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An overview of Spain today

Key Facts

Spain in brief

For much of its recent history, Spain has been a country of conflicting identities; on one hand a national identity based on the concept of Spain as a single country; on the other hand a network of regional identities, with regions displaying distinct regional characteristics, and even using their own distinct languages.

In the time of General Franco, the single united country vision of Spain prevailed, and was enforced; in the modern era, Spain has taken the path of devolution, with the creation of "autonomous communities" with their own parliaments, institutions, cultural identities and even languages. Though "Spanish" [often referred to as "Castilian"] remains the main language spoken in modern Spain, it is not the only language. In Catalonia, the most prosperous region of Spain, the official language is Catalan; and in the Basque country, the Basque language exists alongside Spanish. But even in some provinces where Castilian Spanish is widely spoken, it exists alongside regional dialects or languages. This is the case in Valencia and Galicia.

Mainland Spain is divided into 17 regions each with directly elected authorities. The level of autonomy varies dramatically from region to region with Cataluña, El País Vasco and Galicia being the most independent. Significantly, they have their own language and bill of rights. Every region boasts its own customs and fiestas. Of course it goes without saying that each is extremely proud of its heritage and traditions

Some facts you may not know about Spain!

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