Spain is a sunny land famous for bullfighting and for more than 1400 beautiful castles and palaces. The country has a history tied closely to North Africa, which includes the Spanish provinces of Infni and the Spanish Sahara. The Spanish people like to call there country by the original name of Espana and they refer to Madrid as there capital. As well as serving as the capital of Spain, Madrid is also the countries biggest city.
Many people have conquered and lived in Spain. They also have contributed to its vast traditions and customs. More then 3,000 years ago the ancient Phoenicians set up colonies there. Then soon to follow where the Carthagians of Africa ruled Spain as a colony. Next to follow the Carthagians where the Romans, and they made it into one of the most powerful and valuable provinces of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Romans, the Germantic swept through Spain and took over rule. Then finally after about 200 years after the Germantic , the Moors of Africa entered Spain. For about 500 years before 1200, Spain was the center of the brilliant Moslem Civilization of the Moors. After 1200 the Spanish had enough of the Moors and they gradually expelled themselves from the Moors.
Spain presents a sharp contrast in the richness of its past and the poverty of the present. The castles and palaces built by the Moolish and the Spanish noblemen stand in the amid blooming gardens. But most of the people in Spain are to poor and have no source of income. The jobs that these people have are tending to the vineyards and keeping the small farms in well working condition. One of the main jobs that the women have is to carry crops to market in huge bundles which are balanced on there head. The colorful and festive bullfights are where most of these bundles are sold. The bullfights are a spectacle that the Spanish people love. It combines courage and enthusiasm to the city as a well as an elaborate celebration afterwards.
Education is a very important part in the Spanish Culture. The education is taken very seriously and is one fascist of the Spanish history that is a major priority by many higher officials. In Spain the Roman Catholic Church exerts a powerful influence over the Spanish education. The government is required that all schools offer courses of instruction in the Roman Catholic faith. The law also requires all Spanish children between the ages of 6 and 12 attend school. But this law cannot be enforced because of the widespread poverty, lack of school and teachers and also poor transpiration facilities. In spite of these handicaps, Spain has made progress in its battle against illiteracy. In the 1900, about 63 of every 100 people could not read or write. This figure was about 25 of every 100 by the mid- 1900s.Today about 60,000 students attend the 12 State Universities.
The people of Spain had many jobs but the one major job that they must do everyday was the Agriculture. The Agriculture of Spain varies with the climate. North Western Spain, for example has much rain and not much sunshine. Meadows and pastures suitable for cattle raising lie in this region. Goats graze on the higher slopes. The rest of the country has too much sunshine and not enough rain for growing crops without irrigation. The Moons first irrigated the Ebro Valley in the 800s and it has been productive ever since. The rich Guadaquivir Valley near Seville, and the plain of Vega, south of Granada, have excellent irrigation system. Streams furnish water for irrigation in the Valencia and the Murcia regions. These regions have few crop failures. A lot two thirds of the cultivated land is tilled by the owner, either by himself or with the aid of hired of employees. Many farms have tractors, threshing machines, combines, binders and in some areas moving machines. But many farmers didnt like this idea, so they returned to the traditional way of cutting there grain and that is by manual labor.
The main crop in Spain is the wheat. It grows on more then 10 million acres, mostly on the plains of Aegean, Old Castile, Estremandura and Andalusia. Rye and Oats are often grown in the mountain areas. Rice comes chiefly from the lowlands of Valenicaand the fertile Andalusian plain near Seville. Framers also grow much corn in the northern Spain where heavy rain falls. The main animal that most farmers like to use is the Donkey. It is the best animal in hot , dry regions. Another animal that most farmers use is the Goats are chiefly for milk producing animals, because they are less expensive to keep than cows.
The History of Spain goes back many years. Spains recorded history dates back to about 1100 b.c., when the Phoenicians began to establish colonies in the area. Many Phoenicians cities still survive. Cadiz, believed to be the oldest city in Europe , was founded in 1130 b.c. Starting in 480 b.c. , the Carthaginians conquered much of Spain. And had used Spain as a steppingstone to invade Italy.
The Spanish enjoyed only a short period of glory. The errors of the proud Philip II marked the beginning of the nations downfall. The people of the Netherlands revolted against Spain in 1568 and declared their independence in 1581. In 1581 Philip launched his great Spanish Armada of 130 warships in the attempt to conquer England. Spain lost its naval supremacy when wild storms and the English guns wiped out most of the Armada . Spanish power declined steadily during the 1600s due to Revolts, religious persecutions, bankruptcy and the civil war weekend the kingdom. The Portuguese drove the Spaniards out of Portugal in 1640. Spain lost the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714, and had to surrender Naples, Parma, Sardinia and Milian to Austria. The kingdom ofSavoy took Sicily, and England Seized Gibraltar and the island of Minorca in the Balearic Islands.
The houses that were built in Spain were nothing more then magnificent. There house were beautiful creations that were made out of brick or stone. Many houses rose straight from the street, or from a narrow sidewalk, and had iron grillwork over the windows. Courtyards with beautiful trees, fountains and an enormous amount of beautiful flowers that added to the beauty of the home. Gentle sloping tile roofs cover most of the houses in northern Spain. The flat roof tops on the southern homes are where people can spend the cooler hours after hot days.
The Spanish have a huge variety of food that they cook. Most Spaniards enjoy seafood, and serve it in a variety of ways. One favorite dish is paella , combines rice, saffron, lobster or shrimp, chicken and vegetables. Another type of food that is very popular is a spicy cold soup called gazpacho. This soup includes tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, and spices. Every region in Spain produces there own wine. The area around the city of Jerez de la Frontera is the producer of the original sherry wine. The favorite beverages among the Spanish include black coffee, and thick hot chocolate, usually served with fried strips of dough called churros.
The Spanish as well as taking there education very serious also take there religion with pride and dignity. About 95 out of every 100 people in Spain belong to the Roman Catholic church. It is the state church and receives financial aid from the government . Non Catholics may worship as they please in private dwellings, but the law permits only Roman Catholics to hold public ceremonies or demonstrations.
One of the most influential people of the Spain culture was Francisco Ferrer. He led a revolt in Barcelona in 1909. He was an anarchist leader who preached against monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church. The government put down the uprising and executed him, but the revolutionary movement had continued. Discontent with the monarchy remained strong because of Ferrer hard work to make people believe in him, he had even influenced the wealthy people as well.
Finally, I think that Spain is a beautiful country filled with many interesting things. It has a unique culture that everyone can learn about and should want to learn about. This culture has given me many new ideas about there life style