Spain

Spain

Although, as in other physical or biogeographic aspects, heterogeneity is what predominates in Spanish soils in general they are not usually the most appropriate fit for agricultural use and need careful cultivation and irrigation systems.

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Only a third of Spain's forest area, the domain of trees and shrubs. The forests are mostly found on the slopes of the mountains, being more abundant in the north and northwest.

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The country has many mineral resources, particularly cobalt, copper, iron ore, lead, coal, lignite, manganese, mercury, potassium, tungsten, kaolin, gypsum, salt, silver, sulfur, tin and zinc; also it has small amounts of natural gas and oil.

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There are three climatic types: continental, tempered in the Meseta and the Ebro; Mediterranean in the south and east; and ocean, north, abundant and low thermal oscillation annual rainfall.

Weather
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The main rivers of Spain flow west and southwest to empty into the Atlantic Ocean; usually they run through deep and rocky valleys through mountain courses.

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Spain occupies 85 % of the Iberian peninsula and is surrounded by water on almost 88 % of its perimeter; its Mediterranean coast is about 1,660 km long and the Atlantic about 710 km.

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In the last 60 years Spain has undergone more social change than anywhere else in western Europe. Until the 1950s, Spain was predominantly a poor, rural country, in which only 37 per cent of the population lived in towns of over 10,000 people.

Spain today
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Spanish cultural life has been reinvigorated in recent years. Spanish-made films – notably those of cult directors Pedro Almodóvar and Alejandro Amenabar – have been able to compete with Hollywood for audiences, and the actress Penélope Cruz won an Oscar in 2009.

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The inhabitants of this very varied country have few things in common except for a natural sociability and a zest for living. Spaniards commonly put as much energy into enjoying life as they do into their work.

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Spain has a population of 45 million and receives more than 58 million visitors a year. It covers an area of 504,780 sq km (194,900 sq miles). Madrid is the largest city, followed by Barcelona and Valencia.

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