Western Mediterranean expansionism – first by the Crowns of Aragon and Castile, and later by the Spanish monarchy – forged a conflictive or peaceful relationship with other peoples in the region, depending on the era, particularly with the Italians, Turks, Berbers and the French. Ruling and defending the territory and safeguarding lines of communication required the construction of numerous defensive buildings such as ramparts, fortresses, citadels, watchtowers and arsenals, as well as urban redevelopments and the construction of ports, sewers, palaces, markets and hospitals.

The “Spain in the Mediterranean. The construction of space” research project explores Spain’s presence in other areas of the Western Mediterranean during the period spanning the late 15th to the early 18th centuries, evaluating the same from the perspective of technology, engineering and urban planning. It also analyses its level of involvement in the shaping of shared spaces. To this end, researchers have worked with maps, drawings and unique objects from Spain’s National Library, the Simancas General Archive, the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Archive of the Crown of Aragon, the Barcelona Maritime Museum, the Sforza Castle Museums and the Florence Science and Technology Museum.

The results of the research were presented at an exhibition with the same name, held at Spain’s National Library and other exhibitions spaces around the country. They were also made into a book, España en el Mediterráneo: la construcción del espacio, which is divided into two parts: the first contains sector-specific studies conducted by specialists from each field and the second part covers the contents of the exhibition.