Spain and Portugal

Spain

Spain
Destination Spain | National Geographic

Spain is a country in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of Spanish territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. 

An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state.

The Canary Islands are off the coast of Africa.
The Canary Islands are off the coast of Africa.
The  Balearic Islands belong to Spain.
The Balearic Islands belong to Spain.
Mallorca (Majorca), one of Spain's islands in the Mediterranean
Mallorca (Majorca), one of Spain’s islands in the Mediterranean

This map (in Spanish) shows Spain’s territory in Africa:

Spain's enclaves in Africa
Melilla belongs to Spain, even though it's in Africa.
Melilla belongs to Spain, even though it’s in Africa. The government of Morocco has repeatedly called for Spain to transfer the sovereignty Melilla to Morocco. The Spanish position states that Melilla is an integral part of Spain, and has been since the 16th century.
RealLifeLore: The World’s Strangest Borders Part 2: Spain

Mainland Spain is a mountainous country, dominated by high plateaus and mountain chains.

Monte Perdido National Park, Spain
Monte Perdido National Park, Spain

Spain has three main climates: a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers, a semi-arid climate in the southeast (and other areas), and an oceanic climate where temperatures are influenced by the ocean.

The coast north of the Cantabrian Mountains features a humid oceanic climate.
The coast north of the Cantabrian Mountains features a humid oceanic climate.
The southeasternmost end of the Iberian peninsula features an arid climate.
The southeasternmost end of the Iberian peninsula features an arid climate.
The location of the Cantabrian Mountain range where the climate is influenced by the ocean.
The location of the Cantabrian Mountain range where the climate is influenced by the ocean.

Spain has one of the highest degrees of biodiversity among European countries; this is because of its four varied, major biogeographic regions, Atlantic, Alpine, Mediterranean and Macaronesian. The country is considered to be one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

The Iberian wolf forms the largest wolf population in Western Europe.
The common genet has a slender, cat-like body.
The common genet has a slender, cat-like body.
The Pyrenean chamois (pronounced shamee) is related to goats and sheep.

In the early modern period, Spain ruled one of the largest empires in history which was also one of the first global empires, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy, making Spanish the world’s second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. Let’s watch a history video to see how Spain played a pivotal role in Europe and the world:

Suibhne: The Animated History of Spain

Spanish is the official language of the entire country, but there are four other official languages: Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Occitan.

Basque is spoken by an ethnic group that lives in an area known as the Basque Country, a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.

Location of the Basque Country
Location of the Basque Country

An interesting thing about the Basques is that their language is unrelated to any other language in the area and it has been spoken continuously locally, in and around its present territorial location, for longer than other modern European languages.

The view of Txindoki Mountain in the Basque countryside.
The view of Txindoki Mountain in the Basque countryside.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Basque Country: A Proud, Unique Culture

Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism, which played a pivotal role in the country’s formation and subsequent identity. Spanish art, architecture, cuisine, and music have been shaped by successive waves of foreign invaders, as well as by the country’s Mediterranean climate and geography. Here are some things Spain is famous for:

Sagrada Familia was designed by architect Antoni Gaudi.
Sagrada Familia was designed by architect Antoni Gaudi.
The running of the bulls event
The running of the bulls event held during summertime festivals
Pablo Picasso is a famous Spanish painter.
Pablo Picasso is a famous Spanish painter.
Flamenco is an art form based on music traditions of southern Spain.
Flamenco is an art form based on music traditions of southern Spain.

Spanish cuisine is heavily influenced by historical processes that shaped local culture and society in some of Europe’s Iberian Peninsula territories. Geography and climate have had a great influence on cooking methods and available ingredients. Traditional meals vary depending on the region of Spain. For example, in Andalusia, olive oil is frequently used. In Aragon, lambs are raised on the slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains, so lamb dishes are popular. In the Canary Islands, fish and potatoes are staples.

Gazpacho is a cold soup made of vegetables.
Gazpacho is a cold soup made of vegetables.
A buñuelo is a fried dough fritter, often flavored with anise.
Botifarra
Botifarra is a type of sausage based on ancient Roman sausage recipes and is an important dish of the Catalan region.
Beef tenderloin is a popular Spanish dish.
Beef tenderloin is a popular Spanish dish.

