First Battle of Algeciras
The First Battle of Algeciras was a naval battle fought on 6 July 1801 between a squadron of British Royal Navy ships of the line and a smaller French Navy squadron at anchor in the fortified Spanish port of Algeciras in the Strait of Gibraltar. The British outnumbered their opponents, but the French position was protected by Spanish gun batteries and the complicated shoals that obscured the entrance to Algeciras Bay; the French squadron, under Contre-Amiral Charles Linois, had stopped at Algeciras en route to the major Spanish naval base at Cadiz, where they were to form a combined French and Spanish fleet for operations against Britain and its allies in the French Revolutionary Wars. The British, under Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez, sought to eliminate the French squadron before it could reach Cadiz and form a force powerful enough to overwhelm Saumarez and launch attacks against British forces in the Mediterranean Sea. Sailing directly from his blockade station off Cadiz, Saumarez's squadron consisted of six ships of the line, twice the number under Linois's command.
Discovering the French at anchor in Algeciras on the morning of 6 July, Saumarez launched an immediate attack on the anchorage through the complicated shoals of Algeciras Bay. Although the initial attack caused severe damage to the French ships, light winds and shallow water led to the British ship HMS Hannibal grounding under heavy fire while the French vessels were driven on shore to prevent their capture. With his intentions frustrated, Saumarez ordered his squadron to withdraw, five of his ships limping out of the bay while the battered Hannibal remained trapped. Isolated and unable to manoeuvre, Captain Solomon Ferris on Hannibal endured the enemy fire for another half an hour before surrendering his ship. Both sides had suffered severe damage and casualties, but both were aware that the battle would be rejoined and so the aftermath of the British defeat was one of frenzied activity at Gibraltar and Cadiz. While the British and French squadrons conducted hasty repairs, the French and Spanish fleet at Cadiz was prepared for a rescue mission, a heavy squadron arriving at Algeciras on 12 July.
As the squadron departed with Linois's squadron, it was attacked again by Saumarez's squadron at the Second Battle of Algeciras and caught at night by faster and more manoeuvrable ships, which resulted in the British inflicting heavy losses on the Spanish rearguard but failing for a second time to destroy the French squadron. On 1 August 1798, the French Mediterranean Fleet was completely destroyed at the Battle of the Nile in Aboukir Bay off Egypt; as a result, the British Royal Navy became dominant in the Mediterranean Sea and imposed blockades on French and Spanish ports in the region, including the important naval bases of Toulon and Cadiz. By 1801, the British were planning a large scale operation to invade and recapture Egypt from the French, First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte made plans to restore the Mediterranean Fleet and reinforce the garrison before the invasion took place. To this end, a squadron was despatched to Egypt from the French Atlantic ports and an agreement was reached with the Spanish Navy to supply the French Navy with six ships of the line from their reserve at Cadiz.
The squadron never reached Egypt, diverting to Toulon under British pressure and separating, the most seaworthy vessels making a vain attempt to Egypt in the year while the remainder were left at Toulon. In June 1801, a squadron of three ships of the line, detached from the Egyptian squadron departed Toulon for Cadiz under the command of Contre-Amiral Charles Linois; the squadron's orders instructed Linois to join with the French and Spanish fleet at Cadiz and take possession of the promised vessels. From there the combined fleet, bolstered by 1,500 French soldiers under General Pierre Devaux on Linois's ships, could launch major operations against British forces or those of their allies: attacks on Egypt and Lisbon were both suggested, although no firm plan had been drawn up for either. Able to leave Toulon without resistance in the absence of the British blockade squadron, Linois passed along the Spanish Mediterranean Coast without interception, passing the fortified British port of Gibraltar on 3 July.
There Linois was informed by Captain Lord Cochrane, captured in his brig HMS Speedy on 4 July, that a powerful squadron of seven British ships of the line were stationed off Cadiz under Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez. On hearing this news, Linois postponed the plan to reach the Spanish naval base and instead anchored at Algeciras, a well-fortified coastal town in Algeciras Bay, within sight of Gibraltar. At Gibraltar, the only ship in harbour was the small sloop-of-war HMS Calpe under Captain George Dundas, who on sighting the French squadron sent word to Saumarez off Cadiz; the message arrived on 5 July. The admiral, a veteran of the Battle of the Nile gathered his ships and sailed eastwards to investigate, he had only six ships of the line as one, HMS Superb under Captain Richard Goodwin Keats, was on detached duty at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River with the brig HMS Pasley. Saumarez sent messages in the frigate HMS Thames recalling Keats, who followed Saumarez towards Algeciras, was in sight of the admiral's ship on the horizon at dawn on 6 July.
