The Spanish are a European Catholic nation; the first country along with Portugal to explore the New World and create a world wide empire. They are well known for having conquered almost all of Central and South America, such as Mexico (lands of the Aztecs), Peru (Inca Empire), Florida, and many other parts of the New World.
Aside from acquiring an enormous amount of gold from the Americas, the Spanish also waged several religion-based wars on Protestant countries such as Netherlands and England.
The Spanish civilization is primarily an offensive civilization. They have a strong military and a stable economy, and less experience is required for each home city shipment. They will only be able to use one Factory, unless the player possesses Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties. That expansion gave all European civilizations with only one factory an additional factory for balancing purposes.
"In 1492 the combined kingdoms of Aragon and Castile completed the reconquest of Spain, driving the last of the Moors back to North Africa. At this moment the discoveries of Columbus fell into their lap. They followed his first voyage with more that were disappointing at first, revealing new continents but not the Asian source of gold or riches they sought. That changed, however, when first the Aztec and then Incan civilizations were discovered in the interior. Both were destroyed in audacious and brutal campaigns, and looted of enormous treasure.
These conquests revitalized interest in the New World, and Spanish conquistadors searched north and south for more treasure and more civilizations, especially the legendary El Dorado, the city of gold. When these searches proved largely fruitless, the Spanish settled where they found precious metal to be mined, or where surviving native populations could be put to work. Other European nations and assorted pirates began preying on Spanish outposts and returning treasure fleets. While Spain fought endless wars in Europe against Protestantism, it was also engaged in the New World, defending its colonies and sources of wealth.
By the late eighteenth century Spain's opportunity for greatness on a worldwide scale had passed. The wealth it extracted from the New World had largely spent on luxuries and wasteful wars. Spain resisted change and progress at home and abroad. Its colonial system installed a ruling elite over indigenous populations. The costs of maintaining its empire outstripped the income it generated, and one by one the colonies wrested control from Spain. The Spanish fell behind the other contending nations in Europe in economic and military power, and when the French under Napoleon marched in they could offer little organized resistance."