84 Interesting Facts About Spain

Last updated on September 20th, 2017

Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain, is a country in southwestern Europe. When one thinks about Spain, many people tend to think about the national soccer team. However, the truth is that Spain is known for so much more than just a simple, yet undefeated soccer team.

Spain is surrounded by a rich culture, interesting people, and various touristy places that will capture any one’s attention no matter their age. Here are 84 interesting facts about Spain that tend to be either unknown or are ignored by many.

Historical Facts

#1. Constitutional Monarchy: As history would dictate it, Spain is one of the oldest constitutional monarchies in the world. Spain’s former king, King Juan Carlos I came to power after General Franco – a ruthless dictator, died in 1975. Presently, former King Juan Carlos I abdicated his throne to his son. As of 2014, King Felipe VI is the new king of Spain.

#2. The first ‘novel’ is attributed to a Spaniard: Spanish author, Cervantes’ is known for his Don Quixote novel which was written in 1605. Don Quixote is considered to be one of the first modern novels.

#3. Spain has 44 World Heritage Sites: all throughout Spain, there are several pre-historic rock art, historic cities and buildings. Additionally, there are also bridges, national parks and landscapes. Originally, Spain was known as Iber.

#4. Spain’s connection to the modern stapler: According to records, the first known stapler was made in the 18th century in the Basque country for the French King Louis XV.

#5. Contribution to modern society: Spain is responsible for giving the world the mop and bucket. This occurred in 1856.

#6. Developed cigarettes: the precedent to the modern cigarettes, which was developed around the 17th century was first developed in Spain.

#7. Spain’s contribution to space exploration: The first astronaut’s space suit was developed in Spain in 1935.

#8. Wind power and electricity: Red Eléctrica de España (REE), is one of the main operators of the electrical system in Spain.

#9. Spain’s contribution to the arts: Some of the most renowned artist that have impacted today’s knowledge in the arts include Valázquez from the 17th century, Goya from the 18th and 19th centuries to Picasso, Miró and Dali throughout the 20th century.

#10. Spain attraction to old cuisine: Guinness World Records awarded the title of oldest restaurant to El Restaurante Botín, which originally opened in 1725 and continues to be open today.

#11. The Spanish civil war (1936-1939)–was an armed conflict between the Republicans and Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco–killed over 500,000 people.

#12.  In A.D. 711 Muslims from Africa invaded Spain.

#13. Valencia – the third-largest city in Spain, was once under Muslim control for five centuries.

Map of Spain with bordering countries
Map of Spain with bordering countries.

Spanish Culture

#14. Nudity is legal in Spain: Unlike other countries in the Mediterranean coast, Spain is known for providing nude beaches for those who do not want to wear bathing suits or bikinis while attending the beach on hot summer days.

#15. Spain’s high life expectancy: Those who live in Spain are said to have a life expectancy of 82 years. This is after Switzerland, Italy and Japan. Overall Spain ranks 15th in the world for longest life expectancy. Additionally, Spanish women are said to live longer than men: 85 compared to 79 years.

#16. Will Spain be the world’s oldest country by 2050? According to census statistics, Spain has 40 percent of the population aged over 60 years.

#17. Limited after-school care: In Spain, about 25% of all grandparents are known to take care of their grandchildren every day since there are not that many after-school care opportunities.

#18. Spaniards love to hang out: On average, Spaniards are known to spend approximately 16 out of every 24 hours laying around, eating, drinking (including alcoholic beverages) and sleeping. There is nothing better than taking a Siesta! After lunch.

#19. No tooth fairy in Spain: Just as any other child in the world, Spanish kids place their fallen teeth under their pillow right before they go to sleep. However, unlike American children who are visited by the tooth fairy, Spanish children are visited by El Ratoncito Perez, who brings them a gift in exchange for their tooth. In Spain, kids typically have their father’s and mother’s last names.

#20. Age of consent lowest in the world: Back in the day, Spanish law claimed that the age of consent for sexual intercourse was 13 while the legal age for marriage was 14. As of today, Spanish law has changed. That being said, the age of consent and legal marriage age have been changed to 16.

#21. The Spanish and their views on same sex marriage: As of 2010, 80 percent of Spanish citizens claimed that gay, lesbian, and any other individual who does not fall under the “norm” when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation, has the right to live their lives as they please without being controlled by those in power.

#22. The Spanish national football team: La Roja, La Furia Roja, La Furia Española, or La Furia, are some of the many names awarded to the Spanish National Team. From 2008 to 2013, Spain holds a total of 28 wins, which makes it the longest world record for winning the most consecutive competitive matches.

#23. The ‘Tomatina’ (the world’s biggest food fight) and the ‘Running of the Bulls’ (six bulls chase people) are two of the most famous Spanish festivals.

Flag of Spain

Flag of Spain
Flag of Spain. Source – CIA

Fun Facts

#24. The Puerta del Sol “Gate of the Sun” located in Madrid, is directly in the center of the country.

#25. The national anthem of Spain has no words.

#26. Would you believe that a 47-story skyscraper in Spain has no elevator?

#27. Spanish rice is unknown in Spain.

#28. Roman walls surround the old Spanish city of Tarragona on three of its four sides.

#29. Spain was accidentally invaded by Britain in 2002 when the British marines disembarked in Spain instead of Gibraltar. However, the invasion happened briefly for a period of 5 minutes and no harm was done.

#30. Prostitution in Spain is not illegal but profiting from the sale of sex by another is. Moreover, prostitutes in Spain were ordered to wear florescent vests for their safety on road while touting for customers.

#31. During the New Year, Spaniards typically eat twelve grapes as the bell is going down on the midnight of December 31. Some believe that this leads to a year of prosperity while others say that the tradition wards away witches and general evil.

#32. In 2000, Spain’s Paralympic basketball team had to return their gold medals after it was found that 10 of the 12-strong squad suffered no handicap.

#33. Almost 700 people in a town of Spain share their surname “Japon”.

#34. There are two names given in Spanish to the Spanish language: español (“Spanish”) and castellano (“Castilian”).

#35. The U.S. has more Spanish speakers than Spain.

#36. Did you know that Spain did not participate in either the first or second world war.

#37. A Zipline connects Spain and Portugal. It only takes 60 seconds to cross the border on this Zipline. It is built on a river, 150 meters wide, between the two countries.

The Zipline connecting Spain and Portugal
View of the Zipline connecting Spain and Portugal. Image credit – F Delventhal

#38. Remember that there are at least 410 million native Spanish speaking people in Spain.

#39. It is illegal in Spain to name a kid: Judas, Cain or Mandarina. These are the names of fruits and hence not suitable for a human being.

#40. Anyone daring to walk the streets of downtown Palma de Mallorca without a shirt can be slapped with a fine of €600.

#41. It is illegal to dog walk in the streets of Madrid with more than 8 dogs.

Bordering country: Andorra – some interesting facts.

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