Fun Spain Facts
Spain is a popular country to visit. It has beautiful cities, interesting countryside with mountains, beaches and a warm climate in summer.
The Spanish people love to relax. Their lifestyle is very easy going.
Quick Facts About Spain
Population: 45,5 million (2016)
Key Cities: Barcelona, Valencia, Seville
Official Language: Spanish
Major religions: Roman Catholic
Bordering countries: Portugal, France,
Size: 505, 955 sq. km.
Lowest Point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m.
Highest Point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) Canary Isle.
Spain is the 2nd largest country in the European Union
Spain occupies 80% of what is known as the Iberian Peninsula. North of Spain is the border with France and divided by a natural boundary of the Pyrenees mountains. Spain includes the Canary Islands and Balearian Islands.
Animals in Spain
In the wild life areas there are some big mammals like brown bears, wolf, lynx, wild boar, deer and the Spanish ibex.
Spain is the home of many bird species. Spain has the largest number of reptiles amongst the European countries.
The Weather in Spain
Spain’s climate varies drastically throughout the country. The northern mountainous regions experience alpine temperatures whereas the interior experiences a hot and arid climate.
The northwestern regions experience a tropical climate along with the Canary and Balearic Islands.
Historical Facts About Spain
In prehistoric times Spain was inhabited by various tribes of people that travelled across from Africa. These tribes left many archaeological evidences of their occupation in Spain.
After this era Spain was under the rule of the Romans. After the fall of Rome, the Visigoths tried to take over and unite Spain. However, their leaders quarrelled and some of them decided to ask the Muslims in Africa for help.
The Muslims crossed over from Africa, but defeated the Visigoth King Roderigo. The Muslims brought medical knowledge and ideas about astronomy to Spain.
In 1250 Spain converted to Christian rulership, except for the Nasrid Kingdome of Granada.
When Isabel I of Castile and Fernando II of Aragon married in 1469 Spain was united and in the reconquest of the country Granada was taken too.
During the years 1504 – 1700 Spain was ruled by Catholic monarchs. A this time Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain and discovered America.
One of the new rulers from the House of Hapsburg, Charles V of Germany, became Charles I of Spain.
He set up the Spanish Inquisition which included a court that decided if a person was a true follower of the Catholic faith. Many people were killed even if they were innocent. When King Charles died the Hapsburg, dynasty ended.
During the reign of the next king, Felipe V of Bourbon Spain lost some of her provinces, but this was a time of enlightenment for Spain. England occupied Gibraltar. France joined with Spain, but they were defeated at the famous battle of Trafalgar. A naval battle was also fought against Great Britain.
The first Spanish Republic was declared in 1868. This time was known as the Restoration. In World War I Spain stayed as a neutral country.
In 1923, the election was won by the socialist party. General Primo de Rivera took over the country but he was a dictator.
A time of civil war was experienced, and General Franco became the next dictator. Spain stayed out of the next world war and in 1947 the dictator Franco announced that when he died, the country would return to having a king.
The new king, Juan Carlos, made sure the country had free democratic elections and a new constitution. Spain became a parliamentary monarchy in 1978 and joined the EU, and joined NATO in 1982.
The Spanish Language
Spain is the home of the second most widely-spoken language in the world. Estimates put the number of native Spanish speakers at around 440 million.
There also numerous regional languages in areas such as Basque, Catalonia etc.. whose roots are buried in Spanish.
The most important industry in Spain is the tourist industry. Spain is the third most popular place to visit after France and America. Spain has 60,6 million people visit its tourist attractions every year.
Spain offers beautiful beaches along the Mediterranean like the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorado Great cities like Seville and Barcelona attract visitors.
The rest of the economy has made slow progress. Only 8,3% of the work force is involved in Agriculture. Industry has 29,9% of the workers and 61,8% of the workforce is involved in the service industry.
If you add all those figures you should reach a total of 100%!
Spain has a few export goods, but they have to import vehicles, chemicals and machinery. The road and rail system are efficient. The tourist industry benefits from these services.