However, after hearing an inaccurate report from an American merchant ship that Linois had sailed from Algeciras, Keats reasoned that the French would have turned eastwards for Toulon and thus he would be too late to catch them. He therefore resolved to return to his station observing the Spanish at Cadiz, retaining Pasley and Thames; as Saumarez sailed eastwards towards Algeciras against the
HMS Victory is a 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, ordered in 1758, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765. She is best known for her role as Lord Nelson's flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805, she additionally served as Keppel's flagship at Ushant, Howe's flagship at Cape Spartel and Jervis's flagship at Cape St Vincent. After 1824, she was relegated to the role of harbour ship. In 1922, she was moved to a dry dock at Portsmouth and preserved as a museum ship, she has been the flagship of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the world's oldest naval ship still in commission with 241 years' service in 2019. In December 1758, Pitt the Elder, in his role as head of the British government, placed an order for the building of 12 ships, including a first-rate ship that would become Victory. During the 18th century, Victory was one of ten first-rate ships to be constructed; the outline plans were based on HMS Royal George, launched at Woolwich Dockyard in 1756, the naval architect chosen to design the ship was Sir Thomas Slade who, at the time, was the Surveyor of the Navy.
She was designed to carry at least 100 guns. The commissioner of Chatham Dockyard was instructed to prepare a dry dock for the construction; the keel was laid on 23 July 1759 in the Old Single Dock, a name, was chosen in October 1760. In 1759, the Seven Years' War was going well for Britain, it was the Annus Mirabilis, or Year of Miracles, the ship's name may have been chosen to commemorate the victories or it may have been chosen because out of the seven names shortlisted, Victory was the only one not in use. There were some doubts whether this was a suitable name since the previous Victory had been lost with all on board in 1744. A team of 150 workmen were assigned to construction of Victory's frame. Around 6,000 trees were used in her construction, of which 90% were oak and the remainder elm and fir, together with a small quantity of lignum vitae; the wood of the hull was held in place by six-foot copper bolts, supported by treenails for the smaller fittings. Once the ship's frame had been built, it was normal to cover it up and leave it for several months to allow the wood to dry out or "season".
The end of the Seven Years' War meant that Victory remained in this condition for nearly three years, which helped her subsequent longevity. Work restarted in autumn 1763 and she was floated on 7 May 1765, having cost £63,176 and 3 shillings, the equivalent of £8.48 million today. On the day of the launch, shipwright Hartly Larkin, designated "foreman afloat" for the event realised that the ship might not fit through the dock gates. Measurements at first light confirmed his fears: the gates were at least 9 1⁄2 inches too narrow, he told the dreadful news to his superior, master shipwright John Allin, who considered abandoning the launch. Larkin asked for the assistance of every available shipwright, they hewed away enough wood from the gates with their adzes for the ship to pass safely through; however the launch itself revealed significant problems in the ship's design, including a distinct list to starboard and a tendency to sit in the water such that her lower deck gunports were only 4 ft 6 in above the waterline.
The first of these problems was rectified after launch by increasing the ship's ballast to settle her upright on the keel. The second problem, regarding the siting of the lower gunports, could not be rectified. Instead it was noted in Victory's sailing instructions that these gunports would have to remain closed and unusable in rough weather; this had potential to limit Victory's firepower, though in practice none of her subsequent actions would be fought in rough seas. Because there was no immediate use for her, she was placed in ordinary and moored in the River Medway. Internal fitting out continued in a somewhat desultory manner over the next four years, sea trials were completed in 1769, after which she was returned to her Medway berth, she remained there until France joined the American War of Independence in 1778. Victory was now placed in active service as part of a general mobilisation against the French threat; this included arming her with a full complement of cast iron cannon. Her weaponry was intended to be thirty 42-pounders on her lower deck, twenty-eight 24-pounder long guns on her middle deck, thirty 12-pounders on her upper deck, together with twelve 6-pounders on her quarterdeck and forecastle.
