World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide



Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

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Map of Europe

Spain Travelling Guide
Spain Travelling Guide

General background: 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. Continuing concerns are Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) terrorism and further reductions in unemployment.

Area comparative: Slightly more than twice the size of Oregon.

Climate: Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast.

Terrain: Large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north.

Population: 40,077,100 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types.

Religions: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

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

Government type: Parliamentary monarchy

Capital: Madrid

Legal system: Civil law system, with regional applications; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

Economic 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, privatisation, 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 the highest in the EU at 13%. The government intends to make further progress in changing labour 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. 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.

Communication/Telephone system:
Generally adequate, modern facilities.

Places of interest: Spain is drenched in the historical pageantry of empire and conquistadors, the artistic legacy of Goya, Velázquez, Picasso and Dalí, and the romance of Don Quijote, Papa Hemingway and the International Brigades.

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