Spain has a rich culture that is characterized by
the specificities of the different regions. The traces
of the colonies in Latin America are also evident in the
culture. Spain has many world famous writers, artists
When Moors and Jews were expelled from Spain at the
end of the 15th century, a multicultural society was
replaced by a unified culture. At the same time,
colonial empire in Latin America began to build up. The
culture of the ancient colonies has continued to
characterize Spanish culture.
Latest population statistics of Spain, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
The regions of the country have their own distinctive
cultures, which the Spaniards are often keen to
emphasize. Characteristic of Catalonia, for example, is
the architectural style of the modernismo of the late
19th century. Its chief representative was Antoni Gaudí,
known among others for the church of the Sagrada familia
(The Holy Family) in Barcelona.
Among the great names of Spanish painting in the 16th
and 16th centuries are Diego Velázquez and El Greco.
Spain's most famous artists include Francisco José de
Goya (1746-1828) and from modern times the surrealist
Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró. Pablo Picasso, one of the
foremost representatives of modernism, appeared most in
France. With the painting Guernica, he condemned the
nationalist aerial bombing in 1937 during the Spanish
Civil War of the Basque city of the same name.
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Spain. Artists and albums are also included.
Spanish literature has a number of world-renowned
authors, from Don Quijote's creator Miguel de Cervantes
(1547–1616) to playwright and lyricist Federico García
Lorca (1898–1936) and Catalan Mercè Rodoreda
(1909–1983). Five Spaniards have received the Nobel
Prize in literature, among them Camilo José Cela
(1916–2002) who received it in 1989. Among today's
leading Spanish writers include Bernardo Atxaga, who
writes in Basque, Juan Marsé, Rosa Montero, Carlos Ruiz
Zafón, Jaume Cabré and Javier Marías. More recently,
Sara Mesa has become a well-known name that has also
been translated into Swedish: four-wheel drive (2012)
and bad writing (2016).
Spanish film was at the same time long with
surrealist Luis Buñuel (1900–1983). Today, director
Pedro Almodóvar (born 1949) is Spain's most famous
filmmaker. He broke through 1988 with Women on the verge
of nervous breakdown and in 1999 won an Oscar for the
movie Everything about my mom.
Music life encompasses everything from classical
guitar music to regional folk music. Most famous is the
flamencon, which is believed to have originated in the
18th century among the Romans in the south. Many Spanish
composers have been inspired by folk music, such as
Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados and Manuel de Falla.
Andrés Segovia (1893–1997) established classical guitar
as a music genre. Paco de Lucía (1947–2014) was the
world's best known flamenco guitarist. Among the most
famous flamenco artists of today are Diego El Cigala,
Vicente Amigo and Concha Buika.
Montserrat Caballé is a famous opera singer who also
became a name in popular music when in 1992 she sang the
Barcelona Olympic anthem together with the British
singer Freddie Mercury from the band Queen. Spanish
popular music has a front figure in Julio Iglesias, who
has been active since the 1970s and whose records are
among the world's best-selling. His son Enrique has
followed in his father's footsteps and has also become
Protests against austerity policy
In Madrid, a demonstration against the government's austerity policy gathers
around 30,000 participants. The protest is organized by two unions UGT and CCOO,
but is also supported by the Socialist Party and Podemos.
The Constitutional Court blocks a new referendum in Catalonia
The Constitutional Court overturns a resolution passed by the Catalan
Parliament in October to hold a referendum on independence in September 2017.
The decision is valid for five months, after which the court can act again. It
also says that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and President Carme Forcadell
risk prosecution if they do not follow court decisions. Puigdemont has
previously said that he will conduct the vote no matter what Madrid says.
Catalan left-wing activists are arrested
Several Catalan activists from the left-wing Cup are filmed as they burn up
or tear up images of King Felipe. They are arrested by police when they do not
come to the court hearing where the charges would be raised. Disgracing and
prosecuting the king is a crime that can give up to two years in prison. The
arrests triggered protests in Catalonia. The events intensify the tensions that
already exist between the Catalan government and the Cup. However, the
government is dependent on support from the small left-wing party.
Five women in the new government
When Rajoy presents his new government it contains 6 new members. Of the 13
ministers, 5 are women and almost all are from PP. Already on entry, the Prime
Minister is criticized for not doing more to create dialogue with the
opposition, especially in view of the strength of the parliament.
Rajoy wins the vote of confidence
In the second vote of confidence in Parliament, 170 members vote for Mariano
Rajoy to form a new government. 111 votes against and 68 abstentions. Thus,
Rajoy can continue as prime minister and almost a year's political deadlock is
over. Two days later, Rajoy takes up his next term as prime minister at the head
of a PP-led minority government. According to Rajoy, the new government's focus
should be on keeping Spain together, on budget stability and on relations with
Rajoy loses confidence vote
As expected, PP leader Mariano Rajoy loses the first vote of confidence in
Parliament to form a new government. Just as in the August vote, six votes are
cast. On October 29, a new vote will be held.
New budgetary requirements from the EU
As soon as it is clear that Spain can have a "real" government soon, the EU
declares that the 2017 budget cuts proposed by the transitional government are
not enough. According to the proposal, Spain would have a budget deficit of 3.6
per cent in 2017, but the EU calls for it to be reduced to 3.1 percent, which
corresponds to about EUR 5.5 billion.
PSOE opens for PP government
At a special meeting of the Socialist Party's Federal Board, a majority of
its members voted to cast their votes in the upcoming vote on a new government
in Spain under PP leader Mariano Rajoy, but only in the second vote -
in the first one is intended to vote against Rajoy (however, several
socialists declare that they intend to vote no in the second round as well, as
long as enough people cast their votes to release Rajoy). A few days later,
Mariano Rajoy gets commissioned to try to form government.
ETA's armistice for five years
The five-year anniversary of ETA's decision to cease its military operations
is highlighted. Yet, however, the terrorist organization has not declared itself
dissolved nor has it handed in all its weapons: recently, for example, the
French police found one of ETA's weapons hides outside Paris.
New play on Gibraltar
In a TV interview, Foreign Minister José Manuel García Margallo promises to
launch a "seduction campaign" against Gibraltar residents to make them realize
that the best thing for them would be shared British-Spanish supremacy over
Gibraltar after the UK's exit from the EU. It would, according to García
Margallo, mean joint control of foreign policy, borders and immigration and the
Gibraltar residents would gain Spanish citizenship without losing their British
passports; Gibraltar would also be guaranteed self-government. Gibraltar's head
of government Fabian Picardo rejects the Spanish play.
200 in court for corruption
In Madrid, the trial of about 200 people is suspected of corruption and with
six regional governments involved. The main accused is the businessman Francisco
Correa who, between 1999 and 2005, should have met with a number of lucrative
contracts by politicians, mainly from the People's Party (PP).
Sánchez resigns as leader of the PSOE
Socialist Party PSOE's governing body, the 250-strong Federal Committee,
votes against party leader Pedro Sánchez's strategy to prevent PP's Mariano
Rajoy from forming a new government at all costs. That leads to Sánchez leaving.
An interim board of Asturias president, Javier Fernández, now has to decide
whether, by casting his votes, Rajoy should form a minority government. Spain
has not had a functioning government since December 2015.
PP remains in power in Galicia
In Galicia, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's home region, his party PP remains
in power under Alberto Núñez Feijóo; In the Basque Country, the Basque
Nationalist Party PNV, under Iñigo Urkullu, will continue to gain confidence
after becoming the largest party again. The Socialist Party PSOE goes back
sharply in both regions, where they have long been strong, possibly an
expression of lack of confidence in PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez in the ongoing
800,000 demonstrates for Catalonia independently
Around 800,000 people are demonstrating in Barcelona to put their demands
behind Catalonia's independence.
The economy is growing
The Spanish economy continues to grow. Figures in September 2016 show that
GDP has grown by just under a percent four quarters in a row, largely as a
result of lower oil prices, low interest rates, tax cuts and a boost for the
tourism industry. Unemployment has also continued to fall. However, analysts
warn that the prolonged political crisis will affect economic development in the
Rajoy loses a second vote of no confidence
As expected, PP's Mariano Rajoy also loses the second congressional vote in
Congress, with the same numbers as in August.
Rajoy loses confidence vote
After two days of heated debate in the Spanish congress, a vote of confidence
takes place over a possible re-election of Mariano Rajoy as prime minister.
Rajoy's PP votes for like Ciudadanos and a small right-wing party from the
Canary Islands, everyone else against. Rajoy had needed 176 of the congress's
350 votes to be re-elected but only managed to get 170 together.
New tourist record
In July 2016, the number of foreign tourists reached the six million mark, a
new record for a single month, according to Spain's Statistical Office.
Spanish voters want to avoid new elections
Two different opinion polls show that the Spaniards want to see an end to the
political deadlock. While PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez and the entire Socialist
Party leadership continue to say no to Rajoy continuing to lead the country, and
also rejects a proposal by former PSOE leader and Prime Minister Felipe González
to cast his votes in a vote of confidence, two-thirds of the Spaniards that
Sánchez should follow González's advice to avoid a new election. About
four-fifths believe the political situation is "bad" or "very bad" and believe
that Spain will receive a bad reputation abroad if the country has to hold
another fresh election.
Record high government debt
Government debt reaches its highest level in June since 1909, when it rises
to the equivalent of 100.9 percent of GDP.
PSOE says no to PP government
The Socialist Party PSOE says no to join, or even support, a government led
by PP leader Rajoy.
Rajoy is commissioned to form a new government
After talks with the various party leaders, King Felipe assigns the head of
the interim government and former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to try to form a
new government. Rajoy, whose center-right party PP received the most votes but
not his own majority in the new election in June, thanks yes, since the leader
of the Ciudadanos Liberal Party, Albert Rivera, declared that he can imagine
joining a coalition government with the PP and the Socialist Party PSOE. Spain
has not had a functioning government since the December 2015 parliamentary
Unemployment is falling
Official figures show that for the first time in six years, unemployment fell
to below 20 percent for the first time in six years.
The EU refrained from fining Spain and Portugal
The European Commission decides to refrain from fining Spain and Portugal.
They refer to the difficult economic situation in which the countries are
located and that they have nevertheless made great sacrifices. There is also
obviously a concern within the Commission that harsh sanctions would lead to
increased popular opposition to the EU in the wake of the British referendum on
membership (Brexit). The EU finance ministers can change the decision within ten
days, but it seems unlikely.
Catalan Parliament approves independence plan
A majority in the regional parliament of Catalonia, consisting of the
governing independence alliance Junts pel Sí and the Cup Party far out on the
left, endorses a plan for the region to become independent from Spain. The
Socialist Party casts its votes, the left-wing Alliance Catalunya Sí Que es Pot
votes against, while the center-right party PP and Ciudadanos march out of the
hall in protest. The vote takes place even though the Constitutional Court of
Spain has ruled that all plans for independence are contrary to the law.
The EU fines Spain for a high budget deficit
The European Commission decides to impose fines on Spain (and Portugal) for
the countries not doing enough to reduce their budget deficits. The finance
ministers, where Germany's Wolfgang Schäuble, among others, wants to see harsh
fines, have 20 days to decide the size of the fine. In addition to fines,
countries are also at risk of losing a number of EU grants. EU countries may
have a budget deficit of three percent; Spain received the Commission's
permission to have 4.2 percent for 2015, but the deficit rose to just over 5
PP goes ahead, but does not get its own majority
In the recent congressional election, PP gets just over 33 percent of the
vote and 137 of the 350 seats, against just under 23 percent and 85 seats for
the PSOE, just over 21 percent and 71 seats for Unidos Podemos, while Ciudadanos
gets 13 percent and 32 seats. However, it appears to be just as difficult to
form a government as after the 2015 election. The turnout is just under 70
Minister of the Interior in windy weather
Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz is accused of being involved in
attempts to dirty Catalan separatist politicians. It is about a two-year-old
sound recording where Díaz seems to discuss this with the head of Catalonia's
anti-corruption authority. The Minister of the Interior is required to resign.
However, he says that he intends to stay and that the recordings have been taken
out of context and edited to appear compromising.
The EU gives Spain respite by reducing the budget deficit
The European Commission chooses not to fine Spain (and Portugal) for failing
to comply with the budget deficit framework applicable within the euro zone.
Countries are given a year to deal with the problems. Prime Minister Rajoy's
election promise on tax cuts seems to be in conflict with such demands. However,
he argues that Spain's tax revenue increased, despite the fact that his
government lowered several taxes in 2015.
Valallians on the left
According to what is described as a preliminary settlement, Podemo's alliance
with the United Left forms before the new election in June.
Ready for re-election in June
Difficulties in establishing a new government cause the king to announce that
new elections to Congress will be held on June 26.
The European Commission gives Spain economic backlog
Spain's national debt is too high, the European Commission and the European
Central Bank point out in a joint statement. The budget deficit is also among
the highest in the Union, well above the 4.2 percent approved. However, the
European Commission agrees that Spain will have another year to deal with the
The Minister of Industry resigns after revelations in the Panama Papers
José Manuel Soria and his brother, according to the so-called Panama papers
leaked from the law firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama, have been in the management
of a mailbox company in the Bahamas. He denies the information, but resigns
after being linked to a company operating on the island of Jersey.
No new government coalition between PSOE and Ciudadanos
On March 1, the Congress voted no to a government cooperation between PSOE
and Ciudadanos. Only the own 130 members say yes to the proposal. A new vote
will be held on March 4, but this time, too, Sánchez will get enough votes.
PSOE and Ciudadanos agree on government programs
The Social Democratic PSOE and the bourgeois Ciudadanos agree on a joint
program for a new government. However, Podemos, who does not intend to reign
with Ciudadanos, leaves all consultations with Sánchez. The program includes a
constitutional reform that, among other things, means that MPs will lose their
immunity from prosecution, measures against corruption, new labor market laws,
investments in health care, new environmental taxes and higher income taxes for
those who earn the most. Both parties oppose Catalonia's referendum on
Suspected Islamists are arrested
Spanish police arrest seven people believed to have ties to the Islamic State
(IS) extreme group and other jihadist movements. They are accused of providing
logistical support to IS and of trying to recruit women to the group.
Socialist leader Sánchez may try to form government
PP leader Mariano Rajoy fails to form a new government with enough support in
Congress. King Felipe therefore assigns Socialist Party PSOE leader Pedro
Sánchez to form government.
Unemployment falls to 21 percent, the lowest figure in five years
Statistics show that unemployment fell below 21 percent in the last quarter
of 2015, which is the lowest figure since 2011. However, many of those who have
got jobs have been given temporary employment. Part of the improvement is also
due to the fact that many Spaniards have left the country to work abroad.
New government in Catalonia
Only on January 10 can a new government be formed in Catalonia under the
leadership of Carles Puigdemont. This also happens then Together for yes
withdrew its support for Mas, which thus gives up the attempts to form a new
government (see September 2015 and November 2015).
On entry, Puigdemont promises to continue the process initiated by Mas's
government, with the goal that Catalonia should become independent within 18
months. The new Catalan leader is a former journalist who in recent years has
been mayor of Girona.