Geographic and Governmental Profile of 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). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. The government's major focus for the immediate future will be on measures to reverse the severe economic recession that started in mid-2008.
Location
Southwestern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, and Pyrenees Mountains; southwest of France
Geographic coordinates
40 00 N, 4 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
Europe
Area
total:
505,370 sq km
rank:
52
land:
498,980 sq km
water:
6,390 sq km
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 Mountains 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)
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Irrigated land
38,000 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, occasional flooding
volcanism:
volcanic activity in the Canary Islands, located off Africa's northwest coast; Teide (elev. 3,715 m) has been deemed a "Decade Volcano" by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior, worthy of study due to its explosive history and close proximity to human populations; La Palma (elev. 2,426 m), which last erupted in 1971, is the most active of the Canary Islands volcanoes; Lanzarote is the only other historically active volcano
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; Spain controls a number of territories in northern Morocco including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas
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
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)
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
1492; 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; signed by the king 27 December 1978
Legal system
civil law system with regional variations
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
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) Mariano RAJOY (since 20 December 2011); Vice President (and Minister of the President's Office) Soraya Saenz de SANTAMARIA (since 22 December 2011)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers designated by the president
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 usually proposed president by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly; election last held on 20 November 2011 (next to be held in November 2015); vice president appointed by the monarch on the proposal of the president
election results:
Mariano RAJOY elected President of the Government; percent of vote - NA
Legislative branch
bicameral; General Courts or Las Cortes Generales (National Assembly) 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; members 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 20 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2015); Congress of Deputies - last held on 20 November 2011 (next to be held by November 2015)
election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PP 136, PSOE 48, CiU 9, EAJ/PNV 4, Amaiur 3, other 8, members appointed by regional legislatures 56; Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PP 44.6%, PSOE 28.8%, CiU 4.2%, IU 6.9%, Amaiur 1.4%,UPyD 4.7%, EAJ/PNV 2.4%, other 7.1%; seats by party - PP 186, PSOE 110, CiU 16, IU 11, Amaiur 7, UPyD 5, EAJ/PNV 5, other 10
Judicial branch
Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo; Constitutional Court or Tribunal Constitucioanal de Espana
Political parties and leaders
Amaiur [collective leadership] (a coalition of parties advocating the peaceful Basque independence from Spain); Basque Nationalist Party or PNV or EAJ [Inigo URKULLU Renteria]; Canarian Coalition or CC [Claudina MORALES Rodriquez] (a coalition of five parties); Convergence and Union or CiU [Josep Antoni DURAN i LLEIDA] (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 [Guillerme VAZQUEZ Vazquez]; Initiative for Catalonia Greens or ICV [Joan HERRA i Torres]; Yes to the Future or Geroa Bai [collective leadership] (a coalition of four Navarran parties); Popular Party or PP [Mariano RAJOY Brey]; Republican Left of Catalonia or ERC [Oril JUNQUERAS i Vies]; Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE; Union of People of Navarra or UPN [Yolanda BARCINA Angulo]; Union, Progress and Democracy or UPyD [Rosa DIEZ Gonzalez]; United Left or IU [Cayo LARA Moya] (a coalition of parties including the Communist Party of Spain or PCE and other small parties)
Political pressure groups and leaders
Association for Victims of Terrorism or AVT (grassroots organization devoted primarily to supporting victims of the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization); 15-M or 15 May protest movement, which is also known as the Indignados, Spanish for the "indignant ones" (a loose association of grassroots organizations that advocate for greater accountability and transparency in Spanish politics, increased social justice and job creation); 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 member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, BCIE, BIS, CBSS (observer), CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), SICA (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, Union Latina, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Ramon Gil-Casares SATRUSTEGUI
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 Alan D. SOLOMONT
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; the triband arrangement with the center stripe twice the width of the outer dates to the 18th century
the red and yellow colors are related to those of the oldest Spanish kingdoms: Aragon, Castile, Leon, and Navarre
National symbol(s)
Pillars of Hercules
National anthem
name:
"Himno Nacional Espanol" (National Anthem of Spain)
lyrics/music:
none/unknown
officially in use between 1770 and 1931, restored in 1939; the Spanish anthem has no lyrics; in the years prior to 1931 it became known as "Marcha Real" (The Royal March); it first appeared in a 1761 military bugle call book and was replaced by "Himno de Riego" in the years between 1931 and 1939; the long version of the anthem is used for the king, while the short version is used for the prince, prime minister, and occasions such as sporting events
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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