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The origins of the Roman name Hispania, and the modern España, are uncertain, although the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most widely accepted etymology is a Levant-Phoenician one. There have been a number of accounts and hypotheses of its origin:
Jesús Luis Cunchillos [es] argued that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged". It may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean; Roman coins struck in the region from the reign of Hadrian show a female figure with a rabbit at her feet, and Strabo called it the "land of the rabbits". The word in question (compare modern Hebrew Shafan) actually means "Hyrax", possibly due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals.
Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia, Ἑσπερία in Greek) and Spain, being still further west, as Hesperia ultima.
There is the claim that "Hispania" derives from the Basque word Ezpanna meaning "edge" or "border", another reference to the fact that the Iberian Peninsula constitutes the southwest corner of the European continent.
Two 15th-century Spanish Jewish scholars, Don Isaac Abravanel and Solomon ibn Verga, gave an explanation now considered folkloric. Both men wrote in two different published works that the first Jews to reach Spain were brought by ship by Phiros who was confederate with the king of Babylon when he laid siege to Jerusalem. Phiros was a Grecian by birth, but who had been given a kingdom in Spain. Phiros became related by marriage to Espan, the nephew of king Heracles, who also ruled over a kingdom in Spain. Heracles later renounced his throne in preference for his native Greece, leaving his kingdom to his nephew, Espan, from whom the country of España (Spain) took its name. Based upon their testimonies, this eponym would have already been in use in Spain by c. 350 BC.
Archaeological research at Atapuerca indicates the Iberian Peninsula was populated by hominids 1.2 million years ago. In Atapuerca fossils have been found of the earliest known hominins in Europe, Homo antecessor. Modern humans first arrived in Iberia, from the north on foot, about 35,000 years ago.[failed verification] The best known artefacts of these prehistoric human settlements are the famous paintings in the Altamira cave of Cantabria in northern Iberia, which were created from 35,600 to 13,500 BCE by Cro-Magnon. Archaeological and genetic evidence suggests that the Iberian Peninsula acted as one of several major refugia from which northern Europe was repopulated following the end of the last ice age.
The largest groups inhabiting the Iberian Peninsula before the Roman conquest were the Iberians and the Celts. The Iberians inhabited the Mediterranean side of the peninsula, from the northeast to the southeast. The Celts inhabited much of the interior and Atlantic side of the peninsula, from the northwest to the southwest. Basques occupied the western area of the Pyrenees mountain range and adjacent areas, the Phoenician-influenced Tartessians culture flourished in the southwest and the Lusitanians and Vettones occupied areas in the central west. Several cities were founded along the coast by Phoenicians, and trading outposts and colonies were established by Greeks in the East. Eventually, Phoenician-Carthaginians expanded inland towards the meseta; however, due to the bellicose inland tribes, the Carthaginians got settled in the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula.
During the Second Punic War, roughly between 210 and 205 BCE the expanding Roman Republic captured Carthaginian trading colonies along the Mediterranean coast. Although it took the Romans nearly two centuries to complete the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, they retained control of it for over six centuries. Roman rule was bound together by law, language, and the Roman road.
The cultures of the pre-Roman populations were gradually Romanised (Latinised) at different rates depending on what part of the peninsula they lived in, with local leaders being admitted into the Roman aristocratic class. Hispania served as a granary for the Roman market, and its harbours exported gold, wool, olive oil, and wine. Agricultural production increased with the introduction of irrigation projects, some of which remain in use. Emperors Hadrian, Trajan, Theodosius I, and the philosopher Seneca were born in Hispania. Christianity was introduced into Hispania in the 1st century CE and it became popular in the cities in the 2nd century CE. Most of Spain's present languages and religion, and the basis of its laws, originate from this period. In the late 2nd century (starting in 170 CE) incursions of North-African Mauri in the province of Baetica took place.
The GermanicSuebi and Vandals, together with the SarmatianAlans entered the peninsula after 409, henceforth weakening the Western Roman Empire's jurisdiction over Hispania. These tribes had crossed the Rhine in early 407 and ravaged Gaul. The Suebi established a kingdom in north-western Iberia whereas the Vandals established themselves in the south of the peninsula by 420 before crossing over to North Africa in 429. As the western empire disintegrated, the social and economic base became greatly simplified: but even in modified form, the successor regimes maintained many of the institutions and laws of the late empire, including Christianity and assimilation to the evolving Roman culture.
The Byzantines established an occidental province, Spania, in the south, with the intention of reviving Roman rule throughout Iberia. Eventually, however, Hispania was reunited under Visigothic rule. These Visigoths, or Western Goths, after sacking Rome under the leadership of Alaric (410), turned towards the Iberian Peninsula, with Athaulf for their leader, and occupied the northeastern portion. Wallia extended his rule over most of the peninsula, keeping the Suebians shut up in Galicia. Theodoric I took part, with the Romans and Franks, in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, where Attila was routed. Euric (466), who put an end to the last remnants of Roman power in the peninsula, may be considered the first monarch of Spain, though the Suebians still maintained their independence in Galicia. Euric was also the first king to give written laws to the Visigoths. In the following reigns the Catholic kings of France assumed the role of protectors of the Hispano-Roman Catholics against the Arianism of the Visigoths, and in the wars which ensued Alaric II and Amalaric died.
Athanagild, having risen against King Agila, called in the Byzantines and, in payment for the succour they gave him, ceded to them the maritime places of the southeast (554). Liuvigild restored the political unity of the peninsula, subduing the Suebians, but the religious divisions of the country, reaching even the royal family, brought on a civil war. St. Hermengild, the king's son, putting himself at the head of the Catholics, was defeated and taken prisoner, and suffered martyrdom for rejecting communion with the Arians. Recared, son of Liuvigild and brother of St. Hermengild, added religious unity to the political unity achieved by his father, accepting the Catholic faith in the Third Council of Toledo (589). The religious unity established by this council was the basis of that fusion of Goths with Hispano-Romans which produced the Spanish nation. Sisebut and Suintila completed the expulsion of the Byzantines from Spain.
Intermarriage between Visigoths and Hispano-Romans was prohibited, though in practice it could not be entirely prevented and was eventually legalised by Liuvigild. The Spanish-Gothic scholars such as Braulio of Zaragoza and Isidore of Seville played an important role in keeping the classical Greek and Roman culture. Isidore was one of the most influential clerics and philosophers in the Middle Ages in Europe, and his theories were also vital to the conversion of the Visigothic Kingdom from an Arian domain to a Catholic one in the Councils of Toledo. Isidore created the first western encyclopedia which had a huge impact during the Middle Ages.
From 711 to 718, as part of the expansion of the Umayyad Caliphate, nearly all of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Muslim armies from across the Strait of Gibraltar, resulting in the collapse of the Visigothic Kingdom. Only a small area in the mountainous north of the peninsula stood out of the territory seized during the initial invasion. The Kingdom of Asturias-León consolidated upon this pocket of territory. Other Christian kingdoms such as Navarre and Aragon in the mountainous north eventually surged upon the consolidation of counties of the Carolingian Marca Hispanica. For several centuries, the fluctuating frontier between the Muslim and Christian controlled areas of the peninsula was along the Ebro and Douro valleys.
Under Islamic law, Christians and Jews were given the subordinate status of dhimmi. This status permitted Christians and Jews to practice their religions as People of the Book but they were required to pay a special tax and had legal and social rights inferior to those of Muslims.
Conversion to Islam proceeded at an increasing pace. The muladíes (Muslims of ethnic Iberian origin) are believed to have formed the majority of the population of Al-Andalus by the end of the 10th century.
A series of Viking incursions raided the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula in the 9th and 10th centuries.
