Spain - España

Kingdom of Spain
Member State of the European Union

Flag of Spain.svg
Shield of Spain (mazonado) .svg

Motto : « Plus ultra » ( Latin : 'Beyond')
Anthem : Grenadier March / Marcha Real Spanish [ a ]


(and most populous city)
Escudo de Madrid.svg

40°25′08″N 3°41′31″O / 40.418888888889, -3.6919444444444Coordenadas: 40°25′08″N 3°41′31″O / 40.418888888889, -3.6919444444444 Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Official language Castilian [ b ]
Demonym Spanish, -la
Form of government Parliamentary monarchy
Rey Felipe VI
President of the Government Pedro Sanchez
Legislative body General cuts Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Dynastic Union
Sovereign unique
absolutist state
liberal State
Democracy Current

January 20, 1479
March 14, 1516
March 19, 1812
April 14, 1931
December 6, 1978
Surface 52nd position
• Total 505 944 [ c ] ²
• Water (%) 1,04[d]
Borders 1952.7 km [ and ]
Coast line 4964 km[11]
Highest point Teide Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Total population 30th position
• Census (2020) 47 450 795 hab. [ 13 ]
Density 93,55 hab./km²
Start ( PPA ) 16th position
• Total (2021 (est.)) Crecimiento1.96 trillion $ [ 14 ]
Per capita Crecimiento &&&&&&&&&&041550.&&&&&041 550 $[14]​ (37.°)
START (nominal) 14th position
• Total (2021 (est.)) Crecimiento1.46 trillion $ [ 14 ]
• Per capita Crecimiento &&&&&&&&&&031000.&&&&&031 000 $[14]​ (30.°)
IDH (2020) Crecimiento0.904 [ 15 ] ( 25th ) - Very high
Gini coefficient Decrecimiento33 medium (2019) [ 16 ]
Currency Euro[f]​ (€, EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)[g]
• In summer CEST (UTC+2)[h]
ISO code 724 / ESP / ES[i]
Internet domain .es Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
Telephone prefix +34
Radio prefix AMA-AOZ, EAA-EHZ
Country acronym for aircraft EC, [ j ] EM [ k ]
Country acronym for automobiles E
IOC Code ESP Ver y modificar los datos en Wikidata
    1. Royal Decree 1560/1997 names it indiscriminately the Grenadier March and the Spanish Royal March . [ 1 ]
    2. Although the Royal Spanish Academy considers the controversy over the glottonym to be overcome and considers both "Spanish" and "Castilian" as valid, [ 2 ] the Constitution explicitly uses "Castilian" to differentiate it from the rest of the Spanish languages. [ 3 ] Likewise, Catalan is co-official in Catalonia , [ 4 ] the Balearic Islands [ 5 ] and the Valencian Community , where it is called Valencian ; the Galician inGalicia ; the Basque in the Basque Country and the Basque - speaking zone of Navarra ; and the Occitan , called Aranese in the Aran Valley , in Catalonia . [ 4 ] In addition, the Spanish sign language , [ 6 ] the language of the Pyrenean and pre-Pyrenean areas ( Aragonese ) and the language of the eastern area (Catalan) in Aragon [ 7 ] and theAsturleonés in Asturias , where it is called bable , [ 8 ] and in Castilla y León , where it is called Leonese . [ 9 ] [ 10 ]
    3. Data referring to the Spanish surface. [ 11 ]
    4. Data referring to continental waters . The jurisdictional or marine waters are approximately one million square kilometers. [ 12 ]
    5. Of which: 63 km with Andorra, 646 km with France, 1.2 km with Gibraltar, 1,224 km with Portugal, 18.5 with Morocco (8 in Ceuta and 10.5 in Melilla). Likewise, there is an additional 75-meter border between Morocco and the Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera .
    6. From 1868 to 2002, the peseta (₧, ESP ).
    7. WET (UTC ± 0) in the Canary Islands .
    8. WEST (UTC + 1) in the Canary Islands.
    9. For the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla : EA. For the Canary Islands : IC. These codes are not official but reserved. [ 17 ]
    10. Used in civil aircraft.
    11. Used in military aircraft .
    12. Spain is a member of the G20 as a permanent guest.

Spain , also known as the Kingdom of Spain , [ note 1 ] is a transcontinental country , a member of the European Union , constituted in a social and democratic state of law and whose form of government is the parliamentary monarchy . Its territory, with its capital in Madrid , [ 30 ] is organized into seventeen autonomous communities , in turn made up of fifty provinces ; and two autonomous cities .

Spain is situated both in the south of Western Europe and in North Africa . In Europe, it occupies most of the Iberian Peninsula , known as mainland Spain , and the Balearic Islands (in the western Mediterranean Sea); In Africa there are the cities of Ceuta (in the Tingitana peninsula ) and Melilla (in the Tres Forcas cape ), the Canary Islands (in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean), the Chafarinas Islands (Mediterranean Sea), the rock of Vélez de la Gomera (Mediterranean Sea), the Alhucemas Islands(Gulf of the Alhucemas Islands ) and the island of Alboran ( Alboran Sea ). The municipality of Llivia , in the Pyrenees , constitutes an exclave totally surrounded by French territory. The set of territories is completed by a series of islands and islets off the peninsular coasts themselves.

It has an area of ​​505,370 km² , [ 11 ] making it the fourth largest country on the continent, after Russia , Ukraine and France . [ note 2 ] With an average altitude of 650 meters above sea level, it is one of the most mountainous countries in Europe. Its population is 47,329,981 inhabitants on January 1, 2020. [ 31 ] [ 13 ] The mainland shares land borders with France and Andorra to the north, with Portugal to the west and the British territory ofGibraltar to the south. In its African territories, it shares land and sea borders with Morocco . It shares sovereignty with France over the island of the Pheasants at the mouth of the Bidasoa river and five Pyrenean faceries . [ 32 ]

In accordance with the Constitution , and according to its article 3.1, “ Castilian is the official Spanish language of the State. All Spaniards have the duty to know it and the right to use it ». [ 3 ] In 2012, it was the mother tongue of 82% of Spaniards. [ 33 ] According to article 3.2, "the other Spanish languages ​​will also be official in the respective Autonomous Communities in accordance with their Statutes." [ 3 ]

The gross domestic product places the Spanish economy in the thirteenth position in the world . Spain is a tourist power, the second most visited country in the world in 2018 with 83 million tourists, and the second country in the world in economic income from tourism , after France. [ 34 ] [ 35 ] It is also the eighth country in the world with greater presence of multinationals . [ 36 ] [ 37 ] has a HDI very high (0.904), according to the report of 2020 of theUN Development Program . [ 15 ]

The first recorded presence of hominids of the genus Homo dates back to 1.2 million years before the present , as evidenced by the discovery of a jaw of a Homo still unclassified at the Atapuerca site . [ 38 ] In the 3rd century BC . C. , there was the Roman intervention in the Peninsula , which led to a subsequent conquest of what, later, would become Hispania . In the Middle Ages, the area was conquered by different Germanic peoples and by theMuslims , coming to have a presence for more than seven centuries. It is not until the s. XV d. C. , with the dynastic union of Castile and Aragon and the culmination of the Reconquest , together with the subsequent annexation of Navarra , when one can speak of the foundation of Spain, as it was recognized abroad. [ 39 ] [ 40 ] [ 41 ] In the Modern Age, the Spanish monarchs dominated the first global empire overseas, which encompassed territories on the five continents, [ note 3 ] leaving a vast cultural and linguistic heritage around the globe. At the beginning of the 19th century , after successive wars in Spanish America , it lost most of its territories in America, increasing this situation with the disaster of 98 . During this century, there would also be a war against the French invader , a series of civil wars , a short-lived republic replaced again by a constitutional monarchy, and the process of modernization of the country. In the first third of the 20th century ,proclaimed a constitutional republic . A failed military coup led to the outbreak of a civil war , the end of which gave way to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco , which ended with his death in 1975, at which point a transition to democracy began , the climax of which was the writing , ratification in a referendum and promulgation of the 1978 Constitution , which advocates freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism as superior values ​​of the legal system. [ 18 ]


Origin of the word Hispania

The name "Spain" derives from Hispania , the name by which the Romans geographically designated the whole of the Iberian Peninsula , an alternative term to the name Iberia , preferred by Greek authors to refer to the same space. However, the fact that the term Hispania is not of Latin root has led to the formulation of several theories about its origin, some of them controversial.

Hispania comes from the Phoenician i-spn-ya , a term whose use is documented since the second millennium BC, in Ugaritic inscriptions . The Phoenicians were the first non-Iberian civilization that came to the peninsula to expand its trade and founded, among others, Gadir, present-day Cádiz , the oldest inhabited city in Western Europe. [ 42 ] [ 43 ] The Romans took the name of the Carthaginians conquered, interpreting the code i like "costa", "island" or "earth", with already with the meaning of "region". The spn lexemeWhich in Phoenician and also in Hebrew it can be read as Saphan , translated as "rabbits" (actually " hyrax " some animals the size of the rabbit extended by Africa and the Fertile Crescent). The Romans, therefore, gave Hispania the meaning of "land abundant in rabbits" , a usage picked up by Cicero , Caesar , Pliny the Elder , Cato , Tito Livio and, in particular, Catullus , which refers to Hispania as a peninsula cuniculosa (on some coins minted in Hadrian's timedepicted personifications of Hispania as a seated lady with a rabbit at her feet), referring to the time she lived in Hispania.

