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Famous Bullfighters

Below is a list of some of the world's most famous bullfighters. Click on the links to see their biographies and to get a sense for what brought these individuals fame in the bullring.

Pedro Romero

Francisco Rivera Ordonez

El Fandi (Also check out the film The Matador [2008])

Can you locate any other famous bullfighters that you feel should be on this list? Submit your requests in the "What Do You Think?" box.

Bullfighter Perspectives

National Geographic: Bullfighting

Video that talks about bullfighting from the perspective of the matador, highlighting its cultural roots and its connection to courage and valor.

"Blood Brothers"

A 60 Minutes documentary that covers bullfighting and follows the lives of two matador brothers.

Culture or Cruelty?

Throughout Spain bullfighting is becoming increasingly controversial. Many people believe that bullfighting should remain a legal custom because of its cultural and artistic roots. Others believe that it is cruel and unusual punishment for the bull. Take some time to read the following articles and decide if you feel bullfighting should be banned or not.

"Madrid Protects Bullfighting as an Art Form"

"Barbaric Practice or Noble Art Form?"

"Spanish TV Says No to Bullfighting"

"Looking to Wedge from Spain, Catolina Bans Bullfighting"

Based on the articles above and what you could find in your research, do you feel that bullfighting is cruelty or culture?

Culture or Cruelty?
Culture: 48 votes (67.61%)
Cruelty: 23 votes (32.39%)
Total Votes: 71

What Is Bullfighting?

Encyclopedia Britannica provides a brief discussion of what bullfighting is and how it is linked to Spain.

Encyclopedia Britannica's "Bullfighting"

Don Quijote has information on what bullfighting is, the special type of bull that is used in the bullfight, and it provides an brief overview of the fight itself. The site also offers a full line of definitions for terms essential to those learning about or attending a bullfight.


"Bullfight Vocabulary"

In her blog, Kristina discusses what it is like to attend a bullfight in Spain. Being a foreigner in a new country her goal is not to critique the fight, but rather to explain what she has experienced from her perspective. She discusses what it is like to sit amongst the Spaniards and see them revel in their culture.

"Reader Perspective: Bullfighting in Spain"

Origins of Bullfighting

Photo Credits

Encyclopedia Britannica's "Bullfighting: Origins and Early Forms"

Encyclopedia Britannica provides a strong discussion on the origins of bullfighting. Discussed are its roots to Ancient Rome and how it progressed into the modern era as one of the most identifiable attributes of Spain. Pieces of the article you will want to explore are:

  1. "Origins and Early Forms"
  2. "Development in the Modern Era"
  3. "The Rise of Professional Bullfighting"

"History of Bullfighting"

In the link above, andalucia.com covers the history of the bullfight. Unique to this brief article is a discussion on the role bullfighter Pedro Romero played a role in shaping the modern bullfight.

THE SPANISH FIESTA BRAVA: Historical Perspective and Definition

In this link, Mario Carion Bazan shows the roots of bullfighting and discusses a little about the role of bullfighting in Spanish culture.

The Art of Bullfighting

Culture Spain

Culture Spain discusses varying perspectives of bullfighting and explains the three acts that take place during a corrida.

Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia "Bullfighting: The Spectacle and Its Principles"

Funk and Wagnall's provides a brief discussion on the multiple acts of the bullfight. If you are in a hurry and need a quick overview, their article will help you out; however, the next link listed here hosts much more detailed information.

"Bullfighting Acts"

Encyclopedia Britannica provides a very detailed discussion on the three acts to the bullfight. The above link will take you to "Act I" and there are more links that will lead you to the subsequent acts of the bullfight.

The Bull Arena

Aspects of the bull arena are sometimes just as elaborate as the bullfight itself. Check out the links in this section to learn a little more about the bull arena.

Ronda Bullring

This link discusses the history and the architecture of one of the oldest bullrings in Spain. Here you'll be able to read about and see photos of Ronda's bullring.

Impact on Opera and Art

Opera and Art:

  1. One of the world's most famous operas emphasizes a bullfight in its final act. Can you find what this opera is called and who composed it?
  2. Can you identify some of the world's more famous bullfighting paintings and their artists?

Hint: Use the tips for performing a search on the home tab, and the Google search engine on this page to help you find information about this opera and why it's so popular.


AllMusic's "Bullfighting Music from Spain"

Interested in hearing the sounds of the bullfight (well, at least some of the popular music)? AllMusic has an MP3 download of some of the best known tunes you'd hear at a Spanish corrida.

Want to Learn More?

You might locate some of these titles in your classroom or be able to find them in your local library.

Spain : A Primary Source Cultural Guide

Festivals & Rituals of Spain

The Matador

Bullfighting: A Troubled History

On Bullfighting