Spain (GPS: 40 00 N, 4 00 W) located in Southwestern Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, and Pyrenees Mountains; southwest of France. The country’s area measurements are total: 505,370 sq km; land: 498,980 sq km, water: 6,390 sq km. This sovereign state is almost five times the size of Kentucky, slightly more than twice the size of Oregon. The total irrigated land is 38,000 sq km (2012).
One of the essential features of Spain: Strategic location along with approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar. Spain controls some territories in northern Morocco, including the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Penon de Alhucemas, and Islas Chafarinas.
It’s significant, and at the same time, the principal city, Madrid’s GPS coordinates are 40 24 N 3 41 W. Madrid’s local time is 6 hours ahead of Washington DC during Standard Time. The capital’s time difference: UTC+1, note; Daylight saving time: +1hr begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October. Note: Spain has two time zones, including the Canary Islands.
Spain’s powerful world empire of the 16th and 17th centuries ultimately yielded the seas’ command 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 War 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. They made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. More recently, Spain has emerged from a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008, posting four straight years of GDP growth above the EU average. Unemployment has fallen but remains high, especially among youth. Spain is the Eurozone’s fourth-largest economy. The country has faced increased domestic turmoil in recent years due to the independence movement in its restive Catalonia region.
Spain’s names conventional long form: the Kingdom of Spain, conventional short form: Spain, local long form: Reino de Espana, local short form: Espana, etymology: derivation of the name “Espana” is uncertain, but may come from the Phoenician term “span,” related to the word “spy,” meaning “to forge metals,” so, “i-spn-ya” would mean “a place where metals forged”; the ancient Phoenicians long exploited the Iberian Peninsula for its mineral wealth. Derivation of the name “Espana” is uncertain but may come from the Phoenician term “span,” related to the word “spy,” meaning “to forge metals,” so “i-spn-ya” would mean “a place where metals forged”; The ancient Phoenicians long exploited the Iberian Peninsula for its mineral wealth.
Spain’s terrain is typically large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees Mountains in the north. The country’s mean elevation: 660 m, elevation extremes; lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m, highest point: Pico de Teide on Canary Islands 3,718 m.
The country’s general climate is temperate: clear, hot summers in the interior, more moderate and cloudy along the coast: overcast, cold winters in the interior, partly cloudy and cool along the coast.
The total number of border countries is 5, Andorra 63 km, France 646 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal 1,224 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 8 km, Morocco (Melilla) 10.5 km. Note: an additional 75-meter border segment exists between Morocco, and the Spanish exclave of Penon de Velez de la Gomera is the neighboring nations with the indicated border lengths. Spain’s coastline is 4,964 km, while its marital claims are: territorial sea: 12 nautical miles, contiguous zone: 24 nautical miles, exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles(applies only to the Atlantic Ocean). Waterways: 1,000 km (2012). Land use: agricultural land: 54.1%; arable land 24.9%; permanent crops 9.1%; permanent pasture 20.1%; forest: 36.8%; other: 9.1% (2011 estimate).
The population in Spain 49,331,076 (July 2018 estimate), urban population: 79.6% of total population (2015), central metropolitan area’s population: MADRID (capital) 6.199 million; Barcelona 5.258 million; Valencia 810,000 (2015), while Spain has with the notable exception of Madrid, Sevilla, and Zaragoza, the largest urban agglomerations found along the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts; numerous smaller cities are spread throughout the interior reflecting Spain’s agricultural heritage; dense settlement found around the capital of Madrid, as well as the port city of Barcelona.
Their spoken languages are Castilian Spanish (official language nationwide) 74%, Catalan (official language in Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, and the Valencian Community (where it is known as Valencian)) 17%, Galician (official language in Galicia) 7%, Basque (official language in the Basque Country and the Basque-speaking area of Navarre) 2%, Aranese (official language in the northwest corner of Catalonia (Vall d’Aran) along with Catalan; Main religions in Spain are Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%. The nation uses civil law system with regional variations. It is a(n) parliamentary constitutional monarchy, National holiday(s) National Day, 12 October (1492); year when Columbus first set foot in the Americas.
Economic overview for the country: After a prolonged recession that began in 2008 in the wake of the global financial crisis, Spain marked the fourth full year of positive economic growth in 2017, with economic activity surpassing its pre-crisis peak, mainly because of increased private consumption. The financial crisis of 2008 broke 16 consecutive years of economic growth for Spain, leading to an economic contraction that lasted until late 2013. In that year, the government successfully shored up its struggling banking sector – heavily exposed to the collapse of Spain’s real estate boom – with the help of an EU-funded restructuring and recapitalization program. Until 2014, contraction in bank lending, fiscal austerity, and high unemployment constrained domestic consumption and investment. The unemployment rate rose from a low of about 8% in 2007 to more than 26% in 2013, but labor reforms prompted a modest reduction to 16.4% in 2017.
High unemployment strained Spain’s public finances, as spending on social benefits increased while tax revenues fell. Spain’s budget deficit peaked at 11.4% of GDP in 2010, but Spain gradually reduced the deficit to about 3.3% of GDP in 2017. Public debt had increased substantially from 60.1% of GDP in 2010 to nearly 96.7% in 2017. Strong export growth helped bring Spain’s current account into surplus in 2013 for the first time since 1986 and sustain Spain’s economic growth. Increasing labor productivity and an internal devaluation resulting from moderating labor costs and lower inflation have improved Spain’s export competitiveness and generated foreign investor interest in the economy, restoring FDI flows. In 2017, the Spanish Government’s minority status constrained its ability to implement controversial labor, pension, health care, tax, and education reforms.
The European Commission expects the government to meet its 2017 budget deficit target and anticipates that expected economic growth in 2018 will help the government meet its deficit target. Spain’s borrowing costs are dramatically lower since its peak in mid-2012, and increased economic activity has generated a modest level of inflation, at 2% in 2017.
Main export partners for Spain, Europe are France 15.7%, Germany 11%, Italy 7.4%, UK 7.4%, Portugal 7.1%, US 4.5% (2015) for machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods, while the main import partners for the country are: Germany 14.4%, France 11.7%, China 7.1%, Italy 6.5%, Netherlands 5%, UK 4.9% (2015) for machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semi-finished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments.
When you visit this country in Europe, consider the natural hazards in Spain: Periodic droughts, occasional flooding, volcanism: volcanic activity in the Canary Islands, located off Africa’s northwest coast, Teide (elevation 3,715 m) has been deemed a Decade Volcano by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, worthy of study due to its tumultuous history and proximity to human populations, La Palma (elevation 2,426 m), which last erupted in 1971, is the most active of the Canary Islands volcanoes, Lanzarote is the only other historically active volcano, while infectious diseases are N/A. Also, note that Spain faces the following environmental 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.