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How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Torre caja de Madrid
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Miss Spain 2008 - Patricia Rodriguez
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Monserat des de Manresa

Kingdom of Spain
View Comments About Spain


Official name Reino de España (Kingdom of Spain)
Form of government constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses (Senate [2661]; Congress of Deputies [350])
Head of state King: Felipe VI
Head of government Prime Minister: Mariano Rajoy
Capital Madrid
Official language Castilian Spanish2
Official religion none
Monetary unit euro (€)
Population (2014 est.) 48,547,000COLLAPSE
Total area (sq mi) 195,364
Total area (sq km) 505,991 Urban-rural population

Urban: (2011) 77.4%
Rural: (2011) 22.6%

Life expectancy at birth

Male: (2011) 79.1 years
Female: (2011) 84.9 years

Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate

Male: (2008) 98.4%
Female: (2008) 96.9%

GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2013) 29,180

1Includes 58 indirectly elected seats.

2The constitution states that “Castilian is the official Spanish language of the State,” but that “the other Spanish languages [including Euskera (Basque), Catalan, and Galician will] also be official in the respective Autonomous Communities.”

About Spain

Spain, country located in extreme southwestern Europe. It occupies about 85 percent of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with its smaller neighbour Portugal.

Spain is a storied country of stone castles, snowcapped mountains, vast monuments, and sophisticated cities, all of which have made it a favoured travel destination. The country is geographically and culturally diverse. Its heartland is the Meseta, a broad central plateau half a mile above sea level. Much of the region is traditionally given over to cattle ranching and grain production; it was in this rural setting that Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote tilted at the tall windmills that still dot the landscape in several places. In the country’s northeast are the broad valley of the Ebro River, the mountainous region of Catalonia, and the hilly coastal plain of Valencia. To the northwest is the Cantabrian Mountains, a rugged range in which heavily forested, rain-swept valleys are interspersed with tall peaks. To the south is the citrus-orchard-rich and irrigated lands of the valley of the Guadalquivir River, celebrated in the renowned lyrics of Spanish poets Federico García Lorca and Antonio Machado; over this valley rises the snowcapped Sierra Nevada. The southern portion of the country is desert, an extension of the Sahara made familiar to Americans through the “spaghetti western” films of the 1960s and early ’70s. Lined with palm trees, rosemary bushes, and other tropical vegetation, the southeastern Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands enjoy a gentle climate, drawing millions of visitors and retirees, especially from northern Europe.

Spain’s countryside is quaint, speckled with castles, aqueducts, and ancient ruins, but its cities are resoundingly modern. The Andalusian capital of Sevilla (Seville) is famed for its musical culture and traditional folkways; the Catalonian capital of Barcelona for its secular architecture and maritime industry; and the national capital of Madrid for its winding streets, its museums and bookstores, and its around-the-clock lifestyle. Madrid is Spain’s largest city and is also its financial and cultural centre, as it has been for hundreds of years.

The many and varied cultures that have gone into the making of Spain—those of the Castilians, Catalonians, Lusitanians, Galicians, Basques, Romans, Arabs, Jews, and Roma (Gypsies), among other peoples—are renowned for their varied cuisines, customs, and prolific contributions to the world’s artistic heritage. The country’s Roman conquerors left their language, roads, and monuments, while many of the Roman Empire’s greatest rulers were Spanish, among them Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius. The Moors, who ruled over Spain for nearly 800 years, left a legacy of fine architecture, lyric poetry, and science; the Roma contributed the haunting music called the cante jondo (a form of flamenco), which, wrote García Lorca, “comes from remote races and crosses the graveyard of the years and the fronds of parched winds. It comes from the first sob and the first kiss.” Even the Vandals, Huns, and Visigoths who swept across Spain following the fall of Rome are remembered in words and monuments, which prompted García Lorca to remark, “In Spain, the dead are more alive than the dead of any other country in the world.”

In 1492, the year the last of the Moorish rulers were expelled from Spain, ships under the command of Christopher Columbus reached America. For 300 years afterward, Spanish explorers and conquerors traveled the world, claiming huge territories for the Spanish crown, a succession of Castilian, Aragonese, Habsburg, and Bourbon rulers. For generations Spain was arguably the richest country in the world, and certainly the most far-flung. With the loss of its overseas empire throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, however, Spain was all but forgotten in world affairs, save for the three years that the ideologically charged Spanish Civil War (1936–39) put the country at the centre of the world’s stage, only to become ever more insular and withdrawn during the four decades of rule by dictator Francisco Franco. Following Franco’s death in 1975, a Bourbon king, Juan Carlos, returned to the throne and established a constitutional monarchy. The country has been ruled since then by a succession of elected governments, some socialist, some conservative, but all devoted to democracy.


