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_________

country

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Spain

Capital Madrid
Continent Europe
Code +34
Currency Euro (€)
Languages Spanish , Spanish

Description

Spain is a country in southwestern Europe with some pockets of territory in the Mediterranean Sea, offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, and across the Strait of Gibraltar. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, and its insular territory includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, several small islands in the Alboran Sea, and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The Spanish territory also includes the African semi-exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñon de Vélez across the Strait of Gibraltar. The country's mainland is bordered to the south by the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea; to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second-largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth-largest country by area on the European continent. With a population exceeding 47.4 million, Spain is the sixth-most populous country in Europe, and the fourth-most populous country in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Málaga, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Bilbao.

Anatomically modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 42,000 years ago. The first cultures and peoples that developed in the current Spanish territory were Pre-Roman peoples such as the ancient Iberians, Celts, Celtiberians, Vascones, and Turdetani. Later, foreign Mediterranean peoples such as the Phoenicians and ancient Greeks developed coastal trading colonies, and the Carthaginians briefly controlled part of the Spanish Mediterranean coastline. From the year 218 BCE, with the taking of the city of Ampurias, the Roman colonization of Hispania began, and, except the Atlantic cornice, they quickly controlled the territory of present-day Spain. The Romans had driven the Carthaginians out of the Iberian peninsula by 206 BCE and divided it into two administrative provinces, Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Citerior. The Romans laid the foundations for modern Spanish culture and identity and were the birthplace of important Roman emperors such as Trajan, Hadrian, or Theodosius.

Spain remained under Roman rule until the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fourth century, which ushered in Germanic tribal confederations from Central and Northern Europe. During this period, present-day Spain was divided between different Germanic powers, including the Suevi, Alans, Vandals, and Visigoths, the latter maintaining an alliance with Rome via feeds, while part of Southern Spain belonged to the Byzantine Empire. Eventually, the Visigoths emerged as the dominant faction by the fifth century, with the Visigothic Kingdom spanning the vast majority of the Iberian Peninsula, and establishing its capital in what is now the city of Toledo. The creation of the code of laws Liber Iudiciorum by King Recceswinth during the Visigothic period deeply influenced the structural and legal bases of Spain and the survival of Roman Law after the fall of the Roman Empire.

In the early eighth century, the Visigothic Kingdom was invaded by the Umayyad Caliphate, ushering in over 700 years of Muslim rule in Southern Iberia. During this period, Al-Andalus became a major economic and intellectual center, with the city of Córdoba being among the largest and richest in Europe. Several Christian kingdoms emerged in the northern periphery of Iberia, chief among them León, Castile, Aragón, Portugal, and Navarre. Over the next seven centuries, an intermittent southward expansion of these kingdoms—metahistorical framed as a reconquest, or Reconquista—culminated with the Christian seizure of the last Muslim polity, the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, and the control of all Iberia by the Christian kingdoms in 1492. That same year, Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World on behalf of the Catholic Monarchs, whose dynastic union of the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon is usually considered emergent Spain as a unified country. During the centuries after the Reconquista, the Christian kings of Spain persecuted and expelled ethnic and religious minorities such as Jews and Muslims through the Spanish Inquisition.

From the 16th until the early 19th century, Spain ruled one of the largest empires in history. It was among the first global empires, and its immense cultural and linguistic legacy includes over 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language. Spanish, art, music, literature, and cuisine have been influential worldwide, particularly in the Americas. As a reflection of its large cultural wealth, Spain has the world's fourth-largest number of World Heritage Sites (49) and is the world's second-most visited country.

Today, Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state. It is a highly developed country and a high-income country, with the world's fourteenth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the sixteenth-largest by PPP. Spain has one of the longest life expectancies in the world at 83.5 years in 2019. It ranks, particularly high in health care quality, with its healthcare system considered to be one of the most efficient worldwide. It is a world leader in organ transplants and organ donation. Spain is a member of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Eurozone, the Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the World Trade Organization (WTO) and many other international organizations.

