Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
Northern giant petrel
The northern giant petrel known as Hall's giant petrel, is a large predatory seabird of the southern oceans. Its distribution overlaps broadly, but is north of, the similar southern giant petrel. Both giant petrel species make up the genus Macronectes, they belong to the tube-nosed seabirds or petrels. All tube-noses have tubular nostrils, all those in the family Procellariidae, the true petrels, have their nostrils united along the top of the bill. Procellariform birds have between seven and nine distinct horny plates for their bill, in petrels one of these plates forms the hooked portion of their upper bill called the maxillary unguis, they produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides, stored in the proventriculus. This can be sprayed out of their mouths as a defence against predators as well as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights, they have a salt gland, situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of sea water that they imbibe.
It excretes a concentrated saline solution from their nostrils. The genus Macronectes comes from the Greek makros meaning "long" or "large" and nēktēs meaning "swimmer"; the name "petrel" refers to the Biblical account of Saint Peter walking on water. Referring to the way these birds run on top of the water. Macronectes halli averages 90 cm in length, with a range of 80 to 95 cm, possessing a wingspan of 150 to 210 cm. Size is somewhat variable and this species is broadly the same size as its southern sister species; the largest-bodied colony is in the South Georgia Islands, where 56 males averaged 4.9 kg and 43 females average 3.72 kg. The smallest-bodied are on the Chatham Islands, where 19 males averaged 3.66 kg and 21 females averaged 2.83 kg. Overall, weight for the species can range from 2.5 to 5.8 kg. Its plumage consists of grey-brown body with lighter coloured forehead, sides of face, chin, its bill is between 90 and 110 mm long longer on average than the southern giant petrel, is pinkish yellow with a brown tip.
Its eyes are grey. The tarsus of the northern giant petrel is longer on average than the southern species, but the southern has longer wings on average; the juvenile Macronectes halli is dark brown and lightens as it ages. It can be differentiated from Macronectes giganteus by the top of the bill, which on the southern species is green; the northern giant petrel feeds on carrion, as well as fish, krill and other cephalopods. They will waste from the ships. During the breeding season, males eat more carrion than females, with the females feeding on pelagic sources, they are aggressive and will kill other seabirds those as large as an albatross. Birds start breeding at an average age of ten years, breed on islands in colonies, which they share with the southern giant petrel, they breed six weeks earlier than their counterparts. M. halli is pelagic and is found throughout the Southern Ocean north of the Antarctic Convergence Zone, north through Chile, South Africa, half of Australia. Over 4,500 pairs nest on islands in the South Georgia group.
They nest on some of the Chatham Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Islands, Macquarie Island and others. Their overall range is 82,600,000 km2. In a 2001 estimate, this species had between 21,000 mature birds; this number has been increasing after being expected to decrease. The IUCN thus downgraded them from near threatened to least concern. Recent surveys have shown that most locations are increasing in numbers, except for the Crozet Islands; this is due to increases in fish waste, better control on longline fishing, more carrion from fur seals. This bird is listed on CMS Appendix II and ACAP Annex 1. Future plans are to maintain surveys and counting of individuals, research movement and migration, continue lowering the bycatch deaths by current means and if needed newer measures through CCAMLR, CMS, FAO. BirdLife International. "Northern Giant-petrel - BirdLife Species Factsheet". Data Zone. Retrieved 17 Jul 2009. BirdLife International. "The BirdLife checklist of the birds of the world, with conservation status and taxonomic sources".
