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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Spain

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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). A peaceful transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) have given Spain one of the most dynamic economies in Europe and made it a global champion of freedom. Continuing challenges include Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism, illegal immigration, and slowing economic growth. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

The spanish economy boomed from 1986 to 1990 averaging 5% annual growth. after a european-wide recession in the early 1990s, the spanish economy resumed moderate growth starting in 1994. spain's mixed capitalist economy supports a gdp that on a per capita basis is equal to that of the leading west european economies. the center-right government of former president jose maria aznar successfully worked to gain admission to the first group of countries launching the european single currency (the euro) on 1 january 1999. the aznar administration continued to advocate liberalization, privatization, and deregulation of the economy and introduced some tax reforms to that end. unemployment fell steadily under the aznar administration but remains high at 7.6%. growth averaging more than 3% annually during 2003-07 was satisfactory given the background of a faltering european economy. the socialist president, rodriguez zapatero, has made mixed progress in carrying out key structural reforms, which need to be accelerated and deepened to sustain spain's economic growth. despite the economy's relative solid footing significant downside risks remain including spain's continued loss of competitiveness, the potential for a housing market collapse, the country's changing demographic profile, and a decline in eu structural funds.

Environmental 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

Government Type

Parliamentary monarchy


40,491,052 (july 2008 est.)


Southwestern europe, bordering the bay of biscay, mediterranean sea, north atlantic ocean, and pyrenees mountains, southwest of france


Total: 504,782 sq km land: 499,542 sq km water: 5,240 sq km note: there are two autonomous cities - ceuta and melilla - and 17 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

Slightly more than twice the size of oregon

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: kingdom of spain conventional short form: spain local long form: reino de espana local short form: espana


Name: madrid geographic coordinates: 40 24 n, 3 41 w time difference: utc+1 (6 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last sunday in march; ends last sunday in october note: spain is divided into two time zones including the canary islands

Military Service

20 years of age (2004)

International Disputes

In 2002, gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to remain a british colony and against a "total shared sovereignty" arrangement while demanding participation in talks between the uk and spain; spain disapproves of uk plans to grant gibraltar greater autonomy; morocco protests spain's control over the coastal enclaves of ceuta, melilla, and the islands of penon de velez de la gomera, penon de alhucemas and islas chafarinas, and surrounding waters; morocco serves as the primary launching site of illegal migration into spain from north africa; portugal does not recognize spanish sovereignty over the territory of olivenza based on a difference of interpretation of the 1815 congress of vienna and the 1801 treaty of badajoz

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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