On the Phoenician origin of the term, the historian and Hebraist Cándido María Trigueros proposed a different theory at the Royal Academy of Good Letters in Barcelona in 1767, based on the fact that the Phoenician alphabet (like Hebrew) lacked vowels . Thus spn ( sphan in Hebrew and Aramaic ) would mean in Phoenician "the north", a name that the Phoenicians would have taken when they reached the Iberian peninsula bordering the African coast, seeing it north of their route, so i-spn-ya it would be the "land of the north . " For his part, according to Jesús Luis Cunchillos in hisElementary Phoenician grammar (2000), the root of the term span is spy , which means "to forge" or "to beat metals." Thus, i-spn-ya would be "the land in which metals are forged . " [ 44 ]

Apart from the theory of Phoenician origin, which is the most widely accepted even though the precise meaning of the term is still the subject of discussion, throughout history various hypotheses have been proposed, based on apparent similarities and more or less related meanings. At the beginning of the Modern Age , Antonio de Nebrija , in the line of Isidore of Seville, proposed its autochthonous origin as a deformation of the Iberian word Hispalis , which would mean "the city of the West" [ 45 ] and that, being Hispalis the main city of the peninsula, the Phoenicians and later the Romans gave its name to its entire territory. [ 46 ] Later,Juan Antonio Moguel proposed in Century XIX that the term Hispania could come from the word Basque Izpania , which would mean "part the sea" to being composed by the voices iz and pania or bania that means "split" or "from" . [ 47 ] In this regard, Miguel de Unamuno declared in 1902: «The only difficulty I find [...] is that, according to some of my countrymen, the name Spain derives from the Basque ezpaña , lip, alluding to the position it has our peninsula in Europe ». [ 48] Other hypotheses assumed that bothHispalisandHispaniawere derivations of the names of two legendary kings of Spain,Hispaloand his sonHispanor Hispano, son and grandson, respectively, ofHercules. [ 49 ]

Evolution of the word Hispania to Spain

From the Visigothic period, the term Hispania , until then used geographically, began to be used also with a political connotation, as shown by the use of the expression Laus Hispaniae to describe the history of the peoples of the peninsula in the chronicles of Isidore of Seville. .

You are, oh Hispania, sacred and ever happy mother of princes and peoples, the most beautiful of all the lands that extend from the West to India. You, by right, are now the queen of all the provinces, from whom not only the sunset but also the East receive their lights. You are the honor and the ornament of the world and the most illustrious portion of the earth, in which the glorious fecundity of the Gothic nation is greatly rejoiced and splendidly flourishes. With justice you were enriched and nature was more forgiving with you with the abundance of all created things, you are rich in fruits, in copious grapes, in happy harvests ... You are located in the most pleasant region of the world, nor are you you burn in the tropical heat of the sun, nor do glacial rigors make you numb, but, girded by a temperate zone of the sky,
Isidore of Seville , Santo ( 6th-7th century). Historia de regibus Gothorum, Vandalorum et Suevorum [ History of the kings of the Goths, Vandals and Suevi ]. Trad. by Rodríguez Alonso (1975). Lion. pp. 169 and 171. [ 50 ] [ 51 ]

The word Spain derives phonetically from Hĭspanĭa , regularly through the palatalization of the Latin / n / en / ñ / ante yod -ĭa , the loss of the initial H- (which occurs in late Latin ) and the opening of the ĭ in initial position a / e / . However, Spain cannot be considered the Spanish translation of the Latin word Hispania , as modern usage designates a different extension.

Historical use of the term Spain

Use of the term Spain until the Middle Ages

The evolution of the word Spain is consistent with other cultural uses. Until the Renaissance , the place names that made reference to national and regional territories were relatively unstable, both from the semantic point of view and from the point of view of their precise geographical delimitation. Thus, in Roman times Hispania corresponded to the territory they occupied on the peninsula, the Balearic Islands and, in the third century , part of North Africa - Mauritania Tingitana , which was included in the year 285 in the Diocese Hispaniarum -.

In the Visigothic domain , King Leovigildo , after unifying most of the territory of peninsular Spain at the end of the s. vi , is entitled King of Gallaecia, Hispania and Narbonensis . San Isidoro de Sevilla narrates the search for peninsular unity, finally culminating in the reign of Suintila in the first half of the s. vii and there is talk of "mother Spain." In his work Historia Gothorum , Suintila appears as the first king of Totius Spaniae ("all Spain"). The prologue of the same work is the well-known De laude Spaniae ("On the praise of Spain").

En tiempo del rey Mauregato , fue el Himno compuesto Oh, God's Word en el que se califica al apóstol Dorada as cabeza refulgente from Spain ( "Oh, I really worthy of a sacred Chapter glittering golden Spain, tutorque us and patron slave"). [ Note 4 ]

Manuscript of the Estoria of Spain of Alfonso X of Castile , «el Sabio».

With the Muslim invasion , the name of Spania or Spain was transformed into اسبانيا, Isbāniyā . The use of the word Spain remains unstable, depending on who uses it and under what circumstances. Some chronicles and other documents of the High Middle Ages designate exclusively by that name ( Spain or Spania ) the territory dominated by Muslims. Thus, Alfonso I of Aragon, "The Battler", says in his documents that "He reigns in Pamplona, ​​Aragon, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza" and, when in 1126 he made an expedition to Malaga, he tells us that "he went to the lands of Spain". But already from the last years of the twelfth century , the use of the name of Spain for the entire Peninsula, whether of Muslims or Christians , became widespread again . This is how we speak of the five kingdoms of Spain : Granada (Muslim), León with Castile , Navarra , Portugal and the Crown of Aragon (Christian).

Identification with the Crowns of Castile and Aragon

As the Reconquest progressed , several kings proclaimed themselves princes of Spain, trying to reflect the importance of their kingdoms in the Iberian Peninsula. [ 52 ] After the dynastic union of Castile and Aragon, the name of Spain began to be used in these two kingdoms to refer to both, a circumstance that, otherwise, had nothing new; Thus, already in documents from the years 1124 and 1125, on the occasion of the military expedition by Andalusia of Alfonso el Batallador , they referred to this one - who had unified the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon after his marriage with Urraca I of León- with the terms "reigning in Spain" or reigning "in all the land of Christians and Saracens of Spain." [ 53 ]

Independent evolution of the Spanish gentilicio

The Spanish name has evolved in a different way than one might expect (something similar to "Hispanic" might be expected). There are several theories about how the Spanish name itself emerged . According to one of them, the suffix -ol is characteristic of the Provençal Romance languages and rare in the Romance languages ​​then spoken in the peninsula, for which reason it considers that it would have been imported from the 9th century , with the development of the phenomenon of the medieval pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela , due to the many Frankish visitors who traveled the peninsula, favoring the spread of the adaptation of the Latin name over timehispani from espagnol , espanyol , espannol , espanhol , español , etc. (the spellings gn , nh and ny , in addition to nn , and its abbreviation ñ , represented the same phoneme) with which they designated the Christians of ancient Hispania. Subsequently, it would have been the dissemination work of the formed elites that promoted the use of Spanish and Spaniards : the word Spaniards appears twenty-four times in the charter of theHuesca Cathedral , manuscript of 1139-1221, [ 54 ] while in the Estoria of Spain , written between 1260 and 1274 on the initiative of Alfonso X the Wise , was used exclusively gentile Spanish . [ 55 ]

The Dictionary of the Spanish language published by the Royal Spanish Academy , in its twenty-third edition (2014), ensures that the Spanish voice comes from Provençal Espaignol , and this from medieval Latin Hispaniŏlus , from Hispania , Spain . [ 56 ]


Prehistory, Protohistory and Ancient Age

Replica of one of the bison from the Altamira cave ( Cantabria ), painted during the Upper Paleolithic .

The current Spanish territory is home to two of the most important places for European and world prehistory: the Sierra de Atapuerca (where the Homo antecessor species has been defined and the most complete series of Homo heidelbergensis bones have been found ) and the Altamira cave (where Paleolithic art was first identified ).

The particular position of the Iberian Peninsula as the " Far West " of the Mediterranean world determined the arrival of successive cultural influences from the eastern Mediterranean , particularly those linked to the Neolithic and the Metal Age (agriculture, ceramics, megalithism ), a process that culminated in the called historical colonizations of the 1st millennium BC. Both because of its favorable location for communications and because of its agricultural possibilities and its mining wealth, the eastern and southern areas were the ones that achieved the greatest development ( culture of the Millares , Culture of the Argar ,Tartessos , Iberian towns ). There were also continuous contacts with Central Europe ( culture of the ballot box , Celtization ).

The Lady of Elche , a masterpiece of Iberian art .

The oldest dating of a historical event in Spain is that of the legendary foundation of the Phoenician colony of Gadir (the Roman Gades , which is now Cádiz ), which according to Roman sources ( Veleyo Patérculo and Tito Livio ) would have occurred eighty years later of the Trojan War , before that of Rome itself , [ 57 ] which would place it in 1104 BC. C. and would be the foundation of a city in Western Europe of older references. [ 42 ] [ 43 ]The no less legendary references that Herodotus collects of Greek contacts with the Tartessian kingdom of Argantonio would be located, on the other hand, in the year 630 a. C. The archaeological evidences of Phoenician establishments ( Ebusus —Ibiza— , Sexi —Almuñécar—, Malaka —Málaga— ) allow to speak of a Phoenician monopoly of the commercial routes around the Strait of Gibraltar (including those of the Atlantic, such as the route of the tin ), which limited Greek colonization to the northern Mediterranean ( Emporion , present-day Ampurias).

The Phoenician colonies came under the control of Carthage from the 6th century BC . C., period in which the disappearance of Tartessos also occurs. Already in the III century a. C., the victory of Rome in the first Punic War further stimulated Carthaginian interest in the Iberian peninsula, so there was a true territorial colonization or Carthaginian empire in Hispania , with a center in Qart Hadasht (Cartagena), led by the Barca family .