Retrieved 17 Jul 2009. Brooke, M.. "Procellariidae". Albatrosses And Petrels Across The World. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850125-0. Double, M. C.. "Procellariiformes". In Hutchins, Michael. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. 8 Birds I Ratites to Hoatzins. Joseph E. Trumpey, Chief Scientific Illustrator. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. Pp. 107–111. ISBN 0-7876-5784-0. Ehrlich, Paul R.. The Birders Handbook. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Pp. 29–31. ISBN 0-671-65989-8. Gotch, A. F.. "Albatrosses, Fulmars and Petrels". Latin Names Explained A Guide to the Scientific Classifications of Birds & Mammals. New York, NY: Facts on File. p. 190. ISBN 0-8160-3377-3. Species factsheet by BirdLife International Photos by Christopher Taylor Nature Photography Southern and Northern Giant Petrels - Species text in The Atlas of Southern African Birds. Northern giant petrel discussed in RNZ Critter of the
The wandering albatross, snowy albatross, white-winged albatross or goonie is a large seabird from the family Diomedeidae, which has a circumpolar range in the Southern Ocean. It was the last species of albatross to be described, was long considered the same species as the Tristan albatross and the Antipodean albatross. A few authors still consider them all subspecies of the same species; the SACC has a proposal on the table to split this species, BirdLife International has split it. Together with the Amsterdam albatross, it forms the wandering albatross species complex; the wandering albatross is one of the two largest members of the genus Diomedea, being similar in size to the southern royal albatross. It is one of the largest birds in the world and has the greatest known wingspan of any living bird, one of the best known and studied species of bird in the world; this is one of the most far ranging birds. Some individual wandering albatrosses are known to circumnavigate the Southern Ocean three times, covering more than 120,000 km, in one year.
The wandering albatross was first described as Diomedea exulans by Carl Linnaeus, in 1758, based on a specimen from the Cape of Good Hope. Diomedea refers to Diomedes whose companions turned to birds, exulans or exsul are Latin for "exile" or "wanderer" referring to its extensive flights. There are two subspecies: Diomedea exulans exulans Diomedea exulans gibsoni The gibsoni subspecies nests in the Auckland Islands; some experts considered there to be four subspecies of D. exulans, which they elevated to species status, use the term wandering albatross to refer to a species complex that includes the proposed species D. antipodensis, D. dabbenena, D. exulans, D. gibsoni. The wandering albatross has the longest wingspan of any living bird ranging from 2.51 to 3.5 m, with a mean span of 3.1 m in the Bird Island, South Georgia colony and an average of 3 m in 123 birds measured off the coast of Malabar, New South Wales. On the Crozet Islands, adults averaged 3.05 m in wingspan. The longest-winged examples verified have been about 3.7 m.
Larger examples have been claimed, with two giants measuring 4.22 m and 5.3 m but these reports remain unverified. As a result of its wingspan, it is capable of remaining in the air without flapping its wings for several hours at a time; the length of the body is about 107 to 135 cm with females being smaller than males. Adults can weigh from 5.9 to 12.7 kg, although most will weigh 6.35 to 11.91 kg. On Macquarie Island, three males averaged three females averaged 6.2 kg. In the Crozet Islands, males averaged 9.44 kg. However, 10 unsexed adults from the Crozets averaged 9.6 kg. On South Georgia, 52 males were found to average 9.11 kg while 53 females were found to average 7.27 kg. Immature birds have been recorded weighing as much as 16.1 kg during their first flights. On South Georgia, fledglings were found to average 10.9 kg. Albatrosses from outside the "snowy" wandering albatross group are smaller but are now deemed to belong to different species; the plumage varies with the juveniles starting chocolate brown.
As they age they become whiter. The adults have white bodies with white wings. Males have whiter wings than trailing edges of the wings black, they show a faint peach spot on the side of the head. The wandering albatross is the whitest of the wandering albatross species complex, the other species having a great deal more brown and black on the wings and body as breeding adults closely resembling immature wandering albatrosses; the large bill is pink. They have a salt gland, situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe, it excretes a high saline solution from their nose. The wandering albatross breeds on South Georgia Island, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Prince Edward Islands, Macquarie Island, is seen feeding year round off the Kaikoura Peninsula on the east coast of the south island of New Zealand and it ranges in all the southern oceans from 28° to 60°. Wandering albatrosses spend most of their life in flight, landing only to feed.
