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The Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
/aɪˈbɪəriən pəˈnɪnsjʊlə/,[a] also known as Iberia /aɪˈbɪəriə/,[b] is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Portugal
Portugal
and Spain, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, and a small part of France
France
along the peninsula's northeastern edge, as well as Gibraltar
Gibraltar
on its south coast, a small peninsula that forms an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. With an area of approximately 582,000 km2 (225,000 sq mi), it is the second largest European peninsula, after the Scandinavian.

Contents

1 Name

1.1 Greek name 1.2 Roman names

2 Etymology 3 Prehistory

3.1 Palaeolithic 3.2 Neolithic 3.3 Chalcolithic 3.4 Bronze Age

4 Proto-history 5 History

5.1 Roman rule 5.2 Germanic kingdoms 5.3 Islamic Caliphate 5.4 Reconquest 5.5 Post-reconquest

6 Geography and geology

6.1 Coastline 6.2 Rivers 6.3 Mountains 6.4 Geology 6.5 Climate

7 Major modern countries

7.1 Major urban areas 7.2 Major cities

8 Ecology

8.1 Forests 8.2 East Atlantic flyway

9 Languages 10 Economy 11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 External links

Name[edit]

Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
and southern France, satellite photo on a cloudless day in March 2014

Greek name[edit] The word Iberia is a noun adapted from the Latin
Latin
word "Hiberia" originated by the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
word Ἰβηρία (Ibēría) by Greek geographers under the rule of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
to refer to what is known today in English as the Iberian Peninsula.[1] At that time, the name did not describe a single political entity or a distinct population of people.[2] Strabo's 'Iberia' was delineated from Keltikē (Gaul) by the Pyrenees[3] and included the entire land mass southwest (he says "west") of there.[4] The noun "Hiberia" fell into disuse when the Romans decided to call the most western part of the peninsula "Lusitania" (today Portugal) and the remaining territory "Hispania" (modern Spain). With the fall of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and the establishment of the new Castillian language in Spain, the word "Iberia" appeared for the first time in use as a direct 'descendant' of the Greek word "Ἰβηρία" and the Roman word "Hiberia". The ancient Greeks reached the Iberian Peninsula, of which they had heard from the Phoenicians, by voyaging westward on the Mediterranean.[5] Hecataeus of Miletus
Hecataeus of Miletus
was the first known to use the term Iberia, which he wrote about circa 500 BC.[6] Herodotus
Herodotus
of Halicarnassus says of the Phocaeans that "it was they who made the Greeks acquainted with... Iberia."[7] According to Strabo,[8] prior historians used Iberia to mean the country "this side of the Ἶβηρος (Ibēros)" as far north as the river Rhône
Rhône
in France, but currently they set the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
as the limit. Polybius
Polybius
respects that limit,[9] but identifies Iberia as the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
side as far south as Gibraltar, with the Atlantic side having no name. Elsewhere[10] he says that Saguntum is "on the seaward foot of the range of hills connecting Iberia and Celtiberia." Strabo[11] refers to the Carretanians as people "of the Iberian stock" living in the Pyrenees, who are distinct from either Celts
Celts
or Celtiberians. Roman names[edit] Main article: Hispania According to Charles Ebel, the ancient sources in both Latin
Latin
and Greek use Hispania
Hispania
and Hiberia (Greek: Iberia) as synonyms. The confusion of the words was because of an overlapping in political and geographic perspectives. The Latin
Latin
word Hiberia, similar to the Greek Iberia, literally translates to "land of the Hiberians". This word was derived from the river Ebro, which the Romans called Hiberus. Hiber (Iberian) was thus used as a term for peoples living near the river Ebro.[3][12] The first mention in Roman literature was by the annalist poet Ennius in 200 BC.[13][14][15] Virgil
Virgil
refers to the Ipacatos Hiberos ("restless Iberi") in his Georgics.[16] The Roman geographers and other prose writers from the time of the late Roman Republic
Roman Republic
called the entire peninsula Hispania. As they became politically interested in the former Carthaginian territories, the Romans began to use the names Hispania
Hispania
Citerior and Hispania
Hispania
Ulterior for 'near' and 'far' Hispania. At the time Hispania was made up of three Roman provinces: Hispania
Hispania
Baetica, Hispania Tarraconensis, and Hispania
Hispania
Lusitania. Strabo
Strabo
says[8] that the Romans use Hispania
Hispania
and Iberia synonymously, distinguishing between the near northern and the far southern provinces. (The name "Iberia" was ambiguous, being also the name of the Kingdom of Iberia
Kingdom of Iberia
in the Caucasus.) Whatever language may generally have been spoken on the peninsula soon gave way to Latin, except for that of the Vascones, which was preserved as a language isolate by the barrier of the Pyrenees. Etymology[edit]

Northeast Iberian script from Huesca.

The Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
has always been associated with the Ebro, Ibēros in ancient Greek and Ibērus or Hibērus in Latin. The association was so well known it was hardly necessary to state; for example, Ibēria was the country "this side of the Ibērus" in Strabo. Pliny goes so far as to assert that the Greeks had called "the whole of Spain" Hiberia because of the Hiberus River.[17] The river appears in the Ebro
Ebro
Treaty of 226 BC between Rome and Carthage, setting the limit of Carthaginian interest at the Ebro. The fullest description of the treaty, stated in Appian,[18] uses Ibērus. With reference to this border, Polybius[19] states that the "native name" is Ibēr, apparently the original word, stripped of its Greek or Latin
Latin
-os or -us termination. The early range of these natives, which geographers and historians place from today's southern Spain
Spain
to today's southern France
France
along the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coast, is marked by instances of a readable script expressing a yet unknown language, dubbed "Iberian." Whether this was the native name or was given to them by the Greeks for their residence on the Ebro
Ebro
remains unknown. Credence in Polybius
Polybius
imposes certain limitations on etymologizing: if the language remains unknown, the meanings of the words, including Iber, must also remain unknown. In modern Basque, the word ibar[20] means "valley" or "watered meadow", while ibai[20] means "river", but there is no proof relating the etymology of the Ebro
Ebro
River with these Basque names. In Serbia, there is river Ibar, but there is no proof relating the etymology of the Ebro
Ebro
River with this Serbian river name. Prehistory[edit] Main article: Prehistoric Iberia

Schematic rock art from the Iberian Peninsula.

Iberian Late Bronze Age
Bronze Age
since c. 1300 BC

Palaeolithic[edit] The Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
has been inhabited for at least 1.2 million years as remains found in the sites in the Atapuerca Mountains demonstrate. Among these sites is the cave of Gran Dolina, where six hominin skeletons, dated between 780,000 and one million years ago, were found in 1994. Experts have debated whether these skeletons belong to the species Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, or a new species called Homo antecessor. Around 200,000 BP, during the Lower Paleolithic
Lower Paleolithic
period, Neanderthals first entered the Iberian Peninsula. Around 70,000 BP, during the Middle Paleolithic
Middle Paleolithic
period, the last glacial event began and the Neanderthal Mousterian
Mousterian
culture was established. Around 37,000 BP, during the Upper Paleolithic, the Neanderthal Châtelperronian cultural period began. Emanating from Southern France, this culture extended into the north of the peninsula. It continued to exist until around 30,000 BP, when Neanderthal man faced extinction. About 40,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans entered the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
from Southern France.[21] Here, this genetically homogeneous population (characterized by the M173 mutation in the Y chromosome), developed the M343 mutation, giving rise to Haplogroup R1b, still the most common in modern Portuguese and Spanish males.[22] On the Iberian Peninsula, modern humans developed a series of different cultures, such as the Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean
Solutrean
and Magdalenian cultures, some of them characterized by the complex forms of the art of the Upper Paleolithic. Neolithic[edit] During the Neolithic expansion, various megalithic cultures developed in the Iberian Peninsula. An open seas navigation culture from the east Mediterranean, called the Cardium culture, also extended its influence to the eastern coasts of the peninsula, possibly as early as the 5th millennium BC. These people may have had some relation to the subsequent development of the Iberian civilization. Chalcolithic[edit] In the Chalcolithic
Chalcolithic
(c. 3000 BC), a series of complex cultures developed that would give rise to the peninsula's first civilizations and to extensive exchange networks reaching to the Baltic, Middle East and North Africa. Around 2800 – 2700 BC, the Beaker culture, which produced the Maritime Bell Beaker, probably originated in the vibrant copper-using communities of the Tagus
Tagus
estuary in Portugal
Portugal
and spread from there to many parts of western Europe.[23] Bronze Age[edit] Bronze Age
Bronze Age
cultures developed beginning c.1800 BC, when the civilization of Los Millares
Los Millares
was followed by that of El Argar. From this centre, bronze technology spread to other cultures like the Bronze of Levante, South-Western Iberian Bronze
South-Western Iberian Bronze
and Las Cogotas. In the Late Bronze Age, the urban civilisation of Tartessos
Tartessos
developed in the area of modern western Andalusia, characterized by Phoenician influence and using the Southwest Paleohispanic script
Southwest Paleohispanic script
for its Tartessian language, not related to the Iberian language. Early in the first millennium BC, several waves of Pre- Celts
Celts
and Celts migrated from Central Europe, thus partially changing the peninsula's ethnic landscape to Indo-European-speaking in its northern and western regions. In Northwestern Iberia (modern Northern Portugal, Asturias and Galicia), a Celtic culture developed, the Castro culture, with a large number of hill forts and some fortified cities. Proto-history[edit] Main article: Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula By the Iron Age, starting in the 7th century BC, the Iberian Peninsula consisted of complex agrarian and urban civilizations, either Pre-Celtic
Pre-Celtic
or Celtic (such as the Lusitanians, Celtiberians, Gallaeci, Astures, Celtici
Celtici
and others), the cultures of the Iberians
Iberians
in the eastern and southern zones and the cultures of the Aquitanian in the western portion of the Pyrenees. The seafaring Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians successively settled along the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coast and founded trading colonies there over a period of several centuries. Around 1100 BC, Phoenician merchants founded the trading colony of Gadir or Gades (modern day Cádiz) near Tartessos. In the 8th century BC, the first Greek colonies, such as Emporion (modern Empúries), were founded along the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coast on the east, leaving the south coast to the Phoenicians. The Greeks coined the name Iberia, after the river Iber (Ebro). In the sixth century BC, the Carthaginians arrived in the peninsula while struggling with the Greeks for control of the Western Mediterranean. Their most important colony was Carthago Nova (modern-day Cartagena, Spain). History[edit] Roman rule[edit] Main articles: Lusitania
Lusitania
and Hispania

