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Spain and Islands; Portugal; Gibraltar;

 

 
Spain and Islands; Portugal; Gibraltar;

 
Spain



Overview: Spain - or officially ' The kingdom of Spain' has an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi) and is the largest country in Southern Europe. The Spanish name for Spain is España.

Spain is divided in to 17 regions - 15 are on the mainland. It is a mountainous country, dominated by high plateaus and mountain chains.
The second largest city, after Madrid, is Barcelona, which is located in Catalonia.

In 2017 Spain was the second most visited country in the world, recording 82 million tourists which marked the fifth consecutive year of record-beating numbers.

History: Humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania. As the Pyrenees Mountains were a significant barrier in the north, and Spain is just 9 miles from Morocco in the south, the country shares much of its early history with Africa.

The Moors occupied Spain for 800 years; consequently, over 4,000 Arabic words and Arabic-derived phrases have been absorbed into the Spanish language. Words beginning with “al,” for example, are derived from Arabic.

Under Islamic law in Spain during the Middle Ages, Christians and Jews were considered dhimmi, which allowed them to practice their religion as “people of the book” but they had to pay a special tax.

Capital: Madrid - the name is from the Arabic magerit, which means “place of many streams

Language: Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Basque, Occitan, English

Food and drink: Spain has a variety of foods and unique dishes such as paella (a type of rice dish) and tapas (a range of small snacks or appetizers). The largest producer of olive oil, Spain accounts for 45% of the world’s total olive oil production.


The 15 mainland regions are as follows;-
 
ANDALUSIA
-Almeria, Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaen, Malaga, Seville (8)
 
ARAGON
- Huesca, Teruel, Zaragoza (3)
 
ASTURIAS
-Asturias (1)
 
BASQUE COUNTRY
-Alava, Guipúzcoa, Vizcaya, (3)
 
CANTABRIA
-Cantabria (1)
 
CASTILLA-LA-MANCHA
-Albecete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Toledo (5)
 
CASTILLA Y LEON
-Avila, Burgos, Leon, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid, Zamora (9)
 
CATALONIA
-Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, Tarragona (4)
 
EXTREMADURA
- Badajoz, Caceres (2)
 
GALICIA
- A Coruna, Lugo, Pontevedra, (3)
 
MADRID
- Madrid (1)
 
MURCIA
- Mucia (1)
 
NAVARRA
-Pamplona (1)
 
LA RIOJA
- La Rioja (1)
 
VALENCIAN COMMUNITY
- Alicante, Castellon, Valencia (3)

 


Spain also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean and a number of uninhabited islands on the Mediterranean side of the Strait of Gibraltar, known as plazas de soberanía ("places of sovereignty").
 
BALEARIC ISLANDS
- North  island - Gimnesias - Mallorca, Menorca, Cabrera (3)
- South West island - Pitiusas - Ibiza, Formentera (2)

The capital of Balearic Islands is Palma de Mallorca.
The most common languages spoken by the people in Balearic Islands are Spanish and Catalan.

 

 
CANARY ISLANDS
-Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro (7)

The highest point in Spain is the Teide, a 3,718-metre (12,198 ft) active volcano in the Canary Islands.

The capitals of the Canary islands are Santa Cruz and Las Palmas.

On the Canary Islands lives the dragon tree. It was once thought to be the source of dragon’s blood because its orange fruit contains a thick, red liquid. On the island of Tenerife, the oldest and tallest dragon tree reaches 70 feet high.
 


Portugal


 

Overview: The official name of Portugal is the Portuguese Republic  (República Portuguesa). Portugal is named after its 2nd largest city, Porto, the Latin name of which was Portus Cale. Porto's city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As of 2013, Portugal has 15 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Portugal has a tradition of fado, the idea that one’s fate or destiny cannot be escaped.

The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal. The region has as its administrative centre in the city of Faro, where one will also find the airport.

Language: Portuguese ( Southern, Central and Northern dialects).

History: The Portuguese Empire was the longest-lived of the modern European empires and was spread throughout areas that now make up 53 different sovereign states. Portugal became the first global maritime power during the 15th and 16th centuries. Portugal was one of the original member states of the eurozone in 1999, and replaced the Portuguese Escudo with the euro (€) currency at this time.

Capital: Lisbon. It is older than Rome, and among the oldest cities in Europe.

Food and drink: T
he city of Porto is world-renown for being the home of Port wine. Catholic monasteries of the Middle Ages were responsible for the wide range of famous Portuguese pastries which one finds today. These include the pastéis de Belém ( os pastéis de nata) from Lisbon and ovos moles from Aveiro. In Portugal one can eat a nun’s belly (barrigas de freira), an angel’s double chin (papos de anjo) and fat from heaven (toucinho do céu) in Portugal; they are all delicious pastries. The monks and nuns in Portugal’s many monasteries and convents used egg whites to starch their habits and preserve wine, and made cakes and pastries with the leftover egg yolks. Portugal and the Algarve produce fish, and other seafood  oranges, figs, plums, carob beans and almonds.

 


Gibraltar



 
Overview:  Gibraltar ( The Rock as it is known) is only 3 square miles in size but rises up over the sea to 1,396 feet.It is located at the entrance of the Mediterranean and is connected to the Spanish mainland by a sandy peninsula. A large proportion of the population of this 2.6 square mile peninsula live in flats, crammed on land at the base of the rock. There are thought to be about 230 Barbary macaques on the rock, the only wild population of the monkeys in Europe.

History: An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne. Strategically important, Gibraltar was reluctantly ceded to Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht; the British garrison was formally declared a colony in 1830. In a referendum held in 1967, Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain a British dependency. 

In March 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono flew to Gibraltar, where they were married in a 10-minute ceremony at the British consulate by registrar Cecil Wheeler.

Language: English

Food and drink: Food here is a mix based on a variety of backgrounds over the years - Spanish Andalusia, Malta, Genoa, Portugal and those of Great Britain. One of these is Calentita.This is a baked pancake-like dish, the Italian farinata, also known in Genoa as fainâ and in some Spanish-speaking countries as fainá, and in the Nice region of France as Socca. It is made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and pepper.