Geography of the Kingdom of Spain

  • Area: 504,750 sq. km. (194,884 sq. mi.), including the Balearic and Canary Islands; about the size of Arizona and Utah combined.
  • Capital -- Madrid (5.5 million).
  • Terrain: High plateaus, lowland areas such as narrow coastal plains, and mountainous regions.
  • Climate: Temperate. Summers are hot in the interior and more moderate and cloudy along the coast; winters are cold in interior and partly cloudy and cool along the coast.
  • Time zone: Spanish mainland and Balearic Isles--local time is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in winter and 2 hours ahead in summer. Canary Islands are on GMT.

The Land of Spain

Spain is bordered to the west by Portugal; to the northeast it borders France, from which it is separated by the tiny principality of Andorra and by the great wall of the Pyrenees Mountains. Spain’s only other land border is in the far south with Gibraltar, an enclave that belonged to Spain until 1713, when it was ceded to Great Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht at the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. Elsewhere the country is bounded by water: by the Mediterranean Sea to the east and southeast, by the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest and southwest, and by the Bay of Biscay (an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean) to the north. The Canary (Canarias) Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwestern African mainland, and the Balearic (Baleares) Islands, in the Mediterranean, also are parts of Spain, as are Ceuta and Melilla, two small enclaves in North Africa (northern Morocco) that Spain has ruled for centuries.--->>>Read More.<<<

People of the Kingdom of Spain

Spain's population density, lower than that of most European countries, is roughly equivalent to New England's. In recent years, following a longstanding pattern in the rest of Europe, rural populations are moving to cities. Urban areas are also experiencing a significant increase in immigrant populations, chiefly from North Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe.

Spain has no official religion. The constitution of 1978 disestablished the Roman Catholic Church as the official state religion, while recognizing the role it plays in Spanish society. More than 90% of the population is at least nominally Catholic. Among the remaining population, there are about 1.2 million evangelical Christians and other Protestants (2007 est.), 1 million Muslims (2007 est.), and 48,000 Jews (2007 est.).


Nationality: Noun--Spaniard(s). Adjective--Spanish. Population (2008 est.): 45,200,737. Annual growth rate (2007 est.): 0.116%. Ethnic groups: Distinct ethnic groups within Spain include the Basques, Catalans, and Galicians. Religion: Predominantly Roman Catholic; Protestant and Islamic faiths also have a significant presence. Languages: Spanish (official) 74%, Catalan-Valenciana 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2%. Education: Years compulsory--to age 16. Literacy (2007 est.)--97%. Work force (2008 est., 20.4 million): Services--66.4%; agriculture--4.2%; construction--13.1%; industry--16.3%.

Economy of the Kingdom of Spain

GDP (2008 est.): $1.556 trillion (seventh-largest Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development--OECD--economy). Annual growth rate (2008 est.): 1.3%. Per capita GDP (2008 est.): $33,100. Natural resources: Coal, lignite, iron ore, uranium, mercury, pyrites, fluorspar, gypsum, zinc, lead, tungsten, copper, kaolin, hydroelectric power. Agriculture and fisheries (2.57% of GDP, 2008 est.): Products--grains, vegetables, citrus and deciduous fruits, wine, olives and olive oil, sunflowers, livestock. Industry (13.43% of GDP, 2008 est.): Types--processed foods, textiles, footwear, petrochemicals, steel, automobiles, consumer goods, electronics. Trade (2008 est.): Exports--$258 billion: automobiles, fruits, minerals, metals, clothing, footwear, textiles. Major markets--EU 70.1%, U.S. 4.10%. Imports--$397.3 billion: petroleum, oilseeds, aircraft, grains, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, fish, consumer goods. Major sources--EU 59.1%, U.S. 3.45%. Average exchange rate (2008 est.): 0.680 euros=U.S.$1.


Spain's accession to the European Community--now European Union (EU)--in January 1986 required the country to open its economy to trade and investment, modernize its industrial base, improve infrastructure, and revise economic legislation to conform to EU guidelines. These measures helped the economy grow rapidly over the next two decades, including for the last 15 years. Unemployment fell from 23% in 1986 to 8% in mid-2007, and the public debt-to-GDP ratio fell significantly. The adoption of the euro in 2002 greatly reduced interest rates, spurring a housing boom that further fueled growth. The strong euro also encouraged Spanish firms to invest in the United States. Several Spanish firms have significant U.S. investments in banking, insurance, wind and solar power, biofuels, and road construction, as well as other sectors. The end of the housing boom in 2007 and the international financial crisis led to a rapid deceleration during 2008. Housing sales and construction declined dramatically, and the unemployment rate stood at 11.3% in the third quarter of 2008, the second-highest level in the European Union. By the end of November 2008, nearly 3 million Spaniards were unemployed, and some banks predict that the unemployment rate could average 14% in 2009.

The economy contracted in the third quarter of 2008 and is expected to continue contracting. The government has predicted that growth in 2009 will be less than 1%, while many unofficial analysts expect the economy to shrink by as much as 1%. Inflation, after peaking at 5.3% in July, had fallen below 3% as of November 2008 because of the decline in oil prices and reduced domestic spending. In part because of cautious regulation by the central bank, Spanish banks have been less affected by the international financial crisis than banks in many European countries. The Zapatero government took a series of measures in late 2008 to support the financial sector and announced 11 billion euros of additional spending, much of it for municipal government public works, in an effort to provide employment and encourage economic activity. This spending, and declining revenues, are leading to budget deficits, but surpluses in the years 2004-2007 have given the government some room to maneuver.