Roman theater in Mérida . More than two thousand years after its construction, it continues to be used as a scenic space.

The Roman intervention took place in the Second Punic War (218 BC), which began a gradual Roman conquest of Hispania , not completed until almost two hundred years later. The Carthaginian defeat allowed a relatively rapid incorporation of the eastern and southern areas, which were the richest and with a level of economic, social and cultural development more compatible with Roman civilization itself. Much more difficult was the subjugation of the poorer Meseta peoples ( Lusitanian wars and Celtiberian wars ), which required facing warlike approaches totally different from the classic war (the guerrilla led by Viriato—Assassinated 139 BC. C.—, extreme resistances like the one of Numancia —beat 133 a. C.—). In the following century, the Roman provinces of Hispania , converted into a source of enrichment for Roman officials and merchants and of raw materials and mercenaries, were among the main stages of Roman civil wars , with the presence of Sertorius , Pompey and Julius Caesar . The pacification ( pax romana ) was the declared purpose of Augustus , who tried to leave it definitively settled with the subjugation of Cantabrians and Asturians.(29-19 BC), although its effective Romanization did not take place. In the rest of the territory, the Romanization of Hispania was so deep that some Hispano-Roman families reached the imperial dignity ( Trajano , Adriano and Teodosio ) and there were Hispanics among the most important Roman intellectuals (the philosopher Lucio Anneo Seneca , the poets Lucano , Quintilian or Marcial , the geographer Pomponio Mela or the agronomist Columela ), although, as Tito Livio wrotein the time of Augustus, "although it was the first important province invaded by the Romans, it was the last to be completely dominated and it has resisted until our time", attributing it to the nature of the territory and the recalcitrant character of its inhabitants. The assimilation of the Roman way of life, long and expensive, offered a great diversity from the advanced degrees in Baetica to the incomplete and superficial Romanization of the north of the peninsula.

Middle Ages

High Middle Ages

Votive crown of Recesvinto , Guarrazar treasure .

In the year 409 a group of Germanic peoples ( Swabians , Alans and Vandals ) invaded the Iberian Peninsula . In 416, the Visigoths , an equally Germanic people, but much more Romanized, did in turn, under the justification of restoring imperial authority. In practice, such a link ceased to have significance and they created a Visigothic kingdom with capital first in Tolosa (the current French city of Toulouse) and later in Toletum (Toledo), after being defeated by the Franks at the Battle of Vouillé.(507). Meanwhile, the Vandals moved to Africa and the Swabians formed the kingdom of Braga in the former province of Gallaecia (the northwest quadrant of the peninsula). Leovigildo materialized a powerful Visigothic monarchy with the successive defeats of the Suevi of the northwest and other peoples of the north (the Cantabrian area, little Romanized, remained for centuries without a clear subjection to a state authority) and the Byzantines of the southeast ( Province of Spania , centered in Carthago Spartaria , present-day Cartagena), which was not completed until Suintila's reign in 625.

Statue of Isidoro de Sevilla by José Alcoverro located on the access stairway to the National Library of Spain .

Isidore of Seville , in his Historia Gothorum , is pleased that this king was "the first to possess the monarchy of the kingdom of all Spain that surrounds the ocean, which was not granted to any of his predecessors ..." of the Visigothic monarchy determined a great political instability characterized by continuous rebellions and assassinations. [ 58 ] The religious unity had been produced with the conversion to Catholicism of Recaredo (587), proscribing the Arianism that until then had differentiated the Visigoths, preventing their fusion with the Hispano-Roman ruling classes. The Councils of ToledoThey became an organ in which, meeting in an assembly, the king, the chief nobles, and the bishops of all the dioceses of the kingdom submitted matters of both a political and religious nature to consideration. The Liber Iudiciorum promulgated by Recesvinto (654) as common law to Hispano-Romans and Visigoths had a great later projection.

In the year 689 the Arabs reached north-west Africa and in the year 711, called by the enemy Visigoth faction of King Rodrigo , they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar (a name that recalls the Berber general Tarik , who led the expedition) and achieved a decisive victory. in the battle of Guadalete . The evidence of superiority led to convert the intervention, of a limited nature at first, into a true imposition as a new power in Hispania , which ended up becoming an emirate or province of the Arab empire called al-Andalus with capital in the city of Cordova. The Muslim advance was swift: in 712 they took Toledo, the Visigoth capital; the rest of the cities were capitulating or being conquered until in 716 Muslim control covered the entire peninsula, although in the north their dominance was nominal rather than effective. In Septimania , northeast of the Pyrenees, a Visigoth nucleus of resistance remained until 719. The Muslim advance against the Frankish kingdom was stopped by Carlos Martel at the Battle of Poitiers (732).

The Peninsula in the year 910.

The little controlled northwestern area of ​​the Iberian Peninsula was the scene of the formation of a Christian resistance nucleus centered on the Cantabrian mountain range , an area in which a group of little Romanized peoples ( Asturian , Cantabrian and Basque ), scarcely subjected to the Gothic kingdom, nor had they aroused great interest in the new Islamic authorities. In the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, the Goths or Hispano-Roman lords either converted to Islam (the so-called Muladis , such as the Banu Qasi family , who dominated the middle Ebro valley) or they remained faithful to the Muslim authorities even though they were Christians. (the so-called Mozarabs), they retained their economic and social position and even a high degree of political and territorial power (like Tudmir , who dominated a large area of ​​the southeast).

Don Pelayo's initial uprising failed, but in a new attempt in 722 he managed to impose himself on a Muslim punishment expedition in a small mountainous redoubt, what historiography called the " battle of Covadonga ". Determining the characteristics of this episode remains an unresolved issue, since more than a claim to Visigothic legitimacy (if Pelayo himself or the nobles who accompanied him were) it was manifested as a continuity of resistance to power. Central of the local Cantabrians (despite the name that the kingdom of Asturias ended up adopting , the area did not belong to any of the Asturian towns , but that of the Cantabrian Vadinians ). [59 ] The " gothicism " of thelater chronicles established its interpretation as the beginning of the " Reconquest ", the recovery of the entire peninsular territory, to which the Christians of the north understood they had the right to consider themselves legitimate continuators of the Visigoth monarchy.

The Eastern Christian nuclei had an initial development clearly differentiated from that of the Westerners. The continuity of the Goths of Septimania, incorporated into the Frankish kingdom, was the basis of Charlemagne's campaigns against the Emirate of Córdoba, with the intention of establishing a Hispanic Brand north of the Ebro, in a similar way as he did with other border brands in the limits of his empire . Once the conquest of the areas of the Ebro valley proved impossible, the Marca was limited to the Pyrenean area, which was organized into various counties in constant changes, confrontations and alliances both among themselves and with the Arabs and mules of the south. The counts, of Frankish, Gothic or local origin (Basque in the case of thePamplona county ) exercised an independent de facto power, although they maintained vassal subordination with the Emperor or, later, the King of France Occidentalis . The process of feudalization that led to the decomposition of the Carolingian dynasty, evident in the 9th century , was gradually establishing the hereditary transmission of the counties and their complete emancipation from the link with the Frankish kings. In any case, the nominal bond was maintained for a long time: until the year 988 the counts of Barcelona were renewing their contract of vassalage.

Interior of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba .

In 756, Abderramán I (an Umayyad survivor of the extermination of the caliphal family dethroned by the Abbasids ) was welcomed by his supporters in al-Andalus and imposed himself as emir. From then on, the Emirate of Córdoba was politically independent from the Abbasid Caliphate (which moved its capital to Baghdad). Obedience to the central power of Córdoba was sometimes challenged with revolts or episodes of dissidence carried out by different ethno-religious groups, such as the Berbers of the Duero Plateau, the Muladíes of the Ebro Valley or the Mozarabs of Toledo, Mérida or Córdoba ( Toledo moat dayand Elipando , martyrs of Córdoba and San Eulogio ) and a serious uprising was produced led by a Muslim converted to Christianity ( Omar ibn Hafsún , in Bobastro ). The nuclei of Christian resistance in the north were consolidated, although their effective independence depended on the strength or weakness that the Cordovan Emirate was able to demonstrate.

In 929, Abderramán III proclaimed himself Caliph , manifesting his claim of dominion over all Muslims. The Caliphate of Córdoba only managed to impose itself, beyond the Iberian Peninsula, on a diffuse North African territory; But he did achieve remarkable economic and social growth, with great urban development and cultural strength in all kinds of sciences, arts and letters, which made him stand out both in the Islamic world and in the then backward Christian Europe (plunged in the « Dark Ages' that followed the Carolingian Renaissance). Cities such as Valencia , Zaragoza , Toledo or Seville became important urban centers, butCórdoba became, during the caliphate of al-Hakam II , the largest city in Western Europe; perhaps it reached half a million inhabitants, and it was undoubtedly the largest cultural center of the time. In the final years of the 10th century , General Almanzor led aceifas (punitive expeditions and to obtain booty) each spring against the Christians of the north (Pamplona, ​​978, León, 982, Barcelona, ​​985, Santiago, 997). Upon his death in 1002, after his defeat by a Christian coalition in the Battle of Calatañazor , a series of confrontations began between Muslim ruling families, which led to the disappearance of the caliphate and the formation of a mosaic of small kingdoms, called detaifas.

Kingdoms of the Peninsula in the year 1030.

The kingdom of Asturias , with its capital fixed in Oviedo since the reign of Alfonso II the Chaste , had been transformed into the kingdom of León in 910 with García I when Alfonso III the Great divided his territories among his sons. In 914, when García died, Ordoño II ascended the throne , which reunified Galicia, Asturias and León and definitively established his capital in the latter city. Its territory, which reached the Duero, was gradually repopulated by means of the presura system (concession of land to the first to break it, to attract population in the dangerous border areas), while thelay or ecclesiastical manors (of nobles or monasteries) were later implanted. In the areas where the border was a more permanent condition and the defense fell on the social figure of the knight-villain , which happened particularly in the eastern part of the kingdom, a territory with a markedly different personality was formed: the county of Castilla ( Fernán González ). A somewhat similar process ( aprisio ) took place in the Catalan counties of the so-called Old Catalonia (until Llobregat, as opposed to the New Catalonia conquered from the 12th century on ).

Full Middle Ages

Portraits of Queen Petronila of Aragon and Count Ramón Berenguer IV of Barcelona , oil from 1634 (Museo del Prado), copy of an original by Filippo Ariosto from 1586.
Alfonso X of Castilla , had a great legal, cultural and historiography work, bringing Castilla y León closer to European currents.

The 11th century began with the dominance among the Christian kingdoms of the kingdom of Navarre . Sancho III el Mayor incorporated the central Pyrenean counties ( Aragón , Sobrarbe and Ribagorza ) and the Leon county of Castile , establishing a de facto protectorate over the kingdom of León itself. The confrontations between the Muslim Taifa, who resorted to the Christians as mercenary troops to impose themselves on each other, notably increased their power, which became sufficient to subject them to the payment of pariahs .

The territories of Sancho el Mayor were distributed among his sons after his death. Fernando obtained Castilla . His marriage to the sister of the Leonese king and Navarrese support allowed him to impose himself as King of León after the death of his brother-in-law in the battle of Tamarón (1037). On the death of Fernando, a territorial distribution was made again that multiplied the number of territories that acquired the royal rank: kingdom of León , kingdom of Galicia , kingdom of Castile , as well as the city of Zamora . Successively reunifications and divisions took place, always reversed, except in the case of the county of Portugal , which becamekingdom . The conquest of Toledo by Alfonso VI (1085) allowed the repopulation of the wide region between the Duero and Tagus rivers through the granting of charters and town charters to councils with jurisdiction over large areas ( community of town and land ) over which they exercised a a kind of "collective lordship." A similar process took place in the Ebro valley, repopulated (in part with Mozarabic emigrants from the south of the peninsula) from the conquest of Zaragoza (1118) by Alfonso I el Batallador , king of Navarra and Aragon, who even became king. consort of Castilla y León (in an eventful marriage with Urraca I of Castilla, which ended up being canceled). At his death without direct heirs, their kingdoms were definitively separated: while Navarre was marginalized in the Reconquest, without growth towards the south, Aragon was linked with Catalonia in 1137 by the marriage of Queen Petronila with Count Ramón Berenguer IV of Barcelona and they formed the Crown of Aragon .

Burgos Cathedral , gothic , like many other cathedrals in Spain . Burgos was the headquarters of the Consulate of the Sea of the Crown of Castile in its commercial relations with Europe, heir to the Brotherhood of the Marshes of Vitoria .

For its part, the formation of the Crown of Castile as a set of kingdoms, with a single king and a single Cortes , was not consolidated until the 13th century . The different territories conserved various legal peculiarities, as well as their status as a kingdom , perpetuated in the royal title : "King of Castile, Leon, Galicia, Nájera, Toledo, ... Lord of Vizcaya and Molina", adding successively the titles of sovereignty of the new kingdoms that were conquering or acquiring. Alfonso VII adopted the title of Imperator totius Hispaniae. The repopulation of the wide area between the Tagus and Sierra Morena, relatively uninhabited, was entrusted to military orders ( Santiago , Alcántara , Calatrava , Montesa ).

The Christian advances towards the south were successively confronted by two North African interventions: that of the Almoravids (battles of Zalaca , 1086, and Uclés , 1108) and that of the Almohads ( battle of Alarcos , 1195), which they unified under a more rigorous conception from Islam to the taifa, whose rulers were accused of being corrupt and conforming to the Christians. However, the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) meant a decisive imposition of Christian dominance and within a few years there was a single Muslim stronghold on the peninsula, the Nasrid kingdom of Granada.. The political and military decline of al-Andalus was simultaneous to its greatest splendor in the artistic and cultural fields ( Aljafería Palace , Alhambra in Granada , Averroes , Ibn Hazm ).

The Crown of Castile, with Fernando III the Saint , conquered in the central years of the 13th century the entire Guadalquivir valley (kingdoms of Jaén , Córdoba and Seville ) and the kingdom of Murcia ; while the Crown of Aragon, after frustrating its expansion north of the Pyrenees ( Albigensian crusade ), conquered the kingdoms of Valencia and Mallorca ( Jaime I the Conqueror ). The agreement between both crowns defined the respective zones of influence, and even matrimonial ties (from Alfonso X el Sabio with Violante de Aragón). The repopulation by Christians of these areas, densely inhabited by Muslims, many of whom remained after the conquest ( Mudejar ), was carried out through the distribution of lots of rural and urban farms of different importance according to the social category of those who had intervened. in the taking of each of the cities. The coexistence between Christians, Muslims and Jews produced a cultural exchange of the highest level ( Toledo school of translators , Alphonsi tables , works by Raimundo Lulio ) while several studium arabicum et hebraicum were opened (Toledo, Murcia, Seville, Valencia, Barcelona ) and the studia generaliawhich became the first universities (Palencia, Salamanca, Valladolid, Alcalá, Lérida, Perpignan).

Roger de Flor is received by the Byzantine emperor. Entry of Roger de Flor into Constantinople (1888). Work of José Moreno Carbonero ( Senate Palace , Madrid).

Middle Ages

As of Sicilian Vespers (1282), the Crown of Aragon began an expansion across the Mediterranean in which it incorporated Sardinia , Sicily and even, briefly, the duchies of Athens and Neopatria . In competition with Portugal, the Crown of Castile opted for an Atlantic expansion, based on its control of the Strait. In 1402 the conquest of the Canary Islands began , until then inhabited exclusively by the Guanches . The initial occupation was carried out by Norman lords ( Juan de Bethencourt ) who rendered vassalage to King Henry III of Castile.. The process of conquest did not conclude until 1496, culminated by the action of the crown itself. The demarcation of the Portuguese and Castilian areas of influence was agreed in the treaty of Alcaçovas (1479), which reserved to the Portuguese the routes of the South Atlantic and therefore the circumnavigation of Africa that would allow a maritime route to India.

Dioscoro Puebla , Caspe's Commitment . First Class Medal at the National Exhibition of (1867), Congress of Deputies (Spain)

The great mortality caused by the Great Plague of 1348 , particularly serious in the Crown of Aragon, preceded by the poor harvests of the cycle of 1333 ( bad any primer ), caused great economic and social as well as political and ideological instability. In Castile the First Castilian Civil War (1351-1369) broke out between the supporters of Pedro I el Cruel and his half-brother Enrique II de Trastamara . In Aragon, on the death of Martín I el Humano , representatives of the three States of the Crown elected as successor, in the Caspe Compromise (1412), Fernando de Antequera , of the Castilian House of Trastamara. The Aragonese Mediterranean expansion continued with the conquest of the Kingdom of Naples during the reign of Alfonso V the Magnanimous . The crisis was particularly intense in Catalonia, whose political expression was the disputes between Juan II of Aragón and his son, Carlos de Viana , taken advantage of by the representative institutions of local power (the Generalitat or permanent commission of the Cortes and the Council of One Hundred or regiment of the city of Barcelona) to demonstrate the limited effective power that the Aragonese monarchy had over particularism ( pactism , foralism) of each of its territories, where constitutions, uses and traditional customs ( usatges , observances ) prevailed over the royal will. Simultaneously, social tensions broke out between the Busca and the Biga (upper and lower bourgeoisie of the city of Barcelona) and the revolts of the payeses de remença (peasants subjected to a particularly harsh regime of personal subjection), all of which set off the complex Catalan Civil War (1462-1472). The weakening of Barcelona and Catalonia benefited Valencia , which became the maritime port that centralized the commercial expansion of the Crown of Aragon and reached 75,000 inhabitants in the middle of the century.XV , with a cultural boom that allows it to be defined as the Valencian Golden Age . The kingdom of Aragon, landlocked and focused on mainly agricultural activities, limited its economic and social development. The privileges of rich men and lay and ecclesiastical nobility prevented the development of a thriving bourgeoisie, and their relative weight in the balance between the Aragonese Crown States decreased.

Isabel I of Castile and Fernando II of Aragon , the Catholic Monarchs . Their marriage in 1469 sealed the dynastic union of the Crowns of Castile and Aragon .

In 1479, with the accession to the throne of Ferdinand the Catholic , second son and heir of Juan II, and king consort of Castile by his marriage to Isabel la Católica , social tensions were reduced, including peasant conflict ( Arbitration of Guadalupe , 1486). The growing anti-Semitism, stimulated by preachers such as San Vicente Ferrer or the Archdeacon of Écija , had exploded in the anti-Jewish revolt of 1391 , which, by causing massive conversions, originated the converted problem: the discrimination of new Christians by old Christians , which even reached to violent persecution (anti-reverse revolt ofPedro Sarmiento in Toledo, 1449) and led to the creation of the Spanish Inquisition (1478).

Modern age

Portrait of Carlos I and Isabel de Portugal , Rubens copy of a lost original by Titian.
Location of the community movement on the territory of the Crown of Castile. In purple, the cities belonging to the community side; in green, those that remained loyal to the king appear. The cities that were present on both sides appear in both colors. [ 60 ]
The Casa de Contratación on trade with America was in Seville .

