The year 1992 was perhaps the greatest in modern Spanish history. Leaving behind 35 years of dictatorship, the country had fully integrated into Europe. The Olympics in Barcelona and Universal Expo in Seville both took place that year, as did the introduction of the first of Spain’s successful high-speed railways.
The 2000s saw Spain victim of vicious terrorist attacks, major corruption scandals, and a severe financial crisis that hit in 2007-2008. The political status quo since has been challenged, changing Spain’s bipartisan system forever and causing political instability unprecedented in the post-dictatorial period.
Spain’s armed forces have continued to modernize, transitioning from an infantry-heavy force to a modern Western army. The amount of modernization needed, however, has sometimes slowed down this transition. While much of Spain’s military industry has been privatized, Spanish-based companies have continued to manufacture and supply some of the country’s newest vehicles: ASCOD Pizarro, Leopard 2E, URO VAMTAC, and VCR Dragón.
Spain has been a proud and enthusiastic participant in EU, NATO, and UN peacekeeping missions, with Spanish personnel seeing extensive deployment in the former Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. More recently, Spanish personnel have seen service in the Baltic, the Horn of Africa, Mali, and the Mediterranean.