methods (Ruina montium). When the gold had been exhausted, they followed the auriferous seams underground by tunnels using fire-setting to break up the much harder gold-bearing rocks. Pliny the Elder gives a good account of the methods used in Hispania, presumably based on his own observations.


The most popular deity in Hispania was Isis, followed by Magna Mater, the great mother. The Carthaginian-Phoenician deities Melqart (both a solar deity and a sea-god) and Tanit-Caelestis (a mother-queen with possible lunar connections) were also popular. The Roman pantheon quickly absorbed native deities through identification (Melqart became Hercules, for example, having long been taken by the Greeks as a variant of their Heracles). Ba‘al Hammon was the chief god at Carthage and was also important in Hispania. The Egyptian gods Bes and Osiris had a following as well.


Exports from Tarraconensis included timber, cinnabar, gold, iron, tin, lead, pottery, marble, wine and olive oil.

See also

Related Research Articles

Abdera, Spain human settlement

Abdera was an ancient Carthaginian and Roman port on a hill above the modern Adra on the southeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain. It was located between Malaca and Carthago Nova in the district inhabited by the Bastuli.

Lusitania Roman province

Lusitania or Hispania Lusitana was an ancient Iberian Roman province located where modern Portugal and part of western Spain lie. It was named after the Lusitani or Lusitanian people.

Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus Roman proconsul

Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus was a consul of the Roman Republic for the year 138 BC together with Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Serapio. He was an optimate politician and a military commander in Hispania and in Illyria. He was the son of Marcus Junius Brutus and brother of Marcus Junius Brutus. He had a son also named Decimus Junius Brutus and his grandson was Decimus Junius Brutus Albinus.

Iberians Historical ethnic group

The Iberians were a set of people that Greek and Roman sources identified with that name in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula, at least from the 6th century BC. The Roman sources also use the term Hispani to refer to the Iberians.

Hispania Baetica Roman province

Hispania Baetica, often abbreviated Baetica, was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica remained one of the basic divisions of Hispania under the Visigoths down to 711. Baetica was part of Al-Andalus under the Moors in the 8th century and approximately corresponds to modern Andalusia.

Tarraco ancient city on the site of modern Tarragona, Catalonia,Spain

Tarraco is the ancient name of the current city of Tarragona. It was the oldest Roman settlement on the Iberian Peninsula. It became the capital of the Roman province of Hispania Citerior during the period of the Roman Republic, and of Hispania Tarraconensis following the latter's creation during the Roman Empire.

Celtici Celtic tribe or group of tribes of the Iberian peninsula

The Celtici were a Celtic tribe or group of tribes of the Iberian peninsula, inhabiting three definite areas: in what today are the regions of Alentejo and the Algarve in Portugal; in the Province of Badajoz and north of Province of Huelva in Spain, in the ancient Baeturia; and along the coastal areas of Galicia. Classical authors give various accounts of the Celtici's relationships with the Gallaeci, Celtiberians and Turdetani.

The Grovii were an ancient tribe in Coastal Northern Portugal, in the province of Minho and spreading into modern day Galicia (Spain). The Grovii dwelt in the coast near the rivers "Avo", Celadus, Nebis, Minius and the Oblivion. The Laeros and the Ulla rivers where in the North reach of this people.

Cantabri ethnic group

The Cantabri or Ancient Cantabrians, were a pre-Roman people, probably Celtic or pre-Celtic European, and large tribal federation that lived in the northern coastal region of ancient Iberia in the second half of the first millennium BC. These peoples and their territories were incorporated into the Roman Province of Hispania Tarraconensis in the year 19 BC, following the Cantabrian Wars.

This is a historical timeline of Portugal.

Hispania Ulterior Roman province

Hispania Ulterior was a region of Hispania during the Roman Republic, roughly located in Baetica and in the Guadalquivir valley of modern Spain and extending to all of Lusitania and Gallaecia. Its capital was Corduba.

Hispania Citerior Roman province

Hispania Citerior was a Roman Province in Hispania during the Roman Republic. It was on the eastern coast of Iberia down to the town of Cartago Nova, today's Cartagena in the autonomous community of Murcia, Spain. It roughly covered today's Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia and Valencia. Further south was the Roman Province of Hispania Ulterior, named as such because it was further away from Rome.

Turdetani Ethnic group

The Turdetani were an ancient pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula, living in the valley of the Guadalquivir, in what was to become the Roman Province of Hispania Baetica. Strabo considers them to have been the successors to the people of Tartessos and to have spoken a language closely related to the Tartessian language.

Hispania Balearica

Hispania Balearica was a Roman province encompassing the Balearic Islands off the east coast of modern Spain. Formerly a part of Hispania Tarraconensis, Balearica gained its autonomy due to its geographic separation and economic independence from the mainland. The province included three major islands: Balearis Major (Majorca), Balearis Minor (Minorca), and Ebusus (Ibiza), and the small island of Colubraria or Ophiusa (Formentera). The islands were grouped as the Gymnesiae—Majorca and Minorca, and the Pityusae—Ibiza and Formentara.

Las Médulas cultural property in Borrenes y Carucedo, Spain

Las Médulas is a historic gold-mining site near the town of Ponferrada in the comarca of El Bierzo. It was the most important gold mine, as well as the largest open-pit gold mine, in the entire Roman Empire. Las Médulas Cultural Landscape is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Advanced aerial surveys conducted in 2014 using LIDAR have confirmed the wide extent of the Roman-era works.

Hispania, the ancient Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula, may mean:

Hispania Roman province

Hispania was the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces. Under the Roman Republic, Hispania was divided into two provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. During the Principate, Hispania Ulterior was divided into two new provinces, Baetica and Lusitania, while Hispania Citerior was renamed Hispania Tarraconensis. Subsequently, the western part of Tarraconensis was split off, first as Hispania Nova, later renamed "Callaecia". From Diocletian's Tetrarchy onwards, the south of remaining Tarraconensis was again split off as Carthaginensis, and probably then too the Balearic Islands and all the resulting provinces formed one civil diocese under the vicarius for the Hispaniae. The name Hispania was also used in the period of Visigothic rule.

This section of the timeline of Iberian history concerns events from before the Carthaginian conquests.

This section of the timeline of Hispania concerns Spanish and Portuguese history events from the Carthaginian conquests to before the barbarian invasions.

Romanization of Hispania

The Romanization of Hispania is the process by which Roman or Latin culture was introduced into the Iberian Peninsula during the period of Roman rule.


  1. Livy, The History of Rome, 41.8.

Coordinates: 41°06′59″N1°15′19″E / 41.1165°N 1.2552°E / 41.1165; 1.2552