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Spain (Spanish: España [esˈpaɲa] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country mostly located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the sixth largest in Europe and the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Málaga and Bilbao.

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The game of astronomical tables, from Libro de los juegos

The Libro de los Juegos, ("Book of games"), or Libro de axedrez, dados e tablas, ("Book of chess, dice and tables", in Old Spanish) was commissioned by Alfonso X of Castile, Galicia and León and completed in his scriptorium in Toledo in 1283, is an exemplary piece of Alfonso's medieval literary legacy.

The book consists of ninety-seven leaves of parchment, many with color illustrations, and contains 150 miniatures. The text is a treatise that addresses the playing of three games: a game of skill, or chess; a game of chance, or dice; and a third game, backgammon, which combines elements of both skill and chance. The book contains the earliest known description of these games. These games are discussed in the final section of the book at both an astronomical and astrological level. Examining further, the text can also be read as an allegorical initiation tale and as a metaphysical guide for leading a balanced, prudent, and virtuous life. In addition to the didactic, although not overly moralistic, aspect of the text, the manuscript's illustrations reveal a rich cultural, social, and religious complexity.

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A sketch of Miranda

Sebastián Francisco de Miranda y Rodríguez (March 28, 1750 – July 14, 1816), commonly known as Francisco de Miranda, was a Venezuelan revolutionary. Although his own plans for the independence of the Spanish American colonies failed, he is regarded as a forerunner of Simón Bolívar, who during the South American wars of independence successfully liberated a vast portion of South America. Miranda led a romantic and adventurous life. An idealist, he developed a visionary plan to liberate and unify all of Spanish America. His military initiatives failed in 1812, and he was handed over to his enemies, dying four years later in a Spanish prison dungeon. Within fourteen years of his death, most of Spanish America was independent.

Born and raised in Caracas, Miranda was the son of a wealthy merchant from the Canary Islands, a region of Spain. He traveled throughout Europe, becoming a social sensation and garnering support for the independence of Spanish America. He had made friends with many important leaders and political figures throughout Europe, such as British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, and Catherine the Great of Russia, with whom supposedly he had an affair (most historians do not give much credence to the affair story). In the American Revolutionary War, he commanded Spanish troops aiding American insurgents in Florida and Mississippi. In the United States, he met George Washington, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson. He had a home in London, where he married a British lady and had two children. During this time he met Colonel William S. Smith secretary to John Adams's American Legation.

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In the news

12 June 2019 – Trial of Catalonia independence leaders
The trial of the leaders involved in the Catalan declaration of independence ends and is remitted to decision. A verdict is not expected until after August. (Euronews)
7 June 2019 – 2018–19 European windstorm season
Three people on a rescue mission are killed when Storm Miguel, with max winds of 129 km/h (80 mph), overturned their National Society of Sea Rescue boat off the west coast of France in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm, unusual at the start of the summer tourist season, hit Spain, the Netherlands and southern England and Wales yesterday and is heading north toward England, Wales and Scotland. (BBC) (AccuWeather)

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