The year 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 others died from various other causes. Some scholars consider the initial period of the Spanish conquest — from Columbus's first landing in the Bahamas until the middle of the sixteenth century—as marking the most egregious case of genocide in the history of mankind.
Miscegenation was the rule between the native and the Spanish cultures and people. Juan Sebastian Elcano completed the first voyage around the world in human history, the Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation. Augustine became a strategic defensive base for Spanish ships full of gold and silver sailing to Spain. The Spanish once again encountered Islam, but this time 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. 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.
There were two big revolts against the new Habsburg monarch and the more authoritarian and imperial-style crown: Revolt of the Comuneros in Castile and Revolt of the Brotherhoods in Majorca and Valencia. Germana de Foix also finished with the revolt in the Mediterranean. Habsburg Spain was Europe's leading power throughout the 16th century and most of the 17th century, a position reinforced by trade and wealth from colonial possessions and became the world's leading maritime power. Through exploration and conquest or royal marriage alliances and inheritance, the Spanish Empire expanded to include vast areas in the Americas, islands in the Asia-Pacific area, areas of Italy, cities in Northern Africa, as well as parts of what are now France, Germany, Belgium , Luxembourg , and the Netherlands.
The first circumnavigation of the world was carried out in — It was the first empire on which it was said that the sun never set. This was an Age of Discovery , with daring explorations by sea and by land, the opening-up of new trade routes across oceans, conquests and the beginnings of European colonialism.
Spanish explorers brought back precious metals , spices, luxuries, and previously unknown plants, and played a leading part in transforming the European understanding of the globe. 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 , and then after the setback of the Spanish Armada in , in a series of victories against England in the Anglo-Spanish War of — 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 s 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. 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.
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.
Long united only by the Crown, a true Spanish state was established when the first Bourbon king, Philip V , united the crowns of Castile and Aragon into a single state, abolishing many of the old regional privileges and laws. The 18th century saw a gradual recovery and an increase in prosperity through much of the empire. The new Bourbon monarchy drew on the French system of modernising the administration and the economy. Enlightenment ideas began to gain ground among some of the kingdom's elite and monarchy.
Bourbon reformers created formal disciplined militias across the Atlantic. Spain needed every hand it could take during the seemingly endless wars of the eighteenth century—the Spanish War of Succession or Queen Anne's War —13 , the War of Jenkins' Ear —42 which became the War of the Austrian Succession —48 , the Seven Years' War —63 and the Anglo-Spanish War —83 —and its new disciplined militias served around the Atlantic as needed.
In , 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 at the Peace of Basel in which Spain lost control over two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola. In , a secret treaty between Napoleon and the unpopular prime minister led to a new declaration of war against Britain and Portugal.
Napoleon's troops entered the country to invade Portugal but instead occupied Spain's major fortresses. The Spanish king abdicated in favour of Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Joseph Bonaparte was seen as a puppet monarch and was regarded with scorn by the Spanish. The 2 May revolt was one of many nationalist uprisings across the country against the Bonapartist regime. Napoleon was forced to intervene personally, defeating several Spanish armies and forcing a British army to retreat. However, further military action by Spanish armies, guerrillas and Wellington's British-Portuguese forces, combined with Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia , led to the ousting of the French imperial armies from Spain in , and the return of King Ferdinand VII.
These events foreshadowed the conflict between conservatives and liberals in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Spain's conquest by France benefited Latin American anti-colonialists who resented the Imperial Spanish government's policies that favoured Spanish-born citizens Peninsulars over those born overseas Criollos and demanded retroversion of the sovereignty to the people. Starting in Spain's American colonies began a series of revolutions and declared independence, leading to the Spanish American wars of independence that ended Spanish control over its mainland colonies in the Americas. King Ferdinand VII's attempt to re-assert control proved futile as he faced opposition not only in the colonies but also in Spain and army revolts followed, led by liberal officers.
The Napoleonic War left Spain economically ruined, deeply divided and politically unstable. In the s and s Anti-liberal forces known as Carlists fought against liberals in the Carlist Wars. Liberal forces won, but the conflict between progressive and conservative liberals ended in a weak early constitutional period.
After the Glorious Revolution of and the short-lived First Spanish Republic , a more stable monarchic period began characterised by the practice of turnismo the rotation of government control between progressive and conservative liberals within the Spanish government. In the late 19th century nationalist movements arose in the Philippines and Cuba. In and 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 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 conducting an analysis of the country. Although the period around the turn of the century was one of increasing prosperity, the 20th century brought little peace; Spain played a minor part in the scramble for Africa , with the colonisation of Western Sahara , Spanish Morocco and Equatorial Guinea. The heavy losses suffered during the Rif War in Morocco brought discredit to the government and undermined the monarchy.