Córdoba, the capital of the caliphate since Abd-ar-Rahman III, was the largest, richest and most sophisticated city in western Europe. Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange flourished. Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa. Some important philosophers at the time were Averroes, Ibn Arabi and Maimonides. The Romanised cultures of the Iberian Peninsula interacted with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, giving the region a distinctive culture. Outside the cities, where the vast majority lived, the land ownership system from Roman times remained largely intact as Muslim leaders rarely dispossessed landowners and the introduction of new crops and techniques led to an expansion of agriculture introducing new produces which originally came from Asia or the former territories of the Roman Empire.
In the 11th century, the Caliphate of Córdoba collapsed, fracturing into a series of petty kingdoms (Taifas), often subject to the payment of a form of protection money (Parias) to the Northern Christian kingdoms, which otherwise undertook a southward territorial expansion. The capture of the strategic city of Toledo in 1085 marked a significant shift in the balance of power in favour of the Christian kingdoms. The arrival from North Africa of the Islamic ruling sects of the Almoravids and the Almohads achieved temporary unity upon the Muslim-ruled territory, with a stricter, less tolerant application of Islam, and partially reversed some Christian territorial gains.
The Kingdom of León was the strongest Christian kingdom for centuries. In 1188 the first modern parliamentary session[clarification needed] in Europe was held in León (Cortes of León). The Kingdom of Castile, formed from Leonese territory, was its successor as strongest kingdom. The kings and the nobility fought for power and influence in this period. The example of the Roman emperors influenced the political objective of the Crown, while the nobles benefited from feudalism.
Muslim strongholds in the Guadalquivir Valley such as Córdoba (1236) and Seville (1248) fell to Castile in the 13th century. The County of Barcelona and the Kingdom of Aragon entered in a dynastic union and gained territory and power in the Mediterranean. In 1229 Majorca was conquered, so was Valencia in 1238. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the North-African Marinids established some enclaves around the Strait of Gibraltar.
Miniature from the 13th-century Libro de los Juegos depicting a Jew (left) and a Moor (right) playing chess.
From the mid 13th century, literature and philosophy started to flourish again in the Christian peninsular kingdoms, based on Roman and Gothic traditions. An important philosopher from this time is Ramon Llull. Abraham Cresques was a prominent Jewish cartographer. Roman law and its institutions were the model for the legislators. The king Alfonso X of Castile focused on strengthening this Roman and Gothic past, and also on linking the Iberian Christian kingdoms with the rest of medieval European Christendom. Alfonso worked for being elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and published the Siete Partidas code. The Toledo School of Translators is the name that commonly describes the group of scholars who worked together in the city of Toledo during the 12th and 13th centuries, to translate many of the philosophical and scientific works from Classical Arabic, Ancient Greek, and Ancient Hebrew.
The 13th century also witnessed the Crown of Aragon, centred in Spain's north east, expand its reach across islands in the Mediterranean, to Sicily and Naples. Around this time the universities of Palencia (1212/1263) and Salamanca (1218/1254) were established. The Black Death of 1348 and 1349 devastated Spain.
As in the rest of Europe during the Late Middle Ages, antisemitism greatly increased during the 14th century in the Christian kingdoms. (A key event in that regard was the Black Death, as Jews were accused of poisoning the waters.) There were mass killings in Aragon in the mid-14th century, and 12,000 Jews were killed in Toledo. In 1391, Christian mobs went from town to town throughout Castile and Aragon, killing an estimated 50,000 Jews.[excessive citations] Women and children were sold as slaves to Muslims, and many synagogues were converted into churches. According to Hasdai Crescas, about 70 Jewish communities were destroyed.
This period saw a contrast in landowning characteristics between the western and north-western territories in Andalusia, where the nobility and the religious orders succeeded into the creation of large latifundia entitled to them, whereas in the Kingdom of Granada (eastern Andalusia), a Crown-auspiciated distribution of the land to medium and small farmers took place.
Late 16th-century Seville, the harbor enjoying the exclusive right to trade with the New World.
In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of their monarchs, Isabella I and Ferdinand II, respectively. 1478 commenced the completion of the conquest of the Canary Islands.
In 1492, Jews were forced to choose between conversion to Catholicism or facing expulsion. As a result, as many as 200,000 Jews were expelled from Castile and Aragon. This was followed by expulsions in 1493 in Aragonese Sicily and Portugal in 1497. The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance towards Muslims, for a few years before Islam was outlawed in 1502 in Castile and 1527 in Aragon, leading the remaining Muslim population to become nominally Christian Moriscos. About four decades after the War of the Alpujarras (1568–1571), a significant proportion of the moriscos were expelled, settling primarily in North Africa. From 1609 to 1614, over 300,000 Moriscos were sent on ships to North Africa and other locations, and, of this figure, around 50,000 died resisting the expulsion, and 60,000 died on the journey.
The year 1492 also marked the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World, during a voyage funded by Isabella. Columbus's first voyage crossed the Atlantic and reached the Caribbean Islands, beginning the European exploration and conquest of the Americas, although Columbus remained convinced that he had reached the Orient. Large numbers of indigenous Americans died in battle against the Spaniards during the conquest, while more died from various new Eurasian diseases that travelled more quickly than the Spanish conquerors. The death toll during the initial period of Spanish conquest, from Columbus's initial landing until the mid 16th century, is estimated as high as 70 million indigenous people out of a population of 80 million, as imported diseases such as smallpox, measles, influenza, and typhus decimated the pre-Columbian population. Disease killed between 50% and 95% of the indigenous population. Some scholars have described the Spanish conquest during this period as the largest genocide in history.
The Spanish colonisation of the Americas started with the colonisation of the Caribbean. It was followed by the conquest of powerful pre-Columbian polities in Central Mexico and the Pacific Coast of South America. Miscegenation was the rule between the native and the Spanish cultures and people. An expedition sponsored by the Spanish crown completed the first voyage around the world in human history, the Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation. The tornaviaje or return route from the Philippines to Mexico made possible the Manila galleon trading route. The Spanish encountered Islam in Southeast Asia and in order to incorporate the Philippines, Spanish expeditions organised from newly Christianised Mexico had invaded the Philippine territories of the Sultanate of Brunei. The Spanish considered the war with the Muslims of Brunei and the Philippines, a repeat of the Reconquista.
A centralisation of royal power ensued in the Early Modern Period at the expense of local nobility, and the word España, whose root is the ancient name Hispania, began to be commonly used to designate the whole of the two kingdoms.[failed verification][dubious – discuss]
With their wide-ranging political, legal, religious and military reforms, the Hispanic Monarchy emerged as a world power.
The unification of the crowns of Aragon and Castile by the marriage of their sovereigns laid the basis for modern Spain and the Spanish Empire, although each kingdom of Spain remained a separate country socially, politically, legally, and in currency and language.
Through exploration and conquest or royal marriage alliances and inheritance, the Spanish Empire expanded across vast areas in the Americas, the Indo-Pacific, Africa as well as the European continent (including holdings in the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and the Franche-Comté). The first circumnavigation of the world was carried out in 1519–1521. The so-called Age of Discovery featured explorations by sea and by land, the opening-up of new trade routes across oceans, conquests and the beginnings of European colonialism. Precious metals, spices, luxuries, and previously unknown plants brought to the metropole played a leading part in transforming the European understanding of the globe. The cultural efflorescence witnessed during this period is now referred to as the Spanish Golden Age. The expansion of the empire caused immense upheaval in the Americas as the collapse of societies and empires and new diseases from Europe devastated American indigenous populations. The rise of humanism, the Counter-Reformation and new geographical discoveries and conquests raised issues that were addressed by the intellectual movement now known as the School of Salamanca, which developed the first modern theories of what are now known as international law and human rights. Juan Luis Vives was another prominent humanist during this period.
Spain's 16th-century maritime supremacy was demonstrated by the victory over the Ottomans at Lepanto in 1571, and then after the setback of the Spanish Armada in 1588, in a series of victories against England in the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1604. However, during the middle decades of the 17th century Spain's maritime power went into a long decline with mounting defeats against the United Provinces and then England; that by the 1660s it was struggling grimly to defend its overseas possessions from pirates and privateers.
