Thursday, April 12, 2012

Country: SPAIN

Countries Around the World: 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 modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) 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.

Word List:
  • to yield: to give something to someone else
  • to embrace: to completely accept something such as a new belief, idea, or way of life
  • neutral: a country that is neutral does not get involved in a war between other countries
  • dictator: someone who uses force to take and keep power in a country
  • rapid: fast
  • champion: someone who publicly supports or defends a set of beliefs, political goals, or a group of people
  • recession: a period when trade and industry are not successful and there is a lot of unemployment

Country Information:
  • location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean; bordered by Andorra, France, Gibraltar and Portugal
  • capital: Madrid
  • official language: Castilian Spanish
  • type of government: parliamentary monarchy
  • total area: approximately 504,782 sq km
  • climate: temperate; clear, hot summers and cold winters in the interior; more moderate and cloudy along coast; partly cloudy and cool along coast
  • terrain: large, flat plateau surrounded by rugged hills with the Pyrenees in the North
  • natural resources: includes coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower and arable land
  • industries: includes textiles, apparel, food and beverages, metals and metal manufacturing, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and refractory products, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • agricultural products: includes grain, vegetables, olives, wine grapes, sugar beets, citrus, beef, pork, poultry, dairy products and fish
Vocabulary
  • flamenco — A vigorous and rhythmic dance style, which is commonly associated with the Andalusia region of Spain. It also refers to a style of guitar music that often accompanies flamenco dancing.
  • Andalusia — A region of southern Spain.
  • fútbol — Spanish for “soccer.”
  • Middle Ages — Also known as the medieval period, the time period that stretched roughly from the fifth to the 15th century. The term was coined to describe the era between the time of ancient Rome and the Renaissance.
  • Castilian Spanish — A dialect that serves as the basis of modern, standard Spanish.
  • Basque — A language primarily spoken in the Guipúzcoa,Vizcaya, and Álava provinces of Spain.
  • Catalan — A Romance language, related to Spanish, that is spoken in Catalonia in eastern Spain.
  • Galicien — Also “Galician.”A Romance language, similar to Portuguese, that is spoken in Spain.
  • Cervantes — Full name: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. (1547–1616) A Spanish author who is most famous for his novel, Don Quixote.
  • Iberian Peninsula — A peninsula of southwest Europe that is comprised of Spain and Portugal.
  • European Union (EU) — A family of democratic European countries that are committed to working together for peace and prosperity. Spain is a member of the European Union.
  • euro — The currency of Spain and several other member nations of the European Union.
  • secular — Something not specifically relating to religion.
  • tapas — Any of various small, savory Spanish dishes, often served as a snack or with other tapas as a meal.
  • los gatos — Spanish for “the cats.”A slang term used to describe people in Spain who like to stay out late.