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is no consensus on the origin of the name Spain. The name of the country today,
España, is derived from the Roman word Hispania (also the root of Hispanic), but
what exactly this word means is debatable. It may refer to Spain's position
in the west, its position at the edge of the Mediterranean, it might mean the land
of rabbits, or even the land where metals are forged, but no one knows which, if
any, is the origin of the word Hispania with any certainty.
Spain's culture and history is a vibrant display of foods, dress, architecture,
languages, and lifestyles. This culture began with the diversity in the region,
which has long existed, from the pre-historic Basques and Celts to the Moors, Romans,
and Roma (gypsies), today's Spanish culture takes on aspects of all these people.
Prior to Roman rule, the people lived simple lives on the lands that now make up
Spain. For the majority the lifestyle was based on the lands as agriculture was
at the core of the daily life. Even today there is a large number of people that
continue to work the land and their lifestyle remains tied to the lands, the weather,
and the daylight, although today nearly every other aspect of life has changed.
Over time the people were unified and divided depending on the ruling group. The
Romans helped introduce the Spanish language, which is based on Latin, they also
left behind some impressive architecture, some genetic diversity, and Christianity,
all of which survive to this day.
Despite the unity, over time much of Spain was divided as the Basques maintained
their language and culture to a great degree. The Catalans also diverged with a
unique culture that differed from that of much of Spain. Many Jews also arrived
to the region as did the Muslim Moors. All of these people influenced the culture,
but the Moors had arguably the greatest impact as they introduced new foods and
architecture. These both influenced modern Spain and Spanish cuisine is very unique
as it mixes flavors from the Middle East and Europe.
Spanish culture has changed numerous times since the Moors, partially due to the
country's regular division and unification. The lands have moved from world
power to being taken over by foreign powers. Today Spanish culture can be defined in one way,
a way that incorporates Moorish, Jewish, and local foods, music that has been inspired
by Africa, Europe, and the Roma, and a lifestyle that mixes historic farms with
urban centers. However, more than this, Spanish culture is defined by the many sub-cultures,
including the Catalans in Barcelona, the Basques in the country's north, the
Roma found throughout the country, and the many regional Spanish sub-cultures.
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