SPAIN


SPAIN
   (17,800), a kingdom of South-West Europe, which with Portugal (less than one-fifth the size of Spain) occupies the entire Iberian Peninsula, and is divided from France on the N. by the Pyrenees Mountains, and on the E. and S. is washed by the Mediterranean; the NW. corner fronts the Bay of Biscay (N.) and the Atlantic (W.), while Portugal completes the western boundary; its area, three and one-third times the size of England and Wales, is, along with the Canaries and the Balearic Isles, divided into 49 provinces, although the more familiar names of the 14 old kingdoms, states, and provinces (New and Old Castile, Galicia, Aragon, etc.) are still in use; forms a compact square, with a regular, in parts precipitous, coast-line, which is short compared with its area; is in the main a highland country, a vast plateau (2000 to 3000 ft. high) occupying the centre, buttressed and crossed by ranges (Sierra Nevada in the S., Sierra de Guadarrama, Sierra Morena, etc.), and diversified by the long valleys of the Ebro, Douro, Tagus, Guadalquivir, and other lesser rivers, all of which are rapid, and only a few navigable; climate varies considerably according as one proceeds to the central plains, where extremes of heat and cold are experienced, but over all is the driest in Europe; agriculture, although less than a half of the land is under cultivation, is by far the most important industry, and Valencia and Catalonia the provinces where it is most successfully carried out, wheat and other cereals, the olive and the vine, being the chief products; other important industries are mining, the Peninsula being extremely rich in the useful minerals; Merino sheep farming, anchovy and sardine fisheries, wine-making, and the manufacture of cotton, silk, leather, and paper; chief exports are wine, fruits, mineral ores, oil and cork; Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, and Malaga are the chief towns; the widest variety of character exists among the natives of the various provinces, from the hard-working, thrifty Catalan to the lazy, improvident Murcian, but all possess the southern love "of song, dance, and colour," and have an inherent grace and dignity of manner; Roman Catholicism is the national religion; and although systems of elementary and secondary schools are in vogue, education over all is in a deplorably backward condition; the Government is a hereditary and constitutional monarchy; the Cortes consists of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies; universal suffrage and trial by jury are recent innovations. The outstanding fact in the history of Spain, after the downfall of the Roman Empire, of which she had long formed a part, is the national struggle with the Moors, who overran the peninsula in the 8th century, firmly established themselves, and were not finally overthrown till Granada, their last possession, was taken in 1492; sixteen years later the country became a united kingdom, and for a brief period, with its vast American colonies and wide European possessions, became in the 16th century the dominant power of Europe; since then she has lagged more and more in the race of nations, and her once vast colonial empire has gradually crumbled away till now, since the unsuccessful war with America in 1898, only an island or two remains to her.

The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. . 1907.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spain — • This name properly signifies the whole peninsula which forms the south western extremity of Europe. Since the political separation of Portugal, however, the name has gradually come to be restricted to the largest of the four political divisions …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • SPAIN — (in Hebrew at first אספמיא then ספרד), country in S.W. Europe. The use of the word Spain to denote Sepharad has caused some confusion in research. Spain came into being long after the Jews had been expelled from the Crowns of Castile and Aragon,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Spain — (englische Bezeichnung für Spanien) steht für Spain (Album), ein Album der Band Between the Trees Spain (Band), eine US amerikanische Rock Band Spain ist der Name folgender Orte: Spain (South Dakota), in den USA Port of Spain, die Hauptstadt von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Spain — a country in southwest Europe, between France and Portugal, which includes the Balearic and Canary Islands. It is a member of the ↑EU. Population: 40,038,000 (2001). Capital: Madrid. For many British people, Spain is a popular place to go for a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Spain — c.1200, from Anglo Fr. Espayne, from L.L. Spania, from L. Hispania (see SPANIARD (Cf. Spaniard)). The usual Old English form was Ispania …   Etymology dictionary

  • Spain — [spān] [ME Spaine, aphetic < Anglo Fr Espaigne < OFr < LL Spania, for L Hispania (prob. infl. by Gr Spania)] country in SW Europe, on the Iberian peninsula: 190,191 sq mi (492,593 sq km); pop. 38,872,000; cap. Madrid: Sp. name ESPAÑA …   English World dictionary

  • Spain — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Spain (disambiguation). Kingdom of Spain Reino de España …   Wikipedia

  • Spain — /spayn/, n. a kingdom in SW Europe. Including the Balearic and Canary islands, 39,244,195; 194,988 sq. mi. (505,019 sq. km). Cap.: Madrid. Spanish, España. * * * Spain Introduction Spain Background: Spain s powerful world empire of the 16th and… …   Universalium

  • Spain — <p></p> <p></p> Introduction ::Spain <p></p> Background: <p></p> Spain s powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to …   The World Factbook

  • Spain —    Although it was officially neutral during World War II, Spain’s sympathies were with Germany. After the fall of France in 1940, tens of thousands of refugees, mostly Jews, attempted to enter Spain so as to reach seaports where they hoped to… …   Historical dictionary of the Holocaust

  • Spain —    Estimated Gypsy population (excluding the non Romany Quinquilleros): 700,000. The first records of Gypsies in Spain date from the 15th century and refer to companies that crossed the border from France. However, some scholars think that… …   Historical dictionary of the Gypsies


We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.