Spain - education
Following the constitutional amendment in 1978, the education system with
four laws in the period 1983-95 has been fundamentally changed; the most recent
reform was implemented in 2002. Decentralization and democratization are key
words in this transition, which in practice has meant
that Catalan, Galician and Basque are now also taught alongside Spanish. The
private, most often Catholic, schools make up approximately A quarter.
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After a voluntary preschool for 3-6-year-olds, a ten-year free, compulsory
schooling course is divided into Educación Primaria for 6-12-year-olds
and Educación Secundaria Obligatoria for 12-16-year-olds. The
subsequent education for 16-18-year-olds is followed by approximately three quarters
of all young people and is divided into the general upper secondary Bachillerato (approximately
60%) and the vocational education Formación Profesional Específica de Grado
Medio (approximately 40%).
Admission to university studies is obtained after a special entrance examination, Pruebas
de Aptitud para el Acceso a la Universidad. There are 62 universities; of
these, the vast majority are public (1999). The oldest is the private university
in Salamanca, established in 1134 and with university status from 1218.
approximately half of the universities were established after 1968 in connection with
the regionalization of education and an increased search for higher
education. With just over 4% of the population in higher education, Spain has
one of the highest levels of activity in Europe (1995).
OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Spain
CAPITAL CITY: Madrid
POPULATION: 46,500,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 505,992 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Spanish (Castilian), Catalan, Galician, Basque
RELIGION: Catholics 98%, Muslims 1%, Protestants (especially Pentecostals) 1%
CURRENCY CODE: EUR
ENGLISH NAME: Spain
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Spanish nationals 98% (of which Catalans 17%, Galicians 7%, Basques 2%),
others (especially Moroccans and Britons) 2%
GDP PER residents: $ 33,094 (2013)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 78 years, women 84 years (2010)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.869
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 27
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .es
Spain, (sp. España, from lat. Hispania), kingdom in
southwestern Europe, which includes most of the Iberian Peninsula, the Balearic
Islands and some small islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the
Atlantic Ocean and the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla located in Morocco on the
north African coast, as well as a smaller enclave, Llívia, located immediately
north of the border with France.
Spain is in area Europe's fourth largest country and with its language and
culture has shaped large parts of the world by virtue of a past as a rich
The history of Spain is marked by Roman and Arab influence, and Spain
became in the 1500-t. a European superpower that built a large empire of
overseas possessions, especially in Latin America, to which Spain still has
close economic and cultural relations.
Spain's wealth and position of power in Europe dived drastically from the
1600's. and forward; in the 1900's. triggered regional and political tensions
civil war in the country followed by a dictatorship 1939-75 and an isolated
position in Europe.
It was not until 1978 that Spain gained a democratic constitution, which at
the same time opened up for regional autonomy. Spain has been a member of the EU
since 1986 and has been a high-growth country through the 1990's and until
2007. In 2010, the country ranked as number 12 on the list of rich countries by
GDP per capita. resident. However, the crisis hit Spain as well as other
southern European countries particularly hard in the first half of the 2010's,
and by 2013 the country had fallen to number 30 on the list.
Spain - language
Spain has four main
languages: Spanish or Castilian, Catalan, Galician and Basque. The latter
three became official languages alongside Spanish in the 1980's in the
respective regions, Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country. It is estimated
that a total of 36% of the population have one of these languages as their
mother tongue and are bilingual with Spanish. In addition to the standard
Castilian language, Spanish includes the main dialects of Leonese, Aragonese,
and Andalusian. In the district of Val d'Aran in NW Catalonia, the local variant
of the Occitan official language is in line with Spanish and Catalan.
Spain - religion
The first Christian congregations originated in the cities of León, Zaragoza,
Mérida and Tarragona. The Visigoths, who conquered Spain in the early 500's, were
Aryans (see Arian strife), but in 589 converted to Catholicism.
In the areas under Muslim rule
(711-1492), Islam and Christianity existed side by side without major
conflicts. I 900-1100-t. several churches and monasteries were founded
throughout Spain. The Inquisition, established in 1233 by Pope Gregory IX,
played no special role in Spain until the Catholic royal couple Isabella and
Ferdinand in 1478 persuaded Pope Sixtus IV to establish a special Spanish
Inquisition that existed until 1834. The Jesuit order played a special role.
. It was founded in Spain in 1534 and previously held a dominant position in all
parts of the education system.
In Spain, the Catholic Church and the state have been very closely
linked since the Reconquista, right up until the new democratic constitution of
1978 formally separated state and church, though during the 1st and 2nd
republics interrupted by waves of violent anticlericalism. Under the Franco
regime, the Catholic organization Opus Dei gained considerable influence; thus,
10 out of 19 members of the government in Franco's last year were members of
The influence and significance of the Church in Spain is fading today; it is
difficult to recruit young people to the seminars, and the popular commitment,
especially in the big cities, is weak. However, the vast majority of the
population still has an affiliation with the Catholic Church. Muslims,
Protestants (especially Pentecostals) and others make up less than 2% of the
Spain - constitution and political system
Spain is according to the 1978 constitution a constitutional,
hereditary monarchy, where the monarch is head of state and the country's
highest representative internationally, but otherwise his position is defined as
clearly apolitical and neutral.
Legislative power lies with a two-chamber parliament, the Cortes
Generales, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The
number of deputies is variable, between 300 and 400, and the number is
determined on the basis of the development of the population of the 50 provinces
into which Spain is administratively divided into regions. Deputies are elected
by universal suffrage for four years or less if Parliament is dissolved
The Senate has 259 members, of which 208 are elected for four years by
general election, while the rest are elected by the Assemblies of the Autonomous
Regions also for four years. According to the Constitution, the Senate must be a
territorial representation, ie. represent the autonomous units that make up
Spain, and whose degree of autonomy, if any. will increase in the coming
Of the 17 regions, seven consist of just one province, while the other ten
regions are formed by two or more provinces. However, only approximately 20% of
senators from the regions. The rest are chosen mainly from the 48 mainland
provinces (four from each), however, 20 are chosen from the Balearic
Islands, the Canary Islands and the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
The Chamber of Deputies has priority in legislation and the decision-making
process in relation to the Senate. The executive power lies with the prime
minister, who is formally appointed by the monarch after consultation with
parliament. The Chamber of Deputies can force the resignation of the Prime
Minister following a vote of no confidence.
Each of Spain's 17 autonomous regions, the most important of which
is Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia, elects a Legislative Assembly
(unicameral), which appoints a president from among its own members. Each of the
50 provinces has a designated governor and an elected council. In addition to a
Supreme Court, Spain has a constitutional court that monitors compliance with
Spain - political parties
After Francisco Franco's death, party formation was again allowed in 1976,
and the following year the first democratic elections were held since 1936. Some
parties, the Communist Party (PCE) and the Socialist Party (PSOE),
re-emerged, others were formed; The UCD (Unión de Centro Democrático) was
founded by the then Prime Minister Adolfo Suárez for the election in 1977. It
was a loose group that disbanded in 1981-82.
Former Franco minister Manuel Fraga formed a right-wing party, the AP
(Alianza Popular), which did not gain much support for a long time. Under a new
chairman, José María Aznar, the party moved to the center in 1990, changing its
name to PP (Partido Popular).
In Spain, there has been a trend towards a two-party system in the national
parliament, first by the UCD and the PSOE, later by the PP and the PSOE. When
the Constitution was adopted in 1978, parliaments were formed in Spain's 17 new
regions. It has increased the tendency for regional parties, Basque,
Catalan and Galician.
The PSOE held power in 1982-96 under Felipe González, who led the party
toward the center. Following González's resignation as party chairman in 1997,
the PSOE was in a protracted leadership crisis.
In the 1970's, the PCE was a Eurocommunist party that advocated moderate
reforms and recognized the monarchy. Since 1987, the party has formed the core
of a left - wing grouping, IU (Left Union), led by Julio Anguita (b. 1941) until
In 1996-2004, the PP headed a center-right government led by José María
Aznar. The party's support in the population was cemented in the March 12, 2000
election, in which Aznar won an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies and
the Senate, but in 2004 the PSOE took over government with José Luis Rodríguez
Zapatero as prime minister. However, the PSOE again had to hand over power to
the PP in the 2011 parliamentary elections.
Spain - economy
After World War II, Spain was isolated from the world community due to the
Franco regime. It was not until 1953 that the UN lifted its boycott of the
country, after which a rapid expansion of industry - which was largely protected
from foreign competition - and not least the tourism sector resulted in
significant economic progress. Spain's dependence on imported energy, however,
led to major economic problems when the first oil crisis broke out in 1973-74,
and after Franco's death, the new government sought to support fragile democracy
through economic policies aimed at ensuring stability in the labor market. Among
other things, the workers were ensured a high level of job security and a high
degree of compensation in the event of unemployment.
