At one time Spain was the most important nation of the world, governing a population of over 80,000,000 souls, with colonies exceeding those of any other nation on earth. At present she has been stripped of nearly all her colonies, her dominion extending at present only over her home territory with a, population of 18,114,388, and an area of 401,897 square miles, bounded on the north by France and the Bay of Biscay; on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal; and on the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea. Religion - Roman Catholic, except 34,000 (6,654 Protestants). Government - Constitutional monarchy. Executive, the King. Legislative, the King and Cortes, composed of the Upper House with 360 members and Chamber of Deputies of 431 members. Education, 30,000 elementary schools with 1,700,000 pupils ; ten universities with 15,700 students.
Though there are elections in Spain, universal suffrage does not exist. The franchise is peculiar. A Spaniard, to vote, must be of age, domiciled twenty-five years, must contribute $5.00 as a real-estate tax, and double that sum industrial tax. Politicians in power do not try to increase voters, but to diminish their number. All priests and their curates, members of academies and ecclesiastical chapters are permitted to vote.
Madrid is the capital city, with a population of over 400,000. Comparatively little manufacturing is done in Spain. Agriculture is the principal industry, and this is conducted with implements far behind the age.
The history of Spain is a long and dra-matic one. The last chapter ended with the Spanish-American War in 1898, the results of which took from her the last of her colonial possessions of consequence.
Alfonso XIII., the present King, was born in 1886, ruling through his mother, Maria Christina, as Queen Regent until of age.