In May 1778, the 42-pounders were replaced by 32-pounders, but the 42-pounders were reinstated in April 1779. Victory was commissioned in March 1778 under Captain John Lindsay, he held that position until May 1778, when Admiral Augustus Keppel made her his flagship, appointed Rear Admiral John Campbell and Captain Jonathan Faulknor. Keppel put to sea from Spithead on 9 July 1778 with a force of around twenty-nine ships of the line and, on 23 July, sighted a French fleet of equal force 100 miles west of Ushant; the French admiral, Louis Guillouet, comte d'Orvilliers, who had orders to avoid battle, was cut off from Brest, but retained the weather gage. Manoeuvring was made difficult by changing winds and driving rain, but a battle became inevitable, with the British more or less in column and the French in some confusion. However, the French managed to pass along the British line with their most advanced ships. At about a quarter to twelve, Victory opened fire on Bret
General Sir Alexander John Godley, was a senior British Army officer. He is best known for his role as commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and II Anzac Corps during the First World War. Born in Gillingham in England, Godley joined the British Army in 1886, he afterwards served in a number of staff positions in England. In 1910 he went to New Zealand as Commandant of the New Zealand Military Forces. Promoted to temporary major general, he reorganised the country's military establishment. Following the outbreak of the First World War, the New Zealand government appointed him as commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, which he led for the duration of the war. During the Gallipoli campaign, Godley commanded the composite New Zealand and Australian Division, before taking over command of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps for the final stages of the campaign. Promoted to lieutenant general, he was given command of II Anzac Corps in 1916, he led the corps for most of its service on the Western Front.
Regarded as a cold and aloof commander, his popularity was further dented in October 1917 when he insisted on continuing an offensive in the Ypres salient when weather and ground conditions were not favourable. His corps suffered heavy losses in the ensuing battle. In 1918, II Anzac Corps was re-designated as British XXII Corps and he led it for the remainder of the war. After the war, Godley spent time in occupied Germany as commander of firstly the IV Corps and from 1922 to 1924, the British Army of the Rhine. In 1924 he was promoted to general and was made General Officer, Commanding, of England's Southern Command, he was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1928 and was Governor of Gibraltar for five years until his retirement in 1933. During the Second World War he commanded a platoon of the Home Guard, he died in 1957 at the age of 90. Alexander Godley was born at Gillingham in Kent, England, on 4 February 1867, the eldest son of William Godley, an Irishman, a captain in the British Army, Laura née Bird, English.
His father's brother was the founder of Canterbury province in New Zealand. Despite being born in England, Godley always viewed himself an Irishman; the family moved to Aberdeen in Scotland the year after Godley's birth and to London in 1873 where he entered the Royal Naval School as he intended to join the Royal Navy. However, after a few years, Godley reconsidered his future and chose to pursue a career with the British Army. To ensure he was adequately educated to qualify as a gentleman cadet for the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, he was enrolled at Haileybury College in 1879; the following year, when he was 13, his father died leaving his mother to raise and educate four children with limited financial resources. Unable to continue at Haileybury, Godley attended United Services College, as a boarder. At one time, his roommate was Rudyard Kipling. After several years, well prepared, he passed the entrance examinations for Sandhurst and duly entered the college as a gentleman cadet in 1885.
On graduation, ranked 81st out of 156 cadets, he was commissioned into the Royal Dublin Fusiliers the following year as a lieutenant. His maternal uncle, Spencer Bird, was an officer in the regiment's 1st Battalion, ensured Godley joined his unit. Stationed at Mullingar in Ireland, Godley's military duties were not onerous and there was plenty of time for sport. An enthusiastic horseman, Godley engaged in hunting and polo, becoming proficient in the latter sport, he played in the first international polo match between England and Argentina at the Hurlingham Club in Buenos Aires. Life as an officer in the British Army could be expensive and his living costs exceeded his basic salary. In February 1889, he became the battalion adjutant, this position saw a useful increase in his salary. From 1890, Godley served in a number of posts around Ireland, including the Royal Dublin Fusiliers recruiting depot at Naas, in County Kildare. Here, to supplement his pay, he trained polo ponies, he met Louisa Fowler, his future wife.
