political divisions of Spain
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The political division of the Kingdom of
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
is defined in Part VIII of the
Spanish constitution The Spanish Constitution (Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg ...
of 1978, which establishes three levels of territorial organization:
municipalities A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...

municipalities
,
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are gene ...

provinces
and
autonomous communities In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in accordance with the Spanish Constitution of 1978, Spanish constitution of 1978, with the ...

autonomous communities
, the first group constituting the subdivisions of the second, and the second group constituting the subdivisions of the last. The StateArticle 138 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 guarantees the realization of the principle of solidarity by endeavouring to establish an economic balance between the different areas of the Spanish territory. The autonomous communities were constituted by exercising the right to autonomy or self-government that the constitution guarantees to the
nationalities and regions of Spain Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = ...
,Article 143 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 while declaring the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation.Article 2 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 The autonomous communities enjoy a highly decentralized form of territorial organization, but based on
devolution Devolution is the statutoryA statute reffers to the body of law that are made by legislature of the nation with instrument which govern the state, country or any nation. it includes laws, rules and the reulation whichhas to be followed by e ...
, and thus Spain is not a
federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...

federation
,Sinópsis del artículo 137 de la Constitución Española de 1978
Congreso de los Diputados
since the State is superior to the communities and retains full sovereignty. In the absence of an explicit definition in the constitution the
Constitutional Court of Spain The Constitutional Court ( es, Tribunal Constitucional) is the supreme interpreter of the Spanish Constitution The Spanish Constitution ( Spanish, Asturleonese, and gl, Constitución Española; eu, Espainiako Konstituzioa; ca, Constitu ...
has labeled this model of territorial organization the "State of Autonomous Communities", to avoid implying any particular model.


Autonomous communities and autonomous cities

The autonomous communities (''comunidades autónomas'' in Spanish and Galician, ''comunitats autònomes'' in Catalan, ''autonomia erkidego'' in Basque) constitute the first order (highest) level of territorial organization of Spain. They were created progressively after the promulgation of the Spanish constitution in 1978, to the " nationalities and regions" that constitute the Spanish nation by the exercise of the right to self-government by: * two or more adjacent provinces with common historical, cultural and economic characteristics, * insular territories, and * a single province with a historical regional identity. The constitution allowed two exceptions to the above set of criteria, namely that the
Spanish Parliament The Cortes Generales (; en, Spanish Parliament, lit=General Courts) are the bicameral Bicameralism is the practice of having a legislature divided into two separate Deliberative assembly, assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicamera ...
reserves the right to: * authorize, in the nation's interest, the constitution of an autonomous community even if it is a single province without a historical regional identity (which allowed for the creation of the
Community of Madrid The Community of Madrid (; es, Comunidad de Madrid ) is one of the seventeen autonomous communities eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá a ...
, which had been part of the historical region of Castile–La Mancha); and to * authorize or grant autonomy to entities or territories that are not provinces (which allowed for the creation of two autonomous cities, Spanish exclaves in North Africa). Even though the provinces were the basis for the creation of the autonomous communities, these roughly follow the lines of the old kingdoms and regions of the
Iberian peninsula The Iberian Peninsula , ** * Aragonese Aragonese or Aragones may refer to: * Something related to Aragon, an autonomous community and former kingdom in Spain * the Aragonese people, those originating from or living in the historical region o ...

