The Roman presence in the Peninsula followed the route of the Greek commercial bases; however, it commenced with a struggle between this great empire and Carthage for the control of the western Mediterranean during the second century B.C. In any case, it was at that time that the Peninsula would enter as an entity in the international political circuit then in existence, and from then on became a coveted strategic objective due to its singular geographic position between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and to the agricultural and mineral wealth of its southern part.
The penetration and the subsequent Roman conquest of the Peninsula covered the prolonged period streching from 218 to 19 B.C. Significant dates of that period are:
209 B.C.: Decline of Hannibal's army in Italy and beginning of the great Roman conquest of Spain. Rome annexes the country and divides it into two provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior.
143 to 139 B.C.: Viriatus and the Lusitanians fight the Roman legions.
133 B.C.: The inhabitants of Numantia prefer to die in the flames of their city rather than surrender to Scipio Aemilianus.
27 B.C.: The Romans pacify the Peninsula once and for all and divide it into three provinces: Tarraconense, Baetica and Lusitania. The Roman presence in Hispania lasted for seven centuries during which the basic frontiers of the Peninsula in relation to other European countries were shaped. However the Romans did not only bequeath a territorial administration, but also left a legacy of social and cultural characters such as the family, language, religion, law and municipal government, the assimilation of which definitively placed the Peninsula within the Greco-Latin and later the Judeo-Christian worlds.
98 A.D.: Beginning of rule of Trajan, the first Roman emperor of Spanish origin.
264 A.D.: Franks and suevi invade the country and temporarily occupy Tarragona.
411 A.D.: The Barbarian tribes sign an alliance with Rome, which enables them to establish military colonies within the Empire.
568-586.: The Visigoth king Leovigild expels the imperial civil servants and attempts to unify the Peninsula. The end of the Roman empire in Spain.