Spain: Did you know?                                                  

  • Someone from Spain is called a Spaniard.

 

  • There are two “autonomous cities” - Ceuta and Melilla - and 17 “autonomous communities” including the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco called: Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas and Penon de Velez de la Gomera.

  •  Spain has two time zones because of the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands are located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of the southern border of Morocco. They are much enjoyed by tourists because of the mild winter weather and beautiful beaches.

 

  • The derivation of the name "España" is uncertain, but some believe that is may come from the Phoenician term "span," related to the word "spy," meaning "to forge metals." So, "i-spn-ya" means "place where metals are forged." The ancient Phoenicians long exploited the Iberian Peninsula for its mineral wealth so the meaning behind that name seems to make sense.

 

  • Spanish is not the only language spoken in Spain. Aragonese, Aranese Asturian, Basque, Calo, Catalan, Galician, and Valencian are recognized as regional languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

 

  • Volcanic activity in the Canary Islands is noteworthy. Teide (elevation 3,715 meters) has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior—worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations. La Palma (elevation 2,426 meters), which last erupted in 1971, is the most active of the Canary Islands volcanoes. Lanzarote is the only other historically active volcano.

 

  • Typically the academic year for public grades schools runs from the first week in September to the end of June—although there may be a slight variance depending on area. The main holidays are at Christmas, Easter and the long summer break. School hours vary depending on the school and are usually from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM with an hour break for lunch. However, an increasing number of schools don't take such a long lunch break and finish class at 1:30 PM or 2:00 PM. Lessons are generally divided into teaching periods of around 45 minutes. Some schools provide school lunches at a minimal cost—although many children bring a packed lunch or go home if they live nearby. Most schools provide a subsidized bus service to take children to and from their homes. State schools generally provide an after school babysitting service (guardería) for working families.