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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Bullfighting

A form of bullfighting was practiced on Crete as long as 6,000 years ago.

Early Spaniards realized around 300 BC wild bulls could be incited to charge people. This was used for military purposes against the invading armies from Carthage.

Successive rulers of other nations tried in vain to ban the sport because of the danger. Spain and Portugal eventually became the center of bullfighting.  



In 1914, Juan Belmonte revolutionized bullfighting with his daring capework, practiced extremely close to the bull. Most other bullfighters soon began to copy Belmonte's dangerous but exciting style.

Pablo Picasso, like many Spaniards, was captivated by the Bullfight. The artist liked to attend bullfights at Nimes and this so called spirit, was often featured in his art.

The Canary Islands was the first Spanish autonomous community to ban bullfighting, in 1991, while the Catalonia region did so in 2012.

An excellent book about bullfighting is Ernest Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon.

Every bullring in Spain has a monument to Alexander Fleming whose discovery of penicillin is saving countless toreadors from dying of gangrene after being gored by bulls.

Traditionally in a bulfight, three matadors alternately face and kill six bulls over roughly two-and-a-half hours


The red capes used to taunt bulls in bullfights are the same shade of red as the bull's blood. That way the spectator can't tell it is covered with the bull's blood by the end of the fight. 

The matador uses their cape to manoeuvre the bull into position before stabbing it between the shoulder blades and through the heart with a sword.

The bulls used for Spanish bullfighting can fight only once; after a bull has fought, it retains the memories and its behavior changes.

Sources Daily Mail, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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