country in SW Europe, on the Iberian peninsula: 190,191 sq mi (492,593 sq km); pop. 38,872,000; cap. Madrid
ME Spaine, aphetic < Anglo-Fr Espaigne < OFr < LL Spania, for L Hispania (prob. infl. by Gr Spania)
See Spain in American Heritage Dictionary 4
A country of southwest Europe comprising most of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic and Canary Islands. Inhabited since the Stone Age, the region was colonized by Phoenicians and Greeks and later ruled by Carthage and Rome (after 201 B.C.). Barbarians first invaded Spain in A.D. 409 but were supplanted by Moors from North Africa (711-719), who organized a kingdom known for its learning and splendor. 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 that culminated in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the rise of Francisco Franco. After Franco's death in 1975 the monarchy was restored under King Juan Carlos, who oversaw the creation of a parliamentary democracy. Madrid is the capital and the largest city. Population: 40,400,000.