A lot of the knowledge we take for granted among our readers, like basic Spanish geography or who the various political parties are, is really not particularly interesting to casual readers. Every now and then, though, we think we need to update basic information for the benefit of new readers. The following is a list of the 17 Spanish "autonomous communities", which I usually just call regions, with their approximate locations, their populations, their political tendencies, their economic levels on a 1-10 scale, with 1 as Morocco and 10 as, say, Southeast England or Holland or Western Germany, and anything else of interest. These are the three nationwide political parties: the PP is the conservative, centralist governing party in all of Spain, the People's Party, the PSOE are the Socialists, now "socialistas light" , and IU are the Communists, the United Left. In Catalonia we have conservative Catalanist CiU, Convergence and Union, and lefty Catalanist ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia). They have the conservative but weird Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and the pro-ETA Batasuna in the Basque Country, the leftist nationalist BNG (Galician National Bloc) in Galicia, and the conservative and not-too-bolshily-nationalistic Canary Coalition (CC) in the Canaries.
Galicia. Pop. 2.7 million. Economy: 6. Politics: PP, PSOE, BNG (in order). Most speak Galician.
Asturias. Pop. 1.1m. Econ: 6. Politics: PSOE, PP. Strong regional identity.
Cantabria. Pop. 0.5m. Econ: 7. Politics: PP, PSOE.
Basque Country. Pop. 2.1m. Econ: 7. Politics: PNV, PSOE, PP, Batasuna. Some speak Basque.
Navarra. Pop. 0.6m. Econ: 8. Politics: PP, PSOE. A few speak Basque.
La Rioja. Pop 0.3 m. Econ: 8. Politics: PP, PSOE.
Aragon. Pop. 1.2m. Econ: 8. Politics: PP, PSOE. Some regional identity.
Catalonia. Pop. 6.3m. Econ: 9. Politics: CiU, PSOE, PP, ERC. Most speak Catalan.
Valencia. Pop. 4.2m. Econ: 8. Politics: PP, PSOE. Some speak valenciano (Catalan).
Balearic Islands. Pop. 0.8m. Econ: 9. Politics: PP, PSOE. Some speak Catalan variants.
Murcia. Pop. 1.2m. Econ: 7. Politics: PP, PSOE.
Central and South:
Castile and Leon. Pop: 2.5m. Econ: 8. Politics: PP, PSOE.
Madrid. Pop. 5.4m. Econ: 9. Politics: PP, PSOE, IU.
Castile-La Mancha. Pop. 1.8m. Econ: 7. Politics: PSOE, PP.
Extremadura. Pop. 1.1m. Econ: 6. Politics: PSOE, PP.
Andalusia. Pop. 7.4m. Econ: 6-7. Politics: PSOE, PP, IU. Strong regional identity.
Canary Islands. Pop. 1.7m. Econ: 7. Politics: PSOE, PP, CC. Somewhat distant from Peninsula.
Ceuta and Melilla. Pop. 0.15m. Econ: 5. Politics: Unpredictable. Not an autonomous community. Cities on N. Moroccan coast.