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Portal:Spain

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Spain (Spanish: España, [esˈpaɲa] (About this soundlisten)), formally the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is a country in Southwestern Europe with some pockets of territory across the Strait of Gibraltar and the Atlantic Ocean. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory also includes two archipelagos: the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African exclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country (Morocco). Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are also part of Spanish territory. The country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea; to the north and northeast by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean respectively.

With an area of 505,990 km2 (195,360 sq mi), Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second-largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth-largest country by area on the European continent. With a population exceeding 47.3 million, Spain is the sixth-most populous country in Europe, and the fourth-most populous country in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid; other major urban areas include Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, Málaga, and Bilbao.

Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Various cultures developed alongside Phoenician, Greek, Celtic and Carthaginian migration and settlement. The Romans conquered the region around 200 BC, naming it Hispania, after the earlier Phoenician name, Sp(a)n or Spania. Spain remained under Roman rule until the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fourth century, which ushered in Germanic tribal confederations from Central Europe. The Visigoths emerged as the dominant faction by the fifth century, with their kingdom spanning much of the peninsula. (Full article...)

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Ángel Sanz Briz (Zaragoza, September 28, 1910 - June 11, 1980) was a Spanish diplomat during World War II who helped save many Hungarian Jews from Nazi persecution. After studying law, his first diplomatic posting was to Cairo. He was sent to Budapest in 1942 where he is credited with saving the lives of 5,200 Jews from the Holocaust by using his influence and the facilities of the Spanish embassy. In 1944, as the Red Army approached Budapest, he was ordered to leave for Switzerland. Giorgio Perlasca, an Italian veteran of the Spanish War, continued his labor with fake documents.

After these events, Briz continued his diplomatic career: he was posted to San Francisco and Washington, Lima, Bern, Bayonne, Guatemala, The Hague, Brussels and China (1973, where he became the first Spanish ambassador). In 1976, he was sent to Rome as Ambassador of Spain before the Holy See, where he died on June 11, 1980. Briz Briz himself tells how he was able to save the lives of so many Jews, in Federico Ysart's book "Los judíos en España" (1973). In 1991, Briz was recognized by the Holocaust Museum Yad Vashem of Israel, and gave his heirs the title of Righteous Among the Nations. In 1994, the Hungarian government gave him the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.

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