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Spain

 

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Country

Identification

Kingdom of Spain

Language(s)

Spanish Castillian, Catalan (regional), Galician (regional), Basque (regional)

Religion(s)

93,3% Roman Catholic, minorities of Muslims and Jews

Political System

Parliamentarian monarchy since 1978

Currency

1 Euro = 100 Cent

Geographical Information

Capital: Madrid

Area: 505.000 sq. km

South-west Europe, the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands.

France borders Spain in the north (the Pyrenees), the Atlantic Ocean in the north and west, Portugal borders Spain in the south-west, the east is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea.

Spain is very mountainous, more than 70% of the country is 500m above sea-level. The highest mountain is the Pico de Teido (3710) on Tenerife.

Typical Food and drinks

6 very different gastronomic zones in Spain:

- Catalonia: fish-stew (zona de las cacerolas)

- Levante: dishes with rice like paella (zona de los aroces)

- Andalusia: fried food and Gazpacho (zona de los fritos)

- Central Spain: roasted meat (zona de los asados)

- Northern Spain: stew, fish and seafood (zona de los salsas)

- Aragon and Navarra: paprika and pimentos (zona de los chilindrones)

Spanish people like to eat "tapas", little snacks to accompany a glass of wine. Dinner is eaten very late in Spain.

Typical drinks are coffee, beer, sherry and wine.

Holidays and Festivals

National Holiday: 12th October

May Day, Midsummer’s Night, New Year

Most Roman Catholic holidays are observed.

Additionally there are many famous regional festivals.

History

11.000 B.C. : Caves of Altamira

Spain was settled by different tribes of Berbers and various European peoples.

The Basques settled in the north. Their background is unknown, but their origin is not Indo-European.

1.100 B.C. : Phoenicians and Greeks populated the Mediterranean coast.

2oo A.D. Begin of Christianization

500 A.D. Barbarians occupied Spain

With the Moors Spain experienced one of its most riches periods till 1492.

The Moors were expelled with the help of the Catholic Church. Spain was ruled by Catholic Monarchs.

Rise to world-empire, discovery and conquest of America, Inquisition, and sinking of the Armada.

1700 A.D. wars of succession, rise of the Bourbons.

1805 A.D. Battle of Trafalgar, invasion of Napoleon I., wars of Independence, civil wars, restoration, dictatorship of Franco until 1975.

Now Democracy with King Juan Carlos, member of the Bourbon dynasty.

Art and culture

The Caves of Altamira, muslim art from the Moors in Andalusia e.g. the Alhambra in Granada, the Golden Tower in Sevilla, the Mezquita in Cordoba, the Cathedral of Santiago di Compostella, works of El Greco in Toledo.

Some of the most famous artists:

Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Zurbaran, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Juan de Valdes Leal, Francisco Jose de Goya, Antonio Gaudi as sculptor and architect: La Sagrada Familia , Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dali, Cervantes

The national dance of Andalusia is the f’lamenco.

Dos and don´ts for visiting the country

Dinner is very late, after ten o’clock in the evening. That is the reason for the tapas bars, where little snacks are served earlier in the evening.

Use some Spanish words and they will be pleased.

Spanish people meet their friends in restaurants or bars, not at home.

Population and

% of foreign population /minorities

40,8 millions inhabitants:

72,3% Castillians, 16,3% Catalans, 8,1% Galicians, 2,3% Basques,

1% minorities consisting of:

500,000 Gitanos

250,000 Moroccans,

74,000 British

60,000 German

42,000 French

42,000 Portuguese

30,000 Italian

31,000 Ecuadorian

Main Integration Problems

The Gitanos and the Moroccans have the most problems:

- bad education

- discrimination

- problems with the language

- Religion

- Isolation

- Cultural background

Further problems regarding Basques (ETA), through their effort to become independent.

 

 

 
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Latest update of this page: 2005-07-15 
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