Portugal

Portugal map

Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times.

nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture and is conscious of it.

The pre-Celtic people, Celts and Romans were followed by the invasions of the Suebi and Visigoths Germanic peoples. After the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, most of its territory was part of Al-Andalus (the name given by the Muslims to the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages). Portugal as a country was established during the early Christian Reconquista

VC3 Productions: History Of Portugal

Portugal is split by its main river, the Tagus.

The Tagus River runs through Spain and then through Portugal.
The Tagus River runs through Spain and then through Portugal.

The northern landscape is mountainous towards the interior with several plateaus indented by river valleys, whereas the south is characterized by rolling plains. The Azores islands are an autonomous region of Portugal and are located in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Azores belong to Portugal.
The Azores belong to Portugal.

The Azores is an archipelago (chain of islands) composed of nine volcanic islands.

Ribeira Grande falls, Flores Island, Azores
Ribeira Grande falls, Flores Island, Azores

Portugal has a Mediterranean climate for the most part and receives snow regularly in the winter in the north and center of the country. In the South of the country, snowfalls are rare but still occur in the highest elevations. Despite the fact that humans have occupied the territory of Portugal for thousands of years, something still remains of the original vegetation.

Peneda-Gerês National Park
Peneda-Gerês National Park is the only nationally designated park in Portugal, owing to the rarity and significance of its environment.

Portugal is an important stopover for migratory birds, in places such as Cape St. Vincent or the Monchique mountains, where thousands of birds cross from Europe to Africa during the autumn or in the spring (return migration).

Serra de Monchique is one of the two mountain ranges of Algarve, the southernmost part of Portugal.

Serra de Monchique
Serra de Monchique
European bee-eater
The European bee-eater winters in tropical Africa and then flies north to Portugal and Europe in the spring.

Some things Portugal is known for:

The Rooster of Barcelos
The Rooster of Barcelos is a common symbol and is from a folk tale about a rooster who saved an innocent man sentenced to death. It’s often sold as a souvenir.
Portugal has areas that have their own traditional clothes, such as these women from Minho.
Portugal has areas that have their own traditional clothes, such as these women from Minho.
Fátima, Portugal is famous for the three children who say the Virgin Mary divulged three secrets to them.
Fátima, Portugal is famous for the three children who say the Virgin Mary divulged three secrets to them.
Vasco de Gama was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by the ocean.
Vasco de Gama was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by the ocean.

Portuguese cuisine is very diverse. The Portuguese consume a lot of dry cod and other fish recipes. The country has Europe’s highest fish consumption per capita. Cod is almost always used dried and salted because the Portuguese fishing tradition in the North Atlantic developed before the invention of refrigeration—therefore it needs to be soaked in water or sometimes milk before cooking. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine, which is used both for cooking and flavoring meals.

Many words like marmalade, caramel, molasses and sugar have Portuguese origins.

Bacalhau, Portuguese dried and salted cod
Bacalhau, Portuguese dried and salted cod
Pork and clams is one of the most traditional and popular pork dishes of Portuguese cuisine.
Portuguese bread soup
Portuguese bread soup
Pão de ló is a popular and traditional Portuguese sponge cake.
"Queijo São Jorge", a spicy cheese from the Azores islands.
“Queijo São Jorge”, a cheese with a spicy taste from the Azores islands.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Portugal’s Heartland

Key Takeaways:

✎ Spain owns territories off the coast of Africa and touching the African country of Morrocco.
✎ Spain ruled one of the largest empires in history and Spanish is the world’s second-most spoken native language.
✎ Spanish culture is marked by strong historic ties to Catholicism.
✎ Portugal is the oldest nation state on the Iberian Peninsula.

