Iberian Peninsula
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese and Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, Península Eibérica * eu, Iberiar penintsula also known as Iberia, is a
peninsula A peninsula (; ) is a landform that extends from a mainland and is surrounded by water on most, but not all of its borders. A peninsula is also sometimes defined as a piece of land bordered by water on three of its sides. Peninsulas exist on all ...

peninsula
in southwestern
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...

Europe
, defining the westernmost edge of
Eurasia Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, it spans from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula in the west to the Ja ...

Eurasia
. It is principally divided between
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
, comprising most of their territory, as well as a small area of
Southern France Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French language, French as , is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin,Louis Papy, ''Le midi ...
,
Andorra , image_flag = Flag of Andorra.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Andorra.svg , symbol_type = Coat of arms , national_motto = la, Virtus Unita Fortior, label=none (Latin)"United virtue is stro ...

Andorra
, and
Gibraltar ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song = "Gibraltar Anthem" , image_map = Gibraltar location in Europe.svg , map_alt = Location of Gibraltar in Europe , map_caption = United Kingdom shown in pale green , mapsize = , image_map2 = Gibra ...

Gibraltar
. With an area of approximately , and a population of roughly 53 million, it is the second largest European peninsula by area, after the
Scandinavian Peninsula The Scandinavian Peninsula ( sv, Skandinaviska halvön; no, Den skandinaviske halvøy (Bokmål) or nn, Den skandinaviske halvøya; fi, Skandinavian niemimaa) is a peninsula located in Northern Europe, which roughly comprises the mainlands ...
.


Name


Greek name

The word ''Iberia'' is a noun adapted from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...

Latin
word "Hiberia" originating in the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Greek Dark ...
word Ἰβηρία ('), used by Greek geographers under the rule of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...

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 geographical entity or a distinct population; the same name was used for the
Kingdom of Iberia In Greco-Roman geography, Iberia (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into ...
, natively known as
Kartli Kartli ( ka, ქართლი ) is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia (country), Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari (Kura), on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical antiquity, Classical authors ...

Kartli
in the
Caucasus The Caucasus () or Caucasia (), is a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, mainly comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. The Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus range ...
, the core region of what would later become the
Kingdom of Georgia The Kingdom of Georgia ( ka, საქართველოს სამეფო, tr), also known as the Georgian Empire, was a medieval Eurasian monarchy that was founded in circa 1008 Anno Domini, AD. It reached Georgian Golden Age, its Golde ...
. It was
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...

Strabo
who first reported the delineation of "Iberia" from
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe first described by the Romans. It was inhabited by Celts, Celtic and Aquitani tribes, encompassing present-day France, Belgium, Luxembourg, most of Switzerland, parts of Northern Italy (only dur ...

Gaul
(''Keltikē'') by the Pyrenees and included the entire land mass southwest (he says "west") from there. With the fall of the
Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprised the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court; in particular, this term is used in historiography to describe the period fr ...

Western Roman Empire
and the consolidation of
romanic languages The Romance languages, sometimes referred to as Latin languages or Neo-Latin languages, are the various modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin. They are the only extant subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European languages, I ...
, the word "Iberia" continued the Roman word "Hiberia" and the Greek word "Ἰβηρία". The ancient Greeks reached the Iberian Peninsula, of which they had heard from the
Phoenicians Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...

Phoenicians
, by voyaging westward on the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
.
Hecataeus of Miletus Hecataeus of Miletus (; el, Ἑκαταῖος ὁ Μιλήσιος; c. 550 BC – c. 476 BC), son of Hegesander, was an early Greek historian and geographer. Biography Hailing from a very wealthy family, he lived in Miletus, then under ...
was the first known to use the term ''Iberia'', which he wrote about circa 500 BCE.
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, , }; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided in ...
of Halicarnassus says of the
Phocaea Phocaea or Phokaia (Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: Φώκαια, ''Phókaia''; modern-day Foça in Turkey) was an ancient Ionian Ancient Greece, Greek city on the western coast of Anatolia. Colonies in antiquity, Greek colonists from Phoc ...
ns that "it was they who made the Greeks acquainted with Iberia." According to
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...

Strabo
,Geography III.4.19. prior historians used ''Iberia'' to mean the country "this side of the Ἶβηρος" (', the
Ebro , name_etymology = , image = Zaragoza shel.JPG , image_size = , image_caption = The Ebro River in Zaragoza , map = SpainEbroBasin.png , map_size = , map_caption = The Ebro ...
) as far north as the Rhône, but in his day they set the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
as the limit.
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period. He is noted for his work , which covered the period of 264–146 BC and the Punic Wars in detail. Polybius is important for his analysis of the mixed ...
respects that limit, but identifies Iberia as the Mediterranean side as far south as
Gibraltar ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song = "Gibraltar Anthem" , image_map = Gibraltar location in Europe.svg , map_alt = Location of Gibraltar in Europe , map_caption = United Kingdom shown in pale green , mapsize = , image_map2 = Gibra ...

Gibraltar
, with the Atlantic side having no name. Elsewhere he says that
Saguntum Sagunto ( ca-valencia, Sagunt) is a municipality of Spain, located in the province of Valencia, Valencian Community. It belongs to the modern fertile ''comarques of the Valencian Community, comarca'' of Camp de Morvedre. It is located c. 30&nbs ...
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 The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
, who are distinct from either
Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-Europea ...
or
Celtiberians The Celtiberians were a group of Celts and Celticisation, Celticized peoples inhabiting an area in the central-northeastern Iberian Peninsula during the final centuries BCE. They were explicitly mentioned as being Celts by several classic author ...
.


