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Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España), is a member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar; to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.


  • Wee may say of him, as of the Spaniard, Hee is a bad Servant, but a worse Maister.
    • Thomas Adams The Sacrifice of Thankefulnesse (London: C. Knight, 1616) p. 6.
  • The French are wiser than they seem, and the Spaniards seem wiser than they are.
    • Francis Bacon, "Of Seeming Wise", in Essays (1625); Brian Vickers (ed.) The Major Works (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) p. 389.
  • In the present study we have analyzed 44 Y-chromosome biallelic polymorphisms in population samples from northwestern (NW) Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, which allowed us to place each chromosome unequivocally in a phylogenetic tree based on 1150 polymorphisms. The most striking results are that contemporary NW African and Iberian populations were found to have originated from distinctly different patrilineages and that the Strait of Gibraltar seems to have acted as a strong (although not complete) barrier to gene flow. In NW African populations, an Upper Paleolithic colonization that probably had its origin in eastern Africa contributed 75% of the current gene pool. In comparison, »78% of contemporary Iberian Y chromosomes originated in an Upper Paleolithic expansion from western Asia, along the northern rim of the Mediterranean basin. Smaller contributions to these gene pools (constituting 13% of Y chromosomes in NW Africa and 10% of Y chromosomes in Iberia) came from the Middle East during the Neolithic and, during subsequent gene flow, from Sub-Saharan to NW Africa. Finally, bidirectional gene flow across the Strait of Gibraltar has been detected: the genetic contribution of European Y chromosomes to the NW African gene pool is estimated at 4%, and NW African populations may have contributed 7% of Iberian Y chromosomes. The Islamic rule of Spain, which began in A.D. 711 and lasted almost 8 centuries, left only a minor contribution to the current Iberian Y-chromosome pool. The high-resolution analysis of the Y chromosome allows us to separate successive migratory components and to precisely quantify each historical layer.
  • The genius of the Spanish people is exquisitely subtle, without being at all acute; hence there is so much humour and so little wit in their literature.
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, speaking on April 23, 1832; Henry Nelson Coleridge (ed.) Specimens of the Table Talk of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Edinburgh: John Grant, 1905) p. 171.
  • In Mexico the gods ruled, the priests interpreted and interposed, and the people obeyed. In Spain, the priests ruled, the king interpreted and interposed, and the gods obeyed. A nuance in an ideological difference is a wide chasm.
    • Richard Condon A Talent for Loving (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961) p. 5
  • Fair land! of chivalry the old domain,
    Land of the vine and olive, lovely Spain!
    Though not for thee with classic shores to vie
    In charms that fix th' enthusiast's pensive eye;
    Yet hast thou scenes of beauty richly fraught
    With all that wakes the glow of lofty thought.
    • Felicia Hemans, Abencerrage, Canto II, line 1, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 740.
  • Ortega y Gasset is of the opinion that the inability of a country to produce a genuine mass movement indicates some ethnological defect. He says of his own Spain that its "ethnological intelligence has always been an atrophied function and has never had a normal development."
    • Eric Hoffer, The True Believer (1951) Ch.18 Good and Bad Mass Movements, §125 citing Ortega y Gasset's The Modern Theme (1931)
  • En dos edades vivimos
    los propios y los ajenos:
    la de plata los estraños,
    y la de cobre los nuestros.
    • We live in different ages, non-Spaniards and ourselves: they in the age of silver, we in the age of brass.
    • Lope de Vega La Dorotea Act I, sc. iv. Translation from Alan S. Trueblood and Edwin Honig (ed. and trans.) La Dorotea (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1985) p. 23.


The city of San Sebastián

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