Spain (Spanish: España, pronounced [esˈpaɲa]) , or the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal. Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco. With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union after France.
Because of its location, the territory of Spain was subject to many external influences, often simultaneously, since prehistoric times and through the dawn of Spain as a country. Conversely, the country itself has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 400 million Spanish speakers today.
Spain is organised in the form of a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a developed country with the ninth largest economy by nominal GDP, and high living standards (16th highest HDI). It is a member of the United Nations, European Union, NATO, OECD, and WTO.
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SPANISH CIVIL WAR. 1936-1939
Started by the Fascist General Franco against the elected govt in Madrid (Liberal-Socialist-Communist). Generally believed a million people died in this tragedy. George Orwell fought in it with the militia of the POUM (Workers Party of Marxist Unification) and wrote the excellent "Homage to Catalonia", where he was based.
The Socialist govt under Senyor Zapatero has been forced to bring in austerity measures by the Euro Central Bank. This has led to the emergence of the 15-M movement (for 15 May), which occupied the central Madrid square of the Puerto del Sol (Sun Gate) for a number of days, with similar gatherings elsewhere, particularly Barcelona (Catalunya).