Country Spain


Spain is a country of Europe

with a surface area of 505,911 km² (density of 92.42 inhab./km²). The population of Spain is 46,754,784 inhabitants in the last census.The capital of Spain is the city of Madrid which has 3,413,271 inhabitants. The King of the unitary regional State parliamentary constitutional monarchy is Juan Carlos Ier.


"Beyond" Spain is a country located on the Iberian Peninsula, in Southern Europe, sharing borders with France, Andorra and Portugal. It is separated from the African continent by the Strait of Gibraltar located at the meeting point between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The Canary Islands and Baleares as well as the Moroccan "Plazas de soberanÃa" are also under Spanish sovereignty. Spain is a member of the European Union, the UN, NATO, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization and the World Trade Organization. Latin Union.

List of current heads of state and government

King Felipe VI
President of the Government Pedro Sánchez

Country religion

Christian 88.3%
Agnostic 7.6%
Muslim 2.3%
Atheist 1.5%
Jewish 0.1%

Spain at a glance

Constitutional Monarchy
Capital: Madrid
Administrative divisions: 17 autonomous communities, 50 provinces
Population: over 46 million inhabitants
Main language: Spanish (Castilian)
Main Religion: Catholicism
Current Sovereign: Felipe VI
Current Government Chair: Mariano Rajoy
Currency: Euro Tourism: No restrictions

A mosaic of landscapes

The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands archipelago is located in the Atlantic Ocean, off Morocco. It forms, with the islands of the Açores, Madeira and Cape Verde, Macaronesia. All of these islands have a common history and environment. The Canary Islands archipelago, which includes seven islands and several islands and rocks, is of volcanic origin: Tenerife is the largest island in the Canaries. It is dominated by the peak of Teide, a volcano rising to 3,715 meters above sea level making it the highest point of Spain, Mount Mulhacen being the highest peak in Spain mainland. The volcano occupies the entire center of the island. The northeastern tip of Tenerife is also mountainous and is partially covered with a virgin wet subtropical forest. We can find the Laurel of the Canaries, a plant with endemic flowers of the archipelago. Fuerteventura is the second largest island. Located in the east of the archipelago, it is not far from the African continent that a hundred kilometers. The sand dunes and beaches as well as the pleasant temperatures make it a destination appreciated by tourists Gran Canaria, the third largest island in the Canaries offers a wide variety of landscapes and has a remarkable flora and fauna. Circular in shape, it is dominated by the Pico de les Nieves volcano surrounded by the remains of an old primary forest victim of massive deforestation. The coastline is lined with cliffs and small coves. Lanzarote is located northeast of Fuerteventura. This island of 850 km ² has no less than 110 volcanoes and is covered with volcanic rocks which gives it its particular lunar appearance. La Gomera is characterized by its vast forest of laurels, ferns and heaths which proliferate due to the permanent heat and humidity. You can meet the giant lizard of La Gomera, a endemic species in great danger with a re-introduction program. La Palma and its three volcanoes have a steep terrain. It is the greenest and most wooded of the Canaries thanks to the regular rains that water the island in autumn and winter. El Hierro, the smallest, youngest and most western of the seven islands. It experienced an important seismic episode in 2011 following an underwater eruption.

The Balearic Islands

The Baleares archipelago located in the Mediterranean is divided into two groups of islands and islands: AT The Islands Gymnasiums including three of the most important islands of the archipelago: Mallorca and its three mountains (Tramontane, Levant and Randa) whose highest peak, the Puig Major, rises to 1,445 meters above sea level. It is lined with beaches that attracts many tourists. National parks have been created in order to preserve the island's environment Menorca known for its sandy beaches and coves accessible only by boat. Like the whole archipelago, it benefits from a Mediterranean climate. In the 19th century, Cabrera served as a place of detention for French prisoners captured by the Spanish during the Napoleonic wars, mainly during the Battle of Bailén. Only 2,000 men out of the 25,000 prisoners survived cu. The Piyuses Islands including the two other important Balearic Islands: Ibiza, an island formerly inhabited by peasants and fishermen in a precarious situation and who now enjoys tourism and luxury real estate. Formentera located six kilometers south of Ibiza has also become a popular tourist destination even though it attracts fewer people than its "Big Sister".

