Spain

Introduction 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). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) have given Spain one of the most dynamic economies in Europe and made it a global champion of freedom. Continuing challenges include Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism, illegal immigration, and slowing economic growth.
History

After a long and hard conquest, the Iberian Peninsula became a region of the Roman Empire known as Hispania. During the early Middle Ages it came under Germanic rule. Later it was conquered by Muslim invaders. Through a very long and fitful process, the Christian kingdoms in the north gradually rolled back Muslim rule, finally extinguishing its last remnant in Granada in 1492, the same year Columbus reached the Americas. A global empire began. Spain became the strongest kingdom in Europe and the leading world power during the 16th century and first half of the 17th century; but continued wars and other problems eventually led to a diminished status. The French invasion of Spain in the early 19th century led to chaos; triggering independence movements that tore apart most of the empire and left the country politically unstable. In the 20th century it suffered a devastating civil war and came under the rule of an authoritarian government, leading to years of stagnation, but finishing in an impressive economic surge. Democracy was restored in 1978 in the form of a parliamentry constitutional monarchy. In 1986, Spain joined the European Union; experiencing a cultural renaissance and steady economic growth.

Prehistory and pre-Roman peoples

Archeological research at Atapuerca indicates the Iberian Peninsula was peopled 1.2 million years ago. Modern humans in the form of Cro-Magnons began arriving in the Iberian Peninsula through the Pyrenees some 35,000 years ago. The best known artifacts of these prehistoric human settlements are the famous paintings in the Altamira cave of Cantabria in northern Spain, which were created about 15,000 BCE.

The two main historical peoples of the peninsula were the Iberians and the Celts, the former inhabiting the Mediterranean side from the northeast to the southwest, the latter inhabiting the Atlantic side, in the north and northwest part of the peninsula. In the inner part of the peninsula, where both groups were in contact, a mixed, distinctive culture—known as Celtiberian—was present. In addition, Basques occupied the western area of the Pyrenees mountains. Other ethnic groups existed along the southern coastal areas of present day Andalusia. Among these southern groups there grew the earliest urban culture in the Iberian Peninsula, that of the semi-mythical southern city of Tartessos (perhaps pre-1100 BC) near the location of present-day Cádiz. The flourishing trade in gold and silver between the people of Tartessos and Phoenicians and Greeks is documented in the history of Strabo and in the biblical book of king Solomon. Between about 500 BC and 300 BC, the seafaring Phoenicians and Greeks founded trading colonies all along the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Carthaginians briefly took control of much of the Mediterranean coast in the course of the Punic Wars, until they were eventually defeated and replaced by the Romans.

Roman Empire and Germanic invasions

During the Second Punic War, an expanding Roman Empire captured Carthaginian trading colonies along the Mediterranean coast from roughly 210 BC to 205 BC, leading to eventual Roman control of nearly the entire Iberian Peninsula; this lasted over 500 years, bound together by law, language, and the Roman road.

The base Celt and Iberian population remained in various stages of Romanisation, and local leaders were admitted into the Roman aristocratic class.[note 8][5] Hispania served as a granary for the Roman market, and its harbors exported gold, wool, olive oil, and wine. Agricultural production increased with the introduction of irrigation projects, some of which remain in use. Emperors Trajan, Theodosius I, and the philosopher Seneca were born in Hispania.Christianity was introduced into Hispania in the 1st century CE and it became popular in the cities in the 2nd century CE. Most of Spain's present languages and religion, and the basis of its laws, originate from this period. Rome's loss of jurisdiction in Hispania began in 409, when the Germanic Suevi and Vandals, together with the Sarmatian Alans crossed the Rhine and ravaged Gaul until the Visigoths drove them into Iberia that same year. The Suevi established a kingdom in what is today modern Galicia and northern Portugal. The Alans' allies, the Hasdingi Vandals, established a kingdom in Gallaecia, too, occupying largely the same region but extending further south to the Duero river. The Silingi Vandals occupied the region that still bears a form of their name - Vandalusia, modern Andalusia, in Spain.

Muslim Iberia

In the 8th century, several areas of the Iberian Peninsula were conquered (711-718) by mainly Muslims (see Moors) from North Africa. These conquests were part of the expansion of the Umayyad Islamic Empire.[note 10] Only a number of areas in the north of the Iberian Peninsula managed to resist the initial invasion, occupying areas roughly corresponding to modern Asturias, Navarre and northern Aragon.

Under Islam, Christians and Jews were recognised as "peoples of the book", and were free to practice their religion, but faced a number of mandatory discriminations and penalties as dhimmis. Conversion to Islam proceeded at a steadily increasing pace. Following the mass conversions in the 10th and 11th centuries it is believed that Muslims came to outnumber Christians in the remaining Muslim controlled areas.

The Muslim community in the Iberian peninsula was itself diverse and beset by social tensions. The Berber people of North Africa, who had provided the bulk of the invading armies, clashed with the Arab leadership from the Middle East. Over time, large Moorish populations became established, especially in the Guadalquivir River valley, the coastal plain of Valencia, and (towards the end of this period) in the mountainous region of Granada.

Córdoba, the capital of the caliphate, was the largest, richest and most sophisticated city of medieval western Europe. Mediterranean trade and cultural exchange flourished. Muslims imported a rich intellectual tradition from the Middle East and North Africa. Muslim and Jewish scholars played a great part in reviving and expanding classical Greek learning in Western Europe. The Romanized cultures of the Iberian peninsula interacted with Muslim and Jewish cultures in complex ways, thus giving the region a distinctive culture. Outside the cities, where the vast majority lived, the land ownership system from Roman times remained largely intact as Muslim leaders rarely dispossessed landowners, and the introduction of new crops and techniques led to a remarkable expansion of agriculture.

However, by the 11th century, Muslim holdings had fractured into rival Taifa kingdoms, allowing the small Christian states the opportunity to greatly enlarge their territories and consolidate their positions. The arrival of the North African Muslim ruling sects of the Almoravids and the Almohads restored unity upon Muslim holdings, with a stricter, less tolerant application of Islam, but ultimately, after some successes in invading the north, proved unable to resist the increasing military strength of the Christian states.

Fall of Muslim rule and unification

Given the honored title by the Pope, Catholic MonarchsFerdinand and Isabella, were probably one of the most powerful and accomplished couples in history; they reinforced the Reconquista, founded the Spanish Inquisition, and sponsered Christopher Columbus during the discovery of the New World.

The Reconquista ("Reconquest") is the centuries-long period of expansion of Spain's Christian kingdoms; Reconquista is viewed as beginning with the battle of Covadonga in 722 and being concurrent with the period of Muslim rule on the Iberian peninsula. The Christian army's victory over the Muslim forces led to the creation of the Christian Kingdom of Asturias along the northern coastal mountains. Muslim armies had also moved north of the Pyrenees, but they were defeated at the Battle of Poitiers in France. Subsequently, they retreated to more secure positions south of the Pyrenees with a frontier marked by the Ebro and Duero rivers in Spain. As early as 739 Muslim forces were driven from Galicia, which was to host one of medieval Europe's holiest sites, Santiago de Compostela. A little later Frankish forces established Christian counties south of the Pyrenees; these areas were to grow into kingdoms, in the north-east and the western part of the Pyrenees. These territories included Navarre, Aragon and Catalonia.

The breakup of Al-Andalus into the competing Taifa kingdoms helped the expanding Christian kingdoms. The capture of the central city of Toledo in 1085 largely completed the reconquest of the northern half of Spain. After a Muslim resurgence in the 12th century, the great Moorish strongholds in the south fell to Christian Spain in the 13th century—Córdoba in 1236 and Seville in 1248—leaving only the Muslim enclave of Granada as a tributary state in the south. Marinid invasions from north Africa in the 13th and 14th centuries failed to re-establish Muslim rule. Also in the 13th century, the kingdom of Aragon, formed by Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia expanded its reach across the Mediterranean to Sicily. Around this time the universities of Palencia (1212/1263) and Salamanca (1218/1254) were established; among the earliest in Europe. The Black Death of 1348 and 1349 devastated Spain.

In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand. In 1478 began the final stage of the conquest of Canary Islands and in 1492, these united kingdoms captured Granada, ending the last remnant of a 781-year presence of Islamic rule in Iberia. The Treaty of Granada guaranteed religious tolerance toward Muslims. The year 1492 also marked the arrival in the New World of Christopher Columbus, during a voyage funded by Isabella. That same year, Spain's Jews were ordered to convert to Catholicism or face expulsion from Spanish territories during the Spanish Inquisition. Not long after, Muslims were also expelled under the same conditions.