Roman conquest: 220 BC - 19 BC

In 218 BC, during the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
against the Carthaginians, the first Roman troops invaded the Iberian Peninsula; however, it was not until the reign of Augustus
Augustus
that it was annexed after two centuries of war with the Celtic and Iberian tribes and the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian colonies. The result was the creation of the province of Hispania. It was divided into Hispania
Hispania
Ulterior and Hispania
Hispania
Citerior during the late Roman Republic, and during the Roman Empire, it was divided into Hispania
Hispania
Tarraconensis in the northeast, Hispania
Hispania
Baetica in the south and Lusitania
Lusitania
in the southwest. Hispania
Hispania
supplied the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
with silver, food, olive oil, wine, and metal. The emperors Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and Theodosius I, the philosopher Seneca the Younger, and the poets Martial
Martial
and Lucan
Lucan
were born from families living on the Iberian Peninsula. Germanic kingdoms[edit] Main articles: Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
and Spania

Germanic and Byzantine rule c.560

In the early fifth century, Germanic peoples
Germanic peoples
invaded the peninsula, namely the Suebi, the Vandals
Vandals
( Silingi
Silingi
and Hasdingi) and their allies, the Alans. Only the kingdom of the Suebi
Suebi
( Quadi
Quadi
and Marcomanni) would endure after the arrival of another wave of Germanic invaders, the Visigoths, who conquered all of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
and expelled or partially integrated the Vandals
Vandals
and the Alans. The Visigoths eventually conquered the Suebi
Suebi
kingdom and its capital city, Bracara (modern day Braga), in 584–585. They would also conquer the province of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
(552–624) of Spania
Spania
in the south of the peninsula and the Balearic Islands. Islamic Caliphate[edit] Main articles: Al-Andalus, Islam in Spain, and Islam in Portugal

Islamic rule: al-Andalus c.1000

In 711, a Muslim
Muslim
army invaded the Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom
in Hispania. Under Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Islamic army landed at Gibraltar
Gibraltar
and, in an eight-year campaign, occupied all except the northern kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
in the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Al-Andalus (Arabic: الإندلس‎, tr. al-ʾAndalūs, possibly "Land of the Vandals"),[24][25] is the Arabic name given to what is today southern Spain
Spain
by its Muslim
Muslim
Berber and Arab occupiers. From the 8th–15th centuries, only the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
was incorporated into the Islamic world and became a center of culture and learning, especially during the Caliphate of Córdoba, which reached its height of its power under the rule of Abd-ar-Rahman III and his successor al-Hakam II.[26] The Muslims, who were initially Arabs
Arabs
and Berbers, included some local converts, the so-called Muladi.[27] The Muslims were referred to by the generic name, Moors[28] The Reconquista
Reconquista
gained momentum on c. 718, when the Christian Asturians opposed the Moors, the southern march to push out the Muslims continued for three hundred years[citation needed], so for another four hundred years, only the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
was transformed into a Romance-speaking and Arabic-speaking Muslim
Muslim
land, along with pockets of a large minority of Arabic-speaking Sephardi Jews[citation needed]. Reconquest[edit] Main article: Reconquista Many of the ousted Gothic nobles took refuge in the unconquered north Kingdom of Asturias. From there, they aimed to reconquer their lands from the Moors; this war of reconquest is known as the Reconquista. Christian and Muslim
Muslim
kingdoms fought and allied among themselves. The Muslim
Muslim
taifa kings competed in patronage of the arts, the Camino de Santiago attracted pilgrims from all Western Europe, and the Jewish population set the basis of Sephardi culture.[citation needed] During the Middle Ages, the peninsula housed many small states including the Kingdom of Castile, Crown of Aragon, Kingdom of Navarre, Kingdom of León
Kingdom of León
and the Kingdom of Portugal. The peninsula was part of the Almohad Caliphate
Almohad Caliphate
until they were finally uprooted. The last major Muslim
Muslim
stronghold was Granada, which was conquered by a combined Castilian and Aragonese force in 1492. Muslims and Jews throughout the period were variously tolerated or shown intolerance in different Christian kingdoms. However, after the fall of Granada, all Muslims and Jews were ordered to convert to Christianity or face expulsion. Many Jews and Muslims fled to North Africa
North Africa
and the Ottoman Empire, while others publicly converted to Christianity and became known respectively as Marranos and Moriscos. However, many of these continued to practice their religion in secret. The Moriscos revolted several times and were ultimately forcibly expelled from Spain
Spain
in the early 17th century.

Map of Spain
Spain
and Portugal, Atlas historique, dated approximately 1705–1739, of H.A. Chatelain.