The marriage of Isabel and Fernando (1469), and the victory of the side that supported them in the War of the Castilian Succession , determined the dynastic union of the crowns of Castile and Aragon. The territorial unification of the peninsula increased with the War of Granada (1482-1492) and the annexation of Navarre (1512), and territorial expansion continued through North Africa and Italy . The marriage policy of the Catholic Monarchs , who married their children to heirs of all the royal houses of Western Europe except the French (Portugal, England and the Habsburg States) caused a hazardous concentration of kingdoms in their grandson Charles of Habsburg(Carlos I as king of Spain -1516-, Carlos V as emperor -1521-), which together with the enormous territorial dimension of the recently discovered America (1492), converted into a true colonial empire , made the Hispanic Monarchy the most powerful of the world. In the same annus mirabilis of 1492 the expulsion of the Jews was decreed and the Castilian Grammar of Antonio de Nebrija appeared .

Alexander VI , the Valencian Pope of the Catholic Church.

The power of the "imperial" did not take hold in Castile without overcoming strong opposition ( War of the Communities ), which evidenced the centrality of the Spanish kingdoms in the Empire of Carlos. Despite his triumph in the Italian wars against France, the failure of Charles V's imperial idea (largely caused by opposition from German Protestant princes ) led the emperor to plan the division of his states between his brother Fernando I (Archducat of Austria and the Germanic Empire) and his son Felipe II (Flanders, Italy and Spain, together with the overseas empire). The alliance between the Austrians of Vienna and theAustrias de Madrid remained between 1559 and 1700. Spanish hegemony was even increased with the Iberian union with Portugal, maintained between 1580 and 1640; and was able to face open conflicts throughout Europe: the wars of religion in France , the revolt in Flanders (1568-1648, which ended with the division of the territory into a Protestant north - Holland - and a Catholic south - the Netherlands. Spanish -) and the growing Turkish power in the Mediterranean (stopped at the Battle of Lepanto , 1571). The dominance of the seas was challenged by the Dutch and English, who managed to resist the so-called Invincible Armada1588. Within Spain the disturbances of Aragon (1590) and the rebellion of the Alpujarras (1568) were harshly put down . This was a manifestation of the non-integration of the Moors , which did not find a solution until the radical expulsion of 1609 , already in the following reign, which in areas such as Valencia caused a serious depopulation and the decline of the productive agriculture characteristic of this social group. .

Portrait of Felipe II , traditionally attributed to Alonso Sánchez Coello and recently to Sofonisba Anguissola , 1570.

The price revolution of the 16th century was caused by the massive arrival of silver in Castile, which monopolized American trade, and caused the collapse of local productive activities, while imports of European manufactured products were carried out. The crisis of the seventeenth century especially affected Spain, which under the so-called minor Austrias ( Felipe III , Felipe IV and Carlos II ) entered an evident decline . Simultaneously, Spanish art and culture lived through the brightest moments of the Golden Age . Once the critical juncture of thecrisis of 1640 , in which it was about to dissolve ( revolt of the Catalans , revolt of Masaniello in Naples, Andalusian alterations , independence from Portugal ), the Hispanic Monarchy was redefined, now without Portugal and with the French border established in the treaty of the Pyrenees (1659).

The War of the Spanish Succession (1700-1715) and the treaties of Utrecht and Rastadt determined the change of dynasty, imposing on the throne the House of Bourbon (with which the family pacts were maintained during almost the entire 18th century ), although it meant the loss of the territories of Flanders and Italy to the benefit of Austria and onerous concessions in American trade to the benefit of England, which also retained Gibraltar and Menorca. Within Spain a political model was imposed that adapted French absolutism and centralism to the institutions of the Crown of Castile, which were imposed in the Crown of Aragon ( decrees of Nueva Planta). Only the Basque provinces and Navarra maintained their provincial regime. In the context of a new growth situation, economic reactivation and colonial recovery were sought in America, with mercantilist measures in the first half of the century, which gave way to the new paradigm of free trade , already in the reign of Carlos III . The mutiny of Esquilache (1766) makes it possible to compare the different degree of socio-political development with France, which at a somewhat similar juncture led to the Revolution , while in Spain the crisis was closed with the replacement of the team of enlightened ministers and the brake of his reformist program, theexpulsion of the Jesuits and a rebalancing of positions at court between the golillas and manteístas factions .

Spanish and Portuguese empires in 1790.

Contemporary age

19th century

See also: War of Spanish Independence , War of Independence Hispanoamericana , Spain during the Spanish War of Independence , Napoleonic Spain , Restoration absolutist in Spain , Reign of Isabella II of Spain , Revolution of 1868 , Democratic Presidential term and Restoration Bourbons in Spain .
Death of Churruca in Trafalgar, oil by Eugenio Álvarez Dumont, Prado Museum (deposited in the Cabrera Pinto Institute of La Laguna, Tenerife) .33
On May 2, 1808 in Madrid , by Goya , shows the May 2 uprising of the people of Madrid against the invading French army, which unleashed the Spanish War of Independence .

The Contemporary Age did not start very well for Spain. In 1805, at the Battle of Trafalgar , a Spanish-French squadron was defeated by the United Kingdom , which meant the end of the Spanish supremacy in the seas in favor of the United Kingdom, while Napoleon Bonaparte , Emperor of France who had taken the power in the Gallic country in the complex political scenario posed after the triumph of the French Revolution , took advantage of the disputes between Carlos IV and his son Fernando and ordered the dispatch of his powerful army to Spain in 1808. His pretext was to invade Portugal , to do so. that had the complicity of the prime minister of the Spanish king, Manuel Godoy, to whom he had promised the throne of one of the parties in which he planned to divide the Portuguese country. The French emperor imposed his brother José I on the throne, which unleashed the War of Spanish Independence , which would last five years. At that time the first Spanish Constitution , of a marked liberal character, was drawn up in the so-called Cortes de Cádiz . It was promulgated on March 19, 1812, the feast of San José, which is why it was popularly known as "La Pepa." After the defeat of Napoleon's troops, culminating in the Battle of Vitoria in 1813, Fernando VII returned to the throne of Spain.

The promulgation of the Constitution of 1812 , the work of Salvador Viniegra ( Museum of the Cortes of Cádiz ).

During the reign of Fernando VII the Spanish Monarchy experienced the passage from the Old Regime to the Liberal State . After his arrival in Spain, Fernando VII repealed the Constitution of 1812 and persecuted the constitutional liberals, beginning a rigid absolutism. Meanwhile, the Spanish-American War of Independence continued its course, and despite the war effort of the royalists , at the end of the conflict only the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico , in America, were still under Spanish rule. At the end of the Ominous Decade and with the support of liberal politicians for the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830, Spain was organized again into a parliamentary monarchy . In this way, both revolutionary processes gave rise to the new nation-states existing today. The end of the reign of Fernando VII also marked the extinction of absolutism throughout the Hispanic world.

The death of Fernando VII in 1833 opened a new period of strong political and economic instability. His brother Carlos María Isidro , supported by the absolutist supporters, rebelled against the appointment of Isabel II , daughter of Fernando VII, as constitutional heir and queen, and against the repeal of the 1713 Succession Regulations , which prevented the succession of women in the crown. Thus broke out the First Carlist War . The reign of Isabel II was characterized by the alternation in power of progressives and moderates, although this alternation was more motivated by the military pronouncements of both signs than by a peaceful transfer of power based on the electoral results.

Proclamation of the First Republic , during the Democratic Sexenio in the Plaza de San Jaime in Barcelona (February 1873).

The Revolution of 1868 , called "the Glorious", forced Isabel II to leave Spain. Constituent Courts were convened that spoke for the monarchical regime and, at the initiative of General Juan Prim , the Crown was offered to Amadeo de Saboya , son of the King of Italy. His reign was brief due to the fatigue caused by the politicians of the moment and the rejection of him by important sectors of society, to which was added the loss of his main support, the aforementioned General Prim, assassinated before Amadeo arrived. to set foot in Spain. Then the First Republic was proclaimed , which did not have a long life either, although it was very agitated: in eleven months it had four presidents: Figueras ,Pi y Margall , Salmerón and Castelar . During this turbulent period there were serious territorial tensions and warlike confrontations, such as the declaration of independence of the Canton of Cartagena , the highest exponent of cantonalism . This stage ended in 1874 with the pronouncements of Generals Martínez-Campos and Pavía , who dissolved Parliament.

The Bourbon Restoration proclaimed King Alfonso XII , son of Isabel II. Spain experienced great political stability thanks to the government system advocated by the conservative politician Antonio Cánovas del Castillo , which was based on the peaceful turn of the Conservative (Cánovas del Castillo) and Liberal ( Práxedes Mateo Sagasta ) parties in government. In 1885 Alfonso XII died and the regency was entrusted to his widow María Cristina , until the majority of his son Alfonso XIII , born after the death of his father. The independence rebellion of Cuba in 1895 induced the United Statesto intervene in the area. Following the confusing incident of the explosion of the battleship USS Maine on February 15, 1898 in the port of Havana , the United States declared war on Spain. Defeated by the North American nation, Spain lost its last colonies: Cuba , the Philippines , Guam, and Puerto Rico .

20th century

The Government of the Spanish Republic with Juan Negrín and Manuel Azaña in Barcelona .

