OFFICIAL NAME: Kingdom of Spain
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Constitutional Monarchy
AREA: 504,782 Sq Km (194,897 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 39,439,400
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Spain is located on the Iberian
Peninsula in South West Europe and includes the Balearic
and Canary Islands as well as the Moroccan enclaves of Ceuta
and Melilla. It is bound by France and Andorra to the northeast,
Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Mediterranean
Sea to the southeast and east, the Strait of Gibraltar and
Morocco to the south and the Bay of Biscay to the northwest.
Continental Spain consists of the Meseta or Central Plateau
which is surrounded by the Baetic, Andalusian and Iberian
Mountains to the south and southeast, and the Pyrenees to
the north as well as the Cordillera Cantabrica to the northwest.
Along the northwest coast there are Rias which form several
good harbors. The country has over 1,800 rivers and streams
of which the Douro, Tajo, Guadiana, Ebro, Guadalquivir,
Mino, Segura and the Jucar are the principal rivers. Major
Cities (pop. est.); Madrid 2,909,800, Barcelona 1,623,500,
Valencia 752,900, Seville 659,100, Zaragoza 586,200 (1991).
Land Use; forested 32%, pastures 21%, agricultural-cultivated
39%, other 8% (1993).
CLIMATE: Spain has a Mediterranean climate in the southern and
eastern coastal areas as well as a temperate climate further inland. The
central Meseta has hot summers and cold winters, while the southern regions
at the foot of the mountains have the warmest winter temperatures in mainland
Europe. On the Atlantic coast summers are not as hot with temperatures
and rainfall decreasing inland. Average annual precipitation in the north
and northwest is 890 mm (35 inches) or more and the Meseta receives between
305 mm to 635 mm (12 to 25 inches) annually. Average temperature ranges
in Madrid are from 1 to 8 degrees Celsius (34 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit)
in January to 17 to 31 degrees Celsius (63 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit) in
PEOPLE: Spain has four major ethnic groups that are divided by
language, Castilian, Basque, Catalan and Galician which combined account
for almost the entire population. Other ethnic minorities include Gitanos,
Magyars, Gypsies and Jews.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 79.1 persons per sq km
(205 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 78.4% urban, 21.6% rural (1990).
Sex Distribution; 49.1% male, 50.9% female (1993). Life Expectancy at Birth;
74.4 years male, 80.3 years female (1993). Age Breakdown; 18% under 15,
25% 15 to 29, 21% 30 to 44, 17% 45 to 59, 10% 60 to 69, 9% 70 and over
(1993). Birth Rate; 9.9 per 1,000 (1991). Death Rate; 8.7 per 1,000 (1991).
Increase Rate; 1.2 per 1,000 (1991). Infant Mortality Rate; 7.7 per 1,000
live births (1990).
RELIGIONS: Mostly Christians with 97% of the population Roman
Catholic while less than 1% are Protestant.
LANGUAGES: The official language is Castilian Spanish with 17%
of the population speaking Catalan while 7% speak Galician, 2% speak Basque
and the remainder speak Castilian. Other minority languages include Asturian
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: less than primary
education 46.1%, of which 34.5% have no formal schooling, primary 34.0%,
lower secondary 9.3%, upper secondary 3.3%, higher 7.1% (1981). Literacy;
literate population aged 15 or over 26,004,225 or 92.8% (1983).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: During the 1950's and 1960's Spain
had one of the highest rates of economic growth in the world. In 1953 Spain
signed a defense agreement with the US which allowed the establishment
of US bases on its territory and in 1955 became a member of the UN. In
1968 Spain granted Equatorial Guinea independence. In 1969 Crown Prince
Juan Carlos was designated as successor to Gen. Francisco Franco, dictator
and Chief of State since the end of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
In Dec. 1973 militant Basque separatists assassinated Prime Minister Admiral
Luis Carrero Blanco in a bomb explosion. In response Gen. Franco introduced
new laws which allowed for the execution of 5 of the 11 extremists imprisoned
for the assassination. As a result of the executions many European and
Scandinavian countries severed diplomatic relations with Spain. On Nov.
20, 1975 Gen. Franco died and was succeeded by Juan Carlos who embarked
on a program of democratization. In 1976 political parties were legalized
and in 1977 the Democratic Center Union (UCD) were elected to government.
In 1978 a referendum approved a new constitution that allowed for the establishment
of a parliamentary constitutional monarchy as the system of government.
In Jan. 1981 Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez Gonzalez resigned and was replaced
by Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo. In Feb. 1981 there was an unsuccessful coup attempt
to overthrow the government. In May 1982 Spain was admitted to the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and in Oct. 1982 Felipe Gonzalez Marquez
of the Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol (PSOE) was elected Prime Minister.
In Jan. 1986 Spain became a full member of the European Community (EC)
and in 1986 Prime Minister Gonzalez was re-elected. In Dec. 1987 Spain
and Britain signed an agreement over Gibraltar which allowed for the joint
use of its airport. In Oct. 1989 Gonzalez was re-elected for a third term
in office. In Apr. 1990 Henri Parot, a Basque and leader of the Euzkadi
ta Azkatasuna (ETA), a terrorist organization which carried out low level
letter box bombings, was arrested. During 1990 there was a growing insurgence
in Catalan nationalism. In Jan. 1991 Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Guerra
Gonzalez resigned over a scandal involving his brother. In May 1991 the
government announced that it would be merging all its official financial
institutions and two large private banks, the Banco Central and Banco Hispano
Americano, announced they would also merge. In June 1991 the treasurer
and chief financial officer of the ruling PSOE were forced to resign over
allegations of laundering illegal donations to the PSOE, although an official
PSOE inquiry later found the allegation unwarranted. In July 1991 the government
signed a treaty of economic and technology cooperation with the USSR. In
Sept. 1991 the Catalan state parliament rejected the Esquerra Republicana
Catalana's (ERC) motion for independence. In 1992 Spain received an increased
international profile by hosting the World Expo in Seville as well as the
Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona. In July 1992 the ETA proposed a truce
during the Olympic Games which was rejected by the government, although
despite threats the games proceeded without any major incident. On Aug.
17, 1992 the ETA resumed terrorist activities in the Basque region. In
Sept. and Nov. 1992 a major European currency crisis forced the devaluation
of the peseta while labor unrest and unemployment increased. In Oct. 1992
the central bank partially lifted exchange controls in the attempt to re-attract
foreign investment and confidence. In Nov. and Dec. 1992 the PSOE headquarters
were searched following a scandal over illegal sources of finance. Also
in 1992 the Parliament (Cortes) ratified the Maastricht Treaty on European
union. In 1993 the ruling PSOE continued to be plagued by allegations and
scandals involving party corruption. In March 1993 the Supreme Court confirmed
through a government auditor's report that two PSOE officials had operated
front companies and accepted tax-free bribes for government contracts.
On March 2, 1993 Prime Minister Gonzalez announced a US $2.5 billion program
to combat rising unemployment. In June 1993 following elections for the
Congress of Deputies, the PSOE and Gonzalez won 159 of the 350 seats by
the Popular Party (PP) which won 141 seats. In July 1993 Gonzalez survived
a vote of no confidence and with the support of the Basque and Catalan
nationalists returned to office for his 4th term. Also in July 1993 Prime
Minister Gonzalez made a deal with trade union leaders in which he agreed
to amend a strike law if they supported a pact for moderate salaries and
labor reforms in return for guarantees not to initiate mass layoffs. On
July 5, 1993 the ETA kidnapped the head of the Ikusi engineering firm and
demanded a ransom. In Aug. 1993 ETA supporters clashed with peace campaigners
during fiestas in San Sebastian and Bilbao that resulted in some 80 injuries
and 16 arrests. Also in Aug. 1993 the French and Basque police coordinated
the arrest of eight ETA members for extortion of 30 Basque companies. On
Aug. 15, 1993 two ETA bombs exploded in crowded Barcelona restaurants resulting
in the injury of 5 people. In Oct. 1993 regional presidential elections
resulted in the Manuel Fraga Iribarne of the PP scoring an overwhelming
victory over the PSOE and the ETA was suspected of assassinating a Spanish
Air Force General. Also in Oct. 1993 Prime Minister Gonzalez announced
he had reached an agreement with Catalan nationalists over concessions
for the autonomous region.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Euro divided into 100
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $533,986,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; Ptas 34,448,000,000,000 (1993). Imports; Ptas 12,348,734,000,000
(1994). Exports; Ptas 9,796,340,000,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $19,425,000,000
(1993). Balance of Trade; Pta -1,853,900,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 15,468,200 or 39.5% of total population (1994). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are other EU
countries and Japan.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Almonds, Cereals, Coal, Cork, Copper, Cotton,
Fruit, Fish, Grapes, Iron, Lead, Lignite, Mercury, Olives, Sugar Cane,
Timber, Tin, Tobacco, Tungsten, Vegetables, Zinc.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Chemicals, Engineering, Fishing,
Food Processing, Forestry and Timber Products, Iron and Steel, Mining Manufactures,
Metal Processing, Petroleum Refining, Transport Equipment, Wine Making,
Yarns and Textiles.
MAIN EXPORTS: Chemicals, Fruit and Vegetables, Iron and Steel, Machinery,
Motor Vehicles, Olive Oil, Petroleum Products, Shoes, Small Metal Manufactures,
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 12,563 km (7,806 mi) (1988),
passenger-km 15,480,000,000 (9,619,000,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo
ton-km 11,256,000,000 (7,709,000,000 short ton-mi) (1990). Roads; length
318,022 km (197,610 mi) (1988). Vehicles; cars 10,787,500 (1989), trucks
and buses 2,019,908 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 2,338 (1990), deadweight
tonnage 6,185,027 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 22,848,000,000 (14,197,000,000
passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 764,436,000 (523,562,000 short ton-mi)
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 119 with a total circulation
for 51 of 2,516,299 (1993). Radio; receivers 12,000,000 (1994). Television;
receivers 17,000,000 (1994). Telephones; units 15,476,776 (1987).
MILITARY: 206,000 (1995) total active duty personnel with 70.2%
army, 15.5% navy and 14.3% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 1.8% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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