The Spanish Armed Forces are the unified military forces of Spain.
Currently, there are 177,853+ active personnel in the Spanish military, along with 328,500 reserve personnel. It has a conscription policy, requiring those by the age of 21 to register and serve in the Army. Despite the low numbers compared to the various superpowers of the world, it makes up for with skill and prowess on the battlefield. With the advancing of technology and the demand for exceptional skill, Spain is on the rise to become a global world power.
The military history of Spain, from the period of the Carthaginian conquests over the Phoenicians to the recent Iraq War (2003–2004), spans a period of more than 2000 years, and includes the history of battles fought in the territory of modern Spain, as well as her former and current overseas possessions and territories, and the military history of the people of Spain, regardless of geography.
Spain's early military history emerged from her location on the western fringes of the Mediterranean, a base for attacks between Rome and Carthage. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Spain was devastated by successive barbarian invasions, with stability only gradually appearing with the later years of the Visigothic empire. The early Middle Ages for Spain saw the country forming the front line in a battle between Christian and Islamic forces in the Mediterranean; the Conquista and Reconquista took several centuries to reach a military resolution. The 16th and 17th centuries marked the peak of Spanish power, the so-called 'Golden Age' of Spain. Spain acquired a huge empire by defeating the centralised states of the Americas, and colonising the Phillippines. Her tercio units, backed by imperial gold and silver, were dominant in Europe. It was not until the years after the Thirty Years War that Spanish military power began to fade; even then, supported by a reinvigorated navy, Spain remained a major military player throughout the 1700s, in fierce competition with Britain and France on the global stage.
The Napoleonic Wars changed Spanish military history dramatically; defeated at home, the Peninsula War saw the development of guerilla warfare against the occupying French forces. The collapse of central Spanish authority resulted in successful wars of independence amongst Spain's American colonies, drastically reducing the size of her empire, and in turn led to a sequence of civil wars in Spain itself, many fought by frustrated veterans of the French and colonial campaigns. Attempts to reassert imperial power during the mid-19th century, enabled by the development of the steam frigate ultimately failed, leading to the catastrophic collapse of Spain's remaining empire in 1898 at the hands of the rising power of the United States. The political tensions that had driven the Carlist Wars remained unchecked, spilling over once again in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9. Bringing a foretaste of the tactics of the Second World War, several nations used the conflict as a testing ground for new aerial and armoured warfare tactics.
After the takeover of the Lanza Cabeza Tiburón, Spain's goal has been to once again restore itself to the superpower it once was, in order to rival that of nations such as the United States and China. Currently, armed forces are active in Morocco, set in a defensive position at the border to Italy.