Distances travelled each year are hard to measure, but one banded bird was recorded travelling 6000 km in twelve days. Wanderers have a large range of displays from whistles to grunts and bill clapping; when courting they will spread their wings, wave their heads, rap their bills together, while braying. They can live for over 50 years. Pairs of wandering albatrosses mate for breed every two years. Breeding takes place on subantarctic commences in early November; the nest is a mound of mud and vegetation, is placed on an exposed ridge near the sea. During the early stages of the chick's development, the parents take turns sitting on the nest while the other searches for food. Both adults hunt for food and visit the chick at irregular intervals, they are night feeders and feed on cephalopods, small fish, crustaceans and on animal refuse that floats on the sea, eating to such excess at times that they are unable to fly and rest helplessly on the water. They are prone
Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds related to the procellariids, storm petrels, diving petrels in the order Procellariiformes. They range in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific, they are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there and occasional vagrants are found. Albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, species of the genus Diomedea have the longest wingspans of any extant birds, reaching up to 3.7 m. The albatrosses are regarded as falling into four genera, but disagreement exists over the number of species. Albatrosses are efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion, they feed on squid and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing, or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands with several species nesting together. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years, with the use of "ritualised dances", last for the life of the pair.
A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt. A Laysan albatross, named Wisdom, on Midway Island is recognised as the oldest wild bird in the world. Of the 22 species of albatrosses recognised by the IUCN, all are listed as at some level of concern. Numbers of albatrosses have declined in the past due to harvesting for feathers, but today, the albatrosses are threatened by introduced species, such as rats and feral cats that attack eggs and nesting adults. Longline fisheries pose the greatest threat, as feeding birds are attracted to the bait, become hooked on the lines, drown. Identified stakeholders such as governments, conservation organisations, people in the fishing industry are all working toward reducing this bycatch; the "albatross" designation comprises between 24 species in four genera. These genera are the great albatrosses, the mollymawks, the North Pacific albatrosses, the sooty albatrosses or sooties; the North Pacific albatrosses are considered to be a sister taxon to the great albatrosses, while the sooty albatrosses are considered closer to the mollymawks.
The taxonomy of the albatross group has been a source of much debate. The Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy places seabirds, birds of prey, many others in a enlarged order, the Ciconiiformes, whereas the ornithological organisations in North America, South Africa and New Zealand retain the more traditional order Procellariiformes; the albatrosses can be separated from the other Procellariiformes both genetically and through morphological characteristics, their legs, the arrangement of their nasal tubes. Within the family, the assignment of genera has been debated for over 100 years. Placed into a single genus, they were rearranged by Reichenbach into four different genera in 1852 lumped back together and split apart again several times, acquiring 12 different genus names in total by 1965. By 1965, in an attempt to bring some order back to the classification of albatrosses, they were lumped into two genera and Diomedea. Though a case was made for the simplification of the family, the classification was based on the morphological analysis by Elliott Coues in 1866, paid little attention to more recent studies and ignored some of Coues's suggestions.
More recent research by Gary Nunn of the American Museum of Natural History and other researchers around the world studied the mitochondrial DNA of all 14 accepted species, finding four, not two, monophyletic groups within the albatrosses. They proposed the resurrection of two of the old genus names, Phoebastria for the North Pacific albatrosses and Thalassarche for the mollymawks, with the great albatrosses retaining Diomedea and the sooty albatrosses staying in Phoebetria. Both the British Ornithologists' Union and the South African authorities split the albatrosses into four genera as Nunn suggested, the change has been accepted by the majority of researchers. While some agree on the number of genera, fewer agree on the number of species. Up to 80 different taxa have been described by different researchers. Based on the work on albatross genera and Nunn went on in 1998 to propose a revised taxonomy with 24 different species, compared to the 14 accepted; this expanded taxonomy elevated many established subspecies to full species, but was criticised for not using, in every case, peer reviewed information to justify the splits.