Educational System of the Kingdom of Spain

About 70% of Spain's student population attends public schools or universities. The remainder attends private schools or universities, the great majority of which are operated by the Catholic Church. Compulsory education begins with primary school or general basic education for ages 6-14. It is free in public schools and in many private schools, most of which receive government subsidies. Following graduation, students attend either a secondary school offering a general high school diploma or a school of professional education (corresponding to grades 9-12 in the United States) offering a vocational training program. The Spanish university system offers degree and post-graduate programs in all fields--law, sciences, humanities, and medicine--and the superior technical schools offer programs in engineering and architecture.

HISTORY of the Kingdom of Spain

The Iberian Peninsula has been settled for millennia. In fact, some of Europe's most impressive Paleolithic cultural sites are located in Spain, including the famous caves at Altamira that contain spectacular paintings dating from about 15,000 to 25,000 years ago. The Basques, Europe's oldest surviving group, are also the first identifiable people of the peninsula.

Beginning in the ninth century BC, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, and Celts entered the Iberian Peninsula. The Romans followed in the second century BC and laid the groundwork for Spain's present language, religion, and laws. Although the Visigoths arrived in the fifth century AD, the last Roman strongholds along the southern coast did not fall until the seventh century AD. In 711, North African Moors sailed across the straits, swept into Andalusia, and within a few years, pushed the Visigoths up the peninsula to the Cantabrian Mountains. The Reconquest--efforts to drive out the Moors--lasted until 1492. By 1512, the unification of present-day Spain was complete.

During the 16th century, Spain became the most powerful nation in Europe, due to the immense wealth derived from its presence in the Americas. But a series of long, costly wars and revolts, capped by the English defeat of the "Invincible Armada" in 1588, began a steady decline of Spanish power in Europe. Controversy over succession to the throne consumed the country during the 18th century, leading to an occupation by France during the Napoleonic era in the early 1800s and a series of armed conflicts throughout much of the 19th century.

The 19th century saw the revolt and independence of most of Spain's colonies in the Western Hemisphere; three wars over the succession issue; the brief ousting of the monarchy and establishment of the First Republic (1873-74); and, finally, the Spanish-American War (1898), in which Spain lost Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the United States. A period of dictatorial rule (1923-31) ended with the establishment of the Second Republic. It was dominated by increasing political polarization, culminating in the leftist Popular Front electoral victory in 1936. Pressures from all sides, coupled with growing and unchecked violence, led to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936.

Following the victory of his nationalist forces in 1939, General Francisco Franco ruled a nation exhausted politically and economically. Spain was officially neutral during World War II but followed a pro-Axis policy. Therefore, the victorious Allies isolated Spain at the beginning of the postwar period, and the country did not join the United Nations until 1955. In 1959, under an International Monetary Fund stabilization plan, the country began liberalizing trade and capital flows, particularly foreign direct investment.

Despite the success of economic liberalization, Spain remained for years the most closed economy in Western Europe--judged by the small measure of foreign trade to economic activity--and the pace of reform slackened during the 1960s as the state remained committed to "guiding" the economy. Nevertheless, in the 1960s and 1970s, Spain was transformed into a modern industrial economy with a thriving tourism sector. Its economic expansion led to improved income distribution and helped develop a large middle class. Social changes brought about by economic prosperity and the inflow of new ideas helped set the stage for Spain's transition to democracy during the latter half of the 1970s.

Upon the death of General Franco in November 1975, Franco's personally-designated heir Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon assumed the titles of king and chief of state. Dissatisfied with the slow pace of post-Franco liberalization, he replaced Franco's last Prime Minister with Adolfo Suarez in July 1976. Suarez entered office promising that elections would be held within one year, and his government moved to enact a series of laws to liberalize the new regime. Spain's first elections since 1936 to the Cortes (Parliament) were held on June 15, 1977. Prime Minister Suarez's Union of the Democratic Center (UCD), a moderate center-right coalition, won 34% of the vote and the largest bloc of seats in the Cortes.

Under Suarez, the new Cortes set about drafting a democratic constitution that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in a national referendum in December 1978.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS of the Kingdom of Spain

  • Type: Constitutional monarchy (Juan Carlos I proclaimed King November 22, 1975).
  • Constitution: 1978.

Branches:

  • Executive--president of government nominated by monarch, subject to approval by democratically elected Congress of Deputies.
  • Legislative--bicameral Cortes: a 350-seat Congress of Deputies (elected by the d'Hondt system of proportional representation) and a Senate. Four senators are elected in each of 47 peninsular provinces, 16 are elected from the three island provinces, and Ceuta and Melilla elect two each; this accounts for 208 senators. The parliaments of the 17 autonomous regions also elect one senator as well as one additional senator for every 1 million inhabitants within their territory (about 20 senators).
  • Judicial--Constitutional Tribunal has jurisdiction over constitutional issues. Supreme Tribunal heads system comprising territorial, provincial, regional, and municipal courts.

