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The name España is of uncertain origin; from it derived the Hispania of the roman Empire.Important regions within the modern nation are the Basque Country (País Vasco), the Catalan-Valencian-Balearic area, and Galicia—each of which has its own language and a strong regional identity.Even though many other measures of difference can be questioned, Basque separatism, where it is endorsed, is fueled by the experience of political repression in the twentieth century in particular.There has never been an independent Basque state apart from Spain or France.The Puerta del Sol is at kilometer zero for Spain's road system. Spain's population of 39,852,651 in early 1999 represented a slight decline from levels earlier in the decade.The population had increased significantly in every previous decade of the twentieth century, rising from under nineteen million in 1900.The comarca is a community of concrete relationships; larger regional identities are more easily characterized as imagined but emerge from a tradition of local difference and acquire some of their strength from that tradition.

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This image of variety is itself a shared element of Spanish identity.But other measures of difference, in addition to a separate language, distinguish Cataluña from the rest of Spain.Among these is Cataluña's deeply commercial and mercantile bent, which has underlain Catalan economic development and power in both past and present.This growing power was soon to be enhanced by the Crown's monopoly (vis-a-vis other regions and the rest of Europe) on all that accrued from Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New World, which occurred under Crown sponsorship.Madrid, already at the time an ancient Castilian town, was selected as Spain's capital in 1561, replacing the court's former home, Valladolid.

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