For the country presentation of Europe and the Middle East, I chose Spain. This is a fascinating and beautiful country. I have been to multiple cities in this country on many occasions and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to show some of my peers some history and basic facts about such an interesting country.
To begin with, as stated by Andres Navarro, Spain is a country located in southwestern Europe occupying most of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Portugal. A broad elevated plain that runs from the south to the east crossed by multiple valleys and mountain ranges. It also includes a portion of France called Llivia and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. According to a census done in 2018 by the Spanish Statistical Office, this country’s population is around 49,331,076.
Their capital city is Madrid, and although their official language is Spanish, some regions actively speak Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Aranese. Their currency is the Euro (EUR), and their government comprises a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. This means that the monarch (in this case Felipe VI of Spain) is the head of state, while the “President of the Government” or Prime Minister is the head of the government (in this case Pedro Sanchez).
Spain is a nation that dates back to the middle ages. Settlers have migrated from Europe, Africa, and the Mediterranean, this explains how its history has become a compendium of influences from different cultures that have lived in the country. According to an article published by the economist, the first settlers of the Peninsula were the Celts and Iberians. The Romans had conquered Spain by the 1st century B.C.
As a result; they became mostly Christian under their rule. Then the Romans were followed by the Vandals and the Visigoths, which were Germanic people. From 711 to 1492 Islamic Moors ruled in Spain according to (). During this same year, Christopher Columbus discovered America and the Spanish rulers started forming their empire. In the 16th century, Spanish kings ruled over many European countries, such as Portugal, the Netherlands, parts of France, Germany, Italy, and Austria.
By General Franco revealing against the second republic, the Spanish Civil War raged in Spain from 1936 to 1939. In 1975 General Franco died and as a result Juan Carlos I became the King of Spain. Almost 40 years later, in 2014, his son Felipe followed him on the throne when Juan Carlos resigned because of his age.
Besides the multiple historic aspects of this Iberian peninsula, it is also worth mentioning the many important sites and tourist attractions at this corner of the world. Spain is a very diverse nation where people all over the world get to experience a wide range of cultures. In Madrid, there are multiple historic places to visit, the most popular ones being the Plaza Mayor, which is a major public space that was first built during the reign of King Philip III. Its architecture and rectangular shape attract tourists from all over the world and even locals.
Another site is the Royal Palace (Palacio Real), which many people believe to be the finest palace in Europe and the official residence of the Spanish royal family. La Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family) is a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. It is also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and lastly the Monserrat, a multi-peaked mountain range near Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain.
There are also major tourist attractions. Among them is The Prado Museum, which is the main Spanish national art museum, in central Madrid. Atocha railway station is the largest railway station in Madrid. The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, which is Europe’s largest oceanographic aquarium. Finally, the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid which is the home football stadium of Real Madrid since its completion in 1947.
Undeniably, Spain is an incredible country filled with culture. Its geography, history, the multiple historic and touristic sites throughout this Iberian peninsula have great stories to tell and make this fascinating and beautiful country one that everyone should consider adding to their bucket list.
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