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Basque Country
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Costa Blanca
Costa Brava
Costa del Sol
La Mancha & Madrid
Things to do in Spain
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About Spain

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The origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain and are possibly unknown due to the inadequate evidence.

Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia, Εοπεια in Greek) and Spain, being still further west, as Hesperia ultima.

It may also be a derivation of the Punic I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean; Roman coins struck in the region from the reign of Hadrian show a female figure with a coney at her feet, and Strabo called it the "land of the rabbits". There is also the claim that "Hispania" derives from the Basque word Ezpanna meaning "edge" or "border", another reference to the fact that the Iberian peninsula constitutes the southwest of the European continent.

The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenecian word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged". Spanish steel in certainly of very high quality. Also, there were extensive tin mines in Northern Spain which contributed to the forging of high quality bronze.

At 505,992 km² (195,365 sq mi), Spain is the world's 52nd-largest country. It is some 47,000 km² (18,000 sq mi) smaller than France and 81,000 km² (31,000 sq mi) larger than the U.S. state of California. Mt. Teide (Tenerife) has the highest mountain peak of Spain and the third largest volcano in the world from its base. Spain lies between latitudes 26² and 44² N, and longitudes 19² W and 5² E.

On the west, Spain borders Portugal; on the south, it borders Gibraltar (a British overseas territory) and Morocco, through its exclaves in North Africa (Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera). On the northeast, along the Pyrenees mountain range, it borders France and the tiny principality of Andorra. Along the Pyrenees in Girona, a small exclave town called Llívia is surrounded by France.

THe map is over simplified to show the main tourism regions and does not accurately reflect the political sectors.

leon@euroguides.ukFeel free to Email me any additions or corrections


Leon Edgar Books