Around the World: Spain

 

  • Currency: 1 euro (EUR) = 1oo cents
  • System of government: Constitutional monarchy since 1978
  • Capital: Madrid
  • Languages: Spanish (official language), Catalan, Valencian, Galician, Basque (official regional languages)
  • Surface Area: 504,782 sq km (194,897 sq miles)
  • Population: 45.95 million

What are the origins of the name “Spain”?
The name derives from the Roman name for the peninsula, “Hispania” which in turn came from the Phoenician “Ishapan”.

View of Spain from space

Why does Spain have so many official languages?
Spain also includes three autonomous regions Catalonia, Galicia, and the Basque Country. Each of these autonomous regions has its own independent language, which is why four official languages exist alongside one another: Spanish (also known as Castilian), Catalan, Galician, and Basque. In addition to these four, dialects of Catalan are spoken in the autonomous regions of Valencia and the Balaeric Islands: Valencian which has now been recognized as a language in is own right) and Mallorqui (currently fighting for recognition).
What are the origins of the Basque language?
Basque, which is spoken in Spain and France, belong to no known family of languages and so far philologists have been unable to reconstruct its prehistory.

How many islands does Spain have?
There are about 20 islands. The main ones are the Baleric Islands in the Mediterranean comprising Malorca, Menorca, Ibiza, Formentera, and Cabrera, The Canary Islands in the Atlantic consisting of Gran Canaria, El Hierro, La Palma, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Fuertaventura, and La Gomera, the Isla Chafarinas off the Moroccan coast of Penon.

Canary Islands map

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