50 Fascinating Facts about Spain

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is located on the Iberian Peninsula and is part of Southwestern Europe. Spain is a sovereign state and is almost completely surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. To its northeast are France, Andorra and the Bay of Biscay, while to is northwest is Portugal. Spain also has many territories throughout the world. Spanish territories include the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, the cities Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa, Alhuecemas, Velez de la Gomera, Alboran, Chafarinas Islands and many other small islets. The country is the second largest country in Western Europe, right behind France, and is the fifth largest country in all of Europe. Spain’s population is 47.3 million people, while its capital city of Madrid is home to 3.2 million people. Spain has one official language, and four recognized languages. Its official language is Spanish; however Basque, Catalan, Galician, and Occitan are all spoken throughout various regions of Spain. The government in Spain is secular; therefore they do not recognize an official religion. However, Roman Catholicism is widely practiced. The Spanish flag is comprised of two horizontal red stripes surrounding a wider yellow stripe. The Spanish coat of arms is printed on the yellow stripe of the flag. Spain is also an official member of the European Union therefore it uses the Euro as its main form of currency.

Spain Facts

1
Spain follows a capitalist mixed economy and is considered the 13th largest economy in the world, and the 5th largest economy in the European Union.
2
Spain began using the Euro as its main form of currency in 1999 after it was first introduced into the European Union. All of the coins and paper notes didn't begin circulating until 2002 though.
3
Spain has a very high living expense. People who live in Spain often spend more money on their living expenses than they do on education.
4
Spain's nominal GDP is $1.352 trillion while its per capita GDP is $29,289.
5
Tourism in Spain draws in 40 billion Euros per year. The Spanish tourism industry is the second largest tourism industry in the world.
6
Spain's government is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy and it is highly decentralized. Each of Spain's 17 regions governs their own schools, hospitals and public services.
7
Cork trees are prominent in Spain, and along with Portugal, they provide the whole world with cork.
8
Spain is very mountainous, and is the second most mountainous European country behind Switzerland.
9
Spain's national sport is soccer, but they call it futbol.
10
Bullfighting is another popular sport in Spain. Bullfights are also considered a work of art by some spectators due to the colorful outfits of the bullfighters and the way the bullfighters perform in the ring.
11
The Rio Tinto River that runs through Spain is highly polluted due to over 5,000 years of mining. The polluted waters are so toxic that they contain no forms of life.
12
Every year Spain holds the Running of the Bulls festival. The festival occurs on St. Fermina's Day in July and over 1 million people attend it each year to see people run the streets with Spanish bulls.
13
La Tomatina is a huge festival in Spain, and is considered to be the world's largest food fight. It is held every August, and people throw over 150,000 tomatoes each year.
14
Gestures are often used in Spain instead of words. For example, tapping your left elbow with your right means that someone is a penny pincher.
15
Spain's divorce rate is very low, and only 5% of children in Spain are born to unmarried parents.
16
500,000 Gypsies live in Spain. Most of them live in the South in permanent residents, however there are still large amounts of travelling Gypsies that migrate through Spain.
17
Many Spanish women keep their maiden names after they are married. Once they have children, the children take the husband's last name so the mother's maiden name is dropped after one generation.
18
The quill pen first originated in Spain over 1400 years ago.
19
During the last ice age, many people migrated to the Iberian Peninsula to stay safe. For this reason, after the ice age most of Europe was repopulated with people from Spain.
20
Spain was the first European country that banned smoking in the workplace.
21
In Barcelona, Spain Portal de l'Angel is the most walked street, clocking in over 3500 people per hour.
22
The tradition of taking a siesta after lunch originated in Spain. Today though, siestas are rare because people stay at work to increase their productivity and keeps the economy thriving.
23
The Romans first occupied what is now Spain around 200 B.C.
24
Spain has four official languages. They are Castilian, Basque, Catalan, and Galician. In addition to its official languages, there are three unofficial regional languages, plus other dialects.
25
80% of Spaniards who live in houses are homeowners.
26
Spain has an unemployment rate that exceeds 50%. Not only is it one of the highest in Europe, but it's one of the highest rates in the world.
27
The literacy rate for the country is over 98%.
28
Over 90% of Spaniards are Roman Catholic.
29
Spain is one the most visited countries in the world. Approximately 58 million tourists visit the country each year.
30
Spain was the third country in the world to legalize same sex marriage in 2005.
31
In addition to legalizing same sex marriage in 2005, the country also legalized adoption by same-sex couples.
32
Spain is the third largest country in Europe by area. In terms of size, it is about double the size of the state of Oregon.
33
Spain's official name is Kingdom of Spain.
34
Spain's national anthem does not have words.
35
The world's oldest lighthouse is located in Spain. The Tower of Hercules was constructed in the 1st century and still stands today.
36
Two Roman dams that were constructed in 1900 are still in use in Spain today.
37
The country had a civil war that lasted from 1936 to 1939. Over half a million people were killed in the war.
38
The macaque is a tail-less monkey that calls Spain home. It is the only kind of wild monkey to live on the continent of Europe.
39
Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world. About 45% of the world's olive oil comes from Spain.
40
Spain and Portugal are connected by a zipline that is 2,365 long. The ride takes only about 60 seconds.
41
The youngest king in the world was Alfonso XIII, who became the king of Spain when he was born.
42
Scientists discovered a tooth in Spain that belong to an ancient ancestor. It is estimated that the tooth is over a million years old.
43
Spain has a life expectancy of over 82 years -- the highest in the world.
44
In Spain, all citizens are considered organ donors unless they choose to opt out.
45
Spain is one of the largest exporters of the spice saffron.
46
In 2013, Spain's unemployment was higher than that of the United States during the Great Depression.
47
One of the most dangeorous hiking trails in the world, El Caminito Del Rey, is located in Spain.
48
The Sagrada Familia Church has been under construction for over 130 years. It is expected to be completed over the next 10 years.
49
The Eiffel Tower was originally going to be in Spain. However, the city rejected the idea, and it was constructed for Paris.
50
Valencia's Las Fallas festival is one of the biggest in the country. Fireworks are lit for three straight weeks during this celebration.

Spain is an interesting country that has bounced back from an economic crisis and come out on top within the last few decades. The Spanish people enjoy a high standard of living and a relaxed lifestyle that has tourists flocking to Spain in order to get a taste of their lives. Tourism accounts for almost 5% of Spain’s GDP, and keeps the economy alive. Today, the Spain’s unique form of living and warm demeanor helps keep the Spanish people happy and flourishing.

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