- A country in southwestern Europe that occupies the greater part of the Iberian peninsula; population 40,525,000 (est. 2009); capital, Madrid; languages, Spanish (official) and Catalan. Spanish name España.
Spain was dominated by the Moors between 711 and 718 until the rise of independent Christian kingdoms, notably Aragon and Castile, in the medieval period; the last Moorish stronghold, Granada, was won back in the late 15th century. Under the Habsburg kings of the 16th century, Spain became the dominant European power, building up a huge empire in America and elsewhere; most of this was lost in the early 19th century. The Spanish Civil War (1936–39) was followed by the establishment of a Fascist dictatorship under General Franco; after his death in 1975 a constitutional monarchy was re-established. Spain became a member of the EC (now the EU) in 1986