After another period of growth in the late 1970's, the second oil crisis led
to a new downturn with large government deficits and high inflation as a
result. Economic policy was then designed to reduce inflation, and a
restructuring of industry began. The consequence was low growth and rising
unemployment in the years up to 1986, when Spain joined the EU. The membership
meant both a rapid liberalization of the economy and a massive influx of direct
investment from abroad. However, the new competitive situation led to both large
trade and payments deficits and rising unemployment. The imbalances intensified
when Spain's currency, the pesetas, was linked in 1989 to the EU's
then monetary cooperation,EMS, at an overestimated level. Unemployment rose to
over 22%, and in 1992-93 the peseta had to be devalued by almost 20%, resulting
in an export-led recovery. It continued into the late 1990's, when economic
growth was close to 4% per year and unemployment had been reduced to just over
15%. However, it is a major problem for Spain that a large part of unemployment
is of a structural nature, which due to low mobility between the regions
and a general reluctance to hire permanent staff due to high costs associated
with redundancies. Not least in the light of the increasing competition that has
followed in the wake of the establishment of the internal market and the
increasing employment rate for women, the government has been striving to
implement labor market reforms since the early 1990's.
In the latter half of the 1990's, the main priority of economic policy was to
ensure Spain's participation in the EU's Economic and Monetary Union. The
central bank was made politically independent in 1994 and then took full
responsibility for monetary policy, which was governed by an inflation target,
while a tight fiscal policy was to ensure compliance with
budget-related convergence requirements. It succeeded, replacing the euro
pesetas (although not physically until 2002) on 1 January 1999, while monetary
policy was subordinated to the European Central Bank, the ECB.. The
relinquishment of monetary sovereignty places great demands on fiscal policy as
an instrument of cyclical adjustment. However, the management of overall
budgetary policy and local development is hampered by the regions' high degree
of economic independence. In 1993, the Basque Country thus initiated a budding
tax competition between the regions by offering start-ups tax exemption for a
10-year period, just as in 1996 the region reduced the general corporate tax
rate to 32.5% against 35% in the rest of the country. Economic growth, driven by
private consumption and the construction sector, has been significantly higher
than the euro area average since the 1990's, and in 2001 unemployment had fallen
to approximately 11% from around 24% in 1994. In 2001, however, economic growth
declined significantly due to the downturn in the world economy and the crisis
in Argentina, where Spain has major economic interests. However, growth
increased to 3.4% in 2005, and unemployment fell further to 9.2% the same
year. However, it is a major problem for Spain that a large part of unemployment
is of a structural nature, which due to low mobility between the regions
and a general reluctance to hire permanent staff due to high costs associated
with redundancies. Not least in the light of the increasing competition that has
followed in the wake of the establishment of the internal market and the
increasing employment rate for women, the government has been striving to
implement labor market reforms since the early 1990's. large costs associated
with redundancies. Not least in the light of the increasing competition that has
followed in the wake of the establishment of the internal market and the
increasing employment rate for women, the government has been striving to
implement labor market reforms since the early 1990's.
Regional inequalities are the reason why, until the major EU enlargement in
2004, Spain was the largest recipient of structural assistance, which has had a
major impact on regional development in the rather decentralized country. In
2002, an oil tanker off the coast of Galicia crashed with large spills as a
result, after which the central government had to transfer 12 billion. euros to
the region for environmental remediation, fisheries compensation, etc.
Although Spain continues to have significant economic relations with its
former colonies in Latin America, Spain's most important trading partners are
the EU countries, especially France and Germany. Denmark's exports to Spain in
2005 amounted to DKK 13.9 billion. DKK, while imports from there were 9.1
Spain - social conditions
Spain's social security system is built on the basis of a number of
state-run social insurances. Right to the benefits achieved through the payment
of social security contributions, of which 5/6 paid by
the employer, while 1/6 offset against the salary. For
the uninsured, there is a tight-knit public welfare system with modest benefits.
Entitlement to a retirement pension arises at the age of 65 and presupposes
that a contribution has been paid for at least 15 years. The size of the pension
depends on the salary payments during the contribution period, and the maximum
pension is obtained after contributing for 35 years. There is access to take out
supplementary pension insurance through professional agreements. In addition to
the old-age pension, the labor market contributions also cover pensions for
There are also compulsory insurances, which cover sickness benefits, early
retirement and unemployment. These also presuppose advance payment of labor
The services of the health service are free of charge if they are provided by
doctors who are approved by the Ministry of Health. Hospital treatment is also
free of charge at the Ministry of Health's own hospitals or at hospitals
approved by the ministry. In practice, a lot of treatment takes place in private
clinics for a fee. 40% subsidy is provided for prescription medicine, however,
100% for pensioners and hospitalized.
Elderly care in general rests to a large extent on the family and on
voluntary, especially church, social work.
Spain (Health conditions)
In 2010, the average life expectancy for men was 78.06 years and for women
84.27 years. Women's life expectancy increased over the course of 25 years until
1995 by approximately 6 years, while the men's were only slightly increasing during
the same period.
Infant mortality has fallen from 20.8 per 1,000 live births in 1970 to 3.42
in 2010. Cardiovascular disease remains the most common cause of death with 242
deaths in 1995 per. 100,000 residents, which is almost a halving since 1970.
In the same period, cancer mortality has been increasing, for men to 262 deaths
per. 100,000 in 1995. The mortality rate from lung cancer in men has doubled
during the period, which can be explained by the fact that Spanish men have
one of the highest smoking rates in the EU. The incidence of AIDS is the highest
in Europe. In 1994, 18.4 cases were diagnosed per 100,000 residents; by 1998,
the figure had dropped to 10.6. The majority of cases occur in drug addicts.
In 1997, Spain spent 7.4% of GDP on health care, twice as much as in
1970. 10,000 residents 42 doctors, 45 nurses and 43 hospital beds. 18% of the
hospital beds were in private hospitals. Since 1986, Spain has had a state
health policy with total population coverage, public funding and gradual
delegation of responsibility for health care to the regions. Citizens are free
to choose a general practitioner who can refer on to the specialized part of the
Spain - legal system
In the Middle Ages, local customs, fueros, arose in the various
areas, which in some parts of the country have retained their
significance. Furthermore, Las siete Partidas gained great
importance; it was a written collection of rules of law which was strongly
influenced by Roman law. It gained legal force in Castile and eventually came
into force in other parts of Spain as a subsidiary right under local customary
law. In the 1800's. an attempt was made to uniform Spanish law after the French
pattern with a civil law book, but it encountered too much resistance. However,
a trade law was introduced in 1829 and substantially amended in 1885. It was not
until 1889 that Spain received a civil law, the Código civil., for the
whole country. It is still in force and, in particular in the bond law sections,
is strongly influenced by the French Code Napoléon. However, in the
northern quarter of Spain, including Catalonia with Barcelona as its capital,
only the introductory provisions of civil law with private international law
apply. Moreover, the local customs, which have been written down and introduced
as local laws, apply not only to provide legal certainty, but also to create a
basis for a new codification of the whole of Spanish law. In cases where the
old fueros do not provide a reasonable answer in a specific lawsuit,
the Spanish Supreme Court applies, according to the Código civil art. 6 general
principles of law. The Catholic Church still has a significant influence on
legislation, including marriage law.
Marriage may continue to be entered into either before the civil authority or
at a religious ceremony in the Catholic Church; in order to be valid, it must be
entered in the civil register. Man and woman are now equal. Each spouse has his
or her separate property and both have joint ownership; however, one spouse may
not make important dispositions of the joint property without the consent of the
other. Unless otherwise agreed, the spouses jointly own the property acquired
during the marriage. What they brought into the marriage and acquire by
inheritance or gift is, like personal property, kept out of joint ownership. In
the event of the termination of the marriage and in the event of separation, the
joint ownership is divided equally between the spouses.
Divorce was introduced in 1981, and can usually only be granted if the
spouses have previously been separated or have actually lived separately. If the
spouses agree on separation and on the terms of the separation, they
can both apply to the court for separation. However, the application may be
filed no earlier than one year after the marriage was entered into. In other
cases, at the request of one spouse, a judgment may be given for separation,
where the other has given him or her a valid reason for doing so in the event of
a serious violation of the spouse or his or her conduct in general. Furthermore,
the courts often give judgment for separation when there is a "lack of affectio
martialis", ie. when the relationship between them is broken.
For a judgment to be given for divorce, in the vast majority of
cases a prior separation or actual termination of cohabitation is required. If
the cohabitation has been effectively terminated for one year after the
application for separation has been submitted to the court, each of the spouses
can claim a divorce. Furthermore, a sentence is given for divorce, where the
cohabitation has been effectively annulled for a year after a sentence has been
handed down for separation in connection with a serious violation. Judgment for
divorce is also given where the cohabitation has been effectively revoked for
two years after a judgment has been handed down for separation. Judgment for
divorce after termination of cohabitation, but without a prior request for
separation is given after two years of uninterrupted voluntary termination of
cohabitation or two years of uninterrupted termination of cohabitation
calculated from the time when a spouse has received a final court order that the
spouses live separately.
