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Geography & Topography

Capital: Madrid

Population: 47,265,321 people

Area: 505,992 km2   

Language: Spanish, Basque, Catalan, Galician, Occitan

Ethnic Groups: Basque

Religion: Christian (61.1%), No Religion (22.3%), Other (7.2%)

Currency: Euro










Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and has a population of 46 million people. Distinct traditional regional identities within Spain include the Basques, Catalans, Galicians and Castilians. The languages of these regions have been declared co-official with Spanish, which is spoken all over the country and is also the world’s second most spoken first language. Native Spaniards make up 88% of the total population of Spain, and immigrants who make up the other 12% originate mainly from Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Roman Catholicism has long been the main religion of Spain.

Performing Arts


Until recently the main styles of music played in Spain were classical, flamenco and folk music, although today pop, rock, hip hop, heavy metal and techno are also popular.

The most recognizable instruments in traditional Spanish music are:


Guitar, developed from the Spanish Vihuela, a guitar-like instrument in the 15th and 16th centuries


Guitar: The modern classical guitar was developed from the Spanish vihuela, a guitar-like instrument of the 15th and 16th Centuries. The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually constructed in wood and played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached.


Galician Gaita, traditional Spanish bagpipes

Galician gaita: The Galician gaita is a traditional bagpipe of the Galicia and Asturias regions in Spain, and northern Portugal. The Galician gaita has a conical chanter and a bass drone with a second octave, and it may have one or two additional drones. In recent years Galician pipe bands playing these instruments have become popular.



Castanets, a percussion instrument often used in Spanish folk music

Castanets: Castanets are a percussion instrument used to accompany the jota; an up tempo folk song which originates from the North-eastern region of Aragon. Castanets are a pair of concave shells, traditionally made from hardwood, joined on one edge by string. Castanets are held in the hand and used to produce clicks. A player usually uses two pairs of castanets.


Some interesting facts:

  • In Spain, most stores and workplaces close so people can have a siesta; a short nap taken in the early afternoon, often after the midday meal.
  • Recent Spanish films awarded Oscars include Pan’s Labyrinth and Volver.
  • On 1 January 2002, Spain ceased to use the Peseta as currency replacing it with the Euro.

Spanish community in Australia: