Country Profile: Spain
Capital and largest cityMadrid
Recognised regional languagesAranese, Basque, Catalan/Valencian and Galician
AreaTotal 504,030 km2
A brief history of Spain
Spain, or the Kingdom of Spain is a country located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Its mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar to the north by France, Andorra, and the Bay of Biscay; and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal. Spanish territory also includes the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast, and two autonomous cities in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, that border Morocco. Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe after France. Because of its location, the territory of Spain was subject to many external influences, often simultaneously, since prehistoric times and through the dawn of Spain as a country. On the other side, the country itself has been an important source of influence to other regions, chiefly during the Modern Era, when it became a global empire that has left a legacy of over 400 million Spanish speakers today. Spain is a democracy organised in the form of a parliamentary government under a constitutional monarchy. It is a developed country with the eighth largest economy in the world based on nominal GDP, Spain is also a member of NATO and the European Union.
According to the World Bank, Spain's economy is the eighth largest worldwide and the fifth largest in Europe. As of 2007, absolute GDP was valued at $1,439,000 trillion according to the CIA Factbook, the per capita income is estimated at $33,600, ahead of G7 countries like Italy at $30,900, France at $32,600 or Japan at $33,500. The Spanish economy grew 3.8% in 2007 outpacing all G7 members and all the big EU economies for the 3rd consecutive year. Spain is also the 3rd largest world investor. The centre-right government of former prime minister José María Aznar worked successfully to gain admission to the group of countries launching the euro in 1999. Nevertheless, it is expected that the Spanish economy will continue growing above the EU average based on the strengthening of industry, the growth of the global economy and increasing trade with Latin America and Asia.
Spanish (Castilian) is spoken all over the country and so is the only language with official status nationwide. Other languages have been declared co-official, along with Spanish, in their constituent communities where they are spoken:
-Basque (2%) in the Basque Country and Navarre
-Catalan (17%) in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands
-Galician (7%) in Galicia.
Spain aims to have 1 million electric cars on the road by 2014. This is part of their initiative to conserve energy and be a part of the next industrial revolution. As a founding member of the European Union, and with one of the strongest economies in Europe, Spain has realised that global warming and climate change are important issues that need to be dealt with as soon as possible. The Spanish government was warned that rising temperatures could reduce the integrity of coastlines, something that would be particularly devastating in countries such as Spain that rely so heavily on their natural beauty for their tourism industry. Spain has been a leader in paving the way for climate change technologies and research and will continue to do so in the future along with its fellow European Union members.
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