Spanish Property Forsale

Spanish Buyers Guide

Spanish Links Section

Email Buy Spanish



Located in south western Europe, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Portugal and France. The country covers a total area of 505,957 sq km. Spain has 4,964 km of coastline. Besides five other places of sovereignty on and off the coast of Morocco, Spain consists of 17 administrative regions, 15 of which are on mainland Spain. Spain occupies four-fifths of the Iberian peninsula and is a land of immense geographical diversity. It offers the tourist a great deal. Spain's coastline has long since been a magnet for visitors but in recent years more and more people are spending holiday time, exploring beautiful and cultural Spain, away from the sea and sand. Spain has everything from lush, green forests and mountain ranges, through to endless arid plains and long, sandy beaches.

Although Spain lies in the temperate zone, it's rugged topography gives rise to a great diversity of climates. What is known as rainy Spain, lies mainly to the north of the Cantabrian mountains. Here there are mild winters and cool summers with only a slight variation in temperature. This climate is typical of western Europe. To the south lies dry Spain which makes up two-thirds of Spain. Here there is scarce rainfall with almost constant, hot sun. When it does rain it is often heavy with fierce thunderstorms.


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. [Top]






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



Geographic coordinates:

40 00 N, 4 00 W

Map references:



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

Area - comparative:

slightly more than twice the size of Oregon

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


4,964 km

Maritime claims:

contiguous zone: 24 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
territorial sea: 12 NM


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

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m

Natural resources:

coal, lignite, iron ore, uranium, mercury, pyrites, fluorspar, gypsum, zinc, lead, tungsten, copper, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land

Land use:

arable land: 28.6%
permanent crops: 9.56%
other: 61.84% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:

36,400 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

periodic droughts

Environment - current 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

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification

Geography - note:

strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar [Top]



40,217,413 (July 2003 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 14.4% (male 2,985,705; female 2,808,791)
15-64 years: 68% (male 13,721,053; female 13,626,121)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 2,962,646; female 4,113,097) (2003 est.)

Median age:

total: 38.7 years
male: 37.4 years
female: 40.1 years (2002)

Population growth rate:

0.16% (2003 est.)

Birth rate:

10.08 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Death rate:

9.48 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:

0.99 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.07 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 (2003 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 4.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 4.94 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 79.23 years
male: 75.87 years
female: 82.8 years (2003 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.26 children born/woman (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

0.5% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

130,000 (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

2,300 (2001 est.)


noun: Spaniard(s)
adjective: Spanish

Ethnic groups:

composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types


Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%


Castilian Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.9%
male: 98.7%
female: 97.2% (2003 est.) [Top]



Country name:

conventional long form: Kingdom of Spain
conventional short form: Spain
local short form: Espana

Government type:

parliamentary monarchy



Administrative divisions:

19 autonomous communities (comunidades autonomas, singular - comunidad autonoma); Andalucia, Aragon, Asturias, Baleares (Balearic Islands), Ceuta, Canarias (Canary Islands), Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Cataluna, Communidad Valencian, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Melilla, Murcia, Navarra, Pais Vasco (Basque Country)
note: three small Spanish possessions are located off the coast of Morocco: Islas Chafarinas, Penon de Alhucemas, and Penon de Velez de la Gomera


the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Moslem occupation that began in the early 8th Century A. D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain

National holiday:

Hispanic Day, 12 October


6 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978

Legal system:

civil law system, with regional applications; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:

chief of state: King JUAN CARLOS I (since 22 November 1975); Heir Apparent Prince FELIPE, son of the monarch, born 30 January 1968
head of government: President of the Government Jose Maria AZNAR Lopez (since 5 May 1996); First Vice President (and Minister of Interior) Mariano Rajoy BREY (since 27 April 2000) and Second Vice President (and Minister of Economy) Rodrigo RATO Figaredo (since 5 May 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers designated by the president
note: there is also a Council of State that is the supreme consultative organ of the government
election results: Jose Maria AZNAR Lopez (PP) elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - 44.54%; note - the Popular Party (PP) obtained an absolute majority of seats in both the Congress of Deputies and the Senate as a result of the March 2000 elections
elections: the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually proposed president by the monarch and elected by the National Assembly; election last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004); vice presidents appointed by the monarch on the proposal of the president

Legislative branch:

bicameral; General Courts or National Assembly or Las Cortes Generales consists of the Senate or Senado (259 seats - 208 members directly elected by popular vote and the other 51 appointed by the regional legislatures to serve four-year terms) and the Congress of Deputies or Congreso de los Diputados (350 seats; members are elected by popular vote on block lists by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - PP 44.6%, PSOE 34.1%, CiU 4.2%, PNV 1.5%, CC 1.1%, PIL 0%; seats by party - PP 127, PSOE 61, CiU 8, PNV 6, CC 5, PIL 1; Congress of Deputies - percent of vote by party - PP 44.5%, PSOE 34%, CiU 4.2%, IU 5.4%, PNV 1.5%, CC 1%, BNG 1.3%; seats by party - PP 183, PSOE 125, CiU 15, IU 8, PNV 7, CC 4, BNG 3, other 5
elections: Senate - last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004); Congress of Deputies - last held 12 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004)

Judicial branch:

Supreme Court or Tribunal Supremo

Political parties and leaders:

Basque Nationalist Party or PNV [Xabier ARZALLUS Antia]; Canarian Coalition or CC (a coalition of five parties) [Paulino RIVERO]; Convergence and Union or CiU [Jordi PUJOL i Soley, secretary general] (a coalition of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia or CDC [Jordi PUJOL i Soley] and the Democratic Union of Catalonia or UDC [Josep Antoni DURAN y LLEIDA]); Galician Nationalist Bloc or BNG [Xose Manuel BEIRAS]; Party of Independents from Lanzarote or PIL [Dimas MARTIN Martin]; Popular Party or PP [Jose Maria AZNAR Lopez]; Spanish Socialist Workers Party or PSOE [Jose Luis RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO]; United Left or IU (a coalition of parties including the PCE and other small parties) [Gaspar LLAMAZARES]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

business and landowning interests; Catholic Church; free labor unions (authorized in April 1977); Socialist General Union of Workers or UGT and the smaller independent Workers Syndical Union or USO; university students; Workers Confederation or CC.OO; Nunca Mais (Galician for "Never Again"; formed in response to the oil tanker Prestige oil spill)

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Francisco Javier RUPEREZ
chancery: 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
FAX: [1] (202) 833-5670
telephone: [1] (202) 452-0100, 728-2340

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador George L. ARGYROS
embassy: Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid
mailing address: APO AE 09642
telephone: [34] (91) 587-2200
FAX: [34] (91) 587-2303
consulate(s) general: Barcelona

Flag description:

three horizontal bands of red (top), yellow (double width), and red with the national coat of arms on the hoist side of the yellow band; the coat of arms includes the royal seal framed by the Pillars of Hercules, which are the two promontories (Gibraltar and Ceuta) on either side of the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar [Top]



Economy - overview:

Spain's mixed capitalist economy supports a GDP that on a per capita basis is 80% that of the four leading West European economies. Its center-right government successfully worked to gain admission to the first group of countries launching the European single currency on 1 January 1999. The AZNAR administration has continued to advocate liberalization, privatization, and deregulation of the economy and has introduced some tax reforms to that end. Unemployment has been steadily falling under the AZNAR administration but remains high at 11.3%. The government intends to make further progress in changing labor laws and reforming pension schemes, which are key to the sustainability of both Spain's internal economic advances and its competitiveness in a single currency area. A general strike in mid-2002 reduced cooperation between labor and government. Adjusting to the monetary and other economic policies of an integrated Europe - and further reducing unemployment - will pose challenges to Spain over the next few years.


purchasing power parity - $828 billion (2002 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

2% (2002 est.)

GDP - per capita:

purchasing power parity - $20,700 (2002 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 4%
industry: 31%
services: 65% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:


Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 25.2% (1990)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

32.5 (1990)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

3% (2002 est.)

Labour force:

17.1 million (2001)

Labour force - by occupation:

services 64%, manufacturing, mining, and construction 29%, agriculture 7% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate:

11.3% (2002 est.)


revenues: $105 billion
expenditures: $109 billion, including capital expenditures of $12.8 billion (2000 est.)


textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, shipbuilding, automobiles, machine tools, tourism

Industrial production growth rate:

1.2% (2002 est.)