As Renaissance New Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand centralized royal power at the expense of local nobility, and the word España - whose root is the ancient name Hispania - began to be used commonly to designate the whole of the two kingdoms. With their wide-ranging political, legal, religious and military reforms, Spain emerged as the first world power.

Spanish Empire

The unification of the kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, León, and Navarre laid the basis for modern Spain and the Spanish Empire. Spain was Europe's leading power throughout the 16th century and most of the 17th century, a position reinforced by trade and wealth from colonial possessions. Spain reached its apogee during the reigns of the first two Spanish Habsburgs - Charles I (1516–1556) and Philip II (1556–1598). This period also saw the Italian Wars, the Protestant Reformation, the Dutch revolt, the Morisco revolt, clashes with the Ottomans, the Anglo-Spanish war and wars with France.

Philip II of Spain

The Spanish Empire expanded to include most parts of South and Central America, Mexico, southern and western portions of today's United States, the Philippines, Guam and the Mariana Islands in Eastern Asia, parts of northern Italy, southern Italy, Sicily, cities in Northern Africa, as well as parts of France, modern Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. It was the first empire about which it was said that the sun never set. This was an age of discovery, with daring explorations by sea and by land, the opening-up of new trade routes across oceans, conquests and the beginnings of European colonialism. Along with the arrival of precious metals, spices, luxuries, and new agricultural plants, Spanish and other explorers brought back knowledge from the New World, playing a leading part in transforming Europeans understanding of the globe. The cultural efflorescence witnessed is now referred to as the Spanish Golden Age.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Spain was confronted by unrelenting challenges from all sides. Barbary pirates under the aegis of the rapidly growing Ottoman empire, disrupted life in many coastal areas through their slave raids and renewed the threat of an Islamic invasion.[note 15] This at a time when Spain was often at war with France in Italy and elsewhere. Later the Protestant Reformation schism from the Catholic Church dragged the kingdom ever more deeply into the mire of religiously charged wars. The result was a country forced into ever expanding military efforts across Europe and in the Mediterranean. The rise of humanism, the Protestant Reformation and new geographical discoveries raised issues addressed by an intellectual movement known as the School of Salamanca.

By the middle decades of a war and plague ridden 17th century Europe, the effects of the strain began to show. The Spanish Habsburgs had enmeshed the country in the continent wide religious-political conflicts. These conflicts drained it of resources and undermined the European economy generally. Spain managed to hold on to most of the scattered Habsburg empire, and help the imperial forces of the Holy Roman Empire reverse a large part of the advances made by Protestant forces, but it was finally forced to recognise the separation of Portugal (with whom it had been united in a personal union of the crowns from 1580 to 1640) and the Netherlands, and eventually suffered some serious military reverses to France in the latter stages of the immensely destructive, Europe-wide Thirty Years War.

In the latter half of the 17th century, Spain went into a gradual relative decline, during which it surrendered a number of small territories to France. However Spain maintained and enlarged its vast overseas empire, which remained intact until the beginning of the 19th century.

The decline culminated in a controversy over succession to the throne which consumed the first years of the 18th century. The War of Spanish Succession, a wide ranging international conflict combined with a civil war, cost Spain its European possessions and its position as one of the leading powers on the Continent.

During this war, a new dynasty—the French Bourbons—was installed. Long united only by the Crown, a true Spanish state was established when the first Bourbon king Philip V of Spain united Castile and Aragon into a single state, abolishing many of the regional privileges (fueros).

The 18th century saw a gradual recovery and an increase in prosperity through much of the empire. The new Bourbon monarchy drew on the French system of modernising the administration and the economy. Enlightenment ideas began to gain ground among some of the kingdom's elite and monarchy. Towards the end of the century trade finally began growing strongly. Military assistance for the rebellious British colonies in the American War of Independence improved Spain's international standing.

Napoleonic rule and its consequences

In 1793, Spain went to war against the new French Republic, which had overthrown and executed its Bourbon king, Louis XVI. The war polarised the country in an apparent reaction against the gallicised elites. Defeated in the field, Spain made peace with France in 1795 and effectively became a client state of that country; the following year, it declared war against Britain and Portugal. A disastrous economic situation, along with other factors, led to the abdication of the Spanish king in favour of Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte.

