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What are the geographic features of spain: Geography for Kids: Spain

Опубликовано: February 8, 2023 в 1:47 pm


Категории: Miscellaneous


Area 194,897 square mi (504,782 square km)
Population 46.40 million 2014
Capital Madrid
Highest Point 12,191 ft (3,718 m)
Lowest Point 0 m
GDP $1.381 trillion 2014
Primary Natural Resources minerals, coal, lignite, iron ore, uranium.

SPAIN IS A COUNTRY located in southwestern Europe, occupying with PORTUGAL the Iberian Peninsula. Spain also borders FRANCE and ANDORRA, and is bounded by the ATLANTIC OCEAN and by the MEDITERRANEAN SEA. As a parliamentary monarchy since 1978, the state is headed by the king, but most executive powers fall to an elected president of the government who designates the council of ministers and directs the country. The parliament includes two houses, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, whose members are elected by the people. Spain is the fourth-largest country in Europe after RUSSIA, UKRAINE, and FRANCE. MADRID is the capital and largest city.

Spain is a highly decentralized state. The country is divided in 50 provinces, which are a part of 17 larger autonomous communities, including the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the CANARY ISLANDS in the Atlantic. Ceuta and Melilla, two coastal exclaves within MOROCCO, have enjoyed special status as autonomous cities since 1994. The communities have their own regional parliament and government, granting them some independence from the central government in Madrid.

Spain also holds a few small uninhabited possessions off the coast of Africa, the Penon de Velez, the Alhucemas, and the Chafarinas Islands. The UNITED KINGDOM retains a 300-year rule over the colony of GIBRALTAR, a rocky promontory holding high strategic value as the gateway between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

Despite strong unifying traits, in Spain an eventful historical process blended with the natural conditions to produce a country made of many cultural layers and displaying striking geographical diversity. The territory of present-day Spain has been inhabited for more than 100,000 years, during the course of which the area was settled or visited by many groups, including the Phoenicians, Celts, Greeks, and Carthaginians. Around 200 B.C.E., the Romans extended their empire to the region, extracting minerals and leaving infrastructures such as roads, aqueducts, and amphitheaters. The name Espana comes from the designation of the area as Hispania while a province of Rome.

Moors, north African Muslims, invaded in 711 C.E. and quickly conquered most of the peninsula, with the exception of a narrow area along the mountainous north, the Asturias. Christians began pushing the Moors southward almost immediately, and the process of Reconquista (reconquest) would last for 800 years. The marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon to Queen Isabella of Castile started the unification of the Iberian kingdoms to form Spain, which was concluded in 1512 with the conquest of Navarra, to the northeast.

The year 1492 marked the beginning of a great age for Spain, with the seizure of Granada, the last Islamic kingdom on the peninsula, and Columbus’s maiden voyage to America under Spanish sponsorship. With the exploration and conquest of the New World, Spain built a mighty and profitable world empire in the 16th and 17th centuries and dominated Europe. In the 16th century, Seville was the largest Spanish city, serving as a base for expeditions to the colonies overseas.

However, the difficulty in controlling such a vast empire, economic hardships, and involvement in wars led to the decline of Spanish power in the 1700s, and especially in the 1800s, when most colonies declared their independence during Napoleon’s occupation of the peninsula. Despite the long period of influx of wealth from overseas possessions, until the mid-1900s most Spaniards were poor farmers and the country went largely undeveloped. During the late 1930s, a bloody civil war had a destructive effect and put Spain under General Francisco Franco’s dictatorship until 1975, when his death opened up a new opportunity for democracy. Franco’s heavily centralized power tried to suppress regionalism and all separatist tendencies were repressed.

Starting in the 1950s, rapid economic development changed Spain into an industrial nation. The country joined the EUROPEAN UNION in 1986 and adopted the European single currency in 2002, the euro.


Being a part of Europe but standing only 8 mi (13 km) north of Africa, the bulky mass of the Iberian Peninsula sits in a bioclimatic transition zone, functioning in many ways as a small continent. Therefore, Spain is a land of very diverse landscapes, having contrasting topography and significant climatic differences. The PYRENEES have isolated the peninsula from France and Central Europe for a long time, and the area concentrates a large share of the biodiversity found in the European continent. Biomes range from conifer forests to wetlands and desert areas, some protected under a network of 13 national parks.

