Bullfighting is certainly one of the best-known-although at the same time most controversial Spanish popular customs. This Fiesta could not exist without the toro bravo, a species of bull of an ancient race that is only conserved in Spain. Formerly this bull’s forebears, the primitive urus, were spread out over wide areas of the world. Many civilizations revered them; the bull cults on the Greek island of Crete are very well known. The Bible tells of sacrifices of bulls in honour of divine justice.
Bullfighting was originally a sport for the aristocracy and took place on horseback. King Felipe V took exception to the sport however and banned the aristocracy from taking part, believing it to be a bad example to the public. After the ban commoners accepted the sport as their own and, since they could not afford horses, developed the practice of dodging the bulls on foot, unarmed. This transformation occurred around 1724.