The 20th century began with a great economic crisis and subsequent political instability. There was a hiatus of commercial prosperity caused by Spanish neutrality in the First World War , but the succession of government crises, the unfavorable march of the Rif War , which worsened as a result of indigenous tribal opposition to the Spanish Protectorate of Morocco , the Social unrest and discontent on the part of the army, led to the coup of General Miguel Primo de Rivera on September 13, 1923. He established a military dictatorshipwhich was accepted by a large part of the social forces and by King Alfonso XIII himself. During the dictatorship, freedoms and rights were suppressed, which added to the difficult economic situation and the growth of the republican parties, made the situation increasingly untenable. In 1930 Primo de Rivera presented his resignation to the king and went to Paris, where he died shortly after. General Dámaso Berenguer succeeded him at the head of the Directory and then, for a short time, Admiral Aznar . This period is known as " soft dictatorship ."

Determined to find a solution to the political situation and establish the Constitution, the king promoted the holding of municipal elections on April 12, 1931. These gave a resounding victory to the republican-socialist candidacies in the big cities and provincial capitals, if well the total number of councilors was mostly monarchical. Organized demonstrations demanding the establishment of a democratic republic led the king to leave the country and to proclaim it on April 14 of that same year. During the Second RepublicThere was a great political and social upheaval, marked by a marked radicalization of the left and right. The moderate leaders were boycotted and each party tried to create a Spain to its measure. For the first two years, he governed a coalition of Republican and Socialist parties. In the elections held in 1933 the right won and in 1936, the left. Violent acts during this period included the burning of churches, the monarchical uprising of the military man José Sanjurjo , the Revolution of 1934and numerous attacks against rival political leaders. On the other hand, it is also during the Second Republic when important reforms are initiated to modernize the country —democratic constitution, agrarian reform, restructuring of the army, first Statutes of Autonomy… - and the rights of citizens are expanded, such as the recognition of the right to women's vote , establishing universal suffrage .

Bombardment of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War (April 26, 1937).
Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975

On July 17 and 18, 1936 , the military garrisons of Spanish Africa rose up against the government of the Republic , a coup that only triumphed in part of the country. Spain was divided into two zones: one under the authority of the Republican Government - in which the 1936 Social Revolution took place - and another controlled by the rebels . The situation led to the Spanish Civil War , in which General Francisco Franco was invested as the supreme leader of the rebels. German support for Hitler and Italian Mussolini to the insurrectionists, firmer than the support Soviet of Stalinand Mexican from Lázaro Cárdenas to the Republicans, and the continuous confrontations between the different Republican factions, among other reasons, led to the victory of the Francoists on April 1, 1939.

The victory of General Franco led to the establishment of a dictatorial regime . The development of a strong repression on the defeated forced thousands of Spaniards into exile and sentenced many others to death or imprisonment. Spain's support for the Axis Powers during World War II led to international political and economic isolation. [ 61 ] [ 62 ] However, anticommunism of the Spanish regime made during the Cold War between the United Statesand the Soviet Union and its respective allies, the Franco regime was tolerated and finally recognized by the Western powers. At the end of the 1950s, its international isolation ended with the signing of several agreements with the United States that allowed the installation of joint Spanish-American military bases in Spain. In 1956, Morocco , which had been a Spanish and French protectorate, acquired its independence and an economic stabilization plan for the country was launched . That same year Franco decided to participate in the Hungarian Revolutionwith the shipment of arms and even with a landing of about 100,000 soldiers. Finally, there could only be monetary and food support since there was no way to reach the Magyar country if not by stopping in countries that were contrary to the Regime [ 63 ] . In 1968, Franco granted independence to Spanish Guinea and the following year named Juan Carlos de Borbón , Alfonso XIII's grandson, as his successor as king. Although the regime maintained a fierce repression against any political opposition, Spain experienced a very important industrial and economic development during the 60s and 70s.

Juan Carlos I , King of Spain from 1975 to 2014.

Francisco Franco died on November 20, 1975 and Juan Carlos I was proclaimed king two days later. Then a period known as the transition to democracy began . Adolfo Suárez was appointed President of the Government by the king and managed to approve the Law for Political Reform in the Francoist Cortes . Democratic elections were held in 1977 . In 1978 the Spanish Constitution was promulgated, which established a social and democratic state of law with the parliamentary monarchy as the form of government. In 1979, after the first elections under the new constitution, the centrist coalitionUnion of the Democratic Center (UCD) obtained a simple majority in the Congress of Deputies and Adolfo Suárez was invested as Prime Minister. On January 29, 1981, he resigned due to internal pressure from his own party.

Adolfo Suárez , first president of the Government of the current democracy

During this period, the Basque terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) committed a large number of attacks, especially against members of the army and security forces, as well as others of an indiscriminate nature. During the voting session for the investiture of Suárez's successor, Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo (UCD), on February 23, 1981, an attempted coup d'état promoted by high military commanders took place. The Palace of the Courts was taken by Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero , but the coup attempt was aborted the same day by the intervention of King Juan Carlos in defense of constitutional order. In 1981, the protocol of accession of Spain to theNATO , starting the process of integration into the Alliance that ended in the spring of 1982, during the UCD government.

In the general elections of 1982, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), led by Felipe González , won by an absolute majority , who was appointed Prime Minister and remained in power for four legislatures . In 1986, Spain joined the European Economic Community , the forerunner of the European Union , and a referendum was held on the permanence of Spain in NATO in which it won the yes. In 1992, Spain appeared in a striking way on the international stage, offering an image of a solid and modern country, with the celebration of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, the declaration of Madrid as the European City of Culture and the celebration in Seville of the Universal Exhibition .

Felipe González signing the Act of Accession of Spain to the European Economic Community .

During this period there was a profound modernization of the Spanish economy and society, characterized by industrial reconversions and the replacement of the late Francoist economic model by a more liberal one - which led to three important general strikes -, the generalization of thought and contemporary values ​​in Spanish society, the development of the autonomous state, the transformation of the armed forces and the enormous development of civil infrastructures - such as the multiplication of the highway network. However, there was also a situation of high unemployment and towards the end of it there was a significant economic stagnation, which did not begin to recover until 1999, when the unemployment rate fell from 23% to 15%. 1994 and 1995 were two of the worst years in democracy due to the multiplication and discovery of corruption cases: State terrorism by the Antiterrorist Liberation Groups (GAL), the Roldán case , the CESID wiretapping, etc.

In the early general elections of 1996, the Popular Party (PP) won, opening a new political stage in Spain. However, he did not obtain an absolute majority, so José María Aznar had to agree with the nationalist parties to be invested as Prime Minister. His Government faced a key challenge: the improvement of economic data that would allow Spain to be part of the member countries of the European Union that would share the new single currency, the euro , a milestone achieved at the end of 1997. ETA's terrorism continued active. On July 10, 1997 ETA kidnapped the councilor of the PP of Ermua Miguel Ángel Blancoand threatened to assassinate him if the government did not comply with his demands. Two days later, the ETA members ended his life. His death caused a massive movement of rejection in the Basque Country and in the rest of Spain known as the Spirit of Ermua .

21st century

Barcelona Olympic Games 1992.

The 21st century began with a brutal terrorist escalation by ETA in 2000 and with the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States , which caused Spain to support US military interventions in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003). . The latter was carried out without the support of the UN and despite receiving multiple demonstrations against it from Spanish and world public opinion.

In 2002, the euro entered into circulation in Spain and in eleven other countries that made up the eurozone , replacing the peseta and the respective national currencies. This monetary change caused the hidden rise in prices. [ 64 ] Between 1994 and 2007 there was a significant expansion of the Spanish economy, based mainly on the construction sector. At the end of the 20th century and throughout the 21st century, Spain received a large number of immigrants from Ibero-American countries such as Ecuador , Colombia , Argentina , Bolivia, Peru or the Dominican Republic , as well as from different areas of Africa , Asia and Europe . The strong expansionary economic growth that the country presented since 1993 required a large amount of labor.

Tribute to the victims of the attacks of March 11, 2004 , at the Alcalá de Henares station .

On Thursday, March 11, 2004, the 11M attacks took place in Madrid , the largest terrorist attack in the history of Spain, which caused the death of 192 people and nearly 1,500 wounded. There were ten almost simultaneous explosions on four trains in the morning rush hour on the Madrid commuter rail network . The attacks were claimed by the Islamic terrorist organization Al Qaeda . The social consternation at the attacks and at the controversial reaction of the Government caused a huge popular mobilization, in which 11 million citizens demonstrated in the streets of almost every city in the country. Three days after the attacks, the 2004 general elections were held. The popular agitation was definitive in the resolution of the elections in which the PSOE obtained the victory. José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero became the fifth president of the Government.

With Zapatero as Prime Minister, the Spanish troops fighting in Iraq withdrew . This caused a considerable cooling of diplomatic relations with the United States. The European Constitution was signed and the referendum on the European Constitution was held , in which Spanish citizens approved the treaty. However, the rejection in a referendum in France and the Netherlands made it fail. Gay marriage was also approved , among other reforms of a social nature promised in the electoral program of the Socialists. [ 65 ]

The Lisbon Treaty of the European Union entered into force in 2009. It endowed the Union with international legal personality.

On March 22, 2006, the terrorist organization ETA announced its second ceasefire , which it broke on December 30 of that same year with the placement of a van bomb in Terminal 4 of the Barajas Airport , an attack in which two people They lost their lives. [ 66 ]

The 2008 elections gave victory again to the PSOE and Zapatero formed his second government . These elections consolidated and reinforced bipartisanship: the two major parties held 323 of the 350 seats in Congress. [ 67 ] That same year was held in Zaragoza 's Expo 2008 , whose main theme was water and sustainable development. The Great World Recession and the bursting of the real estate bubble caused a very serious economic crisis in Spain . As of May 2011, social movements known as "indignados" or 15-M appeared.that demanded a more participatory democracy. In September the constitution was reformed in order to guarantee the budgetary stability of the public administration. On October 20, 2011, the terrorist organization ETA announced the " definitive cessation of its armed activity " and its dissolution became effective on May 3 , 2018. [ 68 ]

Protests of the 15-M Movement , Madrid.