A long and rich history

The origin of the population of the Iberian Peninsula dates back to the Lower Palaeolithic and many archaeological sites have been discovered throughout the country. Archaeological excavations have uncovered traces of an 800,000-year-old campfire on the site of the Black Cave of the Rio Quipar Gorge in Murcia, in southeastern Spain. This is the oldest use of fire discovered in the country and even in Europe. The presence of animal bones and calcined stone objects makes it possible to assert that this fire was probably used to cook food. In contrast, the identity of the first Iberian hominids has not yet been determined. The discovery of these homes does not, however, imply mastery of the fire. Indeed, it is likely that the occupants of the cave carried firebrands lit by wild bush fires and maintained them for a certain period of time. Since that time, Spain has been occupied by scattered tribes throughout the pre-history. Many major discoveries have been made including: The site of Sierra de Atapuerca located in Castilla y León, in the north of the country has revealed the presence of the oldest "Homo" discovered in Western Europe. 'Homo antecessor'. Following the study of the bones of about thirty individuals discovered at the bottom of a well, it was estimated that the site was occupied by humans, there are 1.2 million '© es year. They used tools and probably practiced cannibalism. Occupation has been constant in the Atapuerca region. The splendid rock paintings discovered in the Altamira caves located in Cantabria, in the north of Spain, discovered in 1879. These exceptional works prove the occupation of the site between 22.000 and 13.000 BC . AT At the time of the last glaciation, the nomadic tribes that inhabited Central Asia migrated to southern Europe, driven by cold and hunger. They settle in Spain. At the end of this period, the daily life of men changes radically. The eating habits are changing, large extinct animals are replaced by fish, goats and deer. The tools are adapted to this new type of hunting and the tools are gilding. AT Agriculture appears in Andalusia around the 6th millennium BC, probably brought by North African tribes. At this time, the Iberian tribes master the cardial pottery characterized by its dà © cor shaped with the help of seashells. It was also at this time that the metal industry developed during the Copper Age, in the 3rd millennium. The Iberian tribes are then less isolated and will notably come into contact with the peoples of North Africa and the Baltic. They will also draw megaliths in areas close to the Atlantic Ocean.

The culture of Los Millares

The first cities are founded around 2,600 BC in the south-east of Spain. A first civilization began in Los Millares, near Almeria, Andalusia. The villages are endowed with elaborate fortifications (enclosing walls, bastions and towers) while large necropolises are built outside their walls. This civilization is already hierarchized. The population of Los Millares estimated at 1,500 inhabitants lives from agriculture and livestock but also from the trade of weapons and tools in metal as well as pottery which is refined and adopts soon And the campaniform style.

The cultures of the bronze age

During the bronze age, the culture of El Argar develops in Murcia and Andalusia. The society is structured more and more and a strong hierarchy is set up. The existence of a class of slaves or at least of servants is probable. This culture prefers the period of the first states. Many chieftaincies are located on the edge of agricultural areas, near copper and silver mines or in strategic locations, at the top of hills or at the entrance to valleys. Roads connect some villages as well as outposts between them. This communication network is important because the villages do not all specialize in the same productions (agricultural, metallurgical, ceramics, ...) which makes contacts mandatory. Houses are growing, include several rooms and are built along the streets. Funeral rites occupy an important place. Collective buildings (pottery workshops, textile and metalworking, warehouses for cereals, ...) benefit from the delivery of water through a system. Line of pipe connected to cisterns and wells. However, the village population probably does not exceed 500 or 600 people. The culture of El Argar will gradually expand to encompass the provinces of Granada, Jaén, Ciudad Real and Alicante. For nearly a millennium, the inhabitants of these regions will intensively exploit the agricultural lands and pastures, thus beginning a process of de-forestation that will probably precipitate the decline of this area. civilization and cause its demise at the end of the 2nd millennium BC. AT Towards the end of the culture of El Argar, the center of Spain is occupied by seasonal tribes who live mainly from pastoralism grouped under the name of Cogotas I. Their rudimentary dwellings are reunited in villages fortifications that evolve in castros during the iron age and the dead are buried in necropolises. AT In southwestern Spain, the Atalaya culture produces high quality bronze weapons. It stretches along the Atlantic coast and sinks widely inland. AT The end of the bronze age is marked by the arrival of the first "colonizers" and by the disappearance of the various Iberian cultures, including that of El Argar which is several small kingdoms. Around 1.100 BC, the Phoenicians approach the Atlantic coast and found a first trading post at Gadès (present-day Cádiz). The center and the west of the peninsula are occupied by the so-called "Celtiberous" peoples. This name dates from the time of the Romans who thought that the Celts had migrated to Spain and assimilated to the Iberians. It seems however that if the Celts settled well in the Meseta towards the 7th century BC, they were quickly repulsed by the Iberians. This hypothesis is reinforced by the virtual absence of vestiges recalling the Celtic culture in the country.

