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Spain country profile

28 August 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 26 July 2012

Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a bicameral parliament. The Kingdom of Spain has been a member state of the European Union since 1986.


Reino de España

High plateaux and mountain ranges such as the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada dominate mainland Spain. Running from these heights are several major rivers such as the Ebro, the Duero, the Tagus and the Guadalquivir. The Balearic Islands lie offshore in the Mediterranean while the Canary Islands are to be found off the African coast.

Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a hereditary monarch and a bicameral parliament, the Cortes or National Assembly. Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia have special status with their own language and other rights under the constitution of 1978 which enshrines respect for linguistic and cultural diversity within a united Spain. The country is divided into 17 autonomous communities (regions) which all have their own directly elected authorities.

Spain’s main economic sectors include agriculture (especially fruit and vegetables, olive oil and wine), fish, textiles, automobiles and tourism.

From Velázquez in the 17th century, through Goya in the 18th and 19th, to Picasso, Dali and Miro in the 20th, Spain has a rich artistic culture. Spanish Flamenco music and dance are widely admired around the world while Cervantes' novel Don Quixote is one of the landmarks of modern European literature. Spanish film directors such as Pedro Almodóvar, Alejandro Amenábar and Luis Buñuel have received several international prizes.

Spanish cuisine is known for its paella (made with rice, chicken, seafood and vegetables), tortilla (omelette with potatoes) and sangria (refreshing wine served with fruit).

Official name: Kingdom of Spain

Area (km2): 504 782

Population: 47 million (July 2011 est.)

Capital: Madrid

National holiday: 12 October

Currency: Euro (€)

Date of joining: 01 January 1986

Head of state: King Juan Carlos I

Head of government: Mariano Rajoy, since 20 December 2011

GDP (millions €): 1 095 163 (2008); € 1 072 666 (forecast for 2009)

GDP per capita in PPS: 26 100 (2008)

Real growth rate of GDP: 0.7% (2011)

Unemployment rate: 21.7% (2011)

National debt as % of GDP:68.2% (2011)

Inflation: 3.1% (2011)

Public deficit/surplus as % of GDP: -8.5% (2011)

Source: Eurostat



Head of State:

Head of Government:

Head of Government:

Foreign Minister:



Map of Spain



Source: European Commission, Spanish EU Presidency, World Factbook


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