Thousands protest bullfighting in Spain as calls for ban.
Bullfighting was originally a pastime of the Spanish aristocracy and it was performed on horseback, but this all stopped when the king at the time, Felipe V banned nobles from participating in bullfighting as he thought it posed as a bad example. This was an important turn for bullfighting as after the ban it became the passion of the common.
In Spain, toreador specifically refers to bullfighting on horseback, although it has become a bit antiquated and is hardly used in Spanish anymore. Another type of bullfighter on foot, one of the subalternos in the matador’s entourage, is the banderillero.
The origin of modern day bullfighting on foot (rather than horseback) can be traced back to here and Ronda. It is one of the most charming bullrings in the country and although its capacity is only 12,500, it attracts the top bullfighters.
The Arabs in Spain helped make bullfighting popular around the early 12th century. In those days the spectacle consisted of a skillful horseman killing a wild bull with a lance while guiding his horse so as to avoid injury both to his mount and to himself. It is said that the famous cavalier El Cid was the first Spaniard to take part in.
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The prevalence of bullfighting in the Spanish-speaking world, where most people are devout Catholics, is also an indictment of the failure of the Roman Catholic Church to enforce anti-bullfighting statements and edicts issued from the Vatican many times since 1567, when Pope Pious V in the bull De salute gregis dominici forbade bullfighting as an entertainment more proper of demons than humans.
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