- Land area: 505,944 km2
- Population: 47,330M
- Capital: Madrid
- Official language: Spanish
- Gvmt: Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
- Life expectancy: 83.4 years
- GDP (2019) : US$ 1,394B
- GDP per capita (2019) : US$ 29,614
- EU member since 1986
A strategic geographic location as a gateway to Latin America, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East through the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, has allowed Spain to play leading roles throughout world’s history. Located in the southwestern tip of Europe, Spain is bordered to the north by France with 650 km of natural border provided by the Pyrenees, to the west by Portugal, and to the south by the Strait of Gibraltar which separates the country from Africa by 14,4 km.
With 506 millions of Km2 of land area, Spain is the 2nd largest country in Europe. The mainland territory comprises 85% of the Iberian Peninsula and two small provinces in Africa (Ceuta and Melilla), while the overseas territories comprises two archipelagos: the Canary Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of North Africa, and the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea.
The political organisation of Spain consists of three levels of territorial division:
- First level: Autonomous Communities (17)
- Second level level: Provinces (50)
- Third level: Municipalities (8,131)
While the State retains full sovereignty, the Spanish Constitution guarantees the right to autonomy and self-government through which the Autonomous Communities exercise their different degrees of devolved powers.
Spain is an intensively diverse country in many aspects:
– Geography: features a large and arid central plateau, several high mountain ranges, long coastal plains, lowland river valleys and many islands, which creates an amazing landscape that can changes dramatically within a few kilometres.
#1 greatest climate variety country in Europe & #10 in the world
– Climate: the geographical diversity is reflected in a broad array of climates, being Grouped into 5 main categories: Oceanic in the north with mild temperatures and abundant rainfall; Mediterranean on the coast with soft winters and hot summers; Continental in the interior with extreme temperatures both in winter and summer; Mountainous climate and subtropical in the Canary Islands.
4 co-official languages
Basque, Catalan, Galician, Valencian
#5 country with more 3-star Michelin restaurants
3 restaurants within the top 10
– Culture: the many and varied ethnic groups (Celts, Iberian, Basques, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths, Arabs, Jews ,or Gypsies) that passed through different regions of Spain over the centuries, together with the influences received from the Spanish colonies overseas, especially that of Latin America, have lead to an extensive, rich and varied artistic heritage, gastronomy, customs and traditions. Despite the multiculturalism of Spain, the prominent religion is the Catholic, accounting 80% of the population.
Brief history of Spain for a better understanding of country’s identity and unique idiosyncrasies
Spain’s history is long and extensive. The first inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula were the Iberians, the Basques and the Celts, followed by the Greeks, Phoenicians and Carthaginians. In 206 B.C., after an extensive period of harsh wars (Punic Wars), Spain became a part of the Roman Empire for 7 centuries, until 5th century B.C. undergoing profound advances in all spheres. Romans’ footprint was significant, establishing the foundations of today’s language, art, religion, law, territorial structure, or the family-unit, and placing the peninsula in the Greco-Latin and later the Judaeo-Christian world.
Subsequently, during the rule of the Visigoths (5th– 8th century) Spain experienced a setback where the territory was fragmented into several feudal kingdoms under the power of the Catholic Church. In 711 the conquest of the Muslim army took place, which led to the creation of Al-Andalus state, the 1st caliphate in Spain. Muslim Spain, which lasted until the s.XII, brought important economic prosperity, placing Córdoba as the largest urban and commercial centre of Europe where arts and sciences (medicine, mathematics and astronomy) would also flourish. The coexistence between Moors and Christians throughout 8 centuries was not without tensions. Christians states opposed the Moors which gave rise to a movement that aimed to restore the Visigoth Christian kingdoms and the former political and religious order. This episode in history became to known as the Spanish Reconquest.
The Reconquest ended up when the two most important kingdoms were united thanks to the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, leading the creation of present days Spain state. Thanks to the discovery of America in 1492 and over the next 3 centuries, Spain experienced its most buoyant period, called the Spanish Empire where became the foremost global power, dominating the oceans and the European battlefields. Spain kept the hegemony of Europe for more than 150 years, becoming the world’s largest economy in the 16th century, and the world’s largest empire until the 18th century while getting a great military and cultural prestige
1492 a crucial year in Spain’s history
The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus during an expedition sponsored by the Spanish Crown
The Muslims were driven out
The Jews, later on known as Sephardi Jews were driven out
The Empire of Spain, known as “the empire on which the sun never sets” in figures
Subsequently 1808, Spain suffered the Napoleonic invasion, followed by alternate periods of monarchy, republic and dictatorships. Spain kept a neutral position during the First and Second World War but was involved in a 3 years crude civil war (1936-39) that culminated with 40 years of military dictatorship by General Francisco Franco. This period resulted in a severe economic, social and cultural setback for Spain, who lost its European neighbours pace.
In 1975 Franco died and the monarchy was restored. Juan Carlos I of Bourbon was crowned King of Spain, the head of state, and the country became a social and democratic State of Law under a parliamentary monarch. The transition period between dictatorship and democracy lasted 7 years and from then on Spain emerged again strong and rapidly. Became part of the European Union in 1986. In a short time, Spain managed to make excellent economic progress and become a standard-bearer for freedom and human rights, achieving the pace of economic and social growth of its European neighbours.
Since the transition, two parties have alternated in Government, the Conservative (People’s Party, PP) and the Social Democrats (Socialist Workers’ Party, PSOE). The current monarch is Felipe VI of Bourbon.
Spain at the TOP of world’s rankings
Tourism Arrivals & receipts
Infrastructures & communicat.
Largest investor in Latin America
Most spoken language