- Full name: Kingdom of Spain
- Capital: Madrid
- 51st largest country in the world (504,782 km²)
- Largest cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia
- Population: 44.5 Mio
- Growth rate: 0.98%
- Age expectancy: 80 years
- Languages: Spanish (Castellano), Catalan-Valencian-Balear, Galician
- Ethnic Mix: Mediterranean Nordic
Spain is one of my favorite countries in Europe. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always had a deep connection to this country.
Because of its location, the territory of Spain was subject to many external influences, often simultaneously, since prehistoric times and through the dawn of Spain as a country. Conversely, the country itself has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during theModern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 400 million Spanish speakers today—making it the world’s second most spoken language by native speakers.
Spain is known for its culturally diverse heritage, having been influenced by many nations and peoples throughout its history. Spanish culture has its origins in the Iberian, Celtiberian, Latin,Visigothic, Roman Catholic, and Islamic cultures.
The definition of a national Spanish culture has been characterized by tension between the centralized state, dominated in recent centuries by Castile, and numerous regions and minority peoples. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played strong roles in shaping its culture. After Italy, Spain has the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with a total of 40.
Soccer is the most popular sport in Spain. La Liga or Primera División (The Spanish League) is considered to be one of the world’s best competitions. Successful teams in recent European competitions include FC Barcelona (UEFA Champions League holders), Real Madrid, Sevilla, Villarreal and Valencia. Real Madrid and Barcelona have dominated with La Liga for much of its history, and created an intimate rivalry. Real Madrid has been dubbed by many pundits as the most successful club in Europe, having won the UEFA Champions League a record 9 times, almost all other UEFA club competitions at least once and the La Liga a record 31 times. This said, as of 2009, FC Barcelona is both champion of La Liga and the UEFA Champions League’s victor. Other teams such as Sevilla and Valencia have also gained prominence by winning the UEFA Cup in 2006-2007 and in 2004, respectively.
The Spanish national soccer team has been successful and have qualified for the FIFA World Cuptournament twelve times since 1930. However, they have failed to win the tournament; their best record is a fourth place position in 1950. Their record in the European Championship is much better. They were champions in 1964, runners-up in 1984 and champions once again in 2008.
I wish that they would win the World Cup this year, because they have played so well these last years and I’d say that they work together best as a team. S, apart from the German team I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Spain.
Thanks for sticking with me so far. I’ve now covered the most important teams for this year’s World Cup. But it’s not over yet. I still have some more posts waiting in the line, so be sure to come back ;-).