Spain Essay

1247 words - 5 pages

The country of Spain lies on the continent of Europe. It is located forty degrees north and four degrees west. The capital of Spain, Madrid, is located in the central region known as the Centro-Meseta. The country of Spain is made up of four regions: El norte, El este, El sur, and Centro-Meseta. Spain's large area of 195,988 square miles covers about five sixths of the Iberian Peninsula. It is one of the largest countries in Western Europe. At its widest point, Spain stretches 635 miles from east to west. It stretches about 550 miles north to south. Spain's longest coastline lies along the Mediterranean Sea and stretches for almost 1700 miles from the eastern end of the Pyrenees mountain chain to the strait of Gibraltar. The Pyrenees, one of Europe's largest mountain chains, is 270 miles long. They are practically impassable to humans because are formed from only steep gorges that lead higher summits.Spain is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean called the Gulf of Cadiz. The Huelva, Rota, and Cadiz ports lie on this coast and further up the Guadalquivir River is the ancient transportation center Seville. Some other major rivers in Spain are the Douro, Tagus, and Ebro rivers. Spain's currency is the peseta and is currently equal to one hundred centimos. The exchange rate has one U. S. Dollar for 134.61 pesetas.More that thirty-nine million people reside in the country of Spain. That is because it is made up of a large ethnic diversity. Its location between Europe and Africa has resulted in a great mixing of races and cultures. The only distinct minority group generally recognized as outside the racial-cultural mainstream of Spanish society is made up of Gypsies, many of whom still follow nomadic life-style along the roads and highways. Fairly large communities of settled Gypsies are found in the cities of Mucia, Granada, Barcelona, and Madrid.Spain is overwhelmingly urban, with seventy-six percent of its people living in towns and cities. This concentration of Spain's people heightens the impression of emptiness that so often is commented on by the travelers, specially those who cross the Meseta.Most of the Spanish portion of the Iberian Peninsula is very thinly populated. In the Centro-Meseta region only the areas around Madrid and Saragossa have dense settlement.There are many different kinds of languages spoken in Spain. Modern Spanish also referred to as Castilian, is spoken throughout Spain and is the official language. Castilian is often a second language, not a mother tongue. In el norte two regional languages are widely spoken. One, the language of Basque people, is called Euskara. It is on of Europe's oldest languages but is different from the Indo-European and Uralic languages spoken across the rest of Europe. The constitution of 1978 made Euskara an official local language and afforded increased political autonomy to the Basque provinces.In the region of Galicia a language known as Gallego is widely used, and also since 1978 it too has been...

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