Spain - military
The armed forces are (2006) at approximately 147,255. The army is at 95,600, the
navy at 19,455, the air force at 22,750 and the Commonwealth parts at 9450. The
reserve is at 319,000. The equipment is of western make, some modern, other
The Army (Ejército del Tierra) has four regional operational
commands. The mobile part of the army has a division-size reaction force with an
airborne brigade and the "Spanish Legion" (Legión Española), an infantry
brigade. In addition, four armored brigades of various types, a mountain
infantry brigade as well as a special force with three units of battalion
size. In addition to the mobile part, the army has territorial units in the
North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, in the Canary Islands and in
the Balearic Islands.
Navy (Armada Española) has an aircraft carrier, 12 frigates and
36 smaller combat units, five submarines, seven mine countermeasures vessels,
four landing vessels, 16 Matador -kampfly (Harrier) and 23
armed helicopters (aeronaves) and a marine infantry (Infanteria
the Marina) in 5300.
The Air Force (Ejército del Aire) has 177 fighter aircraft
(including 7 maritime reconnaissance aircraft), 5 air refueling aircraft, 109
transport aircraft of various types and approximately 40 helicopters.
The security forces include 73,360 in the Guardia Civil.
Spain joined NATO in 1982.
Spain - trade union movement
The first trade union national organizations in Spain were formed around the
year 1900 (UGT in 1888 and CNT in 1910). Traditionally, Spanish organizations
have been highly political. Before the Spanish Civil War, the anarchist
Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and the socialist Unión General de
Trabajadores(UGT) dominant in a fragmented academic system. The Franco regime
introduced a corporate or vertical professional system, with a single
organization for both workers and employers, the Confederación Nacional de
Sindicatos (CNS). The banned organizations, CNT, UGT and the Basque organization
ELA/STV (Euzko Langilleen Alkarasuna/Solidaridad de Trabajadores Vascos)
survived in exile with underground activities in Spain. Other groups, including
the Spanish Communists, chose from the mid-1960's to work within the legal
organization CNS. A campaign was launched to form workers' commissions at the
individual companies. In 1967 and 1974, the commissions won the CNS elections in
a number of important areas, including the major metal sectors and geographical
areas such as Madrid. These victories were followed by repression by the
authorities, but the workers' commissions survived. At the time of
democratization in 1977, the Confederación Sindical de Comisiones Obreras
(CC.OO.) was therefore strong. UGT returned from exile, and these two
organizations clearly gained the greatest support. In the years immediately
following, party political affiliation was strong. UGT was associated withPSOE,
and CC.OO. to PCE. In parallel, there were strong conflicts between the two
organizations. However, the UGT increasingly came into opposition to the
PSOE-led government, as did the CC.OO. loosened its connection to PCE. In 1988,
in connection with a general strike, the organizations signed the first
co-operation agreement. This has since been followed by common guidelines for
collective agreements, pension issues, etc. In the most recent election of
workers' representatives in companies (1990), UGT received 42%, CC.OO. 37% and
the USO (Unión Sindical Obrera), which is apolitical, 3%. The regional
organizations CIG (Confederación Intersindical Galega) and ELA/STV received
1.5% and 3.2%. However, ELA/STV is the largest professional organization in
the Basque Country. The rest of the votes were distributed among a number of
small organizations. In general, the organization percentage in Spain is
approximately 17% (1994).
Spain - Libraries and archives
National Library of Spain is the Biblioteca Nacional in
Madrid, grdl. 1716 by Philip 5. For research, libraries at institutes and
academies are often more important than university libraries; among these, in
Madrid it is the most significant. Several university libraries own book
treasures from monasteries that were secularized in 1828. In 1928, Parliament
decided to establish public libraries; until recently, however, they have been
poorly developed. Many churches and monasteries have significant collections of
especially medieval literature.
The four most important archives are the National Historical Archive in
Madrid (1886), the archives of the Spanish kings in Simancas (1542), the
Archives of the Aragonese Crown in Barcelona (grdl. In the 800's) and the
archives in Seville regarding. the Spanish-speaking America (1781).
Spain - mass media
Most of Spain approximately 85 newspapers are printed in Spanish, a few newspapers
in Catalan and Basque, some are bilingual. Minority newspapers receive regional
support. Marca, a daily sports newspaper, has for a period had the largest
circulation (475,000, 2006), but is now surpassed by the serious El País with
several regional editions and an international edition (circulation: 580,000
weekdays and 1,040,000 Sundays (2006)).
Under the Franco regime, newspapers, radio, publishing houses, cinemas and
theaters were controlled by the National Press and Information Bureau. In
cinemas, the weekly journals NO-DO (Noticiario-Documental) 1943-75 served as
propaganda for the Franco regime. In the 1940's and 1950's, an illegal press was
created that was linked to socialist, communist, and anarchist
organizations. The illegal press managed to publish magazines in a circulation
of up to 20,000 copies. In parallel with the state-owned media, there were the
privately owned, which, however, relied on state publishing licenses. Despite
strict censorship, some state tolerance towards the privately owned media
gradually developed. The privately owned press grew in circulation, especially
newspapers such as ABC in Madrid (founded in 1903), who from 1905 was among the
pioneers of tabloid journalism and later placed strongly to the right in the
media picture, and La Vanguardia in Barcelona (founded in 1881). From 1945, the
state press was overtaken by the private sector, which in 1974 had 74% of the
newspaper market. After Franco's death in 1975, most of the state newspapers
were closed or sold to private individuals. More crucial was the emergence of
completely new newspapers, including El País, founded in 1976 by PRISA, in 2000
Spain's largest media group, and El Mundo (founded 1989), which in just five
years became the country's third largest nationwide newspaper (after El País and
ABC). After Franco's death in 1975, most of the state newspapers were closed or
sold to private individuals. More crucial was the emergence of completely new
newspapers, including El País, founded in 1976 by PRISA, in 2000 Spain's largest
media group, and El Mundo (founded 1989), which in just five years became the
country's third largest nationwide newspaper (after El País and ABC). After
Franco's death in 1975, most of the state newspapers were closed or sold to
private individuals. More crucial was the emergence of completely new
newspapers, including El País, founded in 1976 by PRISA, in 2000 Spain's largest
media group, and El Mundo (founded 1989), which in just five years became the
country's third largest nationwide newspaper (after El País and ABC).
Radio became formally independent in 1977, when the RNE (Radio Nacional de
España) had its monopoly broken, but in reality democratization took longer. It
was not until 1980 that a law was passed defining radio and television as public
service institutions, owned by the state-run RTVE (Radio Televisión Española)
with two television channels. There was a strong demand for reforms, especially
in television, because both channels (TVE 1 from 1956 and TVE 2 from 1965) had
been tightly controlled under Franco. Gradually, commercial television with
three nationwide channels was introduced; Antenna 3, Tele 5 and Canal +. In
addition, there are nine regional television stations, all of which are defined
as public service broadcasters. The news agency EFE grew in importance through
the 1990's, and especially in Spanish-speaking Latin America, it has managed to
create and maintain a position as an international agency.
Spain - visual art
The Spanish visual art has over the centuries made important contributions to
the European cultural currents.
The mosaic decoration of the Grand Mosque in Córdoba (966) and the frescoes
in the Church of San Julián de Los Prados in Oviedo (812-42) are examples of the
early medieval aniconic tendencies: the absence of representation of living or
The Mozarabic book paintings from the 900's -1000's, on the other hand, are
figurative and colorful illustrations of John's Revelation. The Romanesque
churches also contain visionary figure depictions, both within the fresco, for
example in the royal tomb chapel Panteón de los Reyes in San Isidoro in León,
and as a building sculpture, such as the portals of Santiago de
Compostela Cathedral, both from the 12th century.
The Gothic tablet painting developed into large retablo altarpieces in
the 14th century, and during the 15th century the influence of resp. Dutch and
Italian Renaissance ind.
A particularly intense Spanish character emerged in the 16th century in the
religious painting of Luis de Morales and El Greco. To the Church of San Tomé
in Toledo, El Greco performed the masterpiece Count Orgaz's funeral in 1586-88,
describing a miracle at the count's burial in 1323. This became his artistic
breakthrough, and he soon established an extensive workshop to meet the great
However, he continued to make highly original images in which his interest in
religious mysticism found its way into an expressive way of painting. With the
help of an almost phosphorescent light, cold colors, deep shadows and not least
distortions in perspective and body proportions, he achieved a deeply personal,
often almost ecstatic expression.
Several of the Spanish sculptors, on the other hand, developed their style in
Italy, Alonso Berruguete, son of the Renaissance painter Pedro Berruguete
(d. 1504), and Diego de Siloé, son of the transitional figure Gil de Siloé and
better known as an architect.