Subdivisions: 47 peninsular and three island provinces; two enclaves on the Mediterranean coast of Morocco (Ceuta and Melilla) and three island groups along that coast--Alhucemas, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, and the Chafarinas Islands.

Political parties: Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), Popular Party (PP), and the United Left (IU) coalition. Key regional parties are the Convergence and Union (CIU) in Catalonia and the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) in the Basque country.

Parliamentary democracy was restored following the 1975 death of General Franco, who had ruled since the end of the civil war in 1939. The 1978 constitution established Spain as a parliamentary monarchy, with the prime minister responsible to the bicameral Cortes (Congress of Deputies and Senate) elected every 4 years. On February 23, 1981, rebel elements among the security forces seized the Cortes and tried to impose a military-backed government. However, the great majority of the military forces remained loyal to King Juan Carlos, who used his personal authority to put down the bloodless coup attempt.

In October 1982, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), led by Felipe Gonzalez, swept both the Congress of Deputies and Senate, winning an absolute majority. Gonzalez and the PSOE ruled for the next 13 years. During that period, Spain joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Community.

In March 1996, Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party (PP) won a plurality of votes. Aznar moved to decentralize powers to the regions and liberalize the economy, with a program of privatization, labor market reform, and measures designed to increase competition in selected markets. During Aznar's first term, Spain fully integrated into European institutions, qualifying for the European Monetary Union, and participated, along with the United States and other NATO allies, in military operations in the former Yugoslavia. President Aznar and the PP won reelection in March 2000, obtaining absolute majorities in both houses of parliament.

After the terrorist attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, President Aznar became a key ally in the fight against terrorism. Spain backed the military action against the Taliban in Afghanistan and took a leadership role within the European Union (EU) in pushing for increased international cooperation on terrorism. The Aznar government, with a rotating seat on the UN Security Council, supported the intervention in Iraq.

Spanish parliamentary elections on March 14, 2004 came only three days after a devastating terrorist attack on Madrid commuter rail lines that killed 191 and wounded over 1,400. With large voter turnout, PSOE won the election and its leader, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, took office on April 17, 2004. Carrying out campaign promises, the Zapatero government immediately withdrew Spanish forces from Iraq but has continued to support Iraq reconstruction efforts. The Zapatero government has supported coalition efforts in Afghanistan, including maintaining troop support for 2004 and 2005 elections, supported reconstruction efforts in Haiti, sent troops to UNIFIL in Lebanon, and cooperated on counterterrorism issues and many other issues of importance to the U.S. Zapatero was re-elected for a second term as President on March 9, 2008.

Local Government of the Kingdom of Spain

The 1978 constitution authorized the creation of regional autonomous governments. By 1985, 17 regions covering all of peninsular Spain, the Canaries, and the Balearic Islands had negotiated autonomy statutes with the central government. In 1979, the first autonomous elections were held in the Basque and Catalan regions, which have the strongest regional traditions by virtue of their history and separate languages. Since then, autonomous governments have been created in the remainder of the 17 regions. The central government continues to devolve powers to the regional governments, which will eventually have full responsibility for health care and education, as well as other social programs.


Terrorism in the Kingdom of Spain

The Government of Spain is involved in a long-running campaign against Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA), a terrorist organization founded in 1959 and dedicated to promoting Basque independence. ETA targets Spanish security forces, military personnel, Spanish Government officials, politicians of the Popular Party and the Socialist Party (PSOE), and business people and civilian institutions that do not support ETA. The group has carried out numerous bombings against Spanish Government facilities and economic targets, including a car bomb assassination attempt on then-opposition leader Aznar in 1995 in which his armored car was destroyed but he was unhurt. The Spanish Government attributes over 800 deaths to ETA terrorism since its campaign of violence began. In recent years, the government has had more success in controlling ETA, due in part to increased security cooperation with French authorities.

In November 1999, ETA ended a cease-fire it declared in September 1998. Following the end of that cease-fire, ETA conducted a campaign of violence and has been blamed for the deaths of some 50 Spanish citizens and officials. Each attack has been followed by massive anti-ETA demonstrations around the country, clearly demonstrating that the majority of Spaniards, including the majority of Spain's Basque populace, have no tolerance for continued ETA violence. In March 2006, ETA declared another cease-fire, which it ended in June 2007 as a number of bombings and assassinations continued. In December 2007, two undercover Spanish police officers were killed in Capbreton, in France's southwestern region, by suspected ETA gunmen. Days before Spain's general elections in March 2008, former councilman Isaias Carrasco was murdered outside of his home by an ETA gunman. It was seen by many as a political move by ETA to try and influence the elections. Ignacio Uria Mendizabal, head of the Altuna y Uria company, was assassinated on December 3, 2008. The company was involved in the construction of a high-speed rail network in the region, a project opposed by ETA.

