Spain is a millenary country with a strong food and wine history; we provide you here with today’s main data in a nutshell. We also invite you to discover in a few minutes the diversity of
Political & Social Features
Form of State: Parliamentary monarchy.
Head of State: King Juan Carlos I.
Head of Government : Mariano Rajoy Brey has been Prime Minister since 2011.
Territorial Organization of the State: There are 17 Autonomous Communities and two Autonomous Cities which have their own basic institutional statutes which are recognized and protected by the State as an integral part of its set of laws.
Spain is a member of the European Union since 1986.
Religion: 73% of the population is Roman Catholic.
Official Languages: Spanish is the official language for the entire country. There are also four official languages in the respective autonomous communities, in accordance with their Statutes: Basque, Catalan, Galician and Valencian.
Extension: 505,968 square kilometres (195,356 sq mile) over the Iberian peninsula to the southwest of Europe.
The Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, and the North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla are included in the Spanish territory.
Population: 47,265,321 (Census 2012).
Main Cities (thousands): Madrid: 3,198 (capital); Barcelona: 1,611; Valencia: 792; Seville: 698; Zaragoza: 678; Málaga: 561.
Spain is the most mountainous country in Europe after Switzerland and the average height is 660 meters (2,165 ft).
Gross Domestic Product (Millions of Euros, 2011): 1,063,355 (EUROSTAT)
Gross Domestic Product per capita (Euros, 2011): 23,063 (EUROSTAT)
Approximately 57 million visitors come to Spain annually, thus being the fourth world power in the tourist sector. The headquarters of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) are located in Madrid.
The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) based in Denmark, has qualified 537 Spanish beaches as Blue Flag quality, the highest number in the European Union. Spain was one of the first European countries to introduce the concept of National Parks in 1918 (Montaña de Covadonga in Asturias and Ordesa in Aragón were the first ones). Today, there are 14 National Parks, in addition to a wide variety of protected areas in all of the Spanish Autonomous Communities.
One interesting feature for a tourist in Spain is Paradores. This state owned chain of hotels, mostly in refurbished castles, convents and other historical buildings offers a unique opportunity to spend an unforgettable stay in monuments full of history. The first Parador was opened in 1928 in the mountain range of Gredos. Enjoy Moorish Spain at the 15th century convent, within the Alhambra palace or spend a weekend within the Teide National Park on the Canary Islands. Recently the Paradores have also renewed their menus, giving special importance to local gastronomy.
History & Culture
The Spanish Crown (Isabella the Catholic) financed Christopher Columbus’ voyage to discover a new route to the Indies, but what Columbus discovered was the American Continent in 1492. The Spanish Crown also finances the later exploration and colonisation of that continent. In addition to South America, the Spanish explorers travelled through large areas of southeast Asia and North America, founding such important cities as San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
The Spanish language is spoken by approximately 450 million people (nearly all of South and Central America, as well as a significant proportion of the population of the United States, are Spanish-speaking).
Spain is the country with the third largest number of sites declared as World Heritage by the UNESCO (40).
Among its museums, the Museo del Prado (Madrid) is particularly outstanding, considered by some experts to be one of the most complete art galleries in the world.
A selection of Spaniards who have contributed to the development of universal thought, arts and sciences:
Alfonso X the Wise (1221-1284, king and writer)
Raimundo Lulio (1232-1315, philosopher, writer)
Diego Velázquez (1465-1524, painter)
Santa Teresa de Jesús (1515-1582, nun and poetess)
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616, writer)
Luis de Góngora (1567-1627, writer)
Félix Lope de Vega y Carpio (1562-1635 writer)
Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645, writer)
Francisco de Goya (1746-1828, painter)
José Echegaray (1833-1916, writer, Nobel Prize winner)
Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer (1836-1870, poet)
Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920, writer)
Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926, architect)
Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934, doctor and researcher, 1906 Nobel Prize winner)
Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909, composer)
Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936, philosopher and writer)
Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958 writer, 1956 Nobel Prize winner)
José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1956, philosopher)
Jacinto Benavente (1866-1954, writer, 1922 Nobel Prize winner)
Manuel de Falla (1876-1946, composer)
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973, painter)
Joan Miró (1893-1983, painter)
Federico García Lorca (1898-1936, poet)
Vicente Aleixandre (1898-1984, poet, 1977 Nobel Prize winner)
Luis Buñuel (1900-1983, film director).
Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999, composer)
Salvador Dalí (1904-1989, painter)
Severo Ochoa (1905-1993, doctor, 1959 Nobel Prize winner)
Camilo José Cela (1916-2002, writer, 1989 Nobel Prize winner)
Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002, sculptor)
Rafael Moneo (1937, architect)
Monserrat Caballé (1933, soprano)
Plácido Domingo (1941, tenor)
Valentín Fuster (1943, scientist and cardiologist)
Pedro Almodóvar (1949, film director)
Santiago Calatrava (1951, architect)
Miquel Barceló (1957, artist)
Spain is indisputably the country in which vineyards occupy the greatest land area (1,1 million ha / 2.9 million acres: 14,8% of the world’s total) and is the second largest exporter of wine worldwide, exporting 14,4 million hectolitres of the 35 million it produces. Spain is the third largest producer of wine worldwide.
The value of Spanish wine exports is calculated to be 1.833 million Euros, 74% of which are wines under Denominations of Origin (DO). United Kingdom is the principal market for our wine exports, importing 17% of the total, followed by Germany, the United States, France, Switzerland, Italy and The Netherlands.
Spain has 71 Wine Denominations of Origin, which cover a surface area of 641,784 hectares, and group a total of 165,943 wine growers and 6,355 wineries.
The Spanish agricultural and food industry is fifth in the European Union, with a production valued at 78,164 million Euros, of which 20.6% is exported.
In Spain there are 83 products under Protected Designations of Origin (PDO), 68 under Protected Geographic Indications (PGI) and 3 products under Traditional Spaciality Guaranteed (TSG).
Worldwide, Spain is:
The number one producer and exporter of olive oil and extra virgin olive oil.
The number one producer and exporter of table olives.
The number one producer of pine nuts.
The number one exporter of citrus fruits.
Second in production and exportation of preserved fish and seafood.
Second in production and exportation of almonds.
Second in production of mussels.
Second in production of artichokes.
Fourth in production of pomegranates.
Fourth in production and exportation of hazelnuts
Fourth in production of pork.
Within the European Union, Spain is:
The number one producer and number three exporter of fruit.
The number one producer of farmed fish.
The number one producer of preserved fruit, and the third largest of preserved vegetables.
The number one producer of honey.
The number one producer and exporter of pomegranates.
Second in the production of pigs, sheep and goats.
With nearly 1,650,866 ha / 4,079,379 acres of land and
27,877 arable farms dedicated to this type of agriculture, Spain is the second largest producer of ecologically grown foods in the European Union.
More Information: MARM