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A few words about Spain

Spain, also called the Kingdom of Spain, is a hereditary constitutional monarchy, a democratic and a sovereign country, a member of the European Union. Its territory is composed of seventeen autonomous communities and two autonomous cities which are divided into fifty provinces. The capital city is Madrid. Spain is a transcontinental country situated both in Western Europe and Northern Africa. In Europe it is largely located on the Iberian Peninsula, with archipelagos on the Mediterranean Sea (Balearic Islands) and territories in the north of Africa- the exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, the Canary Islands on the Atlantic Ocean and other, uninhabited islands located on the Mediterranean side of the Gibraltar Strait such as Chafarinas, Alboran, Alhucemas or Penon de Velez de la Gomera. Spain also includes the town of Llivia in the Pyrenees, which is a Spanish enclave surrounded by French territory.

The surface of Spain is 504, 645 km2, which makes it the fourth biggest country on the continent, after Russia, Ukraine and France. Additionally, it is one of the most mountainous terrains of Europe with the average altitude of 650m. As of 2013 Spain had a population of 47,129,783 inhabitants.

On the Iberian Peninsula Spain is bordered by France and Andora from the north, Portugal from the west and a British overseas territory of Gibraltar from the south. The Spanish territories in Northern Africa share a land and sea border with Morocco. A little Pheasant Island at the mouth of river Bidasoa is under a joint sovereignty of France and Spain.

According to the constitution of Spain, Castilian, informally known as Spanish, is the official language of Spain and it is the right and duty of every Spaniard to know the language. There are other regional languages such as Basque, Catallan, Galician which have the status of the official language in different autonomous communities. Spanish economy is the thirteenth largest world economy in terms of GDP, while in 2011 GDP per capita in Spain ranked as the average on the list of European countries. Spain is also the eighth country in the world in terms of the presence of international companies. Moreover, according to the OUN report from 2014, Spain has a high development index (0.869). On the other hand, the results of the research by Eurostat from 2013 demonstrate that, in Spanish economy the Gini index is 33.7 which gives the country the fifth place in terms of social inequality among the eurozone countries.

The earliest fossils of humans living in Europe date back to 1.2 million years ago, the proof of that is a mandible found in Atapuerca near Burgos. In 218 BC Romans started attacking the Iberian Peninsula and later on they named the conquered land Hispania. In the Middle Ages this territory was first conquered by Germanic tribes and in 711 almost the whole of the peninsula was occupied by Arab armies. At the end of the 15th century the crowns of the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united through dynastic union to form the Kingdom of Spain (1469) ending the centuries long presence of Islamic rule in Spain (1492). Spain became the first world colonial empire, encompassing territories on five continents and leaving vast cultural and linguistic heritage in the conquered lands. At the beginning of 19th century, as a reult of independence fights in Latin America, Spain lost most of its colonies, which ruined the country. The century marked by the war with France, a series of civil wars and a proclamation of the short-lived First Spanish Republic, was ended with another overturn and the beginning of the constitutional monarchy, which initiated a modernisation of the country. In 1931 Spain became a republic. However, a few years later, as a result of a coup, a civil war broke out, which ended in the rule of general Francisco Franco. The dictatorship in the country lasted until Franco's death in 1975. From this moment, the process of restoring country democracy began. The result of that was the approval of the constitution which guarantees fundamental values such as freedom, justice, equality and political pluralism.

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