Spain (Span. Espana), occupying the larger part of the south-western peninsula of Europe, lies in 43° 45' - 36° 1' N. lat., and 3° 20' E. - 9° 32' W. long., and is bounded by the Bay of Biscay, the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and Portugal. From Fuenterrabia in the N. to Cape Tarifa in the S. is 560, from Cape Finisterre in the NW. to Cape Creux in the NE. is 650 miles. Area, 191,367 sq. m.; pop. (1877) 16,634,345; (1887) 17,565,632; (1900, estimated) 18,618,086. The country, including the Balearic and Canary Isles, was divided in 1834 into forty-nine provinces, mostly named after the great towns; but the names of the fourteen more ancient kingdoms, states, and provinces are still in use (Old Castile, New Castile, La Mancha, Leon, Asturias, Galicia, Estremadura, Andalusia, Murcia, Valencia, Ara-gon, Catalonia, and the Basque Provinces). The Balearic Islands and the Canaries are reckoned to the mother country, not to the colonies. Of the remainder of the once great colonies of Spain, Cuba was relinquished, and the Philippines, Porto Rico, and Guam, the largest of the Lad-rones, were ceded to the United States after the war of 1898. The rest of the Ladrones, with the Caroline and Pelew Islands, were ceded to Germany in 1899. The colonies were thus reduced to the African holdings:
Area in sq. miles.
Rio de Oro, Adrar..............................
Rio Muni, Cape San Juan.................
Though Spain is almost a peninsula, the uniform character of the coast-line and the great elevation of its central plateau - the greater part of the surface being a tableland 2000-3000 feet above sea-level - give Spain a more continental character in its extreme range of temperature than any of the other peninsulas of Europe. Outside the plateau lie the highest summits of the whole country, the Pic de Nethou in the Pyrenees (11,151 feet), and the Pic de Velate in the Sierra Nevada (11,670), while the Picos de Europa in the Cantabrian Range attain over 8000 feet. The plateau itself is traversed by four mountain-ranges, which separate the valley of the Ebro from that of the Douro; and the whole of it has a general slight inclination from east or north-east to southwest. Hence all the considerable rivers except the Ebro flow westward to the Atlantic. The configuration of the country renders the climate very varied. In parts of the north-west the rainfall is among the heaviest in Europe. In the east and south-east occasionally no rain falls in the whole year. The rainfall in the Western Pyrenees is very great, yet on the northern slope of the valley of the Ebro there are districts almost rainless. The western side of the great plateau, speaking generally, is more humid and much colder than the eastern, where irrigation is necessary for successful cultivation. Galicia is almost a cattle country; Estremadura possesses vast flocks of sheep and herds of swine. The vegetable productions of Galicia and the Asturias are almost those of Devonshire and of south-west Ireland. Till the 18th century cider was the great beverage in the north; but in the basin of the Minho, in the Riojas on the Ebro, in Navarre, Aragon, and Catalonia strong red wines are grown in abundance. The productions of Catalonia and Tarragona are almost those of Provence and the Riviera. The plains of Leon and of Old and New Castile are excellent corn-growing regions. From Valencia southwards the products are semi-tropical; the climate is almost more tropical than that of the opposite coast of Africa. Fruits of all kinds, luscious or fiery wines, oil, rice, esparto grass, and sugar are common along the coast. No other part of the soil of Europe is so rich in varied produce. Large tracts of Spain once cultivated in Roman or in Moorish times now lie abandoned and unproductive; 46 per cent. of the whole is uncultivated.
