Spain is one of the world's leading countries in the development and production of renewable energy. In 2010 Spain became the solar power world leader when it overtook the United States with a massive power station plant called La Florida, near Alvarado, Badajoz
During the last four decades the Spanish tourism industry has grown to become the second biggest in the world, worth approximately 40 billion Euros, about 5% of GDP, in 2006.
Today, the climate of Spain, historical and cultural monuments and its geographic position together with its facilities make tourism one of Spain's main national industries and a large source of stable employment and development. The Spanish hotel star rating system has requirements much more demanding than other European countries, so at a given rating Spanish accommodations are worth more.
Spain’s service and manufacturing sectors are strong, while agriculture (especially fruit and vegetables, olive oil and wine) and tourism are also very profitable.
High plateaux and mountain ranges such as the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada dominate mainland Spain. Running from these heights are several major rivers such as the Ebro, the Duero, the Tagus and the Guadalquivir. The Balearic Islands lie offshore in the Mediterranean while the autonomous Canary Islands are to be found off the African coast.
Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian peninsula around 35,000 years ago. It came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania. In the Middle Ages it was conquered by Germanic tribes and later by the Moors to the south.
Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the completion of the centuries-long reconquest, or Reconquista, of the peninsula from the Moors in 1492. Spain became an influential global empire in the early modern period, being one of the first countries to colonize the New World and leaving a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world's second most spoken first language.
Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a parliament with two chambers: the Cortes. The 1978 constitution values linguistic and cultural diversity within a united Spain. The country is divided into 17 autonomous communities (regions) which all have their own directly elected authorities. In Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, the regional languages have official status alongside the national Spanish language, which is also called Castilian.
From Velázquez in the 17th century, through Goya in the 18th and 19th, to Picasso, Dali and Miro in the 20th, Spain has a rich artistic culture. Spanish Flamenco music and dance are widely admired around the world while Cervantes' novel Don Quixote is one of the landmarks of modern European literature. Spanish film directors such as Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar and Luis Buñuel have received several international prizes.
Spain has over 2.9 million acres (over 1.17 million hectares) planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being France followed by Italy.
Spanish cuisine is known for its paella (a rice dish with chicken, seafood and vegetables), tortilla (omelette with potatoes) and sangria (red wine served with fruit).
Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco, plus Alborán, Chafarinas Islands, Alhucemas, Vélez de la Gomera and other small islets including Perejil.
Furthermore, the town of Llívia is a Spanish exclave situated inside French territory. With an area of 505,992 km2 (195,365 sq mi), Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe.
This weather map is meant to give you an understanding of the difficult conditions under which many abandoned, homeless and neglected animals are forced to live in - many die of heat stroke, dehydration or freezing temperatures in Europe.