Here's some info on Spain
Do you know anywhere in Europe where you could go to visit four very different cultures in one trip? Why, Spain of course! Spain is not unique alone but because of its many different unique cultures within. In the North, you will find the mountainous people of the Basque, with a culture that goes back thousands of years. Look at the edge of Spain and you see a country that has had to adapt to coastal life. In fact, Spain has twice more companies contributing to their fish exports(49) than their meat exports(24). ("Spain's Exports"). Look in the center of Spain, and you will see an ever growing desert. The Spanish government has declared that desertification is now one of the country's major environmental issues. Then look at its large cities, and see an urban, bustling, busy city life. In order to decrease fuel emissions and help stop global warming, Spain hopes to put one million electric cars on the road by 2014. Spain the most unique country in the EU because of its large, multiple and diverse cultures.
Spain's location has had an impact on the development of this country. Spain is located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Spain is located to the East of Portugal, South of France, and North of Morocco and Algeria. Most of the right side of the country is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. The north is mostly in the Bay of Biscay. The absolute location of Spain is 40° 00° N, 4° 00° W ("Spain" The World Factbook). By having so much water at its doorstep it was easy for Spain to import and export goods to and from other countries.
Spain has 16 different regions as well as their own perceptual and functional regions (for example Servilla). The Southern regions are mostly formal regions due to its vibrancy and tourist coasts. The perceptual region of Southern Spain is that it is more up beat and popular for visitors and is more populated. Perceptual Regions in Northern Spain would be that they have much prettier landscape than the South and they have better food. A few functional regions would be like Madrid and Barcelona, the functional regions are more common in the middle of the country, because they have large factories and produce most of the main exports for the country ("Spain Coast: North vs. South"). Even though Spain seems to be split up between regions they are still a whole, united country.
Spain is a very unique place, and it place cannot be described in a few sentences. First, Spain is home to multiple famous monuments. Some of those include the La Grada Familia and Chartres Cathedral. These monuments bring in many tourists, and with tourists comes money. Spain uses the Euro as its national currency. Spain is filled with many types of terrain. Inside Spain, you could find desert, mountain, water, grassland, plain, and coast. These many types of terrain also bring many types of climate.
The climate of Madrid is dry, warm and pleasant. It's high altitude and proximity to mountains causes some wide variations in winter and summer temperatures. In summer the heat at midday can be intense, with pleasantly cool evenings. Winters, by contrast, bring temperatures dropping to just below freezing. Rain in Madrid is a rarity, with a short rainy season in late October and some showers in spring ("Spain’s Climate"). This is what the climate of Madrid is like and the rest of Spain is not much different except for the coastal regions like Bilbao.
Their climate is different because of their proximity to the ocean, as seen in the following information about Bilbao. The climate of Bilbao is oceanic, rather humid but without wide extremes of temperature. The temperature ranges from an average of 70°F (21°C) in the height of summer to around 46°F (8°C) in mid-winter. The average annual rainfall is rather high, but is spread throughout the year, with the most rain being experienced during spring and autumn. Light snow is possible in winter ("Spain’s Climate"). These differences in climate are all over the country, and they make Spain's Place unique.
The movement of goods, people, and ideas in Spain are all the immigrants and emigrants, trade and new inventions, and the items from Spain. Trade is a big hit in Spain, just like it is in any other country. Spain's main exports are machinery, motor vehicles, foods, and medicine. The countries that Spain buys the most goods from would be France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, UK, and the U.S. Spain's imports are mainly food, fuel, chemicals, equipment, and tools for medical reasons. The main buyers of Spain's imports would be Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, UK, and China ("Spain Imports" and "Spain Exports" IndexMundi). Despite Spain's good trading system, Spain has been having problems with drugs, illegal immigrants, and terrorists. Most of the immigrants are from Africa, Latin America, and a little bit from Eastern Europe. Spain suffers from terrorist attacks, and a large amount of people that are unemployed, and have not gone to college ("Social Problems"). The transportation in Spain has been doing very well despite America's economic issues. Railroads and Roadways have been doing very well and according to the graphs the Railroad and Roadway business have been going up every year. Airports have been doing okay, but in 2008 Spain airports went down a little in popularity ("Spain Transportation Profile 2008"). Spain and other Spanish speaking countries have had a big influence on the world. Spain's dancing and music have came slowly known by the whole world. Guitar has been used in all kinds of songs and in traditional music. The guitar originally originated from Spanish speaking countries. Spain also big has a influence on sports. Recently Spain's national soccer teams won the Euro 2008, which is a tournament all teams of Europe play. Spain is a very beautiful place and would be a great place to go on vacation if you are interested in sports, music, language, arts, or more.
