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Location of Spain

Spain (Spanish: España), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España), is a country in southern Europe. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. The country consists of Peninsular Spain which is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, two archipelagos, one in each sea, and two autonomous cities in North Africa. The mainland area of Spain is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the southern and eastern areas, the Cantabric Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Spain is organised as a parliamentary democracy and is a constitutional monarchy. Spain has been a member of the European Union since 1986 and is a developed country, with the ninth largest economy in the world and fifth largest in the EU. With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France).

Spain flourished under the Roman empire Hispania, thus becoming one of the Empire's most important regions at the time. During the times of the Middle Ages, Spain was under Germanic rule, only later to come under the rule of the Islamic caliphate. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the completion of the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula in 1492. It has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world's second most spoken first language.

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Bullfighting or tauromachy (Spanish: toreo, corrida de toros or tauromaquia; Portuguese tourada, corrida de touros or tauromaquia) is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, some cities in southern France, and several Latin American countries. Its origin is unknown, though it has been suggested that it was originally brought to Spain by the Visigoths. A link to the old culture of Crete has also been proposed.

The tradition, as it is practiced today, involves professional performers (in Spanish toreros or matadores, in Portuguese toureiros) who execute various formal moves with the goal of appearing graceful and confident, while masterful over the bull itself. Such maneuvers are performed at close range, and conclude with the death the bull by a well-placed sword thrust as the finale. In Portugal the finale consists of a tradition called the pega, where men (Forcados) are dressed in a traditional costume of damask or velvet, with long knit hats as worn by the famous Ribatejo campinos (bull headers). Bullfighting generates heated controversy in many areas of the world, including Spain, where the "classic" bullfighting was born. Supporters of bullfighting argue that it is a culturally important tradition, while animal rights groups argue that it is a blood sport because of the suffering of the bull and horses during the bullfight.

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The Puente Nuevo
Credit: Sucrine

The Puente Nuevo, whose name means "new bridge" in Spanish, is the newer and larger of two bridges that span the 120m-deep chasm that divides the city of Ronda in southern Spain

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  • February 1: Football: Manchester United announces extending Juan Mata's contract
  • January 30: Football: Barça centre-back Piqué extends contract until 2022
  • December 12: UEFA Champions League 2017–2018: Draw for Last 16 held at Nyon
  • November 4: Tennis: Nadal withdraws from Paris Masters, suffers from knee injury

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Queen Sofia

Queen Sofía of Spain (Spanish: Su Majestad la Reina Sofía de España, Greek: Βασίλισσα Σοφία της Ισπανίας;) born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark on November 2, 1938; full name Sophía Margaríta Viktoría Frederíki), is the Queen Consort of King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark was born in Athens, Greece on November 2, 1938, the eldest child of the King Paul I of the Hellenes (1901-1964) and his wife, Queen Frederika (1917-1981), a former princess of Hanover. Queen Sofia is a member of the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg dynasty. Her brother is Constantine II of Greece and her sister Princess Irene of Greece and Demark. However, since the restoration of democracy, the royal titles are not recognized in Greece, where the former royal family is held in low regard by most Greeks.

Princess Sophia spent her childhood in Egypt and South Africa during her family's exile from Greece during World War II. They returned to Greece in 1946. She finished her education at the prestigious Schloss Salem boarding school in Southern Germany, and then studied pediatrics, music, and archeology in Athens. On May 14, 1962 Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark married Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, the future king, whom she met on a cruise of the Greek Islands in 1954. In doing so, she relinquished her rights to the throne of Greece and converted to Roman Catholicism from Greek Orthodoxy. Further, the Latin transliteration of her Greek name Σοφία was changed from Sophia to the Spanish variant Sofía, which nonetheless is pronounced

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