of Spain for Travelers by Richard Monk
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capital of Spain is Madrid, home to roughly 5.5 million residents. Other
major cities include Barcelona with 4.9 people, Malaga with 1.3 million,
Seville with 1.8 million and Valencia with just over 2 million residents.
The terrain of Spain varies from flat to mountainous. Temperatures range
from cool in the winter to baking hot in the summer, particularly in cities
such as Madrid, which do not have access to coastal breezes.
1975, Spain was a functional dictatorship ruled by General Francisco Franco.
Following his death in 1975, the Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon
was named King and Chief of State. He subsequently moved to liberalize
the country and assigned an independent head of state that is now an elected
Spain has been in a near
constant state of civil war for much of the last 100 years. Basque factions
seek independence from the rule of the King and federal government. This
has manifested itself in the form of bombings and such. Barcelona is considered
a Basque city, which makes for a major rivalry between the city and Madrid.
If you have an opportunity to attend a soccer game between the two, do
so! Violence is rare, but the insults are definitely unique.
The people of Spain are known
as Spaniards or Spanish. The total population is just over 44 million and
growing at one percent a year. Ethnic breakdowns are geographically oriented,
but include Basques, Catalans and Galicians. The religious tendency of
the country is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. The official language
of Spain is Spanish. That being said, Catalan-Valenciana, Galician, and
Basque languages form a prevalent minority. Education is compulsory through
age 16 and literacy rates are in the 98 percent range.
Spain is a unique country.
Whereas much of Europe seems to be in a rush to mesh cultures, Spain stands
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