The Protestant Reformation dragged the kingdom ever more deeply into the mire of religiously charged wars. The result was a country forced into ever-expanding military efforts across Europe and in the Mediterranean. By the middle decades of a war- and plague-ridden 17th-century Europe, the Spanish Habsburgs had enmeshed the country in continent-wide religious-political conflicts. These conflicts drained it of resources and undermined the economy generally. Spain managed to hold on to most of the scattered Habsburg empire, and help the imperial forces of the Holy Roman Empire reverse a large part of the advances made by Protestant forces, but it was finally forced to recognise the separation of Portugal and the United Provinces, and eventually suffered some serious military reverses to France in the latter stages of the immensely destructive, Europe-wide Thirty Years' War. In the latter half of the 17th century, Spain went into a gradual decline, during which it surrendered several small territories to France and England; however, it maintained and enlarged its vast overseas empire, which remained intact until the beginning of the 19th century.
The decline culminated in a controversy over succession to the throne which consumed the first years of the 18th century. The War of the Spanish Succession was a wide-ranging international conflict combined with a civil war, and was to cost the kingdom its European possessions and its position as one of the leading powers on the Continent.
During this war, a new dynasty originating in France, the Bourbons, was installed. The Crowns of Castile and Aragon had been long united only by the Monarchy and the common institution of the Inquisition's Holy Office. A number of reform policies (the so-called Bourbon Reforms) were pursued by the Monarchy with the overarching goal of centralized authority and administrative uniformity. They included the abolishment of many of the old regional privileges and laws, as well as the customs barrier between the Crowns of Aragon and Castile in 1717, followed by the introduction of new property taxes in the Aragonese kingdoms.
The 18th century saw a gradual recovery and an increase in prosperity through much of the empire. The predominant economic policy was an interventionist one, and the State also pursued policies aiming towards infrastructure development as well as the abolition of internal customs and the reduction of export tariffs. Projects of agricultural colonisation with new settlements took place in the south of Mainland Spain.Enlightenment ideas began to gain ground among some of the kingdom's elite and monarchy.
Ferdinand VII swears on the 1812 Constitution before the Cortes in 1820
In 1793, Spain went to war against the revolutionary new French Republic as a member of the first Coalition. The subsequent War of the Pyrenees polarised the country in a reaction against the gallicised elites and following defeat in the field, peace was made with France in 1795 at the Peace of Basel in which Spain lost control over two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. In 1807, a secret treaty between Napoleon and the unpopular prime minister led to a new declaration of war against Britain and Portugal. French troops entered the country to invade Portugal but instead occupied Spain's major fortresses. The Spanish king abdicated and a puppet kingdom satellite to the French Empire was installed with Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte as king.
The 2 May 1808 revolt was one of many uprisings across the country against the French occupation. These revolts marked the beginning of a devastating war of independence against the Napoleonic regime.
During the war, in 1810, a revolutionary body, the Cortes of Cádiz, was assembled to co-ordinate the effort against the Bonapartist regime and to prepare a constitution. It met as one body, and its members represented the entire Spanish empire. In 1812, a constitution for universal representation under a constitutional monarchy was declared, but after the fall of the Bonapartist regime, the Spanish king dismissed the Cortes Generales, set on ruling as an absolute monarch.
The Napoleonic War left Spain economically ruined, deeply divided and politically unstable. In the 1830s and 1840s, Carlism (a reactionary legitimist movement supportive of an alternative Bourbon branch), fought against the government forces supportive of Queen Isabella II's dynastic rights in the Carlist Wars. Government forces prevailed, but the conflict between progressives and moderates ended in a weak early constitutional period. The 1868 Glorious Revolution was followed by the 1868–1874 progressive Sexenio Democrático (including the short-lived First Spanish Republic), which yielded to a stable monarchic period, the Restoration (1875–1931), a rigid bipartisan regime underpinned by the turnismo (the prearranged rotation of government control between liberals and conservatives) and the form of political representation at the countryside (based on clientelism) known as caciquismo [es].
In the late 19th century nationalist movements arose in the Philippines and Cuba. In 1895 and 1896 the Cuban War of Independence and the Philippine Revolution broke out and eventually the United States became involved. The Spanish–American War was fought in the spring of 1898 and resulted in Spain losing the last of its once vast colonial empire outside of North Africa. El Desastre (the Disaster), as the war became known in Spain, gave added impetus to the Generation of '98 who were analyzing the country.
Although the period around the turn of the century was one of increasing prosperity, the 20th century brought little social peace; Spain played a minor part in the scramble for Africa, with the colonisation of Western Sahara, Spanish Morocco and Spanish Guinea. It remained neutral during World War I. The heavy losses suffered by the colonial troops in conflicts in northern Morocco against Riffians forces brought discredit to the government and undermined the monarchy.
Political corruption and repression weakened the democratic system of the constitutional monarchy of a two-parties system. The July 1909 Tragic Week events and repression exemplified the social instability of the time.
After a period of Crown-supported dictatorship from 1923 to 1931, the first elections since 1923, largely understood as a plebiscite on Monarchy, took place: the 12 April 1931 municipal elections. These gave a resounding victory to the Republican-Socialist candidacies in large cities and provincial capitals, with a majority of monarchist councilors in rural areas. The king left the country and the proclamation of the Republic on 14 April ensued, with the formation of a provisional government.
A constitution for the country was passed in October 1931 following the June 1931 Constituent general election, and a series of cabinets presided by Manuel Azaña supported by republican parties and the PSOE followed. In the election held in 1933 the right triumphed and in 1936, the left. During the Second Republic there was a great political and social upheaval, marked by a sharp radicalization of the left and the right. Instances of political violence during this period included the burning of churches, the 1932 failed coup d'état led by José Sanjurjo, the Revolution of 1934 and numerous attacks against rival political leaders. On the other hand, it is also during the Second Republic when important reforms to modernize the country were initiated: a democratic constitution, agrarian reform, restructuring of the army, political decentralization and women's right to vote.
The civil war was viciously fought and there were many atrocities committed by all sides. The war claimed the lives of over 500,000 people and caused the flight of up to a half-million citizens from the country. On 1 April 1939, five months before the beginning of World War II, the rebel side led by Franco emerged victorious, imposing a dictatorship over the whole country. Thousands of men and women were imprisoned after the civil war in Francoist concentration camps, with approximately 367,000 to 500,000 prisoners being held in 50 camps or prisons.
In 1962, a group of politicians involved in the opposition to Franco's regime inside the country and in exile met in the congress of the European Movement in Munich, where they made a resolution in favour of democracy.
In the Basque Country, moderate Basque nationalism coexisted with a radical nationalist movement led by the armed organisation ETA until the latter's dissolution in May 2018. The group was formed in 1959 during Franco's rule but had continued to wage its violent campaign even after the restoration of democracy and the return of a large measure of regional autonomy.
On 23 February 1981, rebel elements among the security forces seized the Cortes in an attempt to impose a military-backed government. King Juan Carlos took personal command of the military and successfully ordered the coup plotters, via national television, to surrender.
On 1 January 2002, Spain fully adopted the euro, and Spain experienced strong economic growth, well above the EU average during the early 2000s. However, well-publicised concerns issued by many economic commentators at the height of the boom warned that extraordinary property prices and a high foreign trade deficit were likely to lead to a painful economic collapse.