After a period of authoritarian rule under General Miguel Primo de Rivera — , the king determined to seek a solution to the political situation and establish the Constitution, the king led the municipal elections on 12 April These gave a resounding victory to the Republican-Socialist candidacies in large cities and provincial capitals, while the total number of councillors was mostly monarchical. The organised demonstrations demanding the establishment of a democratic republic led the king to leave the country and the proclamation of the same on 14 April of that same year.
During the Second Republic there was a great political and social upheaval, marked by a sharp radicalisation of the left and the right. The moderate leaders were boycotted and each party intended to create a Spain to suit them. During the first two years, governed a coalition of republican and socialist parties. In the elections held in the right triumphed and in , the left. On the other hand, it is also during the Second Republic when important reforms are initiated to modernise the country — democratic constitution, agrarian reform, restructuring of the army, first Statutes of Autonomy Spain was then divided into two zones: one in which the social revolution of was effected and under the authority of the Republican government, and the other controlled by the Nationalist insurgents.
The situation led to a civil war , in which General Francisco Franco was sworn in as the supreme leader of the insurgents. The Spanish Civil War broke out in For three years the Nationalist forces led by General Francisco Franco and supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy fought the Republican side , which was supported by the Soviet Union , Mexico and International Brigades but it was not supported by the Western powers due to the British-led policy of non-intervention.
The civil war was viciously fought and there were many atrocities committed by all sides. The war claimed the lives of over , people and caused the flight of up to a half-million citizens from the country. The state as established under Franco was nominally neutral in the Second World War, although sympathetic to the Axis.
Given Franco's opposition to competing political parties, the party was renamed the National Movement Movimiento Nacional in This changed in , during the Cold War period, when it became strategically important for the US to establish a military presence on the Iberian Peninsula as a counter to any possible move by the Soviet Union into the Mediterranean basin. In the s, Spain registered an unprecedented rate of economic growth which was propelled by industrialisation , a mass internal migration from rural areas to Madrid , Barcelona and the Basque Country and the creation of a mass tourism industry.
Franco's rule was also characterised by authoritarianism , promotion of a unitary national identity , the favouring of a very conservative form of Roman Catholicism known as National Catholicism , and discriminatory language policies. In , 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. With Franco's death in November , Juan Carlos succeeded to the position of King of Spain and head of state in accordance with the franquist law.
With the approval of the new Spanish Constitution of and the restoration of democracy , the State devolved much authority to the regions and created an internal organisation based on autonomous communities. The Spanish Amnesty Law let people of Franco's regime continue inside institutions without consequences, even perpetrators of some crimes during transition to democracy like the Massacre of 3 March in Vitoria or Massacre of Atocha. The 'founding chairman' of the current leading political party in Spain, the People's Party , was Manuel Fraga who had been a minister in Franco's government and yet continued with his political career until shortly before his death in 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 On 23 February , 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. During the s the democratic restoration made possible a growing open society. On 1 January , Spain fully adopted the euro , and Spain experienced strong economic growth, well above the EU average during the early s. 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 the Prestige oil spill occurred with big ecological consequences along Spain's Atlantic coastline. Bush in the Iraq War , and a strong movement against war rose in Spanish society. On 11 March a local Islamist terrorist group inspired by Al-Qaeda carried out the largest terrorist attack in Spanish history when they killed people and wounded more than 1, others by bombing commuter trains in Madrid.
Because of the proximity of the 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 proportion of Spain's foreign born population increased rapidly during its economic boom in the early s, but then declined due to the financial crisis.
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 The bursting of the Spanish property bubble in led to the —16 Spanish financial crisis and high levels of unemployment, cuts in government spending and corruption in Royal family and People's Party served as a backdrop to the —12 Spanish protests.
Catalan independentism was also on rise. In , Mariano Rajoy 's conservative People's Party won the election with A Catalan independence referendum was held on 1 October and then, on 27 October, 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 1 June the Congress of Deputies passed a motion of no-confidence against Rajoy and replaced him with the PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez , thus bringing socialists back to power after 7 years. Mount Teide Tenerife is the highest mountain peak in Spain and is the third largest volcano in the world from its base. Spain is a transcontinental country , having territory in both Europe and Africa. On the northeast, along the Pyrenees mountain range, it is bordered by France and the Principality of Andorra.
