|Kingdom of Spain
Reino de España
|Motto: "Plus Ultra" (Latin)
|Anthem: "Marcha Real" (Spanish)[note 1]
(and largest city)
|Official language(s)||Spanish[note 2]|
|Recognised regional languages||Basque, Catalan/Valencian, Galician and Occitan|
|Government||Unitary parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy|
|-||King||Juan Carlos I|
|-||Prime Minister||Mariano Rajoy|
|-||Lower House||Congress of Deputies|
|-||Traditional date||569 (ascension to the throne of Liuvigild)|
|-||Total||504,030 km2 (51st)
195,364 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||46,030,109 (27th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate|
|-||Total||$1.413 trillion (13th)|
|-||Per capita||$30,639 (29th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate|
|-||Total||$1.536 trillion (12th)|
|-||Per capita||$29,830 (27th)|
|HDI (2011)||0.878 (very high) (23rd)|
|Currency||Euro (€)[note 3] (
|Time zone||CET[note 4] (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST[note 5] (UTC+2)|
|Date formats||dd.mm.yyyy (Spanish; CE)|
|Drives on the||right|
|Internet TLD||.es[note 6]|
Spain is a country in Southern Europe. It is in the Iberian Peninsula near Portugal and Gibraltar. France and the little country of Andorra are on its northeast side, where the Pyrenees mountains are.
The people of Spain are called Spaniards. Most people there speak Spanish (in Spanish, "Castellano", from Castilla, or "Español") but there are other languages in different parts of the country. They are Catalan, Basque, and Galician, Leonese, Aragonese, Aranese Occitan and even Portuguese. The religion of most of the people in Spain is Roman Catholic.
Since 1975, Spain has had a king, who only does what the constitution allows him to. For example, the king can declare a war, but only if the Government asks him to do so. The parliament is called Las Cortes Generales, and has two bodies: "El Congreso" (The Congress) and "El Senado" (The Senate) and it is chosen by the Spanish people by voting. This kind of government is called a constitutional monarchy. The King of Spain is Juan Carlos I. The President of the executive branch of the government is Mariano Rajoy.
Spain has 17 parts called autonomous communities (this means that they can decide upon some affairs themselves). Each part has its own government.
History of Spain[change]
People have lived in Spain for a long time. There have been people living there since the Stone Age. Some of the first people to live there were Iberians and Celts, and the Phoenicians made a few cities there to get tin and silver to trade. Later, the Roman Empire controlled Spain for about five hundred years; then as the Roman Empire broke up, groups of Germanic people called Visigoths,Suebi,Alans and Vandals moved into the Iberian Peninsula and took it over.
In 711, Arabic people took over, and later groups from North Africa, called the Moors, ruled most of Spain for eight hundred years, they called the land Al-Andalus. They were Muslims, and Muslim Spain was the farthest western point of Islamic civilization. This civilization was quite advanced at architecture and urban planning. The Moors were very wealthy because they controlled the gold trade from the Ghana Empire in West Africa. They built many beautiful buildings in all the land they controlled. People can see many of their buildings still standing in cities in Andalusia, such as in Seville, Granada, and Cordoba.
Muslim Spain was multicultural and tolerant; Jews, Christians and Muslims lived side by side. There was also a large Slavic population (saqaliba) near the Mediterranean coast. Though these people were at first brought in to be slaves, many Slavic generals rose to become rulers of their own cities (taifas) for a short time. The Caliphate of Córdoba fell apart in the early 11th century. Muslim Spain was focused on learning. The greatest library system outside Baghdad was also there.
The Kingdom of León and the first European Parliament[change]
The Kingdom of León, the most important in early Spanish Middle Ages, was born in 910. This Kingdom developed the first democratic parliament (Cortes de Llión) in Europe in 1188, where the third state was represented, and developed an economic system in 1202 where the monetary system was fixed. After 1301, León had the same King as the Kingdom of Castile, and kept as an independent territory until 1833, when Spain was divided into regions and provinces.
In the year 1492, they took the last part of Spain that still belonged to the Moors, Granada. Boabdil, the last Moorish King of Granada, surrendered to King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile on 2 January 1492. It was Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile who now ruled all of Spain.
Before this, there were a number of Christian countries in what is now called Spain. Two of these countries, Castile and Aragon, came together when Ferdinand II of Aragon married the queen Isabella of Castile. It is very important to know that the King ruled as much as the Queen.
When other European sailors explored, like Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, they found out that there were two continents there - North America and South America. Spain sent many soldiers and businessmen to North and South America, and they took over very large parts of those two continents. This empire did not make Spain a rich country, for most of the money had to be spent in wars. Many of these wars were fought against other European countries who were trying to take over parts of the Americas.