This foreign puppet monarch was widely regarded with scorn. On 2 May 1808, the people of Madrid began a nationalist uprising against the French army, one of many across the country, marking the beginning of what is known to the Spanish as the War of Independence, and to the English as the Peninsular War. Napoleon was forced to intervene personally, defeating several badly coordinated Spanish armies and forcing a British Army to retreat to Corunna. However, further military action by Spanish guerrillas and Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese army, combined with Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, led to the ousting of the French from Spain in 1814, and the return of King Ferdinand VII.

The French invasion proved disastrous for Spain's economy, and left a deeply divided country that was prone to political instability for more than a century. The power struggles of the early 19th century led to the loss of all of Spain's colonies in Latin America, with the exception of Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Spanish-American War

Amid the instability and economic crisis that afflicted Spain in the 19th century there arose nationalist movements in the Philippines and Cuba. Wars of independence ensued in those colonies and eventually the United States became involved. Despite the commitment and ability shown by some military units, they were so mismanaged by the highest levels of command that the Spanish-American war of 1898 was soon over. "El Desastre" (The Disaster), as the war became known in Spain, helped give impetus to the Generation of 98 who were already conducting much critical analysis concerning the country. It also weakened the stability that had been established during Alfonso XII's reign.

20th century

The 20th century brought little peace; Spain played a minor part in the scramble for Africa, with the colonisation of Western Sahara, Spanish Morocco and Equatorial Guinea. The heavy losses suffered during the Rif war in Morocco helped to undermine the monarchy. A period of authoritarian rule under General Miguel Primo de Rivera (1923-1931) ended with the establishment of the Second Spanish Republic. The Republic offered political autonomy to the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia and gave voting rights to women.

The bitterly fought Spanish Civil War (1936-39) ensued. Three years later the Nationalist forces, led by General Francisco Franco, emerged victorious with the support of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The Republican side was supported by the Soviet Union and Mexico and international brigades , most famously the american 'Abraham Lincon Brigade', but it was not supported officially by the Western powers due to the British-led policy of Non-Intervention. The Spanish Civil War has been called the first battle of the Second World War; under Franco, Spain was neutral in the Second World War though sympathetic to the Axis.

The only legal party under Franco's regime was the Falange española tradicionalista y de las JONS, formed in 1937; the party emphasised anti-Communism, Catholicism and nationalism. Nonetheless, since Franco's anti-democratic ideology was opposed to the idea of political parties, the new party was renamed officially a National Movement (Movimiento Nacional) in 1949.

After World War II, Spain was politically and economically isolated, and was kept out of the United Nations until 1955, when due to the Cold War it became strategically important for the U.S. to create a military presence on the Iberian peninsula, next to the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar, in order to protect southern Europe. In the 1960s, Spain registered an unprecedented economic growth in what was called the Spanish miracle, which rapidly resumed the long interrupted transition towards a modern industrial economy with a thriving tourism sector and a high degree of human development.

Upon the death of General Franco in November 1975, Prince Juan Carlos assumed the position of king and head of state. With the approval of the new Spanish Constitution of 1978 and the arrival of democracy, the State devolved autonomy to the regions and created an internal organization based on autonomous communities. In the Basque Country, moderate Basque nationalism coexisted with a radical nationalism supportive of the separatist group ETA.

On 23 February 1981, rebel elements among the security forces seized the Cortes and tried to impose a military-backed government. However, the great majority of the military forces remained loyal to King Juan Carlos, who used his personal authority and addressed the usurpers via national TV as commander in chief to put down the bloodless coup attempt.

On 30 May 1982, NATO gained a new member when, following a referendum, the newly democratic Spain joined the alliance. Also in 1982, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) came to power, representing the return of a left-wing government after 43 years. In 1986, Spain joined the European Community - what has now become the European Union. The PSOE was replaced in government by the Partido Popular (PP) after the latter won the 1996 General Elections; at that point the PSOE had served almost 14 consecutive years in office.