In 2002, the Prestige oil spill occurred with big ecological consequences along Spain's Atlantic coastline. In 2003 José María Aznar supported US president George W. Bush in the Iraq War, and a strong movement against war rose in Spanish society. In March 2004 a local Islamist terrorist group inspired by Al-Qaeda carried out the largest terrorist attack in Western European history when they killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800 others by bombing commuter trains in Madrid. Though initial suspicions focused on the Basque terrorist group ETA, evidence of Islamist involvement soon emerged. Because of the proximity of the 2004 Spanish general election, the issue of responsibility quickly became a political controversy, with the main competing parties PP and PSOE exchanging accusations over the handling of the incident. The elections PSOE won the election, led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
In the early 2000s, the proportion of Spain's foreign born population increased rapidly during its economic boom but then declined due to the financial crisis. In 2005, the Spanish government legalised same sex marriage, becoming the third country worldwide to do so. Decentralisation was supported with much resistance of Constitutional Court and conservative opposition, so did gender politics like quotas or the law against gender violence. Government talks with ETA happened, and the group announced its permanent cease of violence in 2010.
Demonstration against the crisis and high youth unemployment in Madrid, 15 May 2011
In October 2017 a Catalan independence referendum was held and the Catalan parliament voted to unilaterally declare independence from Spain to form a Catalan Republic on the day the Spanish Senate was discussing approving direct rule over Catalonia as called for by the Spanish Prime Minister. On the same day the Senate granted the power to impose direct rule and Rajoy dissolved the Catalan parliament and called a new election. No country recognised Catalonia as a separate state.
The Csa zone is associated to areas with hot summers. It is predominant in the Mediterranean and Southern Atlantic coast and inland throughout Andalusia, Extremadura and much, if not most, of the centre of the country. The Csa zone covers climatic zones with both warm and cool winters which are considered extremely different from each other at a local level, reason for which Köppen classification is often eschewed within Spain. Local climatic maps generally divide the Mediterranean zone (which covers most of the country) between warm-winter and cool-winter zones, rather than according to summer temperatures.
The Csb zone has warm rather than hot summers, and extends to additional cool-winter areas not typically associated with a Mediterranean climate, such as much of central and northern-central of Spain (e.g. western Castile–León, northeastern Castilla-La Mancha and northern Madrid) and into much rainier areas (notably Galicia). Note areas with substantial summer rainfall such as Galicia are classed as oceanic.
The semi-arid climate (BSk, BSh), is predominant in the southeastern quarter of the country, but is also widespread in other areas of Spain. It covers most of the Region of Murcia, southern Valencia and eastern Andalusia. Further to the north, it is predominant in the upper and mid reaches of the Ebro valley, which crosses southern Navarre, central Aragon and western Catalonia. It also is found in Madrid, Extremadura, Castilla-La Mancha, and some locations of western Andalusia. The dry season extends beyond the summer and average temperature depends on altitude and latitude.
The oceanic climate (Cfb), located in the northern quarter of the country, especially in the Atlantic region (Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias, and partly Galicia and Castile–León). Additionally it is also found in northern Navarre, in most highlands areas along the Iberian System and in the Pyrenean valleys, where a humid subtropical variant (Cfa) also occurs. Winter and summer temperatures are influenced by the ocean, and have no seasonal drought.
The fauna presents a wide diversity that is due in large part to the geographical position of the Iberian peninsula between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and between Africa and Eurasia, and the great diversity of habitats and biotopes, the result of a considerable variety of climates and well differentiated regions.
The vegetation of Spain is varied due to several factors including the diversity of the terrain, the climate and latitude. Spain includes different phytogeographic regions, each with its own floral characteristics resulting largely from the interaction of climate, topography, soil type and fire, and biotic factors. The country had a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 4.23/10, ranking it 130th globally out of 172 countries.
Within the European territory, Spain has the largest number of plant species (7,600 vascular plants) of all European countries.
In Spain there are 17,804 million trees and an average of 284 million more grow each year.
As a result, Spain is now composed of 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities with varying degrees of autonomy thanks to its Constitution, which nevertheless explicitly states the indivisible unity of the Spanish nation. The constitution also specifies that Spain has no state religion and that all are free to practice and believe as they wish.
The Spanish administration approved the Gender Equality Act in 2007 aimed at furthering equality between genders in Spanish political and economic life. According to Inter-Parliamentary Union data as of 1 September 2018, 137 of the 350 members of the Congress were women (39.1%), while in the Senate, there were 101 women out of 266 (39.9%), placing Spain 16th on their list of countries ranked by proportion of women in the lower (or single) House. The Gender Empowerment Measure of Spain in the United Nations Human Development Report is 0.794, 12th in the world.
The legislative branch is made up of the Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados), a lower house with 350 members, elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms, and the Senate (Senado), an upper house with 259 seats of which 208 are directly elected by popular vote, using a limited voting method, and the other 51 appointed by the regional legislatures to also serve four-year terms.
The executive branch consists of a Council of Ministers presided over by the Prime Minister, who is nominated as candidate by the monarch after holding consultations with representatives from the different parliamentary groups, voted in by the members of the lower house during an investiture session and then formally appointed by the monarch.
The Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers and the rest of ministers convene at the Council of Ministers.
Spain is organisationally structured as a so-called Estado de las Autonomías ("State of Autonomies"); it is one of the most decentralised countries in Europe, along with Switzerland, Germany and Belgium; for example, all autonomous communities have their own elected parliaments, governments, public administrations, budgets, and resources. Health and education systems among others are managed by the Spanish communities, and in addition, the Basque Country and Navarre also manage their own public finances based on foral provisions. In Catalonia, the Basque Country, Navarre and the Canary Islands, a full-fledged autonomous police corps replaces some of the State police functions (see Mossos d'Esquadra, Ertzaintza, Policía Foral/Foruzaingoa and Policía Canaria).
As a member of NATO since 1982, Spain has established itself as a participant in multilateral international security activities. Spain's EU membership represents an important part of its foreign policy. Even on many international issues beyond western Europe, Spain prefers to coordinate its efforts with its EU partners through the European political co-operation mechanisms.[vague]
Spain has maintained its special relations with Hispanic America and the Philippines. Its policy emphasises the concept of an Ibero-American community, essentially the renewal of the concept of "Hispanidad" or "Hispanismo", as it is often referred to in English, which has sought to link the Iberian Peninsula with Hispanic America through language, commerce, history and culture. It is fundamentally "based on shared values and the recovery of democracy."
The legal situation concerning Gibraltar was settled in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht, in which Spain ceded the territory in perpetuity to the British Crown stating that, should the British abandon this post, it would be offered to Spain first. Since the 1940s Spain has called for the return of Gibraltar. The overwhelming majority of Gibraltarians strongly oppose this, along with any proposal of shared sovereignty. UN resolutions call on the United Kingdom and Spain to reach an agreement over the status of Gibraltar.
The Spanish claim makes a distinction between the isthmus that connects the Rock to the Spanish mainland on the one hand, and the Rock and city of Gibraltar on the other. While the Rock and city were ceded by the Treaty of Utrecht, Spain asserts that the "occupation of the isthmus is illegal and against the principles of International Law". The United Kingdom relies on de facto arguments of possession by prescription in relation to the isthmus, as there has been "continuous possession over a long period".
Another dispute surrounds the Savage Islands, which Spain acknowledges to be part of Portugal. However, Spain claims that they are rocks rather than islands, and therefore Spain does not accept the Portuguese Exclusive Economic Zone (200 nautical miles) generated by the islands, while acknowledging the Selvagens as possessing territorial waters (12 nautical miles). On 5 July 2013, Spain sent a letter to the UN expressing these views.
Spain claims sovereignty over the Perejil Island, a small, uninhabited rocky islet located in the South shore of the Strait of Gibraltar. The island lies 250 metres (820 ft) just off the coast of Morocco, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Ceuta and 13.5 kilometres (8.4 mi) from mainland Spain. Its sovereignty is disputed between Spain and Morocco. It was the subject of an armed incident between the two countries in 2002. The incident ended when both countries agreed to return to the status quo ante which existed prior to the Moroccan occupation of the island. The islet is now deserted and without any sign of sovereignty.
