Country Briefs: Located in southwestern Europe, bordering Portugal, Gibraltar, morocco, France and Andorra, is the beautiful country of Spain.

Walking down the narrow twisting old streets, gazing at the contemporary art and architecture, basking in the glory of snow capped peaks and vibrant arts such as Flamenco, Spain is a different experience altogether.

Covering an area of 504,782 square kilometers Spain is bigger than the Iberian Peninsula. The estimated population of the country is 44,108,530 people and its capital is its largest city, Madrid. Due to its ideal geographical location and scenic splendor Madrid is an ideal vacation destination.

However pondering over the past it is revealed that Spain was quite different from what it is today. The foremost tribes in the region were the Iberians who had arrived here in the third millennium BC.

The Iberians included the Basques, indigenous people who inhabit parts of both Spain and France. At the onset of the 9th century BC, Celtic tribes entered and settled in the Iberian Peninsula and were known as the Celtiberians.

During the 8th century BC the Greeks, Phoenicians and the Carthaginians settled near the Mediterranean coast and the Greeks named the region Iberia, after the river Iber.

In 2nd century BC, during the Second Punic War (fought between Carthage and Rome from 218 to 202 BC) the Romans arrived in the Iberian Peninsula and annexed it under Augustus along with the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian colonies that became the province of Hispania.

Hispania was a source of food, olive oil, wine and metal for the Roman Empire. The long and successful Roman rule left a profound impact on the culture of Spain.

During the 8th century the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Moors and so ended the Visgothic rule in the region. The Visgothic Spain was the last series of Christian countries conquered by the Umayyad Empire. However, the Islamic army suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Franks in the Battle of Tours that was fought on 10th October 732.

In 11th century the Muslim Spain divided into small warring kingdoms. Due to this small Christian kingdoms were able to make significant advances in the south direction.


In the years that followed Muslim Spain also retreated southwards as a result of which the art and architecture of Muslim Spain entered into Christian north. But in 11th century Spain went more and more under Christian control.

On 16th July 1212, the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa was fought and it proved to be a major turning point in the history of Iberia. This battle proclaimed the collapse of the Moorish regime particularly in Cordoba and Seville. By mid-13th century almost the entire Iberian peninsula except Granada.

The political unification of different Iberian states of Castile and Leon, Aragon and Navarre laid the foundation of the Spanish Empire. In the years that followed the Iberian Peninsula augmented its physical area.

However a series of steady and expensive wars in early 17th century led to a collapse of Spanish power in Europe. The prominent war was the War of the Spanish Succession from 1701 to 1714.

As a result of this war the Austrians gained most of the Spanish territories in Italy and Netherlands. At the end of the 19th century and after the Spanish- American War Spain lost most of its old territories to United States.

From 1923 to 1931 Spain was under dictatorial rule, which ended with the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic. In July 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out.

Though the Spanish Civil War was called the first war of the Second World War yet Spain under the leadership of General Francisco remained neutral during the Second World War.

Over the years Spain progressed greatly and it also became a member of NATO and European Union in 1981.

Spain Communities
Community HASC ISO NUTS FIPS Rs Population Area(km.²) Capital Language
Andalusia ES.AN AN ES61 SP51 h 7,357,558 87,268 Seville  
Aragon ES.AR AR ES24 SP52 l 1,204,215 47,669 Zaragoza  
Asturias ES.AS O ES12 SP34 l 1,062,998 10,565 Oviedo  
Balearic Islands ES.PM IB ES53 SP07 l 841,669 5,014 Palma de Mallorca Catalan
Basque Country ES.PV PV ES21 SP59 h 2,082,587 7,261 Vitoria-Gasteiz Basque
Canary Islands ES.CN CN ES70 SP53 h 1,694,477 7,273 Santa Cruz de Tenerife  
Cantabria ES.CB S ES13 SP39 l 535,131 5,289 Santander  
Castile and Leon ES.CL CL ES41 SP55 l 2,456,474 94,147 Valladolid  
Castile-La Mancha ES.CM CM ES42 SP54 l 1,760,516 79,226 Toledo  
Catalonia ES.CT CT ES51 SP56 h 6,343,110 31,930 Barcelona Catalan
Ceuta ES.CE CE ES63     71,505 18 Ceuta  
Extremadura ES.EX EX ES43 SP57 l 1,058,503 41,602 Mérida  
Galicia ES.GA GA ES11 SP58 h 2,695,880 29,434 Santiago de Compostela Galician
La Rioja ES.LO LO ES23 SP27 l 276,702 5,034 Logroño  
Madrid ES.MD M ES30 SP29 l 5,423,384 7,995 Madrid  
Melilla ES.ML ML ES64     66,411 14 Melilla  
Murcia ES.MU MU ES62 SP31 l 1,197,646 11,317 Murcia  
Navarra ES.NA NA ES22 SP32 h 555,829 10,421 Pamplona Basque
Valencia ES.VC VC ES52 SP60 h 4,162,776 23,305 Valencia Valencian
19 divisions 40,847,371 504,782    
  • Community: except for Ceuta and Melilla, which are municipalities.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision code.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • NUTS: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. Note: the first three characters of the NUTS code identify still larger regions, as in the table below.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Rs: Autonomous communities are classified as having high (h) or low (l) responsibility.
  • Population: 2001-11-01 census.
  • Language: Co-official language in this autonomous community.
More links about Spain