Spain was first called Iberia a name given to it by its Iberian inhabitants (from North Africa).  The name was supposedly based on the Iberian word for river, Iber. They reached Spain around 6000 b.c.  When the Greeks arrived on Spanish soil around 600 b.c. they referred to the peninsula as Hesperia, meaning "land of the setting sun."  When the Carthaginians came around 300 b.c. they called the country Ispania (from Sphan, "rabbit"), which means "land of the rabbits."  The Romans arrived a century later and adopted the Carthaginian name of the country, calling it Hispania.  Later, this became the present day Spanish name for the country, Espaņa.  Thus, because of the Romans and their language, the rabbits won over the sunset and over the river.
  Spain, The Root and the Flower.  John A.Crow.   
   University of California Press.  1985.  Page 7.