Iberian peninsula
prior to unification. Originally autonomy was to be granted only to the so-called "historical nationalities":Regional Government
. Spain. ''Encyclopædia Britannica Online'' Accessed 10 December 2007
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
, the
Basque Country Image:Euskal Herriaren terminologia.png, Map showing the geographical and political divisions of the Basque Country Basque Country may refer to: *Basque Country (autonomous community) (''Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa'' in Basque; ''Comunidad Autónoma ...
and
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
, regions with strong regional identitiesFederalism and the Balance of Power in European States (2006)
Michael Keating for the OECD
that had been granted self-government or had approved a
Statute of Autonomy Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy ( es, Estatuto de Autonomía, ca, Estatut d'Autonomia, gl, Estatuto de Autonomía, ast, Estatutu d' Autonomía, eu, Autonomia Estatutua) is a law hierarchically located under the constitution A constitutio ...
during the
Second Spanish Republic The Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, República Española), commonly known as the Second Spanish Republic ( es, link=no, Segunda República Española), was the form of government in Spain from 1931 to 1939. The Republic was proclaimed on 14 April ...
(1931–1936). While the constitution was still being drafted, and self-government seemed likely to be granted only to the "historical nationalities", there was a popular outcry in
Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_name ...
, demanding self-government as well, which led to the creation of a quicker process for that region, which eventually self-identified as a "historical nationality" as well. In the end, the right to self-government was extended to any other region that wanted it. The "historical nationalities" were to be granted autonomy through a rapid and simplified process, whereas the rest of the regions had to follow specific requirements set forth in the constitution. Between 1979 and 1983, all regions in Spain chose to be constituted as autonomous communities; four additional communities self-identify as "nationalities", albeit acceding to autonomy via the longer process set forth in the constitution. While the constitution did not establish how many autonomous communities were to be created, on 31 July 1981,
Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo Leopoldo Ramón Pedro Calvo-Sotelo y Bustelo, 1st Marquess of Ría de Ribadeo (; 14 April 1926 – 3 May 2008), usually known as Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, was Prime Minister of Spain between 1981 and 1982. Early life and career Calvo-Sotelo was b ...
, then the prime minister of Spain and Felipe González, leader of the opposition in Parliament, signed the "First Autonomic Pacts" (''Primeros pactos autonómicos'' in Spanish), in which they agreed to the creation of 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities, with the same institutions of government, but different competences.Aparicio, Sonia
Los Pactos Autonómicos
El Mundo. España
By 1983, all 17 autonomous communities were constituted:
Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost autonomous community eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá autónoma , alt_name ...
, Aragon, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, the
Basque Country Image:Euskal Herriaren terminologia.png, Map showing the geographical and political divisions of the Basque Country Basque Country may refer to: *Basque Country (autonomous community) (''Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa'' in Basque; ''Comunidad Autónoma ...
, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile and León, Castile–La Mancha,
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese, Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in the northeastern corner of Spain, designated as a ''nationalities and regions of Spain, na ...

Catalonia
, the
Community of Madrid The Community of Madrid (; es, Comunidad de Madrid ) is one of the seventeen autonomous communities eu, autonomia erkidegoa ca, comunitat autònoma gl, comunidade autónoma oc, comunautat autonòma an, comunidat autonoma ast, comunidá a ...
, Extremadura,
Galicia Galicia may refer to: Geographic regions * Galicia (Spain), a region and autonomous community of northwestern Spain ** Gallaecia, a Roman province ** The post-Roman Kingdom of the Suebi, also called the Kingdom of Gallaecia ** The medieval Kingdom ...
, La Rioja (Spain), La Rioja, Navarra, the Region of Murcia and the Valencian Community. The two autonomous cities, Ceuta and Melilla were constituted in 1995. Autonomous communities have a wide range of powers, but the devolution of power to the individual communities has been asymmetrical. The Constitutional Court has declared that the autonomous communities are characterized both by their homogeneity and diversity. Autonomous communities are "equal" in their subordination to the constitutional order, in their representation in the Senate of Spain, and in the sense that their differences should not imply any economical or social privilege from the others. Nonetheless, they differ in the process whereby they acceded to autonomy and their range of competences. The cases of the
Basque Country Image:Euskal Herriaren terminologia.png, Map showing the geographical and political divisions of the Basque Country Basque Country may refer to: *Basque Country (autonomous community) (''Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa'' in Basque; ''Comunidad Autónoma ...
and Navarra are exceptional in that the medieval charters (''fueros'' in Spanish) that had granted them fiscal autonomy were retained, or rather "updated"; the rest of the autonomous communities do not enjoy fiscal autonomy. All autonomous communities have a parliamentary form of government. The institutions of government of the different autonomous communities (i.e. the Parliament or the Office of the Executive) may have names peculiar to the community. For example, the set of government institutions in Catalonia and the Valencian Community are known as the ''Generalitat'', the Parliament of Asturias is known as the ''Junta General'' (lit. General Gathering or Assembly), whereas ''Xunta'' in Galicia is the denomination of the office of the executive, otherwise known simply as the "Government". The official names of the autonomous communities can be in Spanish only (which applies to the majority of them), in the co-official language in the community only (as in the Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands), or in both Spanish and the co-official language (as in the Basque Country, Navarre and Galicia). Since 2006, Occitan—in its Aranese language, Aranese dialect—is also a co-official language in Catalonia, making it the only autonomous community whose name has three official variants (Spanish: ''Cataluña'', Catalan: ''Catalunya'', Occitan: ''Catalonha'').


Provinces

The provinces (''provincias'' in Spanish and Galician, ''províncies'' in Catalan, ''probintziak'' in Basque) are the second-level territorial and administrative divisions of Spain. The provincial scheme was created in 1833 by Javier de Burgos and based upon the limits of the old Hispanic kingdoms, though dividing them, if necessary, due to geographic and/or demographic reasons (i.e. to ensure a relative homogeneity in size and population). This scheme has undergone only minor adjustments since 1833, most notably the division of the Canary Islands into two provinces in 1927. There are fifty provinces in Spain. The province is a local entity with legal personality constituted by the aggregations of municipalities. The governance of provinces is carried out by Provincial Deputations or Councils, with the following exceptions: * those autonomous communities consisting of a single province, in which case, the institutions of government of the autonomous community replace those of the province; * the
Basque Country Image:Euskal Herriaren terminologia.png, Map showing the geographical and political divisions of the Basque Country Basque Country may refer to: *Basque Country (autonomous community) (''Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa'' in Basque; ''Comunidad Autónoma ...
, in which the provinces are constituted as "historical territories" (''territorios históricos'' in Spanish, ''foru lurraldeak'' or ''lurralde historikoak'' in Basque), in which "Chartered Deputations" (''Diputaciones Forales'' in Spanish, ''Foru aldundiak'' in Basque) are in charge of both the political and fiscal administration of the territories; and * the insular communities, that is, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, in which each island or group of islands is governed by "Insular Deputations" (''Diputación insular'' in Spanish) or "Insular Councils" (''Consejo insular'' in Spanish, ''Consell Insular'' in Catalan). The responsibilities of the provinces vary amongst the autonomous communities they belong to. Since the creation of the autonomous communities their scope of action is minimal, with the exception of the historical territories of the Basque Country. In all cases, they are guaranteed a legal status and autonomy to conduct their internal administration by the constitution. The official names of the provinces can be in Spanish, the co-official language of the community they belong to, or both.


Municipalities

The municipalities of Spain (''municipios'' or ''concejos'' in Spanish language, Spanish, ''concellos'' in Galician language, Galician, ''municipis'' in Catalan language, Catalan, ''udalerriak'' in Basque language, Basque), constitute the lowest level of territorial organization in the country, and are guaranteed a measure of autonomy by the constitution.Article 140 of the Spanish Constitution of 1978 The administration of the municipalities corresponds to the Ayuntamiento (Spain), ayuntamientos (''ayuntamientos'' in Spanish, ''concellos'' in Galician, ''ajuntament'' in Catalan, ''udalak'' in Basque) consisting of mayors and councillors, who are elected by universal suffrage. The municipalities are the basic entities of the territorial organization of the State, the immediate channels of the citizens' participation in public affairs.Ley 7/1985, de 2 de abril, Reguladora de las Bases del Régimen Local
art.11
The official names of the municipalities of Spain can be in Spanish—the official language of the country, in any of the co-official languages of the autonomous communities they belong to, if applicable, or in both. All citizens of Spain are required to register in the municipality they live in, and after doing so, they are juridically considered "neighbors" (residents) of the municipality, a designation that grants them various rights and privileges, and which entail certain obligations as well, including the right to vote or be elected for public office in said municipality. The right to vote in municipal elections is extended to Spanish citizens living abroad. A Spaniard abroad, upon registering in a consulate, has the right to vote in the local elections of the last municipality they resided in. A Spanish citizen born abroad must choose between the last municipality his or her mother or father last lived in.


