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The name of Spain (España) comes from Hispania, the name used by the Romans for the Iberian Peninsula and its provinces during the Roman Empire. The etymological origin of the term Hispania is uncertain, although the Phoenicians referred to the region as Spania (meaning "Land of rabbits"), therefore, the most accepted theory is the Phoenician one. There have been a number of accounts and hypotheses about 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 actually means "Hyrax", possibly due to the Phoenicians confusing the two animals.
There is also 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.
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 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 two 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. The Celts inhabited much of the interior and Atlantic sides of the peninsula. Basques occupied the western area of the Pyrenees mountain range and adjacent areas; Phoenician-influenced Tartessians flourished in the southwest; and 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 settled on 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. Most of Spain's present languages and religions, as well as the basis of its laws, originate from this period. 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, weakening the Western Roman Empire's jurisdiction over Hispania. 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; the successor regimes maintained many of the institutions and laws of the late empire, including Christianity and assimilation into 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.
From 711 to 718, as part of the expansion of the Umayyad Caliphate, which had conquered North Africa from the Byzantine Empire, nearly all of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered by Muslims 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 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.
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. The first recorded Viking raid on Iberia took place in 844; it ended in failure with many Vikings killed by the Galicians' ballistas; and seventy of the Vikings' longships captured on the beach and burned by the troops of King Ramiro I of Asturias.
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 form (restricted to the bishops, the magnates, and 'the elected citizens of each city') of modern parliamentary session 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. Upon the conclusion of the Granada War, the Nasrid Sultanate of Granada (the remaining Muslim-ruled polity in the Iberian Peninsula after 1246) capitulated in 1492 to the military strength of the Catholic Monarchs, and it was integrated from then on in the Crown of Castile.
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. 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. 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. 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), over 300,000 moriscos were expelled, settling primarily in North Africa.
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 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.
The Protestant Reformation increased Spain's involvement in religiously charged wars, forcing 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 (Dutch Republic), 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 a leading European power.
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.
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 Joseph Bonaparte as king.
During the war, in 1810, a revolutionary body, the Cortes of Cádiz, was assembled to coordinate 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.
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.
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. 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 were imprisoned after the civil war in Francoist concentration camps.
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 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.
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.
Spain is one of the countries that is most affected by the climate crisis in Europe. Spain could see 2 °C (36 °F) warming compared to pre-industrial levels in the next twenty years, in the worst-case scenario Spain will reach 4 °C (39 °F) warming by the end of the century. Due to declining rainfall Spain's droughts which are already one of the worst in Europe will be ten times worse compared to 2023. The WHO estimated that 4,000 people died in 2022 due to heat related stress in Spain. 74% of the country is at risk of desertification
Spain's per capita emissions was 4.92 tonnes in 2021, around 1.5 tonnes lower than the EU average. Spain was in 2021 responsible for 0.87% of cumulative global emissions. Spain committed to reduce 23% of emissions compared to 1990 levels in 2030 and to be net zero in 2050.
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 billion trees and an average of 284 million more grow each year.
The constitutional history of Spain dates back to the constitution of 1812. In June 1976, Spain's new King Juan Carlos dismissed Carlos Arias Navarro and appointed the reformer Adolfo Suárez as Prime Minister. The resulting general election in 1977 convened the Constituent Cortes (the Spanish Parliament, in its capacity as a constitutional assembly) for the purpose of drafting and approving the constitution of 1978. After a national referendum on 6 December 1978, 88% of voters approved of the new constitution. 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 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.
Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a bicameral parliament, the Cortes Generales (English: Spanish Parliament, lit. 'General Courts'). 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.
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 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.
The Spanish armed forces are a professional force with a strength in 2017 of 121,900 active personnel and 4,770 reserve personnel. The country also has the 77,000 strong Civil Guard which comes under the control of the Ministry of defense in times of a national emergency. The Spanish defense budget is 5.71 billion euros (US$7.2 billion) a 1% increase for 2015. The increase comes because of security concerns in the country. Military conscription was suppressed in 2001.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spain's capitalist mixed economy is the 14th largest worldwide and the 4th largest in the European Union, as well as the eurozone's 4th largest. 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.
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. Spanish companies invested in fields like renewable energy commercialisation (Iberdrola was the world's largest renewable energy operator), technology companies like Telefónica, Abengoa, Mondragon Corporation (which is the world's largest worker-owned cooperative), Movistar, Hisdesat, Indra, train manufacturers like CAF, Talgo, global corporations such as the textile company Inditex, petroleum companies like Repsol or Cepsa and infrastructure, with six of the ten biggest international construction firms specialising in transport being Spanish, like Ferrovial, Acciona, ACS, OHL and FCC.
The automotive industry in Spain is one of the largest employers in the country. In 2015 Spain was the 8th largest automobile producer country in the world and still in 2022 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.
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.
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 16.4% of all electrical energy produced in Spain. On 9 November 2010, wind energy reached a 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.
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.
Higher education institutions 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.
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.
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 2008, Spain granted citizenship to 84,170 persons, mostly to people from Ecuador, Colombia and Morocco. 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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
Spain is a Western country and one of the major Latin countries of Europe, and a cultural superpower. Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to the Catholic Church, 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.
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. 20th-century authors were classified in loose literary generations such as the Generation of '98, the Generation of '27, Generation of '36 and the Generation of '50. Premio Planeta de Novela and Miguel de Cervantes Prize are the two main awards in Spanish literature.
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. 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 features pop and techno acts, and Benicàssim which tends to feature alternative rock and dance acts. The 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 – coastal regions, from Catalonia to Andalusia – heavy use of seafood, such as pescaíto frito (fried fish); 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 preserved 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.
There are many festivals and festivities in Spain. One of the most famous is San Fermín, in Pamplona. While its most famous event is the encierro, or the running of the bulls. 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: [ˈrejnoð(e)esˈpaɲa]) is as follows:
^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.
^Flynn, Dennis O.; Giráldez Source, Arturo (1995). "Born with a 'Silver Spoon': The Origin of World Trade in 1571". Journal of World History. 6 (2): 202. JSTOR20078638.
^Spain is crowned the champion of foreign students. This is thanks to universities such as those in Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Granada and Salamanca. Although nowhere near as popular as Spain, we find Germany in second place. It is a country that also has a large number of prestigious universities spread out across many cities. The fact that Germany is an economic powerhouse makes it an attractive destination for those searching for employment after studying. France, the United Kingdom and Italy appear in third, fourth and fifth position. The rest of countries rank behind at a considerable distance. What are the most popular Erasmus destinations?Archived 30 June 2023 at the Wayback Machine
^#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.
^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][
^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.
^Rodríguez. Independence of Spanish America. Cambridge University Press. Archived from the original on 10 March 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2013. It met as one body, and its members represented the entire Spanish world
^Óscar, Martín García (May 2023). "Soft Power, Modernization, and Security: US Educational Foreign Policy Toward Authoritarian Spain in the Cold War". History of Education Quarterly. 63 (2): 198–220. doi:10.1017/heq.2023.5. S2CID258190145.
^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
^CIS."Barómetro de Enero de 2023", 3,961 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?". Page 19.
^ abCentro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (Centre for Sociological Research) (October 2019). "Macrobarómetro de octubre 2019, Banco de datos" (in Spanish). p. 160. Archived from the original on 14 June 2020. 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. pp. 153–154. ISBN978-1-138-03546-1.