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Spain Fun Facts

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 War 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. More recently Spain has emerged from a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008, posting three straight years of GDP growth above the EU average. Unemployment has fallen, but remains high especially among youth. Spain is the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy.

Total: 505,370 sq km
Land: 498,980 sq km
Water: 6,390 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

Country comparison to the world: 53

Border countries (6):
Austria 404 km, France 476 km, Holy See (Vatican City) 3.4 km, San Marino 37 km, Slovenia 218 km, Switzerland 698 km

Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast

Large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees Mountains in north

4,964 km

Natural Hazards
Periodic droughts, occasional flooding
Volcanism: volcanic activity in the Canary Islands, located off Africa's northwest coast; Teide (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 (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

48,958,159 (July 2017 est.)
**Country comparison to the world: 28

Roman Catholic 67.8%, atheist 9.1%, other 2.2%, non-believer 18.4%, unspecified 2.5% (2016 est.)

National Holiday
National Day (Hispanic Day), 12 October (1492)
Note: Commemorates Columbus’ arrival in the Americas

Economy Overview
After a prolonged recession that began in 2008 in the wake of the global financial crisis, Spain marked the fourth full year of positive economic growth in 2017, with economic activity surpassing its pre-crisis peak, largely because of increased private consumption. The financial crisis of 2008 broke 16 consecutive years of economic growth for Spain, leading to an economic contraction that lasted until late 2013. In that year, the government successfully shored up its struggling banking sector – heavily exposed to the collapse of Spain’s real estate boom – with the help of an EU-funded restructuring and recapitalization program.

Until 2014, contraction in bank lending, fiscal austerity, and high unemployment constrained domestic consumption and investment. The unemployment rate rose from a low of about 8% in 2007 to more than 26% in 2013, but labor reforms prompted a modest reduction to 16.4% in 2017. High unemployment strained Spain’s public finances, as spending on social benefits increased while tax revenues fell. Spain’s budget deficit peaked at 11.4% of GDP in 2010, but Spain gradually reduced the deficit to about 3.3% of GDP in 2017. Public debt has increased substantially — from 60.1% of GDP in 2010 to nearly 96.7% in 2017.

Strong export growth helped bring Spain’s current account into surplus in 2013 for the first time since 1986 and sustain Spain’s economic growth. Increasing labor productivity and an internal devaluation resulting from moderating labor costs and lower inflation have improved Spain’s export competitiveness and generated foreign investor interest in the economy, restoring FDI flows.

In 2017, the Spanish Government’s minority status constrained its ability to implement controversial labor, pension, health care, tax, and education reforms. The European Commission expects the government to meet its 2017 budget deficit target and anticipates that expected economic growth in 2018 will help the government meet its deficit target. Spain’s borrowing costs are dramatically lower since their peak in mid-2012, and increased economic activity has generated a modest level of inflation, at 2% in 2017.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$1.769 trillion (2017 est.)
$1.716 trillion (2016 est.)
$1.662 trillion (2015 est.)
Note: data are in 2017 dollars
Country comparison to the world: 17

Exchange rates
Euros (EUR) per US dollar
0.89 (2017 est.)
0.9 (2016 est.)
0.92 (2015 est.)
0.75 (2014 est.)
0.76 (2013 est.)

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 Constitutional Monarchy


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)

Administrative divisions
17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities

Autonomous Communities: Andalucia; Aragon; Asturias; Canarias (Canary Islands); Cantabria; Castilla-La Mancha; Castilla-Leon; Cataluna (Castilian), Catalunya (Catalan), Catalonha (Aranese) [Catalonia]; Comunidad Valenciana (Castilian), Comunitat Valenciana (Valencian) [Valencian Community]; Extremadura; Galicia; Illes Baleares (Balearic Islands); La Rioja; Madrid; Murcia; Navarra (Castilian), Nafarroa (Basque) [Navarre]; Pais Vasco (Castilian), Euskadi (Basque) [Basque Country]

Autonomous Cities: Ceuta; Melilla
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)

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

Executive branch:
Chief of State: King Felipe VI (since 19 June 2014); Heir Apparent Princess Leonor, Princess of Asturias, daughter of the monarch (born 31 October 2005)
Head of Government: President of the Government (Prime Minister-equivalent) Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon (since 2 June 2018); Vice President (and Minister of the President’s Office) Maria del Carmen Calvo Poyato (since 7 June 2018)
Note – Prime Minister Rajoy was ousted in a non-confidence on 1 June 2018
Cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president
Elections/Appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the monarch usually proposes at president the leader of the party or coalition with the largest majority of seats, who is then indirectly elected by the Congress of Deputies; election last held on 26 June 2016 (next to be held in June 2020); vice president and Council of Ministers appointed 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

Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid
Address: PSC 61, APO AE 09642
Consulate: Barcelona

To learn more, please visit: CIA World Factbook

href="https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sp.html" target="_blank">https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sp.html

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