Mainland Spain is a mountainous country, dominated by high plateaus and mountain chains. The Meseta Central often translated as "Inner Plateau" is a vast plateau in the heart of peninsular Spain. Alluvial plains are found along the coast, the largest of which is that of the Guadalquivir in Andalusia. Three main climatic zones can be separated, according to geographical situation and orographic conditions:   .
Low-lying areas of the Canary Islands average above 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 relief, the climate and latitude.
Spain includes different phytogeographic regions, each with its own floristic characteristics resulting largely from the interaction of climate, topography, soil type and fire, biotic factors. The Spanish Constitution of is the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy. The constitutional history of Spain dates back to the constitution of 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 aimed at furthering equality between genders in Spanish political and economic life. Spain is a constitutional monarchy , with a hereditary monarch and a bicameral parliament , the Cortes Generales General Courts. By political custom established by King Juan Carlos since the ratification of the Constitution, the king's nominees have all been from parties who maintain a plurality of seats in the Congress.
The legislative branch is made up of the Congress of Deputies Congreso de los Diputados with members, elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms, and a Senate Senado with seats of which 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.
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. The Spanish Constitution of "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. Spain provides one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world for its LGBT community. 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. 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 in recognition of the right to self-government of the " nationalities and regions of Spain ". This territorial organisation, based on devolution , is literally 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.
A context for the last Neandertals of interior Iberia: Los Casares cave revisited
Andalusia also took that denomination 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 to 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 regional 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. Aside of 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.
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 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. After the return of democracy following the death of Franco in , Spain's foreign policy priorities were to break out of the diplomatic isolation of the Franco years and expand diplomatic relations , enter the European Community , and define security relations with the West.
As a member of NATO since , 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 co-ordinate its efforts with its EU partners through the European political co-operation mechanisms. Spain has maintained its special relations with Hispanic America and the Philippines.
Its policy emphasizes 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. Spain claims Gibraltar , a 6-square-kilometre 2. Then a Spanish town, it was conquered by an Anglo-Dutch force in during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of Archduke Charles , pretender to the Spanish throne.
The legal situation concerning Gibraltar was settled in 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 s Spain has called for the return of Gibraltar. The overwhelming majority of Gibraltarians strongly oppose this, along with any proposal of shared sovereignty. 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 ". Another claim by Spain is about the Savage Islands , part of Portugal. In clash with the Portuguese position, Spain claims that they are rocks rather than islands, and therefore Spain does not accept any extension of the Portuguese Exclusive Economic Zone nautical miles generated by the islands, while acknowledging the Selvagens having territorial waters 12 nautical miles.
On 5 July , Spain sent a letter to the UN expressing these views. Spain claims the sovereignty over the Perejil Island , a small, uninhabited rocky islet located in the South shore of the Strait of Gibraltar. Its sovereignty is disputed between Spain and Morocco. It was the subject of an armed incident between the two countries in 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. Portugal does not recognise Spain's sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza which was annexed by Spain in after the War of the Oranges. Portugal stance has been the territory being de iure Portuguese territory and de facto Spanish. The Spanish Armed Forces are divided into three branches: . Since , CO2 emissions have risen notably, not reaching the reduction emissions promised in the Kyoto Protocol for fighting climate change.
In the period — more than half of the years have been qualified as dry or very dry. Spain is the country in Europe more exposed to climate change effects, according to Al Gore. Electricity from renewable sources in Spain represented The country has a very large wind power capability built up over many years and is one of the world leaders in wind power generation. Spain also positioned itself as a European leader in Solar power, by — the country was second only to Germany in installed capacity.
Spain's capitalist mixed economy is the 14th largest worldwide and the 5th largest in the European Union , as well as the Eurozone 's 4th largest. Unemployment stood at By the mids the economy had recommenced the growth that had been disrupted by the global recession of the early s. 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 Since the s 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. 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. In the Economist Intelligence Unit 's quality of life survey placed Spain among the top 10 in the world. The automotive industry is one of the largest employers in the country. In Spain was the 8th largest automobile producer country in the world and the 2nd largest car manufacturer in Europe after Germany.
By , the automotive industry was generating 8. Crop areas were farmed in two highly diverse manners. They included the humid regions of the north and the northwest, as well as vast arid zones that had not been irrigated. 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. Citrus fruits , vegetables, cereal grains , olive oil , and wine—Spain's traditional agricultural products—continued to be important in the s. Because of the changed diet of an increasingly affluent population, there was a notable increase in the consumption of livestock, poultry, and dairy products.
