Spain (SPAYN; Spanish: España, pronounced: [esˈpaɲa]), officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España) is a sovereign state located in southwestern Europe in the Iberian Peninsula. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with the British territory of Gibraltar; to the north by France and the Bay of Biscay; and to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal.
(Note of the Author: for anything pre-1868, check Wikipedia's page or books about Spain)
From La Gloriosa to the War
After ousting Queen Isabel II during La Gloriosa Revolución, a Provisional Government made of the main politicians that had led the parties opposed to Isabel II's reign was formed. The first task carried out by the new government, apart from the reorganization of Spain after the revolution, was to initiate the process for creating a new Constitution in order to replace the conservative Constitution of 1845, as well as to develop more democratic government institutions, which was achieved on 1869 with the Constitution of 1869, which established Spain as a constitutional monarchy.
The next year and a half was spent searching for a king. After looking to the Portuguese and Italian royal families without success, the looks went to Central Europe. Thanks to the efforts of the Spanish Embassy in Berlin, a candidate was found in the person of Leopold zu Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who soon was voted as the new king. However, France protested and demanded that Leopold renounced to the throne. Thanks to Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck's machinations, the situation escalated and France declared war on Prussia and Spain, starting the Hohenzollerns' War.
After an initial invasion that resulted in French control of part of northern Spain (which allowed Isabel II's son, Alfonso, to enter Spain and briefly claim the throne for himself under the name of Alfonso XII) the Spanish armies, led by generals Serrano (the Regent) and Prim (then President of Spain), managed to enter French territory, taking the city of Perpignan. A third army would also manage to take the city of Orán in northern Africa after a risky landing done by Spanish Marine Infantry troops.
The Treaty of Frankfurt would cede the French provinces of Rousillon and Oranesado to Spain, as well as allowing Leopold to enter Spain and take the throne as Leopoldo I.
The Leopoldine Era
The first two years of Leopoldo I's reign were fairly calm, as Spain healed from the war injuries as well as from the neglect caused by years of mishandling the nation's resources and industry by the Isabeline governments. Using the money obtained as war indemnification as an initial support, as well as the encouragement of investment on Spanish and foreign investors and the introduction of new technology, the industrial sector started to grow. Thanks to the post-war euphoria and the improvement of the economy, society stabilized, as well as the democratic institutions, after the first elections, which gave victory to the recently formed National Union, a merging of the three parties that had led the government before.
However, 1873 would be regarded as Annus Horribilis, as the Cuban Revolution, which was already in its fourth year, stalled after two years of advance; the Carlist Revolt started in northern Spain, which caused the deaths of many people at the hands of the last supporters of the Carlist pretender; and many problems originated by Republican extremists and the entrance of Marxism and Anarchism in Spain would cause many headaches for the police. This was compounded with the Virginius Affair, which nearly caused a war to start between Spain and the United States, but in the end cooler heads prevailed, although it still caused the resignation of Spanish President Francisco Serrano.
1874 was, fortunately, better for Spain's fortunes, as the deployment of the recently created Tercios Especiales allowed to first kill the Carlist Revolt and then help in the defeat of the Cuban rebels, who would depose their arms and accept Spanish rule in the Compromise of Baraguá.
The end of the war with Cuba meant that Spain was free to act and do other things. Among them was acting in the Philippines, which threatened to become another Cuba if action was not taken soon. Thus, Sagasta ordered Carlos María de la Torre y Nava Cerrada to leave for the Philippines, where he would arrive and start to modernize the archipelago, also cutting off the power the local oligarchy, led by the Church and strongmen, had in there. Mindanao was pacified and the Sulu Sultanate became de facto part of Spain.
As this happened, Spanish explorers, soldiers and settlers started to colonize parts of Africa, in order to expand Spanish holdings in the Dark Continent. Soon, a good part of the Atlantic coast directly south of Morocco was Spanish, as well as a part of the Gulf of Guinea, was in Spanish hands.