The climate ranges from temperate Atlantic in the north to markedly Mediterranean in the south. Northern areas enjoy cool summers, mild winters, and abundant rainfall year-round, upward of 50 in (150 cm). The interior has hot, dry summers and cold winters, with snow blanketing the higher elevations. July temperatures are lower along southern and eastern coasts; winter is more moderate, with the area around Almeria receiving less than 10 in (25 cm) of rain a year.

Spain is a mountainous country, being second in Europe in average elevation (2,130 ft or 650 m). Central Spain can be described as a large, high platform, called Meseta, sloping gently to the west, surrounded by several mountain ranges that prevent ocean moisture to penetrate inland. Castile, the historical and geographical heart of Spain, spreads over most of this tableland. Much of the region is a semiarid expanse of open fields, punctuated by brown-colored towns overlooked by ancient castles sitting on top of hills.

The area suffers from a harsh climate and poor soils, used for growing cereals and as pastureland for farm animals, the dehesas. This eroded plateau is bisected by the Sierra de Gredos and Sierra the Guadarrama, which are part of the Central Range. The higher northern sub-meseta corresponds mostly to the mighty Duero river basin, while the southern extension is drained by the rivers Tagus and Guadiana and comprises the Extremadura. On this agricultural province, major irrigation projects have recently allowed for forestation and the introduction of more profitable crops.

To the north of the Meseta stands the Atlantic Spain, humid and green. The land rises rapidly from the indented Bay of Biscay to the limestone heights of the Cantabrian Range, which occupies most of Asturias. To the east stand the lower Basque mountains in the more industrialized Basque country. Galicia occupies the northwest corner along a rugged coast with fjordlike inlets called rias, used for seafood farming. The region remained isolated and undeveloped for a long time and was the origin of numerous immigrants to Spanish America. Grazing dairy cattle and growing corn are major agricultural activities, and fishing is important in coastal towns.

Rising to the northeast, the Pyrenees are special for their forests and magnificent views, descending to the vineyards of La Rioja and the Ebro river basin. This wide, terraced valley has maritime origin, being a former sea inlet now filled with sediments. Thanks to irrigation, it has been converted to intensive agriculture. Throughout the arid lower Aragon the settlements merge with the landscape, both displaying the same earth tones.

South of the Meseta and beyond the Sierra Morena spreads Andaluzia, a region of white villages where cultivation of olive trees is a major agricultural activity. The valley of the river Guadalquivir, filled with sediments from the tertiary and quaternary Eras, is one of the most fertile regions of Spain, with rice being cultivated on the eastern reaches. Vineyards dominate the landscape around Jerez, from which the famous sherry is produced. Mineral extraction has remote origin in the region and includes copper, iron, and lead. Towering over the Moorish palaces of Alhambra in Granada, the Sierra Nevada boasts the highest elevation of the peninsula (11,408 ft or 3,478 m) and Europe’s southernmost ski resort.

In Almeria, to the southeast, rows of greenhouses allow the semidesert region to be a major producer of fruits and vegetables. The Mediterranean region includes long and fertile coastal plains at times interrupted by hills that extend to the sea, forming rocky capes between sandy shores. Palm trees are abundant around Elche and rice is cultivated on some flat, wet areas. The population concentrates along the coast, and the economy relies heavily on the numerous tourist resorts of Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, up to the rugged Costa Brava in Catalonia.

The Balearic Islands stretch a few hundred kilometers off Cabo de la Nao (Cape de la Nao). Because of its favorable climate, the limestone archipelago is an important holiday destination, especially the three main islands of Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza. In Mallorca, pine trees extend to the rocky coast, and the island produces citrus, olives, figs, and almonds.

Off the northwest coast of Africa, the Canary Islands have volcanic origin and are mostly dry and barren, with the exception of La Palma and some north-facing coasts. The main islands are Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife, the last dominated by the giant volcanic cone of the Teide peak, the highest elevation in Spain. Because of warm temperatures and almost absent of rain, the islands are popular among central European vacationers as winter beach resorts.


Because of a late and rapid industrialization, Spain has experienced dramatic economic changes and development in recent times. Since the 1950s the country has gone from depending on agriculture and fishing to being an industrial nation, at the same time modernizing farming practices. About 65 percent of workers are now employed in the service sector.

The territory has limited energy sources and scarce raw materials for the industry. Nevertheless, there is still significant mining activity, especially in the north, where the importance of coal has declined, and the country has small production of oil and natural gas. The main manufactured products are cars, iron and steel, cement, clothing and shoes, and machinery. Spain’s major exports include motor vehicles, machinery, and foodstuffs. Bilbao is the principal center for production of iron and steel. Barcelona, the second largest city, is a major industrial area and main center of trade, thanks to its large harbor. Madrid leads in service industries.

Spain has an important fishing industry, supported by a large fleet. Vigo, in the northwest, is Europe’s largest fishing port.

Although arable land makes up about one-third of Spain’s surface, soils are mostly poor and rain is scarce. Permanent crops (olive trees, orchards, vineyards), which are adapted to Mediterranean conditions, occupy around 10 percent of the land and help overcome these limitations. Irrigated cropland has been increasing, supported by large projects that contemplate water diversion from northern rivers. Chief agricultural production includes wheat, corn, alfalfa, other vegetables, wine, fruits, olives and olive oil, pork, beef, and dairy products.

Tourism has boomed since the 1950s and become a mainstay of the economy; the country being one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. Every spring and summer huge numbers of tourists flock to large resort cities built along the Mediterranean coast, overwhelming the local population. Benidorm, in the Costa Blanca, increases its winter population by 20-fold to more than 1 million in the summer months.

The population of Spain has been increasing steadily, with most Spaniards living in urban centers. Main agglomerations developed around Madrid, Barcelona, and in the industrial belt of the Basque country, but Valencia, Seville, and Zaragoza are also large cities, well distributed around the territory. Major cities are connected through a modern network of expressways, and increasingly through a high-speed train system.

Roman Catholicism is the main religion and was instrumental in keeping Spaniards together. Castilian Spanish is the official language nationwide, but official regional languages include Catalan, Galician, and Basque. Spain has a significant immigrant population, especially in the south and east. Main communities include Latin Americans and Moroccans, some of whom challenge the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar in small boats and come to Spain seeking jobs as farmhands.

Spaniards enjoy spending much of their leisure time outdoors. To celebrate the country’s vitality 500 years after Columbus and the reconquest, in 1992 Spain organized the World Fair in Seville and the summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. Economic growth notwithstanding, a high unemployment rate has been a persistent problem in the last decade.

Spain And Portugal – Guest Hollow


Destination Spain | National Geographic

Spain is a country in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of Spanish territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. 

An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state.

The Canary Islands are off the coast of Africa.The Balearic Islands belong to Spain.Mallorca (Majorca), one of Spain’s islands in the Mediterranean

This map (in Spanish) shows Spain’s territory in Africa:

Melilla belongs to Spain, even though it’s in Africa. The government of Morocco has repeatedly called for Spain to transfer the sovereignty Melilla to Morocco. The Spanish position states that Melilla is an integral part of Spain, and has been since the 16th century.

RealLifeLore: The World’s Strangest Borders Part 2: Spain

Mainland Spain is a mountainous country, dominated by high plateaus and mountain chains.

Monte Perdido National Park, Spain

Spain has three main climates: a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers, a semi-arid climate in the southeast (and other areas), and an oceanic climate where temperatures are influenced by the ocean.

The coast north of the Cantabrian Mountains features a humid oceanic climate. The southeasternmost end of the Iberian peninsula features an arid climate. The location of the Cantabrian Mountain range where the climate is influenced by the ocean.

Spain has one of the highest degrees of biodiversity among European countries; this is because of its four varied, major biogeographic regions, Atlantic, Alpine, Mediterranean and Macaronesian. The country is considered to be one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

The Iberian wolf forms the largest wolf population in Western Europe. The common genet has a slender, cat-like body.The Pyrenean chamois (pronounced shamee) is related to goats and sheep.

In the early modern period, Spain ruled one of the largest empires in history which was also one of the first global empires, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy, making Spanish the world’s second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. Let’s watch a history video to see how Spain played a pivotal role in Europe and the world:

Suibhne: The Animated History of Spain

Spanish is the official language of the entire country, but there are four other official languages: Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Occitan.

Basque is spoken by an ethnic group that lives in an area known as the Basque Country, a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.

