Portal:Spain
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Portal:Spain

The Spain Portal

Spain (Spanish: España, [es'pa?a] ), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagos: the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, makes Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean respectively.

With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second-largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth-largest country by area on the European continent. With a population exceeding 47.3 million, Spain is the sixth-most populous country in Europe, and the fourth-most populous country in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Málaga, and Bilbao.

Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek, Celtic and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BC, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Sp(a)n or Spania. At the end of the Western Roman Empire, Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established relatively independent realms in its western provinces. One of them, the Visigoths, forcibly integrated all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including the Byzantine province of Spania, into the Visigothic Kingdom.

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Las Meninas, by Diego Velázquez, from Prado in Google Earth.jpg

Las Meninas (pronounced [laz me'ninas]; Spanish for 'The Ladies-in-waiting) is a 1656 painting in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age. Its complex and enigmatic composition raises questions about reality and illusion, and creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures depicted. Because of these complexities, Las Meninas has been one of the most widely analyzed works in Western painting.

The painting is believed by F. J. Sánchez Cantón to depict the main chamber in the Royal Alcazar of Madrid during the reign of King Philip IV of Spain, and presents several figures, most identifiable from the Spanish court, captured, according to some commentators, in a particular moment as if in a snapshot. Some look out of the canvas towards the viewer, while others interact among themselves. The young Infanta Margaret Theresa is surrounded by her entourage of maids of honour, chaperone, bodyguard, two dwarfs and a dog. Just behind them, Velázquez portrays himself working at a large canvas. Velázquez looks outwards, beyond the pictorial space to where a viewer of the painting would stand. In the background there is a mirror that reflects the upper bodies of the king and queen. They appear to be placed outside the picture space in a position similar to that of the viewer, although some scholars have speculated that their image is a reflection from the painting Velázquez is shown working on. Read more...

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Spanish and Portuguese empires in 1790.

The Spanish colonization of the Americas began under the Crown of Castile and spearheaded by the Spanish conquistadors. The Americas were invaded and incorporated into the Spanish Empire, with the exception of Brazil, British North America, and some small regions in South America and the Caribbean. The crown created civil and religious structures to administer this vast territory. The main motivations for colonial expansion were profit and the spread of Catholicism through indigenous conversions.

Beginning with the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Caribbean and gaining control over more territory for over three centuries, the Spanish Empire would expand across the Caribbean Islands, half of South America, most of Central America and much of North America. It is estimated that during the colonial period (1492-1832), a total of 1.86 million Spaniards settled in the Americas and a further 3.5 million immigrated during the post-colonial era (1850-1950); the estimate is 250,000 in the 16th century, and most during the 18th century as immigration was encouraged by the new Bourbon Dynasty. It has been estimated that over 1.86 million Spaniards emigrated to Latin America in the period between 1492 and 1824, with millions more continuing to immigrate following independence. Read more...

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The moonlight Battle off Cape St Vincent, 16 January 1780, Francis Holman

The Battle of Cape St. Vincent was a naval battle that took place off the southern coast of Portugal on 16 January 1780 during the American Revolutionary War. A British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney defeated a Spanish squadron under Don Juan de Lángara. The battle is sometimes referred to as the Moonlight Battle because it was unusual for naval battles in the Age of Sail to take place at night. It was also the first major naval victory for the British over their European enemies in the war and proved the value of copper-sheathing the hulls of warships.

Admiral Rodney was escorting a fleet of supply ships to relieve the Spanish siege of Gibraltar with a fleet of about twenty ships of the line when he encountered Lángara's squadron south of Cape St. Vincent. When Lángara saw the size of the British fleet, he attempted to make for the safety of Cádiz, but the copper-sheathed British ships chased his fleet down. In a running battle that lasted from mid-afternoon until after midnight, the British captured four Spanish ships, including Lángara's flagship. Two other ships were also captured, but their final disposition is unclear; some Spanish sources indicate they were retaken by their Spanish crews, while Rodney's report indicates the ships were grounded and destroyed. Read more...

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A painting of José María Morelos

José María Teclo Morelos y Pavón (September 30, 1765, Valladolid, now Morelia, Michoacán - December 22, 1815, in San Cristóbal Ecatepec, State of México) was a Mexican priest and revolutionary rebel leader who led the Mexican War of Independence movement, assuming its leadership after the execution of Miguel Hidalgo in 1811. He was later captured by the Spanish colonial authorities and executed for treason in 1815.

Morelos was born into a poor family in the city of Valladolid, since renamed "Morelia" in his honor, in a house that is today a museum dedicated to his memory. He was a zambo of Amerindian, African from African American Registry and Spanish ancestry. His father was Manuel Morelos, a carpenter originally from Zindurio, a predominantly indigenous village a few kilometers west of Valladolid. His mother was Juana María Guadalupe Pérez Pavón, originally from San Juan Bautista de Apaseo, also near Valladolid. Valladolid was the seat of a bishop and of the government of the colonial Intendency of Michoacán. It was known as the "Garden of New Spain" because of its prosperity.

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A statue showing Christopher Columbus
Credit: Fotothing

A statue showing Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella, the statue was made in 1885.

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The following are images from various Spain-related articles on Wikipedia.

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In the news

19 September 2020 -
A 1634 edition of The Two Noble Kinsmen, the last play written by English playwright William Shakespeare, is discovered at the Royal Scots College's library in Salamanca, Spain. It is believed to be the oldest copy of any of his works in the country. (BBC)
18 September 2020 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Spain
COVID-19 pandemic in the Community of Madrid
The Madrid regional government announces new restrictions aimed at curbing the rising number of cases in the region. The order will go into effect on September 21 and last for at least two weeks, affecting more than 855,000 people, or 17% of the region's population. (El Pais in English)

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