This paper adopts an unbiased approach to the evolution of Spanish foreign trade (1869–1999). It aims to characterize the long-run performance of the Spanish external sector by applying a statistical analysis to the new series presented by Prados (2003). We identify two well-defined, clearly distinguished stages separated by a period of transition. The first stage, until 1935, was one of unpredictable trade and little connection with national income. The transition, a volatile period, lasted until 1960. This year marks the beginning of a second stage, characterized by a mature, predictable trade strongly linked with income.