Roman names

According to Charles Ebel, the ancient sources in both Latin and Greek use Hispania and Hiberia (Greek: Iberia) as synonyms. The confusion of the words was because of an overlapping in political and geographic perspectives. The Latin word ''Hiberia'', similar to the Greek ''Iberia'', literally translates to "land of the Hiberians". This word was derived from the river ''Hiberus'' (now called
Ebro , name_etymology = , image = Zaragoza shel.JPG , image_size = , image_caption = The Ebro River in Zaragoza , map = SpainEbroBasin.png , map_size = , map_caption = The Ebro ...
or Ebre). ''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 Quintus Ennius (; c. 239 – c. 169 BC) was a writer and poet who lived during the Roman Republic. He is often considered the father of Roman poetry. He was born in the small town of Rudiae, located near modern Lecce, Apulia, (Ancient Calabria#Et ...
in 200 BCE.
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...
wrote ''impacatos (H)iberos'' ("restless Iberi") in his
Georgics The ''Georgics'' ( ; ) is a poem by Latin poet Virgil, likely published in 29 BCE. As the name suggests (from the Greek language, Greek word , ''geōrgika'', i.e. "agricultural (things)") the subject of the poem is agriculture; but far from b ...
. The Roman geographers and other prose writers from the time of the late
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
called the entire peninsula ''
Hispania Hispania ( la, Hispānia , ; nearly identically pronounced in Spanish language, Spanish, Portuguese language, Portuguese, Catalan language, Catalan, and Italian language, Italian) was the Ancient Rome, Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and it ...
''. In Greek and Roman antiquity, the name ''Hesperia'' was used for both the Italian and Iberian Peninsula; in the latter case ''Hesperia Ultima'' (referring to its position in the far west) appears as form of disambiguation from the former among Roman writers. Also since Roman antiquity, Jews gave the name ''
Sepharad Sepharad ( or ; ''Səp̄āraḏ''; also ''Sefarad'', ''Sephared'', ''Sfard'') is the Hebrew name for Spain. A place called Sepharad, probably referring to Sardis in Lydia ('Sfard' in Lydian), in the Book of Obadiah (, 6th century BC) of the Hebrew ...
'' to the peninsula. 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 province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
s:
Hispania Baetica Hispania Baetica, often abbreviated Baetica, was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula). Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica remained one of the basic di ...
,
Hispania Tarraconensis Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the northern, eastern and central territories of modern Spain along with modern North Region, Portugal, northern Portugal. Southern Spain, the region now c ...
, and
Hispania Lusitania Lusitania (; ) was an ancient Iberian Roman province located where modern Portugal (south of the Douro river) and a portion of western Spain (the present Extremadura and the province of Salamanca) lie. It was named after the Lusitani or Lusita ...
. Strabo says that the Romans use ''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 In Greco-Roman geography, Iberia (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into ...
in the Caucasus.) Whatever languages may generally have been spoken on the peninsula soon gave way to Latin, except for that of the
Vascones The Vascones were a pre-Ancient Rome, Roman tribe who, on the arrival of the Romans in the 1st century, inhabited a territory that spanned between the upper course of the Ebro river and the southern basin of the western Pyrenees, a region tha ...
, which was preserved as a
language isolate Language isolates are languages that cannot be classified into larger language families. Korean language, Korean and Basque language, Basque are two of the most common examples. Other language isolates include Ainu language, Ainu in Asia, Sandawe ...
by the barrier of the Pyrenees.


Modern name

The modern phrase "Iberian Peninsula" was coined by the French geographer Jean-Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent on his 1823 work ''"Guide du Voyageur en Espagne"''. Prior to that date, geographers had used the terms 'Spanish Peninsula' or 'Pyrenaean Peninsula'.


Etymology

The Iberian Peninsula has always been associated with the River
Ebro , name_etymology = , image = Zaragoza shel.JPG , image_size = , image_caption = The Ebro River in Zaragoza , map = SpainEbroBasin.png , map_size = , map_caption = The Ebro ...
(Ibēros in
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Greek Dark ...
and Ibērus or Hibērus in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...

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 in the
Ebro Treaty The Ebro Treaty was a treaty signed in 226 BC by Hasdrubal the Fair of Carthage and the Roman Republic, which fixed the river Ebro in Iberia as the boundary between the two powers of Rome and Carthage. Under the terms of the treaty, Carthag ...
of 226 BCE between Rome and Carthage, setting the limit of Carthaginian interest at the Ebro. The fullest description of the treaty, stated in
Appian Appian of Alexandria (; grc-gre, Ἀππιανὸς Ἀλεξανδρεύς ''Appianòs Alexandreús''; la, Appianus Alexandrinus; ) was a Ancient Greeks, Greek historian with Ancient Rome, Roman citizenship who flourished during the reigns of ...
, uses Ibērus. With reference to this border,
Polybius Polybius (; grc-gre, Πολύβιος, ; ) was a Greek historian of the Hellenistic period. He is noted for his work , which covered the period of 264–146 BC and the Punic Wars in detail. Polybius is important for his analysis of the mixed ...
states that the "native name" is ''Ibēr'', apparently the original word, stripped of its Greek or Latin ''-os'' or ''-us'' termination. The early range of these natives, which geographers and historians place from the present southern Spain to the present 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 near the 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''Morris Student Plus
Basque-English dictionary
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.


