The First Punic War resulted in a massive loss to the Carthaginian side. They were forced to hand over several Mediterranean Sea territories over to Rome, including the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Lampedusa, and Ustica among others. These events led to the conquest of Spain starting in 236 BC according to the Bible Timeline Chart with World History.
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The Treaty of Lutatius specified that Carthage would need to pay a heavy ransom so their prisoners of war could be freed by Rome. Plus a heavy compensation of 3,200 talent of silver (2,200 was paid in ten installments and 1,000 paid immediately). The First Punic War ended Carthage’s domination of the profitable Mediterranean trade and pushed them to seek a new place to reestablish their control.
This humiliation deeply affected one of Carthage’s greatest generals, Hamilcar Barca. He decided to make up for this loss by sailing west into Iberia into what is now the Mediterranean coast of Spain. A new colony was to be established in Spain, and it would serve as a new power base for Carthage. More importantly, Hamilcar planned Iberia to be the new base for Carthage’s future revenge against Rome. He took with him his whole family, but before they set sail, Hamilcar offered sacrifices to the Phoenician god Melqart. Then he made his young son, Hannibal, “swear that he would never become a friend to the Romans.” Hannibal agreed and Hamilcar, along with his family and some settlers, sailed to Spain.
They reached Spain in 236 BC and set up a base in Gadir (present day Cadiz) as the center of Carthage’s new colony. According to Greek historian Polybius, Hamilcar spent nine years colonizing the eastern coast of Spain. The young Hannibal would grow up far from his homeland. His father colonized Spain using a combination of force and diplomacy while spies were sent to the Italian Alps in the north to look for a vulnerable place where they could invade. Hamilcar drowned in the Jucar River during an escape from the Celtic stronghold of Helike.
Hamilcar was succeeded by his son-in-law, Hasdrubal the Fair, as governor of Iberia. He was killed in 221 BC by one of the slaves of a Celtic king for revenge. His brother-in-law, Hannibal Barca, ruled the colony after his death and plotted his vengeance against Rome.
Picture By NASA/ Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=83321&src=eoa-iotd, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31578678
Bauer, S. Wise. The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007.
“P145 Fragments of Book XXV.” LacusCurtius • Diodorus Siculus. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Diodorus_Siculus/25*.html
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