Spain Term Paper

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Physical Geography

Land forms

The entire area of Spain is 504,750 sq. km. Spain is about the size of

Arizona and Utah combined. Spain has high plateaus surrounded by low

coastal plains. The most famous mountain range in Spain is located in the

north. It is called the Pyrenees. Other mountain ranges are the Cantabrian, Sierra Moreno and the Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges.


In the north, the climate is moderate with year-round rainfall. The south

and the east have a mediterranean climate. The southern and eastern part of

spain has long dry summers and mild winters.

Water systems

There are nine major rivers in Spain. These rivers drain into the

Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean. The Mino, the Duero, the Tajo, the

Guadiana, and the Guadalquivir, each flow into the Atlantic. The Segura, the

Jucar, the Turia, and the Ebro all empty into the Mediterranean. The longest

is the Tajo and the Ebro.

Economic Geography

Spain was one of the poorest countries in Western Europe. It

improved after it joined the European Union in 1986. Spain's gross national

product per capita has more than tripled in the last generation. It is now

$15,890. Economic opportunities are now available for the majority of the

population. Unemployment is still a major problem for the economy.


Agriculture is still important, even though it is no longer the basis of Spain's economy. Farmers produce a lot wheat and barley. Spain leads the world in production of olives and olive oil. Many Spaniards raise livestock such as sheep,goats,and cattle. The production of wine is also important. In the north the major products are beef cattle, vegetables, and fruit. In the Mediterranean it is olives, almonds, citrus fruits, grapes, and vegetables. In the Meseta the major products are grains, olives, and grapes.


Spain has many natural resources. Some of the leading resources are

coal, iron ore, mercury, gypsum, zinc, lead, copper, and hydroelectric

power. Other resources in Spain are lignite, uranium, pyrites, fluorspar, tungsten, kaolin, cork, and potash.


The industries of Spain are of a wide variety. These resources include

textiles and clothing, footwear, metal manufacturing, chemicals, shipbuilding,

auto manufacturing, and tourism.

Urban Geography

Ethnic make-up

The ethnic groups in Spain are Basques, Catalan, and Galicians. The

Spanish have Mediterranean and Nordic ancestry.


Spain's population in July 2000 was 39,996,671. The population growth rate is .11%. The birth rate is 9.22 births/1000 population . The death rate is slightly lower, it is 9.03 deaths/1000 population. The men 's life expectancy is 75.32 years. The women's life expectancy is 84.49 years. ( has 3.6 million people. They have the largest population. Barcelona has 1.8 million people. About 79% of the country lives in urban areas. The remaining percentage (21%) live in rural areas.(Chicoine, pg 60)



The people of Spain are called Spaniards. There are four official

languages. Castilian Spanish is used for business and government. Catalan

is spoken by 17% of the country, Galician, 7%, and Basque, 2%.Catalan is

spoken in the northeast corner, Galician in northwest, and basque in the north. (Culturgram, pg 2) 97% of the people are literate. (Background notes, pg 1). The people in Spain over 15 can read and write. (

Belief Systems

Spain is predominately Roman Catholic. 99% of the people are

baptized members (Culturgram, pg. 2). Spanish life is influenced by Catholic traditions. Freedom of religion was granted in the 1970s. There are also muslims and Jews in Spain.


The family is important with Spain. Divorce rates are very low. The father is head of the home. The wife is responsible for caring for the house and children. Men are considered strong and masculine. The women are expected to be understanding and feminine. Men have more social freedom than women.

The kids in Spain begin dating in groups at 14. In some areas, couples can only date if they plan to marry. A boy has to meet a girl at a prearranged site, rather than call her at home. The average marriage age for men is 27, for women it is between 20 and 24.

Spain's main sport is soccer. Bullfighting is also a popular attraction.

Bullfighting is considered an art more than a sport. Team sports are not part

of school programs. Most Spaniards like to go to the movies, watch TV or go

for walks.


In 1993, there were 379 telephone lines for every 1000 inhabitants.

The telephone company in Spain is called the Telefonica de Espana. In 1994

there were 16,067 phone lines installed, only 14,985 worked. Spaniards have

high prices for the telephone service. Only 2% of the Spanish population own

a cell phone. (Background notes, pg 10) The telecommunication system is mostly modern and good for domestic and international use. There are many radio and television stations in the country. Some major radio stations are AM 208, and FM 715. There are 228 TV stations. There are about 16.2 million TV s and 13.1 million radios.(


Between the Sixteenth Century Spain was the most powerful

European nation. The Basque are the first people in Spain. They are also the

oldest group in Europe that is still living. The unification of Spain was

complete in 1512.

Table of Contents

Physical Geography pg 1

land forms

climate water systems

Economic Geography pg 2-3




Urban Geography pg 3-4

ethnic make-up



Culture pg 4-5


belief systems



Chicoine, Stephen. (1997). Spain Bridge between Continents. Marshall Cavendish Corporation

"Spain." (1994, July). Culturgram. Monthly Journal

"Spain." (2000, August). Background notes. Monthly Journal


Word Count: 903

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