Prehistory


Palaeolithic

The Iberian Peninsula has been inhabited by members of the ''
Homo ''Homo'' () is the genus that emerged in the (otherwise extinct) genus ''Australopithecus'' that encompasses the extant species ''Homo sapiens'' (Human, modern humans), plus several extinct species classified as either ancestral to or closely ...
'' genus for at least 1.2 million years as remains found in the sites in the
Atapuerca Mountains The Atapuerca Mountains ( es, Sierra de Atapuerca) is a karst topography, karstic hill formation near the village of Atapuerca, Province of Burgos, Atapuerca in the province of Burgos (Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Cast ...
demonstrate. Among these sites is the cave of Gran Dolina, where six
hominin The Hominini form a Tribe (biology), taxonomic tribe of the subfamily Homininae ("hominines"). Hominini includes the extant genera ''Homo'' (humans) and ''Pan (genus), Pan'' (chimpanzees and bonobos) and in standard usage excludes the genus '' ...
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 erectus'' (; meaning ":wikt:erectus, upright man") is an extinct species of archaic human from the Pleistocene, with its earliest occurrence about 2 million years ago. Several human species, such as ''H. heidelbergensis'' and ''H. ...
'', ''
Homo heidelbergensis ''Homo heidelbergensis'' (also ''H. sapiens heidelbergensis''), sometimes called Heidelbergs, is an extinct species or subspecies of archaic human which existed during the Middle Pleistocene. It was subsumed as a subspecies of ''H. erectus'' in 1 ...
'', or a new species called ''
Homo antecessor ''Homo antecessor'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) aroun ...
''. Around 200,000 BP, during the
Lower Paleolithic The Lower Paleolithic (or Lower Palaeolithic) is the earliest subdivision of the Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek: παλαιός ''wikt:παλαιός, palaios'', "old" and λίθο ...
period, Neanderthals first entered the Iberian Peninsula. Around 70,000 BP, during the
Middle Paleolithic The Middle Paleolithic (or Middle Palaeolithic) is the second subdivision of the Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek: παλαιός ''wikt:παλαιός, palaios'', "old" and λίθος ...
period, the last glacial event began and the Neanderthal
Mousterian The Mousterian (or Mode III) is an Industry (archaeology), archaeological industry of Lithic technology, stone tools, associated primarily with the Neanderthals in Europe, and to the earliest anatomically modern humans in North Africa and Western ...
culture was established. Around 37,000 BP, during the
Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek: παλαιός ''wikt:παλαιός, palaios'', "old" and λ ...
, the Neanderthal Châtelperronian cultural period began. Emanating from
Southern France Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French language, French as , is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin,Louis Papy, ''Le midi ...
, 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 Early modern human (EMH) or anatomically modern human (AMH) are terms used to distinguish ''Homo sapiens'' (the only extant Hominina species) that are Human anatomy, anatomically consistent with the Human variability, range of phenotypes seen i ...
entered the Iberian Peninsula from
Southern France Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French language, French as , is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin,Louis Papy, ''Le midi ...
.
Haplogroup R1b Haplogroup R1b (R-M343), previously known as Hg1 and Eu18, is a human Y-chromosome haplogroup. It is the most frequently occurring paternal lineage in Western Europe, as well as some parts of Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Feder ...
is common in modern Portuguese and
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
males. On the Iberian Peninsula, modern humans developed a series of different cultures, such as the
Aurignacian The Aurignacian () is an archaeological industry of the Upper Paleolithic associated with European early modern humans (EEMH) lasting from 43,000 to 26,000 years ago. The Upper Paleolithic developed in Europe some time after the Levant, where t ...
,
Gravettian The Gravettian was an archaeological industry of the European Upper Paleolithic that succeeded the Aurignacian circa 33,000 years BP. It is archaeologically the last European culture many consider unified, and had mostly disappeared by &nbs ...
,
Solutrean The Solutrean archaeological industry, industry is a relatively advanced flint tool-making style of the Upper Paleolithic of the Final Gravettian, from around 22,000 to 17,000 Before Present, BP. Solutrean sites have been found in modern-day ...
and
Magdalenian The Magdalenian cultures (also Madelenian; French language, French: ''Magdalénien'') are later archaeological culture, cultures of the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic in western Europe. They date from around 17,000 to 12,000 years ago. It is ...
cultures, some of them characterized by the complex forms of the
art of the Upper Paleolithic The art of the Upper Paleolithic represents the oldest form of prehistoric art. Figurative art is present in prehistoric Europe, Europe and Prehistoric Indonesia, Southeast Asia, beginning between about 40,000 to 35,000 years ago. Non-figura ...
.


Neolithic

During the Neolithic expansion, various
megalithic A megalith is a large Rock (geology), stone that has been used to construct a prehistoric structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. There are over 35,000 in Europe alone, located widely from Sweden to the Mediterr ...
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 BCE. These people may have had some relation to the subsequent development of the Iberian civilization. As is the case for most of the rest of Southern Europe, the principal ancestral origin of modern Iberians are
Early European Farmers Early European Farmers (EEF), First European Farmers (FEF), Neolithic European Farmers, Ancient Aegean Farmers, or Anatolian Neolithic Farmers (ANF) are names used to describe a distinct group of early Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New St ...
who arrived during the Neolithic. The large predominance of Y-Chromosome Haplogroup R1b, common throughout
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. The concept of "the West" appeared in Europe in juxtaposition to "the East" and originally applied to the ancient Mediterranean ...
, is testimony to a considerable input from various waves of (predominantly male)
Western Steppe Herders In archaeogenetics, the term Western Steppe Herders (WSH), or Western Steppe Pastoralists, is the name given to a distinct ancestral component first identified in individuals from the Chalcolithic, Eneolithic steppe around the turn of the 5th mi ...
from the
Pontic–Caspian steppe The Pontic–Caspian steppe, formed by the Caspian steppe and the Pontic steppe, is the steppeland stretching from the northern shores of the Black Sea (the Pontus Euxinus of antiquity) to the northern area around the Caspian Sea The ...
during the Bronze Age. Iberia experienced a significant genetic turnover, with 100% of the paternal ancestry and 40% of the overall ancestry being replaced by peoples with steppe-related ancestry.


Chalcolithic

In the
Chalcolithic The Copper Age, also called the Chalcolithic (; from grc-gre, χαλκός ''khalkós'', "copper" and  ''líthos'', "Rock (geology), stone") or (A)eneolithic (from Latin ''wikt:aeneus, aeneus'' "of copper"), is an list of archaeologi ...
( 3000 BCE), a series of complex cultures developed that would give rise to the peninsula's
first civilization A cradle of civilization is a location and a culture where civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society characterized by the development of a state, social stratification, urbanization Urbanization (or ur ...
s and to extensive exchange networks reaching to the Baltic,
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233: ) is a geopolitical region commonly encompassing Arabian Peninsula, Arabia (including the Arabian Peninsula and Bahrain), Anatolia, Asia Minor (Asian part of Turkey except Hatay Pro ...
and
North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in t ...
. Around 2800 – 2700 BCE, the
Beaker culture The Bell Beaker culture, also known as the Bell Beaker complex or Bell Beaker phenomenon, is an archaeological culture An archaeological culture is a recurring Assemblage (archaeology), assemblage of types of Artifact (archaeology), artifacts, ...
, which produced the ''Maritime Bell Beaker'', probably originated in the vibrant copper-using communities of the
Tagus The Tagus ( ; es, Tajo ; pt, Tejo ; see #Name, below) is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. The river rises in the Montes Universales near Teruel, in mid-eastern Spain, flows , generally west with two main south-westward sections ...
estuary in Portugal and spread from there to many parts of western Europe.