The Iron Age

During the 1st millennium before our era, Spain is divided mainly between the "civilization of the fields of urns" in the North-East and the territories of the South occupied by the Phè © cians. The civilization of the fields of urns owes its name to the funerary ritual of the incineration which replaces or completes the tumuli. The ashes of the deceased are placed in urns buried in vast fields. Originally from Hungary or Silesia, the people practicing this ritual began their expansion at the very beginning of the first millennium to Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, northern Italy and the La France. He settles in Catalonia, in the north-east of Spain at the end of the 7th century BC. This civilization then spreads to the west and south of the country, but loses much of its own characteristics. It will finally give way to Iberian culture during the 4th century BC. At the same time, the Phoenicians who founded the Gadès counter near Gibraltar bring their own culture to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, notably the production of olive oil, vine culture and writing. They build many merchant cities that will be abandoned in the course of the 6th century when Carthage (Tunisia) which had itself been founded by the Phoenicians is essential. facing other cities to develop its own civilization. The Greeks who founded Massalia (Marseille) around 600 BC have trade exchanges with the peoples settled along the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. They will establish a first counter on a small island in Empúries, in Catalonia and, from there, to stretch slightly in the eastern part of the peninsula without attempting to colonize it. The country. AT On the eve of the Roman conquest, the Iberian peninsula is therefore divided between the Phoenicians installed along the southern coast, the Greeks settled on the east coast and the Carthaginians settled on the African coast, in the Balearic Islands and in the province of Alicante.

The Roman occupation

The second Punic war between Rome and Carthage ended in 202 BC with the Roman victory, after 15 years of conflict. Carthage must accept the conditions of Rome, namely the payment of indemnities, the almost total suppression of its fleet, the prohibition to carry out military actions and the abandonment of its possessions in the Baleares and in the Iberian peninsula. Rome thus has the free field to continue the conquest of the peninsula actually started in 218 BC when the Carthaginians ransack the city of Sagunto (province of Valencia), allied with the Romans, a An event that serves as a pretext for the Second Punic War. The Roman troops penetrate in the peninsula hoping thus to block the road to the intendance of the carthaginoises troops of Hannibal. They also want to attack the Iberian possessions of Carthage in order to force Hannibal to divide his army to protect them. The Romans lead two wars head-on. They land in Empúries, hoping to ally the Iberian tribes but most of them remain loyal to the Carthaginians. They however take possession of the Catalan city of Tarragona which becomes a real Roman military base allowing to send the troops to the conquest of the country. The Roman conquest of the peninsula is done in several stages. In 197 BC, Rome occupied the entire eastern and southern coast of present-day Spain and divided these territories into two provinces, Hispania citing Tarragona as its capital, and later Hispania with Córdoba as its capital. The Romans have to deal with regular fluctuations of the local population which delays the advancement of the conquest. This one finally resumes in 181 before our era and the territories belonging to the Celtibers installed in the center of the peninsula are quickly subjected by the arms or by alliances. Continuing their expansion, the Romans seized Lusitania (corresponding to southern Portugal and the Spanish provinces of León and Estremadura) in 154 BC and Numantia (Castile and Leon) in 133 BC. BC. AT It followed a long period of status quo, the Romans being too busy spreading their empire in the East and settling internal conflicts to continue the war in Hispania. Finally, the war resumed in 29 BC and the Asturians and Cantabres occupying the north-west of the peninsula were defeated under Augustus, 10 years later. AT Hispania remains Roman until 476. During this long period, the influence of the occupants fundamentally modifies the culture of the country. As in all its provinces, Rome builds cities including traditional buildings, forums, baths, theaters, .... and benefiting from a network of dripping, the arrival of water by aqueduct and an important road network which facilitates the commercial exchanges between the various cities and the other Roman colonies. The land is granted to soldiers freed from their obligations to the nation and to large families who found latifundia (large farms). Indigenous peoples are gradually losing their culture, adopting Roman traditions and speaking in Latin.

The fall of the Western Roman Empire

From the 3rd century, a great political instability reigns in Rome. The emperors succeed each other quickly because of coups d'etat and assassinations which considerably weakens the power. In 235, the Emperor Sà © vère-Alexandre reputed for having been a leader more concerned about social reforms than by military conquest is assassinated, plunging Rome into a A "military anarchy" that ends in 270 with the advent of Aurelie who manages to re-establish a strong central power. After his assassination and a new succession of "second-order" emperors, Diocletian took power in 284 and chose Maximian Hercules as co-emperor and two Caesars, Galley and Constance, to control respectively Illyria and the western provinces, namely Hispania, Gaul, Brittany and Italy. This hierarchy allows everyone to take care of a quarter of the Empire. Diocletian hopes to be able to repel the first barbarian invasions that are already threatening the Roman frontiers. The hierarchy announces the division of the Empire which will become official in 395, at the death of Thérodose the Great. His two sons, Flavius ​​Honorius and Flavius ​​Arcadius became respectively Roman Emperor of the West and Roman Emperor of the East.