Since further studies have in some instances supported or disproved the splits.
Peru the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river. Peruvian territory was home to several ancient cultures. Ranging from the Norte Chico civilization in the 32nd century BC, the oldest civilization in the Americas and one of the five cradles of civilization, to the Inca Empire, the largest state in pre-Columbian America, the territory now including Peru has one of the longest histories of civilization of any country, tracing its heritage back to the 4th millennia BCE; the Spanish Empire conquered the region in the 16th century and established a viceroyalty that encompassed most of its South American colonies, with its capital in Lima.
Peru formally proclaimed independence in 1821, following the military campaigns of José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar, the decisive battle of Ayacucho, Peru secured independence in 1824. In the ensuing years, the country enjoyed relative economic and political stability, which ended shortly before the War of the Pacific with Chile. Throughout the 20th century, Peru endured armed territorial disputes, social unrest, internal conflicts, as well as periods of stability and economic upswing. Alberto Fujimori was elected to the presidency in 1990. Fujimori left the presidency in 2000 and was charged with human rights violations and imprisoned until his pardon by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2017. After the president's regime, Fujimori's followers, called Fujimoristas, have caused political turmoil for any opposing faction in power causing Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to resign in March 2018; the sovereign state of Peru is a representative democratic republic divided into 25 regions. It is classified as an emerging market with a high level of human development and an upper middle income level with a poverty rate around 19 percent.
It is one of the region's most prosperous economies with an average growth rate of 5.9% and it has one of the world's fastest industrial growth rates at an average of 9.6%. Its main economic activities include mining, manufacturing and fishing; the country forms part of The Pacific Pumas, a political and economic grouping of countries along Latin America's Pacific coast that share common trends of positive growth, stable macroeconomic foundations, improved governance and an openness to global integration. Peru ranks high in social freedom. Peru has a population of 32 million, which includes Amerindians, Europeans and Asians; the main spoken language is Spanish, although a significant number of Peruvians speak Quechua or other native languages. This mixture of cultural traditions has resulted in a wide diversity of expressions in fields such as art, cuisine and music; the name of the country may be derived from Birú, the name of a local ruler who lived near the Bay of San Miguel, Panama City, in the early 16th century.
When his possessions were visited by Spanish explorers in 1522, they were the southernmost part of the New World yet known to Europeans. Thus, when Francisco Pizarro explored the regions farther south, they came to be designated Birú or Perú. An alternative history is provided by the contemporary writer Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, son of an Inca princess and a conquistador, he said the name Birú was that of a common Indian happened upon by the crew of a ship on an exploratory mission for governor Pedro Arias de Ávila, went on to relate more instances of misunderstandings due to the lack of a common language. The Spanish Crown gave the name legal status with the 1529 Capitulación de Toledo, which designated the newly encountered Inca Empire as the province of Peru. Under Spanish rule, the country adopted the denomination Viceroyalty of Peru, which became Republic of Peru after independence; the earliest evidences of human presence in Peruvian territory have been dated to 9,000 BC. Andean societies were based on agriculture, terracing.