Bronze Age

Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
cultures developed beginning  1800 BCE, when the culture of Los Millares was followed by that of El Argar. During the Early Bronze Age, southeastern Iberia saw the emergence of important settlements, a development that has compelled some archeologists to propose that these settlements indicate the advent of state-level social structures. From this centre, bronze metalworking technology spread to other cultures like the Bronze of Levante, South-Western Iberian Bronze and
Las Cogotas Las Cogotas ( es, Las Cogotas) is an archaeological site in Spain in Cardenosa municipality, province of Ávila (province), Avila. The site was researched by the Galician archaeologist :es:Juan Cabré, Juan Cabré in 1920s. It is namesake for two ...
. In the Late Bronze Age, the urban civilisation of
Tartessos Tartessos ( es, Tarteso) is, as defined by archaeological discoveries, a historical civilization settled in the region of Southern Spain characterized by its mixture of local Paleohispanic (disambiguation), Paleohispanic and Phoenicia, Phoenici ...
developed in Southwestern Iberia, characterized by
Phoenicia Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
n influence and using the Southwest Paleohispanic script for its Tartessian language, not related to the
Iberian language The Iberian language was the language of an indigenous western European people identified by Ancient Greece, Greek and ancient Rome, Roman sources who lived in the eastern and southeastern regions of the Iberian Peninsula in the pre-Migration Er ...
. Early in the first millennium BCE, several waves of Pre-Celts and
Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-Europea ...
migrated from
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Society, social and cultural identity. The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) between Catholic Church, Catholicism and Protestanti ...
, 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 Castro culture ( gl, cultura castrexa, pt, cultura castreja, ast, cultura castriega, es, cultura castreña, meaning "culture of the hillforts") is the archaeological term for the material culture of the northwestern regions of the Iberian Pen ...
, with a large number of hill forts and some fortified cities.


Proto-history

By the
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic) and the Bronze Age (Chalcolithic). The concept has been mostly appl ...
, starting in the 7th century BCE, the Iberian Peninsula consisted of complex agrarian and urban civilizations, either
Pre-Celtic The pre-Celtic period in the prehistory of Central Europe and Western Europe occurred before the expansion of the Celts or their culture in Iron Age Europe and Ancient Near East#Iron Age, Anatolia (9th to 6th centuries BC), but after the emergence ...
or Celtic (such as the
Celtiberians The Celtiberians were a group of Celts and Celticisation, Celticized peoples inhabiting an area in the central-northeastern Iberian Peninsula during the final centuries BCE. They were explicitly mentioned as being Celts by several classic author ...
,
Gallaeci The Gallaeci (also Callaeci or Callaici; grc, Καλλαϊκοί) were a Celtic people, Celtic tribal complex who inhabited Gallaecia, the north-western corner of Iberia, a region roughly corresponding to what is now the Norte Region, Portugal, ...
,
Astures The Astures or Asturs, also named Astyrs, were the Hispano-Celtic language, Hispano-Celtic inhabitants of the northwest area of Hispania that now comprises almost the entire modern autonomous community of Principality of Asturias, the modern prov ...
,
Celtici ] The Celtici (in Portuguese language, Portuguese, Spanish language, Spanish, and Galician language, Galician languages, ) were a Celtic tribe or group of tribes of the Iberian peninsula, inhabiting three definite areas: in what today are the regi ...
,
Lusitanians The Lusitanians ( la, Lusitani) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people living in the west of the Iberian Peninsula prior to its conquest by the Roman Republic and the subsequent incorporation of the territory into the Roma ...
and others), the cultures of the
Iberians The Iberians ( la, Hibērī, from el, Ἴβηρες, ''Iberes'') were an ancient people settled in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula, at least from the 6th century BC. They are described in Ancient Greece, Greek and anci ...
in the eastern and southern zones and the cultures of the Aquitanian in the western portion of the Pyrenees. As early as the 12th century BCE, the
Phoenicians Phoenicia () was an ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, ancient thalassocracy, thalassocratic civilization originating in the Levant region of the eastern Mediterranean, primarily located in modern Lebanon. The territory of the Phoenician city-st ...
, a thalassocratic civilization originally from the Eastern Mediterranean, began to explore the coastline of the peninsula, interacting with the metal-rich communities in the southwest of the peninsula (contemporarily known as the semi-mythical
Tartessos Tartessos ( es, Tarteso) is, as defined by archaeological discoveries, a historical civilization settled in the region of Southern Spain characterized by its mixture of local Paleohispanic (disambiguation), Paleohispanic and Phoenicia, Phoenici ...
). Around 1100 BCE, Phoenician merchants founded the trading colony of Gadir or Gades (modern day
Cádiz Cádiz (, , ) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is the first-level politica ...
). Phoenicians established a permanent trading port in the Gadir colony circa 800 BCE in response to the increasing demand of silver from the
Assyrian Empire Assyrian may refer to: * Assyrian people, the indigenous ethnic group of Mesopotamia. * Assyria, a major Mesopotamian kingdom and empire. ** Early Assyrian period, Early Assyrian Period ** Old Assyrian period, Old Assyrian Period ** Middle Assyria ...
. The seafaring Phoenicians,
Greeks The Greeks or Hellenes (; el, Έλληνες, ''Éllines'' ) are an ethnic group and nation indigenous to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, namely Greece, Greek Cypriots, Cyprus, Greeks in Albania, Albania, Greeks in Italy, ...
and
Carthaginians The Punic people, or western Phoenicians, were a Semitic people, Semitic people in the Western Mediterranean who migrated from Tyre, Lebanon, Tyre, Phoenicia to North Africa during the Iron Age, Early Iron Age. In modern scholarship, the term '' ...
successively settled along the Mediterranean coast and founded trading colonies there over a period of several centuries. In the 8th century BCE, the first
Greek colonies Greek colonization was an organised Colonies in antiquity, colonial expansion by the Archaic Greece, Archaic Greeks into the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea in the period of the 8th–6th centuries BC. This colonization differed from the Iron Ag ...
, such as Emporion (modern Empúries), were founded along the Mediterranean coast on the east, leaving the south coast to the Phoenicians. Together with the presence of Phoenician and Greek epigraphy, a number of paleohispanic scripts developed in the Iberian Peninsula along the 1st millennium BCE. The development of a primordial paleohispanic script antecessor to the rest of paleohispanic scripts (originally supposed to be a non-redundant
semi-syllabary A semi-syllabary is a writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication, based on a script and a orthography, set of rules regulating its use. While both writing and spoken language, speech are useful i ...
) derived from the
Phoenician alphabet The Phoenician alphabet is an alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written graphemes (called letter (alphabet), letters) that represent the phonemes of certain spoken languages. Not all writing systems represent language ...
and originated in Southwestern Iberia by the 7th century BCE has been tentatively proposed. In the sixth century BCE, 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 Cartagena () is a Spanish city and a major Cartagena Naval Base, naval station on the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Iberia. As of January 2018, it has a population of 218,943 inhabitants, being the region's second-largest ...
).


