Spain facts and figures


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). In the second half of the 20th century, Spain has played a catch-up role in the
western international community; it joined the EU in 1986. Continuing concerns are Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism and further reductions in unemployment.


Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North
Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France


total: 504,782 sq km

water: 5,240 sq km

note: there are 19 autonomous communities including Balearic Islands and Canary
Islands, and three small Spanish possessions off the coast of Morocco – Islas
Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera

land: 499,542 sq km

Land boundaries:

total: 1,917.8 km

border countries: Andorra 63.7 km, France 623 km, Gibraltar 1.2 km, Portugal
1,214 km, Morocco (Ceuta) 6.3 km, Morocco (Melilla) 9.6 km


temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along
coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast


large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north

Land use:

arable land: 28.6%

permanent crops: 9.56%

other: 61.84% (1998 est.)


40,217,413 (July 2003 est.)


noun: Spaniard(s)

adjective: Spanish


Castilian Spanish 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%

note: Castilian is the official language nationwide; the other languages are