Iberians, ancient people of Spain. Some scholars have argued that they migrated from Africa in the Neolithic period and again at the end of the Bronze Age, while the archaeological evidence has been interpreted to suggest that Iberians had an E Mediterranean origin dating to the 3d millenium b.c. They were first mentioned in the 6th cent. b.c., after they had settled in E Spain and the Ebro valley. The Iberian Peninsula, i.e., Spain and Portugal, is named for them. The high point of Iberian civilization was reached about the 4th cent. b.c., and thereafter their culture came under the influence of Carthaginian colonization. About the 4th cent. b.c. began the Celtic migration into Spain, which led to an increased dissolution of Iberian culture. After the Roman conquest of Spain the Iberians gradually accepted Roman culture. The theory that the Iberians and the Basques were identical has been discredited by modern research.
See A. A. Palau, The Iberians (1963); D. E. Vassberg, Land and Society in Golden Age of Castille (1984).
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