History


Roman rule

In 218 BCE, during the
Second Punic War The Second Punic War (218 to 201 BC) was the second of Punic Wars, three wars fought between Ancient Carthage, Carthage and Roman Republic, Rome, the two main powers of the western Mediterranean Basin, Mediterranean in the 3rd century BC. For ...
against the Carthaginians, the first
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ...
troops occupied the Iberian Peninsula; however, it was not until the reign of
Augustus Caesar Augustus (born Gaius Octavius; 23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14), also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor; he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Pri ...
that it was annexed after 200 years of war with the
Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-Europea ...
and
Iberians The Iberians ( la, Hibērī, from el, Ἴβηρες, ''Iberes'') were an ancient people settled in the eastern and southern coasts of the Iberian peninsula, at least from the 6th century BC. They are described in Ancient Greece, Greek and anci ...
. The result was the creation of the province of
Hispania Hispania ( la, Hispānia , ; nearly identically pronounced in Spanish language, Spanish, Portuguese language, Portuguese, Catalan language, Catalan, and Italian language, Italian) was the Ancient Rome, Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula and it ...
. It was divided into
Hispania Ulterior Hispania Ulterior (English: "Further Hispania", or occasionally "Thither Hispania") was a region of Hispania during the Roman Republic, roughly located in Baetica and in the Guadalquivir Valley, Guadalquivir valley of modern Spain and extending to ...
and
Hispania Citerior Hispania Citerior (English: "Hither Iberia", or "Nearer Iberia") was a Roman province in Hispania during the Roman Republic. It was on the eastern coast of Iberia down to the town of Cartago Nova, today's Cartagena, Spain, Cartagena in the autonom ...
during the late
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...
, and during the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...

Roman Empire
, it was divided into
Hispania Tarraconensis Hispania Tarraconensis was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania. It encompassed much of the northern, eastern and central territories of modern Spain along with modern North Region, Portugal, northern Portugal. Southern Spain, the region now c ...
in the northeast,
Hispania Baetica Hispania Baetica, often abbreviated Baetica, was one of three Roman provinces in Hispania (the Iberian Peninsula). Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica remained one of the basic di ...
in the south and
Lusitania Lusitania (; ) was an ancient Iberian Roman province located where modern Portugal (south of the Douro river) and a portion of western Spain (the present Extremadura and the province of Salamanca) lie. It was named after the Lusitani or Lusita ...
in the southwest. Hispania supplied the Roman Empire with silver, food, olive oil, wine, and metal. The emperors
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Traianus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor from 98 to 117. Officially declared ''optimus princeps'' ("best ruler") by the Roman Senate, senate, Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emper ...
,
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Trâiānus Hadriānus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born in Italica (close to modern Santiponce in Spain), a Roman ''municipium'' founded by Italic peoples, Italic settlers ...
,
Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Latin: áːɾkus̠ auɾέːli.us̠ antɔ́ːni.us̠ English: ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 AD and a Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good ...
, and
Theodosius I Theodosius I ( grc-gre, Θεοδόσιος ; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also called Theodosius the Great, was Roman emperor from 379 to 395. During his reign, he succeeded in a crucial Gothic War (376–382), war against the Got ...
, the philosopher
Seneca the Younger Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (; 65 AD), usually known mononymously as Seneca, was a Stoicism, Stoic philosopher of Ancient Rome, a statesman, dramatist, and, in one work, satirist, from the post-Augustan age of Latin literature. Seneca was ...
, and the poets
Martial Marcus Valerius Martialis (known in English language, English as Martial ; March, between 38 and 41 AD – between 102 and 104 AD) was a Roman poet from Hispania (modern Spain) best known for his twelve books of ''Epigrams'', published in Anci ...
and
Lucan Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (3 November 39 AD – 30 April 65 AD), better known in English language, English as Lucan (), was a Roman Empire, Roman poet, born in Corduba (modern-day Córdoba, Spain, Córdoba), in Hispania Baetica. He is regarded as ...
were born from families living on the Iberian Peninsula. During their 600-year occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, the Romans introduced the Latin language that influenced many of the languages that exist today in the Iberian peninsula.


