About Spain

Interesting fact about Spain

Did you know?

Although almost 90% of the castles in Spain have been destroyed over the years, still over 1,000 remain.  When they were no longer needed for purposes of defense, no one wanted to live in them.  As a result, they were torn down by the townspeople. This was not a political action or a social protest, just a practical solution to a need. When young couples would get married, often they would go up to the castle and get the rocks necessary for building a new house. The rocks in the castle were already shaped whereas the stones in the fields needed to be smoothed out. They could not imagine that there would someday be people like me that would drive miles just to see one.

Valladolid, the city in northwestern Spain where we live, is an historically important city.  For many years it was the capital of Spain and many famous Spaniards lived here.  Ferdinand and Isabella lived and were married here, Columbus lived here at one time and died here, and there also was Cervantes, and Magellan who was the Portuguese sailor to be the first to circumnavigate the globe.

As hard as it is to believe, the Spanish Inquisition ran for 327 years. Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory IX established the dreaded institution in the thirteenth century to combat heretical groups. (The nascent Protestant movement) It was not abolished until 1808, during the brief reign of Joseph Bonaparte. In those three centuries, close to 32,000 people perished in the flames. About 300,000 others were forced to make some kind of reconciliation with the church. Even the 1808 “end” to the Spanish Inquisition wasn’t really the end. Incredible as it may seem, King Ferdinand VII reestablished the dreadful apparatus in 1814!

Some researchers now believe that the Celts that populated Scotland and Ireland may have come from Northwestern Spain (where they still play the bagpipes). As my grandparents were both from Scotland, it could mean that if I could dig back far enough, possibly my ancestors may have come from Spain!

Marisa is Basque. They have never found the origin of the Basque people or language. The language is not related to Spanish or any other known language. This bothers people that care about that kind of stuff. I think it is kind of neat.

A good book on the Basques is A Basque History of the World By Mark Kurlansky, Printed by Walker and Company.

40 millon tourists will visit Spain this year, a number almost equal to the total population of this country.

For centuries the Bible was on the list of prohibited books in Spain and Bibles were still being smuggled in and confiscated in the 1960s.

The Spanish Inquisition was intensified as a counter move to the Protestant reformation that was growing among the more educated Spaniards. It was fairly popular among the poorer part of the Spanish population as it was almost exclusively the rich (who could read and who could afford a Bible) who were getting saved and persecuted.

For centuries, Gibraltar was a bridge for Protestant missionaries to enter Spain and also a refuge for Spanish Protestants.

On December 7, 1965 at the II Vatican Council, Protestants in Spain were redefined from “heretics” to “separated brethren.”

On June 26, 1967 the Religious Liberty Law was passed in Spain.

The Roman Catholic Church now considers Spain a mission field.

Of the countries in the European Union, Spain is the second largest in area after France.

Three Roman Emperors were born in what is now Spain.

Pontius Pilate was born in Tarragona, just south of Barcelona.

The Moors captured most of Spain in just two years, (711—713) but during their 700 year reign here, they never conquered the whole peninsula.

Spaniards legally used to use four last names — those of all four grandparents. This was instituted to prove there was no Jewish or Moorish blood on either side of their families.

The suffix “ez” in Spanish last names means “son of…” for example Martínez is son of Martín. Fernández is son of Fernando, etc.

The unemployment rate in Spain is around 26%. However, for people under 30 years old, it is a staggering 51%.

Spain has over 500 miles of beaches.

There is no tooth fairy in Spain but rather a tooth mouse called Ratoncito Perez.

Spain has the lowest population density in western Europe (excluding Scandinavia)

Spaniards are famous for their contributes to art, with famous Spanish artists including Dali, Picasso, Gaudi, el Greco, and Goya

Spain did not take part in the first or second world war.

40% of Spanish people between 17-24 smoke.

There are around 400 million native Spanish speakers in the world. Spanish is spoken in 44 countries

Tomatoes, potatoes, avocados, tobacco, and cacao, were all brought to Europe (then spread around the world) by the Spaniards from their American colonies

Same sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005.

The divorce rate in Spain is 17% (relatively low compared to over 50% in the USA).

The average life expectancy in Spain is 79.

In tourism, Spain is one of the top three most visited countries in the world. The other two are the U.S. and France.

The locals of Spain have lunch at 2 pm and dinner at around 9 to10 pm

Spanish food is not spicy.

Spain is the number one producer of olive oil in the world with 44% of the world’s olive oil production. That is more than twice that of Italy and four times that of Greece.

Spain is the third country in the world, after the US and Brazil, with the most plastic surgery interventions per capita in the world.

Spain is the number one country in regards to organ donation in the world.

Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (1499-1543) discovered California.

Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe after France and the second most mountainous after Switzerland.

Spain has the lowest age of consent for sexual activity in Europe at 13 years old. Both Malta and Turkey have the highest at 18.

In 2010, the U.S. State Department reported that 200,000-400,000 women worked in prostitution in Spain. The report said that 90% were trafficked. The Criminal Code of Spain does not address prostitution itself, but some activities associated with prostitution, such as pimping, are illegal. In other words, prostitution is essentially legal in Spain.

Spain has many festivals, and one of the most famous is the Running of Bulls. It occurs on St. Fermin’s Day in July in the northern town of Pamplona. Over 1 million people attend the festival.

There are over 500,000 Gypsies currently living in Spain, with nearly half of them living in the south. Gypsies are thought to have originated in India in the 15th century.  Many Gypsies have moved to urban Spanish areas,

Few children in Spain are born outside of marriage. Just 5% of children are born to couples that are not married in Spain. In contrast, the number is 50% in Iceland, Norway, and Sweden

Spanish lisp: Despite the myth, this has nothing to do with the Spanish imitating their king. The only Spanish king who is recorded as having a lisp is Pedro of Castile (1334-69) and the so-called “Castilian lisp” developed 200 years after Pedro died.

Spain is a world power in sports. In basketball, a number of Spaniards are playing in the NBA, Spain was second in the Olympics to the U.S. and is the reigning European champion. In soccer, they are the reigning champions for the World Cup and the European Cup. Rafa Nadal is the latest in a long string of world class Spanish tennis players, both men and women. Spain has had world class golfers such as Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazába y Sergio García. Fernando Alonso was world champion in Formula 1 racing. 12 times the winner of the Tour de France was a Spaniard.

If you drink hot chocolate in Spain you will find it very thick almost like drinking warm pudding!

Due to recent immigration about 3% of the population is Muslim.

Personal consumption and home cultivation of cannabis are legal in Spain.

The current estimate for the percentage of native Spaniards that have been born-again is about 0.4% That is terrible. It means that 99.6% of Spaniards do not have their names written in the Book of Life