General information: A powerful world empire in the 16th-17th centuries, Spain eventually ceded dominance on the seas to England. Subsequent failures in trade and attempts at industrial modernization led to the country’s final lag behind the British Empire, France and Germany in economic and political development. Spain remained neutral in the First and Second World Wars, but survived the devastating civil war of 1936-39. In the second half of the XX century. the country begins to regain lost positions in the Western community. The country’s economic development is hampered by high unemployment and the Basque separatist movement.
Location: Southwestern Europe; the coast of the Bay of Biscay, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Atlantic; southwest of France beyond the Pyrenees.
Geographical coordinates: 40° 00′ N. latitude, 4° 00′ W
Reference map: Europe.
Area: total: 504,782 km2; land surface area: 499,542 km2; water surface area: 5,240 km2; note: including the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, and the five sovereign territories (plazas de soberania) on and near the coast of Morocco: Ceuta, Melilla, Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas and Penon de -Veles de la Gomera (Penon de Velez de la Gomera).
Comparative area: almost twice the size of Oregon.
Land borders: total: 1,917.8 km; with neighboring states: with Andorra 63.7 km, with France 623 km, with Gibraltar 1.2 km, with Portugal 1,214 km, with Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, with Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km.
Coastline: 4,964 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles (only exists in the Atlantic Ocean); territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: sunny hot summers in the interior, more temperate and with more clouds on the coast; cloudy cool winters in the interior, milder and sunny on the coast.
Terrain: wide flat plain, turning into a rugged plateau surrounded by rocky mountains; Pyrenees in the north.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Teide (Tenerife, Canary Islands) 3,718 m
Natural resources: coal, brown coal, iron ore, uranium, mercury, pyrites, fluorspar, gypsum, zinc, lead, tungsten, copper, kaolin potash, hydropower, arable land.
Land use: arable land: 30%; cultivated land: 9%; pastures: 21%; forests and plantations: 32%; others: 8% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 34,530 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: Periodic droughts.
Current environmental issues: pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from untreated sewage discharges and offshore oil and gas production, insufficient quantity and quality of water, air pollution, deforestation, desertification.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Air Pollution, Air Pollution – Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution – Sulfur 1994, Air Pollution – Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctica – Environmental Protection Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life in Antarctica, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental change, Hazardous waste, Law of the sea, Marine pollution, Marine life conservation, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection, Ship pollution, Tropical timber 1983, Tropical timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: Air Pollution – Persistent Organic Pollutants, Kyoto Protocol, Desertification.
Geography Note: Strategic location along the Strait of Gibraltar.
Population: 40,037,995 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 14.62% (male 3,015,851; female 2,835,763); 15 to 64 years old: 68.2% (male 13,701,065; female 13,605,314); over 65: 17.18% (male 2,881,334; female 3,998,668) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.1% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 9.26 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 9.13 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: 0.87 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.07 male/female; under 15: 1.06 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.01 male/female; over 65: 0.72 male/female; for the general population: 0.96 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 4.92 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 78.93 years; men: 75.47 years; women: 82.62 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 1.15 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.58% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 120,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 2,000 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Spanish; adjective: Spanish.
Ethnic groups: a mixture of Mediterranean and Scandinavian types.
Believers: Catholic 99%, others 1%.
Languages): Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 97%; men: no data; women: no data.
Common long form: Kingdom of Spain;
conventional short form: Spain; local short form: Espana.
State structure: parliamentary monarchy. See politicsezine.com to know more about Spain Political System.
Administrative division: 17 autonomous regions (comunidades autonomas): Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Valencia, Galicia, Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile-La-La-Mancha, Castilla-Leon, Catalonia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre, Basque Country, Extremadura; note: there are five sovereign Spanish territories on the Moroccan coast and nearby islands: Ceuta, Melilla, Chafarinas Islands, Penon de Alusemas and Penon de Ve les de la Gomera.
Independence: from 1492 (expulsion of the Moors and unification).
National holiday: National Day, 12 October.
Constitution: adopted December 6, 1978, entered into force December 29, 1978
Legal system: civil law system with regional peculiarities; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
chief of state: King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975) heir Prince FELIPE (p. 30 January 1968), son of the king;
head of the government: Prime Minister Jose Maria ASNAR Lopez (since May 5, 1996); First Deputy Chairman Juan Jose LUCAS (since February 28, 2000); Deputy Chairman and Minister of Economy Rodrigo RATO Figaredo (since May 5, 1996);
Government: Council of Ministers, appointed by the Prime Minister; note: there is also a State Council, which is an advisory body to the government; elections: hereditary monarchy; Prime Minister nominated by the King and confirmed by the National Assembly after legislative elections (last elections held on 12 March 2000, next to be held in March 2004); Deputy Prime Ministers are appointed by the King on the proposal of the Prime Minister; election results: José-Maria ASNAR López elected Prime Minister; the percentage of votes he won in the National Assembly – 44%.
Legislature: bicameral National Assembly (Las Cortes Generales), consisting of the Senate (259 seats – 208 members are elected by popular vote and 51 are appointed by regional legislatures for 4 years) and the Congress of Deputies (350 seats; members are elected by popular vote on party lists based on proportional representation for a term for 4 years); elections: Senate – last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held March 2004); Congress of Deputies – last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held in March 2004); election results: Senate, distribution of votes between parties: NA; distribution of seats among parties: PP 127, PSOE 61, CiU 8, PNV 6, SS 5, PIL 1; Congress of Deputies, distribution of votes between parties: PP 44.5%, PSOE 34%, SU 4.2%, IU 5.4%, PNV 1.5%, SS 1%, BNG 1.3%;
Judiciary: Supreme Court.
Political parties and leaders: Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) (Xabier ARZALLUS Antia); Canarian Coalition (CC) (coalition of five parties) (Paulino RIVERO [Paulino RIVERO]); Concord and Unification (CiU) (Jordi PUJOL i Soley, Secretary General) (coalition of the Democratic Accord of Catalonia (Jordi PUJOL) and the Democratic Union of Catalonia (Josep Antoni DURAN y LLEIDA)); Galician National Bloc (BNG) (Jose Manuel BEIRAS); Party of the Independents of Lanzarote (PIL) (Dimas MARTIN Martin); Popular Party (PP) (Jose Maria ASNAR); Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) (Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATERO [Jose Luis Rodriguez ZAPATE-RO]); United Left (IU) (a coalition of small parties, including the Communist Party of Spain) (Gaspar LLAMAZARES [Gaspar LLAMAZARES]).
Political influence groups and their leaders: business and landowning groups; Catholic Church; Euskal Erritarok (EH) (Herri BATASUNA); free trade unions (allowed from April 1977); Fatherland and Freedom (ETA) (basque left-wing terrorist organization); October 1st Anti-Fascist Resistance Group (GRAPO), a terrorist anti-government organization; Opus Dei; the General Socialist Union of Workers and the small independent Syndicalist Workers’ Union; university students; Workers’ Confederation.
Participation in international organizations: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAIA (observer), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC.
Diplomatic Representation in the USA: Head of Mission: Ambassador Francisco Javier RUPEREZ; office: 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037; phone:  (202) 452-0100, 728-2340; fax:  (202) 833-5670; consulates general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico).
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Edward L. ROMERO; embassy: Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid; mailing address: ARO AE 09642; phone:  (91) 587-2200; fax:  (91) 587-2303; consulates general: Barcelona.
Flag description: three horizontal stripes of red (top), yellow (double width) and red, with the national coat of arms in the center of the yellow stripe; the coat of arms includes the royal seal, framed by the Pillars of Hercules, which symbolize the two capes (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on the sides of the eastern tip of the Strait of Gibraltar.