The domination of the Visigoths

The Western Roman Empire quickly fell prey to Germanic invasions. In 408, the Vandals, Alans and Suves invaded Hispania and divided the territories before being driven out by other Germans, the Visigoths. This barbarian kingdom occupies Hispania and the south of France with Toulouse as capital before having to fall back beyond the Pyrenees in 507, following the victory of Clovis. It retains only Septimania (Narbonne region) in France. In 554, the Byzantine emperor Justinian I took Andalusia but his suzerainetà © on the Visigoths will be only temporary since the Visigoth king Là © ovigild manages to unify Hispania and Septimania. The Visigoths remain in Spain until 711, the date of the collapse of their kingdom destroyed by the Muslims. The Visigoths settled mainly in the interior of the land, which explains why the perimeters of the peninsula preserved a Roman culture. King Reberid I imposes Catholicism which will replace Arianism, a theological current marking the beginning of Christianity. In 589, the Third Council of Toledo announced the birth of a deeply Catholic Spain and the mass exodus of Jews to North Africa. Toledo becomes the political and religious capital of a country where the state and the church form a close collaboration.

Muslim domination

In the 7th century, Islam made its appearance in Arabia and its founder Mahomet began his first conquests, attacking very quickly the great powers of the time, especially the Byzantine and Persian empires weakened by civil wars. The Muslim conquests undertaken by Muhammad and continued by the caliphs, his successors are crowned with success. Indeed, the often oppressed and poor populations welcome Muslims as liberators. The Arabs extend their influence over Persia, Iraq, Iran, Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine and Egypt. In 712, they leave the African coast and cross the Strait of Gibraltar. The Visigoths are quickly defeated and the Muslims invade all Spain, except the Basque Country, León, Asturias and Galicia. They will be stopped only by Charles Martel with Poitiers, in 732. AT The country becomes Muslim and is renamed Al-Andalus. The Muslim period ends in 1492. First considered as a province, Al-Andalus becomes an emelat in 756 and Cordoba is chosen as the capital.

The mirador of Cordoba

The mirat is founded by the last representative of the Umayyad dynasty, after the overthrow of his family by the Abbasids. Thus, Abd al-Rahman I, who had fled to North Africa, in Moorish territory, became the first of Cordoba, supported by Umayyad supporters and taking advantage of the instability consequent to the change of dynasty. Spain enjoys a prosperous era and becomes a radiant cultural center under Abd al-Rahman I and his descendants who also succeed in effectively protecting the country against the Viking raids. .

