Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power.
A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy, and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights.
Spain is the euro-zone's fourth-largest economy. The country has faced increased domestic turmoil in recent years due to the independence movement in its restive Catalonia region.
Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast
Spanish 84.8%, Moroccan 1.7%, Romanian 1.2%, other 12.3% (2021 est.)
Dinner is served later in Spain than in many other countries. It is common for the meal to be served around 9 p.m.
Paella — a one-pot dish consisting of saffron-flavored rice simmered in a broth of garlic, tomatoes, freshly cooked vegetables, and meat and/or seafood
High-income core EU economy; diversified trade portfolio; continental tourism locale; high government spending and debt; prone to political financing corruption; negatively impacted by COVID-19; important port and customs infrastructure; key clothing/footwear supplier