12 Mar Spain
Area: 504782 sq. km.
Language – There are four official languages:
Euskera (the Basque language)
Galego (spoken in Galicia in the north-west)
Regime: Constitutional Monarchy
Spain is a member of the European Union.
The kingdom of Spain is a sovereign state, member of the E.U. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula and its borders are the Mediterranean, Andorra and France, The Bay of Biscay, Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
Due to its geographic position, Spain has been subject to many external influences since the dawn of history.
The Romans conquered the peninsula and ousted the Carthaginians who had held trading colonies along the Mediterranean coast. The Roman rule lasted about 400 years, and with the weakening of Rome their place was taken by the Vandals and later the Visigoths.
The Muslims ruled from the start of the 8th century for a period of 700 years and were finally ousted with the conquest and unification of Spain under Ferdinand and Isabella. This heralded the Spanish Inquisition as well as the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. This was a period of great discoveries and great religious upheavals. Spain was at that time the great power of Europe with colonies in many parts of the world. The religious upheavals and the ascendancy of Protestantism in some part of Europe eventually brought about the loss of territories previously controlled by Spain.
Spain has known many wars, to name some there was the 30 years’ war, the war of succession and then later, the Napoleonic wars and the Spanish American war.
The 20th century was no more peaceful, with the First World War, the Spanish civil war after which Franco ruled the country. Spain remained neutral in the Second World War.
The death of Franco brought about the restoration of the monarchy. Not all was peaceful in that country as there were several separatist nations pushing for national independence – the Basque People, the Catalans etc. Despite this problem, Spain became very strong economically and enjoyed a period of prosperity which is now questionable due to the financial crisis.