Post-reconquest[edit] Main articles: History of Andorra, History of Gibraltar, History of Portugal, and History of Spain The small states gradually amalgamated over time, with the exception of Portugal, even if for a brief period (1580–1640) the whole peninsula was united politically under the Iberian Union. After that point, the modern position was reached and the peninsula now consists of the countries of Spain
Spain
and Portugal
Portugal
(excluding their islands—the Portuguese Azores
Azores
and Madeira
Madeira
and the Spanish Canary Islands
Canary Islands
and Balearic Islands; and the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta
Ceuta
and Melilla), Andorra, French Cerdagne
French Cerdagne
and Gibraltar. Geography and geology[edit] Main articles: Geography of Portugal
Portugal
and Geography of Spain The Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
is the westernmost of the three major southern European peninsulas—the Iberian, Italian, and Balkan. It is bordered on the southeast and east by the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea, and on the north, west, and southwest by the Atlantic Ocean. The Pyrenees
Pyrenees
mountains are situated along the northeast edge of the peninsula, where it adjoins the rest of Europe. Its southern tip is very close to the northwest coast of Africa, separated from it by the Strait of Gibraltar
Gibraltar
and the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea. The Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
extends from the southernmost extremity at Punta de Tarifa (36°00′15″N 5°36′37″W / 36.00417°N 5.61028°W / 36.00417; -5.61028) to the northernmost extremity at Punta de Estaca de Bares
Punta de Estaca de Bares
(43°47′38″N 7°41′17″W / 43.79389°N 7.68806°W / 43.79389; -7.68806) over a distance between lines of latitude of about 865 km (537 mi) based on a degree length of 111 km (69 mi) per degree, and from the westernmost extremity at Cabo da Roca
Cabo da Roca
(38°46′51″N 9°29′54″W / 38.78083°N 9.49833°W / 38.78083; -9.49833) to the easternmost extremity at Cap de Creus
Cap de Creus
(42°19′09″N 3°19′19″E / 42.31917°N 3.32194°E / 42.31917; 3.32194) over a distance between lines of longitude at 40° N latitude of about 1,155 km (718 mi) based on an estimated degree length of about 90 km (56 mi) for that latitude. The irregular, roughly octagonal shape of the peninsula contained within this spherical quadrangle was compared to an ox-hide by the geographer Strabo.[29] About three quarters of that rough octagon is the Meseta Central, a vast plateau ranging from 610 to 760 m in altitude.[30] It is located approximately in the centre, staggered slightly to the east and tilted slightly toward the west (the conventional centre of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
has long been considered Getafe
Getafe
just south of Madrid). It is ringed by mountains and contains the sources of most of the rivers, which find their way through gaps in the mountain barriers on all sides. Coastline[edit] The coastline of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
is 3,313 km (2,059 mi), 1,660 km (1,030 mi) on the Mediterranean side and 1,653 km (1,027 mi) on the Atlantic side.[31] The coast has been inundated over time, with sea levels having risen from a minimum of 115–120 m (377–394 ft) lower than today at the Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum
(LGM) to its current level at 4,000 years BP.[32] The coastal shelf created by sedimentation during that time remains below the surface; however, it was never very extensive on the Atlantic side, as the continental shelf drops rather steeply into the depths. An estimated 700 km (430 mi) length of Atlantic shelf is only 10–65 km (6.2–40.4 mi) wide. At the 500 m (1,600 ft) isobath, on the edge, the shelf drops off to 1,000 m (3,300 ft).[33] The submarine topography of the coastal waters of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
has been studied extensively in the process of drilling for oil. Ultimately, the shelf drops into the Bay of Biscay
Bay of Biscay
on the north (an abyss), the Iberian abyssal plain at 4,800 m (15,700 ft) on the west, and Tagus
Tagus
abyssal plain to the south. In the north, between the continental shelf and the abyss, is an extension called the Galicia Bank, a plateau that also contains the Porto, Vigo, and Vasco da Gama seamounts, which form the Galicia interior basin. The southern border of these features is marked by Nazaré Canyon, which splits the continental shelf and leads directly into the abyss. Rivers[edit] Main articles: List of rivers of Portugal
Portugal
and List of rivers of Spain

Major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula: Miño / Minho, Duero / Douro, Tajo / Tejo, Guadiana, Guadalquivir, Segura, Júcar
Júcar
/ Xúquer and Ebro / Ebre.

The major rivers flow through the wide valleys between the mountain systems. These are the Ebro, Douro, Tagus, Guadiana
Guadiana
and Guadalquivir. All rivers in the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
are subject to seasonal variations in flow. The Tagus
Tagus
is the longest river on the peninsula and, like the Douro, flows westwards with its lower course in Portugal. The Guadiana
Guadiana
river bends southwards and forms the border between Spain
Spain
and Portugal
Portugal
in the last stretch of its course. Mountains[edit]

Major Geologic Units of the Iberian Peninsula

The terrain of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
is largely mountainous. The major mountain systems are:

The Pyrenees
Pyrenees
and their foothills, the Pre-Pyrenees, crossing the isthmus of the peninsula so completely as to allow no passage except by mountain road, trail, coastal road or tunnel. Aneto
Aneto
in the Maladeta massif, at 3,404 m, is the highest point The Cantabrian Mountains
Cantabrian Mountains
along the northern coast with the massive Picos de Europa. Torre de Cerredo, at 2,648 m, is the highest point The Galicia/Trás-os-Montes Massif in the Northwest is made up of very old heavily eroded rocks.[34] Pena Trevinca, at 2,127 m, is the highest point The Sistema Ibérico, a complex system at the heart of the Peninsula, in its central/eastern region. It contains a great number of ranges and divides the watershed of the Tagus, Douro
Douro
and Ebro
Ebro
rivers. Moncayo, at 2,313 m, is the highest point The Sistema Central, dividing the Iberian Plateau
Iberian Plateau
into a northern and a southern half and stretching into Portugal
Portugal
(where the highest point of Continental Portugal
Portugal
(1,993 m) is located in the Serra da Estrela). Pico Almanzor
Pico Almanzor
in the Sierra de Gredos
Sierra de Gredos
is the highest point, at 2,592 m The Montes de Toledo, which also stretches into Portugal
Portugal
from the La Mancha natural region at the eastern end. Its highest point, at 1,603 m, is La Villuerca
La Villuerca
in the Sierra de Villuercas, Extremadura The Sierra Morena, which divides the watershed of the Guadiana
Guadiana
and Guadalquivir
Guadalquivir
rivers. At 1,332 m, Bañuela
Bañuela
is the highest point The Baetic System, which stretches between Cádiz
Cádiz
and Gibraltar
Gibraltar
and northeast towards Alicante
Alicante
Province. It is divided into three subsystems:

Prebaetic System, which begins west of the Sierra Sur de Jaén, reaching the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea shores in Alicante
Alicante
Province. La Sagra is the highest point at 2,382 m. Subbaetic System, which is in a central position within the Baetic Systems, stretching from Cape Trafalgar
Cape Trafalgar
in Cádiz
Cádiz
Province across Andalusia
Andalusia
to the Region of Murcia.[35] The highest point, at 2,027 m (6,650 ft), is Peña de la Cruz in Sierra Arana. Penibaetic System, located in the far southeastern area stretching between Gibraltar
Gibraltar
across the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
coastal Andalusian provinces. It includes the highest point in the peninsula, the 3,478 m high Mulhacén
Mulhacén
in the Sierra Nevada.[36]

Geology[edit] Main article: Geology of the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
contains rocks of every geological period from the Ediacaran
Ediacaran
to the Recent, and almost every kind of rock is represented. World-class mineral deposits can also be found there. The core of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
consists of a Hercynian
Hercynian
cratonic block known as the Iberian Massif. On the northeast, this is bounded by the Pyrenean fold belt, and on the southeast it is bounded by the Baetic System. These twofold chains are part of the Alpine belt. To the west, the peninsula is delimited by the continental boundary formed by the magma-poor opening of the Atlantic Ocean. The Hercynian
Hercynian
Foldbelt is mostly buried by Mesozoic and Tertiary cover rocks to the east, but nevertheless outcrops through the Sistema Ibérico
Sistema Ibérico
and the Catalan Mediterranean
Mediterranean
System. Climate[edit] Main articles: Climate of Portugal
Portugal
and Climate of Spain The Iberian peninsula
Iberian peninsula
has two dominant climate types. One of these is the oceanic climate seen in the Atlantic coastal region resulting in evenly temperatures with relatively cool summers. However, most of Portugal
Portugal
and Spain
Spain
have a mediterranean climate with various precipitation and temperatures depending on latitude and position versus the sea. There are also more localized semi-arid climates in central Spain, with temperatures resembling a more continental mediterranean climate. In other extreme cases highland alpine climates such as in Sierra Nevada and areas with extremely low precitipation and desert climates nor semi-arid climates such as the Almería[37] area, Murcia
Murcia
area and southern Alicante
Alicante
area. In the Spanish interior the hottest temperatures in Europe
Europe
are found, with Córdoba averaging around 37 °C (99 °F) in July.[38] The Spanish mediterranean coast usually averages around 30 °C (86 °F) in summer. In sharp contrast A Coruña
A Coruña
at the northern tip of Galicia has a summer daytime high average at just below 23 °C (73 °F).[39] This cool and wet summer climate is replicated throughout most of the northern coastline. Winter temperatures are more consistent throughout the peninsula, although frosts are common in the Spanish interior, even though daytime highs are usually above the freezing point. In Portugal, the warmest winters of the country are found in the area of Algarve, very similar to the ones from Huelva in Spain, while most of the Portuguese Atlantic coast has fresh and humid winters, similar to Galicia.

Average temperatures for the six largest urban areas of the peninsula[40][41]

Location Coldest month April Warmest month October

Madrid 9.8 °C (49.6 °F) 2.7 °C (36.9 °F) 18.2 °C (64.8 °F) 7.7 °C (45.9 °F) 32.1 °C (89.8 °F) 19.0 °C (66.2 °F) 19.4 °C (66.9 °F) 10.7 °C (51.3 °F)

Barcelona 14.8 °C (58.6 °F) 8.8 °C (47.8 °F) 19.1 °C (66.4 °F) 12.5 °C (54.5 °F) 29.0 °C (84.2 °F) 23.1 °C (73.6 °F) 22.5 °C (72.5 °F) 16.5 °C (61.7 °F)

Valencia 16.4 °C (61.5 °F) 7.1 °C (44.8 °F) 20.8 °C (69.4 °F) 11.5 °C (52.7 °F) 30.2 °C (86.4 °F) 21.9 °C (71.4 °F) 24.4 °C (75.9 °F) 15.2 °C (59.4 °F)

Seville 16.0 °C (60.8 °F) 5.7 °C (42.3 °F) 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) 11.1 °C (52.0 °F) 36.0 °C (96.8 °F) 20.3 °C (68.5 °F) 26.0 °C (78.8 °F) 14.4 °C (57.9 °F)

Lisbon 14.8 °C (58.6 °F) 8.3 °C (46.9 °F) 19.8 °C (67.6 °F) 11.9 °C (53.4 °F) 28.3 °C (82.9 °F) 18.6 °C (65.5 °F) 22.5 °C (72.5 °F) 15.1 °C (59.2 °F)

Porto 13.8 °C (56.8 °F) 5.2 °C (41.4 °F) 18.1 °C (64.6 °F) 9.1 °C (48.4 °F) 25.7 °C (78.3 °F) 15.9 °C (60.6 °F) 20.7 °C (69.3 °F) 12.2 °C (54.0 °F)

Major modern countries[edit] Political divisions of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
sorted by area:

Satellite image of Iberia at night

Country/ Territory Mainland population[42] km2 sq mi % Share

Spain 43,731,572 approx.[43] 492,175 190,030 79% occupies most of the peninsula

Portugal 10,047,083 approx.[44] 89,015 34,369 15% occupies most of the west of the peninsula

France 3,191,059 33,563 12,959 6% French Cerdagne
French Cerdagne
is on the south side of the Pyrenees
Pyrenees
mountain range, which runs along the border between Spain
Spain
and France.[45][46][47] For example, the Segre river, which runs west and then south to meet the Ebro, has its source on the French side. The Pyrenees
Pyrenees
range is often considered the northeastern boundary of Iberian Peninsula, although the French coastline converges away from the rest of Europe
Europe
north of the range.

