Useful Notes: Spain
"Plus Ultra!"Spain (Spanish: España), officially known as the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a south-western European country inhabited by more than 40 million people, home of the Conquistadores and the first language of over 400 million people. The modern day Spanish trace their descent from many peoples, including but not limited to Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Visigoths, Jews, and Muslims, and the modern nation-state was formed with the union of the Kingdom of Castille and the Kingdom of Aragon in 1469 by the marriage of their respective monarchs, Queen Isabella and King Fernando and the siege of Granada in 1492, which would end the Reconquista and 700 years of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula. Through the discovery and later conquest of the Western Hemisphere that same year, an empire grew and soon became the one of the most powerful on the planet until it's eventual decline over the course of the 1800's, culminating in a war with the United States at the very end of the century.note This, along with the failure of the conquest of Morocco and the feuds between political factions led to the last and bloodiest of five Civil Wars. The winner of the war ruled the country for no less than 36 years until his death, when the current Constitutional Monarchy now led by King Felipe VI was installed. Spain thus became one of the few examples in the modern day in which a monarchy is restored after being overthrown for quite some time, the other being Cambodia (to be fair, the Spanish monarchy never actually renounced their rights for their country when the Republicans took over in 1931). Spain is bordered by France and the tiny Andorra in the north-east and Portugal in the west. It is bathed by the Mediterranean Coast at its east, The Atlantic Ocean at the west and North and the Straits of Gibraltar at the South, where the Mediterranean Joins the Atlantic. There is also the matter of the little British colony known as Gibraltar. Spain's Government consists of a Prime Minister (Presidente del Gobierno or president of the government) elected democratically, appointed by the King and who is the Head of the Cabinet (Consejo de Ministros or council of ministers). He resides in the Moncloa Palace, Madrid. Spain is ruled in a devolved unitary system where the whole country is divided into 17 autonomous communities (Comunidades Autónomas), developed after the end of the Francoist regime. Each community is accorded a statute to define their official language and identity and a parliament capable of passing laws, though they can be repealed by the central government if they are deemed not appropriate. This allows each non-Castilian region to develop their cultures after having them repressed viciously when Franco was president (the very opposite of neighboring France, who is all to happy to "merge" the multitudes of their regional cultures into a single French identity). It works very well, maybe too well, since each region now has the right to demand more autonomy or even outright independence if they feel that the devolution is not respected or if they think that the central government is dragging them back (especially since the financial crisis of 2007), as in the case of that little region in the northeast known as Catalunya/Catalonha/Cataluña/Catalonia. The continental autonomous communities are:
- Andalusia (capital: Seville)
- Aragon (capital: Zaragoza)
- Asturias (capital: Oviedo, largest city: Gijón)
- Basque Country (capital: Bilbao)
- Cantabria (capital: Santander)
- Castile and León (capital: Valladolid)
- Castile–La Mancha (capital: Toledo, largest city: Albacete)
- Catalonia (capital: Barcelona)
- Extremadura (capital: Mérida)
- Galicia (capital: Santiago de Compostela, largest city: A Coruña)
- La Rioja (capital: Logroño)
- Madrid (capital: Madrid)
- Murcia (capital: Murcia)
- Navarre (capital: Pamplona)
- Valencia (capital: Valencia)
- Balearic Islands (capital: Palma de Mallorca)
- Canary Islands (capital: Santa Cruz de Tenerife & Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)
The Cities of Spain
- Madrid, Capital of Spain and largest city.
- Barcelona Spain's second largest city, holds a rivalry with the former.
- Valencia, Third largest city
History of Spain
- Visigothic Spain
- Moorish Spain
- Spanish Reconquista
- The Spanish Inquisition
- Battle of Lepanto
- War of the Spanish Succession
- Spanish Civil War
- The Franco Regime
- Toros y Flamenco, the stereotypical Spain
- Spexico, Ambiguously Spain (And Mexico)
- New Spanish Armada
- The Kingdom Of Spain, for a brief introduction to Spanish kings and queens
- Francisco Franco, that man. Yes, he is still dead.