From the Baroque to the mid-19th century
The golden age of Spanish painting in the 17th century was first dominated by
the dramatic realism of the Seville School. The style was influenced by the
Italian Caravaggio and was represented by Francisco Ribalta, Francisco de
Zurbarán with strangely motionless still life paintings and saint portraits, by
the young Diego Velázquez and by Jusepe de Ribera, who in Naples became known
for his grim depictions of martyrdom.
In 1623, Velázquez became court painter to Philip IV of Madrid, where he
based his fame with sharply staged portraits of members of the royal family,
painted with a virtuoso technique.
The Baroque polychrome wooden sculpture culminated with Alonso
Cano's religious groups, while the religious painting culminated in BE
Murillo's devotional and Madonna paintings, especially the motif the Immaculate
In 1752, the Academy of Fine Arts was founded in Madrid, but it was foreign
artists such as AR Mengs, Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo who were given the
major decorating assignments in the Royal Palace of Madrid.
Francisco de Goya continued the aristocratic portrait tradition from
Velázquez, but came with his satirical graphic series, his penetrating
depictions of the horrors of war, and with the unfathomable Black images of
his old age to stand as a forerunner of modern art.
In the last decades of the 19th century, realism emerged, carried by
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastidas (1863-1923) paintings that bear much resemblance
to the works of the Skagen painters. At the same time, Barcelona became the new
art center that paved the way for the rest of Europe. Symbolist writers and
visual artists, the young Picasso, gathered at the café Els Quatre Gats
('The Four Cats')... AAAAAAAAAAAAA about Spanish visual art from 1850-2010.
Spain - Visual Arts - 1850 - 2010
In the years after 1850, the country's art policy was dominated by the
painter Federico de Madrazo y Küntz (1815-94), who was both director of the
Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid and of the Prado Museum. As an alternative to the
academy's neoclassical history painting and landscape painting, el
costumbrismo emerged, a genre that, with stylistic roots
in Goya and Murillo, sought typical national motifs from popular life; among the
leading painters of the genre were Eugenio Lucas Velázquez (1817-70) and
Valeriano Domínguez Bécquer (1834-70). In the last decades of the 1800-t. won
realism, carried by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastidas (1863-1923) paintings that
bear much resemblance to the works of the Skagen painters.
At the same time, Barcelona became the new art center that paved the way for
the rest of Europe. Symbolist writers and visual artists, the
young Picasso, gathered at the café Els Quatre Gats ('The Four Cats'); the
surrealists Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí also belong to the pre-war avant-garde.
During the 1930's, Spanish sculpture was renewed in the collaboration between
Picasso and Julio González. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, artistic
activity often went hand in hand with political activity; the clearest example
of this is Picasso's painting Guernica, exhibited at the 1937 World's
Fair in Paris.
The avant-garde after World War II included groups such as Dau al Set,
founded in 1948 by Antonio Tàpies, as well as El Paso, founded in 1957 by
Antonio Saura and Manuel Millares (1926-72); the common artistic starting
point was informal art.
In the 1960's, the minimalist sculpture was introduced by Eduardo
Chillida, at the same time as Eusebio Sempere (1924-85) worked in op art. In
reaction to El Paso in particular, the group Nueva Generación emerged in the
1970's with Luis Gordillo (b. 1934) as the leading figure; they wanted to return
to figurative and geometric painting.
Spain - architecture
Architecture has contributed from many currents, and over time it has been
inspired by both European and Arab culture.
Early medieval architecture includes church buildings in the styles
Visigothic (from the 5th century to 711), Asturian (especially in the ninth
century) and Mozarabic (especially in the 10th century). Many buildings, both
Christian and Islamic, were inspired by the Great Mosque
of Córdoba (785-987); the area was until 1492 the center of Andalusia's refined
Islamic building culture.
In northern Spain, Romanesque architecture developed first in an early,
Lombard style in Catalonia, later in international style in the many Romanesque
churches along the pilgrimage route to the tomb of the Apostle James
in Galicia with the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (1075-1122) as the main
In the 13th century, the construction of the Castilian cathedrals
in Burgos, Toledo and León began in the French-style Gothic style, while in
Catalonia and the Balearic Islands a local variant of the Gothic was worshiped.
In Seville, from 1402, the mighty late Gothic, five-nave cathedral was
built. Islamic building traditions were combined with Christian and Jewish plan
types in the ornamental mudéjar style, which characterizes parts of the
castle Alcázar in Seville (1369).
The castle was inspired by the palace complex Alhambra in Granada
(1200-1400's), a major monument in Islamic architecture; from 1527, Emperor
Charles V had an Italian-inspired Renaissance palace built here.
In addition, the architecture was characterized by the plate style with its
union of late Gothic Renaissance and Islamic features, such as the west facade
of the University of Salamanca (1525), later by the strict "estilo
desornamentado", which is expressed in the mighty monastery and castle
complex El Escorial (1563-84), completed by Juan de Herrera.
In the 18th century, the lavish late Baroque churrigueresk style (named after
the sculptor and architectural family Churriguera) gained great traction; it
is seen, for example, in the sacristy of the Carthusian monastery in Granada
(1742). In the second half of the 18th century, foreign architects worked on
e.g. the mighty royal palace of Madrid, built in a dry, classicist Baroque
Neoclassicism was introduced by Ventura Rodríguez (1717-85) and further
developed by Juan de Villanueva (1739-1811), eg in the Prado Museum in Madrid
(started 1785). In the 19th century, several historicist currents were seen.
The Spanish modernismo style was a Catalan current
approximately 1880-1920, which was predominantly expressed in Barcelona. It had both a
national romantic retrospective direction, inspired by the medieval decorative
universe, and a progressive direction with material and
construction experiments.... AAAAAAAAAAAAA about Spanish architecture from
Spain - Architecture - 1900-2010
The Spanish modernismo style was a Catalan flow approximately 1880-1920,
which was predominantly expressed in Barcelona. It had both a national romantic
retrospective direction, inspired by the decorative universe of the Middle Ages,
and a progressive direction with material and construction experiments.
The latter is represented by Josep Puig in Cadafalch (1867-1956) and Lluís
Domènech in Montaner (1850-1923), but especially Antoni Gaudí, whose buildings
have left a special mark on Barcelona's cityscape, from multi-storey buildings,
mansions and parks to the Sagrada Familia church. (commenced 1883). The noucentism
of the 1920's and the rational modernism of the 1930's moved between the
monumental tendencies of the time and the renewal of international modernism.
The landmark world exhibition in Barcelona in 1929 reflected the diversity of
architecture: Mies van der Rohe's famous minimalist pavilion representing
Germany (rebuilt 1985) and the reconstruction of regional architecture with El
pueblo español, a district following Camillo Sitte's ideals, were placed
side by side with monumental and pompous buildings.
The engineering architect Eduardo Torroja from Madrid became a pioneer in
concrete construction and gained great influence, in collaboration with
Carlos Arniche and Martin Dominquez, with water towers and bridges, halls and
churches. The Civil War of 1936-39 and the subsequent Franco rule slowed
development until the mid-1950's; the architect Josep Lluís Sert emigrated to the
USA in 1939, but later created museet Fundación Joan Miró (1975) in
Barcelona. In Madrid, the influence was then Anglo-American, partly oriented
towards 1800's styles and a predilection for geometric shapes.
It was not until the 1960's that a real innovation took place with Catalan
regionalism, which was associated with the struggle for an independent
architectural expression. Ricardo Bofill and the design studio Taller de
Arquitectura, which he founded in 1962, as well as José Rafael Moneo were key
figures who later also had major assignments abroad.
In the 1980's, Barcelona's consistent and original design of public squares
became an important contribution to the international urban planning debate. The
world exhibition EXPO in Seville in 1992 led to an extensive urban renewal in
Seville and the construction of a new railway station and a new airport (JR
The American architect Frank O. Gehry built part of the Olympic city in
Barcelona in 1989-92 as well as the sculpturally designed Guggenheim Museum in
Bilbao, inaugurated in 1997.
Spain - crafts and design
Under Muslim rule, Spanish handicrafts experienced its first great
flourishing. Exquisite ivory works, faience (including tiles) and refined
textiles have been preserved, while woodcarving, metal art and carpet making are
especially reflected in the continuation of the tradition in the late Middle
Ages and Renaissance.
Since the Renaissance, Spanish handicrafts have partly developed national
versions of the various European styles, often characterized by great ornamental
richness, and partly retained an oriental touch, especially in Andalusia.
This element broke through around 1900, when international currents
in northern Catalonia, with Antoni Gaudí as the main exponent, were also turned
in a national direction. Since the second half of the 20th century, Spain has
distinguished itself internationally with industrial design, furniture and
Spain - literature
Spanish literature includes texts in Castilian, Galician, Catalan and
Basque. For hundreds of years after the Muslim conquest in 711, poetry was also
written in Arabic on the Iberian Peninsula. The literature in Castilian has
since the 1100's. been dominant and is often perceived as the actual Spanish
Spain - Literature (Middle Ages)
The first traces of a literature in Spanish are an expression of a
coexistence between Christians, Muslims and Jews. These are short love poems, jarchas,
which from around the year 1000 were set as a chorus to Arabic and Hebrew poems.