Besides the Perejil Island, the Spanish-held territories claimed by other countries are two: Morocco claims the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla and the plazas de soberanía islets off the northern coast of Africa. Portugal does not recognise Spain's sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza which was annexed by Spain in 1801 after the War of the Oranges. The Portuguese stance is that the territory is de iure Portuguese territory and de facto Spanish.
The armed forces of Spain are known as the Spanish Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Españolas). Their commander-in-chief is the King of Spain, Felipe VI.
The next military authorities in line are the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence. The fourth military authority of the State is the Chief of the Defence Staff (JEMAD). The Defence Staff (Estado Mayor de la Defensa) assists the JEMAD as auxiliary body.
WorldPride Madrid 2017. A summit on LGBTI human rights took place at the same time as World Pride celebrations.
The Spanish Constitution of 1978 "protect all Spaniards and all the peoples of Spain in the exercise of human rights, their cultures and traditions, languages and institutions".
According to Amnesty International (AI), government investigations of alleged police abuses are often lengthy and punishments were light. Violence against women was a problem, which the Government took steps to address.
Spain provides one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world for its LGBT community. Among the countries studied by Pew Research Center in 2013, Spain is rated first in acceptance of homosexuality, with 88% of those surveyed saying that homosexuality should be accepted.
The Spanish State is divided into 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities, both groups being the highest or first-order administrative division in the country. Autonomous communities are divided into provinces, of which there are 50 in total, and in turn, provinces are divided into municipalities. In Catalonia, two additional divisions exist, the comarques (sing. comarca) and the vegueries (sing. vegueria) both of which have administrative powers; comarques being aggregations of municipalities, and the vegueries being aggregations of comarques. The concept of a comarca exists in all autonomous communities, however, unlike Catalonia, these are merely historical or geographical subdivisions.
Spain's autonomous communities are the first level administrative divisions of the country. They were created after the current constitution came into effect (in 1978) in recognition of the right to self-government of the "nationalities and regions of Spain". The autonomous communities were to comprise adjacent provinces with common historical, cultural, and economic traits. This territorial organisation, based on devolution, is known in Spain as the "State of Autonomies".
The basic institutional law of each autonomous community is the Statute of Autonomy. The Statutes of Autonomy establish the name of the community according to its historical and contemporary identity, the limits of its territories, the name and organisation of the institutions of government and the rights they enjoy according to the constitution.
The governments of all autonomous communities must be based on a division of powers and comprise
a government council, with executive and administrative functions headed by a president, elected by the Legislative Assembly and nominated by the King of Spain;
a supreme court, under the supreme court of Spain, which heads the judiciary in the autonomous community.
Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country, which identified themselves as nationalities, were granted self-government through a rapid process. Andalusia also identified itself as a nationality in its first Statute of Autonomy, even though it followed the longer process stipulated in the constitution for the rest of the country. Progressively, other communities in revisions to their Statutes of Autonomy have also taken that denomination in accordance with their historical and modern identities, such as the Valencian Community, the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, and Aragon.
The autonomous communities have wide legislative and executive autonomy, with their own parliaments and governments. The distribution of powers may be different for every community, as laid out in their Statutes of Autonomy, since devolution was intended to be asymmetrical. Only two communities—the Basque Country and Navarre—have full fiscal autonomy. Beyond fiscal autonomy, the nationalities—Andalusia, the Basque Country, Catalonia, and Galicia—were devolved more powers than the rest of the communities, among them the ability of the regional president to dissolve the parliament and call for elections at any time. In addition, the Basque Country, Catalonia and Navarre have police corps of their own: Ertzaintza, Mossos d'Esquadra and the Policía Foral respectively. Other communities have more limited forces or none at all, like the Policía Autónoma Andaluza in Andalusia or the BESCAM in Madrid.
Nonetheless, recent amendments to existing Statutes of Autonomy or the promulgation of new Statutes altogether, have reduced the asymmetry between the powers originally granted to the nationalities and the rest of the regions.
Finally, along with the 17 autonomous communities, two autonomous cities are also part of the State of Autonomies and are first-order territorial divisions: Ceuta and Melilla. These are two exclaves located in the northern African coast.
Autonomous communities are divided into provinces, which served as their territorial building blocks. In turn, provinces are divided into municipalities. The existence of both the provinces and the municipalities is guaranteed and protected by the constitution, not necessarily by the Statutes of Autonomy themselves. Municipalities are granted autonomy to manage their internal affairs, and provinces are the territorial divisions designed to carry out the activities of the State.
The current provincial division structure is based—with minor changes—on the 1833 territorial division by Javier de Burgos, and in all, the Spanish territory is divided into 50 provinces. The communities of Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja, the Balearic Islands, Madrid, Murcia and Navarre are the only communities that comprise a single province, which is coextensive with the community itself. In these cases, the administrative institutions of the province are replaced by the governmental institutions of the community.
The centre-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 unemployment rate of at 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 neighbours. The reason for this early expansion is the booming interest towards Spanish language and culture in Asia and Africa and a corporate culture that learned to take risks in unstable markets.
The automotive industry is one of the largest employers in the country. In 2015 Spain was the 8th largest automobile producer country in the world and the 2nd largest car manufacturer in Europe after Germany.
By 2016, the automotive industry was generating 8.7 percent of Spain's gross domestic product, employing about nine percent of the manufacturing industry. By 2008 the automobile industry was the 2nd most exported industry while in 2015 about 80% of the total production was for export.
German companies poured €4.8 billion into Spain in 2015, making the country the second-largest destination for German foreign direct investment behind only the U.S. The lion's share of that investment—€4 billion—went to the country's auto industry.
Crop areas were farmed in two highly diverse manners. Areas relying on non-irrigated cultivation (secano), which made up 85% of the entire crop area, depended solely on rainfall as a source of water. They included the humid regions of the north and the northwest, as well as vast arid zones that had not been irrigated. The much more productive regions devoted to irrigated cultivation (regadío) accounted for 3 million hectares in 1986, and the government hoped that this area would eventually double, as it already had doubled since 1950. Particularly noteworthy was the development in Almería—one of the most arid and desolate provinces of Spain—of winter crops of various fruits and vegetables for export to Europe.
Though only about 17% of Spain's cultivated land was irrigated, it was estimated to be the source of between 40 and 45% of the gross value of crop production and of 50% of the value of agricultural exports. More than half of the irrigated area was planted in corn, fruit trees, and vegetables. Other agricultural products that benefited from irrigation included grapes, cotton, sugar beets, potatoes, legumes, olive trees, mangos, strawberries, tomatoes, and fodder grasses. Depending on the nature of the crop, it was possible to harvest two successive crops in the same year on about 10% of the country's irrigated land.
Citrus fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, olive oil, and wine—Spain's traditional agricultural products—continued to be important in the 1980s. In 1983 they represented 12%, 12%, 8%, 6%, and 4%, respectively, of the country's agricultural production. Because of the changed diet of an increasingly affluent population, there was a notable increase in the consumption of livestock, poultry, and dairy products. Meat production for domestic consumption became the single most important agricultural activity, accounting for 30% of all farm-related production in 1983. Increased attention to livestock was the reason that Spain became a net importer of grains. Ideal growing conditions, combined with proximity to important north European markets, made citrus fruits Spain's leading export. Fresh vegetables and fruits produced through intensive irrigation farming also became important export commodities, as did sunflower seed oil that was produced to compete with the more expensive olive oils in oversupply throughout the Mediterranean countries of the European Community.
Benidorm, one of Europe's largest coastal tourist destinations
In 2017, Spain was the second most visited country in the world, recording 82 million tourists which marked the fifth consecutive year of record-beating numbers. The headquarters of the World Tourism Organization are located in Madrid.
Spain's geographic location, popular coastlines, diverse landscapes, historical legacy, vibrant culture, and excellent infrastructure has made the country's international tourist industry among the largest in the world. In the last five decades, international tourism in Spain has grown to become the second largest in the world in terms of spending, worth approximately 40 billion Euros or about 5% of GDP in 2006.
