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currency: Euro (EUR)
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Spain profile
strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar; Spain controls a number of territories in northern Morocco including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, and the islands of Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas
Spain history
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) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. More recently the government has had to focus on measures to reverse a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008. Austerity measures implemented to reduce a large budget deficit and reassure foreign investors have led to one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe.
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Conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
Conventional short form: Spain
Local long form: Reino de Espana
Local short form: Espana
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Spain's capital city is Madrid
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Spain Constitution:

approved by legislature 31 October 1978; passed by referendum 6 December 1978; signed by the king 27 December 1978
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Spain population growth rate: 0.73%
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Spain highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m
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Spain lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
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About 25% of Spain's land is arable.
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Ebro River is the Longest River in Spain
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Spain birth rate is 10 births/1,000 population
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Spain infant mortality rate is 3 deaths/1,000 live births
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Spain fertility rate is 1.48 children born/woman
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Spain climate:

temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast
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Top 10 cities of Spain with populations (2012 est.) are:
1. Madrid: 3,233,527
2. Barcelona: 1,620,943
3. Valencia: 797,028
4. Seville: 702,355
5. Zaragoza: 679,624
6. Málaga: 567,433
7. Murcia: 441,354
8. Palma: 407,648
9. Las Palmas: 382,296
10. Bilbao: 351,629
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Spain ethnic groups:

composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types
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Spain Exports:

machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods
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Spain Imports:

machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments
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bicameral; General Courts or Las Cortes Generales (National Assembly) consists of the Senate or Senado (257 seats as of 2013; 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 49 - as of 2013 - appointed by the regional legislatures; members to serve four-year terms) and the Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; each of the 50 electoral provinces fills a minimum of two seats and the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla fill one seat each with members serving a four-year term; the other 248 members are determined by proportional representation based on popular vote on block lists who serve four-year terms)

Administrative Divisions:
17 autonomous communities
(comunidades autonomas, singular-comunidad autonoma):

1. Andalucia
2. Aragon
3. Asturias
4. Baleares (Balearic Islands)
5. Canarias (Canary Islands)
6. Cantabria
7. Castilla-La Mancha
8. Castilla y Leon
9. Cataluna (Catalonia)
10. Comunidad Valenciana (Valencian Community)
11. Extremadura
12. Galicia
13. La Rioja
14. Madrid
15. Murcia
16. Navarra
17. Pais Vasco (Basque Country)

2 autonomous cities
(ciudades autonomas, singular - ciudad autonoma):

1. Ceuta
2. Melilla
Political parties and leaders:
Amaiur - collective leadership (a coalition of parties advocating the peaceful Basque independence from Spain)

Basque Nationalist Party (PNV)(EAJ) - Inigo URKULLU Renteria

Canarian Coalition (CC) - Claudina MORALES Rodriquez (a coalition of five parties)

Convergence and Union (CiU) - Artur MAS i Gavarro (a coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (CDC) - Artur MAS i Gavarro and the Democratic Union of Catalonia (UDC) - Josep Antoni DURAN i LLEIDA)

Entesa Catalonia de Progress (a Senate coalition grouping four Catalan parties - PSC, ERC, ICV, EUA)

Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) - Guillerme VAZQUEZ Vazquez

Initiative for Catalonia Greens (ICV) - Joan HERRERA i Torres

Yes to the Future (Geroa Bai) - collective leadership (a coalition of four Navarran parties)

Popular Party (PP) - Mariano RAJOY Brey

Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) - Oriol JUNQUERAS i Vies

Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) - Alfredo PEREZ Rubalcaba

Union of People of Navarra (UPN) - Yolanda BARCINA Angulo

Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) - Rosa DIEZ Gonzalez

United Left (IU) - Cayo LARA Moya (a coalition of parties including the Communist Party of Spain or PCE and other small parties)