Spain, located in southwestern Europe, borders the
Mediterranean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay,
and the Pyrenees Mountains southwest of France.
A peaceful transition to democracy following the
death of dictator Francisco FRANCO in 1975, and
rapid economic modernization (Spain joined the EU in 1986) gave Spain a dynamic and rapidly growing economy and made it a global champion of freedom and human rights. More recently the government has had to focus on measures to reverse a severe economic recession that began in mid-2008. Measures taken to reduce a large budget deficit and reassure foreign investors have led to one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe. A modest economic growth resumed in late 2013 with an average per capita income of $30,100.
Spain is ruled by a parliamentary monarchy.