With an area of 504,030 km², Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union after France. Since January 1, 2010, Spain has held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Because of its location, the territory of Spain was subject to many external influences, often simultaneously, since prehistoric times and through the dawn of Spain as a country. Conversely, the country itself has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 400 million Spanish speakers today - making it the world's second most spoken language by native speakers. Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a developed country with the ninth or tenth largest economy in the world by nominal GDP, and very high living standards.