Solar power plant Andasol was the first parabolic trough power plant in Europe. Because of the high altitude (1,100 m) and the semi-arid climate, the site has exceptionally high annual direct insolation of 2,200 kWh/m2 per year.
In 2010 Spain became the solar power world leader when it overtook the United States with a massive power station plant called La Florida, near Alvarado, Badajoz. Spain is also Europe's main producer of wind energy. In 2010 its wind turbines generated 42,976 GWh, which accounted for 16.4% of all electrical energy produced in Spain. On 9 November 2010, wind energy reached an instantaneous historic peak covering 53% of mainland electricity demand and generating an amount of energy that is equivalent to that of 14 nuclear reactors. Other renewable energies used in Spain are hydroelectric, biomass and marine (2 power plants under construction).
Non-renewable energy sources used in Spain are nuclear (8 operative reactors), gas, coal, and oil. Fossil fuels together generated 58% of Spain's electricity in 2009, just below the OECD mean of 61%. Nuclear power generated another 19%, and wind and hydro about 12% each.
Spain has the most extensive high-speed rail network in Europe, and the second-most extensive in the world after China. As of 2019, Spain has a total of over 3,400 km (2,112.66 mi) of high-speed tracks linking Málaga, Seville, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Valladolid, with the trains operated at commercial speeds up to 310 km/h (190 mph). On average, the Spanish high-speed train is the fastest one in the world, followed by the Japanese bullet train and the French TGV. Regarding punctuality, it is second in the world (98.5% on-time arrival) after the Japanese Shinkansen (99%). Should the aims of the ambitious AVE programme (Spanish high speed trains) be met, by 2020 Spain will have 7,000 km (4,300 mi) of high-speed trains linking almost all provincial cities to Madrid in less than three hours and Barcelona within four hours.
The Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) is the leading public agency dedicated to scientific research in the country. It ranked as the 5th top governmental scientific institution worldwide (and 32nd overall) in the 2018 SCImago Institutions Rankings. Spain was ranked 30th in the Global Innovation Index in 2021, down from 29th in 2019.
Higher education institutions (administered at the regional, NUTS2 level) perform about a 60% of the basic research in the country. Likewise, the contribution of the private sector to R&D expenditures is much lower than in other EU and OECD countries.
In 2019, the population of Spain officially reached 47 million people, as recorded by the Padrón municipal (Spain's Municipal Register). Spain's population density, at 91/km2 (235/sq mi), is lower than that of most Western European countries and its distribution across the country is very unequal. With the exception of the region surrounding the capital, Madrid, the most populated areas lie around the coast. The population of Spain has risen 2 1/2 times since 1900, when it stood at 18.6 million, principally due to the spectacular demographic boom in the 1960s and early 1970s.
In 2017, the average total fertility rate (TFR) across Spain was 1.33 children born per woman, one of the lowest in the world, below the replacement rate of 2.1, it remains considerably below the high of 5.11 children born per woman in 1865. Spain subsequently has one of the oldest populations in the world, with the average age of 43.1 years.
Native Spaniards make up 88% of the total population of Spain. After the birth rate plunged in the 1980s and Spain's population growth rate dropped, the population again trended upward initially upon the return of many Spaniards who had emigrated to other European countries during the 1970s, and more recently, fuelled by large numbers of immigrants who make up 12% of the population. The immigrants originate mainly in Latin America (39%), North Africa (16%), Eastern Europe (15%), and Sub-Saharan Africa (4%). In 2005, Spain instituted a three-month amnesty programme through which certain hitherto undocumented aliens were granted legal residency.
In 2008, Spain granted citizenship to 84,170 persons, mostly to people from Ecuador, Colombia and Morocco. Many foreign residents in Spain also come from other Western and Central European countries. These are mostly British, French, German, Dutch, and Norwegian. They reside primarily on the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic islands, where many are retired or remote workers.
Substantial populations descended from Spanish colonists and immigrants exist in other parts of the world, most notably in Latin America. Beginning in the late 15th century, large numbers of Iberian colonists settled in what became Latin America and at present most white Latin Americans (who make up about one-third of Latin America's population) are of Spanish or Portuguese origin. Around 240,000 Spaniards emigrated in the 16th century, mostly to Mexico. Another 450,000 left in the 17th century. The estimate between 1492 and 1832 is 1.86 million. Between 1846 and 1932 it is estimated that nearly 5 million Spaniards emigrated to the Americas, especially to Argentina and Brazil. Approximately two million Spaniards migrated to other Western European countries between 1960 and 1975. During the same period perhaps 300,000 went to Latin America.
Spain has been described as a de factoplurinational state. The identity of Spain rather accrues of an overlap of different territorial and ethnolinguistic identities than of a sole Spanish identity. In some cases some of the territorial identities may conflict with the dominant Spanish culture. Distinct traditional identities within Spain include the Basques, Catalans, Galicians, Andalusians and Valencians,[failed verification] although to some extent all of the 17 autonomous communities may claim a distinct local identity.
It is this last feature of "shared identity" between the more local level or autonomous community and the Spanish level which makes the identity question in Spain complex and far from univocal.
Celebration of the Romani Day on 24 May 2018 in Madrid
Spain has a number of descendants of populations from former colonies, especially Latin America and North Africa. Smaller numbers of immigrants from several Sub-Saharan countries have recently been settling in Spain. There are also sizeable numbers of Asian immigrants, most of whom are of Middle Eastern, South Asian and Chinese origin. The single largest group of immigrants are European; represented by large numbers of Romanians, Britons, Germans, French and others.
The arrival of the gitanos, a Romani people, began in the 16th century; estimates of the Spanish Roma population range from 750,000 to over one million. There are also the mercheros (also quinquis), a formerly nomadic minority group. Their origin is unclear.
Historically, Sephardi Jews and Moriscos are the main minority groups originating in Spain and with a contribution to Spanish culture. The Spanish government is offering Spanish nationality to Sephardi Jews.
Distribution of the foreign population in Spain in 2005 by percentage
According to the official Spanish statistics (INE) there were 5.4 million foreign residents in Spain in 2020 (11.4%) while all citizens born outside of Spain were 7.2 million in 2020, 15.23% of the total population.
According to residence permit data for 2011, more than 860,000 were Romanian, about 770,000 were Moroccan, approximately 390,000 were British, and 360,000 were Ecuadorian. Other sizeable foreign communities are Colombian, Bolivian, German, Italian, Bulgarian, and Chinese. There are more than 200,000 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa living in Spain, principally Senegaleses and Nigerians. Since 2000, Spain has experienced high population growth as a result of immigration flows, despite a birth rate that is only half the replacement level. This sudden and ongoing inflow of immigrants, particularly those arriving illegally by sea, has caused noticeable social tension.
Within the EU, Spain had the 2nd highest immigration rate in percentage terms after Cyprus, but by a great margin, the highest in absolute numbers, up to 2008. The number of immigrants in Spain had grown up from 500,000 people in 1996 to 5.2 million in 2008 out of a total population of 46 million. In 2005 alone, a regularisation programme increased the legal immigrant population by 700,000 people. There are a number of reasons for the high level of immigration, including Spain's cultural ties with Latin America, its geographical position, the porosity of its borders, the large size of its underground economy and the strength of the agricultural and construction sectors, which demand more low cost labour than can be offered by the national workforce.
Another statistically significant factor is the large number of residents of EU origin typically retiring to Spain's Mediterranean coast. In fact, Spain was Europe's largest absorber of migrants from 2002 to 2007, with its immigrant population more than doubling as 2.5 million people arrived. In 2008, prior to the onset of the economic crisis, the Financial Times reported that Spain was the most favoured destination for Western Europeans considering a move from their own country and seeking jobs elsewhere in the EU.