The government pursues a vigorous counterterrorist policy and has worked closely with its international allies to foil several suspected ETA attacks. In May 2008, Francisco Javier Lopez Pena, the political-military head of ETA, was arrested in Bordeaux. In November 2008, French authorities arrested reputed ETA military chief Miguel De Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, alias "Txeroki", closely followed by the arrest of his successor on December 8, 2008. These arrests struck a severe blow to the leadership of ETA. France and Spain have stepped up cooperation to crack down on ETA since a special accord was signed in January 2008 allowing Spanish agents to operate in southwestern France. As of mid-December 2008, security services had arrested 158 alleged ETA members or associates, including 33 in France.

Spain also contends with GRAPO, an urban left-wing terrorist group that seeks to overthrow the Spanish Government and establish a Marxist state. It opposes Spanish participation in NATO and U.S. military presence in Spain and has a long history of assassinations, bombings, and kidnappings mostly against Spanish interests during the 1970s and 1980s. In a June 2000 communique following the explosions of two small devices in Barcelona, GRAPO claimed responsibility for several terrorist attacks throughout Spain the previous year. In 2002 and 2003, Spanish and French authorities were successful in hampering the organization's activities through sweeping arrests, including some of the group's leadership.

Al Qaeda is known to operate cells in Spain. On March 11, 2004, only three days before national elections, 10 bombs were detonated on crowded commuter trains during rush hour. Three were deactivated by security forces and one was found unexploded. Evidence quickly surfaced that jihadist terrorists with possible ties to the Al Qaeda network were responsible for the attack that killed 191 people. Spanish investigative services and the judicial system have aggressively sought to arrest and prosecute suspected Al Qaeda members and actively cooperate with foreign governments to diminish the transnational terrorist threat. A Spanish court convicted 18 individuals in September 2005 for their role in supporting Al Qaeda, and Spanish police disrupted numerous Islamist extremist cells operating in the country. The trial against 29 people for their alleged participation in the Madrid March 11, 2004 terrorist attack started in February 2007. One of the 29 was absolved during the trial. The prosecutor asked for sentences as high as 30,000 years of jail for some of them. In October 2007 three of the suspects were convicted of murder for their roles in the 2004 attack and received over 42,000 years in prison. Overall, 21 of 28 defendants were found guilty of some offense for their role in the bombings. In July 2008 the Spanish Supreme Court announced the acquittal on appeal of four of the 21 convicted defendants. The Supreme Court also upheld the lower court's acquittal of the suspected mastermind of the attacks, agreeing with the lower court's decision that because he had already been sentenced in Italy for belonging to a terrorist organization he could not be tried for the same crime twice. In a separate case, the Supreme Court overturned 14 of the 20 convictions, and reduced four other sentences, of a cell sentenced in February 2008 for plotting to truck-bomb the National Court.

In January 2008, Spanish authorities in Barcelona arrested 14 people believed to be connected to a Pakistani terrorist cell allegedly sympathetic to Al Qaeda. The group, potentially linked to Islamic terrorist activities, was believed to be on the verge of a terrorist bombing campaign against Barcelona's transportation network and possibly other targets in Europe. An informant working for the French intelligence services notified Spanish authorities of the pending attack.

Principal Government Officials of the Kingdom of Spain

Chief of State, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces--King Juan Carlos I President of the Government (Prime Minister)--Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero Minister of Foreign Affairs--Miguel Angel Moratinos Ambassador to the United States--Jorge Dezcallar

Spain maintains an embassy in the United States at 2375 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037 (tel. 202-452-0100) and nine consulates in U.S. cities.

Real Estate or Properties for Sale or lease in The Kingdom of Spain

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FOREIGN RELATIONS of the Kingdom of Spain

After the return of democracy following the death of General Franco in 1975, Spain's foreign policy priorities were to break out of the diplomatic isolation of the Franco years and expand diplomatic relations, enter the European Community, and define security relations with the West.

As a member of NATO since 1982, Spain has established itself as a major participant in multilateral international security activities. Spain's EU membership represents an important part of its foreign policy. Even on many international issues beyond Western Europe, Spain prefers to coordinate its efforts with its EU partners through the European political cooperation mechanism.

With the normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel and Albania in 1986, Spain virtually completed the process of universalizing its diplomatic relations. The only country with which it now does not have diplomatic relations is North Korea.

Spain has maintained its special identification with Latin America. Its policy emphasizes the concept of Hispanidad, a mixture of linguistic, religious, ethnic, cultural, and historical ties binding Spanish-speaking America to Spain. Spain has been an effective example of transition from authoritarianism to democracy, as shown in the many trips that Spain's King and Prime Ministers have made to the region. Spain maintains economic and technical cooperation programs and cultural exchanges with Latin America, both bilaterally and within the EU.

Spain also continues to focus attention on North Africa, especially on Morocco, a source of much of Spain's large influx of legal and illegal immigrants over the past 10 years. This concern is dictated by geographic proximity and long historical contacts and more recently by immigration trends, as well as by the two Spanish enclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern coast of Africa. While Spain's departure from its former colony of Western Sahara ended direct Spanish participation in Morocco, it maintains an interest in the peaceful resolution of the conflict brought about there by decolonization. These issues were highlighted by a crisis in 2002, when Spanish forces evicted a small contingent of Moroccans from a tiny islet off Morocco's coast following that nation's attempt to assert sovereignty over the island.