In 1894, Godley took an instructors course for mounted infantry at Aldershot. In March 1896, by which time he had reached the rank of captain, he ended nearly ten years of service with the Dublin Fusiliers and returned to Aldershot as adjutant of the Mounted Infantry School there; that year he was selected for service in Mashonaland, to help suppress a rebellion in the British colony of Rhodesia. After serving with the Special Service Battalion of the Mounted Infantry, he returned to England the following year and was promoted brevet major. Again based at Naas, he resumed his acquaintance with Louisa Fowler, the couple married on 17 September 1898. In 1898 Godley attended Staff College at Camberley but, following the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, ended his studies early to volunteer for service in Africa. Along with other officers of the Special Service Battalion, he helped to raise irregular mounted regiments. Godley was adjutant to Colonel Robert Baden-Powell and was present during the Siege of Mafeking.
He was chief staff officer to Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Plumer and commanded the Rhodesian Brigade. In 1900, Godley transferred to the Irish Guards before being appointed to the staff at Aldershot as commander of the Mounted Infantry. Three years he transferred to Longmoor Military Camp, commanding the Mounted Infantry there until 1906. Godley was a colonel and serving on the staff of 2nd Division when, in 1910, he accepted the position of commandant of the New Zealand Military Forces, as the New Zealand Army was known, he had some reservations about his new appointment.
Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson
Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, 1st Duke of Bronté, was a British flag officer in the Royal Navy. He was noted for his inspirational leadership, grasp of strategy, unconventional tactics, which together resulted in a number of decisive British naval victories during the Napoleonic Wars, he was wounded several times in combat, losing the sight in one eye in Corsica at the age of 36, as well as most of one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife when 40 years of age. He was shot and killed at the age of 47 during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar near the Spanish port city of Cádiz in 1805. Nelson was born into a moderately prosperous Norfolk family and joined the navy through the influence of his uncle, Maurice Suckling, a high-ranking naval officer himself, he rose through the ranks and served with leading naval commanders of the period before obtaining his own command at the age of 20 in 1778. He developed a reputation in the service through his personal valour and firm grasp of tactics but suffered periods of illness and unemployment after the end of the American War of Independence.
The outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars allowed Nelson to return to service, where he was active in the Mediterranean. He fought in several minor engagements off Toulon and was important in the capture of Corsica and subsequent diplomatic duties with the Italian states. In 1797, he distinguished himself while in command of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St Vincent. Shortly after the battle, Nelson took part in the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where his attack was defeated and he was badly wounded, losing his right arm, was forced to return to England to recuperate; the following year, he won a decisive victory over the French at the Battle of the Nile and remained in the Mediterranean to support the Kingdom of Naples against a French invasion. In 1801, he was dispatched to the Baltic and won another victory, this time over the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen, he subsequently commanded the blockade of the French and Spanish fleets at Toulon and, after their escape, chased them to the West Indies and back but failed to bring them to battle.
After a brief return to England, he took over the Cádiz blockade in 1805. On 21 October 1805, the Franco-Spanish fleet came out of port, Nelson's fleet engaged them at the Battle of Trafalgar; the battle was Britain's greatest naval victory, but during the action, aboard HMS Victory, was fatally wounded by a French sharpshooter. His body was brought back to England. Nelson's death at Trafalgar secured his position as one of Britain's most heroic figures; the significance of the victory and his death during the battle led to his signal, "England expects that every man will do his duty", being quoted and referenced up to the modern day. Numerous monuments, including Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square and the Nelson Monument in Edinburgh, have been created in his memory and his legacy remains influential. Horatio Nelson was born on 29 September 1758 in a rectory in Burnham Thorpe, England, the sixth of eleven children of the Reverend Edmund Nelson and his wife Catherine Suckling, he was named after his godfather Horatio Walpole 2nd Baron Walpole, of Wolterton.
His mother, who died on 26 December 1767, when he was nine years old, was a great-niece of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain. She lived in the village of Barsham and married the Reverend Edmund Nelson at Beccles church, Suffolk, in 1749. Nelson's aunt, Alice Nelson was the wife of Reverend Robert Rolfe, Rector of Hilborough and grandmother of Sir Robert Monsey Rolfe. Rolfe twice served as Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain. Nelson attended Paston Grammar School, North Walsham, until he was 12 years old, attended King Edward VI’s Grammar School in Norwich, his naval career began on 1 January 1771, when he reported to the third-rate HMS Raisonnable as an ordinary seaman and coxswain under his maternal uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, who commanded the vessel. Shortly after reporting aboard, Nelson began officer training. Early in his service, Nelson discovered that he suffered from seasickness, a chronic complaint that dogged him for the rest of his life.