The long Christian conquest took place in the 1100's. his literary monument in
the epic poem Poema del Mío Cid, which in three songs with long,
irregular verses soberly recounts episodes in the life of the Castilian knight
Rodrigo Díaz (see El Cid).
While the wandering jugglers sang the anonymous heroic poems,
it arose in the 1200's. a metric more polished poem in Spanish in the
monasteries. The clerics retold Latin saint legends and other edifying tales in
Spanish Alexandrines, often for the purpose of raising awareness about the
monastery. Gonzalo de Berceo was the first poet to step out of anonymity.
A marked Provencal influence on the earliest poetry began in Catalonia and
spread westward thanks to the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. From
about 1200 to the middle of the 1300-t. was the language of Galician
poetry. At Alfonso 10.s Castilian court was cultivated in the second half of
1200-t. both Provencal and Galician poetry, and the king himself composed
several hundred cantigas in Galician. He also initiated the great
project of gathering the knowledge of the three cultures through the
translations of Christian, Jewish and Arab scholars.
In the first half of the 1300-t. Alfonso X's nephew, Juan
Manuel, developed the worldly edifying prose. His most famous work is the
exemplary tales of El conde Lucanor (1335, Count Lucanor). At the same
time, the priest Juan Ruiz wrote one of the masterpieces of Spanish-language
literature, El libro de buen amor (The Book of Good Love). The long
poem is supposedly about the love of God, but is read as well as a very human
art of love, told with great humor and with apt depictions of the present.
After the epic poems of about 1400 had gone out of fashion, juglares appeared
especially with romances : shorter epic-lyrical poems in easy-going,
eight-syllable verses. They usually tell only fragments of stories and are less
sober than the heroic quatrains. They contain both dramatic events and touching
moods. Romances were to remain popular in the Spanish-speaking world
for millennia. The finest poets have written romances : Góngora, Lope
de Vega, Machado and García Lorca.
From the middle of the 1400's. anthologies with named poets were
published. The anthology Cancionero de Baena in its 600 poems reflects
the transition from Galician to Castilian poetry. The great lyricists of this
period were noble, and the Italian influence is noticeable, especially
on Santillana, while Juan Mena's poetry was also Latin inspired. Jorge
Manrique's famous elegy on the father had more roots in a Spanish tradition.
In 1492, Antonio Nebrija published the first Castilian grammar.
Spain - literature (the golden centuries)
Spain - literature (the golden centuries), 1500's and 1600's. considered the
cultural golden age of Spain. The literature, however, had to conform to a
sometimes strict religious unification and zealous censorship.
A forerunner of the era's massive play production is Fernando de Rojas '
reading drama about La Celestina from 1499. At the same time, the
publication of knightly novels began to become the favorite reading of
the 1500's, such as Joanot Martorell's Tirant lo Blanc (1490) and Garci
Rodríguez of Montalvos Amadís de Gaula (1508); see Amadísridderromaner.
Under Charles V, Spain was open to currents of thought from the
north; Erasmus of Rotterdam thus had followers at and around the court,
including a number of newly converted Jews. The center was the new University of
Alcalá de Henares, home of the Great Polyglot Bible
(1502-17). The Valdés brothers ' dialogues were directly inspired by Erasmus.
The idealization that characterized the knightly novels was found in shepherd
poems and shepherd novels from the 1500's. Among the poets, Garcilaso de la
Vega and Juan Boscán y Almogavér excelled in a successful transplantation of
Italian verse forms, while the most read shepherd novel was Jorge de
Montemayor's Diana (approximately 1559).
Also the "Moorish" novels gave highly idealized images of human nature. The
sharpest possible contrast to this is the realistic and disillusioned picaresque
novels, the best known of which are the anonymous Lazarillo de Tormes (1554), Mateo
Alemán's Guzmán de Alfarache (1599-1604) and Francisco Goméz de Quevedo
y Villegas' El Buscón (1626).
When Spain, with Philip II at the helm of the Counter-Reformation,
the Tridentine Council became decisive. Religious writings were innumerable,
and several had literary value. At the top are the mystics with, for
example, Teresa de Jesús ' heartfelt and eloquent prose and Juan de la
Cruz' subtle and intense poems about the union of the soul with God.
Fray Luis de León longed in her poems away from the tumultuous earthly life
and towards the absolute beauty and love of the kingdom of God. Translation of
the Song of Songs and commentaries on the Latin Bible
translation Vulgate brought him to the prison of the Inquisition.
The play was developed in the 1500's. under the influence of religious
mysteries and Italian commedia dell'arte. The themes, however, were largely
taken from romances and chronicles. Important playwrights from the
1500's. were Juan del Encina, Lope de Rueda and Juan de la Cueva.
At the turn of the century, the play was revolutionized with the Lope de
Vegas comedia nueva. The new theater was in verse, in three acts, with
stories of honor and love preferably from the history of Spain. The units of the
classic did not matter, the tragic and the comic were mixed, and the
performances required a minimum of props. Most dramas were without psychological
and philosophical depth; in return, there were captivating actions and good
portrayals of seats. The prevailing ideology, autocracy and Catholic faith, were
not challenged, but both the nobility and priests were often hung out.
Lope de Vegas' heirs maintained the form, but Tirso de Molina was
significantly more psychologically fine-tuned than Lope and also more critical
of contemporary conditions. He is best known as the supposed creator of the
drama about Don Juan, El Burlador de Sevilla (printed 1630). Ruiz de
Alarcón was sharp in his critique of different types of characters that were
frequent at the time. With him began a certain distance to Lope's formula.
After 1630, Pedro Calderón de la Barca was the leading playwright. Especially
the German romantics made him the main exponent of the Spanish comedia. No
one is like him penetrated into the psychological depths of the central themes
of love, honor and power.
In Calderón's era, the popular theater houses corrales got their
competitor in the hip theater, where a giant machinery was established, and
where song and ballet became integral parts of the play. Calderón and other of
the great playwrights also wrote religious plays, autos sacramentales,
for performance inside or outside the churches.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra did not receive the status of Lope de Vega and
Calderón alive. His plays were written in the Latin tradition and were not a
success. The shepherd novel La Galatea (1585) could probably assert
itself in its genre, but it is the novel about the idealistic Don Quixote (1605)
and his down-to-earth gunman Sancho Panza that has earned him the place at the
top of the parnassus. It was especially the knightly novels that were to be
caricatured and made responsible for all the ills of all time, incl. the
protagonist's distorted perception of reality.
However, the two volumes contain all the prose genres: shepherd novel,
Moorish novel and, of course, knight novel. Especially in part 2 (1615) are the
features that were to become constitutive of the novel genre. All layers of
Spanish society are turned upside down, not with blackness as in the picaresque
novels, but with humor and satire.
Poetry developed in two directions: a popular tradition and a new artful
one. Both directions can be found in Luis de Góngora y Argote, who, alongside
traditional romances and villancicos with national motifs,
wrote baroque poetry for the initiates, with condensed metaphors, difficult
syntax and ideal references to classical mythology.
He had a declared opponent in Francisco Goméz de Quevedo y Villega, who
defended the clarity of thought and language, both in poem and prose. The
concepts of culteranismo vs. conceptismo often refers to the
difference between the two directions. The sharpest theorist of the period
was Baltasar Gracián, who also wrote significant treatises on power and
Spain - literature (1700's and 1800's)
Spain - literature (1700's and 1800's), 1700's.
Already at Calderón's death in 1681, the golden age was heading
towards epigoneri. The economic deroute that had plagued the Habsburgs now
spread to the literature. It is especially the learned prose that can assert
itself. Benito Jerónimo Feijoo (1676-1764) combated narrow-mindedness and
prejudice in a large number of essays and tried to introduce new European
ideas. Literary innovations were few: several playwrights confessed to
depictions of folk life, but otherwise the scenes were dominated by French
neoclassicism with Fernández Moratín as the leading figure.
The romance came late and did not reach the same height as the Baroque. The
Duke of Rivas' (1791-1865) play Don Álvaro, o la fuerza del sino (1835)
is considered the pinnacle of romance, while the most popular poet of the time
was José Zorrilla, who also as a playwright gained a large audience with his Don
Juan Tenorio (1844). Gustavo Adolfo Bécquers Rimas (1871) is
considered the finest collection of poems in post-romanticism.
1800's realism got its most prominent representative in Pérez Galdós, who in
46 novels, Episodios nacionales, gave a critical review of Spain's
recent history. In addition, he wrote a number of widely read - and later filmed
- novels against religious intolerance and narrow-mindedness. In his late books,
Galdós was influenced by French naturalism. Also Emilia Pardo Bazán hailed most
of Zola's views in his novels about life in Galicia.
