|Kingdom of Spain|
|Motto: "Plus Ultra"(Latin)
|Anthem: "Marcha Real"(Spanish)
(and largest city)
|Recognised regional languages||Aranese, Basque, Catalan/Valencian and Galician|
|Ethnic groups||87.8% Spanish, 12.2% (Romanian, Moroccan, Germans, Ecuadorian, British) other (2010)|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy|
|-||King||Juan Carlos I|
|-||Prime Minister||José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (PSOE)|
|-||Lower House||Congress of Deputies|
|-||Traditional date||569 (ascension to the throne of Liuvigild)|
|EU accession||1 January 1986|
|-||Total||504,030 km2 (51st)
195,364 sq mi
|-||2010 estimate||46,030,109 (27th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2010 estimate estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2010 estimate estimate|
|HDI (2010)||0.863 (very high) (20th)|
|Currency||Euro (€) (
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Date formats||dd.mm.yyyy (Spanish; CE)|
|Drives on the||right|
Spain ( ; Spanish: España, ), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.
Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco. Furthermore, the town of Llívia is a Spanish exclave situated inside French territory. With an area of 504,030 km², it is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union after France.
Because of its location, the territory of Spain was subject to many external influences since prehistoric times and through to its dawn as a country. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the completion of the reconquest, or Reconquista, of the Iberian peninsula in 1492. Conversely, it has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world's second most spoken first language.
Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a developed country with the twelfth largest economy in the world by nominal GDP, and very high living standards (20th highest Human Development Index), including the tenth-highest quality of life index rating in the world, as of 2005. It is a member of the United Nations, European Union, NATO, OECD, and WTO.
After a long and hard conquest, the Iberian Peninsula became a region of the Roman Empire known as Hispania. During the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule but later was conquered by Muslim invaders. Through a very long and fitful process, the Christian kingdoms in the north gradually rolled back Muslim rule, finally extinguishing its last remnant in Granada in 1492, the same year Columbus reached the Americas. A global empire began which saw Spain become the strongest kingdom in Europe and the leading world power in the 16th century and first half of the 17th century.
Continued wars and other problems eventually led to a diminished status. The French invasion of Spain in the early 19th century led to chaos, triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire and left the country politically unstable. In the 20th century it suffered a devastating civil war and came under the rule of an authoritarian government, leading to years of stagnation, but finishing in an impressive economic surge. Democracy was restored in 1978 in the form of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. In 1986, Spain joined the European Union, experiencing a cultural renaissance and steady economic growth.
The true origins of the name España and its cognates "Spain" and "Spanish" are disputed. The ancient Roman name for Iberia, Hispania, may derive from poetic use of the term Hesperia to refer to Spain, reflecting Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia) and Spain, being still further west, as Hesperia ultima.
It may also be a derivation of the Punic Ispanihad, meaning "land of conies" 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 cony at her feet. There are also claims that España derives from the Basque word Ezpanna meaning "edge" or "border", another reference to the fact that the Iberian peninsula constitutes the southwest of the European continent.
The humanist Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". According to new research by Jesús Luis Cunchillos published in 2000 with the name of Gramática fenicia elemental (Basic Phoenician grammar), the root of the term span is spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged".
Archaeological research at Atapuerca indicates the Iberian Peninsula was populated by hominids 1.2 million years ago. Modern humans first arrived in Iberia, from the north on foot, about 32,000 years ago. The best known artifacts of these prehistoric human settlements are the famous paintings in the Altamira cave of Cantabria in northern Iberia, which were created about 15,000 BCE by cro-magnons.
Archaeological and genetic evidence strongly 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 main historical peoples of the peninsula were the Iberians and the Celts, the former inhabiting the Mediterranean side from the northeast to the southwest, the latter inhabiting the Atlantic side, in the north and northwest part of the peninsula. In the inner part of the peninsula, where both groups were in contact, a mixed, distinctive culture known as Celtiberian was present. Basques occupied the western area of the Pyrenees mountain range and adjacent areas. Other ethnic groups existed along the peninsula's southern coastal areas.
In the south of the peninsula appeared the semi-mythical city of Tartessos (c.1100 BC), whose flourishing trade in items made of gold and silver with the Phoenicians and Greeks is documented by Strabo and the Book of Solomon. Between about 500 BC and 300 BC, the seafaring Phoenicians and Greeks founded trading colonies along the Mediterranean coast. The Carthaginians briefly exerted control over much of the Mediterranean side of the peninsula, until defeated in the Punic Wars by the Romans.