Next: Italy and Greece

Image and additional info credits:

Spain info
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spain
Portugal info
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal
Spain map
By NormanEinstein – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5812789
Canary Islands
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14520597
Balearic islands
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14520580
Spanish enclave map
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1105978
Mallorca
By sladky, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40133122
Melilla
By Miguel González Novo from Melilla, España – palma de mallorca Vista desde Melilla la ViejaUploaded by ecemaml, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22942423
Monte Perdido National Park
By Heparina1985 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73842426
Noriega
By LBM1948 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77105858
Tabernas
By Luis Rogelio HM – Tabernas – 003, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74140500
Cantabrian Mountains
By Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC edited by: Tony Rotondas – http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=4989, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=259426
Wildlife of Spain info
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildlife_of_Spain
Iberian wolf
By Arturo de Frias Marques – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28963314
Pyrenean chamois
By Juan lacruz – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16652973
Genet
By Guérin Nicolas (messages) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46562851
Basque location
By This image has been made by Zorion (User:Zorion) and released under the licenses stated above. You are free to use this image for any purpose without restriction as long as you credit me as author, follow the terms of license and cite Wikimedia Commons as site.If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, would you mind leaving me a message on this page in English. Thank you. – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12399081
Basque countryside
By an13sa – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4957526
Basque info
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basques
Sagrada Familia
By C messier – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62257455
Woman in Hat and Fur Collar
By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36153508
Running with the bulls
By Atkins525 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48177978
Flamenco
Attribution, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=634710
Spanish cuisine info
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_cuisine
Gazpacho
By Javier Lastras from España/Spain – Gazpacho con su Guarnición, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12014838
sausage
CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90716
Bunyol
By Baptiste Pons from Gandia / Burjassot, País Valencià, Spain – bunyol de carabassa, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6248638
Solomillo
By https://www.flickr.com/photos/berndhknoeller/ – https://www.flickr.com/photos/berndhknoeller/3970350308/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41002523
Portugal map
By User:(WT-shared) NJR ZA – Map-Portugal01.svg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22864175
Nation state info
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_state
Azores
By Tyk, based on File:European Union (blue).svg by user:Hayden120 |Date=2010-3 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9750826
Azores landscape
By Vdugrain – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80118325
Azores close-up
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=649839
Peneda-Geres National Park
By Rosino – dreaming of snow, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3759144
Bee eater
By El Golli Mohamed – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48600986
Rooster of Barcelos
By Adriculas – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10847006
Fatima children
By Attributed to Joshua Benoliel – http://www.santuario-fatima.pt in Ilustração Portuguesa no. 610, 29 October 1917, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6785257
Traditional dress
By Rosino – FlickrUploaded by tm, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25328014
Vasco de Gama’s voyage map
By User:PhiLiP – self-made, base on Image:Gama_route_1.png, Image:BlankMap-World6.svg, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4805180
Salted cod
By Karl Ragnar Gjertsen KrgThis photo was taken by Karl Ragnar Gjertsen.Please credit this photo Karl Ragnar Gjertsen in the immediate vicinity of the image. – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3306226
Portuguese bread soup
By Ramessos – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37643402
Sponge cake
By Adriao – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7909529
Fried pork and clams
By Rui Ornelas, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7458458
cheese
By Adriao – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6632754
Tagus River – By OpenStreetMap contributors – DescriptionThis map was created from OpenStreetMap project data, collected by the community. This map may be incomplete, and may contain errors. Don’t rely solely on it for navigation.AuthorOpenStreetMap contributorsDate(see file history)Sourceopenstreetmap.orgPermission(Reusing this file)OpenStreetMap data is available under the Open Database License (details). Map tiles are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license (CC-BY-SA 2.0).Contains map data © OpenStreetMap contributors, made available under the terms of the Open Database License (ODbL).The ODbL does not require any particular license for maps produced from ODbL data; map tiles produced by the OpenStreetMap foundation are licensed under the CC-BY-SA-2.0 licence, but maps produced by other people may be subject to other licences.This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.You are free:to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the workto remix – to adapt the workUnder the following conditions:attribution – You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.share alike – If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same or compatible license as the original.GeoreferencingGeoreference the map in Wikimaps Warper If inappropriate please set warp_status=skip to hide., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82531917

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