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This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Spain. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Spain. Spanish citizens can change their government democratically, Spain has been governed democratically since 1977, after nearly 40 years of dictatorship under Franco and a brief transitional government under Adolfo Suarez. Spain lacks antidiscrimination laws, and ethnic minorities, particularly immigrants, continue to report bias and mistreatment. In particular, North African immigrants report physical abuse and discrimination by authorities and are frequently the subjects of attack by Spanish civilians. Spain's central government has generally been wary of devolving too many powers to the country's 17 autonomous regions, for fear of fragmenting the country.