Spain - Literature (1898-1936)
Following the loss in 1898 of Spain's last overseas possessions, the
Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico, a literary development followed, triggered by
defeat and the pressing question of Spanish identity. Spain was definitely no
longer a world empire, but a country among others, and the writers of the
so-called 98th generation took an already long-held notion of Spanish greatness
up for revision in the light of the national tragedy. Common to their expression
is the simple language that distances itself from official, bloated rhetoric and
the associated ideals.
The critical reassessment of Spanish identity, not least in relation to the
rest of Europe, manifested itself in different genres. Thus in Antonio
Machado's painful, introverted poetry, Pío Baroja's skin- braiding novels
and Miguel de Unamuno's cultural philosophy with the main work Del
sentimiento trágico de la vida (1913, then The Tragic Sense of Life,
1925), where Europe and Spain, rationality and religiosity, are confronted..
Simultaneously with the existential considerations of the 98th generation, an
internationally oriented, form-cultivating and experimental modernism, inspired
by the primus engine of Latin American modernism, the Nicaraguan poet Rubén
Darío, who in turn was influenced by currents in European literature, in
particular French symbolism, was introduced. The main figure in Spanish
modernism is Ramón del Valle-Inclán, who with its grotesquely deforming
drama broke with the previous tradition.
Early modernism is the forerunner of the avant-garde movements that
characterized the flourishing development of the 1920's and first half of the
1930's with numerous manifestos and in close harmony with European currents such
as Expressionism, Futurism, Surrealism and Dadaism. In 1925, the
philosopher Ortega y Gasset published La deshumanización del arte (Da. Man's
Expulsion from Art, 1945), in which he pays homage to free artistic
expression and takes the side of the avant-garde.
There was an intense intellectual and artistic environment during this
period, around the student house Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, where
the young artists of the time moved. In 1927, the 300th anniversary of the death
of the Baroque poet Luis de Góngora y Argote was celebrated at a meeting
where Federico García Lorca gave a lecture on the poetic metaphor. It became the
mark of the 27th generation, which with writers such as Lorca and Rafael
Alberti is a highlight in 1900's Spanish poetry, for example with Lorca's Romancero
Gitano (1933, then Gypsy Ballads, 1952) and Albertis Sobre
los ángeles (1929, then. About the angels, 1988). Federico García
Lorca also made a name for himself as a poetic playwright with his surrealistic
farces and fateful tragedies.
Spain - Literature (1936-75)
The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 left a decisive mark on the literature of the
century. This applies both immediately in the contemporary world, where the
authors chose side, and many gave their political commitment literary
expression, in propagandistic poetry and theater for use at the front, and
in the time during and after Franco, when war was a recurring theme.
Franco's takeover in 1939 stubbornly persecuted anyone considered a potential
danger to the system. For literature, as for cultural life in general, it had
serious and far-reaching consequences. The vast majority of the writers who had
contributed to the previous literary development were opponents of the Franco
regime, and several had to flee as their only means of survival. Sharp state
censorship of new Spanish literature was introduced, as well as a ban on the
sale of foreign and older Spanish literature, which was thought to have a
controversial content in relation to the official ideology, and which only a
few, literally death-defying booksellers had in the back room. The Spanish
writers who remained in Spain were thus relegated to artistic isolation.
This minimization of resources was the starting point for the literature
under Franco. The situation softened somewhat over time, censorship was eased
and isolation was slowly broken, not least under pressure from abroad, on which
Spain was economically dependent. But there was at no time freedom of speech,
and the whole period is marked by numerous restrictions and interventions in
literary life. Under these conditions, many writers imposed self-censorship that
limited artistic expression. At the same time, significant works by authors such
as Rafael Alberti, Fernando Arrabal, Arturo Barea and Ramón J. Sender were
written in exile.
In the 1940's, two notable novels signaled the critical view of Spanish
society that came to characterize the novel of the following decades: Camilo
José Celas La familia de Pascual Duarte (1942, then 1950) and Carmen
Laforet's Nada (1945, then. Nothing, 1997). Within the
theater, Buero Vallejo's socio-critical drama Historia de una escalera(1949,
The Story of a Staircase) a milestone. However, it was especially the intense
activity in poetry that marked the decade. In many of the poets, a return to
classical verse forms is seen, which distinguishes them from previous form
experiments, and an existentially searching, often religious tone characterizes
large parts of poetry. A masterpiece in the poetry of the decade is Dámaso
Alonso's Hijos de la ira (1944, Sons of Wrath).
In the 1950's, prose is predominantly characterized by realistic,
disillusioned depictions in a single language without narrative refinements,
often based on the authors' own childhood experiences during the Civil War and
in the post-war period. A central work is Juan Goytisolo's novel Duelo en el
paraíso (1955, da. Sorrow in Paradise, 1961), which depicts
children's atrocities as a reflection of the adults during the war. Other
significant novelists and short story writers are Ignacio Aldecoa, Jesús
Fernández Santos (1926-88), Juan García Hortelano (1928-92) and Ana María
Matute. Characteristic of the efforts to uncover social reality are also the
many travelogues from traditionally unnoticed areas in the Spanish province,
where the conditions of existence assume extreme expressions. Notable
playwrights who during this period relate directly or indirectly to the
political and social situation are Alfonso Sastre and Buero Vallejo. In poetry,
the intimate tone of the 1940's continues, at the same time as one becomes
increasingly socially critical, as in Jesús López Pacheco (1930-1997).
The committed depiction of reality continued through the 1960's in prose,
poetry and drama, in some of the above authors as well as more recent, but
in parallel with radical innovations. A milestone is Luis Martin Santos' novel Tiempo
de silencio (1962, then The Time of Silence, 1970), which, in
continuation of the 1950's realists, exposes ugly aspects in all layers of
Spanish society, but adds an ironic, philosophical perspective and an
associative style reminiscent of stream of consciousness. Another line is
signaled by Juan Benet, which clearly distances itself from realism and social
engagement with novels characterized by the dissolution of time and space and
the absence of narrative with immediate reference to reality. In poetry, Carlos
Barral (1928-89) and Manuel Caballero Bonald (b. 1926) distanced themselves from
the socially engaged trend.
The first half of the 1970's is characterized for prose by a series of works
in continuation of Juan Benet, which did not resonate outside a narrow, elitist
inner circle. Within the theater, Francisco Nieva, with his antipsychological,
carnivalesque "Teatro furioso" (The Furious Theater), represents a strong
reaction to traditional theater realism. As far as poetry is concerned, 1970 is
a year that marks a break with José María Castellet's (1926-2014) anthology Nueve
novísimos poetas españoles (Nine Brand New Spanish Poets), in which
Pedro Gimferrer (b. 1945), Manuel Vázquez Montalbánand Leopoldo María
Panero (1909-62) are presented. Common to the new poets is the distance to
poetic tradition and the enforcement of poetry as an autonomous expression that
is independent of the current historical context.
Spain - literature (time after 1975)
The year of Franco's death and the beginning of the transition to democracy,
was of course also for literature a landmark year that heralded freedom of
speech and the fall of old taboos. In the same year, Eduardo Mendoza published
the crime novel La verdad sobre el caso Savolta (The Truth About
the Savolta Case, 1990), a huge narrative work on politics and financial intrigue in
Barcelona in the second decade of the century, marking a clear break with the
elitist novel. The narrative element and the reference to a concrete, past or
present reality are features that recur in a large number of Spanish prose
writers from the mid-1970's and on through the 1980's and 1990's.
The reality referred to is not least the contemporary in Spain. The country
underwent a rapid modernization, which at the political, social and private
level led to frustrations and confusion in the midst of the newly gained
freedom, and many writers dealt, with different points of departure and
expressions, with these conditions in their works. This applies, for example,
to Rosa Montero in the novel Crónica del desamor (1979, da. The Decline
of Love, 1984), which paved the way for extensive, open-mouthed and
critical women's literature. A recurring theme is also the
confrontation with the past - childhood, the family and its ghosts - and the
attempt to integrate a cognition of it into a contemporary consciousness, such
as in Antonio Muñoz Molina's novel El jinete polaco(1991, then. The
Polish Rider, 1996). Other significant prose writers in the period
include Julio Llamazares, Javier Marías, José Maria Merino, Juan José Juan
José Millás, Ana Maria Moix and Soledad Puértolas. The novel's production
since 1975 is extremely extensive and characterized by great variety,
thematically and formally. A characteristic trend of changing narrators,
combined text types, and play on intertextual references took hold in the 1980's
Poetry offers a wide range of diverse endeavors, including in continuation of
the tendencies of the early 1970's, but also in other directions. Many poets
reflect the immediate life situation in a single language, others are highly
aestheticizing and return to classical Spanish forms. Prominent names
include García Montero (b. 1958) as well as Blanca Andreu (b. 1959) and Ana
Rossetti (b. 1950), representing the strong influences of female poets of the
Spain - theater
Spanish theater has its roots in both ecclesiastical and secular phenomena in
the Middle Ages: partly dramatizations of the Catholic liturgy, which was
performed by priests and choir boys at the fair, partly burlesque plays
performed by wandering jugglers. With the growth of cities, the theater was
physically instituted as part of city life, with patios (the inner courtyard
area between the houses) being equipped with stage and spectator seats, corrales that
formed the framework of 1500's and 1600's intense theater activity and anticipated
the construction of actual theater buildings. Calderón and Lope de Vega were
leading playwrights during this period, when the theater enjoyed great
popularity and strengthened the national consciousness.