The Government of Spain has been involved in a long-running campaign against the separatist and terrorist organization ETA ("Basque Homeland and Freedom"), founded in 1959 in opposition to Franco and dedicated to promoting Basque independence through violent means. They consider themselves a guerrilla organization while they are listed as a terrorist organization by both the European Union and the United States on their respective watchlists. The current nationalist-led Basque Autonomous government does not endorse ETA's nationalist violence, which has caused over 800 deaths in the past 40 years.

21st century

On 1 January 2002, Spain terminated its peseta currency and replaced it with the euro, which it shares with 14 other countries in the Eurozone. Spain has also seen strong economic growth, well above the EU average, but concerns are growing that the extraordinary property boom and high foreign trade deficits of recent years may bring this to an end.

A series of bombs exploded in commuter trains in Madrid, Spain on 11 March 2004. After a five month trial in 2007 it was concluded the bombings were perpetrated by a local Islamist militant group inspired by al-Qaeda. The bombings killed 191 people and wounded more than 1800, and the intention of the perpetrators may have been to influence the outcome of the Spanish general election, held three days later. Though initial suspicions focused on the Basque group ETA, evidence soon emerged indicating possible Islamist involvement. Because of the proximity of the election, the issue of responsibility quickly became a political controversy, with the main competing parties PP and PSOE exchanging accusations over the handling of the aftermath. At the 14 March elections, PSOE, led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, obtained a relative majority, enough to form a new cabinet with Rodríguez Zapatero as the new Presidente del Gobierno or prime minister of Spain, thus succeeding the former PP administration.

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
land: 499,542 sq km
water: 5,240 sq km
note: there are two autonomous cities - Ceuta and Melilla - and 17 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
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: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
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, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
Land use: arable land: 27.18%
permanent crops: 9.85%
other: 62.97% (2005)
Irrigated land: 37,800 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 111.1 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 37.22 cu km/yr (13%/19%/68%)
per capita: 864 cu m/yr (2002)
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-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note: strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
Politics

Constitution

The Spanish Constitution of 1978 is the culmination of the Spanish transition to democracy.

The constitutional history of Spain dates back to the constitution of 1812. After the death of Francisco Franco in 1975, a general election in 1977 convened the Constituent Cortes (the Spanish Parliament, in its capacity as a constitutional assembly) for the purpose of drafting and approving the constitution of 1978.

As a result, Spain is now composed of 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities with varying degrees of autonomy thanks to its Constitution, which nevertheless explicitly states the indivisible unity of the Spanish nation as well as that Spain has today no official religion but all are free to practice and believe as they wish.

Government

Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a bicameral parliament, the Cortes Generales. The executive branch consists of a Council of Ministers presided over by the President of Government (comparable to a prime minister), proposed by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly following legislative elections.

The legislative branch is made up of the Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados) with 350 members, elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms, and a Senate (Senado) with 259 seats of which 208 are directly elected by popular vote and the other 51 appointed by the regional legislatures to also serve four-year terms.

The Spanish nation is organizationally composed in the form of called Estado de las Autonomías ("State of Autonomies"); it is one of the most decentralized countries in Europe, along with Switzerland, Germany and Belgium;[30] for example, all Autonomous Communities have their own elected parliaments, governments, public administrations, budgets, and resources; therefore, health and education systems among others are managed regionally, besides, the Basque Country and Navarre also manage their own public finances based on foral provisions. In Catalonia and the Basque Country, a full fledged autonomous police corps replaces some of the State police functions (see Mossos d'Esquadra and Ertzaintza).

