Old troubles with remote origins persist in modern Spain, including huge public debts, extensive corruption, widespread unlawfulness, oligarchical politics, territorial splits, and permanent protests and riots. When did Spain screw up? "The Spanish Frustration" provides an interpretation of several important aspects of present-day Spain and its past stories. It argues that, in the long term, Spain missed the opportunity to become a consolidated modern nation-state because it was entangled in imperial adventures for several centuries when it should have been building a solid domestic basis for further endeavours. In short: a ruinous empire made a weak state, which built an incomplete nation, which sustains a minority democracy.