The theater has been subject to changing, politically conditioned
conditions. During the Republic of the 1930's, García Lorca played a central
role, both as an innovative playwright and as the director of the touring
University Theater La Barraca, which brought older and newer drama out to a
large, popular audience. The Franco era was marked by the exile of many artists
and by the harsh censorship of state censorship against controversial
playwrights, theaters and critics, with consequent self-censorship. The terms posibilismo ('the
art of the possible') and imposibilismo ('the art of the impossible'),
which arose in a polemic between the playwrights Buero Vallejo and Alfonso
Sastre, was indicative of the ideological schism of the theater under
Franco. Within the theater, the greatest innovation since 1975 is not to be
found in the playwrights, but in the often almost wordless theater with ongoing
visual effects cultivated by groups such as La Cuadra, Els Comediants and La
Fura dels Baus.
Following the transition to democracy, Spanish theater is in a new situation,
providing space for experimental and provocative productions, international
festivals and open debate on the theatre's goals and means. Both the Central
Administration of Madrid and the Administration of the Autonomous Regions
provide around 2000 support for the financing of a wide range of theater
Spain - dance
Traditional dance occurs in both ritual and social contexts. The ritual
dances are often performed by men, and they may be associated with religious
celebrations or symbolize struggle or courtship; items such as swords, sticks,
scarves and masks are often included. Best known are the sword dance from
Galicia and the stick dance baile de Ibio from Cantabria. At
festivities (fiestas), circle dances are performed such as sardana from
Catalonia or resbalosa from Castile. The pair dances jota, fandango and seguidilla
are performed to alternating instrumental and vocal music. Jota, who is
from Aragon, is also danced in Navarre, Castile and Valencia.
The Andalusian dance flamenco is one of the most famous Spanish
dances with roots in several cultures. Fandangoen, which is a variant
of flamenco, found in many local variants: Rondeña, malagueña and Granadina. Seguidillas,
which are in moderate tempo and three-part tempo, are danced in the areas around
La Mancha, Murcia and Seville. In Ibiza and Mallorca, la llarga (the
long one) and la curta (the short one) are danced with large castanets.
As stage dance has Spanish dance in the 1900's. especially influenced by
stand-alone dance choreographers such as La Argentina (1890-1936), Pilar López
(1912-2008), José Greco (1918-2000), Antonio Gades (1936-2004) and others who
created their own companies. In 1978, the Spanish Ministry of Culture founded
the Ballet Nacional Español, which dances classical Spanish and flamenco, and
the following year came the Ballet Nacional Clásico, which dances classical
ballet; In 1983, the two companies were merged under the name Ballet Nacional de
España. In 1990, Nacho Duato became the companies' ballet master, and he has
given the national ballet a new identity by mixing the classical, the modern and
the popular Spanish style. In the 1990's, a new generation of modern flamenco
artists was seen, whose training is inspired by ballet, jazz and modern dance.
Spain - music
Spain has a rich and long-lasting musical tradition that can be traced back
to the introduction of Christianity in the 300's.
Until approximately 1750
With the introduction of Christianity on the Iberian Peninsula in the
300-t. a local church musical form emerged, which under Muslim rule developed
into the so-called Mozarabic tradition. Important centers of church
music were Seville and Toledo, whose bishop Isidor has left behind writings with
numerous information about the local rite.
Spanish culture, including music, was strongly influenced by the Muslims
until their expulsion in 1492. Among other things. originated under oriental
inspiration a number of dance and music forms that came from Spain to the
countries north of the Pyrenees, eg sarabande and pavane. A
number of these local forms of music are still found in Spanish folk music, such
as flamenco and seguidilla, both of Andalusian origin.
After the Toledo conquest by the Muslims in 1085, the Mozarabic church music
tradition was supplanted by Gregorian chant, for whose development in the
direction of polyphony the monastery of Santiago de Compostela came to play a
significant role in the 1200's. At the same time, French troubadours often
performed in Spain, where they got local imitators, King Alfonso X, author
of the song Cantigas de Santa María; the song form cantiga was
developed on the basis of the French virelai. Many local one- and polyphonic
songs have also been handed down in manuscripts from the 1200's and 1300's.
The vocal polyphony and the Franco-Dutch tradition were represented in Spain
by a number of prominent composers who at times worked in Rome. Among them
are Cristóbal de Morales, Francisco Guerrero (1528-99) and Tomás Luis de
Victoria, all three of whom stayed in Rome for a shorter or longer period; the
latter returned to Spain in 1586 after 20 years as a singer and composer in the
Italian capital, where he may have received instruction from Palestrina, to work
as a priest, organist and conductor at the Spanish court.
In the 1500's. music for organ and harpsichord was also cultivated, especially
by the blind Antonio de Cabezón, whose style influenced subsequent generations
of composers, including Juan Cabanilles (1644-1712) and Antonio Soler.
The dramatic music came in the mid-1600's. to Spain, where a special form
arose, zarzuela, named after a castle near Madrid. In contrast to the
opera, it is characterized by having spoken dialogue and by the text's
consistently high literary quality. During the 1700's. this specifically Spanish
genre was gradually supplanted by operas written in the Neapolitan style.
After approximately 1750
In the mid-1800's. the zarzuela genre experienced renewed popularity, and it
managed to assert its position in Spanish musical drama into the 1900's. Among
the most important zarzuela composers of this period were Francisco Asenjo
Barbieri (1823-94) with the early Gloria y peluca (1850) and Tomás
Bretón (1850-1923) with La verbena de la paloma (1897).
In Spanish instrumental music in the 1700's. two foreigners made a name for
themselves as court musicians: Domenico Scarlatti, who wrote most of his
sonatas for harpsichord during his stay in Spain from 1729 until his death in
1757, and Luigi Boccherini, who from 1769 until his death in 1805 lived in
Spain, where he composed a large part of his instrumental music. In the early
1800's. guitar virtuoso Fernando Sor marked himself as a composer of numerous
works. They form part of the classical guitar repertoire, which was later
expanded by Francisco Tárrega. In the 1900's. has guitar virtuoso Andrés
Segovia managed to pull the classical guitar forward by transcribing
compositions for the instrument as well as commissioning and premiere works for
In the late 1800's. and the beginning of the 1900-t. a growing national
consciousness arose in Spanish music, nurtured by the studies of Spanish
folklore and the teaching carried out by the musicologist Felipe Pedrell
(1841-1922) from the 1870's. This "renaissance" was reflected in music with
characteristic national features such as piano works by pianists Isaac
Albéniz and Enrique Granados, later with Joaquín Turina, Federico Mompou
(1893-1987) and Joaquín Rodrigo. The latter's Concierto de Aranjuez (1939)
for guitar and orchestra stands as a popular exponent of this direction.
The most important Spanish composer in the first half of the
1900's. was Manuel de Falla, whose stage works (the opera La vida breve,
1904, the ballets El amor brujo, 1915 and El sombrero de tres
picos, 1919) earned him international fame. These works are an expression
of the national style, but with their impressionist features they also bear the
mark of de Falla's study stay in Paris. In later works, the harpsichord
concerto (1926), de Falla approaches the neoclassic.
At Franco's takeover, a number of musicians and composers fled,
including Roberto Gerhard, who was a student of both Pedrell and Arnold
Schönberg. Like his student Joaquim Homs Oller (1906-2003), Gerhard used
twelve-tone technique. After World War II, several groups of composers have
distinguished themselves. Grupo Nueva Música (1958) had the music critic Enrique
Franco as one of its leading members and also spoke, among other things. Luis de
Pablo (b. 1930) and Cristóbal Halffter. Later groups include Actum (1973), which
has cultivated post-serial techniques and minimalism, as well as the studies
Alea (1965) and Phonos (1973), whose aim has been the spread of electroacoustic
music. A number of students by José Soler (b. 1935) have distinguished
themselves in the 1980's and 1990's, Albert Sardà (b. 1943), Miquel Roger
(1954-2017), Juan José Olives (b. 1951), Benet Casablancas (b. 1956) and Agustín
Charles (b. 1960).
Spanish folk music is rich in variety. Over time, numerous cultures,
including Celtic, Arabic, Oriental, Visigothic and French, exerted influence on
sub-areas, and the resulting regional differences can still be found in the
local forms of music.