History

Iberia enters written records as a land populated largely by the Iberians, Basques, and Celts. Early on, its coastal areas were settled by Phoenicians who founded Western Europe's most ancient cities Cádiz and Málaga. Phoenician influence expanded as much of the Peninsula was eventually incorporated into the Carthaginian Empire, becoming a major theatre of the Punic Wars against the expanding Roman Empire. After an arduous conquest, the peninsula came fully under Roman rule. During the early Middle Ages, it came under the Visigoth rule, and then much of it was conquered by Muslim invaders from North Africa. In a process that took centuries, the small Christian kingdoms in the north gradually regained control of the peninsula. The last Muslim state fell in 1492, the same year Columbus reached the Americas. A global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe, the leading world power for one and a half centuries, and the largest overseas empire for three centuries.

Continued wars and other problems eventually led to a diminished status. The Napoleonic conflict in Spain led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire and left the country politically unstable. Spain suffered a devastating civil war in the 1930s and then came under the rule of an authoritarian government, which oversaw a period of stagnation that was followed by a surge in the growth of the economy. Eventually, democracy was restored in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Spain joined the European Union, experiencing a cultural renaissance and steady economic growth until the beginning of the 21st century, which started a new globalized world with economic and ecological challenges.

Geography

At 505,992 km2 (195,365 sq mi), Spain is the world's fifty-second largest country and Europe's fourth-largest country. It is some 47,000 km2 (18,000 sq mi) smaller than France. Mount Teide (Tenerife) is the highest mountain peak in Spain and is the third-largest volcano in the world from its base. Spain is a transcontinental country, having territory in both Europe and Africa. Spain lies between latitudes 27° and 44° N, and longitudes 19° W and 5° E.

On the west, Spain is bordered by Portugal; on the south, it is bordered by Gibraltar (a British overseas territory) and Morocco, through its exclaves in North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla, and the peninsula of Velez de la Gomera). On the northeast, along with the Pyrenees mountain range, it is bordered by France and Andorra. Along the Pyrenees in Girona, a small exclave town called Lluvia is surrounded by France. Extending to 1,214 km (754 mi), the Portugal–Spain border is the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union.

Economy

At 505,992 km2 (195,365 sq mi), Spain is the world's fifty-second largest country and Europe's fourth-largest country. It is some 47,000 km2 (18,000 sq mi) smaller than France. Mount Teide (Tenerife) is the highest mountain peak in Spain and is the third-largest volcano in the world from its base. Spain is a transcontinental country, having territory in both Europe and Africa.

Spain lies between latitudes 27° and 44° N, and longitudes 19° W and 5° E.

On the west, Spain is bordered by Portugal; on the south, it is bordered by Gibraltar (a British overseas territory) and Morocco, through its exclaves in North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla, and the peninsula of Vélez de la Gomera). On the northeast, along with the Pyrenees mountain range, it is bordered by France and Andorra. Along the Pyrenees in Girona, a small exclave town called Llívia is surrounded by France.

Extending to 1,214 km (754 mi), the Portugal–Spain border is the longest uninterrupted center-right government of former prime minister José María Aznar worked successfully to gain admission to the group of countries launching the euro in 1999. Unemployment stood at 17.1% in June 2017, below Spain's early 1990s, with an unemployment rate of over 20%. The youth unemployment rate (35% in March 2018) is extremely high compared to EU standards. Perennial weak points of Spain's economy include a large informal economy and an education system which OECD reports place among the poorest for developed countries, along with the United States.

By the mid-1990s the economy had commenced the growth that had been disrupted by the global recession of the early 1990s. The strong economic growth helped the government to reduce the government debt as a percentage of GDP and Spain's high unemployment rate began to steadily decline. With the government budget in balance and inflation under control, Spain was admitted into the Eurozone in 1999.

Since the 1990s, some Spanish companies have gained multinational status, often expanding their activities in culturally close Latin America. Spain is the second biggest foreign investor there, after the United States. Spanish companies have also expanded into Asia, especially China and India. This early global expansion is a competitive advantage over its competitors and European neighbors. The reason for this early expansion is the booming interest in the Spanish language and culture in Asia and Africa and a corporate culture that learned to take risks in unstable markets. Ad border within the European Union.

Culture

Spain is a Western country. Almost every aspect of Spanish life is permeated by its Roman heritage, making Spain one of the major Latin countries of Europe. Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism, which played a pivotal role in the country's formation and subsequent identity. Spanish art, architecture, cuisine, and music have been shaped by successive waves of foreign invaders, as well as by the country's Mediterranean climate and geography. The centuries-long colonial era globalized the Spanish language and culture, with Spain also absorbing the cultural and commercial products of its diverse empire.

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