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Spain (officially the Kingdom of Spain) is a country in southwest Europe. Here a re some interesting facts about Spain.

Interesting Facts About Spain: * The official name of Spain is the Kingdom of Spain. * Spain has the ninth largest economy in the world. * 40% of Spanish people aged between 17 and 24 smoke. * The official language of Spain is Castilian Spanish (74%), though Catalan (17%) Galician (7%), and Basque (2%) are also spoken * Spain is the 28th largest country (by population) with over 46 million people. *Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe after France and the se cond most mountainous after Switzerland. * Spain joined the European Union in 1986. Spain is also a member of the Uni ted Nations, NATO and the World Trade Organization. * Team sports are not played at schools in Spain. * Spain remained neutral (didn t fight) in both world wars. * 76% of the population identify themselves as Roman Catholics. However, only about 20% of the population regularly go to church. * Spain is aiming to have over 1 million electric cars on the road by 2014. * There are just over 60,000 Jewish people living in Spain. * In Spain, lunch is eaten at about 2pm and dinner is eaten at about 9pm. * People in Inner Spain (Castile and Madrid) enjoy eating hot, thick soup and bread. Coastal Spanish cities use a lot of seafood in their cooking and have c old soup. * Spain has the lowest population density in Western Europe (excluding Scandinav ia). * Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Spain. Other popular sports are Formula 1 racing, cycling, handball, tennis, basketball and motorcycling. The 1 992 Summer Olympics were held in the Spanish city of Barcelona. * The most enduring contribution of Spain to the world is its language, which wa s imported to the Americas with the expansion of the Spanish Empire in the 16th century. Now, more than 400 million people speak Spanish in 22 countries, includ ing 35 million who speak it in the United State *In 2006, 58 million tourists visited Spain and its islands. Foreign tourists sp ent $51 billion in 2006. Spain is second most visited country in the world after France. *Spanish explorer Vasco Nez de Balboa (1475-1519) was the first European to see th e Pacific Ocean *In 1603, Spanish sailor Gabriel de Castilla (1577-1620) became the first the ma n ever to see Antarctica. * Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (1499-1543) discovered California. * Toms de Torquemada (1420-1498) was the first Grand Inquisitor in the Spanish In quisition. His name has been associated with the Inquisition s horror, fanaticism, and bigotry. Ironically, he was a descendent of a converso, or someone who had converted to Christianly from Judaism or Islam. In 1832, his tomb was raided and his bones were stolen and burned. *Spanish sailor and engineer Isaac Peral (1851-1895) designed the first fully op erative military submarine. * Spain is home to a type of tailless monkey, the macaque, which is the only typ e of wild monkey that lives in Europe *The largest producer of olive oil, Spain accounts for 45% of the world s total ol ive oil production. *Spain is divided into 17 regions. Fifteen of the regions are on the mainland of Spain. The other two regions are island groups. The Balearic Islands lie off Sp ain s eastern coast. The Canary Islands are off the western coast of Morocco. * The total area of Spain is 505,370 sq. km, which makes it the 52nd largest cou ntry in the world. It is slightly more than twice the size of Oregon. It is Euro pe s third-largest nation

* When a child loses a tooth in Spain, a small mouse called Ratoncito Prez leaves a surprise under the pillow. *Penelope Cruz was the first Spanish actor to win an Oscar for best supporting a ctress for her role in the 2008 romance comedy-drama Vicky Cristina Barcelona. *Spain legalized same sex marriage in 2005 * There are no laws against public nudity in Spain. * Spain has the lowest age of consent for sexual activity in Europe at 13 years old. Both Malta and Turkey have the highest at 18. * Tipping is not common in Spain, especially for cheap dinners * The name Madrid is from the Arabic magerit, which means place of many streams. * One of the country s best known works of fiction is the novel Don Quixote, writt en by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616). The novel has inspired a wide range of li terary movements, from the 18th century picturesque to 21st century postmodernis m. * The most popular type of music in Spain is the Flamenco. Flamenco is thought t o have been developed by the Moors who brought it to Spain from North Africa in the early A.D. 700s. It has been influenced by Andalusian, Islamic, Sephardic, a nd Gypsy cultures. * Bullfighting has been a popular sport in Spain for thousands of years. Called corridas, bullfights are considered either a contest of art and skill or a cruel sport * Spain has many festivals, and one of the most famous is the Running of Bulls. It occurs on St. Fermin s Day in July in the northern town of Pamplona. Over 1 mil lion people attend the festival. Ernest Hemingway s novel The Sun Also Rises intro duced the festival on a wider scale in the United States. * La Tomatina, or The World s Biggest Food Fight, is held ever year on the last Wedn esday of August in the town of Buol, outside of Valencia. Over 150,000 tomatoes a re thrown. *Spain has some of the largest gold deposits in Europe. It is also one of the wo rld biggest producers of granite and marble. *Spain has a huge contrast in rainfall between the wet regions of the northwest and the arid areas elsewhere. Consequently, Spain is divided into wet and dry Spain. La Corua, for example, receives more than 39 inches of rain per year. In contras t, cities such as Zaragoza and Valladolid receive less than 12 inches of rain pe r year * There are fewer marriages in Spain than in any other EU country except Sweden. Additionally, the age at which people first marry has increased (which is typic al of the rest of Europe). * pain has a very low divorce rate, and few children are born outside of marriag e. Just 5% of children are born to couples that are not married in Spain. In con trast, the number is 50% in Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. *For nearly 500 years Roman Catholicism was the official religion of Spain. It c eased to be the official religion of Spain in 1977. Around 85% of Spanish consid er themselves Catholic and 40% go to church regularly. There are around 350,000 Protestants, 400,000 Muslims, and 15,000 Jews. *Traditionally, Spanish women keep their maiden name after marriage. For example , if Eva Pea marries Emilio Martinez, she becomes Seora Eva Pea de Martinez. The de ( day ) means, literally, that Eva is of her husband. Their children s last names would be Martinez Pea. In the next generation, the mother s maiden name would be dropped . *The most enduring contribution of Spain to the world is its language, which was imported to the Americas with the expansion of the Spanish Empire in the 16th c entury. Now, more than 400 million people speak Spanish in 22 countries, includi ng 35 million who speak it in the United States. *Famous Spaniards include Seneca, Hadrian, Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, Salv ador Dal, El Greco, Pablo Picasso, Francisco de Goya, Jose Carreras, and Plcido Do mingo. *Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world.

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c Kohen, Elizabeth. 2003. Cultures of the World: Spain. New York, NY: Benchmark Books. d Moran, Lee. A National Sex Strike! ust 24, 2012. UK Mail Online. March 27, 2012. Accessed: Aug

e Parker, Edward. 2003. The Changing Face of Spain. New York, NY: Raintree Steck -Vaughn Publishers. f Rogers, Lura. 2001. Spain (Enchantment of the World). New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. g Spain. . The World Factbook. CIA. September 10, 2012. Accessed: September 16, 2012 The New

h Tagliabue, John. Too Much of Sweeping View Nudges Barcelona to Shed Law. York Times. April 12, 2011. Accessed: August 24, 2012.