Pre-modern Iberia

In the early fifth century,
Germanic peoples The Germanic peoples were historical groups of people that once occupied Central Europe and Scandinavia during antiquity and into the early Middle Ages. Since the 19th century, they have traditionally been defined by the use of ancient and ear ...
occupied the peninsula, namely the
Suebi The Suebi (or Suebians, also spelled Suevi, Suavi) were a large group of Germanic peoples originally from the Elbe river region in what is now Germany and the Czech Republic. In the early Roman era they included many peoples with their own names ...
, the
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
(
Silingi The Silings or Silingi ( la, Silingae; grc, Σιλίγγαι – ) were a Germanic peoples, Germanic tribe, part of the larger Vandals, Vandal group. The Silingi at one point lived in Silesia, and the names ''Silesia'' and ''Silingi'' may be rela ...
and
Hasdingi The Hasdingi were one of the Vandals, Vandal peoples of the Roman era. The Vandals were Germanic peoples, who are believed to have spoken an East Germanic languages, East Germanic language, and were first reported during the first centuries of the R ...
) and their allies, the
Alans The Alans (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around prese ...
. Only the kingdom of the Suebi (
Quadi The Quadi were a Germanic peoples, Germanic * * * people who lived approximately in the area of modern Moravia in the time of the Roman Empire. The only surviving contemporary reports about the Germanic tribe are those of the Romans, whose em ...
and
Marcomanni The Marcomanni were a Germanic people * * * that established a powerful kingdom north of the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running ...
) would endure after the arrival of another wave of Germanic invaders, the
Visigoths The Visigoths (; la, Visigothi, Wisigothi, Vesi, Visi, Wesi, Wisi) were an early Germanic people who, along with the Ostrogoths, constituted the two major political entities of the Goths within the Roman Empire in late antiquity, or what is kno ...
, who occupied all of the Iberian Peninsula and expelled or partially integrated the Vandals and the Alans. The Visigoths eventually occupied the Suebi kingdom and its capital city, Bracara (modern day
Braga Braga ( , ; cel-x-proto, Bracara) is a cities of Portugal, city and a concelho, municipality, capital of the northwestern Portugal, Portuguese Braga (district), district of Braga and of the historical and cultural Minho Province. Braga Municipa ...
), in 584–585. They would also occupy the
province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from the ancient Roman ''Roman province, provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire ...
of the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survi ...
(552–624) of
Spania Spania ( la, Provincia Spaniae) was a Roman province, province of the Eastern Roman Empire from 552 until 624 in the south of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearic Islands. It was established by the List of Byzantine emperors, Emperor Justinian ...
in the south of the peninsula. However,
Balearic Islands The Balearic Islands ( es, Islas Baleares ; or ca, Illes Balears ) are an archipelago in the Balearic Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The archipelago is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community and a P ...
remained in Byzantine hands until Umayyad conquest in 707. In 711, a Muslim army conquered the Visigothic Kingdom in Hispania. Under
Tariq ibn Ziyad Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād ( ar, طارق بن زياد), also known simply as Tarik in English, was a Berbers, Berber commander who served the Umayyad Caliphate and initiated the Muslim Umayyad conquest of Hispania, Umayyad conquest of Visigothic Hispa ...
, the Islamic army landed at Gibraltar and, in an eight-year campaign, occupied all except the northern kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula in the
Umayyad conquest of Hispania The Umayyad conquest of Hispania, also known as the Umayyad conquest of the Visigothic Kingdom, was the initial expansion of the Umayyad Caliphate over Hispania (in the Iberian Peninsula) from 711 to 718. The conquest resulted in the decline of t ...
.
Al-Andalus Al-Andalus translit. ; an, al-Andalus; ast, al-Ándalus; eu, al-Andalus; ber, ⴰⵏⴷⴰⵍⵓⵙ, label=Berber, translit=Andalus; ca, al-Àndalus; gl, al-Andalus; oc, Al Andalús; pt, al-Ândalus; es, al-Ándalus () was the Mus ...
( ar, الإندلس, tr. ''al-ʾAndalūs'', possibly "Land of the Vandals"), is the Arabic name given to Muslim Iberia. The Muslim conquerors were
Arabs The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping o ...
and
Berbers , image = File:Berber_flag.svg , caption = The Berber flag, Berber ethnic flag , population = 36 million , region1 = Morocco , pop1 = 14 million to 18 million , region2 = Algeria , p ...
; following the conquest, conversion and arabization of the Hispano-Roman population took place, (''muwalladum'' or '' Muladí''). After a long process, spurred on in the 9th and 10th centuries, the majority of the population in Al-Andalus eventually converted to Islam. The Muslims were referred to by the generic name ''
Moors The term Moor, derived from the ancient Mauri, is an Endonym and exonym, exonym first used by Christianity in Europe, Christian Europeans to designate the Muslims, Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Malta duri ...
''. The Muslim population was divided per ethnicity (Arabs, Berbers, Muladí), and the supremacy of Arabs over the rest of group was a recurrent causal for strife, rivalry and hatred, particularly between Arabs and Berbers. Arab elites could be further divided in the Yemenites (first wave) and the Syrians (second wave). Christians and Jews were allowed to live as part of a stratified society under the ''dhimmah'' system, although Jews became very important in certain fields. Some Christians migrated to the Northern Christian kingdoms, while those who stayed in Al-Andalus progressively arabised and became known as ''musta'arab'' (
mozarab The Mozarabs ( es, mozárabes ; pt, moçárabes ; ca, mossàrabs ; from ar, مستعرب, musta‘rab, lit=Arabized) is a modern historical term for the Iberian Peninsula, Iberian Christians, including Christianized Iberian Jews, who lived unde ...
s). The slave population comprised the '' Ṣaqāliba'' (literally meaning "slavs", although they were slaves of generic European origin) as well as Sudanese slaves. The Umayyad rulers faced a major
Berber Revolt The Berber Revolt of 740–743 AD (122–125 AH in the Islamic calendar) took place during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik and marked the first successful secession from the Arab caliphate (ruled from Damascus). Fired up ...
in the early 740s; the uprising originally broke out in North Africa (Tangier) and later spread across the peninsula. Following the
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ; ar, الْخِلَافَةُ الْعَبَّاسِيَّة, ') was the third caliphate to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib ...