The caliphate of Cordoba

Already very autonomous from the caliphate of Baghdad, the miracle of Cordoba took a new course under Abd al-Rahman III who proclaims himself caliph as a representative of Muslim orthodoxy. The caliphate of Cordoba was founded in 929 but is often confronted with conflicts with the Catholic kings of León, Asturias and Galicia including Ramire II and his successors. Throughout the reign of Abd al-Rahman III, al-Andalus has known an economically and culturally prosperous period and a high level of political stability. Cordoba becomes a rich city boasting its many mosques. The caliph built Madinat al-Zahra, a palatial town a few kilometers from the capital, from which it is connected by a wide road. This immense complex reunites the palace of the caliph, a mosque, various reception rooms, administrative offices, factories, shops, barracks, markets, gardens and vegetable gardens. in water through a network of canals and aqueducts. All these buildings perfectly symbolize Hispano-Moorish art, which differs from Oriental Islamic art in particular by the arrangement of rooms organized around a garden or a courtyard. The construction of the city of Madinat al-Zahra begins in 936 in order to assert the power of the caliph. It will be completely destroyed less than a hundred years later, in 1010 during a Berber invasion. On the death of Abd al-Rahman III, his son Al Hakam II, a rude and tolerant man, succeeded him. Al-Andalus reaches its apogee while peace is finally signed between the Caliphate and the Christian kingdoms of the north of the peninsula. He completed the construction of Madinat al-Zahra, embellished and enlarged the Mosque of Cordoba, paved the streets of the city which is also endowed with a network of taste and public lighting. Córdoba is then an important university center frequented by scholars from all over the world and is endowed with a huge library lined with a workshop of copyists. Remarkably, Andalusian women are cultivated and many are those who obtain the function of copyists. At the same time, it organizes the defense of the country by erecting fortresses (alcazars), including the castle of Baños de la Encina in Andalusia which is exceptionally well preserved. AT The successor of Al Hakam II is only a child with decadent health at the death of his father. He falls under the thumb of Almanzor or Al-Mansour, an intriguing military leader who will pull the strings of power without becoming a caliph because he has no legitimacy. Little by little, he claims honorary titles and, in 998, he obtains the promise to obtain power for him and his descendants on the death of Caliph Hisham II. Almanzor leads a resounding policy against the Christians and anyone opposing his decisions while pursuing the great constructions undertaken by the caliphs. He reinforced the army by welcoming Berber and African volunteers with the intention of making the caliphate a great European power. He led many raids in the Christian territories and, in 997, plundered the holy city of Santiago de Compostela, an act considered provocative in the Christian world. The peace and prosperity of the caliphate are not going to resist the civil war that breaks out in Córdoba in 1009, when more and more Berber workers are rioting because of the incompetence and the dubious behavior of Almanzor's successors who did not hesitate to proclaim himself caliph after forcing Hisham II to give up power. The ancient dynasty Amiride is anemic while Madinat al-Zahra is destroyed. Muhammad II takes power, reestablishing the Umayyads before being murdered by Berber slaves and slaves (former Slavic and German freed slaves). Hicham II regains his role as caliph but is in turn killed in 1013. Different caliphs succeed one another quickly, most of them being assassinated soon after taking power. This instability provokes the dislocation of the caliphate, which breaks up into taifas, small kingdoms that clash regularly because of their cultural differences. AT The country will be reunited from 1086 to 1212 under the domination of the Almoravids, a Berber Sanhajian dynasty, and then Almohads also of Berber origin came to the rescue of the country threatened by the Christians. . During this period, al-Andalus finds all its cultural aura and the cities of Cordoba, Granada and Seville benefit from this golden age.

The Reconquest

Despite this gloom, Muslims emerge weakened from civil wars, which allowed the Christian kingdoms to resume their struggle during the taif period. The different marriage alliances strengthen their power and go back to the reconquest of Muslim territories. This period known as "Reconquista" ends in the 13th century shortly after the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, which puts the army of the Almohads in disarray and allows to the Christian Kingdoms to continue their journey in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Despite these victories, the calm is far from being found because of the difficult coexistence between Muslims and Christians. The country is shaken by riots, inheritance conflicts, especially in Castile, which must also face a war against Portugal. In the 15th century, Granada (Andalusia) is still Muslim while the rest of Spain is divided between the Kingdoms of Castile, Aragon and Navarre. It was at this time that Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella 1st of Castile, nicknamed "Catholic Kings" get married. This union strengthens the power of these now-linked states and allows the capture of Granada in 1492, the Canary Islands in 1496 and Navarre in 1512.

The Kingdom of Spain

The whole country is unified which gives birth to the Kingdom of Spain which enjoys solid support thanks to the game of child marriages of the Catholic kings and children of the different European monarchies. . Spain is not content with its territories and will quickly expand its European possessions to become one of the world's greatest powers since the 16th century. At the same time, it becomes a colonial empire thanks to the discovery of the "New World" by the explorer Christopher Columbus. The "ultra" Christian Spain is putting in place a resisting policy against Jews and Muslims who must convert or leave the country. In 1478, the Spanish Inquisition was created to track down suspected converts from practicing their religion clandestinely. It is the beginning of a dark period marked by persecutions against "heretics" but also against people who do not do not give up. Many people recognize their heroes under torture. Their belongings and those of all their loved ones are confiscated while the "guilty" are often burned without having been entitled to a lawsuit. Many excesses are committed and the hunt for heretics will spread to Protestants, Lutherans but also to those suspected of bigamy or blasphemy. The Spanish Inquisition will not end until the 19th century.

