The four largest islands are: Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The archipelago forms an autonomous community and a province of Spain, with Palma as the capital. The co-official languages in the Balearic Islands are Catalan and Spanish. The current Statute of Autonomy declares the Balearic Islands as one nationality of Spain.
Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España), is asovereign state and a member state of the European Union. It is located on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar; to the north and north east by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west and northwest by Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.
It is one of three countries (Morocco, France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Spain’s 1,214 km (754 mi) border with Portugal is the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union. Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco, plus Alborán, Chafarinas Islands, Alhucemas, Vélez de la Gomera and other small islets including Perejil. Furthermore, the town of Llívia is a Spanish exclave situated inside French territory. With an area of 505,992 km2 (195,365 sq mi), Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fifth largest country in Europe.
Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian peninsula around 35,000 years ago. It came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania. In the Middle Ages it was conquered by Germanic tribes and later by the Moors to the south. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the completion of the centuries-long reconquest, or Reconquista, of the peninsula from the Moors in 1492. Spain became an influential global empire in the early modern period, being one of the first countries to colonize the New World and leaving a legacy of over 500 million Spanish speakers today, making it the world’s second most spoken first language.
Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a developed country with the thirteenth largest economy in the world by nominal GDP. Spain also has high living standards with the tenth-highest quality of life index rating in the world as of 2005. It is a member of the United Nations, NATO, OECD, and WTO.
Officially the Kingdom of Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area. Sweden has a total population of 10 million of which 2.3 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi); the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Approximately 85% of the population lives in urban areas.
Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats (Swedish Götar) and Swedes (Svear) and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia. The climate is in general very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers. Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway.
The capital city is Stockholm, which is also the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameralRiksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.
An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia’s culture, finances and languages. This led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. With the Swedish involvement in the Thirty Years War, on the Reformist side, began an expansion of its territories and eventually the Swedish Empire was formed. This became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe.
After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum. It is also a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. It has the world’s eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks highly in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality, prosperity and human development.