World Country Spain

About the world country Spain, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Most of the Iberian Peninsula, in southwest Europe.

Size: 194,897 sq. mi. (504,782 sq. km.). Population: 38,686,000.

Who Really Rules: Since 1976, following the death of dictator Francisco Franco and the accession of King Juan Carlos I, Adolfo Suarez, head of the center-right Union of the Democratic Center, has served as prime minister. His minority government is supported in parliament by right-wing parties, but left-wing and regional parties also represent nearly half the electorate and control many urban local governments. Though private businessmen and landowners remain powerful, the government controls certain economic sectors such as minerals.

Spain hosts several major U.S. military facilities, but in 1979 it banned the presence of nuclear weapons. Many U.S.-based multinational corporations have built plants in Spain in recent years to take advantage of Spain's impending admission into the European Common Market, scheduled for the mid-1980s.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Autonomy movements are strong in many regions of Spain, but nowhere is sentiment stronger than in the Basque region on the Bay of Biscay. The 2.5 million Basques share a unique culture and language. They occupy four Spanish provinces--Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, Alava, and Navarra--as well as part of southwestern France. For generations the Basques in Spain enjoyed limited autonomy, and a strong nationalist movement backs a return of those rights. In fact, the ETA (Euzkadi Ta Azkatasuna, meaning Basque Homeland and Liberty) Marxist urban guerrillas lead a movement for total independence for a united Basque nation, Euzkadi. Though many Basque nationalists object to the ETA's violent tactics, a pro-ETA party won 20% of the vote in Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa in the 1979 Spanish national elections. Its three victorious deputies refused to take part in the Cortes (the national legislature).

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