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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 island, the Chafarinas islands (Islas Chafarinas), Alhucemas island and Perejil (Parsley island). Furthermore, the town of Llívia is a Spanish exclavesituated inside French territory. With an area of 505,992 square kilometres (195,365 sq mi), it’s the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe.
Because of its location, the territory of Spain was subject to many external influences since prehistoric times and through to its dawn as a country. Spain emerged as a unified country in the 15th century, following the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs and the completion of the reconquest, or Reconquista, of the Iberian peninsula in 1492. It has been an important source of influence to other regions during the early modern period, when it became a global empire that has left 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 twelfth largest economy in the world by nominal GDP, and very high living standards, including the tenth-highestquality of life index rating in the world, as of 2005. It is a member of the United Nations, NATO, OECD, and WTO.