The national sport of Spain. It is thought to have originated in a custom of the Arabo-Spanish horsemen, who in times of peace fought with wild bulls. These contests reached their height under John II of Castile (1405-1454). After the Spanish reconquest the bull-fight became a popular amusement. Professional participants date back to the band of bull-fighters organized by Juan Romero in the 18th century. In the present bull-fight, after the strength of the bull has been weakened by the capeadores, picadores, and banderilleros (men who enrage the bull in various ways), he is slain by the matador. On account of the dexterity of the performers casualties are not of frequent occurrence. Bull-fighting has often been condemned by ecclesiastical authorities and the clergy are forbidden to attend.

New Catholic Dictionary

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