A colonial empire

In the 15th century, Spanish rulers from the Habsburg dynasty vast territory in Europe, the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, Sardinia, the Duchy of Milan, the Netherlands, the County of Burgundy, the Charolais, the Artois and Portugal. Armed with a huge fleet (the Armada), Spain controls the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. In America, the conquistadors offer to the crown the Aztec and Inca empires, Central America, part of North America, and all the western part of South Ameri- ca. These colonies bring incredible wealth to Spain, which benefits from the slave trade even if it is not directly involved in the deportation of Africans to its colonial territories. Indeed, she entrusts this trade to other powers such as Portugal or France by paying a fee. This contract is called "asiento". AT The 16th century also sees the advent of Charles V who became King of Spain, Naples, Sicily and Jerusalem in 1516 and Emperor of the Romans in 1519. It is indeed the heir to four dynasties through the game of weddings. During his long reign, he will nevertheless have to face the kings of France who want to appropriate the Italian territories while Charles-Quint wants to take back the Duché de Bourgogne which belonged to his ancestor Charles-le-Tèmé porary. At the time of the division of the possessions of Charles V, who abdicated in 1555, Spain and its non-European territories were handed over to Philip II. Under his reign, Spain returns to war against England. Philip II sends his "Invincible Armada" to the conquest of the United Kingdom then ruled by Elizabeth 1st, a Protestant. Meteorological conditions prevent Spanish ships from leading the fight and force them to abandon the invasion project. The Anglo-Spanish war ends in 1604, at the signing of the Treaty of London which maintains a quasi status quo even if the British agree to renounce piracy. At the same time, in 1580, the merger of Spain and Portugal united in the Iberian Union allowed them to dominate a large part of the world thanks to the possessions in America, Africa, Europe and Europe. Asia.

The Spanish decline

However, Spain's wealth is poorly managed, with the country preferring to pay products to other powers rather than investing in the factories itself. Spain thus enriches the European countries while the gold mines of its colonies are exhausted. Moreover, in order to maintain her domination, she is obliged to maintain her army at great expense. At the beginning of the 17th century, Spain went bankrupt and stopped paying the banks. It must also face a war against the United Provinces that become independent in 1648 and a uprising from Portugal that it wishes to transform into a Spanish province. The Portuguese no longer support the lack of autonomy and taxes increasingly heavy but especially the fact that the enemies of the Spaniards are now also theirs which has lost the support of the United Kingdom. In 1640, Portugal declares itself independant and ends the Iberian Union which triggers a war against Spain which will not recognize this independence until 1688. In the meantime , Catalonia also rebels and the Catalan Republic is proclaimed in 1641, while flames break out in Naples, Andalusia and Sicily. The latter are quickly and violently mended. At the same time, the war against England resumed against a backdrop of commercial competition and ended in 1660 with the loss of Jamaica while the conflicts with France ended in 1659 with the loss of Artois, Flanders, Hainaut, Luxembourg and Roussillon.

The Bourbons of Spain

In 1700, Charles II of Spain died without a heir and the crown was legitimately handed over to Philip V, grandson of Louis XIV, who founded the dynasty of the Bourbons of Spain, which still reigns in Spain. . The alliance between France and Spain worries the other European powers. The "War of Spanish Succession" erupted in 1701, opposing France and Spain on the one hand to England, the Holy Roman Empire, Austria, Prussia, the United Provinces and Portugal on the other. At the end of this conflict that ended in 1714, Philip V is recognized King of Spain but he must give up his rights to the crown of France. This war, however, has upset Europe by redistributing the cards of forces in the presence. This is how the United Kingdom stands out as a strong European power, relying in particular on its fleet and its thriving economy. On the other hand, France has considerably weakened, the United Provinces lose their maritime power and Spain becomes a second-rate state in Europe. This situation already announces the clashes that will take place between France and England during the "Seven Years War".

The Bonaparte

Throughout the 18th century, Spain is still losing its influence and is facing major economic problems. It is at this time that the Inquisition loses its power (it will be abolished officially in 1834) and the order of the Jesuits is suppressed while their property is confiscated and their Universities are managed by the state. Economic reforms are then undertaken, based on the liberalization of foreign trade which allows the ports to prosper and on the creation of large luxury factories. AT In 1789, the French Revolution put an end to the Ancien Régime and the absolute monarchy. Mistrustful of this Republican France, Spain signed a treaty of peace (Treaty of Basel) in 1795 in order to put an end to the "War of Roussillon". Spain thus recognizes the legitimacy of the very young republic but must give up its territories of Santo Domingo. This treaty has an immediate consequence because the United Kingdom feels in danger and attacks the Spanish fleet. The conflicts between France, Spain and the Batavian Republic in the United Kingdom resulted in the signing of the "Peace of Amiens" in 1802, a peace very precarious since the war resumed more beautiful three years later. AT Napoleon 1st continues its territorial expansion but Spain wishes to remain neutral in these new conflicts in exchange for the payment of a rent. The country will however be attacked by the United Kingdom and therefore has no choice but to return to war. In 1805, the Naval Battle of Trafalgar annihilated much of the Spanish fleet and offered the British a major victory. Moreover, Spain loses its means of communication with its colonial possessions. AT Portugal refuses to respect the continental blockade put in place by Napoleon to prevent any trade with the United Kingdom and thus push it to ruin. In 1807, Napoleonic troops attempted to invade the country via Spain. Napoleon faces the resistance of the Portuguese. However, when Ferdinand VII decreed his father, Charles IV in 1808, Napoleon took advantage of the weakness of the monarchy to seize his ally and to place his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, the head of the kingdom. AT Joseph Bonaparte 1st is considered a usurper by the Spaniards and he must not only face rebellion movements but also lead the war against the British troops and overcome the animosity of his own marlux. In 1813, he returned to France, leaving the Kingdom of Spain to Ferdinand VII, at the end of the "Battle of Vitoria" which opposed the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spanish insurgents. AT The 19th century sees the Spanish empire collapse. Indeed, the American colonies take their independence one after the other. Spain retains only its African possessions in Morocco and Equatorial Guinea.

