Autonomous Communities of Spain

by Robert Bovington

Following the death of Franco and the accession of King Juan Carlos, a new Spanish Constitution was drafted in 1978. In order to appease the separatists, a highly decentralised state was established.
The new Constitution recognised the right to self-government. Initially the intention was that only ‘historic’ nationalities would be granted this right i.e. Catalonia, the Basque country and Galicia. However, the possibility existed that other regions could become autonomous communities. Andalucía, in particular, was already on the road to political autonomy when the Civil War started in 1936. Following demonstrations and then a successful referendum, Andalucía earned the right to a higher degree of autonomous government.

The 1978 Constitution paved the way for all of the regions of Spain to become autonomous by intimating that bordering provinces with common historic, cultural and economic characteristics could group together in autonomous communities.

Some communities have more autonomy than others – Catalonia and the Basque Region have their own police force for example. However, some want full independence especially the Basques – ETA continue to leave bombs in other areas of Spain though I don’t suppose the average Basque is as extreme as that! The Andalucian people are definitely not that extreme – they are too busy enjoying themselves eating, drinking and having fiestas! However, they recently voted to become a nation.
There are seventeen autonomous communities, which are listed below along with their administrative capital.
Principality of Asturias
Balearic Islands
Palma de Mallorca
Basque Country
Canary Islands
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Castilla-La Mancha
Castilla y León
La Coruña
La Rioja
Region of Murcia
Comunidad Valenciana

There are two cities with greater regulatory powers than normal city councils – the Spanish enclaves in Morocco – Ceuta and Melilla. 

So all fifty provinces of Spain are now incorporated in autonomous communities but King Juan Carlos I is overall head of the Constitution and the current President of the Government is Mariano Rajoy.

more blogs by Robert Bovington…


“Photographs of Spain”
“postcards from Spain”
“you couldn’t make it up!”
“a grumpy old man in Spain”
“bits and bobs”
“Spanish Expressions”
“Spanish Art”
“Books About Spain”

About Robert Bovington

Robert Bovington is an English writer of travel books. These include “Spanish Matters” and “Spanish Impressions” Robert Bovington was born in Brighton, East Sussex, the son of Leonard and Audrey Bovington. He is the first-born and has eight siblings – six brothers and two sisters. Having worked for many years in both the telecommunications industry and the teaching profession, Robert wanted to take on new challenges. He and Diane decided to relocate to Spain and, in 2003, the couple moved to Roquetas de Mar in sunny Andalucía. However, lazing on the beach was not Robert's idea of fun - he wanted to explore his new homeland. It didn't stop there! He was so impressed with Spain, its countryside, its historic cities and its culture that it inspired him to write about his experiences. Robert Bovington has been married to Diane for over thirty years. They have no children. However, Robert’s short marriage to Helene resulted in twin daughters Carole and Sheila. The author is also a grandfather and great grandfather. Robert met Diane when both belonged to the Crescent Operatic Society. Music is one of the author’s great passions. At primary school he sang in a choir in a concert of Bach and Handel. Another of his interests is football and for many years he supported Brighton & Hove Albion home and away. His favourite premiership team is Arsenal. Other interests include information technology, writing and ten-pin bowling.
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