takeover from the Umayyads and the shift of the economic centre of the Islamic Caliphate from Damascus to Baghdad, the western province of al-Andalus was marginalised and ultimately became politically autonomous as independent emirate in 756, ruled by one of the last surviving Umayyad royals, Abd al-Rahman I. Al-Andalus became a center of culture and learning, especially during the
Caliphate of Córdoba The Caliphate of Córdoba ( ar, خلافة قرطبة; transliterated Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one writing system, script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Pre ...
. The Caliphate reached the height of its power under the rule of
Abd-ar-Rahman III ʿAbd al-Rahmān ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn al-Ḥakam al-Rabdī ibn Hishām ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Dākhil () or ʿAbd al-Rahmān III (890 - 961), was the Umayyad The Umayyad Caliphate (6 ...
and his successor
al-Hakam II Al-Hakam II, also known as Abū al-ʿĀṣ al-Mustanṣir bi-Llāh al-Hakam b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān (; January 13, 915 – October 16, 976), was the Caliph of Caliphate of Córdoba, Córdoba. He was the second ''Umayyad'' Caliph of Córdoba in Al-A ...
, becoming then, in the view of Jaime Vicens Vives, "the most powerful state in Europe". Abd-ar-Rahman III also managed to expand the clout of Al-Andalus across the Strait of Gibraltar, waging war, as well as his successor, against the Fatimid Empire. Between the 8th and 12th centuries, Al-Andalus enjoyed a notable urban vitality, both in terms of the growth of the preexisting cities as well as in terms of founding of new ones: Córdoba reached a population of 100,000 by the 10th century, Toledo 30,000 by the 11th century and
Seville Seville (; es, Sevilla, ) is the capital and largest city of the Spain, Spanish autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir, River Gua ...
80,000 by the 12th century. During the Middle Ages, the North of the peninsula housed many small Christian polities including the
Kingdom of Castile The Kingdom of Castile (; es, Reino de Castilla, la, Regnum Castellae) was a large and powerful state on the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the host of castles constructed in the region. It began in the 9th centu ...
, the
Kingdom of Aragon The Kingdom of Aragon ( an, Reino d'Aragón, ca, Regne d'Aragó, la, Regnum Aragoniae, es, Reino de Aragón) was a medieval and early modern Monarchy, kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day Autonomous communities ...
, the
Kingdom of Navarre The Kingdom of Navarre (; , , , ), originally the Kingdom of Pamplona (), was a Basque kingdom that occupied lands on both sides of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France. The medieval state took ...
, the Kingdom of León or the
Kingdom of Portugal The Kingdom of Portugal ( la, Regnum Portugalliae, pt, Reino de Portugal) was a monarchy A monarchy is a government#Forms, form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The legitimac ...
, as well as a number of counties that spawned from the Carolingian
Marca Hispanica The Hispanic March or Spanish March ( es, Marca Hispánica, ca, Marca Hispànica, Aragonese language, Aragonese and oc, Marca Hispanica, eu, Hispaniako Marka, french: Marche d'Espagne), was a military buffer zone beyond the former province o ...
. Christian and Muslim polities fought and allied among themselves in variable alliances. The Christian kingdoms progressively expanded south taking over Muslim territory in what is historiographically known as the "
Reconquista The ' (Spanish language, Spanish, Portuguese language, Portuguese and Galician language, Galician for "reconquest") is a Historiography, historiographical construction describing the 781-year period in the history of the Iberian Peninsula be ...
" (the latter concept has been however noted as product of the claim to a pre-existing Spanish Catholic nation and it would not necessarily convey adequately "the complexity of centuries of warring and other more peaceable interactions between Muslim and Christian kingdoms in medieval Iberia between 711 and 1492"). The Caliphate of Córdoba was subsumed in a period of upheaval and civil war (the Fitna of al-Andalus) and collapsed in the early 11th century, spawning a series of ephemeral statelets, the ''
taifa The ''taifas'' (singular ''taifa'', from ar, طائفة ''ṭā'ifa'', plural طوائف ''ṭawā'if'', a party, band or faction) were the independent Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam I ...
s''. Until the mid 11th century, most of the territorial expansion southwards of the Kingdom of Asturias/León was carried out through a policy of agricultural colonization rather than through military operations; then, profiting from the feebleness of the taifa principalities, Ferdinand I of León seized Lamego and Viseu (1057–1058) and Coimbra (1064) away from the
Taifa of Badajoz The Taifa of Badajoz (from ar, طائفة بطليوس) was a medieval Islamic Moors, Moorish kingdom located in what is now parts of Portugal and Spain. It was centred on the city of Badajoz which exists today as the first city of Extremadura ...
(at times at war with the Taifa of Seville); Meanwhile, in the same year Coimbra was conquered, in the Northeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula, the Kingdom of Aragon took Barbastro from the Hudid Taifa of Lérida as part of an international expedition sanctioned by Pope Alexander II. Most critically, Alfonso VI of León-Castile conquered Toledo and its wider taifa in 1085, in what it was seen as a critical event at the time, entailing also a huge territorial expansion, advancing from the
Sistema Central The Central System, Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other p ...
to
La Mancha La Mancha () is a natural region, natural and historical region located in the provinces of Spain, Spanish provinces of province of Albacete, Albacete, province of Cuenca, Cuenca, province of Ciudad Real, Ciudad Real, and province of Toledo, Tol ...
. In 1086, following the siege of Zaragoza by Alfonso VI of León-Castile, the
Almoravid The Almoravid dynasty ( ar, المرابطون, translit=Al-Murābiṭūn, lit=those from the ribats) was an imperial Berber Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإس ...
s, religious zealots originally from the deserts of the Maghreb, landed in the Iberian Peninsula, and, having inflicted a serious defeat to Alfonso VI at the battle of Zalaca, began to seize control of the remaining taifas. The Almoravids in the Iberian peninsula progressively relaxed strict observance of their faith, and treated both Jews and Mozarabs harshly, facing uprisings across the peninsula, initially in the Western part. The
Almohad The Almohad Caliphate (; ar, خِلَافَةُ ٱلْمُوَحِّدِينَ or or from ar, ٱلْمُوَحِّدُونَ, translit=al-Muwaḥḥidūn, lit=those who profess the Tawhid, unity of God) was a North African Berbers, Berber M ...