The Spanish Republic

In 1873, King Amédée I, who succeeded to Isabelle II overthrown by the "Revolution of 1868" and exiled to France, abdicated in turn and gave way to a republican epistem. In less than a year, four presidents will try to reestablish a political coherence without achieving it. In January 1874, the general Pavia organizes a coup d'etat and establishes a military dictatorship.
The monarchy will be restored in 1875 and Alphonse XII, the son of Isabelle II, becomes the new King of Spain. At his death, his heir Alfonso XIII is not born yet and it is his mother, Marie-Christine of Austria who ensures the rule until 1902. Alfonso XIII then à © gà © of 16 years is declared major. It will avoid death many times following attacks.
During the First World War, Spain remains neutral but its sovereign is going to be very active in favor of peace. He will also organize the "Officina pro-cautivos", an office responsible for giving information about prisoners of war to their families. During the inter-war period, Spain faced riots, particularly after the loss of Moroccan territories during the "Rif War" in 1924. The country has only a few cities including Ceuta and Melilla, which are still Spanish autonomous cities today. Several intellectual movements supported by the people and soldiers in favor of a republic are born at the beginning of the 1930s. Indeed, the country is then very poor and especially late compared to the others. European states. It is estimated that one third of the population lives below the poverty line, that life expectancy does not exceed 50 years and that nearly half of the Spanish are illiterate. The municipal elections of 1931 mark the end of the monarchy and the proclamation of the second Republic of Spain.
Important reforms are undertaken, including a redistribution of land, the creation of more than 7.000 schools, the opening of the vote to the women and the military, the recognition of the private property and the entrance to the League of Nations. For the first time, the church is no longer intimately linked to power. All these decisions are taken hastily but their implementation is much slower which puts the people in a rage. In addition, the state retains ownership of agricultural communities and if peasants see their wages increase, they are still not independent. The increase in the cost of living and unemployment annihilate wage increases and several regions claim a status of autonomy like Catalonia.
Since 1933, it is clear that the reforms will not meet the expectations of the workers and farmers which allows the right-wing parties to emerge while the strikes undermine the country.
In 1936, the Spanish Popular Front uniting the left-wing parties win the elections and Manuel Azaà ± a becomes President what triggers a civil war in the country.
The nationalists of right and extreme right are conducted by Francisco Franco. The military plot to overthrow Azaà ± a. They are missing but the country is now divided into two clans while the workers seize the factories and the goods of the church are confiscated for the benefit of the revolutionaries. > The civil war lasts three years and ends on April 1, 1939, shortly after the overwhelming victory of Franco's troops supported by the Third Reich and Italy over the Republican Army during the "Battle of the Ebro".

Franco's Spain

The toll of the civil war is heavy. More than 150,000 people lost their lives, not counting the prisoners sent to Franco's concentration camps, while nearly half a million Spaniards fled their country to France. Franco dubbed the Caudillo is a dictator controlling power at all levels. He also keeps an eye on the church and on the army.
After acting as a tyrant during the first years of his power in order to © Radiquer any hint of rebellion, Franco is more conciliatory when his regime is well installed.
During the Second World War, Spain respects a pact of non-belligerence but maintains commercial relations with the countries of the Axis. He will also give Germany a list of Jews from Spain. Spain will also open its borders to employees fleeing their countries of origin after the defeat of the Nazis. This attitude and Franco's political regime provoked a boycott against the country at the end of the war. The economy of the country suffers which leaves the field free to corruption and parallel work.
In the 1950s, Franco goes back and opts for a liberalization of Trade and prices while the country goes out of its isolationism and makes contacts with the United States and other European countries.
Franco is despite everything opposed to the modernism and the rà © The regime remains authoritarian and gives many powers to the police. The people do not enjoy the freedom of a democracy, can not express opinions contrary to those of power or form a party.