For a moment in the 16th century Spain was the most important country in Europe; but the population was unequal to the drain upon it caused by constant warfare, emigration, and adverse economical and industrial conditions. Thus a pop. of over 10 millions at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries fell to little more than 6 millions in the 17th;. the numbers then slowly rose: (1768) 9,307,804; (1857) 15,464,340; (1897) 18,089,500. In 1905 there were two cities with over 400,000 inhabitants, Madrid and Barcelona; one of 225,000, Valencia; three of between 150,000 and 100,000, Seville, Malaga, and Murcia. The densest population is in Madrid, Barcelona, Pontevedra, and the Basque Provinces. Emigration (to South America, Algeria, and elsewhere) is steadily on the increase. Some 60 or 70 per cent. of the population are engaged in agriculture, and 10 or 11 per cent. in mining or manufacturing and trade. Since the sale of church, crown, and much of the municipal property during the 19th century the land has become much divided; it is estimated that there are about 3 1/2 millions of holdings, of which 3/4 million are occupied by tenants, the rest by proprietors. The seat of the manufacturing industries - mainly cotton - is chiefly Catalonia; and the manufacture of corks (30,000 tons yearly) employs over 8000 men in that province. The mineral wealth is more widely distributed - iron in Biscay and the province of Huelva; copper at Huelva, in the Rio Tinto and Tharsis mines; lead at Linares; quicksilver at Almaden; coal chiefly in the Asturias; salt in Catalonia, and by evaporation near Cadiz. The annual produce of iron ore is from 7,000,000 to 8,000,000 tons (seven-eighths of which is exported); of copper, 2,700,000; of coal, 2,600,000 tons. A considerable proportion of iron, lead, copper, zinc, and quicksilver is smelted or prepared in the country. The total value of metallurgical products in one year may be from £6,000,000 to £7,000,000. Until lately the only religion tolerated was that of the state, the Roman Catholic; now a certain toleration is allowed to other denominations. In the large towns and in some of the provinces a great effort is made to keep the higher and the technical schools on a level with the best in other European countries. In other parts the neglect of education is very great. There are nine universities in Spain - Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Salamanca, Seville, Santiago, Valencia, Valladolid, and Saragossa: the number of students is about 16,000. In the episcopal seminaries and religious schools about 9000 are educated. Many of the primary schools in the provinces are in a wretched condition, the salary of the teachers being only about £5 per annum. The great fault of the higher Spanish education is in the numbers who press into professional, literary, and political careers in comparison with those who dedicate themselves to commercial, industrial, or agricultural pursuits. By reason of this Spain loses great part of the advantages of her natural wealth. All her principal mines are worked, her railways built, schemes of irrigation carried out with foreign capital, and in spite of the excellence of her labourers the higher employees are often foreigners. The imports in 1877 amounted to £16,340,000, and the exports to £18,175,000; in 1903 they bad increased to £25,070,120 and £24,318,865 respectively (taking the peseta at its actual value = 7 1/2d.). The recent increase is chiefly due to the export of wine to France and to the imports from that country. The exports to France have a total value of something over £5,780,000, and the imports from France of about £4,434,750. The total exports from Spain to Great Britain are about £9,500,000, and the imports £5,500,000. There are 8520 miles of railway and 21,000 miles of telegraph.
The government of Spain is a hereditary monarchy. The Cortes consists of two bodies - the Senate (partly hereditary, nominated, and elected) and the Chamber of Deputies, elected by universal suffrage. The public debt of Spain is about £386,713,590, and the annual charge £15,859,470. The revenue and expenditure, nominally nearly balanced, rose from £31,000,000 in 1881 to £38,500,000 in 1905. The navy of Spain consists of 7 ships of different ratings, 6 torpedo destroyers and 7 torpedo gunboats, and 2 cruisers building. A large proportion of the navy was lost in the war with the United States in 1898. The army on a peace footing is 95,000, not including the Guardia civil, or gendarmes, the Carabineros, and other active or reserve forces.
Spain was originally occupied by Iberian tribes (akin to the present Basque inhabitants of the north), who were partially overlaid by invading Celts. The Carthaginians established themselves in the south of Spain in the 3d century B.C. The Romans appeared in force in the next century, but it was not till after a fierce and prolonged resistance from Iberians and Celtiberians that, under Augustus, the Roman conquest was complete. Soon Spain, thoroughly Romanised, was contributing largely to Latin literature and Roman culture. The Germanic invaders from the north, Suevi, Vandals, and Visigoths, crushed the Roman power in the 5th century a.d., and Spain became a province of the Visigothic kingdom (573 a.d.). The Moorish conquest was very rapid (714-732) and complete, except in the north and north-west. The several Christian kingdoms of Spain - Castile, Leon, Navarre, Aragon, etc, as well as Portugal - were formed by the gradual depression of the Moors; but Moorish Granada was not conquered till 1492, and Spain was not united under one rule till 1512. Spain became a European state with the union of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1469, and the New World was discovered for them; under their son, the Emperor Charles V., Spain was in the forefront of European history, and Flanders and the two Sicilies Spanish provinces. With Philip II., Charles's son, the decline of Spain set in, though now for sixty years Portugal was under the Spanish crown. The Bourbon dynasty brought complication in the wars of Louis XIV., and little advantage from the recovery of Naples and Sicily. The nadir of Spanish history is in the time of Napoleon, when Spain, in spite of some national efforts, was nominally a kingdom, but really a mere province of the French empire. In spite of the valiant patriotism shown in resisting the French, and the ultimate recovery of national independence (by English help) through the overthrow of Napoleon, the history of Spain in the 19th century was in the main inglorious, the disastrous war with the United States at its close leading to the loss of the greater colonies. The language, in various dialects, is a typical Romance tongue, save in the Basque provinces, where the non-Aryan Basque tongue survives.
See Ford's Handbook, Hare's Wanderings, and books by Mrs Harvey (1875), Rose (1875), Campion (1876), Went worth-Webster (1881), Gallenga(1883), H. E. Watts (1893), Ulick Burke (1900), and Martin Hume (1899-1902), with Butler Clarke's Spanish Literature (1893).