Spain (Spanish: About this soundEspaña (help info), [esˈpaɲa]) or officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. It has coasts on the Mediterranean Sea in the south and east, and the Atlantic Ocean in the north. It borders Portugal to the west, France, Andorra to the north, and the United Kingdom (Gibraltar) to the south. Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, and the two autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa. With an area of 505,992 km2, Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe after France. With an average altitude of 650 meters, it is the second highest country in Europe after Switzerland.
Spain is governed by a constitutional monarchy organized as a parliamentary democracy. It has been a member of the European Union since 1986 and of NATO since 1982.
Around 1100 BC, the Phoenicians began to establish their first settlements on Spanish territory. Celts and Greeks followed. Spain then came under the rule of the Carthaginians. In 202 BC, the Romans expelled the Carthaginians from the Iberian Peninsula. From this date on, the Roman Empire achieved unity in Spain and eventually made Christianity accepted there.
In the 5th century AD, Spain was attacked by Germanic tribes. After the Alans, Suevs, and Vandals in turn, the Visigoths dominated Spain. The rule of the Visigoths lasted for a long time and the Visigoths, who accepted Christianity, enabled the spread of Christianity in Spain.
In 711, Muslims from Africa dominated Spain, except for a few regions in the north, from the 8th to the 10th centuries, and established the Andalusian civilization there.
In the eleventh century, the Christians, who took advantage of the internal turmoil of this country, began to recapture the peninsula, starting from the north. In 1276, only the southern Granada remained in the hands of the Muslims. King of Aragon II. With the marriage of Fernando and the Queen of Castile Isabel I and the unification of their armies, the Christians became stronger and expelled the Jews and Muslims from Andalusia. The Jews and Muslims who were saved by a navy under the command of Kemal Reis were brought to the east by ships. They left behind many science and science books that Europeans also benefited from.
Age of Enlightenment
In 1492, the last Muslim stronghold, the Kingdom of Granada, was destroyed. In the same year, Christopher Columbus went on his famous trip to America, with the financial support of the Spanish monarch. This journey led to Spain establishing one of the largest colonial empires in the world. Spanish soldiers inflicted enslavement, torture and genocide on the natives who welcomed them with gifts. Bartolomé de las Casas, who was the child of a close friend of Christopher Columbus and witnessed the atrocities of the natives, published How the Indians Exterminated in 1542. He writes in his book titled, “I am 100 percent sure that the Native Americans were right in their war against the Christians. On the other hand, the Christians did not wage a single just war with them. On the contrary, their war was more evil and unjust than any tyrant in the world.”
Following the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English navy in 1588, the struggles for the throne and religion finally weakened Spain and began to collapse. It lost Portugal in 1640, and some of its European lands and Gibraltar in 1714. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, all of the Spanish colonies in the Americas gained their independence.
World War I and the Republic Period
In World War I, Spain remained neutral despite all invitations, but was greatly affected by the war. France attacked and occupied parts of Spain. General Primoderivera suppressed the uprisings and established a dictatorship in the country. He fell from power in 1930. As a result of the republican victory in the elections held a year later, King VIII. Alfonso left the country. After the leftists were successful in the elections held in 1936, General Franco wanted to strike a coup against the elected government and civil war broke out in the country.
In 1939, with the end of the civil war, Franco became President. II. In Spain, which did not participate in World War II, Franco remained in place after the war with the support of the army. With the death of Franco in 1975, Juan Carlos I succeeded him. With the resignation of Prime Minister Navarro in 1976, Carlos became king and appointed Alfonso Sourez as prime minister.
Transition Period to Democracy
On June 15, 1977, general elections were held for the first time in Spain in 41 years. The Democratic Center Union, headed by Sourez, won a majority. In 1981, the right-wing Colonel Tejero Cortes’ coup attempt by storming the parliament failed. In the 1982 elections, the Socialist Party won the election by obtaining a large majority, and 46 years later, a leftist government re-emerged in Spain.
King Juan Carlos I of Spain (1975-2014)
The Spanish constitution is the one adopted in 1978.
Spain’s constitution is based on the constitution adopted in 1812. After the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, with the elections held in 1977, the assembly, which served as a constitutional institution called the Constituent Cortes, convened to amend the constitution and enacted the 1978 constitution. As a result, Spain was divided into 17 autonomous states and 2 autonomous cities.
After the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, Spain, which the Franco regime hindered foreign relations, decided to improve its foreign relations. It became a member of NATO in 1982 and the European Union in 1986. With the normalization of relations with North Korea in 2001, Spain improved its relations with the whole world.
United Kingdom United Kingdom: Gibraltar, 6 km² between Spain and the United Kingdom there is a problem. Gibraltar, the southernmost part of the Iberian Peninsula, was conquered by the British in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. The problem was legally resolved with the Peace of Utrecht. According to this peace, the United Kingdom was taking Gibraltar forever. The problem is currently being tried to be resolved with the United Nations.
Morocco Morocco: Morocco requests from Spain the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, located on the African coast.
Portugal Portugal: Portugal, on the other hand, does not recognize the sovereignty of Spain in the Olivenza region.
Spanish administrative divisions
Main articles: Autonomous communities in Spain, Provinces of Spain, and Counties of Spain
Spain is divided into 17 autonomous regions (comunidades autónomas) and 2 autonomous cities (ciudades autónomas). There are also fifty provinces in Spain. Each of the seven autonomous regions (Asturias, Balearic Islands, Cantabria, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, and Navarre) is also a province.
For historical reasons, some provinces are further divided into counties called comarcas. The smallest administrative unit in Spain are municipalities (municipio).
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