In 2008, the government instituted a "Plan of Voluntary Return" which encouraged unemployed immigrants from outside the EU to return to their home countries and receive several incentives, including the right to keep their unemployment benefits and transfer whatever they contributed to the Spanish Social Security. The programme had little effect; during its first two months, just 1,400 immigrants took up the offer. What the programme failed to do, the sharp and prolonged economic crisis has done from 2010 to 2011 in that tens of thousands of immigrants have left the country due to lack of jobs. In 2011 alone, more than half a million people left Spain. For the first time in decades the net migration rate was expected to be negative, and nine out of 10 emigrants were foreigners.
Spain is a multilingual state.Spanish—featured in the 1978 Spanish Constitution as castellano ('Castilian')—has effectively been the official language of the entire country since 1931. As allowed in the third article of the Constitution, the other 'Spanish languages' can also become official in their respective autonomous communities. The territoriality created by the form of co-officiality codified in the 1978 Constitution creates an asymmetry, in which Spanish speakers' rights apply to the entire territory whereas vis-à-vis the rest of co-official languages, their speakers' rights only apply in their territories.
State education in Spain is free and compulsory from the age of six to sixteen. The current education system is regulated by the 2006 educational law, LOE (Ley Orgánica de Educación), or Fundamental Law for the Education. In 2014, the LOE was partially modified by the newer and controversial LOMCE law (Ley Orgánica para la Mejora de la Calidad Educativa), or Fundamental Law for the Improvement of the Education System, commonly called Ley Wert (Wert Law). Since 1970 to 2014, Spain has had seven different educational laws (LGE, LOECE, LODE, LOGSE, LOPEG, LOE and LOMCE).
The levels of education are preschool education, primary education, secondary education and post-16 education. In regards to the professional development education or the vocational education, there are three levels besides the university degrees: the Formación Profesional Básica (basic vocational education); the Ciclo Formativo de Grado Medio or CFGM (medium level vocation education) which can be studied after studying the secondary education, and the Ciclo Formativo de Grado Superior or CFGS (higher level vocational education), which can be studied after studying the post-16 education level.
The health care system of Spain (Spanish National Health System) is considered one of the best in the world, in 7th position in the ranking elaborated by the World Health Organization. The health care is public, universal and free for any legal citizen of Spain. The total health spending is 9.4% of the GDP, slightly above the average of 9.3% of the OECD.
Roman Catholicism, which has a long history in Spain, remains the dominant religion. Although it no longer has official status by law, in all public schools in Spain students have to choose either a religion or ethics class. Catholicism is the religion most commonly taught, although the teaching of Islam, Judaism, and evangelical Christianity is also recognised in law. According to a 2020 study by the Spanish Centre for Sociological Research, about 61% of Spaniards self-identify as Catholics, 3% other faiths, and about 35% identify with no religion. Most Spaniards do not participate regularly in religious services. A 2019 study shows that of the Spaniards who identify themselves as religious, 62% hardly ever or never go to church, 16% go to church some times a year, 7% some time per month and 13% every Sunday or multiple times per week. Recent polls and surveys suggest that around 30% of the Spanish population is irreligious.
The Spanish constitution enshrines secularism in governance, as well as freedom of religion or belief for all, saying that no religion should have a "state character," while allowing for the state to "cooperate" with religious groups.
A study made by the Union of Islamic Communities of Spain demonstrated that there were more than 2,100,000 inhabitants of Muslim background living in Spain as of 2019, accounting for 4–5% of the total population of Spain. The vast majority was composed of immigrants and descendants originating from the Maghreb (especially Morocco) and other African countries. More than 879,000 (42%) of them had Spanish nationality.
The recent waves of immigration have also led to an increasing number of Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Muslims.
After the Reconquista in 1492, Muslims did not live in Spain for centuries. Their ranks have since been bolstered by recent immigration, especially from Morocco and Algeria.
Judaism was practically non-existent in Spain from the 1492 expulsion until the 19th century, when Jews were again permitted to enter the country. Currently there are around 62,000 Jews in Spain, or 0.14% of the total population. Most are arrivals in the past century, while some are descendants of earlier Spanish Jews. Approximately 80,000 Jews are thought to have lived in Spain prior to its expulsion. However the Jewish Encyclopedia states the number over 800,000 to be too large and 235,000 as too small: 165,000 is given as expelled as possibly too small in favour of 200,000, and the numbers of converts after the 1391 pogroms as less. Other sources suggest 200,000 converts mostly after the pogroms of 1391 and upwards of 100,000 expelled. Descendants of these Sephardic Jews expelled in 1492 are given Spanish nationality if they request it.
Spain is a Western country and 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 globalised Spanish language and culture, with Spain also absorbing the cultural and commercial products of its diverse empire.
Some early examples of vernacular Romance-based literature include short snippets of Mozarabic Romance (such as refrains) sprinkled in Arabic and Hebrew texts. Other examples of early Iberian Romance include the Glosas Emilianenses written in Latin, Basque and Romance.
Promoted by the monarchs in the late Middle Ages and even codified in the late 15th century, Castilian (thought to be widespread known as 'Spanish' from the 16th century on) progressively became the language of the power elites in the Iberian Peninsula, further underpinning its prestige as the language of a global empire in the early modern period, which ushered in a Golden era of Castilian literature in the 16th and 17th centuries, also in the science domain, eclipsing Galician and Catalan.
Baby steps of Spanish Romantic literature (initially a rebellion against French classicism) have been traced back to the last quarter of the 18th century, even if the movement had its heyday between 1835 and 1850, waning thereafter.
In a broader definition encompassing the period from 1868 or 1874 to 1936, the so-called Silver Age of Spanish Culture ensued.
The waning of Romantic literature was followed by the development of Spanish Realism, which offered depictions of contemporary life and society 'as they were', rather than romanticised or stylised presentations. The major realist writer was Benito Pérez Galdós. The second half of the 19th century also saw the resurgence of the literary use of local languages other than Spanish under cultural movements inspired by Romanticism such as the Catalan Renaixença or the Galician Rexurdimento. Rarely used before in a written medium, the true fostering of the literary use of the Basque language had to wait until the 1960s, even if some interest towards the language had developed in the late 19th century.
The construct pertaining a distinctive Spanish philosophical thought has been variously approached by academia, either by diachronically tracing its development throughout the centuries from the Roman conquest of Hispania on (with early representatives such as Seneca, Trajan, Lucan, or Martial); by pinpointing its origins to the late 19th century (associated to the Generation of 98); or simply by outright denying its existence. The crux around the existence of a Spanish philosophy pitted the likes of Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo (chief architect of the myth around it) against Antonio Pérez. Foreign imports such as Krausism proved to be extremely influential in Spain in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Plateresque style extended from beginnings of the 16th century until the last third of the century and its stylistic influence pervaded the works of all great Spanish artists of the time. Alonso Berruguete (Valladolid School) is called the "Prince of Spanish sculpture". His main works were the upper stalls of the choir of the Cathedral of Toledo, the tomb of Cardinal Tavera in the same Cathedral, and the altarpiece of the Visitation in the church of Santa Úrsula in the same locality. Other notable sculptors were Bartolomé Ordóñez, Diego de Siloé, Juan de Juni and Damián Forment.
After the first projection of a cinematographer in Spain by 1896, cinema developed in the following years, with Barcelona becoming the largest production hub in the country (as well as a major European hub) on the eve of the World War I. The conflict offered the Spanish industry of silent films an opportunity for further growth. Local studios for sound films were created in 1932. The government imposition of dubbing of foreign films in 1941 accustomed Spanish audiences to watching dubbed films.
Earth and gypsum are very common materials of the traditional vernacular architecture in Spain (particularly in the East of the country, where most of the deposits of gypsum are located).
Due to its historical and geographical diversity, Spanish architecture has drawn from a host of influences. Fine examples of Islamicate architecture, belonging to the Western Islamic tradition, were built in the Middle Ages in places such as Córdoba, Seville, or Granada. Similarly to the Maghreb, stucco decoration in Al-Andalus became an architectural stylemark in the high Middle Ages.