The return of the monarchy

In 1969, Franco chose Juan Carlos de Bourbon as his successor and recognized him as Prince of Spain.
Juan Carlos became king of Spain on November 20, 1975, on the death of the Caudillo who remained of 36 years in power, thereby restoring the Spanish monarchy. Juan Carlos I initiates a net return towards the democracy and the monarchy becomes constitutional. The new Constitution is tolerant and allows opposition parties.
Several assassination attempts and criticism of the expensive lifestyle of the royal family while the economic crisis is hitting hard on the Spanish people in the year 2010 taint his reign.
Following a case of disbursement involving his son-in-law, Juan Carlos I abdicated on June 2, 2014 in favor of his son, Felipe VI.

Political life

Spain is a constitutional monarchy whose sovereign is the head of the state and the armies. He is responsible for ratifying the laws, appointing the President of the Government and representing the country abroad. The executive power is exercised by the President of the Government (equivalent to the office of Prime Minister and currently Mariano Rajoy, member of the People's Party). He is appointed by the King for a renewable four-year term. This nomination must, however, be validated by Congress of Deputies. The legislative power is exercised by the Parliament composed of the Congress of the Deputies and the Senate.
The judicial power is exercised by the Council of the Judiciary, the Supreme Court and the Superior Courts of Justice. A slow recovery In spite of the serious economic crisis the country is going through, Spain has a positive growth rate much higher than the European average. Unemployment is down, from 27 to 18% in three years. The reconversion of Spanish companies that are now orienting their production towards exports and austerity measures seem to be bearing fruit.
However, wages remain low and inflation is on the rise again. not settle the situation of people in a precarious situation, ie one in five Spaniards.
Agriculture (olives, cotton, tobacco, etc.) represents 2.5% of GDP while industries ( machine tools, shipbuilding and automotive, electronics, etc.) and services (mainly tourism) account respectively for 22.5 and 75% of GDP.

A strong regional identity

The Spanish population exceeds 46 million inhabitants. The coastal areas are the most densely populated while the center of the country, apart from Madrid and its region, has less than 30 inhabitants per square kilometer. The country has experienced significant population growth because of the influx of immigrants in the year 2000. That is why, more than 11% of the population is foreign. It should be noted that since the crisis, the movement has reversed and that many emigrants have left the country. Due to the low fertility rate, the demographic curve could become negative in the next decade. Spanish (Castilian) is the official and school language of the country, but it is only the mother tongue of 55% of Spaniards. Indeed, the regional languages ​​are perennial and each community has its own official language recognized by law, namely Basque, Catalan, Galician and Aranese.
There is also other non-official languages ​​and many dialects.
Finally, more than 5 million residents are French-speaking. 70% of Spaniards are Catholics while 25% of the population is atheist or without religion. Catholicism is the traditional religion of Spain since the 6th century. Spanish culture is a reflection of its history. Many influences are found in architecture and there are notable differences between regions. Culture has been influenced over the centuries by Celts, Romans, Greeks, Germanic peoples, Moors, ... Spain is a country of traditions and beliefs and many festivals, carnivals or processions take place in every region. These have a strong sense of territorial belonging and have preserved their own identity. if they have a common heritage. Spanish gastronomy is rich, varied and regional. She benefited from the contribution of spices and other products of the colonies. Along the coast, fish and seafood are in the spotlight while the mountainous regions boast of their charcuterie including Iberian ham or chorizo. Olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and cheeses are widely used.
The traditional Spanish dishes are of course the paellas which differ according to the regions or even the cities, planchas and tapas.
The Spanish produce excellent red wines, sweet, white or sparkling and offer sangria, xeres and several varieties of beers and liqueurs.


Spain is a safe destination for tourism. It is part of the Schengen area and an identity card (or passport) in order of validity is enough to travel in the country. Health conditions and health care are good. Tourism in Spain is a real institution. A pleasant climate, varied landscapes, an exceptional architectural, historical and natural heritage, a hotel offer more than satisfactory, all the ingredients of a successful stay are united. . Do not hesitate to go away from the major tourist sites and the coast to discover a more intimate and authentic Spain. From the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to the walled city of Cáceres, passing by the mills of Don Quixote, Pamplona la Basque, pilgrims' city Santiago de Compostela, the port of Valencia, Toledo the mediate Vale or the seaside resorts bordering the Mediterranean and the Atlantic ... Spain is home to innumerable treasures.

Spain flag

Spain flag


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