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.
In , Spain was the second most visited country in the world, recording 82 million tourists which marked the fifth consecutive year of record-beating numbers. 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. Castile and Leon is the Spanish leader in rural tourism linked to its environmental and architectural heritage.
Spain is one of the world's leading countries in the development and production of renewable energy. Non-renewable energy sources used in Spain are nuclear 8 operative reactors , gas , coal , and oil. Spain has the most extensive high-speed rail network in Europe, and the second-most extensive in the world after China. On average, the Spanish high-speed train is the fastest one in the world, followed by the Japanese bullet train and the French TGV. There are 47 public airports in Spain. Also, more than 30 airports with the number of passengers below 4 million. In the 19th and 20th centuries science in Spain was held back by severe political instability and consequent economic underdevelopment.
Despite the conditions, some important scientists and engineers emerged. It ranked as the 5th top governmental scientific institution worldwide and 32nd overall in the SCImago Institutions Rankings. Since the Mobile World Congress has taken place in Barcelona. With the exception of the region surrounding the capital, Madrid , the most populated areas lie around the coast.
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In the average total fertility rate TFR across Spain was 1. In , Spain granted citizenship to 84, persons, mostly to people from Ecuador, Colombia and Morocco. They reside primarily on the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic islands, where many choose to live their retirement or telecommute. 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 , Spaniards emigrated in the 16th century, mostly to Peru and Mexico. During the same period perhaps , went to Latin America. The Spanish Constitution of , in its second article, recognises several contemporary entities — nationalities — [m] and regions, within the context of the Spanish nation. Spain is de facto a plurinational state. 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 ,  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. 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 , to over one million. Their origin is unclear. Historically, Sephardi Jews and Moriscos are the main minority groups originated in Spain and with a contribution to Spanish culture.
According to the Spanish government there were 5. According to residence permit data for , more than , were Romanian, about , were Moroccan , approximately , were British, and , were Ecuadorian. 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 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 to , with its immigrant population more than doubling as 2. In , 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.
In alone, more than half a million people left Spain. Spain is legally multilingual,  and the constitution establishes that the nation will protect "all Spaniards and the peoples of Spain in the exercise of human rights, their cultures and traditions, languages and institutions. The constitution also establishes that "the other Spanish languages"—that is, the other languages of Spain—will also be official in their respective autonomous communities in accordance to their Statutes , their organic regional legislations, and that the "richness of the distinct linguistic modalities of Spain represents a patrimony which will be the object of special respect and protection.
Occitan is spoken by less than 5, people, only in the small region of Val d'Aran.
In the North African Spanish autonomous city of Melilla , Riff Berber is spoken by a significant part of the population. Similarly, in Ceuta Darija Arabic is spoken by a significant percentage of the population. In the tourist areas of the Mediterranean coast and the islands, English and German are widely spoken by tourists, foreign residents, and tourism workers.
State education in Spain is free and compulsory from the age of six to sixteen. The institute was inspired by the philosophy of Krausism. 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. 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. Most Spaniards do not participate regularly in religious services. However, significant anomalies remain, including the presence of a blasphemy law in statute, which theoretically criminalises criticism of religion. A blasphemy prosecution in Spain has happened as recently as There have been four Spanish Popes.
Later, they became Doctors of the Church. The Society of Jesus was co-founded by Ignatius of Loyola , whose Spiritual Exercises and movement led to the establishment of hundreds of colleges and universities in the world, including 28 in the United States alone. Protestant churches have about 1,, members. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has approximately 46, adherents in congregations in all regions of the country and has a temple in the Moratalaz District of Madrid.
The vast majority was composed of immigrants and descendants originating from Morocco and other African countries. The recent waves of immigration have also led to an increasing number of Hindus , Buddhists , Sikhs and Muslims. After the Reconquista in , Muslims did not live in Spain for centuries. Late 19th-century colonial expansion in northwestern Africa gave a number of residents in Spanish Morocco and Western Sahara full citizenship. Their ranks have since been bolstered by recent immigration, especially from Morocco and Algeria.
Judaism was practically non-existent in Spain from the expulsion until the 19th century, when Jews were again permitted to enter the country. Currently there are around 62, Jews in Spain, or 0. Most are arrivals in the past century, while some are descendants of earlier Spanish Jews. Approximately 80, Jews are thought to have lived in Spain prior to its expulsion. Other sources suggest , converts mostly after the pogroms of and upwards of , expelled.
