Spain, formally known as the Kingdom of Spain, is a Southwestern European country located in the Iberian Peninsula. The country occupies 85% of the Iberian Peninsula, with Portugal occupying the remaining area. Its territory also includes the Canary Islands off the coast of North Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. Spain is the only European country to have a physical border with an African country, Morocco. Mainland Spain is bordered by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, Portugal to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south and east. Spain is the fourth largest country by area in Europe. Madrid, the capital, is the largest city and the financial and cultural center.
As part of the European Union, Spain uses the euro as its official currency. However, prior to the euro, Spain has used three different monetary systems: the real, the escudo, and the peseta. The Banco Español de San Fernando was renamed the Banco de España (Bank of Spain) in 1856. The Banco de España (BE) does central banking functions for Spain. Early Spanish banknotes only had the denominations on one side of the note. Gradually, Spanish notes added extra features and designs as the technology for banknote printing evolved, including portraits of people and allegorical figures on the obverse side and significant architecture, art, and historical events on the reverse side. The BE was declared as the only issuing bank in Spain in 1874 and was nationalized in 1962.