Electricity - production:

222.5 billion kWh (2001)

Electricity - production by source:

fossil fuel: 50.4%
hydro: 18.2%
other: 4.2% (2001)
nuclear: 27.2%

Electricity - consumption:

210.4 billion kWh (2001)

Electricity - exports:

4.138 billion kWh (2001)

Electricity - imports:

7.588 billion kWh (2001)

Oil - production:

7,099 bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - consumption:

1.497 million bbl/day (2001 est.)

Oil - exports:

135,100 bbl/day (2001)

Oil - imports:

1.582 million bbl/day (2001)

Oil - proved reserves:

10.5 million bbl (January 2002 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

254.9 million cu m (January 2002 est.)

Agriculture - products:

grain, vegetables, olives, wine grapes, sugar beets, citrus; beef, pork, poultry, dairy products; fish


$122.2 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)

Exports - commodities:

machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, other consumer goods

Exports - partners:

EU 71.3% (France 19.5%, Germany 11.8%, Portugal 10.0%, Italy 9.0%, UK 8.9%), Latin America 6.1%, US 4.4%, (2000)


$156.6 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)

Imports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semi finished goods; foodstuffs, consumer goods (1997)

Imports - partners:

EU 63.9% (France 16.8%, Germany 15.5%, Italy 9.1%, Benelux 7.3%, UK 7.0%), OPEC 7.3%, US 4.6%, Japan 2.5%, Latin America 4.2% (2000)

Debt - external:

$90 billion (1993 est.)

Economic aid - donor:

ODA, $1.33 billion (1999)


euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by the financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions with the member countries

Currency code:


Exchange rates:

euros per US dollar - 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001), 1.0854 (2000), 0.9386 (1999)

Fiscal year:

calendar year [Top]



Telephones - main lines in use:

17.336 million (1999)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

8.394 million (1999)

Telephone system:

general assessment: generally adequate, modern facilities; teledensity is 44 main lines for each 100 persons
domestic: NA
international: 22 coaxial submarine cables; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean), NA Eutelsat; tropospheric scatter to adjacent countries

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 208, FM 715, shortwave 1 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:

224 (plus 2,105 repeaters)
note: these figures include 11 television broadcast stations and 88 repeaters in the Canary Islands (1995)

Internet country code:


Internet Service Providers (ISPs):

56 (2000)

Internet users:

7.89 million (2002) [Top]




total: 14,189 km
broad gauge: 11,804 km 1.668-m gauge (6,409 km electrified)
standard gauge: 455 km 1.435-m gauge (455 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 1,902 km 1.000-m gauge (781 km electrified); 28 km 0.914-m gauge (28 km electrified) (2002)


total: 346,858 km
paved: 343,389 km (including 9,063 km of expressways)
unpaved: 3,469 km (1997)


1,045 km (of minor economic importance)


crude oil 265 km; petroleum products 1,794 km; natural gas 1,666 km

Ports and harbours:

Aviles, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cadiz, Cartagena, Castellon de la Plana, Ceuta, Huelva, La Coruna, Las Palmas (Canary Islands), Malaga, Melilla, Pasajes, Gijon, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands), Santander, Tarragona, Valencia, Vigo

Merchant marine:

total: 140 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,585,563 GRT/2,022,104 DWT
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 31, chemical tanker 10, container 13, liquefied gas 5, livestock carrier 1, passenger 1, petroleum tanker 22, refrigerated cargo 5, roll on/roll off 33, short-sea passenger 6, vehicle carrier 4
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Croatia 1, Cuba 2, Denmark 1, Germany 7, Italy 1, Netherlands 1, Norway 6, Uruguay 3 (2002 est.)


152 (2002)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 93
over 3,047 m: 15
2,438 to 3,047 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 27 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 18

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 59
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 14
under 914 m: 43 (2002)


7 (2002) [Top]



Military branches:

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Civil Guard, National Police, Coastal Civil Guard

Military manpower - military age:

20 years of age (2003 est.)

Military manpower - availability:

males age 15-49: 10,524,715 (2003 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:

males age 15-49: 8,391,612 (2003 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:

males: 255,826 (2003 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$8.6 billion (2002)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.15% (2002)


Copyright ©2007