country in SW Europe, on the Iberian peninsula: 190,191 sq mi (492,593 sq km); pop. 38,872,000; cap. Madrid
Origin of SpainMiddle English Spaine, aphetic ; from Anglo-French Espaigne ; from Old French ; from Late Latin Spania, for Classical Latin Hispania (prob. influenced, influence by Classical Greek Spania)
A country of southwest Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Inhabited since the Stone Age, the region was successively colonized in ancient times by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthage, and Rome. Germanic peoples settled in Spain starting in AD 409 but were supplanted by the Moors (711–719), under whose rule the region was noted for its prosperity and cultural development. The Moors were gradually displaced by small Christian states and were ousted from their last stronghold, Granada, in 1492. Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile then became rulers of a united Spain, which became a world power through exploration and conquest. After the empire was lost in the 18th and 19th centuries, Spain experienced social and economic unrest culminating in a civil war (1936–1939) and the rise of Francisco Franco. After Franco's death in 1975, a constitutional monarchy was established under King Juan Carlos. Madrid is the capital and the largest city.