People Population: 40,491,052 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 14.4% (male 3,011,815/female 2,832,788)
15-64 years: 67.6% (male 13,741,493/female 13,641,914)
65 years and over: 17.9% (male 3,031,597/female 4,231,444) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 40.7 years
male: 39.3 years
female: 42.1 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.096% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 9.87 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 9.9 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 0.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 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 (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 4.26 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 4.65 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 3.85 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 79.92 years
male: 76.6 years
female: 83.45 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.3 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.7% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 140,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 1,000 (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 (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, 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.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 16 years
male: 16 years
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 4.2% of GDP (2005)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
conventional short form: Spain
local long form: Reino de Espana
local short form: Espana
Government type: parliamentary monarchy
Capital: name: Madrid
geographic coordinates: 40 24 N, 3 41 W
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: Spain is divided into two time zones including the Canary Islands
Administrative divisions: 17 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, singular - comunidad autonoma) and 2 autonomous cities* (ciudades autonomas, singular - ciudad autonoma); Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, Baleares (Balearic Islands), Ceuta*, Canarias (Canary Islands), Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Cataluna (Catalonia), Comunidad Valenciana (Valencian Community), Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla*, Murcia, Navarra, Pais Vasco (Basque Country)
note: the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla plus three small islands of Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera, administered directly by the Spanish central government, are all along the coast of Morocco and are collectively referred to as Places of Sovereignty (Plazas de Soberania)
Independence: the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim 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: National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas
Constitution: approved by legislature 31 October 1978; passed by referendum 6 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978
Legal system: civil law system, with regional applications; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince FELIPE, son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968
head of government: President of the Government (Prime Minister equivalent) Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO (since 17 April 2004); First Vice President (and Minister of the Presidency) Maria Teresa FERNANDEZ DE LA VEGA (since 18 April 2004) and Second Vice President (and Minister of Economy and Finance) Pedro SOLBES Mira (since 18 April 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president
note: there is also a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government, but its recommendations are non-binding
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually proposed president by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly; election last held on 9 and 11 April 2008 (next to be held in March 2012); vice presidents appointed by the monarch on the proposal of the president
election results: Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO reelected President of the Government; percent of National Assembly vote - 46.94%
Legislative branch: bicameral; General Courts or National Assembly or Las Cortes Generales consists of the Senate or Senado (264 seats as of 2008; 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 56 - as of 2008 - appointed by the regional legislatures; to serve four-year terms) and the Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; each of the 50 electoral provinces fills a minimum of two seats and the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla fill one seat each with members serving a four-year term; the other 248 members are determined by proportional representation based on popular vote on block lists who serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 9 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2012); Congress of Deputies - last held on 9 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PP 101, PSOE 88, Entesa Catalona de Progress 12, CiU 4, PNV 2, CC 1, members appointed by regional legislatures 56; Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PSOE 43.6%, PP 40.1%, CiU 3.1%, PNV 1.2%, ERC 1.2%, other 10.8%; seats by party - PSOE 169, PP 154, CiU 10, PNV 6, ERC 3, other 8
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo
Political parties and leaders: Aragonese Party or CHA [Bizen FUSTER]; Basque Nationalist Party or PNV [Inigo URKULLU]; Basque Solidarity or EA [Begona ERRAZTI]; Canarian Coalition or CC [Jose Torres STINGA] (a coalition of five parties); Convergence and Union or CiU [Artur MAS i Gavarro] (a coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia or CDC [Artur MAS i Gavarro] and the Democratic Union of Catalonia or UDC [Josep Antoni DURAN i LLEIDA]); Entesa Catalonia de Progress (a Senate coalition grouping four Catalan parties - PSC, ERC, ICV, EUA); Galician Nationalist Bloc or BNG [Anxo Manuel QUINTANA Gonzalez]; Initiative for Catalonia Greens or ICV [Joan SAURA i Laporta]; Navarra yes or Na Bai [Uxue BARKOS Berruezo] (a coalition of four Navarran parties); Popular Party or PP [Mariano RAJOY Brey]; Republican Left of Catalonia or ERC [Josep-Lluis CAROD-ROVIRA]; Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE [Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO]; United Left or IU [Gaspar LLAMAZARES Trigo] (a coalition of parties including the PCE and other small parties)
Political pressure groups and leaders: Association for Victims of Terrorism or AVT (grassroots organization devoted primarily to opposing ETA terrorist attacks and supporting its victims); Basta Ya (Spanish for "Enough is Enough"; grassroots organization devoted primarily to opposing ETA terrorist attacks and supporting its victims); Nunca Mais (Galician for "Never Again"; formed in response to the oil Tanker Prestige oil spill); Socialist General Union of Workers or UGT and the smaller independent Workers Syndical Union or USO; Trade Union Confederation of Workers' Commissions or CC.OO.
other: business and landowning interests; Catholic Church; free labor unions (authorized in April 1977); university students
International organization participation: ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Australia Group, BCIE, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNMEE, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Jorge DEZCALLAR de Mazarredo
chancery: 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
telephone: [1] (202) 452-0100, 728-2340
FAX: [1] (202) 833-5670
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Eduardo AGUIRRE, Jr.
embassy: Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid
mailing address: PSC 61, APO AE 09642
telephone: [34] (91) 587-2200
FAX: [34] (91) 587-2303
consulate(s) general: Barcelona
Flag description: three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band; the coat of arms is quartered to display the emblems of the traditional kingdoms of Spain (clockwise from upper left, Castile, Leon, Navarre, and Aragon) while Granada is represented by the stylized pomegranate at the bottom of the shield; the arms are framed by two columns representing the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar; the red scroll across the two columns bears the imperial motto of "Plus Ultra" (further beyond) referring to Spanish lands beyond Europe
Culture

