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Spain's disputed name may be derived from Hesperia, in reference to its being the most western country known in ancient times, although it has been suggested that it refers to rabbits! Spanish territories include the Canary and Balearic Islands and a couple of cities in North Africa which are disputed by their neighbour Morocco.

 

The peninsular has always been a place of turmoil, being subject to invasion and colonization by most of their northern, eastern and southern neighbours over the centuries, and it was not until 1978 that a settled kingdom was created.

 

After its annexation by the Romans, who used it to supply grain, it saw continued struggles between Berbers and Christians which eventually left a fragmented isthmus of city loyal only to their liege lords. Only relieved by the marriage of Castile and Aragon, forming a "united" Spain.

 

Spain's heyday as a colonial power dated from Columbus's American discovery, and lasted for a century or so, whilst it wreaked Papal havoc through the "New World."

 

in Europe and the leading world power in the 16th century and first half of the 17th century.

 

It had disastrous involvement  in the American War, Napoleon's peninsular campaign and land grabbing expeditions into north and west Africa.

 

The 20th century proved no better, with its own civil war ushering in the first volleys of the second World War.