Organization relied on reciprocity and redistribution because these societies had no notion of market or money. The oldest known complex society in Peru, the Norte Chico civilization, flourished along the coast of the Pacific Ocean between 3,000 and 1,800 BC; these early developments were followed by archaeological cultures that developed around the coastal and Andean regions throughout Peru. The Cupisnique culture which flourished from around 1000 to 200 BC along what is now Peru's Pacific Coast was an example of early pre-Incan culture; the Chavín culture that developed from 1500 to 300 BC was more of a religious than a political phenomenon, with their religious centre in Chavín de Huantar. After the decline of the Chavin culture around the beginning of the 1st century AD, a series of localized and specialized cultures rose and fell
The family Procellariidae is a group of seabirds that comprises the fulmarine petrels, the gadfly petrels, the prions, the shearwaters. This family is part of the bird order Procellariiformes, which includes the albatrosses, the storm petrels, the diving petrels; the procellariids are the most numerous family of tubenoses, the most diverse. They range in size from the giant petrels, which are as large as the albatrosses, to the prions, which are as small as the larger storm petrels, they feed on fish and crustacea, with many taking fisheries discards and carrion. All species are accomplished long-distance foragers, many undertake long trans-equatorial migrations, they are colonial breeders, exhibiting long-term mate site philopatry. In all species, each pair lays a single egg per breeding season, their incubation times and chick-rearing periods are exceptionally long compared to other birds. Many procellariids have breeding populations of over several million pairs. Humans have traditionally exploited several species of fulmar and shearwater for food and bait, a practice that continues in a controlled fashion today.
Several species are threatened by introduced species attacking adults and chicks in breeding colonies and by long-line fisheries. The family Procellariidae was introduced by the English zoologist William Elford Leach in a guide to the contents of the British Museum published in 1820. According to the famous DNA hybridization study into avian phylogenetic relationships by Sibley and Ahlquist, the split of the Procellariiformes into the four families occurred around 30 million years ago; the molecular evidence suggests that the storm petrels were the first to diverge from the ancestral stock, the albatrosses next, with the procellariids and diving petrels splitting most recently. Many taxonomists used to retain the diving petrels in this family but today their distinctiveness is considered well supported. However, modern procellariid genera began to appear just as early as the proposed splitting of the family, with a Rupelian fossil from Belgium tentatively attributed to the shearwater genus Puffinus, most modern genera were established by the Miocene.
Thus, a basal radiation of the Procellariiformes in the Eocene at least seems especially given that significant anomalies in molecular evolution rates and patterns have been discovered in the entire family, molecular dates must be considered tentative. Some genera are only known from fossils. Eopuffinus from the Late Paleocene is sometimes placed in the Procellariidae, but its placement in the Procellariiformes is quite doubtful. Sibley and Ahlquist's taxonomy has included all the members of the Procellariiformes inside the Procellariidae and that family in an enlarged Ciconiiformes, but this change has not been accepted; the procellariid family is broken up into four distinct groups. The fulmarine petrels include the largest procellariids, the giant petrels, as well as the two fulmar species, the snow petrel, the Antarctic petrel, the Cape petrel; the fulmarine petrels are a diverse group with differing habits and appearances, but are linked morphologically by their skull features the long prominent nasal tubes.
The gadfly petrels, so named due to their helter-skelter flight, are the 37 species in the genus Pterodroma and have traditionally included the two species in the genus Bulweria. The species vary from small to medium sizes, 26–46 cm, are long winged with short hooked bills; the genus Pterodroma is now split into four sub genera, some species have been split out of the genus. The prions comprise six species of true prion in the genus Pachyptila and the related blue petrel. Known in the past as whalebirds, three species have large bills filled with lamellae that they use to filter plankton somewhat as baleen whales do, though the old name derives from their association with whales, not their bills, they are small procellariids, 25–30 cm, with grey, patterned plumage, all inhabiting the Southern Ocean. The shearwaters are adapted for diving after prey instead of foraging on the ocean's surface; the shearwaters are well known for the long trans-equatorial migrations undertaken by many species. The shearwaters include the 20 or so species of the genus Puffinus, as well as the five large Procellaria species and the three Calonectris species.
While all these three genera are known collectively as shearwaters, the Procellaria are called petrels in their common names. A recent study splits the shearwater genus Puffinus into two separate clades or subgroups and Neonectris. Puffinus are the'smaller' Puffinus shearwaters, the Neonectris are the'larger' Puffinus shearwaters; this split into two clades is thought to have occurred soon after Puffinus split from the other procellariids, with the genus originating in the north Atlantic Ocean and the Neonectris clade evolving in the Southern Hemisphere. The mo
Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia