Spain

BY: GABI ENGELS

Culture

Spain's culture is European cultures, based on historical events, primarily from the Roman Empire, but also the pre-Roman Celtic, Iberian, Phoenicians, and Moors culture.

Geography

Spain is next door to Portugal, south of France, and north of Morocco. The Mediterranean Sea is to the east of Spain. Located in far southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain is geographically positioned in the northern, as well as the eastern and western hemispheres.

Climate

There are three different climate zones in Spain, due to its large size. Visitors can generally expect a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The vast central plateau, or Meseta, has a more continental influenced climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters.

Government

The politics of Spain takes place under the framework established by the Constitution of 1978. Spain is established as a social and democratic state, wherein the national sovereignty is vested in people, from which the powers of the state emanate. Spain is a limited government because it is a democracy. The current leader is Mariano Rajoy, in full Mariano Rajoy Brey(born March 27, 1955, Santiago de Compostela, Spain), Spanish politician who was elected prime minister of Spain in 2011. Rajoy was raised in the Galicia region of northern Spain. He studied law at the University of Santiago de Compostela, receiving a degree in 1978.

History

The history of Spain dates back to the Early Middle Ages. In 1516, Habsburg Spain unified a number of disparate predecessor kingdoms; its modern form of a constitutional monarchy was introduced in 1813, and the current democratic constitution dates to 1978. The history of Spain is one of the most fascinating in the world and Spanish history and culture has helped to shape the modern world into what it is today. Although Spain is a relatively small territory located in southwestern Europe, the history of Spain is of grandeur and is strikingly different from that of the rest of the continent

Economics

Spain’s economy grew at the fastest pace since 2007 last year, as the country remains firmly entrenched on a growth path following years of recession. Strong domestic dynamics, underpinned by the lowest unemployment rate in over four years in Q4 and a less tight fiscal position, have allowed the economy to outperform many of its European peers. On the political front, the country remains at an impasse after the 20 December election yielded a fragmented Congress and no clear governing coalition. The King—who has to propose a candidate for prime minister—remains in talks with party leaders over who will try to form a governing alliance. However, it remains unclear who the King will propose first and if any party leader can muster the support needed to win a confidence vote in Parliament. Fresh elections must be called two months after Parliament holds its first confidence vote, however, with no time limits on when the first vote has to take place the country could be at a political standstill for months. The currency in Spain is the Euro.

The GDP per capita is 25617.55.

Flag, Language, Religion

Spain's flag is red and yellow. Yellow means generosity, while red means strength and bravery. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution, although the majority of the population is Catholic. Other religions also practised in Spain include Islam, Judaism, Protestantism, and Hinduism, all of which have places where to conduct their rituals.In terms of number of speakers and dominance, the most prominent of the languages of Spain is Spanish (Castilian), spoken by about 99% of Spaniards as a first and second language. Basque is spoken by 2%, Catalan (or Valencian) by 17%, and Galician by 7% of all Spaniards.

Citizenship

Person of Spanish Origin

- Those born to a Spanish father or mother.
- Those born in Spain to foreign parents, if at least one parent was born in Spain (with the exception of the children of diplomats).

- Those born in Spain to foreign parents, if both parents have no nationality (i.e. are stateless), or if the legislation of neither grants their children nationality. In this case, a procedure may be carried out at the Civil Registry corresponding to their place of residence, in order to declare Spanish nationality as mere presumption.

- Children born in Spain whose parents' identity is unknown. Minors whose first known place of stay is Spanish territory are presumed born in Spain.
- Minors under 18 adopted by a Spaniard are also of Spanish origin. Adoptees who are over 18 may opt for Spanish nationality of origin within two years after the formalization of the adoption.

Education System

There are three categories of Spanish schools in the Spanish education system: public schools (colegios públicos), state-funded private schools (colegios concertados) and private schools (colegios privados). Since some private schools are publically funded the line between public and private is blurred. Spanish school hours depend on each type of school. Some may run from 9 am through 5 pm with a two hour lunch break. Other schools may begin at 9 and end at 2 pm, the typical lunch time in Spain. Some schools may have only a one hour lunch break and may or may not provide a cafeteria for children to eat at the school. For working parents, Spanish schools offer a paid morning program starting as early as 7 am and an afterschool program of extracurricular activities, free or paid for, depending on the activity.

Primary school in Spain, often referred to as simply “colegio”, is the beginning of the government required education in Spain. Primary school is made up of 6 academic school years from age 6 through 12. The system is divided into three cycles of 2 years each. Generally, the first cycle is from age 6-7, the second cycle from 8-9, and the third cycle from 10-11 years of age. After primary school in Spain students must continue on to Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) which generally lasts from age 12-16. Spanish secondary education is divided into two cycles lasting two years each. The Spanish high school Baccalaureate is non-compulsory free education that consists of one cycle in two academic years for students age 16-18. The Spanish Baccalaureate consists of a series of required common classes, elective classes and specialization classes known as “modalidades”, or concentration in a certain discipline. A student must specialize in one of the offered disciplines and if the students plan to continue on to university, certain concentrations may be required in order to be admitted into certain university programs. Spanish University degrees are usually four years long, with the exception of medicine degrees and some others which are 6 years long.

Semana Santa, Seville (traditional holiday)

The southern city of Seville hosts two of the biggest celebrations of the year. First is Semana Santa, a week of feasting and Roman Catholic processions leading up to Easter. Holy Week in Seville features masked parades and enormous floats with Roman Catholic figures. This somber spectacle is followed up by La Feria de Abril, a much more jolly event. Hundreds of tents and amusement park rides are set up for Seville's week-long Feria. The fairgrounds swell with locals dressed in traditional garb and booths selling libations and food. Live music fills the night air, and a festive mood prevails. Fireworks signal the final night of the celebration, sending the crowds into frenzied flamenco dancing.