Note the geographic boundaries : East--Mediterranean Sea West--Portugal South--Africa (Strait of Gibraltar) Northeast--France
The two largest cities in Spain are Madrid
and Barcelona. Madrid is the capital, and
Barcelona is the best place to study abroad.
Spain is made up of 17 autonomous communities (previously called “regions”). Three of them have their own languages: The Basque Country—Basque Galicia—Galician Catalonia—Catalan Dialects of Catalan are also spoken in Valencia and Mallorca.
206 B.C. – The Romans invade Spain; their language, Latin, became the dominant language.
Spanish developed from Latin.
711 A.D. – The Moors (peoples of North Africa) invade Spain. Catholic Spain fights back against the Islamic Moors, who speak Arabic. (Spanish words that begin with “al”—like “álgebra”—come from Arabic.)
1492 – Not only did Isabel and Fernando sponsor Columbus but also succeeded in expelling the last of the Moors from Spain. The Alhambra, a Moorish palace in a city called Granada, was the last stronghold.
You’ll notice that Granada (which means “pomegranate”) is in the south, close to Africa, so it makes sense that the Moors could hold onto it longer than other cities.
Pictures of the Moorish palace, the Alhambra
1492 – We’re still not done with that date. Isabel and Fernando succeeded in expelling not only the Moors that year but also the Jews. The Moors and the Jews made up most of the middle class, so what the king and queen actually did was throw out all their workers thereby ruining the country’s economy.
1936-1939 – These are the dates of the (most recent) Spanish civil war. In 1931, the popular vote made it obvious that people wanted a republic, not a monarchy, and King Alfonso XIII abdicated. There were so many political factions violently opposed to each other that civil war seemed inevitable. It broke out in 1936, and Francisco Franco gained control of the government and became dictator.
Incidentally, Ernest Hemingway fought in the Spanish civil war.
Franco ruled Spain with an iron fist. Catholicism was the state religion. Franco was totally opposed to a republican form of government. However, he wasn’t opposed to a monarchy, so he had Juan Carlos, grandson of Alfonso XIII, the monarch who fled before the civil war, brought to Spain and groomed to be his successor.
1975 -- Franco died.
Juan Carlos became king, but,
knowing which way the wind blew,
immediately went about establishing
a Parliamentary Monarchy .
A president was elected, and the
real power resides with that office.
Spain is known for flamenco dancing. It’s the traditional dance you see on TV and in movies with the castanets.
The most famous
work is Don
The book was
written by Miguel
The dish for which Spain is most famous is paella . It’s a rice dish seasoned with saffron and contains seafood and chicken and a few vegetables.