Meanwhile, Spain has gradually begun to broaden its contacts with Sub-Saharan Africa. It has a particular interest in its former colony of Equatorial Guinea, where it maintains a large aid program.

In relations with the Arab world, Spain has sought to promote European-Mediterranean dialogue. Spain strongly supported the EU's "Barcelona Process" to expand dialogue and trade between Europe and the nations of North Africa and the Middle East, including Israel. Barcelona will serve as the headquarters of the new Union for the Mediterranean proposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007.

Spain has been successful in managing its relations with its two European neighbors, France and Portugal. The accession of Spain and Portugal to the EU has helped ease some of their periodic trade frictions by putting these into an EU context. Franco-Spanish bilateral cooperation is enhanced by joint action against Basque ETA terrorism. Ties with the United Kingdom are generally good, although the question of Gibraltar remains a sensitive issue.

U.S.-SPANISH RELATIONS Spain and the United States have a long history of official relations and are closely associated in many fields. In addition to U.S. and Spanish cooperation in NATO, defense and security relations between the two countries are regulated by a 1989 Agreement on Defense Cooperation, revised in 2003. Under this agreement, Spain authorized the United States to use certain facilities at Spanish military installations.

The two countries also cooperate in several other important areas. The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) jointly operate the Madrid Deep Space Communications Complex in support of Earth orbital and solar system exploration missions. The Madrid Complex is one of the three largest tracking and data acquisition complexes comprising NASA's Deep Space Network.

An agreement on cultural and educational cooperation was signed on June 7, 1989. A new element, support by both the public and private sectors, gave a different dimension to the programs carried out by the joint committee for cultural and educational cooperation. These joint committee activities complement the binational Fulbright program for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting professors, which is among the largest in the world and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Besides assisting in these exchange endeavors, the U.S. Embassy also conducts a program of educational, professional, and cultural exchanges, as well as hosting high-level official visits between officials from Spain and the United States.

Spain and the U.S. are strong allies in the fight against terrorism.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials Ambassador--Eduardo Aguirre, Jr. (departs January 19, 2009) Deputy Chief of Mission--Arnold Chacon Counselor for Management Affairs--Gary Bagley Counselor for Agricultural Affairs--Margaret Thursland Counselor for Commercial Affairs--Ellen Lenny-Pessagno Counselor for Consular Affairs--Daniel Keller Counselor for Economic Affairs--James Dudley Counselor for Political Affairs--William Duncan Counselor for Public Affairs--Thomas Genton Chief, Office of Defense Cooperation--Col. Ulysses S. Rhodes, USAF Defense Attache--Capt. Stuart Bailey, USN Drug Enforcement Administration Attache--Joseph Bond NASA Representative--vacant Regional Security Officer--Janet Sabo Consul General Barcelona--Todd Robinson Customs and Border Protection--Cecilio Gonzalez Transportation Security Agency--vacant

The U.S. Embassy is located at Serrano, 75, 28006 Madrid (tel. 34-91-587-2200; fax 34-91-587-2303). Consulate General, Barcelona, Paseo Reina Elisenda 23, Barcelona 08034 (tel. 34-93-280-2227; fax 34-93-205-5206). The Embassy website is http://madrid.usembassy.gov.


TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION in the Kingdom of Spain

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program advises Americans traveling and residing abroad through Country Specific Information, Travel Alerts, and Travel Warnings. Country Specific Information exists for all countries and includes information on entry and exit requirements, currency regulations, health conditions, safety and security, crime, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. embassies and consulates abroad. Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Travel Warnings are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to a certain country because the situation is dangerous or unstable.

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Spain - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

  • The Spanish Language

The official language is Spanish, also called Castilian, and is the first language of over 72% of the population. Galician is spoken in the region of Galicia and Basque by increasing numbers of the population of Euskadi, the Spanish Basque Country. Catalan is spoken in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, and the closely-related Valencian in the Valencia region. All these languages have official regional status. Other minority languages including Aragonese and Asturian are not officially recognised.


Spanish Society & Culture

  • Spanish Family Values

The family is the basis of the social structure and includes both the nuclear and the extended family, which sometimes provides both a social and a financial support network. Today, it is less common than previously for family members to work in a family business, as personal preferences are important and university education is general The structure and the size of the family vary, but generally, people live until longer lives, have fewer children than before, and fewer people live in their homes with extended family. Familial networks have become less tight. The greatest changes have occurred inside families, between men and woman, and the parents and children because the values that inspire these relations have changed.

  • Machismo

Machismo is the word for male dominance, and the culture of old men who created it has changed dramatically. Spain is a very equalitarian society, the birth rate is the one of the lowest in Europe, and women are present at university and work.

