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Spain, a country occupying the greater part of the Iberian Peninsula, and bounded on the north

by the Bay of Biscay, France, and Andorra, and on the east by the Mediterranean Sea. The Balearic

Islands in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa are

governed as provinces of Spain. Also, Spain administers two small exclaves in Morocco--Ceuta and

Melilla. The area of Spain, including the African and insular territories, is 194,885 sq mi. Madrid is the

capital and largest city.


The Spanish people are essentially a mixture of the indigenous peoples of the Iberian Peninsula with the

successive peoples who conquered the peninsula and occupied it for extended periods. These added

ethnologic elements include the Romans, a Mediterranean people, and the Suevi, Vandals, and Visigoths,

Teutonic peoples. Semitic elements are also present.

Population Characteristics

The population of Spain at the 1991 census was 38,872,268.

The estimate for 1995 is 39,276,000, giving

the country an overall density of about 202 per sq mi. Spain is increasingly urban, with more than 80

percent of the population in towns and cities.

Principal Cities

The capital and largest city is Madrid (population, greater city, 1991, 3,010,492), also the capital of

Madrid autonomous region; the second largest city, chief port, and commercial center is Barcelona, capital

of Barcelona province and Catalonia region. Other important cities include Valencia, capital of Valencia

province and Valencia region, a manufacturing and railroad center; Seville, a cultural center; Saragossa,

and Bilbao (369,839), a busy port.


Roman Catholicism is professed by about 97 percent of the population. The country is divided into 11

metropolitan and 52 suffragan sees. In addition, the archdioceses of Barcelona and Madrid are directly

responsible to the Holy See. Formerly, Roman Catholicism was the established church,