Located on the western coast of the European landmass, Spain's history has been long and complex. From its earliest days as a province of Rome to its later history to one of medieval Europe's great battlegrounds, Spain has always been a land with a constantly changing identity.
Spain is one of the leading forces in the European expansion into the New World, and was also the nation that was responsible for the foundations of numerous countries. Today, it remains an important player in Europe and in the culture of an ever-growing world.
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Quick Facts about Spain
- Don Quixote, written by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, is generally considered to be the first modern novel.
- The world's oldest continually operating restaurant, El Restaurante Botín, is located in Spain.
- The country is also home to world's biggest food fight - the Tomatina festival.
- Spain is only the third-most-populous Spanish-speaking country in the world.
- It is home to the world's oldest living language, Euskera
Spain borders only three countries - France and Andorra to the north as well as Portugal to the west. While Spain does largely border the Mediterranean on the south and the east, it does also border the British holding of Gibraltar.
Spain has a physical area of about 195,124 square miles. This includes only the area on the Iberian Peninsula, of which it occupies about eighty-two percent. Spain also has holdings in Africa, the Canary Islands, and an exclave in France which are not included in this number.
Taking only its continental area into account, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe and the fourth largest country in Europe behind Russia, Ukraine, and France.
Spain's government is one that was long in flux but has been stable since the Constitution of 1978. Under this Constitution, Spain has become a Constitutional monarchy. In this system, the head of state is the King of Spain and the head of the government is the President. The legislative power rests in the hands of the bicameral legislature, composed of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
There are also several autonomous and semi-autonomous regions in Spain. These regions largely rule themselves, though they are ultimately under the authority of the crown. Significant issues often arise because of the difference in culture and governance between these autonomous regions and the main Spanish government.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What languages are spoken in Spain?
The primary language of Spain is Spanish, though that is far from the only language spoken here. Around ninety-nine percent of all people in the country speak Spanish as a first language.
There are several other languages that are tied deeply to the cultures of Spain's autonomous regions. The most common are Aranese, Catalan, Basque, and Galician. Other languages spoken by large groups include Aragonese, Asturian, and Leonese.
In the areas near the border with Portugal, many individuals tend to have some level of fluency in Portuguese. Those in tourist-friendly areas tend to have a grasp of European languages including English, German, French, and Italian.
What is the climate like?
Spain's climate is primarily described as Mediterranean. This means that the winters are mild and that summers are warm. With that said, there are several regions that have their own unique weather patterns.
The northern part of the country, for example, tends to be much rainier and milder. In the mountains, on the other hand, the temperatures dip lower and snow is common. Spain's size and varied landscape make it a land of many different climates.
What currencies are commonly accepted?
The currency of Spain is the Euro.
What is the population?
The population is approximately 46.7 Million.
What is the capital?
The capital of Spain is Madrid. Madrid is in the central part of the country, making it accessible to Barcelona, Lisbon and more.
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