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 and Spain, comprising most of their territory. It also
includes Andorra, and a small part of
France along the peninsula's
northeastern edge, as well as
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.
1.1 Greek name
1.2 Roman names
3.4 Bronze Age
5.1 Roman rule
5.2 Germanic kingdoms
5.3 Islamic Caliphate
6 Geography and geology
7 Major modern countries
7.1 Major urban areas
7.2 Major cities
8.2 East Atlantic flyway
11 See also
14 External links
Peninsula and southern France, satellite photo on a cloudless
day in March 2014
The word Iberia is a noun adapted from the
Latin word "Hiberia"
originated by the
Ancient Greek word Ἰβηρία (Ibēría) by Greek
geographers under the rule of the
Roman Empire to refer to what is
known today in English as the Iberian Peninsula. At that time, the
name did not describe a single political entity or a distinct
population of people. Strabo's 'Iberia' was delineated from
Keltikē (Gaul) by the Pyrenees and included the entire land mass
southwest (he says "west") of there. 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 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
Hecataeus of Miletus
Hecataeus of Miletus was the first known to use the
term Iberia, which he wrote about circa 500 BC.
Halicarnassus says of the Phocaeans that "it was they who made the
Greeks acquainted with... Iberia." According to Strabo, prior
historians used Iberia to mean the country "this side of the
Ἶβηρος (Ibēros)" as far north as the river
Rhône in France,
but currently they set the
Pyrenees as the limit.
that limit, but identifies Iberia as the
Mediterranean side as far
south as Gibraltar, with the Atlantic side having no name.
Elsewhere he says that Saguntum is "on the seaward foot of the
range of hills connecting Iberia and Celtiberia."
Strabo refers to the Carretanians as people "of the Iberian stock"
living in the Pyrenees, who are distinct from either
Main article: Hispania
According to Charles Ebel, the ancient sources in both
Latin and Greek
Hispania and Hiberia (Greek: Iberia) as synonyms. The confusion of
the words was because of an overlapping in political and geographic
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.
The first mention in Roman literature was by the annalist poet Ennius
in 200 BC.
Virgil refers to the Ipacatos Hiberos
("restless Iberi") in his Georgics. The Roman geographers and
other prose writers from the time of the late
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 Citerior and
Hispania Ulterior for 'near' and 'far' Hispania. At the time Hispania
was made up of three Roman provinces:
Hispania Baetica, Hispania
Strabo says that the Romans
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
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.
Northeast Iberian script from Huesca.
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. The river appears
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, uses Ibērus. With reference to this
border, Polybius states that the "native name" is Ibēr,
apparently the original word, stripped of its Greek or
Latin -os or
The early range of these natives, which geographers and historians
place from today's southern
Spain to today's southern
France along the
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
Ebro remains unknown. Credence in
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 means "valley" or "watered meadow",
while ibai means "river", but there is no proof relating the
etymology of the
Ebro River with these Basque names. In Serbia, there
is river Ibar, but there is no proof relating the etymology of the
Ebro River with this Serbian river name.
Main article: Prehistoric Iberia
Schematic rock art from the Iberian Peninsula.
Bronze Age since c. 1300 BC
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 period, Neanderthals
first entered the Iberian Peninsula. Around 70,000 BP, during the
Middle Paleolithic period, the last glacial event began and the
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 from Southern France. 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. On the Iberian
Peninsula, modern humans developed a series of different cultures,
such as the Aurignacian, Gravettian,
Solutrean and Magdalenian
cultures, some of them characterized by the complex forms of the art
of the Upper Paleolithic.
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 (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 estuary in
Portugal and spread
from there to many parts of western Europe.
Bronze Age cultures developed beginning c.1800 BC, when the
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
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 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.
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 or Celtic (such as the Lusitanians, Celtiberians, Gallaeci,
Celtici and others), the cultures of the
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 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 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).
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 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 Ulterior and
during the late Roman Republic, and during the Roman Empire, it was
Hispania Tarraconensis in the northeast,
in the south and
Lusitania in the southwest.
Hispania supplied the
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
Lucan were born from families living on the Iberian
Visigothic Kingdom and Spania
Germanic and Byzantine rule c.560
In the early fifth century,
Germanic peoples invaded the peninsula,
namely the Suebi, the
Silingi and Hasdingi) and their allies,
the Alans. Only the kingdom of the
Quadi and Marcomanni) would
endure after the arrival of another wave of Germanic invaders, the
Visigoths, who conquered all of the Iberian
Peninsula and expelled or
partially integrated the
Vandals and the Alans. The Visigoths
eventually conquered the
Suebi kingdom and its capital city, Bracara
(modern day Braga), in 584–585. They would also conquer the province
Byzantine Empire (552–624) of
Spania in the south of the
peninsula and the Balearic Islands.
Main articles: Al-Andalus, Islam in Spain, and Islam in Portugal
Islamic rule: al-Andalus c.1000
In 711, a
Muslim army invaded the
Visigothic Kingdom in Hispania.
