After King Alfonso XIII left the country in 1931, Spain was transformed from a traditional monarchy into a republic under the leadership of a Republican Socialist government. In 1936, a civil war erupted in Spain, lasting three years and culminating in the establishment of a right-wing government under the leadership of General Francisco Franco in 1944. Following Franco's death in 1975, the country reverted to monarchy under the reign of King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Despite the fact that Spain is a European country that occupies the greater part of the Iberian peninsula, her landscape has far more in common with the countries of North Africa than it does with the countries of Central and Northern Europe. A large portion of the land is infertile, and there is insufficient rainfall to meet the needs of farmers. Efforts to improve and irrigate Spanish soil are required if the cultivation of Spanish soil is to be profitable.
|Windmills of Balearic Islands|
Negotiations for membership in the EEC were suspended in 1975, but were restarted in the early months of 1976. The Basque Country, the Pyrenees, Santander, Asturias, and Galicia comprise the most fertile region of Spain, which includes the Basque Provinces, the Pyrenees, and Galicia. The climate in this area is maritime, with mild winters, cool summers, and a lot of precipitation. The mountains are heavily forested, whereas the valleys are lush with green meadows and orchards to be found. It is located south of this small area, across the Cantabrian Mountains, and it is dry Iberia that encompasses the remainder of Spain, including the high central plateau known as the Meseta. The rainfall is low, the summers are hot, and the rivers, particularly those flowing east, are frequently quite dry for extended periods of time throughout the year. In fact, it is only during heavy rains that the dry, rocky valleys are suddenly inundated with an uncontrollable, and sometimes destructive, torrent of water.
|The pattern of olive groves in Andalucia, Spain|
Olive groves, as well as orange and lemon trees, fig trees, and carob trees, can be found in abundance throughout the Mediterranean region, and the small towns along the coast serve as bases for fishermen who venture out in their own small boats to catch lobster, crayfish, halibut, and salmon. The Meseta is similar to some areas of central Asia in that it is an arid, rolling plain with few features and is bordered in the distance by rows of blue mountains in the distance. The long, cold winters are a stark contrast to the hot, dry summer months, which are the polar opposite. The country of Spain is characterised by strong regional traditions, many of which have survived into the twentieth century. A significant portion of the traditional style of housing still exists. Homes in the Pyrenean zone have sloping roofs to protect them from heavy snowfalls during the winter months.
Most country houses have two floors: a main floor or courtyard, where livestock is kept and an oven for baking bread; and an upper floor, which is reserved for the family only and consists of bedrooms, a drawing room, and possibly a dining room as well as a kitchen. You may come across a granary supported by four columns in Galicia and Asturias, which is known as a 'horreo.' It is used to store cereals, meat, and game, and is well-protected from the elements and mice. On the Meseta, you can still see adobe houses, which are constructed of mud and straw. Some Spanish houses have an unusual heating system: from a central hearth, where straw is burned, ducts branch out under the tiles and distribute the heat throughout the house, which is quite unusual.
Keeping the outside walls of houses clean and white-washed is customary in the La Mancha, Andalusia, and the Levantine coastal regions in order to provide protection against the heat of the sun. It is also common to see a patio with a central fountain in the Andalusia region. Spain also has direct responsibility for the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, both of which are considered provinces of the country by the United Nations. With the well-known holiday destinations Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, and Formentera as well as a number of lesser-known isles, the Balearic Islands comprise the largest of the Mediterranean's archipelagos. These islands have been inhabited since prehistoric times and were conquered by the Romans following the fall of Carthage in the 5th century. The Canary Islands are an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the southern coast of Morocco that consists of seven inhabited islands and six uninhabited islets that are divided into two administrative areas: Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Canary Islands are divided into two administrative areas: Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife.