General Information about Spain

The official name is the Kingdom of Spain (El reino de Espana, The Kingdom of Spain). It is located in the southwest of Europe (it occupies St. 4/5 of the Iberian Peninsula, as well as the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean). The total area is 506 thousand km2, the population is 40.2 million people. (2002). The official language is Spanish (Castilian). The capital is Madrid (3 million people, 2002). Public holiday – Day of the Spanish Nation on October 12. The monetary unit is the euro (since 2002, before that peseta).

Possessions (under the direct control of Spain): the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, located on the northern coast of Africa with small islands and capes adjacent to them: Chafarinas, Alusemas, Velez de la Gomera.

Member of international organizations: UN (since 1955), NATO (1981), EU (1986), as well as the OECD, OSCE, IMF, WTO, UNESCO, etc.

Population of Spain

In the 1990s the average annual population growth rate was 0.2%. To the beginning 1980s the traditionally negative balance of migration has acquired a positive balance. Currently, the country is experiencing immigration pressure, especially from North Africa and Latin America. According to Countryaah, the net immigration rate is 0.87‰.

Population density 79 people per 1 km2 (one of the lowest in Europe), incl. in the Autonomous Community of Madrid – 605 people/km2, in the Basque Country – 295 people/km2, in the Valencian Community – 100 people/km2. Approx. 70% Spaniards.

Birth rate – 9.26‰, mortality – 9.13‰ (2001), infant mortality 4.92 people. per 1000 newborns (2001). The dominant trend is a decrease in mortality with a simultaneous decrease in the birth rate. Average life expectancy is 78.9 years, incl. 75.5 years – men, 82.6 years – women.

The age composition of the population: young people under 14 years old – 14.6%, aged 15-64 years – 68.2%, 65 years and older – 17.2%. The total number of women slightly exceeds the number of men. In 2001, there were 96 men for every 100 women.

The number of employed people is 17 million people. (43% of the total population), 33.4% of the economically active population are women (in 1975 – 23%). The proportion of the economically active male population is declining due to the reduction of the retirement age to 65 and even to 60 years (in the private sector).

Adult literacy is 98%. Human Development Index – 0.908 (2001).

According to the Constitution, Spain is recognized as a single nation, formed on the basis of various ethnic groups and nationalities. Live in the country: Castilians (31%), Catalans (19%), Andalusians (15%), Valencians (10%), Galicians (8%), Basques (6%), as well as people of other nationalities: gypsies (200 thousand.), Portuguese (35 thousand), Jews (15 thousand), Americans, French, etc.

The official language is Spanish (Castilian). The use of the Catalan language is legal (it is spoken by 17% of the population), Galician (7%), Basque (2%) and other languages of the autonomous regions.

90% of Spaniards are believers, 99% of believers are Catholics, there are Protestants, Muslims, Jews.

History of Spain

Ancient Spain was formed as a result of the mixing of two different races: the Celts and the Iberians, who later passed through the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian colonization. The victory of Rome over Carthage as a result of the 2nd Punic War (208-01 BC) led to the Romanization and urbanization of the Iberian communities and the creation on their territory of the 1st Roman province with a developed economic and administrative system. In the beginning. 5th c. The barbarian tribes of Alans, Sueves, Vandals and Visigoths invaded the Iberian Peninsula. The latter formed here the Visigothic kingdom (with its capital in Toledo), which became stronger on the basis of the rapprochement between the Spanish-Roman latifundists and the Visigothic military nobility. One of the manifestations of this rapprochement is the transition of the Visigoths to Catholicism (589). The Visigothic period in the history of Spain ends at the beginning. 8th c. In 711–18, the Visigothic kingdom became easy prey for the Moors, the Arab conquerors who established the power of the Damascus Caliphate over most of the peninsula. In 758, as a result of long civil strife, the Emirate of Cordoba (later Caliphate) independent of the Damascus Caliphate was created with its center in the city of Cordoba, and after it the Granada Emirate. Under the Arabs (especially in the 10th century under Abderrahman III), Spain achieved a significant economic and cultural upsurge. The Caliphate of Cordoba lasted three centuries (8th-10th centuries). In the 11th century as a result of the process of feudalization, it broke up into a number of independent Muslim states.

The Spaniards took advantage of the weakening of the Arab states, starting the process of the Reconquista (reconquest of land from the Arabs), which finally ended in 1492 with the capture of Granada. The decisive role in the victory of the Spaniards was played by the unification (1479) as a result of the “dynastic union” of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, the two largest feudal kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula – Castile and Aragon. It marked the beginning of the formation of Spain as a single centralized state and nation. The main instrument of Spanish absolutism was the Inquisition, created in 1480. The most important factor that ensured victory was also the liberation (1486) of the Spanish peasantry from serfdom. On October 12, 1492 (Spain’s National Day), almost simultaneously with the capture of Granada, an event of world-historical significance takes place – the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus, which marked the beginning of the era of the Great Geographical Discoveries of the 15th-16th centuries. Spain played a leading role in the seizure of vast territories in America, Africa, Asia and Europe, becoming the monopoly owner of untold wealth.

To the beginning 17th century during the period of primitive accumulation of capital, feudal reaction and the dominance of the inquisition became a brake on the economic development of the country. The political and economic disintegration of the Great Spanish Monarchy, which began after the Dutch Revolution (1565–1609), ended in 1701–14 with the war for the “Spanish Succession” and the loss of Gibraltar, transferred to England in accordance with the Utrecht and Rastadt peace treaties. The first signs of an economic renaissance (the emergence of manufactories, “economic societies of friends of the nation”, public works, etc.) appeared in Spain only during the reign of Charles III (1759-88), the Spanish variety of “enlightened absolutism”.

In the 19th century Spain went through the period of the “Napoleonic Wars” (1807-14), the struggle of the American colonies for its independence (1810-26), four democratic revolutions, the Spanish-American War of 1898, which ended in the defeat of Spain and the loss of its last colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippine Islands and Guan Island.

The outbreak of the crisis of the Spanish monarchy and the aggravation of the internal political situation led to the establishment of the military-monarchist dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera (1923–29), who, however, could not cope with the task of preserving the monarchy set before him. After the abdication of Alfonso XIII in Spain, a period of republican rule began (1931–39), culminating in a military rebellion by General F. Franco and a civil war (1936–39). With the coming to power of Franco, an authoritarian system of government was created in the country with the suppression of all democratic freedoms and the concentration of all political, legislative, executive, judicial and military power in the hands of Franco, who proclaimed himself “responsible only to history and God.” The policy of autarchy pursued by him was characterized by a high degree of state intervention in the economic and social spheres. From the beginning 1960s Spain, within the framework of an authoritarian political system, embarked on the path of liberalization, deregulation and the creation of an “open” market economy. The period 1960–75 was characterized by high rates of economic development and was called the “Spanish economic miracle.” The dismantling of the authoritarian political system, which began after the death of Franco (1975), took place in the context of a consensus of the country’s political forces. In 1977, the Moncloa Pacts became their legal basis. They contained a political and economic program of measures necessary for the country’s peaceful transition to democracy. In December 1978, the country’s democratic constitution was adopted at a national referendum.

People of Spain