Human interaction has had a positive affect on the environment of Spain in a number of ways. For example the amount of protected marine life in 2005 went up from 6.3% up to 7.7%. Also the area of protected wildlife has gone up from the years 1990-2005. The amount of land that has been protected has increased by more than 10,000 km. Some of the negative effects are that carbon emissions have gone up drastically which is obviously caused by human interaction and speeds up natural heating of the Earth. With the carbon emission going up the use of gas has also increased 6 kg over 14 years. Along with other countries Spain is trying to lower the amount of pollution by either switching to a new fuel or lower the amount of cars on the road("Spain's Environment"). Spain is working harder than any other country in Europe to clean up the environment.
The government in Spain is a constitutional monarchy. A constitutional monarchy is a government where either an elected or inherited monarch is the head of state. The head of state is the chief public representative of the government. There is also a President of the Government (also called the Prime Minister) and a Council of Ministers. Spain is split into 17 different autonomous communities. An autonomous community is like how the states are split up into different districts; each one is in charge of that area.
The current King of Spain is Juan Carlos I. Juan Carlos I has been king since November 22, 1975. Before Juan Carlos I there was Francisco Franco. Francisco Franco was the dictator of Spain. After his death the country became a democratic government. This started after Franco's death and completed with the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The current Prime Minister is José Luis Rodríguez-Zapatero. Zapatero became Prime Minister after the death of Francisco Franco. Spain is a peaceful country ("Spain"). They have not been in a war since World War II.
In Spain, you have to be 18 years old to get a drivers license. They drive on the right side of the road. To vote in Spain you have to be a citizen of the EU and registered to vote. You have to be 18 to register and vote ("Voting in Spanish Elections"). Since Spain became a democratic nation the laws on driving and voting are changing.
As most know, Catholicism is the main religion all throughout Spain. What many people don't know is that after the death of Franco, the dictator that controlled Spain, Catholicism was no longer the official religion. Surprisingly another main religion is Judaism, they came there because of immigration from the Americas. Since the death of Franco the number of baptisms have dramatically lowered in recent years. In the Medieval Times they created these huge cathedrals that were churches but took decades to finish ("Spain's Culture"). A ritual that Spaniards exercise often is when people are carrying a burden they will wear pointy black hats and they will also not wear shoes to signal this ("Religion in Spain"). Because of lack of information most believe that Spain's death rituals and funerals are similar to the rest of Catholic funerals. Spain's official Holidays would include: Easter, Christmas, The Day of Santiago which is on July 25 ("Spain's Culture"). The holidays and others not listed are celebrated just by attending a common Catholic mass.
Did you know that Spain's money is mostly made off of tourists, and that Spain mostly just trades with France, Germany, and Italy? The main exports of Spain would be different machinery parts for factories and fuels, chemicals, manufactured goods, foodstuffs, and medical instruments. With Germany and the European Union, Spain is the first to use the new standardgauge railroad system, which is the most widely used railway system in the world. Spain also has 664,000 km of roads! There are 42 airports and 14,000 km of railway ("Spain Business"). The natural resources that were recently found in the Cantabrigian Mountains include: iron, coal and zinc ("Spain" Wikipedia). The other resources of Spain are lead, uranium, silver, tin and petroleum. Spain's current currency is the Euro along with the E.U. One Euro is equal to 1.34 U.S. dollars. The currency they have just recently switched from was the peseta. The coins for pesetas go from 5 – 500(25, 50, and 100 are in between) while the Euro goes up by 10's. The exchange rate of a Euro to peseta is 1 Euro = 166.666 pesetas ("Economy"). Spain is mainly and always has been an agricultural type of country. They produce wheat, barley, vegetables, tomatoes, olives, sugar beets, citrus fruit, grapes, and cork ("Spain" Wikipedia). Through the years Spain's technology has changed, but they have maintained their agricultural culture.
