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Spain (Spanish: España; IPA: [esˈpaɲa]), officially the Kingdom of Spain is a country in southern Europe. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. The country consists of Peninsular Spain which is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, two archipelagos, one in each sea, and two autonomous cities in North Africa. The mainland area of Spain is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the southern and eastern areas, the Cantabric Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Spain is organised as a parliamentary democracy and is a constitutional monarchy. Spain has been a member of the European Union since 1986 and is a developed country, with the ninth largest economy in the world and fifth largest in the EU. With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe (behind France).

Spain flourished under the Roman empire Hispania, thus becoming one of the Empire's most important regions at the time. During the times of the Middle Ages, Spain was under Germanic rule, only later to become under ruling of the Islamic caliphate. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the completion of the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula in 1492. Conversely, it has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world's second most spoken first language.

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A statue in the lobby of the library.

The Biblioteca Nacional de España ('The National Library of Spain') is a major public library, the largest in Spain. It is located in Madrid near the Paseo de Recoletos. Founded in 1711, the Library was originally The Royal Public Library of King Philip V. It housed some 60,000 books by 1752, by which time it had become a legal deposit library. The Library continued to grow, and had significant royal patronage throughout the 18th century. By 1836 it had been renamed as The National Library of Spain ('Biblioteca Nacional de España'), and by 1850 it housed some 200,000 items. In 1896 the Library moved to the current location in center Madrid. The Madrid premises are shared with the National Archaeological Museum.

Its current catalog is called the Bibliografía Española. It indexes some 6,000,000 books and journals, 25,000 manuscripts, and 240,000 rare books. In addition to books, maps and manuscripts, it holds collections of visual material such as drawings, posters, and photographs.

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A view of Barcelona Free Port.
Credit: Lofor

The Barcelona Free Port or Zona franca de Barcelona is a tariff-free industrial park that has developed within the Port of Barcelona, across the flat land of the Llobregat delta between the city of Barcelona and Barcelona International Airport to the south.

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José Millán-Astray

José Millán-Astray y Terreros (July 5, 1879 – January 1, 1954) was the founder and first commander of the Spanish Foreign Legion, and a major early figure of Francisco Franco's Regime in Spain. Born in A Coruña, Galicia, his father was José Millán Astray, a lawyer, poet, librettist of the Zarzuela genre, and chief jailer of Madrid. His mother was Pilar Terreros Segade, an illustrator and comedic author. Though pressed to study the law, Millán-Astray aspired to a military career.

On August 30, 1894, he entered the Academia de Infantería de Toledo ("Infantry Academy of Toledo"). He graduated as a second lieutenant at the age of seventeen, and later served in the army in Madrid. On September 1, 1896, he enrolled in the Escuela Superior de Guerra ("Superior Military School"). Upon graduation, he joined the General staff of the Spanish army. Soon after, rebellion broke out in the Philippines, and he left his position to serve there as a volunteer. He would earn numerous decorations for his valor (Cruz de María Cristina, Cruz Roja al Mérito Militar, and Cruz Primera Clase al Mérito Militar) and became something of a war hero for his defence of the city of San Rafael, in which he fought off a rebel force of two thousand with only thirty men. He subsequently served in Morocco, where he lost an arm and an eye, earning the sobriquet Glorioso mutilado ("Glorious amputee").

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The Alcazaba with the Roman theatre in the foreground

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In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.
Federico García Lorca

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