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Spain

Background:

Spain's powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded command of the seas to England. Subsequent failure to embrace the mercantile and industrial revolutions caused the country to fall behind Britain, France, and Germany in economic and political power. Spain remained neutral in World Wars I and II, but suffered through a devastating civil war (1936-39). In the second half of the 20th century, Spain has played a catch-up role in the western international community; it joined the EU in 1986. Continuing concerns are Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism and further reductions in unemployment.

Geography

Location:

Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France

Geographic coordinates:

40 00 N, 4 00 W

Map references:

Europe

Area:

total: 504,782 sq km
water: 5,240 sq km
note: there are 19 autonomous communities including Balearic Islands and Canary Islands, and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco - Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera
land: 499,542 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly more than twice the size of Oregon

Land boundaries:

total: 1,917.8 km
border countries: Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km

Coastline:

4,964 km

Maritime claims:

contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate:

temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast

Terrain:

large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m

Natural resources:

coal, lignite, iron ore, uranium, mercury, pyrites, fluorspar, gypsum, zinc, lead, tungsten, copper, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land

Land use:

arable land: 28.6%
permanent crops: 9.56%
other: 61.84% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:

36,400 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

periodic droughts

Environment - current issues:

pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from raw sewage and effluents from the offshore production of oil and gas; water quality and quantity nationwide; air pollution; deforestation; desertification

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification

Geography - note:

strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar

People

Population:

40,217,413 (July 2003 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 14.4% (male 2,985,705; female 2,808,791)
15-64 years: 68% (male 13,721,053; female 13,626,121)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 2,962,646; female 4,113,097) (2003 est.)

Median age:

total: 38.7 years
male: 37.4 years
female: 40.1 years (2002)

Population growth rate:

0.16% (2003 est.)

Birth rate:

10.08 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate:

9.48 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:

0.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2003 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 4.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 4.94 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 79.23 years
male: 75.87 years
female: 82.8 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.26 children born/woman (2003 est.)

Nationality:

noun: Spaniard(s)
adjective: Spanish

Ethnic groups:

composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types

Religions:

Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

Languages:

Castilian Spanish 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%
note: Castilian is the official language nationwide; the other languages are official regionally

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 98.7%
female: 97.2% (2003 est.)

Government

Country name:

conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
conventional short form: Spain
local short form: Espana

Government type:

parliamentary monarchy

Capital:

Madrid

Administrative divisions:

19 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, singular - comunidad autonoma); Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, Baleares (Balearic Islands), Ceuta, Canarias (Canary Islands), Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Cataluna, Communidad Valencian, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla, Murcia, Navarra, Pais Vasco (Basque Country)
note: three small Spanish possessions are located off the coast of Morocco: Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera; Ceuta and Melilla gained limited autonomous status in 1994

Independence:

the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Moslem occupation that began in the early 8th Century A. D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain

National holiday:

Hispanic Day, 12 October

Constitution:

6 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978

Legal system:

civil law system, with regional applications; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:

18 years of age; universal

Source: CIA World Factbook