Language and Communication
As you would know, every country has its own language, and their own ways to communicate with each other. The official language of Spain is Castilian, Castilian is spoken in the central parts of Spain and it is briefly spoken in South America, Mexico, and other countries. A few a other languages that are spoken in Spain are Euskara, Galego, Catalá, Valenciá, and many more ("Spanish Languages" and "Languages of Spain"). Spanish has now become the second language of America, more and more Spanish foods, T.V. Shows, music, etc are coming to America ("Languages of Spain"). Spain has a population of 45.2 million people and about 18 million people have a home telephone and there are about 2.5 million Internet hosts with 18.5 million people who use the Internet. Every country has their own number system and Spain uses the metric system. The metric system is system of measurements that uses decimals. The Spanish alphabet is like the American alphabet but the Spanish alphabet has a few more characters and the pronunciation of some of the letters are different ("Spanish"). To put everything together, Spain's language and communication is getting better each year, just like America's. One day Spain will be one of the best places in the world to go to.
Arts and Aesthetics
Every country has its own special arts. Spain likes to handcraft baskets, lace, carpet, clothes and many more unique items. Each location in Spain has its own specialty for certain arts. Like the Balearic Islands specialize in pearls and Toledo specializes in knifes, jewelry, swords and etc ("Crafts and Hobbies"). Some of Spain's greatest artists were El Greco, Diego Velázquez, and Francisco Goya, Pablo Picasso was also from Spain and he was probably the biggest influence in the visual arts in the 20th century ("Category:Artists from Spain"). Music in Spain is also very big there; the guitar is Spain's most prized instrument. The guitar was introduced to the world by Spain, in fact some of the greatest composers came from Spain like Issac Albéniz, Manuel de Falla, and many more. Most educated people in the world has read or seen a play, poem, or a book from Spain but they might have not known it.
Some of Spain's greatest writers won the Noble Prize award, novelist Camilo José Cela and play-writer José Echegaray and poet Vicente Aleixandre ("Category:Artists from Spain"). Every country has its own type of dancing or a dancing show. America has the famous show "Dancing with the Stars" and the UK has some form of "Dancing with the Stars" too. Dancing is also an art to the Spaniards. Arabic dancing and Flamenco dancing is very popular since it came from Spain. Arabic dancing is known as 'belly dancing' in America, and Flamenco dancing is recognized in America for its fast rhythm that the dancers dance too. The music that they dance to, is played by guitar. Most of the time the guitar is used in many types of Spanish music ("Dance and Songs"). To sum everything up, Spain has a very interesting background and views on the arts.
Food and Clothing
There is a variety of foods in Spain because of its diverse culture and position. The foods in Spain vary in part because it is so close to Europe and Africa. Before planes were invented, people could travel by land or water. Spain is separated from Africa by only the Strait of Gibraltar, so it was easy for people and cultures to travel through Spain to get from one continent to another. Through this cultural conversion, Spain has acquired many recipes from other parts of the globe.
Also, the food type Tapas originated from Spain. Tapas evolved over Spain's history through the incorporation of ingredients and influences from many different cultures and countries. The east coast was invaded by the Romans, who introduced the olive and irrigation methods. The invasion of the North African Moors in the 8th century also brought olives to the south, as well as almonds, citrus fruits and fragrant spices. The influence of their 700-year presence remains today, especially in Andalusia. The discovery of the New World brought the introduction of tomatoes, sweet and chili peppers, maize (corn), beans and potatoes. These were readily accepted and easily grown in Spain's micro-climates ("Tapas").
Spain's clothing is mostly modern, and a Spanish teen would not seem out of place in one of our schools. But, during the summer, Spain is not as relaxed as the U.S., and you will not see many people wearing shorts and sandals. Also, if you were to go there on a business trip, you should dress in a business suit and tie, even if they do not dress in kind. Shelter in Spain is different from shelter in America There are not nearly as many homeless people in Spain., but because of its demographic traits, Spain could face a housing market crash ("Spain" Wikipedia). These facts make up Spain's food, clothing, and housing.