Why Monterey’s 250th Birthday Bodes Well for California’s Future

The Peninsula City Has Long Embodied the Golden State’s Ability to Be a Hideaway That Welcomes Both Immigrants and Ideas

Monterey turns 250 years old next month. And the rest of the state should claim the date as its birthday too.

California is an orphan of a state, and Monterey’s beginnings are the closest thing we have to a birth story. Admission Day—September 9, 1850, when California became an American state—doesn’t really amount to a birthday, since California was a province of two other countries, Spain and Mexico, long before that. Other birthday options are problematic, too. We can’t know the exact day, thousands of years ago, when …

Just Before Madrid’s Quarantine Began, Getting a Last Look at Goya | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter from Madrid, Where Impending Quarantine Permits a Last Look at Goya

In Times of Uncertainty, Art Is a Reminder That Beauty Can Endure

The day the Spanish government announced a two-week closure of all schools and colleges in Madrid due to coronavirus, I was in Berkana, the city’s oldest gay bookstore, considering whether …

How Flamenco Explains Spain’s Complex Identity | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Flamenco Explains Spain’s Complex Identity

The Music, Born of Gypsies in the Country’s South, Was Embraced by Foreigners Long Before It Became a National Symbol

During the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, an advertisement for the Bates textile company in the Pavilion of Spain’s official guide book featured a fetchingly posed young woman, rose in …

Why John Quincy Adams Was the Founder of American Expansionism

An Ardent Believer in National Greatness, the Sixth President Thought America Should Dominate the Hemisphere

As the son of John Adams, John Quincy knew most of the other Founders, including George Washington, and he had an abiding belief in the virtue of their handiwork. Declaring …

The Invention and Evolution of the Concentration Camp

From Cuba to South Africa, the Advent of Barbed Wire and Automatic Weapons Allowed the Few to Imprison the Many

Before the first prisoner entered the Soviet Gulag, before “Arbeit macht frei” appeared on the gates of Auschwitz, before the 20th century had even begun, concentration camps found their first …