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Nation of Bull

Spain

Spain

Spain (Spanish: España `{`esˈpaɲa`}` (About this soundlisten)), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of Spanish territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco).`{`i`}` Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

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Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state. It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world’s fourteenth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the sixteenth-largest by PPP. It is a member of the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Eurozone, the Council of Europe (CoE), the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a “Permanent Invitation” to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group.

Good to Know

You may have not heard of it, but Spanish people sometimes refer to their country as La Piel de Toro (The Bull Skin). That’s thanks to the imagination of Greek geographer Strabonis, who compared the shape of the country to a bull skin stretched out under the sun – and is also, no doubt, a reference to the country’s longstanding obsession with bull-related activities. In fact Spain has been through a bunch of different names throughout history. The North Africans who first crossed the Straits of Gibraltar called it Iberia, the “land of rivers”, after “Iber”, a river. When the Greeks invaded, they called it Hesperia, “land of the setting sun”. Meanwhile, the Carthaginians, arriving around 300 BC, came up with Ispania, “land of the rabbits”; later latinised by the Romans to Hispania, and subsequently España. So, macho Spaniards take note: your country is actually named, not after the virile bull, but the bunny.

Country

Spain

Visa Requirements

Not Needed for EU and USA/Canada Citizens.

Languages spoken

Spanish

Currency Used

Euro

Area (km2)

505,990 km2

Municipalities

The current provincial division structure is based—with minor changes—on the 1833 territorial division by Javier de Burgos, and in all, the Spanish territory is divided into 50 provinces. The communities of Asturias, Cantabria, La Rioja, the Balearic Islands, Madrid, Murcia and Navarre are the only communities that comprise a single province, which is coextensive with the community itself. In these cases, the administrative institutions of the province are replaced by the governmental institutions of the community.

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