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Spain (Spanish: España [esˈpaɲa] (About this soundlisten)), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of Spanish territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. 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 is the fourth-largest country by area on the European continent. With a population exceeding 46 million, Spain is the sixth-most populous country in Europe, and the fifth-most populous country in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Málaga, and Bilbao.

Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek, Celtic and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Sp(a)n or Spania. At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established relatively independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi, Alans and Vandals. Eventually, the Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including the Byzantine province of Spania, into the Visigothic Kingdom, which more or less unified politically, ecclesiastically and legally all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was then documented as Hispania.

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The Oran fatwa was a responsum fatwa, or an Islamic legal opinion, issued in 1504 to address the crisis that occurred when Muslims in the Crown of Castile (in Spain) were forced to convert to Christianity in 1500–1502. The fatwa sets out detailed relaxations of the sharia (Islamic law) requirements, allowing the Muslims to conform outwardly to Christianity and perform acts that are ordinarily forbidden in Islamic law, when necessary to survive. It includes relaxed instructions for fulfilling the ritual prayers, the ritual charity, and the ritual ablution, and recommendations when obliged to violate Islamic law, such as worshipping as Christians, committing blasphemy, and consuming pork and wine.

The fatwa enjoyed wide currency among Muslims and Moriscos (Muslims nominally converted to Christianity and their descendants) in Spain, and one of the surviving aljamiado translations was dated at 1564, 60 years after the original fatwa. The fatwa has been described as the "key theological document" to understand the practice of Spanish Muslims following the Reconquista up to the expulsion of the Moriscos. The author of the fatwa (mufti) was Ahmad ibn Abi Jum'ah, a North African scholar of Islamic law of the Maliki school. The fatwa was termed the "Oran fatwa" by modern scholars, due to the word "Al-Wahrani" ("of Oran") that appears in the text as part of the author's name. Read more...

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Bandera del bando nacional 1936-1938.svg

Francoist Spain (Spanish: España franquista), known in Spain as the Francoist dictatorship (Spanish: dictadura franquista), officially known as the Spanish State (Spanish: Estado Español), is the period of Spanish history between 1936 and 1975, when Francisco Franco ruled Spain as dictator with the title Caudillo.

The nature of the regime evolved and changed during its existence. Months after the start of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936, Franco emerged as the dominant rebel military leader and was proclaimed Head of State on 1 October 1936, ruling a dictatorship over the territory controlled by the Nationalist faction. The 1937 Unification Decree, which merged all parties supporting the rebel side, led to Nationalist Spain becoming a single-party regime under the FET y de las JONS. The end of the war in 1939 brought the extension of the Franco rule to the whole country and the exile of Republican institutions. The Francoist dictatorship originally took a form described as "fascistized dictatorship", or "semi-fascist regime", showing clear influence of fascism in fields such as labor relations, the autarkic economic policy, aesthetics, or the single-party system. As time went on, the regime opened up and became closer to developmental dictatorships, although it always preserved residual fascist trappings. Read more...

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The 2016 Volta a Catalunya was a road cycling stage race that took place in Catalonia, Spain, from 21 to 27 March. It was the fifth race of the 2016 UCI World Tour and the 96th edition of the Volta a Catalunya.

The race included seven stages. Two of these included summit finishes, so the favourites for the race were all climbers. Favourites for overall victory included Chris Froome (Team Sky), Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) and the defending champion Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team): the race was the first meeting of several of the riders expected to feature in the Grand Tours later in the season. Read more...

Selected biography

Julián Gayarre circa 1870

Sebastián Julián Gayarre Garjón (born January 9, 1844 in Roncal, Navarre — January 2, 1890 in Madrid), better known as Julián Gayarre, was a Spanish opera singer who created the role of Marcello in Donizetti's Il Duca d'Alba and Enzo in Ponchielli's La Gioconda. He was one of the leading tenors of his day, and regarded by many contemporary critics as the supreme tenor of his day.

Garjón was born and raised in the small Pyrenean town of Roncal. The third child of Mariano Gayarre and Maria Ramona Garjón, a couple of modest means, he left school at 13 to work as a shepherd. When he was 15, his father sent him to Pamplona to work in a small store. It was there that he had his first contact with music. It was a passion that would cost him his job when he was fired for leaving the store to follow a band that was parading in the street outside. He then worked as a blacksmith in the village of Lumbier and later in Pamplona at the Pinaqui foundry. One of his fellow workers, who heard him singing as he worked, encouraged him to join the Orfeón Pamplonés, the city's newly formed choir directed by Joaquin Maya. Maya took him on as first tenor and introduced him to the celebrated music teacher and composer, Hilarión Eslava. Eslava, struck by the beautiful timbre of the yet untrained voice, arranged a scholarship for Gayarre to study at the Madrid Conservatory.

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A view of Barcelona Free Port.
Credit: Lofor

The Barcelona Free Port or Zona franca de Barcelona is a tariff-free industrial park that has developed within the Port of Barcelona, across the flat land of the Llobregat delta between the city of Barcelona and Barcelona International Airport to the south.

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The following are images from various Spain-related articles on Wikipedia.

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In the news

3 April 2020 – 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic
2020 coronavirus pandemic in Spain
Spain's Ministry of Health reports 7,500 new cases and 932 more deaths from COVID-19, bringing the country's death toll to 10,935 and 117,710 confirmed cases. (The Independent)
2 April 2020 – 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic
2020 coronavirus pandemic in Spain
Spain records its deadliest day with 950 deaths, exceeding 10,000, as employment falls by 834,000 jobs in 15 days. (El Periódico) (La Vanguardia)

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