Wednesday, 22 June 2016


Most of its history Spain was cut off from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees mountain range. Ever since it joined the European Union it became one of the most important countries of Europe.

Spain covers most of the Iberian peninsula. It will come as a surprise that Spain is one of the most
mountainous countries in Europe. The capital Madrid is Europe's highest capital city at 645m. It is at a centre of the plateau meseta, The two rivers Tagus and Duoro  have cut deep valleys right down to Portugal.



The plateau is surrounded by high mountains and keeps out winds and rains therefore it is called dry Spain.

Northern Spain facing the Atlantic Ocean is wet and has green, lush country-side. It has also most important industry. The north-east is the Basque country who are a different race and have their own language. The Pyrenees mountain
separates Spain from France


The South and east coast is along the Mediterranean Sea and the Balearic Islands are 90 and 180km off he coast. The north African provinces
Ceuta, Melilla and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic and 1000km to the south-west also belong to Spain. They are volcanic and have magnificent mountain scenery and beaches


The Spanish north coast has many deciduous forest, with oak, ash and beech. The
meseta has evergreens of juniper and pine. The valuable cork oaks and sweet chestnuts grow in the west near the border of Portugal and Barcelona. The dry south has only small bushes and coarse grass.


The animals in the northern mountains are deer, ibex, eagles, eagles, some wolves and lynxes. Further in the south are animals which are found in Africa such as
genets, Egyptian mongooses and imperial eagles. Tortoises are everywhere.

Spain is a stopping-off for migrants birds such as
flamingos, snipe and storks.

Agriculture is still wide spread and the
crops are barley and  wheat. Rice is grown near the coast  of Valencia and Murcia. Olives grow almost everywhere as well as potatoes, onions and sugar beet. Merino sheep are an important wool industry with its fine fleece. Oranges and tomatoes is Spain major export.

Home produced wine is mostly consumed by families. The famous sherry comes from
Jerez de la Frontera near Cadiz.

Coal and iron ore are mined in large quantities. The world's richest mercury mine is at
Almaden in Ciudad Real. Spanish industry has a long history. Toledo produced fine daggers for centuries and Bilbao. steel-making factories once produced thousand of swords but is still an important steel-making centre.

Ship-building is at La
Coruna, Valencia, Cadiz and Bilbao. The heavy industry is in Barcelona and Madrid with big car manufacturing and aircraft factory. Textiles are in Barcelona and leather goods. The gun holsters produced in the Basque region are well known.

Tourism is an important industry to Spain. Over 30 million visitors a year coming to Span mostly to the Mediterranean beaches.

The religion is mostly
Roman Catholic and there are many colourful possessions.


Spain has been invaded by Phoenicians, Greeks and Celts.

 But the Romans united the country as an imperial province. Then followed the Visigoths and then the Muslim Moors from North Africa. For
nearly 500 years Spain was Islamic.

In 1492 the King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled the last Moors. When they captured colonies abroad, Spain became an Empire. The "Golden Era" followed disastrous wars and equally feeble kings which weakened the country.

In the 19th century Spain declined rapidly and its American colonies became independent.

In 1931 Spain became a Republic and five years later
fascists in the army opposed the elected left-wing government and a civil war broke out. The fascist General Franco won and he ruled till 1975. After his death the monarchy was restored and democracy returned.

Spain joined the European Community in 1986.

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