Meanwhile, at home, the Muslim manuscripts had been either burnt or taken to other countries. Jews had also been expelled from Spain. Some Jews remained but they had to become Christians. Among the few things kept and respected in Spain were in music: harmony and stringed instruments. The buildings that had been built by the Moors were kept, and many Muslim religious buildings (mosques) were turned into churches. Some Jewish religious buildings were also turned into churches. Many Arab words became part of the Spanish Language.
16th and 17 century[change]
The grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella, Charles, at the death of his grandfather inherited Castille and Aragon, he also inherited many territories at the death of his grandfather Maximilian I of Austria. Charles received from Maximilian the Austria state and the territories of Burgundy. He was named Charles I in Spain, but he was elected as the emperor of the Sacred German Empire, and was called Charles V in this territory. This made the empire bigger than ever. However, it was not a single country, but many independent countries with a single King. At first many Spaniards did not want Charles be their king, so they fought against him. However, he won.
In the 18th century some of the parts of that large empire became their own countries, or were taken over by new countries, such as the United States of America.
There was not much peace in Spain during the first part of the 20th century. Some Spaniards tried to set up a government chosen by the people (a democracy), and they made Alphonse XIII leave the country. However, in 1936, two different groups of Spaniards went to war over whether the government should be a democracy (although those on the side of the Republic were largely socialist or anarchist), or take orders from one person. In 1939, those who wanted democracy were defeated, and a nationalist dictator named Francisco Franco took over the government.
Francisco Franco died on November 20. He had decided that Spain should have a monarchy again, and he chose Juan Carlos, the grandson of Juan of Bourbon who had been forced to leave the country, to be king. But the king did not rule as a dictator; instead, he chose to set up a democracy.
On February 23rd, 1981 a group of people who had supported the now dead General Franco tried to take control of the democratic Spanish Parliament by force, they entered the building and fired guns in the air. It was seen live on Spanish television and there was widespread fear that this might be the start of another civil war. However the king, Juan Carlos, quickly appeared on television and broadcast to the nation that they should remain calm. The persons responsible for the attempt to take over the country were arrested.
Now Spain is a modern democratic country, and does business with many countries around the world. It is the eighth largest economy in the world and is an important part of the European Union.
Ancient faiths in Spain were largely pagan, and the 20th century saw a revival of these ancient faiths through neopaganism including Wicca.[source?] In the 21st century the largest faith was the Roman Catholic church. Spanish mystic Teresa of Ávila is an important figure within Catholicism. The second largest Christian group is Orthodox. Other religions represented include Muslim, Baha'i Buddhists, Jain, Zoroastrianism and Unitarian Universalism. The country also has large atheist and agnostic communities.
Geography of Spain[change]
The middle of Spain is a high, dry, flat land called La Meseta. In La Meseta it can be very hot in the summer and cold or very cold in the winter. Spain also has many mountain ranges. The Mount Teide (Tenerife, Canary Islands), the highest mountain of Spain and the islands of the Atlantic (it is the third largest volcano in the world from its base). In the north there is a range of mountains called Los Picos de Europa (The European Peaks). Here it is very cold in winter with a lot of snow but with gentle warm summers. In the south-east of the country is a range of mountains called La Sierra Nevada (The Snowy Mountains). This range of mountains contains the highest mountain in mainland Spain, Mulacen, at 2952 metres. La Sierra Nevada is very popular in winter for it winter sports, especially skiing. Snow remains on its peaks throughout the year. On the south coast, the weather is warm and "temperate" - temperate weather is neither very hot nor very cold. Since Spain is in the south of Europe, it is very sunny. Many people from Northern Europe take their vacations in Spain, enjoying its beaches and cities.
In Spain, many people live in cities or close to cities. The ten biggest city areas are:
|Pos.||City area||Region||Prov.||population (city + area)|
|9||Las Palmas de Gran Canaria||Canarias||Las Palmas de Gran Canaria||640,000|
- "Official Population Figures of Spain. Population on the 1 April 2010". Instituto Nacional de Estadística de España. http://www.ine.es/jaxiBD/tabla.do?per=01&type=db&divi=EPOB&idtab=2. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
- "Spain". International Monetary Fund. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/02/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2009&ey=2016&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=184&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=&pr1.x=48&pr1.y=14. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
- "CIA World Factbook". https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html. Retrieved 13 August 2008.
- "Human Development Report 2011". United Nations. 2011. http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2011_EN_Table1.pdf. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
- Also serves as the Royal anthem
- In some autonomous communities, Catalan, Valencian, Galician, Basque and Aranese (Occitan) are co-official languages. Aragonese, Asturian and Leonese have some degree of official recognition
- Prior to 1999 (by law, 2002) : Spanish Peseta.
- Except in the Canary Islands, which observe WET (UTC) in winter.
- Except in the Canary Islands, which observe WEST (UTC+1) in summer.
- The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other European Union member states. Also, the .cat domain is used in Catalan-speaking territories.
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