Located at the crossroads of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa, Spain’s history and culture are made up of a rich mix of diverse elements.
BBC.com–Through exploration and conquest, Spain became a world power in the 16th century, and it maintained a vast overseas empire until the early 19th century. Spain’s modern history is marked by the bitterly fought Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, and the ensuing 36-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.
After Franco’s death in 1975, Spain made the transition to a democratic state and built a successful economy, with King Juan Carlos as head of state. The constitution of 1978 enshrines respect for linguistic and cultural diversity within a united Spain. The country is divided into 17 regions which all have their own directly elected authorities. The level of autonomy afforded to each region is far from uniform. For example, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia have special status with their own language and other rights.
Read more on BBC.com: BBC News Spain Country Profile