Located at the crossroads of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa, Spain’s history and culture are made up of a rich mix of diverse elements.
Through exploration and conquest, Spain became a world power in the 16th century, and it maintained a vast overseas empire until the early 19th century.
Spain’s modern history is marked by the bitterly fought Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, and the ensuing 36-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.
After Franco’s death in 1975, Spain made the transition to a democratic state and built a successful economy, with King Juan Carlos as head of state.
The constitution of 1978 enshrines respect for linguistic and cultural diversity within a united Spain. The country is divided into 17 regions which all have their own directly elected authorities.
- Kingdom of Spain
- Capital: Madrid
- Population 46.7 million
- Area 505,988 sq km (195,363 sq miles)
- Languages Spanish (Castilian), Catalan and its variant Valencian, Gallego (Galician), Euskera (Basque)
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 79 years (men), 85 years (women)
- Currency euro