Location of the Basque Country

An interesting thing about the Basques is that their language is unrelated to any other language in the area and it has been spoken continuously locally, in and around its present territorial location, for longer than other modern European languages.

The view of Txindoki Mountain in the Basque countryside.

Rick Steves’ Europe: Basque Country: A Proud, Unique Culture

Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism, which played a pivotal role in the country’s formation and subsequent identity. Spanish art, architecture, cuisine, and music have been shaped by successive waves of foreign invaders, as well as by the country’s Mediterranean climate and geography. Here are some things Spain is famous for:

The Basílica de la Sagrada Família , also known as the Sagrada Família, is a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.The running of the bulls event held during summertime festivalsPablo Picasso is a famous Spanish painter. Flamenco is an art form based on music traditions of southern Spain.

Spanish cuisine is heavily influenced by historical processes that shaped local culture and society in some of Europe’s Iberian Peninsula territories. Geography and climate have had a great influence on cooking methods and available ingredients. Traditional meals vary depending on the region of Spain. For example, in Andalusia, olive oil is frequently used. In Aragon, lambs are raised on the slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains, so lamb dishes are popular. In the Canary Islands, fish and potatoes are staples.

Gazpacho is a cold soup made of vegetables. A buñuelo is a fried dough fritter, often flavored with anise. Botifarra is a type of sausage based on ancient Roman sausage recipes and is an important dish of the Catalan region.Beef tenderloin is a popular Spanish dish.


Portugal map

Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times.

nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture and is conscious of it.

The pre-Celtic people, Celts and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Suebi and Visigoths Germanic peoples. After the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, most of its territory was part of Al-Andalus (the name given by the Muslims to the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages). Portugal as a country was established during the early Christian Reconquista

VC3 Productions: History Of Portugal

Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus.

The Tagus River runs through Spain and then through Portugal.

The northern landscape is mountainous towards the interior with several plateaus indented by river valleys, whereas the south is characterized by rolling plains. The Azores islands are an autonomous region of Portugal and are located in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Azores belong to Portugal.

The Azores is an archipelago (chain of islands) composed of nine volcanic islands.

Ribeira Grande falls, Flores Island, Azores

Portugal has a Mediterranean climate for the most part and receives snow regularly in the winter in the north and center of the country. In the South of the country, snowfalls are rare but still occur in the highest elevations. Despite the fact that humans have occupied the territory of Portugal for thousands of years, something still remains of the original vegetation.

Peneda-Gerês National Park is the only nationally designated park in Portugal, owing to the rarity and significance of its environment.

Portugal is an important stopover for migratory birds, in places such as Cape St. Vincent or the Monchique mountains, where thousands of birds cross from Europe to Africa during the autumn or in the spring (return migration).

Serra de Monchique is one of the two mountain ranges of Algarve, the southernmost part of Portugal.

Serra de Monchique The European bee-eater winters in tropical Africa and then flies north to Portugal and Europe in the sprin

Some things Portugal is known for:

The Rooster of Barcelos is a common symbol and is from a folk tale about a rooster who saved an innocent man sentenced to death. It’s often sold as a souvenir.Portugal has areas that have their own traditional clothes, such as these women from Minho.Fátima, Portugal is famous for the three children who say the Virgin Mary divulged three secrets to them.Vasco de Gama was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by the ocean.

Portuguese cuisine is very diverse. The Portuguese consume a lot of dry cod and other fish recipes. The country has Europe’s highest fish consumption per capita. Cod is almost always used dried and salted because the Portuguese fishing tradition in the North Atlantic developed before the invention of refrigeration—therefore it needs to be soaked in water or sometimes milk before cooking. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine, which is used both for cooking and flavoring meals.

Many words like marmalade, caramel, molasses and sugar have Portuguese origins.

Bacalhau, Portuguese dried and salted cod Pork and clams is one of the most traditional and popular pork dishes of Portuguese cuisine. Portuguese bread soup Pão de ló is a popular and traditional Portuguese sponge cake.“Queijo São Jorge”, a cheese with a spicy taste from the Azores islands.

Rick Steves’ Europe: Portugal’s Heartland

Key Takeaways:

✎ Spain owns territories off the coast of Africa and touching the African country of Morrocco.
✎ Spain ruled one of the largest empires in history and Spanish is the world’s second-most spoken native language.
✎ Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism.
✎ Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula.

