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Spain

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Motto: “Plus Ultra”  “Further Beyond”
Anthem: “Marcha Real” “Royal March”

Capital Madrid
Official languages Spanish
Demonym Spanish, Spaniard
Government Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy
Formation 15th century  – Unification 1469  – Dynastic union 1516  – de facto 1716  – de jure 1812
EU accession January 1, 1986
Area 504,030 km² (51st) / 195,364 sq mi
Population 2007 estimate 45,200,737 (28th)
Currency Euro

[show-map id=’19’] Geography
At 194,884sq mi, Spain is the world’s 51st-largest country. It is comparable in size to France, and is somewhat larger than the U.S. state of California.  On the west, Spain borders Portugal, on the south, it borders Gibraltar and Morocco, through its cities in North Africa (Ceuta and Melilla). On the northeast, along the Pyrenees mountain range, it borders France and the tiny principality of Andorra. Spain also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and a number of uninhabited islands on the Mediterranean side of the strait of Gibraltar. In the northeast along the Pyrenees, a small exclave town called Llívia in Catalonia is surrounded by French territory.  Mainland Spain is dominated by high plateaus and mountain ranges, such as the Sierra Nevada. Running from these heights are several major rivers such as the Tagus, the Ebro, the Duero, the Guadiana and the Guadalquivir. Alluvial plains are found along the coast, the largest of which is that of the Guadalquivir in Andalusia.

Culture
PSpain is known for its culturally diverse heritage, having been influenced by many nations and peoples throughout its history. Spanish culture has its origins in the Iberian, Celtiberian, Latin, Visigothic, Roman Catholic, and Islamic cultures. The definition of a national Spanish culture has been characterized by tension between the centralized state and numerous regions and minority peoples. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played strong roles in shaping its culture.  After Italy, Spain is the country with the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with a total of 40.  Spanish art is an important and influential type of art in Europe. Spanish art is the name given to the artistic disciplines and works developed in Spain throughout time, and those by Spanish authors world-wide. Due to historical, geographical and generational diversity, Spanish art has known a great number of influences. The Moorish heritage in Spain, especially in Andalusia, is still evident today in cities like Córdoba, Seville, and Granada. European influences include Italy, Germany and France, especially during the Baroque and Neoclassical periods.  Spanish literature is the name given to the literary works written in Spain throughout time, and those by Spanish authors world-wide. Due to historic, geographic and generational diversity, Spanish literature has known a great number of influences and it is very diverse. Some major movements can be identified within it.  Spanish music is often considered abroad to be synonymous with flamenco, an Andalusian musical genre, which, contrary to popular belief, is not widespread outside that region. Various regional styles of folk music abound in Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Castile, the Basque Country, Galicia and Asturias. Pop, rock, hip hop and heavy metal are also popular.  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.

*Content gathered from Wikipedia