  • Religion in Spain

The majority of Spaniards are formally Roman Catholic, although different religious beliefs are accepted. During the history of Spain, there have been long periods of where different religious groups have coexisted, including Muslims, Jews and Christians. Still some traditions manifest more like a cultural event than a religious one. During Holy Week, many participants of the processions wear peaked, black hats as the sign of a penitent and walk barefoot, carrying a burden of some kind. Religious history is apparent in every small town, where the most grandiose building is typically the church. In the large cities the Cathedrals are almost museums.

Etiquette & Customs in Spain

  • Meeting Etiquette

When introduced expect to shake hands. Once a relationship is established, men may embrace and pat each other on the shoulder. Female friends kiss each other on both cheeks, starting with the left. People are often referred to as Don or Dona and their first name when in formal occasion as a general rule. Many men use a two-handed shake where the left hand is placed on the right forearm of the other person.

  • Dining Etiquette

If invited to a Spaniard's home, you can bring chocolates, pastries, or cakes; wine, liqueur, or brandy; or flowers to the hostess. If you know your hosts have children, they may be included in the evening, so a small gift for them is always appreciated.

  • Spain - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette

Spanish FlagWelcome to our guide to Spain! This is useful for anyone researching Spanish culture, customs, manners, etiquette, values and wanting to understand the people better. You may be going to Spain on business, for a visit or even hosting Spanish colleagues or clients in your own country. Remember this is only a very basic level introduction and is not meant to stereotype all Spanish people you may meet!

Facts and Statistics

  • Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France
  • Capital: Madrid

8Climate: temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast

  • Population: 40,280,780 (July 2004 est.)
  • Ethnic Make-up: composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types
  • Religions: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%
  • Government: parliamentary monarchy

Spain-download

The Spanish Language

The official language is Spanish, also called Castilian, and is the first language of over 72% of the population. Galician is spoken in the region of Galicia and Basque by increasing numbers of the population of Euskadi, the Spanish Basque Country. Catalan is spoken in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, and the closely-related Valencian in the Valencia region. All these languages have official regional status. Other minority languages including Aragonese and Asturian are not officially recognised.

Why not learn some useful Spanish phrases?

Spanish Society & Culture

  • Map of SpainSpanish Family Values

>The family is the basis of the social structure and includes both the nuclear and the extended family, which sometimes provides both a social and a financial support network. Today, it is less common than previously for family members to work in a family business, as personal preferences are important and university education is general >The structure and the size of the family vary, but generally, people live until longer lives, have fewer children than before, and fewer people live in their homes with extended family. >Familial networks have become less tight. The greatest changes have occurred inside families, between men and woman, and the parents and children because the values that inspire these relations have changed.

  • Machismo

Machismo is the word for male dominance, and the culture of old men who created it has changed dramatically. Spain is a very equalitarian society, the birth rate is the one of the lowest in Europe, and women are present at university and work.


Religion in Spain

>The majority of Spaniards are formally Roman Catholic, although different religious beliefs are accepted. >During the history of Spain, there have been long periods of where different religious groups have coexisted, including Muslims, Jews and Christians. >Still some traditions manifest more like a cultural event than a religious one. >During Holy Week, many participants of the processions wear peaked, black hats as the sign of a penitent and walk barefoot, carrying a burden of some kind. >Religious history is apparent in every small town, where the most grandiose building is typically the church. In the large cities the Cathedrals are almost museums.


Etiquette & Customs in Spain

  • Meeting Etiquette

>When introduced expect to shake hands. >Once a relationship is established, men may embrace and pat each other on the shoulder. >Female friends kiss each other on both cheeks, starting with the left. >People are often referred to as Don or Dona and their first name when in formal occasion as a general rule. >Many men use a two-handed shake where the left hand is placed on the right forearm of the other person.

Dining Etiquette

>If invited to a Spaniard's home, you can bring chocolates, pastries, or cakes; wine, liqueur, or brandy; or flowers to the hostess. >If you know your hosts have children, they may be included in the evening, so a small gift for them is always appreciated.


Table manners

>Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown to a particular seat. >Always keep your hands visible when eating. Keep your wrists resting on the edge of the table. >Do not begin eating until the hostess starts. >Use utensils to eat most food. Even fruit is eaten with a knife and fork. >If you have not finished eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife. >The host gives the first toast. >An honoured guest should return the toast later in the meal. >It is acceptable for a woman to make a toast. >Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate, tines facing up, with the handles facing to the right. >Do not get up until the guest of honour does.

Business Etiquette and Protocol

  • Relationships & Communication

>The Spanish prefer to do business with those they know and trust. >It is important that you spend sufficient time letting your business colleagues get to know you. >Once you develop a relationship, it will prevail even if you switch companies, since your Spanish business colleagues' allegiance will be to you rather than the company you represent. >Face-to-face contact is preferred to written or telephone communication. >The way you present yourself is of critical importance when dealing with Spaniards. >It is best to display modesty when describing your achievements and accomplishments. >Communication is formal and follows rules of protocol. >Avoid confrontation if at all possible. Spaniards do not like to publicly admit that they are incorrect. >Trust and personal relationships are the cornerstone of business. >Spaniards, like many societies, are concerned that they look good in the eyes of others and try to avoid looking foolish at all times.