Next: Italy and Greece

Image and additional info credits:

Spain info
Portugal info
Spain map
By NormanEinstein – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Canary Islands
CC BY-SA 3.0,
Balearic islands
CC BY-SA 3.0,
Spanish enclave map
CC BY-SA 3.0,
By sladky, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Miguel González Novo from Melilla, España – palma de mallorca Vista desde Melilla la ViejaUploaded by ecemaml, CC BY-SA 2. 0,
Monte Perdido National Park
By Heparina1985 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
By LBM1948 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
By Luis Rogelio HM – Tabernas – 003, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Cantabrian Mountains
By Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC edited by: Tony Rotondas –, Public Domain,
Wildlife of Spain info
Iberian wolf
By Arturo de Frias Marques – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Pyrenean chamois
By Juan lacruz – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Guérin Nicolas (messages) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3. 0,
Basque location
By This image has been made by Zorion (User:Zorion) and released under the licenses stated above. You are free to use this image for any purpose without restriction as long as you credit me as author, follow the terms of license and cite Wikimedia Commons as site.If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, would you mind leaving me a message on this page in English. Thank you. – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Basque countryside
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Basque info
Sagrada Familia
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Woman in Hat and Fur Collar
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Running with the bulls
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Spanish cuisine info
By Javier Lastras from España/Spain – Gazpacho con su Guarnición, CC BY 2.0,
CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Baptiste Pons from Gandia / Burjassot, País Valencià, Spain – bunyol de carabassa, CC BY 2.0,
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Portugal map
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Nation state info
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Azores landscape
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Azores close-up
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Peneda-Geres National Park
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Bee eater
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Rooster of Barcelos
By Adriculas – Own work, Public Domain,
Fatima children
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Traditional dress
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Vasco de Gama’s voyage map
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Salted cod
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Portuguese bread soup
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Sponge cake
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Fried pork and clams
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Geographical features of Spain


Author J.G. To read 3 min Updated

Features of Spain briefly, its geographical location, natural resources, economy, population, culture are described in this article.


  1. Spain country features
  2. Spain geographical features
  3. Spain natural features
  4. Spain economic features
  5. Features of the population of Spain
  6. National features of Spain

Geographical features of Spain

Spain occupies most of the Iberian Peninsula, located in southwestern Europe. It borders Andorra and France to the north, Portugal to the west, and Gibraltar to the south. The state is washed in the north by the Bay of Biscay, the Mediterranean Sea in the east, the Atlantic Ocean in the west. He also owns such island groups: Alboran and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, the enclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Alusenas and Chafaranas, Velez de la Gomera. The total area with the islands is 504.8 thousand km 2 .

Natural features of Spain

  • Relief . The Meseta plateau with the Central Cordillera occupies the main part of Spain. In the east and north are the Pyrenees, Cantabrian, Iberian, Catalan mountains. On the south side are the Andalusian Mountains and the Sierra Morena. Much of the territory is occupied by pastures, plains, and the coast is famous for its beautiful bays and beaches.
  • Water resources . There are many rivers and lakes of rain origin on the territory of the country. These are Tajo, Guadiana, Guadalquivir.
  • Flora and fauna . The flora is very rich. Lots of endemic plants. It is noteworthy that extensive forests have been preserved only in the northern part of the country. It has to do with economic activity. Chestnuts, elms, ash trees, beech, oaks, oak and evergreen coniferous forests, and vast alpine meadows are common in the state. In the Mediterranean regions, there are many plantings of holm oak and laurel. The richest in flora are the flat parts of the Ebro River and the North Atlantic slopes of the country. Also there are thickets of myrtle, juniper, rockrose. The animal world is diverse: roe deer, deer, Pyrenean goat, wild boars, deer, brown bear, foxes, wolves, lynxes live here. There are many birds of prey in summer, and rare species of geese and flamingos arrive in autumn and spring.
  • Climate . The climate is subtropical Mediterranean, winters are rainy and mild, summers are dry and hot. It changes sharply from northwest to southeast. This is due to the proximity of Africa. The average winter temperature is +4 … +5 0 C, summer – +29 0 C. The precipitation level varies between 500 – 1000 mm per year.

