Spain under Franco, 1959-1975

Democratic Spain, since 1975

When Generalissimo Francisco Franco died in 1975, Spain cautiously moved toward democratization. The monarchy was reintroduced, Juan Carlos crowned King of Spain. Parliamentary democracy was reinstated, forbidden parties legalized, such as the socialist PSOE, new parties emerged. the first democratic cabinet headed by Adolfo Suarez Gonzalez. Spain applied for membership in NATO (Spain joined in 1982) and European Community (Spain joined in 1986). An amnesty for political prisoners was proclaimed; the last colony (the Spanish Sahara) was evacuated; it was immediately occupied by Moroccan and Mauritanian troops, and partitioned. In 1978 a new constitution was adopted, which introduced the principle of parliamentary responsibility.
Spain's transition was a cautious one. A 1981 coup attempt by military officers failed. In 1982, socialist Felipe Gonzalez formed a new cabinet. Catalonia, the Basque Country, but also other regions such as Galicia and Andalusia were given political autonomy; hitherto centralistic Spain received a federal character. The border to Gibraltar was reopened (1982/1985). Spain was admitted as a full member to the European Community (1986) and to NATO (1982). With the Olympic Games held in Barcelona in 1992 and the World Exposition held in Sevilla the same year, commemorating the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America, Spain hosted representatives of the entire world, demonstrating that the nation's long political isolation had been overcome. Spaniard Juan Antonio Samaranch served as President of the International Olympic Committee from 1980 to 2001. Spaniard Javier Solana served as NATO Secretary General from 1995 to 1999, as EU foreign policy chief since 1999. Spain contributed troops to the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. In 2003, Spain joined the Coalition of the Willing and contributed forces to the occupation of Iraq. In March 2004, Atocha Railway Station was the site of the Madrid Train Bombing, a terrorist act the government initially (and falsely) blamed on ETA. Weeks later the conservative administration under J.M. Aznar was defeated in elections, and the new socialist administration under J.L.R. Zapatero pulled the Spanish troops out of Iraq. In March 2006 ETA proclaimed a permanent ceasefire; in September 2006 ETA declared to return to a policy of violent action.

Biography of Felipe Gonzalez, from IAC
Biography of King Juan Carlos, from infoplease
Spain, Coup of 1981, from ACED
History of the Spanish constitution, from ICL
Timeline Spain Transition to Democracy, 1975-1996, by Nick Boalch, Univ. of Durham
El Nacionalisme Basc dins l'Estat Espanyol, from La Pagina de la Historia, in Catalan
Timeline Spain, from BBC News
CASCON Case SPB : Spain - Basque 1968-, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
DOCUMENTS Barcelona 1992 - Olympics Statistics, from
REFERENCE Article : Spain, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1977 pp.625-628, 1978 pp.641-642, 1979 pp.634-635, 1980 pp.634-635, 1981 pp.629-630, 1982 pp.634-636, 1983 pp.629-630, 1984 pp.630-632, 1985 pp.540-541, 782, 1986 pp.534-535, 781, 1987 pp.506-507, 749, 1988 pp.461-462, 701, 1989 pp.461-462, 701, 1990 pp.477-478, 717, 1991 pp.461-462, 702, 1992 pp.441, 702, 1993 pp.454-456, 717, 1994 pp.454-455, 717, 1995 pp.475-476, 717, 1996 pp.471-472, 717, 1997 pp.474-475, 715, 2002 pp.494-495, 729 [G]
Article : Spain, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1976-1977 pp.1310-1321, 1978-1979 pp.1092-1100, 1979-1980 pp.1101-1111, 1980-1981 pp.1097-1106, 1981-1982 pp.1103-1112, 1983-1984 pp.1101-1110, 1984-1985 pp.1097-1107, 1985-1986 pp.1098-1108, 1986-1987 pp.1098-1109, 1987-1988 pp.1103-1114, 1988-1989 pp.1107-1118, 1989-1990 pp.1114-1125, 1990-1991 pp.1114-1125, 1991-1992 pp.1117-1128, 1992-1993 pp.1208-1219, 1993-1994 pp.1210-1221, 1994-1995 pp.1210-1221, 1995-1996 pp.1200-1212, 1996-1997 pp.1177-1188, 1997-1998 pp.1176-1188, 1998-1999 pp.1284-1289, 2000 pp.1445-1459, 2001 pp.1414-1428, 2002 pp.1469-1482, 2003 pp.1467-1479, 2004 pp.1486-1498, 2005 pp.1495-1508, 2006 pp.1503-1516 [G]
Article : Spain, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.254-256, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.257-260, 4th ed. 1984 pp.257-260 [G]
Entry : Travel Warning - Spain and Andorra, pp.606-609, in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2000, Supplement [G]
Entry : Kingdom of Spain, Cabinet p.92, in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2003 [G]
Entry : Spain, pp.922-929 in : IMF, International Financial Statistics Yearbook 2001 [G]
Article : The Year of Spain, in : Americana Annual 1993 pp.64-76 (on events of 1992) [G]
Article : Spain, in : Americana Annual 1988 pp.471-472, 1989 pp.474-475, 1990 p.471, 1992 pp.474-475, 1993 pp.477-478, 1994 p.487, 1998 pp.466-467, 2006 pp.350-351 [G]
Article : Spain, in : Yearbook on International Communist Affairs 1976 pp.211-218 (H.L. Robinson), 1980 pp.203-208 (H.L. Robinson) [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on April 20th 2008

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