Given the difficult economic situation, early general elections were held in 2011 in which the Popular Party obtained an absolute majority and Mariano Rajoy was inaugurated as President of the Government. Rajoy had to face a particularly difficult economic and social situation, territorial tensions in Catalonia and a growing discredit of the political class. In 2012, it approved a severe plan for social cuts and in June it asked the European Union to bail out financial institutions , after Bankia's bankruptcy . In the first quarter of 2013, the number of unemployed in Spain peaked when the six million unemployed were surpassed for the first time. [ 69 ]

King Juan Carlos I and the presidents of the Government Aznar , González , Zapatero and Rajoy in 2015.

On June 2, 2014, King Juan Carlos I expressed his intention to abdicate the Crown in favor of his son. Felipe VI was proclaimed King of Spain before the Cortes Generales on June 19 of the same year, after the abdication became effective .

The 2015 general elections saw the entry of two new parties: Podemos and Ciudadanos , leading to a scenario of four parties that failed to invest in a prime minister. Rajoy refused to go to the investiture and the socialist Pedro Sánchez failed in his attempt. In 2016, general elections were held again with similar results. Rajoy, supported by Ciudadanos, appeared for the investiture but was rejected. Finally, the abstention of a PSOE plunged into a deep internal crisis allowed Rajoy to be invested and to form his second government after ten months in office.

Failed attempt at independence in Catalonia in 2017.

Spain was once again the victim of a jihadist attack in Catalonia when on August 17 and 18, 2017, Islamic State terrorists murdered 16 people in Barcelona and Cambrils . [ 70 ]

On October 1, a referendum on the independence of Catalonia was held, not recognized by the State; the Catalan Parliament proclaimed independence (October 27) and the Government applied Article 155 of the Constitution and called regional elections; the President of the Government of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont fled the country and was arrested in Germany in March 2018, but the German Justice denied extradition to Spain.

On June 1, 2018, Pedro Sánchez was inaugurated as president of the government after a motion of censure against Rajoy . Even without a stable parliamentary majority, the PSOE won the early general elections the following year, but the failure in the inauguration of Sánchez once again led the Spanish to the polls (for the fourth time since 2015), in an election that returns to win the PSOE. During those months of government in office, it is worth noting the exhumation of Franco from the Valley of the Fallen and the sentence of the Supreme Court to the members of the procés that led to a week of protests in Catalonia.

In January 2020, Sánchez was sworn in as president and formed the first coalition government since the Second Republic with United We Can . In March, the country, like the rest of the planet, suffered the COVID-19 pandemic , which caused the declaration of a state of alarm with measures of severe restriction to the movement of people and economic activity, the Spaniards would stay for weeks in quarantine .

government and politics

Spain is a State social and democratic law whose political form the parliamentary monarchy . The national sovereignty resides in the Spanish people , from which emanate the powers of the state. [ 18 ]

The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation , the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards, and recognizes and guarantees the right to autonomy of the nationalities and regions that comprise it and the solidarity between all of them.

Division of powers

The head of state is the king , who arbitrates and moderates the regular functioning of the institutions and assumes the highest representation of the Spanish State in international relations, in addition to symbolizing the unity and permanence of the nation. [ 71 ] In any case, it does not have its own initiative in its political acts, since it is not responsible for them and they must always be endorsed by the competent political authority.

The executive domestic and foreign policy -the and civil and military administration and regulatory powers are exercised by the Government . [ 72 ] The Council of Ministers is chaired by the Prime Minister , who appoints his ministers and has the functions of a head of government in a parliamentary system. It is responsible before the Cortes Generales. At the beginning of each legislature, the king conducts a round of consultations with the leaders of the political groups and proposes a candidate for the Presidency of the Government. The Congress of Deputies votes the investiture of the Prime Minister, which requires an absolute majority in the first vote or a simple majority in the second ballot. Until now, the leader of the pre-electoral party or coalition that has obtained the greatest number of votes and seats has always been elected President of the Government . Although the formation of a coalition government is possible , since 1977 all governments have been "mono-colored" —formed by a single party or pre-electoral coalition — even if they only had the parliamentary backing of a relative majority. The Congress of Deputies can depose the Prime Minister by means of a constructive motion of censure in which it is determined who will replace him in his post.

The legislative power is exercised by the Parliament , the supreme representative body of the Spanish people. [ 73 ] The Cortes Generales are a bicameral parliament made up of the Congress of Deputies - Lower House - and the Senate - Upper House -. [ 73 ] The general elections are held every four years by universal suffrage , which have the right to vote of Spaniards over 18 years. The Congress of Deputies is made up of 350 members elected by multi-member proportional vote with closed and blocked lists . Seats are distributed among candidates through the D'Hondt system . The electoral district is the province. The Senate is the chamber of territorial representation and currently has 266 members elected through a mixed system, 208 directly elected and 58 appointed. Directly elected senators are elected by partial multi-member majority vote with open lists . The appointed senators are elected by the autonomous legislative bodies, at times other than those of the general elections, also for a period of four years.

The judicial power is formed by the set of courts and tribunals, made up of judges and magistrates, who have the power to administer justice on behalf of the king. The judges are career civil servants whose apex is the National Court and the Supreme Court , the highest jurisdictional body in all orders except in matters of constitutional guarantees, [ 74 ] governed by the General Council of the Judiciary , which controls their appointments, promotions, inspection and disciplinary regime. [ 75 ] The members of that institution, as well as those of the Constitutional Court—Which, as a constitutional body outside the judiciary, resolves appeals of unconstitutionality and conflicts of jurisdiction between the State and the autonomous communities of the country—, [ 76 ] are elected by different political instances; what has become an implicit link of each one of them to the political party that designates them, in contradiction with their theoretical independence, a circumstance explicitly revealed by the media and the political and intellectual debate. [ 77 ]

External relationships

Pedralbes Royal Palace in Barcelona, ​​Headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean .

Spain has been a member of the European Union since January 1, 1986.

In addition, it is part of international organizations such as the United Nations (since December 14, 1955), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (since May 30, 1982) and the Organization for Cooperation and Development. Economic ; continental countries such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe , the Western European Union treaty and the European Defense Agency ; and organizations that strengthen historical and cultural ties of the transatlantic link such as the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture , the Latin Union, the Ibero-American Community of Nations and ABINIA .

The Spanish Government contributes to the financing of the UN in 2.52% of its annual budget (2006). [ 78 ]

Armed forces

The ship Juan Carlos I (L-61) , Eurofighter fighters , Spanish military in Afghanistan and Leopard 2E tank .

The Spanish Armed Forces are responsible for national defense , which according to what is established in the eighth article of the Constitution, is responsible for "guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of Spain, defending its territorial integrity and the constitutional order." [ 79 ]

These have traditionally been divided into three arms: the Army , the Navy , and the Air Force . At present, these weapons are joined by the Royal Guard - a segregated formal body, at the service of the king, which performs fundamentally security tasks - and the Military Emergency Unit - a member body whose mission is to intervene quickly in any situation. place of the national territory in case of catastrophe or other public needs—, both being made up of personnel from the three main armies.

Spain is one of the most important nations of the European Union Force (EUFOR) and the Eurocorps . It also occupies a prominent position in the structure of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which it joined in 1982. In addition, it has the sixth most powerful navy , [ 80 ] the oldest Marine Corps in the world. the world and the two oldest permanent military units in the world: the King's Immemorial Infantry Regiment No. 1 and the Light Infantry Regiment "Soria" No. 9 . [ 81 ]

Human rights

Regarding human rights , regarding membership of the seven bodies of the International Bill of Human Rights , which include the Human Rights Committee (HRC), Spain has signed or ratified:

UN emblem blue.svgStatus of major international instruments of human rights [ 82 ]
Spanish flag
International deals
CESCR[83] CCPR [ 84 ] CERD [ 85 ] CED[86] CEDAW [ 87 ] CAT[88] CRC[89] MWC[90] EARL [ 91 ]
Belonging Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Yes check.svgSpain has recognized the competence to receive and process individual communications by the competent bodies. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Yes check.svgSpain has recognized the competence to receive and process individual communications by the competent bodies. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified. Neither signed nor ratified. Signed and ratified. Signed and ratified.
Yes check.svg Signed and ratified, Check.svg signed, but not ratified, X mark.svg neither signed nor ratified, Symbol comment vote.svg No information, Sign 101 - danger point, StVO 1970.svg has agreed to sign and ratify the body in question, but also recognizes the competence to receive and process individual communications from the competent bodies.

In the signing and ratification of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and in the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination ( CERD ), Spain has recognized the competence to receive and process individual communications by the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination belonging to the Human Rights Commission. [ 92 ]

Territorial organization

State of the autonomies

Autonomous Communities of Spain .Gtk-dialog-info.svg

Spain is currently what is called a " State of autonomies " or "Autonomous State", a formally unitary country that functions as a decentralized sui generis federation of autonomous communities , each with different levels of self - government . The differences within this system are due to the fact that the process of transferring powers from the center to the periphery was originally thought of as an asymmetric process, guaranteeing a greater degree of self-government only to those communities that were seeking a more federalist type of relationship. with the rest of Spain ( Andalusia , Catalonia , Galicia , Navarra and the Basque Country ). On the other hand, the rest of the autonomous communities would have less self-government. Despite this, as the years went by, other communities such as the Valencian Community or the Canary Islands were gradually acquiring more skills.