Economic features of Spain

Spain is an industrial and agricultural country. It specializes in the extraction of coal, tungsten, uranium ore, potash salts, and iron. Developed industries: petrochemical, chemical, textile and winemaking. Agriculture is distinguished by the cultivation of sugar beets, cereals, sunflowers, and cotton in large quantities. The branches of olive processing and viticulture, animal husbandry and fishing are in the lead.

Features of the population of Spain

At the end of 2019, the population of Spain is 45,714,609 people. It is predominantly a one-ethnic country – about 80% of the country’s population are Spaniards. National minorities also live here: Portuguese, Gypsies, Jews, Americans, Moroccans, French, Brazilians, Argentines, Germans, Peruvians.

Indigenous Spaniards are represented by the main ethnic groups:

  • The Basques are an isolated group in northern Spain.
  • Galicians are descendants of the Celtic peoples in the northwest of the country.
  • Catalans are the original inhabitants of Catalonia in the northeast of Spain.
  • Castilians are the original settlers of the Iberian Peninsula from the northwest to the center of the peninsula.

National features of Spain

  • Spaniards do not like to stay at home. After a family dinner, they go out into the streets to chat with neighbors or relatives. This tradition is called paseo.
  • They are not very punctual. Even important business meetings rarely arrive on time. The work is done carefully, often at the last moment.
  • Characteristic features of Spanish culture are flamenco and sevillanas.
  • Spaniards’ favorite pastime is siesta – a two-hour sleep or rest after dinner.
  • The hallmark of the country is bullfighting.
  • For Spaniards, the bar is a temple of communication.

We hope that from this article you have learned what are the features of the development of Spain.

Spain: Country Features

Overview Visa Country Features History Geography Climate Culture Cities Cuisine Shops Phone Transport

Brief General Information

Spain is divided into 17 autonomous regions that unite 50 provinces: Madrid, Catalonia, Valencia Basque, Navarra, Rioja, Murcia, Aragon, Andalusia, Cantabria, Castilla-Leon, Castilla La Mancha, Asturias, Galicia, Extremadura, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands. The capital of the country is Madrid.

Spain is recognized as a single nation formed on the basis of various historical regions and ethnic groups, the main of which are Catalans (15.6%), Andalusians (15.6%), Castilians (11.1%), Valencians (9.7 %), Galicians (7.4%) and Basques (5.6%). Four languages ​​are spoken in Spain: Spanish, Basque, Catalan and Galician. The official and most widely spoken language in the country is Spanish. The total population of the country is 39.6 million people; population density – 78.5 people per 1 km 2 ; annual population growth – 0.2%; illiteracy rate — 4.6%; life expectancy is 78 years.

The population of Spain is largely formed by migration. During the reign of dictator Franco, a powerful flow of immigrants in search of work and a better life went to the countries of Latin America and Europe (France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, etc.). In the last 10–15 years, due to the changed political and economic situation, the flow of Spaniards returning to their homeland has far exceeded the number of those emigrating. In addition to repatriates, the population of Spain has been growing in the last 10-15 years due to immigrants from other countries, mainly from the Arab countries of North Africa.

Almost the entire population of Spain (99%) is Catholic. The Catholic Church, being at the same time a large landowner, industrialist and banker, enjoys great influence in the country.

Since the Phoenicians brought grapes and olives to the Iberian Peninsula, wine and olive oil have become the basis of Spanish cuisine. Later, the Arabs made a huge contribution to the formation of Spanish cuisine. They introduced citrus fruits (lemon, orange), many types of spices and herbs into it, and cider from wines. Spanish paella is famous all over the world – Valencian pilaf. Its main components are rice, butter, pieces of chicken and pork, crustaceans, artichokes, peppers, garlic, onions, saffron and aromatic herbs. Wash down paella with dry wines.

The Catholic religion has long had a great influence on the family and social life of Spaniards. Centuries-old religious traditions are so strong in the country that the majority observe church rites, fasts, and celebrate holidays. Of the religious holidays in Spain, Holy Week, which has been celebrated since the Middle Ages, is especially popular. Brightly decorated religious processions pass through all the cities and villages of the country. Separate scenes from the life of Christ are played out – the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, etc.

