- a country in SW Europe, occupying the greater part of the Iberian peninsula; population 40,525,000 (est. 2009); languages, Spanish (official), Catalan; capital, Madrid. Spanish name España.
Spain was dominated by the Moors from about 718 until the rise of independent Christian kingdoms, notably Aragon and Castile; the last Moorish stronghold, Granada, was won back in the late 15th century. Under the Habsburg kings of the 16th century Spain became the dominant European power, building up a huge empire in America and elsewhere; most of this was lost in the early 19th century. The Spanish Civil War (1936-9) was followed by the establishment of a Fascist dictatorship under General Franco; after his death in 1975 a constitutional monarchy was re-established. Spain became a member of the EC in 1986