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  • Writer's pictureMaría Molina

SPANISH NATIONAL DAY


Today, October 12, is celebrated in many Hispanic countries as "Día de la Raza" or "Día de la Hispanidad", although the name has changed in many of them. In USA is de "Columbus Say". In Spain it is also the National Day since 1987 (Law 18/1987).


Why this date? The preamble to the order states: "The chosen date, 12 October, symbolises the historical event on which Spain, on the verge of concluding a process of state-building based on our cultural and political plurality, and the integration of the kingdoms of Spain into a single monarchy, began a period of linguistic and cultural projection beyond European borders".


In short: That we arrived in America (12 October 1492).


But what is this integration of the kingdoms of Spain? In that year, in what is now peninsular Spain, there were four kingdoms: three Christian kingdoms, the Crown of Castile, the Kingdom of Navarre and the Crown of Aragon, and one Muslim kingdom, the Kingdom of Granada.


Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula in 1492
Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula in 1492

Castile and Aragon were united, although they remained independent, by the marriage of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon (the famous Catholic Monarchs). That same year Castile annexed Granada and, in 1512, Aragon annexed Navarre.


The Canary Islands have been fully Castilian since 1496. Ceuta was Portuguese from 1415, and when Spain annexed Portugal and its dominions - 16th century - Ceuta became Spanish. When Portugal secedes (1640) Ceuta remains Spanish. Melilla has been Castilian since 1497. The Balearic Islands have been Aragonese since the first third of the 13th century.


In 1516, with Charles I, grandson of the Catholic Monarchs, both Castile and Aragon were integrated into the same crown.


To celebrate this day, I would like to tell you a few things about my country, and see if any of them surprise you?


Country with the most Biosphere Reserves in the world

53 Biosphere Reserves
53 Biosphere Reserves

Spain is the country with the most UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. It has a total of 53, occupying more than 12% of its territory. This is more than much larger countries, such as the United States or China.


Spain, a country with high life expectancy


High life expectancy
High life expectancy

Along with the Japanese and Swiss, Spaniards are the people with the longest life expectancy. According to a study by the University of Washington, in 2040 Spain will become the nation with the highest life expectancy in the world, with 85.8 years.


A great diet.


Typical Mediterranean salad
Typical Mediterranean salad

It is the country with the best diet in the world, after Israel and France. Each inhabitant of Spain consumes 42.4 kg of fish and seafood per year, well above the world average of 18.9 kg. Furthermore, olive oil, of which we are the world's leading producer, is always present in all our dishes.


Spanish a language on the rise


Spanish-speaking countries
Spanish-speaking countries

Spanish is spoken by 595 million people (7.5% of the world's population) of which 496 million are native speakers. It is the third most spoken language on the internet and is officially studied by 22 million people. Spanish is the second mother tongue in the world in terms of number of speakers, behind only Mandarin Chinese. It is the fourth most spoken language globally after English, Chinese and Hindi.


A country of solidarity

We are world leaders in both organ donation and transplantation. With a rate of 46.3 organ donors per million people and more than 5,300 transplants per year, Spain has been leading this branch of medicine in the world for 25 years. Spaniards are the most likely people on the planet to receive a transplant when they need one.


Leaders in donation and transplantation
Leaders in donation and transplantation

Spain, a much visited country


In 2022, Spain was the second most visited country (more than 70 million tourists) after France.

Tourist in Palma de Mallorca
Tourist in Palma de Mallorca

A great heritage


After Italy (58) and China (56), Spain (51) is the country with the most World Heritage Sites, according to UNESCO.


The Segovia aqueduct
The Segovia aqueduct

A great cuisine

Fifth country with the most Michelin stars.


Chef concluding plating
Chef concluding plating

Always inhabited.


The oldest hominid in Europe has been found in Spain (Atapuerca site). In addition, Atapuerca is confirmed as the only site in the world with up to four human species.


Homo antecessor
Homo antecessor

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