Spain facts: A brief history
A brief introduction to the history of Spain.
Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of Dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 and rapid economic modernisation gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. The government's major focus for the immediate future will be on measures to reverse the severe economic recession that started in mid-2008.
Spain joined the European Union (EU) on 1 January 1986 and participated in the introduction of the Euro (EUR) in a two-phased approach in 1999 (accounting phase) and 2002 (monetary phase) to replace the Spanish Peseta (ESP). In 1982 Spain joined NATO. Spain is also a member country of the Schengen Area in which border controls with other Schengen members have been eliminated while at the same those with non-Schengen countries have been strengthened.
CIA World Factbook / Expatica
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