Spain

 

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.

 

Geography:
Location: South-western 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
People:
Population: 47,042,984 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.1% (male 3,646,614/female 3,435,311)

15-64 years:  67.7% (male 16,036,556/female 15,637,090)

65 years and over: 17.1% (male 3,389,681/female 4,609,532) (2011 est.)

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
Communications:
Telephones – main lines in use: 19.904 million (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 51.493 million (2009)
Transportation:
Airports: 152 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 98

over 3,047 m: 18

2,438 to 3,047 m: 12

1,524 to 2,437 m: 19

914 to 1,523 m: 25

under 914 m: 24 (2012)

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) (2010)
Military service age and obligation: 18 years of age for voluntary military service by a Spanish citizen or legal immigrant, 2-3 year obligation; women allowed to serve in all SAF branches, including combat units; Spanish Government can mobilize citizens 19-25 years of age in a national emergency; mandatory retirement of non-NCO enlisted personnel at age 45 or 58, depending on service length (2012)

Economy:

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%.

Transnational Issues:

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