The only country in Europe where Spanish is an official language, Spain is known for a performance art form called flamenco and for its tradition of bull fighting. The majority of Spaniards are Catholic, but the country does not have an official state religion.
Performed by men and women, flamenco combines distinctive dance moves, including food stomping and clapping, with soulful singing and guitar playing. Castanets are sometimes featured in flamenco performances. The tradition is most associated with the region of Andalusia in southern Spain. Flamenco is named on the United Nations' Education, Cultural and Scientific Organization's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Bull fights are ritualized spectacles that pit a bull fighter, known as a matador, against a bull. Bull fights typically end with the bull's death. In addition to being dangerous for the matador, who risks being gored by the bull, the practice is also controversial because some animal rights activists consider the treatment of the bulls to be inhumane.
In 1492, Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand unified the kingdoms that were to become modern Spain under Catholicism when they completed what is known as the Reconquest of Spain. In the centuries prior, parts of what is now Spain had been under Islamic rule.