  • Business Negotiation

>Spaniards place great importance on the character of the person with whom they do business. >Hierarchy and rank are important. You should deal with people of similar rank to your own. >Decision-making is held at the top of the company, since this is a hierarchical country. You may never actually meet the person who ultimately makes the decision. >You may be interrupted while you are speaking. This is not an insult, it merely means the person is interested in what you are saying. >Spaniards do not like to lose face, so they will not necessarily say that they do not understand something, particularly if you are not speaking Spanish. You must be adept at discerning body language. >Spaniards are very thorough. They will review every minute detail to make certain it is understood. >First you must reach an oral understanding. A formal contract will be drawn up at a later date. >Spaniards expect both sides to strictly adhere to the terms of a contract.


Business Meeting Etiquette

>Appointments are mandatory and should be made in advance, preferably by telephone or fax. Reconfirm in writing or by telephone the week before. >You should try to arrive on time for meetings. >The first meeting is generally formal and is used to get to know each other. Do not be surprised if no business is actually conducted during the first meeting. >Agendas are often used but not always needed to be followed too strict. >Make sure all your printed material is available in both English and Spanish. >Not all businesspeople speak English, so it is wise to check if you should hire an interpreter. >Several people may speak at once. You may be interrupted while you are speaking. >Decisions are not reached at meetings. Meetings are for discussion and to exchange ideas. >Most Spaniards do not give their opinion at meetings. Therefore, it is important to watch their non-verbal communication.

Dress Etiquette

>Business dress is stylish yet, conservative. >Dress as you would in the rest of Europe. >Elegant accessories are important for both men and women.

Business Cards

>Present your business card to the receptionist upon arriving. >Have one side of your card translated into Spanish. >Hand your card so the Spanish side faces the recipient.

Sports and recreation

Sports play an important part in the daily life of the Spanish people, and each region has its favourite forms of play. In mountainous Catalonia, skiing and other winter sports are popular; along the Valencia coast, windsurfing, scuba diving, and surfing have countless enthusiasts; in the Basque provinces, jai alai (a kind of racquetball) is a favourite pastime; and in Asturias and Andalusia, equestrian events draw large numbers of spectators and participants alike.

Despite the international controversy over bullfighting, the corrida de toros (“running of bulls”) is still fairly popular in Spain. A staple of Spanish culture dating back to antiquity, bullfighting is considered the national spectacle, a rich pageant more akin to a beautifully choreographed ballet than a sporting event. It is seen as a heroic, albeit bloody, test of wills involving courage, intelligence, grace, and elegance. Spain’s foremost matadors have been national heroes of mythic stature, as Manolete was in the 1940s. The season runs from March to October, with bullfights typically occurring on Sunday afternoons in major cities and in almost every town during local festivals. The mecca of bullfighting in Spain is in Madrid, at the Las Ventas bullring.

Spain’s National Olympic Committee was founded and recognized in 1924. The 1992 Summer Olympic Games were held in Barcelona, where Spanish athletes earned 13 gold medals, including for football (soccer), swimming, running, and walking. Spaniard Juan António Samaranch served as president of the International Olympic Committee from 1980 to 2001.

Football was introduced into Spain by the British at the end of the 19th century (British miners established the first Spanish football club, Recreativo, in Huelva in 1889), and a professional league was set up in the 1920s. By the 1950s football had surpassed bullfighting in popularity. Spain’s leading clubs have a distinguished record in European competitions; indeed, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are two of football’s most famous organizations. The Spanish men’s national team won the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European championship in 1964 but then was long saddled with a reputation for failing to win “big” international matches. Spectacularly reversing its fortunes, Spain won the 2008 UEFA championship, the 2010 World Cup, and another UEFA championship in 2012 with a team that some characterized as the greatest national team in the sport’s history.

At the end of the 1980s, football was challenged by basketball, whose popularity soared after Spain won the silver medal in the sport at the 1984 Olympics. In the early 21st century, a pair of Spanish brothers, Pau and Marc Gasol, became stars in the National Basketball Association. Other popular spectator sports include hockey on roller skates, motorcycle racing, and tennis. Cycling also has a large following, and Spanish cyclist Miguel Indurain was a multiple winner of the Tour de France.

Historically, the country has had a fairly poor record in protecting its natural resources, including Spain’s rare wetlands Doñana National Park, from industrial development; despite this, Spaniards are avid users of their country’s many parks and picturesque countryside.

Disclaimer

This is not the official site of this country. Most of the information in this site were taken from the U.S. Department of State, The Central Intelligence Agency, The United Nations, [1],[2], [3], [4], [5],[6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14],[15], [16], [17], [18], [19], [20], [21], [22], [23], [24],[25], [26], [27], [28], [29], [30],[31], [32], [33], [34], and the [35].

Other sources of information will be mentioned as they are posted.