Spain is known for its culturally diverse heritage, having been influenced by many nations and peoples throughout its history. Spanish culture has its origins in the Iberian, Celtiberian, Latin, Visigothic, Roman Catholic, and Islamic cultures. The definition of a national Spanish culture has been characterized by tension between the centralized state, dominated in recent centuries by Castile, and numerous regions and minority peoples. In addition, the history of the nation and its Mediterranean and Atlantic environment have played strong roles in shaping its culture. After Italy, Spain has the second highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, with a total of 40.

Schools

State education in Spain is free and compulsory from the age of 6 to 16. The current education system was established by an educational law of 1990, Ley Orgánica de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo - Law on the General Organization of the Educational System.

Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote is considered to be the first modern novel

Literature

The term Spanish literature refers to literature written in the Spanish language, including literature composed in Spanish by writers not necessarily from Spain. For Spanish American literature specifically, see Latin American literature. Due to historic, geographic and generational diversity, Spanish literature has known a great number of influences and it is very diverse. Some major literary movements can be identified within it.

Miguel de Cervantes is probably Spain's most famous author and his Don Quixote is considered the most emblematic work in the canon of Spanish literature and a founding classic of Western literature.

Real Academia Española

The Real Academia Española (Spanish for "Royal Spanish Academy"; RAE) is the institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. It is based in Madrid, but is affiliated with national language academies in 21 Spanish-speaking nations through the Association of Spanish Language Academies. Its emblem is a fiery crucible, and its motto is Limpia, fija y da esplendor ("It cleans, sets, and gives splendor").

Art

Spanish art is an important and influential type of art in Europe. Spanish art is the name given to the artistic disciplines and works developed in Spain throughout time, and those by Spanish authors world-wide. Due to historical, geographical and generational diversity, Spanish art has known a great number of influences. The Moorish heritage in Spain, especially in Andalusia, is still evident today in cities like Córdoba, Seville, and Granada. European influences include Italy, Germany and France, especially during the Baroque and Neoclassical periods.

Economy Economy - overview: The Spanish economy boomed from 1986 to 1990 averaging 5% annual growth. After a European-wide recession in the early 1990s, the Spanish economy resumed moderate growth starting in 1994. Spain's mixed capitalist economy supports a GDP that on a per capita basis is equal to that of the leading West European economies. The center-right government of former President Jose Maria AZNAR successfully worked to gain admission to the first group of countries launching the European single currency (the euro) on 1 January 1999. The AZNAR administration continued to advocate liberalization, privatization, and deregulation of the economy and introduced some tax reforms to that end. Unemployment fell steadily under the AZNAR administration but remains high at 7.6%. Growth averaging more than 3% annually during 2003-07 was satisfactory given the background of a faltering European economy. The Socialist president, Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO, has made mixed progress in carrying out key structural reforms, which need to be accelerated and deepened to sustain Spain's economic growth. Despite the economy's relative solid footing significant downside risks remain including Spain's continued loss of competitiveness, the potential for a housing market collapse, the country's changing demographic profile, and a decline in EU structural funds.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.361 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.439 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $33,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.6%
industry: 30.2%
services: 66.1% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 22.19 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 5.3%
industry: 30.1%
services: 64.6% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate: 8.3% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 19.8% (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 26.6% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 32 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed): 31.1% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $588.5 billion
expenditures: $556.5 billion (2007 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Public debt: 36.2% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.8% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: NA
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 9.89% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: NA
Stock of quasi money: NA (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $3.177 trillion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products: grain, vegetables, olives, wine grapes, sugar beets, citrus; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish
Industries: textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and refractory products, footwear, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment
Industrial production growth rate: 3.1% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 270.3 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption: 243 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 11.56 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 10.21 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 50.4%
hydro: 18.2%
nuclear: 27.2%
other: 4.1% (2001)
Oil - production: 29,350 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 1.6 million bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 175,200 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 1.714 million bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 157.6 million bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 151.5 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 30.58 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 31.76 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 2.444 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: -$145.3 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $256.7 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods
Exports - partners: France 18.8%, Germany 10.8%, Portugal 8.6%, Italy 8.5%, UK 7.6%, US 4.2% (2007)
Imports: $380.2 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments
Imports - partners: Germany 15.7%, France 12.7%, Italy 8.4%, China 5.8%, UK 4.8%, Netherlands 4.6% (2007)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $3.814 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $19.05 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $1.084 trillion (30 June 2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $568.8 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $681.7 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $960 billion (2005)
Currency (code): euro (EUR)
Currency code: EUR
Exchange rates: euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006), 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003)
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 18.583 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 48.813 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: well developed, modern facilities; fixed-line teledensity is about 45 per 100 persons
domestic: combined fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity is nearly 170 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 34; submarine cables provide connectivity to Europe, Middle East, Asia, and US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to adjacent countries
Radio broadcast stations: AM 208, FM 715, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 13.1 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 224 (plus 2,105 repeaters; includes 11 television broadcast stations and 88 repeaters in the Canary Islands) (1995)
Televisions: 16.2 million (1997)
Internet country code: .es
Internet hosts: 3.264 million (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 56 (2000)
Internet users: 19.69 million (2007)
Transportation Airports: 154 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 96
over 3,047 m: 18
2,438 to 3,047 m: 11
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18
914 to 1,523 m: 25
under 914 m: 24 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 58
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 42 (2007)
Heliports: 8 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 7,858 km; oil 622 km; refined products 3,445 km (2007)
Railways: total: 14,974 km
broad gauge: 11,919 km 1.668-m gauge (6,950 km electrified)
standard gauge: 1,099 km 1.435-m gauge (1,054 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,928 km 1.000-m gauge (815 km electrified); 28 km 0.914-m gauge (28 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways: total: 681,224 km
paved: 681,224 km (includes 13,872 km of expressways) (2006)
Waterways: 1,000 km (2003)
Merchant marine: total: 158
by type: bulk carrier 9, cargo 14, chemical tanker 11, container 22, liquefied gas 11, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 47, petroleum tanker 16, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 15, specialized tanker 2, vehicle carrier 5
foreign-owned: 26 (Canada 3, Canada 1, Denmark 2, Germany 5, Italy 2, Mexico 3, Norway 5, UK 3, UK 2)
registered in other countries: 110 (Angola 1, Argentina 2, Bahamas 14, Belize 1, Brazil 9, Cape Verde 1, Cuba 1, Cyprus 6, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 1, Nigeria 1, Panama 50, Portugal 11, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, UK 1, Uruguay 6, Venezuela 1) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Algeciras, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cartagena, Huelva, Tarragona, Valencia
Military Military branches: Spanish Armed Forces: Army (Ejercito de Tierra), Spanish Navy (Armada Espanola, AE; includes Marine Corps), Spanish Air Force (Ejercito del Aire Espanola, EdA) (2007)
Military service age and obligation: 20 years of age (2004)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 10,033,069
females age 16-49: 9,764,937 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 8,228,426
females age 16-49: 7,990,678 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 203,650
female: 191,352 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 1.2% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to remain a British colony and against a "total shared sovereignty" arrangement while demanding participation in talks between the UK and Spain; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy; Morocco protests Spain's control over the coastal enclaves of Ceuta, Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas and Islas Chafarinas, and surrounding waters; Morocco serves as the primary launching site of illegal migration into Spain from North Africa; Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 Congress of Vienna and the 1801 Treaty of Badajoz
Illicit drugs: despite rigorous law enforcement efforts, North African, Latin American, Galician, and other European traffickers take advantage of Spain's long coastline to land large shipments of cocaine and hashish for distribution to the European market; consumer for Latin American cocaine and North African hashish; destination and minor transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin; money-laundering site for Colombian narcotics trafficking organizations and organized crime