Numerous carnivals and fun fairs are also celebrated in Spain. The most noisy and fun of carnivals – fallas – is held in Valencia on the day of St. Joseph (San Jose), the patron saint of carpenters and cabinetmakers. On this day, large cardboard and rag dolls – fallas are carried around the streets, and at night, to the sound of music, with flashes of sparklers and firecrackers, they are burned.

A very special and unique phenomenon in Spain is the bullfight, the famous bullfight. This is a traditional spectacle, rooted in the depths of the history of the Mediterranean. She was known in Crete during the heyday of the Minoan culture (2000-1450 BC), as evidenced by the frescoes depicting dancers and bulls. Bullfighting in Spain is held almost everywhere, but its largest center is Seville. The main character of the bullfight is the matador killing the bull. The most famous matadors, such as Juan Antonio Ruiz, became the national heroes of Spain.

Natural attractions

Spain is considered the largest “hunting” country in Europe. The largest game reserve – Sakha (177 thousand hectares) occupies almost the entire eastern half of the province of Santander in the Cantabrian mountains (north of the country). In the beech and oak forests of this reserve, bear, wild boar, roe deer, wolf, chamois are hunted, and among birds – partridge and snipe.

One of the most beautiful and richest hunting reserves in Spain in terms of flora and fauna – Somiedo (88 thousand hectares) – is located in the mountains of the northern province of Oviedo. Its forests consist of a wide variety of broad-leaved species. Bear, wolf, fox, wild boar, roe deer, chamois, polecat, marten, hare are found here, among birds – wood grouse, partridge, snipe, wild pigeon, quail.

In Spain, the Sierra de Cazorla, crossed by the Guadalquivir River, is considered a real miracle of nature in terms of the richness of species and the beauty of landscapes. On its right bank, in the lower reaches, there is the Koto-Donyana nature reserve. The landscape of marisma is protected here – brackish-water coastal swamps of the southern type (reminiscent of the lower reaches of the Volga) with exceptionally rich flora and fauna. Colonies of waterfowl are especially numerous: ducks, geese, flamingos, white storks. A huge colony of herons lives here.

The semi-desert southeastern regions of Spain are considered one of the most convenient places to study the life of scorpions and tarantulas. Chameleons live in the south of the country.

This is the custom

Spaniards are a very peculiar people. The “Spanish temperament” manifests itself already in the fact that in Spain the usual manner of speaking is loud. So if you want to inquire about the route from a passer-by, shout, do not be shy, otherwise you may not be heard in the noise.

Spaniards are unusually friendly and benevolent. They will always explain the way to you, or even guide you. But it is better not to ask for directions in English, since many Spaniards do not know it even in school volume. Just name the object you are interested in and say “donde” (where?) and don’t forget to add “por favor” (please) and “gracias” (thank you). In a bar and shop, first ask “quando cuesta” (how much does it cost?), pointing to the item or dish that interests you.

If a Spaniard invites you to dinner, it does not mean that you will immediately go to a restaurant. “Dine” in Spanish means to first drink an aperitif, for example, in the Retiro Park, then walk, let’s say, along Gran Via, then just go to a restaurant for lunch and finally drink coffee, for example, in Columbus Square.

If you are invited to walk around Plaza Mayor, this means that you should visit the various bars and cellars that are located in the area and constitute one of the most attractive attractions in Madrid.

If you order a mug of beer at a bar, don’t be surprised that it will be served with a plate of olives and a slice of ham. You don’t have to pay for a snack, it’s just a sign of sympathy for you and gratitude for visiting this establishment. Remember that the bartender in Madrid perceives you first of all as a guest.

It is customary for the Spaniards to give up their seat in transport, but not as much as in Russia. Therefore, this step of yours means a manifestation of great courtesy, which will certainly be noted. On the other hand, holding the door in front of the trail is a rule among the Spaniards, which is akin to a reflex.

As far as phone calls are concerned, in Spain it is not customary to call after 23:00. It is better not to disturb people during the siesta, that is, from 13:00 to 16:00. At this time, offices, shops and even schools are closed.

In dealing with Spaniards, we advise you not to touch on some topics, for example, bullfighting. Not everyone in Spain is positive about it, avoid this topic in small talk.

Speaking of Madrid taxi drivers, it should be mentioned that when they see that you are not Spaniard, they can charge a fantastic price.