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Spain (Spanish: España, [esˈpaɲa] (listen)), or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España), is a country primarily located in southwestern Europe with parts of territory in the Atlantic Ocean and across the Mediterranean Sea. The largest part of Spain is situated on the Iberian Peninsula; its territory also includes the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla in Africa. The country's mainland is bordered to the south by Gibraltar; to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea; to the north by France, Andorra and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean. With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the second-largest country in the European Union (EU) and, with a population exceeding 47.4 million, the fourth-most populous EU member state. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Málaga, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Bilbao.

Anatomically modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 42,000 years ago. Pre-Roman peoples dwelled in the territory, in addition to the development of coastal trading colonies by Phoenicians and Ancient Greeks and the brief Carthaginian rule over the Mediterranean coastline. The Roman conquest and colonization of the peninsula (Hispania) ensued, bringing a Roman acculturation of the population. Hispania remained under Roman rule until the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fourth century, which ushered in the migration of Germanic peoples and the Alans into the peninsula. Eventually, the Visigoths emerged as the dominant power in the peninsula by the fifth century. In the early eighth century, most of the peninsula was conquered by the Umayyad Caliphate and during early Islamic rule, Al-Andalus became the dominant peninsular power, centered in Córdoba. Several Christian kingdoms emerged in Northern Iberia, chief among them León, Castile, Aragón, Portugal, and Navarre and over the next seven centuries, an intermittent southward expansion of these kingdoms, known as Reconquista, culminated with the Christian seizure of the Emirate of Granada in 1492. Jews and Muslims were forced to choose between conversion to Catholicism or expulsion and the Morisco converts were eventually expelled. The dynastic union of the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon was followed by the annexation of Navarre and the 1580 incorporation of Portugal (which ended in 1640). In the wake of the Spanish colonization of the Americas after 1492, the Crown came to hold a large overseas empire, which underpinned the emergence of a global trading system primarily fuelled by the precious metals extracted in the New World. Centralisation of the administration and further State-building in mainland Spain ensued in the 18th and 19th centuries, during which the Crown saw the loss of the bulk of its American colonies a few years after the Peninsular War. The country veered between different political regimes; monarchy and republic, and following a 1936–39 devastating civil war, the Francoist dictatorship that lasted until 1975. With the restoration of Democracy under the Constitution of Spain and the entry into the European Union in 1986, the country experienced profound social and political change as well as an important economic growth. (Full article...)

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Lope de Aguirre (c. 1510 – 27 October 1561) was a Spanish Basque conquistador in South America. Sent, along other rebellious settlers, to an impossible mission in search of the mythical Eldorado in the Amazon river, he eventually became their leader and rebelled against Philip II, being finally defeated and slain. Aguirre was born circa 1510 in Araotz Valley, in the Basque province of Guipúzcoa, part of the kingdom of Castile. (Today, Araotz belongs to the near municipality of Oñati, in northern Spain.) He was the son of a nobleman, with some culture, possibly from a family of court clerks. Aguirre was in his twenties and living in Seville when Hernándo Pizarro returned from Peru and brought back the treasures of the Incas, inspiring Aguirre to follow in his footsteps.

Aguirre probably enlisted himself in an expedition of 250 men chosen under Rodrigo Buran. He arrived in Peru in 1536 or 1537. In Cuzco, among other activities, Aguirre was responsible for the training of stallions. As a conquistador, however, he soon became infamous for his violence, cruelty and sedition. In 1544, Aguirre was at the side of Peru's first viceroy, Blasco Núñez Vela, who had arrived from Spain with orders to implement the New Laws, suppress the Encomiendas, and liberate the natives.

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In the news

18 November 2022 – International Basketball Federation
The United States loses its top rank at the FIBA Men's World Ranking for the first time since 2010 after being surpassed by Spain in the latest update. (AP via The Boston Globe)
15 November 2022 – 2022 ATP Tour
At 19 years old, Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest year-end world No. 1-ranked singles player by the Association of Tennis Professionals after his closest rival, fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal, failed to advance to the semifinals of the 2022 ATP Finals. Alcaraz breaks Australian player Lleyton Hewitt's record that he achieved in 2001. (The Courier-Mail)

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  1. ^ "Atlantic hurricane best track (HURDAT version 2)" (Database). United States National Hurricane Center. 23 November 2020.