Other territorial entities

The autonomous communities have the right to establish additional territorial entities in their internal territorial organizations, without eliminating the provinces or the municipalities (even if the latter can have a different name). Catalonia had created two types of additional territorial entities: the comarques of Catalonia, comarques and the vegueria, vegueries, both of which had administrative powers and were initially recognized in the last
Statute of Autonomy Nominally, a Statute of Autonomy ( es, Estatuto de Autonomía, ca, Estatut d'Autonomia, gl, Estatuto de Autonomía, ast, Estatutu d' Autonomía, eu, Autonomia Estatutua) is a law hierarchically located under the constitution A constitutio ...
(organic law) of the community, but The Constitutional Court annulled, among others, the parts that modified the territorial organization. Almost all communities have defined territorial entities (e.g. ''comarcas'' or ''merindades''), but these do not have administrative powers and are simply geographic or historical designations. Western Sahara One special case of such territorial entities is Western Sahara, formerly the colony of Spanish Sahara up to 1976, is disputed between Morocco, which controls 80% of the territory and administers it as an integral part of its national territory, and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, which controls and administers the remaining 20% as the "Free Zone (region), Liberated territories". The United Nations, however still considers Spain to be the administrating state of the whole territory,UN General Assembly Resolution 34/37 and UN General Assembly Resolution 35/19 under the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, Non-Self-Governing Territories awaiting the outcome of the ongoing Manhasset negotiations and resulting election to be overseen by the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. Spanish Micronesia The islands (Kapingamarangi, Nukuoro, Mapia Atoll, Rongerik Atoll and Ulithi) would still remain in Spanish possession because they were not transferred to the United States after the war of 1898 or to Germany in 1899. This hypothesis was born on March 5, 1948, when the Spanish lawyer and researcher of the CSIC Emilio Pastor y Santos wrote a letter denouncing the possibility that three naval stations were established by Spain in the Carolinas, Marianas and Palau Islands, according to art. 31 of the Spanish-German treaty of 1899. Convinced of his discovery, he asks for the concession of facilities in Saipan, Yap and Koror. Months later, in October, he opened a second front and "denounced" that there were four islands left in the area in which sovereignty belongs to Spain, because they forgot to include them in the German-Spanish treaty of 1899. In 1950 he published the book Territories of Spanish sovereignty in Oceania with its investigations. On January 12, 1949, the question of the sovereignty of these islands was discussed in a Council of Ministers chaired by Franco but, as stated in it: [1] ... that while the matter is not clarified, it is appropriate to wait before carrying out any action with the United States or with the friendly powers that are part of the UN, since Spain does not have contacts with the UN and it would be this that would have to resolve on the final fate of those islands of Micronesia that belonged to Japan. However, an opinion of January 4, 1949 from the legal advisory office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “estimated that any hypothetical right of Spain over said islands would have been destroyed by subsequent trust regimes, which were those that occurred after World War I. with the transfer of said territories to Japan and after World War II with its attribution to the United States ". [2] In 2014, the Government settled all speculation about the maintenance of Spanish possessions in the Pacific by means of a parliamentary response to a deputy. In his opinion, Spain ceded all the remaining places in that ocean in 1899. [2] [3] It adds that “traditionally these islands had been linked to the Carolinas and it had to be understood that if those were ceded, these were also transferred "[2] and" the Spanish attitude between 1899 and 1948 shows that the intention of Spain when signing the treaty with Germany was to transfer all its possessions in the Pacific to it "[2] and" it would also be inconsistent that Spain he would have wanted to cede the Carolinas, Palau and Marianas, but he would have reserved sovereignty over a few islets of little economic value over which he had never exercised his de facto sovereignty », [2] so he settles all speculation on the maintenance of Spanish possessions in the Pacific, concluding that Spain does not retain the sovereignty of any island in the Pacific. [2] Mapia is currently under the sovereignty of Indonesia; Kapingamarangi, Ulithi and Nukuoro under the sovereignty of the Federated States of Micronesia and Rongerik is under the control of the Marshall Islands. Chincha Islands   After the war in 1864, the Chincha Islands were not transferred to Peru by any treaty.


References


External links


Spanish Constitution of 1978
{{Spain topics Subdivisions of Spain Lists of subdivisions of Spain, Administrative divisions in Europe, Spain 1 Spain politics-related lists Spain geography-related lists Administrative divisions by country, Spain