Simultaneously, the Christian kingdoms also developed their own styles; developing a pre-Romanesque style when for a while isolated from contemporary mainstream European architectural influences during the earlier Middle Ages, they later integrated the Romanesque and Gothic streams. There was then an extraordinary flourishing of the Gothic style that resulted in numerous instances being built throughout the entire territory. The so-called Mudéjar style came to designate works by Muslims, Christians and Jews in lands conquered from Muslims.
Spanish music is often considered abroad to be synonymous with flamenco, a West Andalusian musical genre, which, contrary to popular belief, is not widespread outside that region. Various regional styles of folk music abound in Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Castile, the Basque Country, Galicia, Cantabria and Asturias. Pop, rock, hip hop and heavy metal are also popular.
Thousands of music fans also travel to Spain each year for internationally recognised summer music festivals Sónar which often features the top up and coming pop and techno acts, and Benicàssim which tends to feature alternative rock and dance acts. Both festivals mark Spain as an international music presence and reflect the tastes of young people in the country.Vitoria-Gasteiz jazz festival is one of the main ones in its genre.
The most popular traditional musical instrument, the guitar, originated in Spain. Typical of the north are the traditional bag pipers or gaiteros, mainly in Asturias and Galicia.
Spanish cuisine consists of a great variety of dishes which stem from differences in geography, culture and climate. It is heavily influenced by seafood available from the waters that surround the country, and reflects the country's deep Mediterranean roots. Spain's extensive history with many cultural influences has led to a unique cuisine. In particular, three main divisions are easily identified:
Mediterranean Spain – all such coastal regions, from Catalonia to Andalusia – heavy use of seafood, such as pescaíto frito (fried fish); several cold soups like gazpacho; and many rice-based dishes like paella from Valencia and arròs negre (black rice) from Catalonia.
Inner Spain – Castile – hot, thick soups such as the bread and garlic-based Castilian soup, along with substantial stews such as cocido madrileño. Food is traditionally conserved by salting, such as Spanish ham, or immersed in olive oil, such as Manchego cheese.
Public holidays celebrated in Spain include a mix of religious (Roman Catholic), national and local observances. Each municipality is allowed to declare a maximum of 14 public holidays per year; up to nine of these are chosen by the national government and at least two are chosen locally.Spain's National Day (Fiesta Nacional de España) is celebrated on 12 October, the anniversary of the Discovery of America and commemorate Our Lady of the Pillar feast, patroness of Aragon and throughout Spain.
There are many festivals and festivities in Spain. Some of them are known worldwide, and millions of tourists from all over the world go to Spain annually to experience one of these festivals. One of the most famous is San Fermín, in Pamplona. While its most famous event is the encierro, or the running of the bulls, which happens at 8:00 am from 7 to 14 July, the seven days-long celebration involves many other traditional and folkloric events. The events were central to the plot of The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, which brought it to the general attention of English-speaking people. As the result, it has become one of the most internationally renowned fiestas in Spain, with over 1,000,000 people attending every year.
^In Spain, some other languages enjoy co-official status in certain regions in accordance with the latter's Statutes of Autonomy. In each of these, Spain's conventional long name for international affairs in Spanish laws and the most used (Spanish: Reino de España, pronounced: ) is as follows:
^On 1 January 2020, the Spanish population was 47.330 million, an increase of 392,921. In the same period, the number of citizens with Spanish citizenship reached 42,094,606. The number of foreigners (i.e. immigrants, ex-pats and refugees, without including foreign born nationals with Spanish citizenship) permanently living in Spain was estimated to be at 5,235,375 (11.06%) in 2020.
^The Spanish Constitution does not contain any one official name for Spain. Instead, the terms España (Spain), Estado español (Spanish State) and Nación española (Spanish Nation) are used throughout the document, sometimes interchangeably. In 1984, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs established that the denominations España (Spain) and Reino de España (Kingdom of Spain) are equally valid to designate Spain in international treaties. The latter term is widely used by the government in national and international affairs of all kinds, including foreign treaties as well as national official documents, and is therefore recognised as the conventional name by many international organisations.
^CIS."Barómetro de Enero de 2022", 3,777 respondents. The question was "¿Cómo se define Ud. en materia religiosa: católico/a practicante, católico/a no practicante, creyente de otra religión, agnóstico/a, indiferente o no creyente, o ateo/a?".
^#Linch, John (director), Fernández Castro, María Cruz (del segundo tomo), Historia de España, El País, volumen II, La península Ibérica en época prerromana, p. 40. Dossier. La etimología de España; ¿tierra de conejos?, ISBN978-84-9815-764-2
^Burke, Ulick Ralph (1895). A History of Spain from the Earliest Times to the Death of Ferdinand the Catholic, Volume 1. London: Longmans, Green & Co. p. 12. hdl:2027/hvd.fl29jg.
^Abrabanel, Commentary on the First Prophets (Pirush Al Nevi'im Rishonim), end of II Kings, pp. 680–681, Jerusalem 1955 (Hebrew). See also Shelomo (also spelled Sholomo, Solomon or Salomón) ibn Verga, Shevet Yehudah, pp. 6b–7a, Lemberg 1846 (Hebrew)
^Typical Aurignacian items were found in Cantabria (Morín, El Pendo, El Castillo), the Basque Country (Santimamiñe) and Catalonia. The radiocarbon datations give the following dates: 32,425 and 29,515 BP.[failed verification][
^H. Patrick Glenn (2007). Legal Traditions of the World. Oxford University Press. pp. 218–219. Dhimma provides rights of residence in return for taxes.
^Lewis, Bernard (1984). The Jews of Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. 62. ISBN978-0-691-00807-3. Dhimmi have fewer legal and social rights than Muslims, but more rights than other non-Muslims.
^Serrano Daura, Josep (2019). "Una aproximación a la Corona de Aragón de Fernando el Católico". Revista de Dret Històric Català. Societat Catalana d’Estudis Jurídics. 18 (18): 75. doi:10.2436/20.3004.01.119. ISSN1578-5300.
^"The Situation of Roma in Spain"(PDF). Open Society Institute. 2002. Archived from the original(PDF) on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2010. The Spanish government estimates the number of Gitanos at a maximum of 650,000.
^World Health Organisation, World Health Staff, (2000), Haden, Angela; Campanini, Barbara, eds., The world health report 2000 – Health systems: improving performance (PDF), Geneva: World Health Organisation, ISBN92-4-156198-X
^Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas: Barómetro de Julio 2020, página 21.¿Cómo se define Ud. en materia religiosa: católico/a practicante, católico/a no practicante, creyente de otra religión, agnóstico/a, indiferente o no creyente, o ateo/a?
^ abCentro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (Centre for Sociological Research) (October 2019). "Macrobarómetro de octubre 2019, Banco de datos" (in Spanish). p. 160. Retrieved 17 December 2019. The question was "¿Cómo se define Ud. en materia religiosa: católico/a practicante, católico/a no practicante, creyente de otra religion, agnóstico/a, indiferente o no creyente, o ateo/a?", the weight used was "PESOCCAA" which reflects the population sizes of the Autonomous communities of Spain.
^"WVS Database". World Values Survey. Institute for Comparative Survey Research. March 2015. Archived from the original on 5 January 2016.
^Orringer, Nelson R. (1998). "Redifining the Spanish Silver Age and '98 Within It". Anales de la literatura Española Contemporánea. Society of Spanish & Spanish-American Studies. 23 (1/2): 317. JSTOR25642011.
^La Spina, V (2018). "Earth and gypsum: From theory to practice in Spanish vernacular architecture". In Mileto, C.; Vegas López-Manzanares, F.; García-Soriano, L.; Cristini, V. (eds.). Vernacular and Earthen Architecture: Conservation and Sustainability. London: Taylor & Francis. p. 153–154. ISBN978-1-138-03546-1.