HMS Raisonnable had been commissioned during a period of tension with Spain, but when this passed, Suckling was transferred to the Nore guardship HMS Triumph and Nelson was dispatched to serve aboard the West Indiamen Mary Ann of the merchant shipping firm of Hibbert and Horton, in order to gain experience at sea. He twice crossed the Atlantic, before returning to serve under his uncle as the commander of Suckling's longboat, which carried men and dispatches to and from the shore. Nelson learned of a planned expedition under the command of Constantine Phipps, intended to survey a passage in the Arctic by which it was hoped that India could be reached: the fabled North-East Passage. At his nephew's request, Suckling arranged for Nelson to join the expedition as coxswain to Commander Lutwidge aboard the converted bomb vessel HMS Carcass; the expedition reached within ten degrees of the North Pole, unable to find a way through the dense ice floes, was forced to turn back. By 1800 Lutwidge began to circulate a story that while the ship had been trapped in the ice, Nelson had seen and pursued a polar bear, before being ordered to return to the ship.
Lutwidge's version, in 1809, reported that Nelson and a companion had given chase to the bear, but on bei
British Overseas Territories
The British Overseas Territories or United Kingdom Overseas Territories are 14 territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not been granted independence or have voted to remain British territories; these territories do not form part of the United Kingdom and, with the exception of Gibraltar, are not part of the European Union. Most of the permanently inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. Three are inhabited only by a transitory population of scientific personnel, they all share the British monarch as head of state. As of April 2018 the Minister responsible for the Territories excluding the Falkland Islands and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus, is the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN; the other three territories are the responsibility of the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas. The fourteen British Overseas Territories are: The term "British Overseas Territory" was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, replacing the term British Dependent Territory, introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981.
Prior to 1 January 1983, the territories were referred to as British Crown Colonies. Although the Crown dependencies of Jersey and the Isle of Man are under the sovereignty of the British monarch, they are in a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom; the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are themselves distinct from the Commonwealth realms, a group of 16 independent countries each having Elizabeth II as their reigning monarch, from the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 53 countries with historic links to the British Empire. With the exceptions of the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Territories retain permanent civilian populations. Permanent residency for the 7,000 civilians living in the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia is limited to citizens of the Republic of Cyprus. Collectively, the Territories encompass a population of about 250,000 people and a land area of about 1,727,570 square kilometres.
The vast majority of this land area, 1,700,000 square kilometres, constitutes the uninhabited British Antarctic Territory, while the largest territory by population, accounts for a quarter of the total BOT population. At the other end of the scale, three territories have no civilian population. Pitcairn Islands, settled by the survivors of the Mutiny on the Bounty, is the smallest settled territory with 49 inhabitants, while the smallest by land area is Gibraltar on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula; the United Kingdom participates in the Antarctic Treaty System and, as part of a mutual agreement, the British Antarctic Territory is recognised by four of the six other sovereign nations making claims to Antarctic territory. Early colonies, in the sense of English subjects residing in lands hitherto outside the control of the English government, were known as "Plantations"; the first, colony was Newfoundland, where English fishermen set up seasonal camps in the 16th century. It is now a province of Canada known as Labrador.
It retains strong cultural ties with Britain. English colonisation of North America began in 1607 with the settlement of Jamestown, the first successful permanent colony in Virginia, its offshoot, was settled inadvertently after the wrecking of the Virginia company's flagship there in 1609, with the Virginia Company's charter extended to include the archipelago in 1612. St. George's town, founded in Bermuda in that year, remains the oldest continuously inhabited British settlement in the New World. Bermuda and Bermudians have played important, sometimes pivotal, but underestimated or unacknowledged roles in the shaping of the English and British trans-Atlantic Empires; these include maritime commerce, settlement of the continent and of the West Indies, the projection of naval power via the colony's privateers, among other areas. The growth of the British Empire in the 19th century, to its territorial peak in the 1920s, saw Britain acquire nearly one quarter of the world's land mass, including territories with large indigenous populations in Asia and Africa.
From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, the larger settler colonies – in Canada, New Zealand and South Africa – first became self-governing colonies and achieved independence in all matters except foreign policy and trade. Separate self-governing colonies federated to become Canada, South Africa, Rhodesia; these and other large self-governing colonies had become known as Dominions by the 1920s. The Dominions achieved full independence with the Statute of Westminster. Through a process of decolonisation following the Second World War, most of the British colonies in Africa and the Caribbean gained independence; some colonies becam
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