Under Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Islamic army landed at
Gibraltar and, in an
eight-year campaign, occupied all except the northern kingdoms of the
Peninsula in the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Al-Andalus
(Arabic: الإندلس, tr. al-ʾAndalūs, possibly "Land of the
Vandals"), is the Arabic name given to what is today southern
Spain by its
Muslim Berber and Arab occupiers.
From the 8th–15th centuries, only the southern part of the Iberian
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. The Muslims, who were initially
Arabs and Berbers, included some local converts, the so-called
Muladi. The Muslims were referred to by the generic name,
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, so for
another four hundred years, only the southern part of the Iberian
Peninsula was transformed into a Romance-speaking and Arabic-speaking
Muslim land, along with pockets of a large minority of Arabic-speaking
Sephardi Jews.
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.
Muslim kingdoms fought and allied among themselves. The
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.
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
Almohad Caliphate until they were finally uprooted. The last
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 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 in the
early 17th century.
Spain and Portugal, Atlas historique, dated approximately
1705–1739, of H.A. Chatelain.
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
Portugal (excluding their islands—the
Madeira and the Spanish
Canary Islands and
Balearic Islands; and the Spanish exclaves of
Ceuta and Melilla),
French Cerdagne and Gibraltar.
Geography and geology
Main articles: Geography of
Portugal and Geography of Spain
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 Sea, and on the north,
west, and southwest by the Atlantic Ocean. The
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 and the
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
About three quarters of that rough octagon is the Meseta Central, a
vast plateau ranging from 610 to 760 m in altitude. 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 has long been considered
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
The coastline of the Iberian
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. 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
Last Glacial Maximum
Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to its current level at 4,000 years
BP. 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).
The submarine topography of the coastal waters of the Iberian
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 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.
Main articles: List of rivers of
Portugal and List of rivers of Spain
Major rivers of the Iberian Peninsula: Miño / Minho, Duero / Douro,
Tajo / Tejo, Guadiana, Guadalquivir, Segura,
Júcar / Xúquer and Ebro
The major rivers flow through the wide valleys between the mountain
systems. These are the Ebro, Douro, Tagus,
Guadiana and Guadalquivir.
All rivers in the Iberian
Peninsula are subject to seasonal variations
Tagus is the longest river on the peninsula and, like the Douro,
flows westwards with its lower course in Portugal. The
bends southwards and forms the border between
the last stretch of its course.
Major Geologic Units of the Iberian Peninsula
The terrain of the Iberian
Peninsula is largely mountainous. The major
mountain systems are:
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 in the Maladeta
massif, at 3,404 m, is the highest point
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. Pena Trevinca, at 2,127 m, is the
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,
Moncayo, at 2,313 m, is the highest point
The Sistema Central, dividing the
Iberian Plateau into a northern and
a southern half and stretching into
Portugal (where the highest point
Portugal (1,993 m) is located in the Serra da Estrela).
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 from the La
Mancha natural region at the eastern end. Its highest point, at 1,603
La Villuerca in the Sierra de Villuercas, Extremadura
The Sierra Morena, which divides the watershed of the
Guadalquivir rivers. At 1,332 m,
Bañuela is the highest point
The Baetic System, which stretches between
Alicante Province. It is divided into three
Prebaetic System, which begins west of the Sierra Sur de Jaén,
Mediterranean Sea shores in
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 in
Cádiz Province across
Andalusia to the Region of Murcia. 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
Gibraltar across the
Mediterranean coastal Andalusian
provinces. It includes the highest point in the peninsula, the 3,478 m
Mulhacén in the Sierra Nevada.
Main article: Geology of the Iberian Peninsula
Peninsula contains rocks of every geological period from
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 consists of a
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 Foldbelt is
mostly buried by Mesozoic and Tertiary cover rocks to the east, but
nevertheless outcrops through the
Sistema Ibérico and the Catalan
Main articles: Climate of
Portugal and Climate of Spain
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
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
Murcia area and southern
Alicante area. In the Spanish interior
the hottest temperatures in
Europe are found, with Córdoba averaging
around 37 °C (99 °F) in July. The Spanish
mediterranean coast usually averages around 30 °C (86 °F)
in summer. In sharp contrast
A Coruña at the northern tip of Galicia
has a summer daytime high average at just below 23 °C
(73 °F). 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
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
Political divisions of the Iberian
Peninsula sorted by area:
Satellite image of Iberia at night
occupies most of the peninsula
occupies most of the west of the peninsula
French Cerdagne is on the south side of the
Pyrenees mountain range,
which runs along the border between
Spain and France. For
example, the Segre river, which runs west and then south to meet the
Ebro, has its source on the French side. The
Pyrenees range is often
considered the northeastern boundary of Iberian Peninsula, although
the French coastline converges away from the rest of
Europe north of
a northern edge of the peninsula in the south side of the Pyrenees
Spain and France
Gibraltar ( United Kingdom)
British overseas territory
British overseas territory near the southernmost tip of the
Major urban areas
Community of Madrid
The main metropolitan areas of the Iberian
Peninsula are Madrid,
Barcelona, Lisbon, Valencia, Porto, Seville, Bilbao, Braga, Málaga,
Asturias (Gijón-Oviedo-Avilés), Alicante-Elche,
Main articles: Cities of
Spain and Cities of Portugal
List of cities in the Iberian
Peninsula by population
Region & Country
Region & Country
Castile and León, Spain
Vila Nova de Gaia
Basque Country, Spain
Basque Country, Spain
Various other notable cities are also present on the peninsula, such
Badalona (220,977) and Terrassa
(215 678) in Spain; and
Amadora (175,558), Coimbra
Setúbal (90,640) in Portugal.
