Background: 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. The government continues to battle the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorist organization, but its major focus for the immediate future will be on measures to reverse the severe economic recession that started in mid-2008.
Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, and Pyrenees Mountains; southwest of France
Area land: 498,980 sq km
Area water: 6,390 sq km
Coastline: 4,964 km
Country name conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
Country name conventional short form: Spain
Country name former: Kingdom of Spain
Population: 46,754,784 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.1% (male 3,646,614/female 3,435,311); 15-64 years: 67.7% (male 16,036,556/female 15,637,090); 65 years and over: 17.1% (male 3,389,681/female 4,609,532) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 0.574% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 10.66 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 8.8 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 3.89 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.065 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 (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 3.39 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 3.74 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 3.03 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 81.17 years; male: 78.16 years; female: 84.37 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 1.47 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.4% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 130,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,600 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Spaniard(s); adjective: Spanish;
Ethnic groups: composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types;
Religions: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%;
Languages: Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%, are official regionally;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 97.9%; male: 98.7%; female: 97.2% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.376 trillion (2010 est.); $1.379 trillion (2009 est.); $1.432 trillion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.375 trillion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: -0.2% (2010 est.); -3.7% (2009 est.); 0.9% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $29,500 (2010 est.); $29,800 (2009 est.); $31,200 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 2.9%; industry: 25.5%; services: 71.6% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 19.8% (2005);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 2.6%; highest 10%: 26.6% (2000);
Labor force: 22.96 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 4.2%; industry: 24%; services: 71.7% (2009 est.);
Unemployment rate: 20% (2010 est.); 18.1% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $515.8 billion; expenditures: $648.6 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism, clay and refractory products, footwear, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment;
Industrial production growth rate: -2% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 300.5 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 276.1 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - exports: 16.92 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 5.88 billion kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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(financial weekly), Madrid
(International news service), Madrid
(Liberal, Catalan language), Barcelona
((Catalan-language weekly)), Palma de Mallorca
(Independent), San Sebastián
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A quiet town in the heart of Basque Country, Guernica shows no visible signs of the bombardment it suffered during the Civil War 75 years ago.
Lacking a democratic mandate and acting by stealth, E.U. elites have sought to make the Union a state in its own right, and a world power to boot. But have they gotten ahead of themselves?
In the autonomous city of Ceuta, African refugees find temporary asylum leading nowhere, unable to cross into Spain, unwilling to return to the countries whence they came.
Briefings for my semester abroad glossed over a key issue: how to ward off unwelcome sexual advances.