The Spanish culture is a rich culture. Many types of people that have had an influence on Spain. There are all sorts of artistic activities to enjoy from art, music, theatre and dancing.
They enjoy music and dancing and the national sport is football.
The Spanish are well known for a distinctive style of dancing, the Flamenco and you can learn to dance the Fandango.
The Spanish love Fiestas or holiday celebrations. Easter is a popular festival as well as the Falls Bonfire festival held in Valencia. Seville hosts the April fair and the ‘Running of the Bulls festival, suited to the young men of the community, takes place in Pamplona.
Food in Spain
Spanish people love life! They enjoy eating with friends and starting a meal with Tapas or Pintxos, traditional appetisers. They enjoy music and dancing and the national sport is football.
Spain produces over half the world’s olive oil. More than 1,5 million tons.
The restaurant Botin claims to be the oldest restaurant in the world and has been open since 1725. The dish it serves as its signature dish is still the same – roast suckling pig.
Although many people think of Paella as the national food of Spain. The Spanish themselves do not share this view. They believe that Paella is representative only of the region of Valencia.
Spain has the most bars of any country in Europe.
Bull Fighting in Spain
Bullfighting is a sport that is part of Spanish culture. It is not a sport that everyone supports because it is a ‘blood sport.’ The matadors dress in very colourful outfits and parade round the bull ring. They have a strict code of behaviour.
Originally bullfighters rode on horseback, but now they walk on foot around the bull ring.
The architecture in Spain demonstrates great historical and geographical diversity. The Muslim Conquest in 711 brought about great advances in Architecture.
Similarly, christian kingdoms such as Aragon also started to develop their own styles.
Later additions to Spanish architectural history were the influence of the Romanesque and Gothic streams.
Government in Spain
Spain is a constitutional monarchy, which means that the country does have a reigning monarch but that all executive powers lie with the democratically elected government.
After hardline dictator General Franco was removed from power in 1975, King Juan Carlos 1 was given the throne. He quickly fell out of favour with his people after numerous scandals and handed power to his son in 2014.
With sweeping beaches, Mountains to climb and Historic palaces to explore, Spain has steadily climbed to the second most Popular Global Tourist Destination.
Spain Welcomes around 83 million tourists every year.
The country has the third highest number of UNESCO world heritage sites. Totalling 47.
Famous Spanish People
Hermando Cortes was a Spanish Conquistador and he led the expedition to South America that crushed the Aztec empire and started the colonization of South America.
David de Gea is a famous Spanish footballer. It is difficult to pick a famous player because there are so many, but de Gea is known as one of the world’s best goal keepers who played for the English soccer club Manchester United.
Antonio Banderas is the actor who played the masked swordsman in The Mask of Zorro. He is an actor, director, producer and a singer.
Penelope Cruz is an actress from Spain. She starred in the Pirates of the Caribbean and studied classical ballet for nine years before becoming an actress.
Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous world artists. He started painting when he was eight years old. He was also a sculptor, ceramic designer, and known for Cubism, a form of modern art.
Other famous artists from Spain were Goya, Miro (accent on the o) and Dali.
Enrique Iglesias, the son of Julio Iglesias is a singer and songwriter and the bestselling Latin recording artist.
Spanish people know how to relax. Generally, they spend sixteen out of the 24 hours in a day resting, eating drinking and sleeping. A laid-back style of life.
The first stapler was made in Spain. This special stapler was made for the French King Louis XV and each staple had the royal emblem engraved on it.
Nudity is legal in Spain.
Spanish People live very long, with an average life expectancy of 82 years.
The worlds first work of Modern Literature, Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes was published in Spanish.
Spain is the only country in Europe to share a border with an African country.
Spain has the 3rd most number of UNESCO world heritage sites. This contributes to its massive tourism industry.
Spain has more than 60 islands and islets.
Recognized by the Guinness world records, Spain’s ‘El Restaurante Botin’ is the oldest restaurant in Spain. It was opened in 1725.
There are no words in the Spanish national anthem.
More European Geography.