Main article: Forests of the Iberian Peninsula
The woodlands of the Iberian
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
Peninsula in an important stopover on the East Atlantic
flyway for birds migrating from northern
Europe to Africa. For
example, curlew sandpipers rest in the region of the Bay of
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
Ría de Arousa (a home of grey plover), Ria de Ortigueira,
Ria de Corme and Ria de Laxe. In Portugal, the
Aveiro Lagoon hosts
Recurvirostra avosetta, the common ringed plover, grey plover and
Ribatejo Province on the
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 hosts red knot, common greenshank and
Guadalquivir Marshes region of
Andalusia and the
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 delta is home
to all the species mentioned above.
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 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) 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.
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.
De rebus Hispaniae
Forests of the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian and Celtic architecture
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
Spanish and Portuguese Jews
^ 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:
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)
Portuguese and Mirandese: Ibéria
Portuguese: [iˈβɛɾiɐ; -ˈbɛ-]
Catalan and Occitan: Ibèria
Eastern Catalan: [iˈβɛɾiə; -ˈbɛ-]
Western Catalan: [iˈβɛɾia; -ˈbɛ-]
Occitan: [iˈβɛɾiɔ; -ˈbɛʀi-]
French: Ibérie [ibeʁi]
Basque: Iberia [iβeɾia]
^ Claire L. Lyons; John K. Papadopoulos (2002). The Archaeology of
Colonialism. Getty Publications. pp. 68–69.
^ Strabo. "Book III Chapter 1 Section 6". Geographica. And also the
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.
^ 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.
Strabo (1988). The Geography (in
Ancient Greek and English). II.
Horace Leonard Jones (trans.). Cambridge: Bill Thayer. p. 118,
Note 1 on 3.4.19.
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.
^ 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.
Virgil (1846). The Eclogues and
Georgics of Virgil. Harper &
Brothers. p. 377.
^ 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.
^ Persistent Entity. "
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 in honour of Colin Burgess. Oxford: Oxbow.
^ 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
^ 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.
^ Darío Fernández-Morera (9 February 2016). The Myth of the
Andalusian Paradise. Intercollegiate Studies Institute. p. 286.
^ 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.
^ 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
Spain and Portugal. Most figures from Internet sources on
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.
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
Spain and Portugal)
^ Edited by W Gibbons & T Moreno, Geology of Spain, 2002,
^ Introduction to the Birds of Spain
^ "Standard climate values for Almería". Aemet.es. Retrieved 7 March
^ "Standard climate values for Córdoba". Aemet.es. Retrieved 7 March
^ "Standard climate values for A Coruña". Aemet.es. Retrieved 7 March
^ "Standard Climate Values, Spain". Aemet.es. Retrieved 7 March
^ "IPMA Climate Normals". ipma.pt. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
^ Population only includes the inhabitants of mainland Spain
(excluding the Balearic Islands, Canary Islands,
Ceuta and Melilla),
Madeira and Azores),
^ Census data , "Official Spanish census"
^ Census data , "Portuguese census department"
^ Peter Sahlins (1989). Boundaries: The Making of
the Pyrenees. University of California Press. p. 49.
^ Paul Wilstach (1931). Along the Pyrenees. Robert M. McBride Company.
^ James Erskine Murray (1837). A Summer in the Pyrenees. J. Macrone.
^ http://www.demographia.com/db-worldua.pdf Demographia: World Urban
^ "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 in 1978–1982" (PDF). Wader Study Group
Bulletin. 59: 25–28.
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
Loyd, Nick (2007). "IberiaNature: A guide to the environment, climate,
wildlife, geography and nature of Spain". Retrieved 4 December
Silva, Luís Fraga de. "Ethnologic Map of Pre-Roman Iberia (circa 200
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Associação Campo Arqueológico de Tavira, Tavira, Portugal. Archived
from the original on 6 October 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2008.
Mountain systems of the Iberian Peninsula
Montes de Toledo
Ancient Greek cities of the Iberian peninsula
Illicitanus Limin/Portus Illicitanus