Many people think of Spain as just one country, however in some ways it can be considered as many. Spain consists of 17 autonomous communities, with many featuring different nationalities and also a unique personality of their own. In some cases these communities do not even regard Spanish as their native language. Spain is considered as a very decentralised country.
The Spanish constitution of 1978 recognised the right to autonomy for:
"Two or more adjacent provinces with common historical, cultural and economical characteristics" as well as "insular territories" and "a single province with historical identity or status."
Many books could easily be compiled for each of the autonomous communities, however just as quick insight for tourists here is a very quick summary:
Andalucia - The most populous autonomous community in Spain, features an extremely rich history and still shares a border with Britain's Gibraltar.
Aragon - Sharing a border with France, Aragon is a spectacular region of Spain located in the center of the Pyrenees mountain range.
Asturias - Famous for its seafood, Asturias is located on the northern part of Spain on the Bay of Biscay.
Balearic Islands - Made up of the famous tourist islands of Formentera, Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca.
Basque Country (Pais Vasco) - Famous for the Basque separatist movement, it is interesting that there is also a significant Basque population also on the other side of the border in France.
Canary Islands - Well known for the tourist island of Tenerife, the archipelago is located over 1000 of kilometers South-East of mainland Spain.
Cantabria - Part of an area known as "Green Spain", noted for its near tropical, lush Jungle like vegetation
Castilla la Mancha - Famous for being the home of the classic story of Don Quijote by Miguel de Cervantes
Castilla y León - The largest autonomous community in Spain, covering an area of 94,223 square kilometres (36,380 sq mi) with an official population of around 2.5 million (2005).
Catalonia - Home to Barcelona, Spain's second biggest city.
Extremadura - Bordering Portugal to the west. Extremadura is renowned for its wildlife and national parks.
Galicia - The very rich history of Galicia goes back to one of the very first kingdoms of Europe. Galician, The Galician peoples language is still spoken today.
La Rioja - Spain's second-smallest autonomous community with also the smallest population. La Rioja has been home to many historic events such as featuring as a battleground as far back as the Muslim invasion of 711 and was also invaded by Napoleonic forces
Madrid - One of the autonomous communities that is also a city. Madrid is the capital of Spain and also the largest city.
Murcia - Located in the south with a very Mediterranean climate, Murcia is home to some of Spain's most noteworthy wineries.
Navarra - A very historic region with many medieval structures.
Valencia - Features a long coastline with many historic forts.