- Spanish Cinema
- Spanish Language
- Spanish Literature
- Spanish Media
- Spanish Series
Spain in popular culture
- Don Quixote: The most famous Spanish novel of all time, takes place in Spain. Actually, it codified a lot of tropes that allowed the modern Western literature to flourish after their long decline in the Middle Ages.
- Theatre/The Barber of Seville by Pierre de Beaumarchais.
- Carmen by Georges Bizet.
- Un Chien Andalou
- Diego Vélazquez
- Francisco De Goya
- Pablo Picasso
- Salvador Dalí.
- The Sun Also Rises
- For Whom the Bell Tolls
- George Orwell wrote Homage to Catalonia about his experiences during the Spanish Civil War.
- The Private Life of Don Juan
- The Story of Ferdinand and the Disney cartoon The Story of Ferdinand
- The Looney Tunes cartoon Bully for Bugs
- Suddenly Last Summer
- El Cid
- Mr. Arkadin
- For Your Eyes Only
- Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis.
- The comic strip Mortadelo y Filemón is Spanish and thus takes place in Spain most of the time.
- Zipi y Zape: A Spanish comic strip where the adventures of the protagonists also take place in Spain.
- Suske en Wiske: The album "De Stierentemmer" takes place in Spain.
- The Asterix album Asterix in Spain takes place in Hispania (the Roman name for Spain).
- The Monty Python sketch "The Spanish Inquisition" features the Spanish Inquisition interrupting everything.
- Manuel the waiter in Fawlty Towers hails from Barcelona.
- The films of Pedro Almodóvar.
- Land of Freedom
- The terrifying and tearjerking The Orphanage, executive produced by Guillermo del Toro.
- The equally terrifying Julia's Eyes, also produced by del Toro and starring the same actress, Belén Rueda.
- Pans Labyrinth is set a few years after the Civil War, in which the last vestiges of Republicans are being hunted down by Franco's regime. Also produced and directed by del Toro. Prepare your tissues before watching the film.
- The Woody Allen film Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
- The World Is Not Enough
- The Spanish Inn ("L' Auberge Espagnole")
- Digital Fortress by Dan Brown presents a, well, Dan Browned version of Spain, and quite an insulting one at that. Namely, it presents Spain as being a Wretched Hive full of crimes and having an inadequate healthcare system. Spain has one of the best healthcare institutions in Europe (and indeed the world) and its living standards are very high too. Maybe he confused it with some Banana Republic in the Americas.
- Vantage Point is set entirely in Spain, but, like above, is less about Spain and more about what Americans think about Spain. It depicts the Spanish police as terribly inept compared to the mighty Yankees who could easily borrow/destroy/steal Spanish properties as if they're their own, and the Spaniards seem to treat the US president as their own (they don't)
- The third act of Fast & Furious 6 is set in Spain.
The Spanish Flag
Red and yellow are traditional colors of Spain dating back to the Reconquista, with the yellow stripe being twice as large as the two red stripes; near the hoist side is the coat of arms, dominated by a crowned shield containing (from upper left clockwise) the arms of Castile (gold castle on red field), León (purple lion on silver field), Navarre (array of golden chains on red field), Granada (a pomegranate fruit on a white field) and Aragon (nine alternating yellow and red stripes), as well as that of the Anjou branch of the House of Bourbon, Spain's royal family (blue field containing five fleur-de-lis with a red border), added by King Philip V (himself French-born and titled Duke of Anjou) in 1700; on either side of the shield are a pair of columns standing on watery bases, symbolizing the Pillars of Hercules, a pair of promontories guarding the Strait of Gibraltar, surrounded by ribbons which read "Plus Ultra" ("Further Beyond" in Latin) and topped by the crowns of the Holy Roman Empire and the Spanish Kingdom, the former alluding to Emperor Charles V, also titled King Charles I of Spain, under whose reign Spain expanded its territories to South America and the Philippines.