Today, Spain is considered one of the most decentralized European countries, since all its different territories administer their health and educational systems locally, as well as some aspects of the public budget; some of them, such as the Basque Country and Navarra, also manage their public financing with almost no (with the exception of the quota) the supervision of the Spanish central government. In the case of Catalonia , the Canary Islands , Navarra and the Basque Country , they are equipped with their own police forces, fully operational and completely autonomous, which replace the functions of the National Police. in these territories, except in Navarra and the Canary Islands, still in the process of transfer.

Spain is a nation organized territorially in seventeen autonomous communities and two autonomous cities . Title VIII of the Constitution establishes the territorial organization of the State in municipalities , provinces and autonomous communities, these with powers to manage their own interests with a broad level of autonomy, legislative, budgetary, administrative and executive powers in the exclusive powers that the State It guarantees them through the Constitution and each Statute of Autonomy . Although Navarra was not properly constituted as an autonomous community, being de jure aAutonomous community , and having not developed a Statute of Autonomy, but articulating an improvement of its traditional jurisdictions , is considered an autonomous community for all purposes, according to the interpretation of the Constitutional Court.

Provinces of Spain identified according to the ISO 3166-2 standard .Gtk-dialog-info.svg

Each autonomous community is made up of one or more provinces , making a total of fifty.

Since 2003 , the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics , or NUTS units, of three levels has been adopted for purely statistical purposes based on European regulations and set by Eurostat . The fifty Spanish provinces and the two autonomous cities are classified at NUTS-3 levels; the seventeen autonomous communities are classified in the NUTS-2 levels; and for the NUTS-1 levels the groups of autonomous communities have been created .

Territorial claims and disputed territories

Spanish territories in North Africa (the Canary Islands are not included).

Spain historically claims the retrocession of the colony, currently with the status of British overseas territory , of Gibraltar , although it has lately been in favor of formulas of shared sovereignty. The claim began from the moment when Anglo-Dutch troops took the square on behalf of Archduke Carlos during the War of the Spanish Succession (1704), later passing into British hands through the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). The claim, which included military operations, was particularly intense during the 18th century , languishing during the 19th and first half of the 20thand it was taken by the Franco government to the United Nations during the 1960s. There, framed in the decolonization processes, Spain obtained support for its position by recognizing the resolutions to that effect (2231 and 2353) that the decolonization process It had to respect the right to the territorial integrity of Spain and that the interests, and not the wishes of Gibraltarians, had to be respected (see History of Gibraltar ). Spain does not recognize, however, British sovereignty over the isthmus that joins the continent with the rock.

On the other hand, Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the Badajoz region of Olivenza , which includes the municipalities of Olivenza and Táliga (although it does not actively claim its sovereignty), ceded by Portugal to Spain through the Treaty of Badajoz (1801). The resolutions of the Congress of Vienna are interpreted differently by both countries. While Portugal considers that those forced Spain to return Olivenza, Spain believes that it is a simple declaration of good wishes, with no resolution capacity, which is why Olivenza remained united with Spain. Finally, although Spain recognizes Portuguese sovereignty over the Savage Islands(a tiny uninhabited archipelago in the Atlantic, 160 kilometers north of the Canary Islands and 280 south of Madeira ), opposes Portugal's claim to establish a 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the territory, recognizing only 12 miles of territorial sea . [ 93 ] [ 94 ]

Also sovereignty over the uninhabited island of Perejil is disputed with Morocco. Although evicted after the armed incident of 2002 , by agreement between the two countries no military or police force is based there, without either party having renounced their claims of sovereignty. On the other hand, Morocco informally demands the cession of the autonomous cities Ceuta and Melilla , as well as the so-called squares of sovereignty on the African continent. Some irredentist movements in Morocco, such as the Istiqlal Party , demand inclusion in the so-called Greater Moroccofrom the Canary Islands . [ 95 ]

The case of the Sahara

Stamp from 1924 dedicated to the Spanish Sahara . For the UN , the territory is de jure of Spanish sovereignty, despite the Spanish resignation materialized in the Tripartite Agreement of Madrid .

In 1975, through the Tripartite Agreement of Madrid , the Spanish State formally renounced the administration of Western Sahara , a non-autonomous territory according to the Special Committee for Decolonization of the United Nations , becoming temporarily Moroccan and Mauritanian. [ 96 ] The UN itself, in its document S / 2002/161, establishes:

On November 14, 1975, Spain, Morocco and Mauritania issued in Madrid a declaration of principles on Western Sahara (the "Madrid Agreement"), pursuant to which the powers and responsibilities of Spain, as the administering Power of the Territory, were transferred to a temporary tripartite administration. The Madrid Agreement did not transfer sovereignty over the Territory nor did it confer on any of the signatories the status of administering Power, a condition that Spain, alone, could not have transferred unilaterally. The transfer of administrative authority over the Territory to Morocco and Mauritania in 1975 did not affect the international status of Western Sahara as a Non-Self-Governing Territory. [ 97 ]

Therefore, Spain would continue to be the administering power over the territory. Even in 2014, the Prosecutor's Office of the Spanish National Court , in the investigation of two cases in which possible crimes of genocide and against humanity that high Moroccan authorities had committed against the population of the territory, established that "by international legality , that territory can not be considered Moroccan "and therefore" Spain de jure , but not de facto , remains the administering power " [ 98 ] [ 99 ] [ 100 ] [101 ] criterion assumed by the Criminal Chamber of the National High Court. [ 102 ]


Country Total
Portugal's flag Portugal 1232 km
Flag of France France 623 km
AndorraFlag of Andorra.svg Andorra 63,7 km
MoroccoMorocco flag Morocco

Melilla 9.6 km, Ceuta 6.3 km

15,9 km
Gibraltar flag Gibraltar 1,2 km
Land 1917,8 Km
Relief of peninsular Spain and the Balearic Islands.

Located in Western Europe and North Africa, it occupies most of the Iberian Peninsula and, outside of it, two main archipelagos (the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea ), two cities, Ceuta and Melilla , in North Africa , the island of Alboran and a series of islands and islets are found off the peninsular coasts, such as the Columbretes Islands . In addition, it consists of minor non-continental territories such as the Chafarinas Islands , the rock of Vélez de la Gomeraand the rock of Alhucemas , all off the African coast.

In territorial extension it is the fourth country in Europe, behind Russia , Ukraine and France , and the second in the European Union .

The physical limits of Spain are the following: to the west, Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean ; the Mediterranean Sea to the east; the Strait of Gibraltar , the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea to the south; and the Pyrenees , together with the Bay of Biscay in the Cantabrian Sea to the north.


Map showing types of weather in Spain

Spain has a very diverse climate throughout its entire territory. The Mediterranean character predominates in almost all its geography. The southern and Mediterranean coasts have a climate called coastal Mediterranean that also has the Guadalquivir valley : mild temperatures, abundant rainfall almost all year round except in summer.

As it goes inland, the climate is more extreme due to the continental Mediterranean climate, which covers almost the entire Iberian Peninsula, low temperatures in winter, high in summer and irregular rainfall (depending on the geographical position ). In general, western communities receive more rainfall than eastern communities. Thus, Galicia and the Cantabrian Sea have an oceanic climate, characterized by abundant rainfall throughout the year, especially in winter, and cool temperatures.

The mountain climate can be observed at high altitudes, Cantabrian Mountains , Montes de León , Pyrenees , high points of the Iberian Mountains , Central System and Betic Mountains , as well as at high altitudes in the Canary Islands , where low temperatures occur (cold winters or very cold) and generally abundant rainfall.

Arid or semi-arid climates (less than 300 mm per year) are found in certain points of the eastern peninsula: Almería (famous for the Tabernas desert ) or the Cabo de Gata-Níjar natural park (where less than 200 mm per year are recorded), Granada ( Guadix ), Murcia , Alicante and the Ebro valley where the Foehn effect is the main cause of such low rainfall.

Landscape of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar natural park , located on the coast of Níjar , Province of Almería .

The subtropical character is characteristic of the Canary Islands , with warm temperatures throughout the year and little rainfall (more abundant in the western islands). However, this climate also occurs on the southern coasts of the peninsula ( Málaga , Granada , Almería ), where they have relatively mild temperatures throughout the year, although rainfall is somewhat more abundant than in the Canary Islands.

Climate change

Köppen climate classification between 2071 and 2100

All reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the UN ( IPCC ) state that Spain will suffer an increase in torrential rains , more heat waves , increased salinity of the sea and less heavy snowfalls. [ 103 ]

Spain remains the EU country furthest from the Kyoto emission reduction targets. [ 104 ]

Mountain Sistems

El Teide , on the island of Tenerife , is the highest peak in Spain.
The Enchanted , two emblematic peaks of the Pyrenees , and the Lake of San Mauricio .

The relief of Spain is characterized by being quite high, with an average altitude of 660 meters, and mountainous when compared to the rest of the European countries, with the exception of Switzerland , Austria and the microstates of Andorra and Liechtenstein , whose average altitude is Way to old. In mainland Spain, the relief is articulated around a large Central Plateau that occupies most of the center of the Iberian Peninsula and has an average altitude of 660 meters. Outside the plateau, there is the depression of the Guadalquivir river , located in the southwest of the peninsula, and that of theEbro river , in the northeast of it. The main mountain systems are: Pyrenees , Iberian system , Cantabrian mountain range , Montes de León , Central system and Betic mountain ranges ( Subbética and Penibética )

Higher mountain peaks