Barcelona is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within city limits, its urban area extends to numerous neighbouring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.8 million people, making it the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, the Ruhr area and Milan. It is one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea, located on the coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola mountain range, the tallest peak of, 512 metres high. Founded as a Roman city, in the Middle Ages Barcelona became the capital of the County of Barcelona. After merging with the Kingdom of Aragon, Barcelona continued to be an important city in the Crown of Aragon as an economic and administrative centre of this Crown and the capital of the Principality of Catalonia.

Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage and is today an important cultural centre and a major tourist destination. Renowned are the architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner, which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites; the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean are located in Barcelona. The city is known for hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics as well as world-class conferences and expositions and many international sport tournaments. Barcelona is one of the world's leading tourist, trade fair and cultural centres, its influence in commerce, entertainment, media, fashion and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the major global cities, it is a major cultural and economic centre in southwestern Europe, 24th in the world and a financial centre. In 2008 it was the fourth most economically powerful city by GDP in the European Union and 35th in the world with GDP amounting to €177 billion. In 2012 Barcelona had a GDP of $170 billion. In 2009 the city was ranked one of the world's most successful as a city brand.

In the same year the city was ranked Europe's fourth best city for business and fastest improving European city, with growth improved by 17% per year, the city has been experiencing strong and renewed growth for the past three years. Barcelona is the home of one of the world's most famous football clubs, FC Barcelona. Since 2011 Barcelona has been a leading smart city in Europe. Barcelona is a transport hub, with the Port of Barcelona being one of Europe's principal seaports and busiest European passenger port, an international airport, Barcelona–El Prat Airport, which handles over 50 million passengers per year, an extensive motorway network, a high-speed rail line with a link to France and the rest of Europe; the name Barcelona comes from the ancient Iberian Barkeno, attested in an ancient coin inscription found on the right side of the coin in Iberian script as, in ancient Greek sources as Βαρκινών, Barkinṓn. Some older sources suggest that the city may have been named after the Carthaginian general Hamilcar Barca, supposed to have founded the city in the 3rd century BC, but there is no evidence that Barcelona was a Carthaginian settlement, or that its name in antiquity, had any connection with the Barcid family of Hamilcar.

During the Middle Ages, the city was variously known as Barchinona, Barçalona and Barchenona. Internationally, Barcelona's name is wrongly abbreviated to'Barça'. However, this name refers only to the football club; the common abbreviated form used by locals is Barna. Another common abbreviation is'BCN', the IATA airport code of the Barcelona-El Prat Airport; the city is referred to as the Ciutat Comtal in Catalan, Ciudad Condal in Spanish, owing to its past as the seat of the Count of Barcelona. The origin of the earliest settlement at the site of present-day Barcelona is unclear; the ruins of an early settlement have been found, including different tombs and dwellings dating to earlier than 5000 BC. The founding of Barcelona is the subject of two different legends; the first attributes the founding of the city to the mythological Hercules. The second legend attributes the foundation of the city directly to the historical Carthaginian general, Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal, who named the city Barcino after his family in the 3rd century BC, but there is no historical or linguistic evidence that this is true.

In about 15 BC, the Romans redrew the town as a castrum centred on the "Mons Taber", a little hill near the contemporary city hall. Under the Romans, it was a colony with the surname of Faventia, or, in full, Colonia Faventia Julia Augusta Pia Barcino or Colonia Julia Augusta Faventia Paterna Barcino. Pomponius Mela mentions it among the small towns of the district as it was eclipsed by its neighbour Tarraco, but it may be gathered from writers that it grew in wealth and consequence, favoured as it was with a beautiful situation and an excellent harbour, it enjoyed immunity from imperial burdens. The city minted its own coins. Important Roman vestiges are displayed in Plaça del Rei underground, as a part of the Barcelona City History Museum; some remaining fragments of the Ro

Felicity Dowker

Felicity Dowker is a speculative fiction writer from Victoria, Australia. She is predominantly recognised as a writer in the horror genre. In 2009, she won the Ditmar Award for Best New Talent, her story "Jesse's Gift" was nominated for the Aurealis Award for Horror Short Story. Dowker's stories have appeared in a number of Australian publications including Borderlands and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. One story in particular, "Bread and Circuses", was the recipient of positive reviews after appearing in the Scary Kisses anthology, was described in Scoop magazine as one of the highlights of the collection, her story, "Bread and Circuses" is a finalist for the 2010 Ditmar Award for Short Fiction as well as the 2010 Australian Shadows Award for Short Fiction. Dowker's first story collection and Circuses, was published in 2012. Official website Felicity Dowker at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database

Roystonea regia

Roystonea regia known as the Cuban royal palm or the Florida royal palm, is a species of palm, native to Mexico, parts of Central America and the Caribbean, southern Florida. A large and attractive palm, it has been planted throughout the tropics and subtropics as an ornamental tree. Although it is sometimes called R. elata, the conserved name R. regia is now the correct name for the species. The royal palm reaches heights from 50 to over 80 feet tall. Populations in Cuba and Florida were long seen as separate species, but are now considered to belong to a single species. Best known as an ornamental, R. regia is used as a source of thatch, construction timber, in some forms of so-called traditional medicine, although there is no valid scientific evidence to support the efficacy or use of any palm species for medicinal purposes. The fruit is fed to livestock, its flowers are visited by birds and bats, it serves as a roosting site and food source for a variety of animals. Roystonea regia is the national tree of Cuba, has a religious role both in Santería and Christianity, where it is used in Palm Sunday observances.

Roystonea regia is a large palm which reaches a height of 20–30 metres tall, a stem diameter of about 47 centimetres. The trunk is stout smooth and grey-white in colour with a characteristic bulge below a distinctive green crownshaft. Trees have about 15 leaves; the flowers are white with pinkish anthers. The fruit are spheroid to ellipsoid in 8.9 -- 15 millimetres long and 7 -- 10.9 mm wide. They are green when immature, turning red and purplish-black as they mature. Root nodules containing Rhizobium bacteria have been found on R. regia trees in India. The presence of rhizobia-containing root nodules is associated with nitrogen fixation in legumes. Further evidence of nitrogen fixation was provided by the presence of nitrogenase and leghaemoglobin, a compound which allows nitrogenase to function by reducing the oxygen concentration in the root nodule. In addition to evidence of nitrogen fixation, the nodules were found to be producing indole acetic acid, an important plant hormone. Roystonea is placed in the tribe Roystoneae.

The placement Roystonea within the Arecoideae is uncertain. As of 2008, there appear to be no molecular phylogenetic studies of Roystonea and the relationship between R. regia and the rest of the genus is uncertain. The species was first described by American naturalist William Bartram in 1791 as Palma elata based on trees growing in central Florida. In 1816 German botanist Carl Sigismund Kunth described the species Oreodoxa regia based on collections made by Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland in Cuba. In 1825 German botanist Curt Polycarp Joachim Sprengel moved it to the genus Oenocarpus and renamed it O. regius. The genus Oreodoxa was proposed by German botanist Carl Ludwig Willdenow in 1807 and applied by him to two species, O. acuminata and O. praemorsa. Although these species were transferred to other genera, the genus Oreodoxa continued to be applied to a variety of superficially similar species which were not, in fact related. To address this problem, American botanist Orator F. Cook created the genus Roystonea, which he named in honour of American general Roy Stone, renamed Kunth's species Roystonea regia.

Cook considered Floridian populations to be distinct from both the Cuba R. regia and the Puerto Rican R. borinquena, he placed them in a new species, R. floridana, now considered a synonym of R. regia. In 1906 Charles Henry Wright described two new species based on collections from Georgetown, British Guiana which he placed in the genus Euterpe — E. jenmanii and E. ventricosa. Both species are now considered synonyms of R. regia. The name R. regia var. hondurensis was applied by Paul H. Allen to Central American populations of the species. However, Scott Zona determined that they did not differ enough from Cuban populations to be considered a separate variety. Based on the rules of botanical nomenclature, the oldest properly published name for a species has priority over newer names. Bartram applied the Linnaean binomial Palma elata to a "large, solitary palm with an ashen white trunk topped by a green leaf sheath and pinnate leaves" growing in central Florida. While no type collection is known, there are no other native palms that would fit Bartram's description.

In 1946 Francis Harper pointed out that Bartram's name was valid and proposed a new combination, Roystonea elata. Liberty Hyde Bailey's use of the name in his 1949 revision of the genus, established its usage. Harper's new combination supplanted Cook's R. floridana, but there was disagreement as to whether Cuban and Floridian populations represented a single species or two species. Zona's revision of the genus concluded. According to the rules of botanical nomenclature, the correct name of the species should have been Roystonea elata. Zona pointed out, that the name R. regia has a history of use in horticulture that dated from at least 1838, that the species had been propagated around the world under that name. Roystonea elata, on the other hand, had only been used since 1949, was used much les