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Geography 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). In the second half of the 20th century, Spain has played a catch-up role in the western international community; it joined the EU in 1986. Continuing challenges include Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism and further reductions in unemployment.
Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France
Geographic Co-Ordinates    
40 00 N,4 00 W
Map References    
Total 504782
Land 499542
Water 5240
Area Comparative    
slightly more than twice the size of Oregon
Land Boundaries    
Total 1917.8
Border Countries Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km
Maritime claims    
Contiguous Zone 24 nm
Territorial Sea 12 nm
Continental Shelf
Exclusive Economic Zone 200 nm (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
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 in north
Elevation Extremes    
lowest point Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m
Natural resources    
coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
Land use    
arable land 26.07%
permanent crops 9.87%
other 64.06% (2001)
Irrigated land    
36,400 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards    
periodic droughts
Environment - current issues    
pollution of the Mediterranean Sea from raw sewage and effluents from the offshore production of oil and gas; water quality and quantity nationwide; air pollution; deforestation; desertification
Environment -
party to Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note    
strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar
People Spain
40,341,462 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure    
0-14 years 14.4% (male 2,994,124/female 2,815,456)
15-64 years 68% (male 13,762,281/female 13,664,762)
65 years and over 17.6% (male 2,965,859/female 4,138,980) (2005 est.)
Median age    
total 39.51 years
male 38.18 years
female 40.93 years (2005 est.)
Population Growth Rate    
0.15% (2005 est.)
Birth Rate       
10.1 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death Rate       
9.63 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate    
0.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex Ratio    
at birth 1.07 male(s)/female
under 15 years 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over 0.72 male(s)/female
total population 0.96 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate       
total 4.42 deaths/1,000 live births
male 4.82 deaths/1,000 live births
female 4 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth       
total 79.52 years
male 76.18 years
female 83.08 years (2005 est.)
Total Fertility Rate       
1.28 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate       
0.7% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS       
140,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths       
less than 1,000 (2003 est.)
noun Spaniard(s)
adjective Spanish
Ethnic groups    
composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types
Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%
Castilian Spanish 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%; note - Castilian is the official language nationwide; the other languages are official regionally
definition age 15 and over can read and write
total population 97.9%
male 98.7%
female 97.2% (2003 est.)

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