Andorra 84,082 468 181 0.1% a northern edge of the peninsula in the south side of the Pyrenees range between Spain
Spain
and France

Gibraltar
Gibraltar
( United Kingdom) 29,431 7 3 <0.1% a British overseas territory
British overseas territory
near the southernmost tip of the peninsula

Major urban areas[edit]

Urban Area Country Region Population

Madrid Spain Community of Madrid 6,321,398[48]

Barcelona Spain Catalonia 4,604,000[49]

Lisbon Portugal Lisbon 3,035,000[50]

Porto Portugal Northern Portugal 2,163,000[51]

Valencia Spain Valencian Community 1,564,145[52]

The main metropolitan areas of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
are Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon, Valencia, Porto, Seville, Bilbao, Braga, Málaga, Central Asturias
Asturias
(Gijón-Oviedo-Avilés), Alicante-Elche, Murcia
Murcia
and Coimbra. Major cities[edit] Main articles: Cities of Spain
Spain
and Cities of Portugal

List of cities in the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
by population

City/Town Region & Country Population (2011–12)

City/Town Region & Country Population (2011–12)

1 Madrid Madrid, Spain 3,233,527   11 Córdoba Andalusia, Spain 328,841

2 Barcelona Catalonia, Spain 1,620,943   12 Valladolid Castile and León, Spain 311,501

3 Valencia Valencia, Spain 809,267   13 Vigo Galicia, Spain 297,733

4 Seville Andalusia, Spain 702,355   14 Vila Nova de Gaia Norte, Portugal 288,749

5 Zaragoza Aragon, Spain 679,624   15 Gijón Asturias, Spain 277,554

6 Málaga Andalusia, Spain 567,433   16 L'Hospitalet Catalonia, Spain 257,057

7 Lisbon Lisboa, Portugal 547,631   17 A Coruña Galicia, Spain 246,146

8 Murcia Murcia, Spain 441,354   18 Vitoria-Gasteiz Basque Country, Spain 242,223

9 Bilbao Basque Country, Spain 351,629   19 Porto Norte, Portugal 237,591

10 Alicante Valencia, Spain 334,678   20 Granada Andalusia, Spain 237,540

Various other notable cities are also present on the peninsula, such as: Elche
Elche
(230,354), Oviedo
Oviedo
(225,973), Badalona
Badalona
(220,977) and Terrassa (215 678) in Spain; and Braga
Braga
(181,874), Amadora
Amadora
(175,558), Coimbra (102,455) and Setúbal
Setúbal
(90,640) in Portugal. Ecology[edit] Forests[edit] Main article: Forests of the Iberian Peninsula The woodlands of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
are distinct ecosystems. Although the various regions are each characterized by distinct vegetation, there are some similarities across the peninsula. While the borders between these regions are not clearly defined, there is a mutual influence that makes it very hard to establish boundaries and some species find their optimal habitat in the intermediate areas. East Atlantic flyway[edit] The Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
in an important stopover on the East Atlantic flyway for birds migrating from northern Europe
Europe
to Africa. For example, curlew sandpipers rest in the region of the Bay of Cádiz.[53] In addition to the birds migrating through, some seven million wading birds from the north spend the winter in the estuaries and wetlands of the Iberian Peninsula, mainly at locations on the Atlantic coast. In Galicia are Ría de Arousa (a home of grey plover), Ria de Ortigueira, Ria de Corme and Ria de Laxe. In Portugal, the Aveiro Lagoon
Aveiro Lagoon
hosts Recurvirostra avosetta, the common ringed plover, grey plover and little stint. Ribatejo Province
Ribatejo Province
on the Tagus
Tagus
supports Recurvirostra arosetta, grey plover, dunlin, bar-tailed godwit and common redshank. In the Sado Estuary are dunlin, Eurasian curlew, grey plover and common redshank. The Algarve
Algarve
hosts red knot, common greenshank and turnstone. The Guadalquivir
Guadalquivir
Marshes region of Andalusia
Andalusia
and the Salinas de Cádiz
Cádiz
are especially rich in wintering wading birds: Kentish plover, common ringed plover, sanderling, and black-tailed godwit in addition to the others. And finally, the Ebro
Ebro
delta is home to all the species mentioned above.[54] Languages[edit] Main article: Languages of Iberia Further information: Languages of Andorra, Languages of Gibraltar, Languages of Spain, and Languages of Portugal With the sole exception of Basque, which is of unknown origin, all modern Iberian languages descend from Vulgar Latin
Latin
and belong to the Western Romance languages. Throughout history (and pre-history), many different languages have been spoken in the Iberian Peninsula, contributing to the formation and differentiation of the contemporaneous languages of Iberia; however, most of them have become extinct or fallen into disuse. Basque is the only non-Indo-European surviving language in Iberia and Western Europe. In modern times, Spanish (cf. 30 to 40 million speakers), Portuguese (cf. around 10 million speakers), Catalan (cf. around 9 million speakers), Galician (cf. around 3 million speakers) and Basque (cf. around 1 million speakers)[55] are the most widely spoken languages in the Iberian Peninsula. Spanish and Portuguese have expanded beyond Iberia to the rest of world, becoming global languages. Economy[edit] Major industries include mining, tourism, small farms, and fishing. Because the coast is so long, fishing is popular, especially sardines, tuna and anchovies. Most of the mining happens in the Pyrenees mountains; iron, gold, coal, valuable minerals—such as lead, silver, zinc, and salt—are all mined. See also[edit]