The descendants of these Sephardic Jews expelled in are given the Spanish nationality if they request so. Spain is a Western country. Almost every aspect of Spanish life is permeated by its Roman heritage, making Spain one of the major Latin countries of Europe. Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism, which played a pivotal role in the country's formation and subsequent identity. Spanish art, architecture, cuisine, and music have been shaped by successive waves of foreign invaders, as well as by the country's Mediterranean climate and geography.
The centuries-long colonial era globalised Spanish language and culture, with Spain also absorbing the cultural and commercial products of its diverse empire. Spain has 47 World Heritage Sites. The earliest recorded examples of vernacular Romance-based literature date from the same time and location, the rich mix of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures in Muslim Spain, in which Maimonides, Averroes, and others worked, the Kharjas Jarchas. During the Reconquista , the epic poem Cantar de Mio Cid was written about a real man—his battles, conquests, and daily life.
The Valencian chivalric romance Tirant lo Blanch written in Valencian is also remarkable. The Baroque is the most important period for Spanish culture. We are in the times of the Spanish Empire. Realism offered depictions of contemporary life and society 'as they were'. In the spirit of general "Realism", Realist authors opted for depictions of everyday and banal activities and experiences, instead of romanticised or stylised presentations. The group that has become known as the Generation of was marked by the destruction of Spain's fleet in Cuba by US gunboats in , which provoked a cultural crisis in Spain.
The "Disaster" of led established writers to seek practical political, economic, and social solutions in essays grouped under the literary heading of Regeneracionismo. The Generation of or Novecentismo. The next supposed "generation" of Spanish writers following those of '98 already calls into question the value of such terminology. While still driven by the national and existential questions that obsessed the writers of '98, they approached these topics with a greater sense of distance and objectivity.
Salvador de Madariaga , another prominent intellectual and writer, was one of the founders of the College of Europe and the composer of the constitutive manifest of the Liberal International. All were scholars of their national literary heritage, again evidence of the impact of the calls of regeneracionistas and the Generation of for Spanish intelligence to turn at least partially inwards.
Spain is one of the countries with the most number of laureates with the Nobel Prize in Literature , and with Latin American laureates they made the Spanish language literature one of the most laureates of all. Saramago was also well known by his Iberist ideas. The Generation of '50 are also known as the children of the civil war. Seneca was a philosopher during the time of the Roman Empire.
That is the case of Ibn Arabi , Averroes or Maimonides. Humanist Luis Vives during the Renaissance. Enlightenment in Spain arrived later and less strong as in other European countries, but during the XIX century liberal ideas arrived into Spanish society. At the end of the century, socialist and libertarian ideas also flourished particularly strong at the intellectual level, with thinkers as Francisco Pi i Margall , Ricardo Mella or Francisco Ferrer Guardia.
Most contemporary philosophers include Fernando Savater and Adela Cortina , creator of the term aporophobia. Artists from Spain have been highly influential in the development of various European and American artistic movements. Due to historical, geographical and generational diversity, Spanish art has known a great number of influences. The Mediterranean heritage with Greco-Roman and some Moorish and influences in Spain, especially in Andalusia is still evident today. There are many other autochthonous styles such as the Pre-Romanesque art and architecture , Herrerian architecture or the Isabelline Gothic.
Francisco Goya painted during a historical period that includes the Spanish Independence War , the fights between liberals and absolutists, and the raise of contemporary state-nations. 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. Spanish cinema has achieved major international success including Oscars for recent films such as Pan's Labyrinth and Volver. Due to its historical and geographical diversity, Spanish architecture has drawn from a host of influences.
Simultaneously, the Christian kingdoms gradually emerged and 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 flowering of the Gothic style that resulted in numerous instances being built throughout the entire territory. The arrival of Modernism in the academic arena produced much of the architecture of the 20th century.
Spain is currently experiencing a revolution in contemporary architecture and Spanish architects like Rafael Moneo , Santiago Calatrava , Ricardo Bofill as well as many others have gained worldwide renown. 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. Pop, rock, hip hop and heavy metal are also popular. Vitoria-Gasteiz jazz festival is one of the main ones on its genre. The most popular traditional musical instrument , the guitar, originated in Spain.
Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week is one of the most important fashion weeks in Europe. 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:. Food is traditionally conserved by salting, like Spanish ham , or immersed in olive oil , like Manchego cheese. Atlantic Spain — the whole Northern coast, including Asturian , Basque , Cantabrian and Galician cuisine — vegetable and fish-based stews like caldo gallego and marmitako.
