Geography & Location
Spain is a sovereign state located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Spain'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. Along with France and Morocco, it is one of only three countries to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Spain's 1,214 km border with Portugal is the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union.
Spanish territory also includes two archipelagos; the Balearic Islands, in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast; two major exclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in continental North Africa; and the islands and rocks of Alborán, Alhucemas, Chafarinas and Vélez de la Gomera. Spain is the 4th largest country in Europe.
Before becoming a Monarchy, Spain was under the control of the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages it fell under Germanic rule and later Moor invaders from Northern Africa took over. During the 11th century war broke out between Muslim and Christian armies, and in 739 Muslim armies were defeated and 2 Christian Kingdoms were created: Leon which was the strongest for centuries, until the Kingdom of Castile came and became the strongest kingdom.
Spain becomes a Kingdom
In the 13th century, Spain saw the Black Plague in 1348 & 1349 which devastated the population; the Crown of Aragon expanded its reach to the islands of the Mediterranean, Sicily and Athens. In the 14th century the Christian Crowns of Aragon and Castile were united by the October 19, 1469 marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon; the united front of the couple led to the 1492 capture of the Emirate of Granada which ended a 781 year occupation of Muslims on the Iberian Peninsula. 1492 also saw the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Spain to ask for funds for a voyage to the New World which was funded by Queen Isabella.
Ferdinand and Isabella centralized their power at the expense of the nobility, and soon Spain emerged as a world power; their union as the heads of Castile and Aragon was the basis for modern Spain and the Spanish Empire. For most of the 16th and 17th centuries Spain was a leading power in Europe which was reinforced by wealth and trading from colonial possessions then became the most powerful maritime power in the world.
Spain is a constitutional monarchy that is hereditary with a bicameral parliament.
- Monarch: HM King Felipe VI
- Born: January 30, 1968 (Age: 50) Madrid, Spain
- Parents: Infante Juan Carlos of Spain & Princess Sofia of Greece & Denmark
- House: House of Bourbon
- Accession and Enthronement: June 19, 2014
- King Felipe is the youngest current Monarch in Europe
- Spouse: Her Majesty Letizia, Queen of Spain, born September 15, 1972
- Married May 22, 2004 Almudena Cathedral, Madrid.
The King and Queen have 2 daughters:
- Heiress Apparent: Leonor, Princess of Asturias born October 31, 2005
- Infanta Sofia of Spain, born April 29, 2007
- Spain is currently under the rule of the House of Bourbon