Continental Portugal De rebus Hispaniae Forests of the Iberian Peninsula Hispania Hispanic Iberian and Celtic architecture Iberian Federalism Iberian Pact

Imperator totius Hispaniae Languages of Iberia List of World Heritage Sites in Portugal List of World Heritage Sites in Spain Nationalities and regions of Spain Peninsular Spain Peninsulars Spanish and Portuguese Jews Spanish irredentism

Notes[edit]

^ In the local languages:

Spanish, Portuguese, Galician and Asturian: Península Ibérica (mostly rendered in lowercase in Spanish: península ibérica)

Spanish: [peˈninsula iˈβeɾika] (the same in Asturian) Portuguese: [pɨˈnĩsulɐ iˈβɛɾikɐ; pe-, -ˈbɛ-] Galician: [peˈninsula iˈβɛɾika]

Catalan: Península Ibèrica

Eastern Catalan: [pəˈninsulə iˈβɛɾikə; -ˈbɛ-] Western Catalan: [peˈninsula iˈβɛɾika; -ˈbɛ-]

Aragonese and Occitan: Peninsula
Peninsula
Iberica

Aragonese: [peninˈsula iβeˈɾika] Occitan: [peninˈsylɔ iβeˈɾikɔ; -beˈʀi-]

French: Péninsule Ibérique [penɛ̃syl ibeʁik] Mirandese: Península Eibérica [p?ˈnĩsulɐ ejˈβɛɾikɐ] Basque: Iberiar penintsula [iβeɾiar penints̺ula]

^ In the local languages:

Spanish, Aragonese, Asturian and Galician: Iberia

Spanish: [iˈβeɾja] (the same in Aragonese and Asturian) Galician: [iˈβɛɾja]

Portuguese and Mirandese: Ibéria

Portuguese: [iˈβɛɾiɐ; -ˈbɛ-] Mirandese: [iˈβɛɾiɐ]

Catalan and Occitan: Ibèria

Eastern Catalan: [iˈβɛɾiə; -ˈbɛ-] Western Catalan: [iˈβɛɾia; -ˈbɛ-] Occitan: [iˈβɛɾiɔ; -ˈbɛʀi-]

French: Ibérie [ibeʁi] Basque: Iberia [iβeɾia]

References[edit]

^ Claire L. Lyons; John K. Papadopoulos (2002). The Archaeology of Colonialism. Getty Publications. pp. 68–69. ISBN 978-0-89236-635-4.  ^ Strabo. "Book III Chapter 1 Section 6". Geographica. And also the other Iberians
Iberians
use an alphabet, though not letters of one and the same character, for their speech is not one and the same.  ^ a b Charles Ebel (1976). Transalpine Gaul: The Emergence of a Roman Province. Brill Archive. pp. 48–49. ISBN 90-04-04384-5.  ^ Ricardo Padrón (1 February 2004). The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain. University of Chicago Press. p. 252. ISBN 978-0-226-64433-2.  ^ Carl Waldman; Catherine Mason (2006). Encyclopedia of European Peoples. Infobase Publishing. p. 404. ISBN 978-1-4381-2918-1.  ^ Strabo
Strabo
(1988). The Geography (in Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
and English). II. Horace Leonard Jones (trans.). Cambridge: Bill Thayer. p. 118, Note 1 on 3.4.19.  ^ Herodotus
Herodotus
(1827). The nine books of the History of Herodotus, tr. from the text of T. Gaisford, with notes and a summary by P.E. Laurent. p. 75.  ^ a b III.4.19. ^ III.37. ^ III.17. ^ III.4.11. ^ Félix Gaffiot (1934). Dictionnaire illustré latin-français. Hachette. p. 764.  ^ Greg Woolf (8 June 2012). Rome: An Empire's Story. Oxford University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-19-997217-3.  ^ Berkshire Review. Williams College. 1965. p. 7.  ^ Carlos B. Vega (2 October 2003). Conquistadoras: Mujeres Heroicas de la Conquista de America. McFarland. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7864-8208-5.  ^ Virgil
Virgil
(1846). The Eclogues and Georgics
Georgics
of Virgil. Harper & Brothers. p. 377.  ^ III.3.21. ^ White, Horace; Jona Lendering. "Appian's History of Rome: The Spanish Wars (§§6–10)". livius.org. pp. Chapter 7. Retrieved 1 December 2008.  ^ "Polybius: The Histories: III.6.2". Bill Thayer.  ^ a b Morris Student Plus, Basque-English dictionary ^ Jonathan Adams (26 February 2010). Species Richness: Patterns in the Diversity of Life. Springer. p. 208. ISBN 978-3-540-74278-4.  ^ Persistent Entity. " Haplogroup R1b
Haplogroup R1b
(Y-DNA)". NAP Professional. North American Pharmacal. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014.  ^ Case, H (2007). 'Beakers and Beaker Culture' Beyond Stonehenge: Essays on the Bronze Age
Bronze Age
in honour of Colin Burgess. Oxford: Oxbow. pp. 237–254.  ^ Abraham Ibn Daud's Dorot 'Olam (Generations of the Ages): A Critical Edition and Translation of Zikhron Divrey Romi, Divrey Malkhey Yisra?el, and the Midrash on Zechariah. BRILL. 7 June 2013. p. 57. ISBN 978-90-04-24815-1. Retrieved 10 August 2013.  ^ Julio Samsó (1998). The Formation of Al-Andalus: History and society. Ashgate. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-0-86078-708-2. Retrieved 10 August 2013.  ^ Jaime Vicens Vives (1970). Approaches to the History of Spain. University of California Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-520-01422-0.  ^ Darío Fernández-Morera (9 February 2016). The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise. Intercollegiate Studies Institute. p. 286. ISBN 978-1-5040-3469-2.  ^ F. E. Peters (11 April 2009). The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, Volume I: The Peoples of God. Princeton University Press. p. 182. ISBN 1-4008-2570-9.  ^ III.1.3. ^ Fischer, T (1920). "The Iberian Peninsula: Spain". In Mill, Hugh Robert. The International Geography. New York and London: D. Appleton and Company. pp. 368–377.  ^ These figures sum the figures given in the articles on the geography of Spain
Spain
and Portugal. Most figures from Internet sources on Spain
Spain
and Portugal
Portugal
include the coastlines of the islands owned by each country and thus are not a reliable guide to the coastline of the peninsula. Moreover, the length of a coastline may vary significantly depending on where and how it is measured. ^ Edmunds, WM; K Hinsby; C Marlin; MT Condesso de Melo; M Manyano; R Vaikmae; Y Travi (2001). "Evolution of groundwater systems at the European coastline". In Edmunds, W. M.; Milne, C. J. Palaeowaters in Coastal Europe: Evolution of Groundwater Since the Late Pleistocene. London: Geological Society. p. 305. ISBN 1-86239-086-X.  ^ "Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
– Atlantic Coast". An Atlas of Oceanic Internal Solitary Waves (pdf). Global Ocean Associates. February 2004. Retrieved 9 December 2008.  ^ Silurian graptolite biostratigraphy of the Galicia - Tras-os-Montes Zone ( Spain
Spain
and Portugal) ^ Edited by W Gibbons & T Moreno, Geology of Spain, 2002, ISBN 978-1-86239-110-9 ^ Introduction to the Birds of Spain ^ "Standard climate values for Almería". Aemet.es. Retrieved 7 March 2015.  ^ "Standard climate values for Córdoba". Aemet.es. Retrieved 7 March 2015.  ^ "Standard climate values for A Coruña". Aemet.es. Retrieved 7 March 2015.  ^ "Standard Climate Values, Spain". Aemet.es. Retrieved 7 March 2015.  ^ "IPMA Climate Normals". ipma.pt. Retrieved 7 March 2015.  ^ Population only includes the inhabitants of mainland Spain (excluding the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Ceuta
Ceuta
and Melilla), mainland Portugal
Portugal
(excluding Madeira
Madeira
and Azores), Andorra
Andorra
and Gibraltar. ^ Census data , "Official Spanish census" ^ Census data , "Portuguese census department" ^ Peter Sahlins (1989). Boundaries: The Making of France
France
and Spain
Spain
in the Pyrenees. University of California Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-520-91121-5.  ^ Paul Wilstach (1931). Along the Pyrenees. Robert M. McBride Company. p. 102.  ^ James Erskine Murray (1837). A Summer in the Pyrenees. J. Macrone. p. 92.  ^ http://www.populationdata.net/index2.php?option=pays&pid=62&nom=espagne ^ http://www.demographia.com/db-worldua.pdf ^ http://www.demographia.com/db-worldua.pdf Demographia: World Urban Areas ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.  ^ "Urban Audit - CityProfiles". Archived from the original on 26 June 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2009.  ^ Hortas, Francisco; Jordi Figuerols (2006). "Migration pattern of Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea on the south-western coastline of the Iberian Peninsula" (pdf). International Wader Studies. 19: 144–147. Retrieved 7 December 2008.  ^ Dominguez, Jesus (1990). "Distribution of estuarine waders wintering in the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula
in 1978–1982" (PDF). Wader Study Group Bulletin. 59: 25–28.  ^ http://www.euskara.euskadi.eus/r59-738/es/contenidos/noticia/inkesta_soziol_2012/es_berria/berria.html

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iberian Peninsula.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Iberian Peninsula.

Arioso, Pāolā; Diego Meozzi. "Iberian Peninsula•Links". Stone Pages. Retrieved 5 December 2008.  Flores, Carlos; Nicole Maca-Meyer; Ana M Gonzalez; Peter J Oefner; Peidong Shen; Jose A Perez; Antonio Rojas; Jose M Larruga; Peter A Underhill (2004). "Reduced genetic structure of the Iberian Peninsula revealed by Y-chromosome analysis: implications for population demography" (PDF). European Journal of Human Genetics. 12 (10): 855–863. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201225. PMID 15280900. Archived from the original (pdf) on 17 December 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2008.  Loyd, Nick (2007). "IberiaNature: A guide to the environment, climate, wildlife, geography and nature of Spain". Retrieved 4 December 2008.  Silva, Luís Fraga de. "Ethnologic Map of Pre-Roman Iberia (circa 200 B.C.). NEW VERSION #10" (in English, Portuguese, and Latin). Associação Campo Arqueológico de Tavira, Tavira, Portugal. Archived from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2008. 

v t e

Mountain systems of the Iberian Peninsula

Galician Massif Cantabrian Mountains Pyrenees Catalan Mediterranean
Mediterranean
System Sistema Ibérico Central System Montes de Toledo Sierra Morena Baetic System

v t e

Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
cities of the Iberian peninsula

Akra Leuke Alonis Emporion Hemeroscopion Kalathousa Mainake Menestheus's Limin Illicitanus Limin/Portus Illicitanus Rhode Salauris Zakynthos

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 238991

.