While varieties of football had been played in Spain as far back as Roman times, sport in Spain has been dominated by football since the early 20th century. Real Madrid C. Basketball , tennis , cycling, handball , futsal , motorcycling and, lately, Formula One are also important due to the presence of Spanish champions in all these disciplines. Today, Spain is a major world sports powerhouse, especially since the Summer Olympics that were hosted in Barcelona , which stimulated a great deal of interest in sports in the country.
The tourism industry has led to an improvement in sports infrastructure, especially for water sports , golf and skiing. The most outstanding athletes figure: Rafael Nadal is the leading Spanish tennis player and has won seventeen Grand Slam titles second most of any man  and holds the record with the most number of ATP World Tour Masters singles titles.
In their respective regions, the games of Basque pelota and Valencian pilota are populars. Public holidays celebrated in Spain include a mix of religious Roman Catholic , national and regional 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. There are many festivals and festivities in Spain.
Some of them are known worldwide, and every year millions of people from all over the world go to Spain to experience one of these festivals. Its 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 a result, it has become one of the most internationally renowned fiestas in Spain, with over 1,, people attending every year. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the country. For other uses, see Spain disambiguation. Kingdom in Southwest Europe. Coat of arms. Show globe. Show map of Europe.
Spanish Spaniard. Main article: History of Spain. Main article: Prehistoric Iberia.
Main articles: Hispania and Visigothic Kingdom. Main articles: Al-Andalus and Reconquista. Main article: Spanish Empire. Main article: Second Spanish Republic. Main articles: Spanish transition to democracy and Spanish society after the democratic transition. Main article: Geography of Spain. Main article: List of islands of Spain. Main article: Climate of Spain. Main article: Wildlife of Spain. Main article: Politics of Spain. See also: Spanish Constitution of Main article: Government of Spain.
See also: List of Spanish monarchs and Monarchs of Spain family tree. Main article: Human rights in Spain. Main article: Political divisions of Spain. Main article: Autonomous communities of Spain. See also: Nationalities and regions of Spain.
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See also: Basque literature , Catalan literature , Galician literature , and Latin American literature. Main article: Spanish art. Main article: Cinema of Spain. Main article: Spanish architecture. Main article: Music of Spain. Main article: Spanish cuisine. Main article: Sport in Spain. Spain portal. 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 official name by many international organisations.
Aragonese , Asturian , and Occitan locally known as Aranese have some degree of official recognition. In the same month the number of citizens with Spanish citizenship reached 42,, The number of foreigners i. Also, the. Archived PDF from the original on 24 September Archived from the original on 25 March Trihedral picks are present in abundance, more so than cleavers, with 12 pieces shaped in quartzite Fig.
See legend in Fig. S20 for an explanation of the colour scheme. Drawing and photo by E. Preliminary analysis of the functionality of the LCTs has revealed additional evidence for use-wear. For 13 of the LCTs The most significant alterations are damage to the distal edges of some cleavers Fig. For four of the handaxes, we observe traces of scarring and rounding, mainly on their distal edges. The same patterns are also observed in two trihedral picks, with some micro-flakes damages on their points.
However, further use-wear studies are needed on the Porto Maior assemblage to advance our understanding of site functionality. This type of use wear has been identified elsewhere for tools made of similar raw materials, and has been linked with the processing of hard material, mainly wood or bone, as well as the breakage of carcasses 33 , 34 , The presence of use-wear suggests that these LCTs were used for specific activities developed on site, before their subsequent abandonment.
The LCTs identified in Iberian and European Acheulean sites consistently have smaller sizes and weights than their African counterparts. Similarly, the density of tools recorded in Porto Maior level PM4 at Porto Maior is one of the highest globally for this type of occupation 9. European sites with large numbers of handaxes are common e. Therefore, Porto Maior stands out as the first archaeological site in Europe Fig.
S25 for which both the technological features of the Acheulean LCT industry and the type of tool accumulation displays unequivocal affinities with the Acheulean technocomplex of Africa. However, similarly large cobbles are common in other Iberian fluvial systems, which are devoid of comparable LCT assemblages 43 , 44 ; hence it seems possible that the size of the PM4 LCTs is directly related to the functionality of the site. The interpretation of the function of such Plio-Pleistocene archaeological sites has generated vigorous academic debate over recent decades Most of the postulated hypotheses have been developed on sites associated with the first members of the genus Homo , and within pre-Acheulean African contexts.
