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Spain:
Geography

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Background
Definition
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.
Location
Definition
Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France
Geographic coordinates
Definition
40 00 N, 4 00 W
Map references
Definition
Europe
Area
Definition - World rank and map
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
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly more than twice the size of Oregon
Land boundaries
Definition
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
Coastline
Definition
4,964 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm (applies only to the Atlantic Ocean)
Climate
Definition
temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast
Terrain
Definition
large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees in north
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico de Teide (Tenerife) on Canary Islands 3,718 m
Natural resources
Definition
coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, uranium, tungsten, mercury, pyrites, magnesite, fluorspar, gypsum, sepiolite, kaolin, potash, hydropower, arable land
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 27.18%
permanent crops: 9.85%
other: 62.97% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
37,800 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
111.1 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 37.22 cu km/yr (13%/19%/68%)
per capita: 864 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards
Definition
periodic droughts
Environment - current issues
Definition
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
Definition
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note
Definition
strategic location along approaches to Strait of Gibraltar


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