However, there are also consistent features in Spanish folk music, especially
in the modal folk song; everywhere a simple, 2- to 4-tone song type is
cultivated, most often in free rhythm, in some places with the hint of a
relation to Gregorian chant. In folk music, characteristic percussion
instruments are used, not least castanets, rattle instruments and a large
selection of different drums.
Guitar or smaller forms of it are included everywhere in Spain together with
different types of flutes, pito and flaviol and shawm -
and brass wind instruments. Smaller or larger ensembles accompany the local
dances and songs.
Developments in Spanish rock and pop music are closely linked to the
country's political and social development. From acting as the valve of the
youth under Franco's dictatorship in the 1960's, music came to accompany the
beginning process of democratization of the 1970's along with punk and the
Spanish phenomenon cantautores; singers who wrote their own highly
political songs, such as Joan Manuel Serrat (b. 1943).
In parallel, pop singers such as Julio Iglesias gained great popularity. From
the early 1980's, several new trends emerged such as the creative culture wave La
movida that spread in Madrid. In the new democracy, art and thus also music
should be provocative; heavy metal was in, and a group like Alaska y los
Pegamoides became very popular with its special kind of pop.
In addition, flamenco rock or flamenco pop became widespread; here the
musicians seek back to their roots and the genre is inextricably linked to
Spain. Among the most prominent flamenco pop groups is Ketama.
Like the rest of the West, Spain in the 1990's was characterized by both
traditional rock, techno and rap, to which are added pop singers such as
Enrique Iglesias (b. 1975), who with his English-language recordings continues
in the footsteps of his father, Julio Iglesias. Cantautores also
survives, but the political protests of the texts are toned down in favor of a
more lyrical content.
Spain - film
The pioneer of Spanish fiction film was Fructuoso Gelabert (1874-1955), who
began his major production with Riña en un café (1897, Café
Slagsmaal). Until the First World War, high-sounding historical dramas
were made, as in French film d'art.
In the 1920's, several film companies were established, which had success
with silent film versions of popular zarzuela singing games. With the sound film
came many American-produced Spanish editions of popular Hollywood films. In the
years around the introduction of the 2nd Republic in 1931, a realistic film
style gradually began to gain ground, for example in Florián Reys' (1894-1962)
rural drama La aldea maldita (1929, The Damned Village)
and Luis Buñuel's documentary Las hurdes (1932).) about the miserable
conditions of the peasants of a village.
During the Civil War of 1936-39, film production continued; Benito Perojo
(1894-1974) made nationalist melodramas in Berlin such as El barbero de
Sevilla (1938, The Barber of Seville), and on the Republican
side, the Dutchman Joris Ivens (1898-1989) created the documentary classic
Spanish Earth (1937).
In 1941-75, the film was completely under Francostat's control. Only
Spanish-language movies were allowed, and dubbing became common practice. In
1947, the first Spanish film school was established, which became the hotbed of
Spanish neorealism, led by Luis-García Berlanga with the socially satirical Bienvenido,
Mr. Marshall (1952, Welcome, Mr. Marshall) and Calabuch (1956,
The Professor takes a day off) and Juan Antonio Bardem with the
trilogy Cómicos (1953, Comedians), Muerte de un ciclista (1955, The
Death of a Cyclist) and Calle Mayor (1956, The big street).
Censorship did not initially see the blasphemy in Buñuel's nun portrait Viridiana (1961),
which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. In 1968, Carlos Saura got the Silver
Bear in Berlin with Peppermint frappé (1967, The Poisonous Green
Drink), which was partly influenced by Buñuel and partly by the absurdist
art tradition esperpento. Since then, Saura's style has become more stringent
with films such as Cría cuervos (1976, The Spanish Raven) and
the dance film trilogy Bodas de sangre (1981, Blood Wedding), Carmen (1983)
and El amor brujo (1986, The Dance of Fire).
The allegorical form, which was necessary in the Franco era, the so-called estética
franquista 'frankistic aesthetics', also characterized film modernists such
as Victor Erice (b. 1940) with El espíritu de la colmena (1973, The Spirit
in the City) and continued after the democracy reintroduction of e.g.
Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón (b. 1942) with Demonios en el jardin (1982, The
Demons in the Garden) and Vicente Aranda (b. 1926) with Amantes (1991, The
In the 1980's, a number of films based on famous literary originals came out,
such as Mario Camus (b. 1935) La colmena (1982, The Beehive)
and Los santos inocentes (1984, The Saints Simple) after
novels by resp. Camilo José Cela and Miguel Delibes. José Luis Garcis (b.
1944) Volver a empezar (1982, Let's start fresh) and Fernando
Truebas' (b. 1955) Belle époque (1993) won Oscars in respectively. 1983
Most international attention, however, has been given to Pedro
Almodóvar's manner-erotic farces, Mujeres al bord de un ataque de nervios (1988, Women
on the Brink of a Nervous Breakdown) and ¡Átame! (1990, Bind
Me, Love Me!), And he won an Oscar for the more subdued Todo sobre mi
madre (1999, All About My Mother).
Among other popular names is the Chilean-born Alejandro Amenábar (b. 1972),
who has made an impression with Abre los ojos (1997, Open Your
Eyes), the English-language horror The Others (2001) and the
euthanasia drama Mar adentro (2004, My Inner Sea).
Democracy has revived film production in Catalonia, which accounts for 20-30%
of Spain's film production, and in the Basque Country, where Spain's largest
film festival is held, and which traditionally has a high level of artistic
ambition with directors such as Julio Medem (b. 1958) making La ardilla roja (1993, The
Red Squirrel), and Imanol Uribe (b. 1950) with Extraños (1998, Strangers).
Spain - cuisine
The Spanish cuisine varies with the local climatic conditions as well as the
presence of ingredients. The northern provinces are known for solid bean
dishes, spicy sausages (chorizo), fresh seafood, while ice-cooled
coffee and cold soup (gazpacho) are increasingly consumed in the warm
central and southern Spain. The regions each have their own regional dishes or
regional versions of the dishes, such as the clipfish dish bacalao,
the rice dish paella and the omelette tortilla, just as the
composition of tapas varies.
In general, Spanish food is coarse and simply cooked, rich in vegetables,
fruits, bread, fish, meat and spices. Cooked dishes, estofado,
are widespread and olive oil is indispensable. In Extremadura in southwestern
Spain, cork oak is grown, whose acorns are food for the local Iberian pig breed
and are said to give flavor to the famous salted and dried hams jamón
serrano and jamón ibérico, which are eaten throughout Spain and
which in recent years have a place in the international gastronomic world.
Spanish cuisine was shaped into what we know today when the Arabs in the
700-t. conquered the country and installed the first irrigation systems, which
enabled the Spaniards to cultivate land that had previously been barren and
desolate. Crops such as citrus fruits, figs, dates, apricots, sugar cane, rice
and eggplants became widely available, and the dried fruits in dried version as
well as nuts and many spices (cloves, cinnamon, saffron and especially nutmeg)
are today frequent ingredients in Spanish cooking. With the discovery of America
came tomatoes and peppers, which today are the basis of numerous Spanish dishes,
as well as cocoa, beans, corn and the indispensable potato.
Spain - wine
Spain is the world's third largest wine producer (after Italy and France) and
produced 1995-99 approximately 34 mio. hl of wine a year. With 1.4 million. ha, Spain
has the world's largest wine area, but the dry climate in most areas gives a
very small yield.
"For a Spanish wine to be worth drinking, red wine must be from Rioja, white
wine from Penedès and rosé from Navarra," the Spaniards themselves said
earlier. But since the 1980's, there has been a minor revolution, as many
cooperatives have acquired state-of-the-art equipment, and fermentation in
stainless steel tanks now preserves the fruit and aroma of the grapes in the
wines. It has improved the previously heavy, oxygenated and alcoholic wines from
La Mancha, Alicante and Valencia, which were previously mostly used for blending
or distilling for brandy. This is particularly the La Mancha green grape Airen which
covers 1/3 of the total Spain crops of vines.
The best and most famous wines are grown in the northern part of the
country. In Galicia, fresh and crisp white wines are made from the albariño grape,
a variety of Riesling. Tempranillo is Spain's finest blue
grape, and it characterizes the best red wines from Rioja, Toro and the new
super district Ribera del Duero. This is where the country's usually finest
wine, Vega Sicilia, comes from, but the Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck (b. 1962)
made the first "Dominio de Pingus" in 1995, a cult wine which is now the most
expensive from Spain. In Rioja, tempranillo is often mixed with garnacha,
the country's most planted blue grape, which gives warmth and fullness to the
Wines from Spain became seriously famous around 1970, when Miguel Torres (b.
1941) from Penedès won in major international tastings and introduced French
Following Spain's accession to the EU, the country's wine law has been
brought in line with the French one. approximately 50 districts have the status of DO,
Denominación de Origen, while Rioja as the only area so far in 1991 became DOCa,
where Ca stands for Calificada. In just a few years, Spain has more than doubled
its exports to Denmark and in 1999 accounted for 20% of our wine consumption.