Sites with large accumulations of LCTs have received less attention, and have sometimes been considered to be the result of natural sedimentary processes 46 , 47 , However, a number of researchers have argued that these extensive LCT accumulations are the product of deliberate economic activities mainly carcass consumption 49 , Such economic activities can be diverse depending on the site 49 , 50 , 51 , as has become evident in recent excavations of the TK site in Olduvai 52 , The use-wear analysis undertaken on 13 LCTs from Porto Maior indicate that this site was likely used to process hard material, mainly wood and bones, as described elsewhere for a number of African or European sites 34 , It indicates that the functionality of this site parallels that of similar LCT sites in Africa, although the lack of faunal remains precludes further interpretation.
Some researchers consider that the first Acheulean presence in the region is recorded at the site of La Boella Tarragona , which has been dated to between 1. However, the material recovered from this site comprises a limited assemblage and cannot be unequivocally assigned to the Acheulean technocomplex 3. The numerical age control available for these sites would place the earliest Acheulean in this region and Italy to pre-MIS 12 9 , 17 , Importantly, however, the technological characteristics at these sites are different to those observed in SW Europe Iberia and Aquitanian region , whose distinguishing features include the use of large flakes as blanks LFB industries for the LCTs and the presence of flake cleavers 4 , 5 , Within this geographic and chronological context, level PM4 of the Porto Maior site is the only known European example of an LFB Acheulean accumulation with pronounced African affinities.
It is apparent, therefore, that different LFB Acheulean assemblages were being simultaneously exploited by different geographic populations of SW Europe during the late Middle Pleistocene. Adding to this technological complexity is the fact that the age of Porto Maior level PM4 also overlaps with sites displaying Early Middle Paleolithic EMP industries, which are technologically different and not directly related to the LFB Acheulean 2 , 3 , 69 , 70 , Our dating study of the LCT accumulation at Porto Maior provides a new line of evidence for temporal overlap between these two techno-complexes in SW Europe 3 , These chronological findings have important implications for understanding the complex human occupation history of the continent.
It is increasingly clear from the palaeoanthropological record that a mosaic of human populations of different geographic origins, and with varied biological and technological attributions, likely co-existed in Europe at various times during the Middle Pleistocene 75 , 76 , The extensive LCT assemblage at Porto Maior contrasts with those of contemporaneous LFB Acheulean sites and EMP sites in the region, and similarly suggests the co-existence of culturally distinct human populations of different geographical origins.
The archaeological site of Porto Maior Level PM4 represents the first European site characterised by an extensive concentration of in situ LCTs with similar technological and occupation characteristics as those found exclusively in Acheulean sites from Africa and the Near East. The accumulation layer is within an overbank facies that was deposited with insufficient energy to displace large lithic tools in a significant way.
This geomorphic context, and the lack of a preferred orientation for the MA material, supports the anthropic origin of the LCT assemblage. Use wear analysis of the MA material shows that the LCTs were used for the processing of hard materials, such as bone and wood, or for the processing of carcasses. These results indicate that tool accumulation was likely the result of specific activities undertaken on-site, and was not merely the product of re-deposition via natural sedimentary processes.
The unique archaeological findings from Porto Maior provide a new line of evidence to support the relationship between the Iberian and African Acheulean industries. Until now, this affinity has been exclusively founded on technological similarities. For the first time, the cultural connection between the two continents can be extended to include the type of occupation site extensive LCT accumulations , thereby providing additional insight into the origin of the European Acheulean technology. This situation would potentially suggest the co-existence of different human species in southwest Europe during the Middle Pleistocene; a scenario also reflected by emerging palaeoanthropological evidence from European fossil hominin sites 75 , 79 , 80 , The archaeological investigations of Porto Maior were undertaken over two seasons in and , and consisted of excavations, stratigraphic analyses and the collection of dating samples from the excavated levels.
Likewise, geomorphologic work was undertaken to provide the geological context of the site at a regional scale. Archaeological materials were studied by means of taphonomic, technological, typological and metric criteria. The maps of the site were obtained from a combination of topographic and photogrammetry of close object techniques. Data were processed using GIS software, which produced high-precision cartographies and three-dimensional reconstructions. The use-wear analyses included the observation of the cutting edges, which was made using a binocular stereomicroscope Motic SMZ Each natural sample was divided into several multiple-grain aliquots, which were gamma irradiated up to ca.
For each sample, the ESR signals of both the Aluminium Al and Titanium Ti centres were obtained from repeated measurements at low temperature. Equivalent Dose values were obtained for each centre in order to check their consistency, and evaluate any possible incomplete bleaching of the Al signal during sediment transportation, as described in The total dose rate value was derived from a combination of in situ and laboratory measurements.
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Radioelement U, Th, K concentrations of the sediment were determined by ICP-MS analysis and used to derive external alpha and beta dose rate components using the dose rate conversion factors from Values were corrected with beta and alpha attenuation values for spherical grains 84 , 85 and water attenuation formulae from The cosmic dose rate was calculated using formulae from 87 , with depth, altitude and latitude corrections. In total, 6 to 7 grain aliquots of K-feldspars were measured for each sample.
Mean D e values and final burial ages were calculated using the central age model Dose rate evaluations were undertaken using a combination of in situ gamma-ray spectrometry and low-level beta counting SI Luminescence dating for details. Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Rolland, N. Turq, A. Quaternary International , — Santonja, M. Acheulian Tool-making from Quarry to Discard eds N. Sharon — Equinox Publishers, Sharon, G. The emergence of the Acheulian in Europe — A look from the east.
Bar-Yosef, O. From Africa to Eurasia-early dispersals. Quarternary International 75 , 19—28 Nicoud, E. What Does the Acheulean Consist of? Carbonell, E. Structural continuity and technological change in Lower Pleistocene toolkits. Moncel, M. The Early Acheulian of north-western Europe.
Rubio-Jara, S. Large flake Acheulean in the middle of Tagus basin Spain : Middle stretch of the river Tagus valley and lower stretches of the rivers Jarama and Manzanares valleys. The Acheulean from Atapuerca: Three steps forward, one step back. Dominguez- Rodrigo — Cambridge University Press, Gallotti, R.
Mosquera, M. Scott, G. The oldest hand-axes in Europe. Nature , 82—85 Pereira, A. Voinchet, P. Alvarez-Posada, C. The oldest handaxes in Europe: fact or artefact? Mid-Pleistocene Acheulean industrial complex in the Iberian Peninsula. Cologne, D. Flakes Crossing the Straits? BAR International Series , Duval, M. Electron spin resonance dating of optically bleached quartz grains from the Middle Palaeolithic site of Cuesta de la Bajada Spain using the multiple centres approach. Arnold, L. Evaluating the suitability of extended-range luminescence dating techniques over early and Middle Pleistocene timescales: Published datasets and case studies from Atapuerca, Spain.
Buylaert, J. Radiation Measurements 44 , — Beerten, K. On the use of Ti centres for estimating burial ages of Pleistocene sedimentary quartz: Multiple-grain data from Australia. Bordes, F. Tixier, J. Experimental and functional analysis of late Middle Paleolithic flake cleavers from southwestern Europe France and Spain. Viallet, C. Macrotraces of Middle Pleistocene bifaces from two Mediterranean sites: Structural and functional analysis.
Bifaces used for percussion? Experimental approach to percussion marks and functional analysis of the bifaces from Terra Amata Nice, France. Pope, M. The significance of biface-rich assemblages: An examination of behavioural controls on lithic assemblage formation in the Lower Palaeolithic. Roberts, M.
English Heritage, Lhomme, V. Tools, space and behaviour in the Lower Palaeolithic: discoveries at Soucy in the Paris basin. Antiquity 81 , Cunha Ribeiro, J. AA — Querol, M. El yacimiento achelense de Pinedo Toledo. Moloney, N. Lithic production and raw material explotation at the Middle Pleistocene site of El Sartalejo, Spain.
Dominguez- Rodrigo, M. Schick, K. Geoarchaeological analysis of an acheulean site at Kalambo Falls, Zambia. Walter, M. Shipton, C. Isaac, G. Olorgesailie: archeological studies of a Middle Pleistocene lake basin in Kenya. University of Chicago Press, Potts, R. Olorgesailie: new excavations and findings in Early and Middle Pleistocene contexts, southern Kenya rift valley. Journal of Human Evolution 18 , — Dominguez-Rodrigo, M. Woodworking activities by early humans: a plant residue analysis on Acheulian stone tools from Peninj Tanzania.
Toro-Moyano, I. The oldest human fossil in Europe dated to ca. The first hominin of Europe. Vallverdu, J. Walker, M. Angelucci, D. Despriee, J. The Acheulean site of la Noira Centre region, France : Characterization of materials and alterations, choice of lacustrine millstone and evidence of anthropogenic behaviour. Cunha, P. New data on the chronology of the Vale do Forno sedimentary sequence Lower Tejo River terrace staircase and its relevance as a fluvial archive of the Middle Pleistocene in western Iberia.
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