1877 saw how Sagasta and the Democrat-Radical Party were reelected in new Spanish elections, as well as the birth of the Marxist Partido Socialista Obrero Español, which would soon make its mark known, as well as its associated trade union, the Unión General de Trabajadores.
Spain, while not involved in the Second Pacific War, it gave help to the Peruvian-Bolivian alliance in the form of weapons and two ironclad ships, which allowed it to win against Chile. This intervention allowed Spain to gain control of a good part of Micronesia, avoiding other nations from doing so, as well as gaining new allies in South America.
The successes in this field did not mean that the rest of Spain was going well: the formation of the first Spanish trade unions meant that the workers had a new tool to put pressure on their employers to gain what they felt was necessary. This was exemplified in a strike that hit the main factory of Rifles Españoles Sociedad Anónima, the main purveyor of military supplies for the Spanish Army, as their workers demanded a shorter work week. In the end, Sagasta's government passed a law that shortened the work week to 50 hours, but it was too late, and in the following elections of May 1880, Antonio Cánovas del Castillo managed to become the President.
Under Cánovas' first legislature, the military experienced an increase in power, with an expansion of its size and of funding provided to it. The Navy would also see improvement thanks to the Monturiol - García Sáez team, for which Isaac Peral worked for and which saw the development of the first electric submarine. Guinea was expanded, and powers were transferred to the Foral Regions. This, and other things allowed Cánovas to earn a second mandate. This, however, was much less successful than the first, because several laws he tried to pass were bitterly rejected by the opposition, and, in the case of the Ley de educación religiosa - which provided for enforced teaching of the Catholic religion in public schools - opposed by even part of his own party. Combined with the May 1885 General Strike, this meant that Cánovas' star was rapidly falling, although an event in which one of his advisors was arrested after conspiring to turn caciques into an electoral weapon helped to partially restore his image.
A war took place with the Dominican Republic, after several Spanish merchants died because of a failed coup d'état and the Dominican government chose to ignore Spanish demands to compensate the deceased's families. During this war, Cristino Martos y Balbí of the Democrat-Radical Party managed to win the elections, and eventually signed a peace treaty with the Dominican Republic, one of whose clauses indicated that the Dominicans could, through a referendum, choose to become part of the Kingdom of Spain once more.
Martos' only term as President of Spain was marked by his ability to negotiate and compromise with the opposition parties, as it was his wish to reduce the tensions that had grown between the main parties during Cánovas' presidency. It was also during his three years in power that the Philippines became three different Foral Regions - although the plan had been developed by the Cánovas' government - helping to further pacify the nation. When he left his position, Segismundo Moret was more than able to gain the Presidency and help it improve.
However, for Moret the most important affair he would have to deal with was the Portuguese Civil War, in which Spain supported the Royalists by offering them weaponry and logistical support, and after the war helped in the reconstruction and the re-establishment of the government, but when King Carlos I of Portugal was assassinated, things changed. It would be Moret's government that negotiated with the Portuguese government in the hard task of determining what to do: it would be out of these negotiations that the United Empire of the Spains was born.
Spain is currently divided in thirteen Foral Regions, one General Captaincy (Canary Islands) and two Colonies (Guinea and Spanish East Indies)
The Foral Regions are:
The Foral Regions are groups of provinces that are organized so that they can work together in the administration of the region, thus decreasing the number of tasks that must be directed from Madrid. The regions of Cuba and Puerto Rico are different from the rest in that they also have autonomy in political terms, having their own government which has the competences that the Spanish government does not reserve for itself, although there are ideas about the potential expansion of this political autonomy to the other Regiones.
The General Captaincy of the Canary Islands is expected to become another Foral Region when population increases enough that it merits such a change.
The Spanish East Indies have stopped existing, and now the Pacific Islands are independent from the Philippines.
As for Guinea, it is still a Colony, and expected to remain like that until the circumstances change.