s, another North-African Muslim sect of Masmuda Berber origin who had previously undermined the Almoravid rule south of the Strait of Gibraltar, first entered the peninsula in 1146. Somewhat straying from the trend taking place in other locations of the Latin West since the 10th century, the period comprising the 11th and 13th centuries was not one of weakening monarchical power in the Christian kingdoms. The relatively novel concept of "frontier" (Sp: ''frontera''), already reported in Aragon by the second half of the 11th century become widespread in the Christian Iberian kingdoms by the beginning of the 13th century, in relation to the more or less conflictual border with Muslim lands. By the beginning of the 13th century, a power reorientation took place in the Iberian Peninsula (parallel to the Christian expansion in Southern Iberia and the increasing commercial impetus of Christian powers across the Mediterranean) and to a large extent, trade-wise, the Iberian Peninsula reorientated towards the North away from the Muslim World. During the Middle Ages, the monarchs of Castile and León, from Alfonso V and Alfonso VI (crowned ''Hispaniae Imperator'') to
Alfonso X Alfonso X (also known as the Wise, es, el Sabio; 23 November 1221 – 4 April 1284) was King of Castile This is a list of kings and queens of the Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom and Crown of Castile. For their predecessors, see List of Castili ...
and
Alfonso XI Alfonso XI (13 August 131126 March 1350), called the Avenger (''el Justiciero''), was King of Crown of Castile, Castile and Kingdom of León, León. He was the son of Ferdinand IV of Castile and his wife Constance of Portugal. Upon his father's ...
tended to embrace an imperial ideal based on a dual Christian and Jewish ideology. Merchants from Genoa and Pisa were conducting an intense trading activity in Catalonia already by the 12th century, and later in Portugal. Since the 13th century, the
Crown of Aragon The Crown of Aragon ( , ) an, Corona d'Aragón ; ca, Corona d'Aragó, , , ; es, Corona de Aragón ; la, Corona Aragonum . was a composite monarchy ruled by one king, originated by the dynastic union of the Kingdom of Aragon and the County o ...
expanded overseas; led by
Catalans Catalans (Catalan language, Catalan, French language, French and Occitan language, Occitan: ''catalans''; es, catalanes, Italian language, Italian: ''catalani'', sc, cadelanos) are a Romance languages, Romance ethnic group native to Cataloni ...
, it attained an overseas empire in the Western Mediterranean, with a presence in Mediterranean islands such as the
Balearics The Balearic Islands ( es, Islas Baleares ; or ca, Illes Balears ) are an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containi ...
,
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographi ...
and
Sardinia Sardinia ( ; it, Sardegna, label=Italian language, Italian, Corsican language, Corsican and Tabarchino ; sc, Sardigna , sdc, Sardhigna; french: Sardaigne; sdn, Saldigna; ca, Sardenya, label=Algherese dialect, Algherese and Catalan languag ...
, and even conquering Naples in the mid-15th century. Genoese merchants invested heavily in the Iberian commercial enterprise with Lisbon becoming, according to Virgínia Rau, the "great centre of Genoese trade" in the early 14th century. The Portuguese would later detach their trade to some extent from Genoese influence. The
Nasrid Kingdom of Granada The Emirate of Granada ( ar, إمارة غرﻧﺎﻃﺔ, Imārat Ġarnāṭah), also known as the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada ( es, Reino Nazarí de Granada), was an Emirate, Islamic realm in southern Iberia during the Late Middle Ages. It was the ...
, neighbouring the
Strait of Gibraltar The Strait of Gibraltar ( ar, مضيق جبل طارق, Maḍīq Jabal Ṭāriq; es, Estrecho de Gibraltar, Archaism, Archaic: Pillars of Hercules), also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to ...
and founded upon a
vassalage A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and political), power over others, acting as a master, chief, ...
relationship with the Crown of Castile, also insinuated itself into the European mercantile network, with its ports fostering intense trading relations with the Genoese as well, but also with the Catalans, and to a lesser extent, with the Venetians, the Florentines, and the Portuguese. Between 1275 and 1340, Granada became involved in the "crisis of the Strait", and was caught in a complex geopolitical struggle ("a kaleidoscope of alliances") with multiple powers vying for dominance of the Western Mediterranean, complicated by the unstable relations of Muslim Granada with the
Marinid Sultanate The Marinid Sultanate was a Berbers, Berber Muslim empire from the mid-13th to the 15th century which controlled present-day Morocco and, intermittently, other parts of North Africa (Algeria and Tunisia) and of the southern Iberian Peninsula ( ...
. The conflict reached a climax in the 1340 Battle of Río Salado, when, this time in alliance with Granada, the Marinid Sultan (and Caliph pretender)
Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Othman Abu Al-Hasan 'Ali ibn 'Othman (c. 1297 – 24 May 1351), () was a sultan of the Marinid dynasty who reigned in Morocco between 1331 and 1348. In 1333 he captured Gibraltar from the Castilians, although a later attempt to take Tarifa in 1339 ende ...
made the last Marinid attempt to set up a power base in the Iberian Peninsula. The lasting consequences of the resounding Muslim defeat to an alliance of Castile and Portugal with naval support from Aragon and Genoa ensured Christian supremacy over the Iberian Peninsula and the preeminence of Christian fleets in the Western Mediterranean. The 1348–1350 bubonic plague devastated large parts of the Iberian Peninsula, leading to a sudden economic cessation. Many settlements in northern Castile and Catalonia were left forsaken. The plague marked the start of the hostility and downright violence towards religious minorities (particularly the Jews) as an additional consequence in the Iberian realms. The 14th century was a period of great upheaval in the Iberian realms. After the death of Peter the Cruel of Castile (reigned 1350–69), the
House of Trastámara The House of Trastámara ( Spanish, Aragonese and Catalan: Casa de Trastámara) was a royal dynasty which first ruled in the Crown of Castile The Crown of Castile was a medieval polity in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a resu ...
succeeded to the throne in the person of Peter's half brother, Henry II (reigned 1369–79). In the kingdom of Aragón, following the death without heirs of
John I John I may refer to: People * John I (bishop of Jerusalem) * John Chrysostom (349 – c. 407), Patriarch of Constantinople * John I of Antioch, John of Antioch (died 441) * Pope John I, Pope from 523 to 526 * John I (exarch) (died 615), Exarch of R ...
(reigned 1387–96) and Martin I (reigned 1396–1410), a prince of the House of Trastámara,
Ferdinand I Ferdinand I or Fernando I may refer to: People * Ferdinand I of León, ''the Great'' (ca. 1000–1065, king from 1037) * Ferdinand I of Portugal and the Algarve, ''the Handsome'' (1345–1383, king from 1367) * Ferdinand I of Aragon and Sicily, ''o ...
(reigned 1412–16), succeeded to the Aragonese throne. The
Hundred Years' War The Hundred Years' War (; 1337–1453) was a series of armed conflicts between the kingdoms of Kingdom of England, England and Kingdom of France, France during the Late Middle Ages. It originated from disputed claims to the French Crown, ...
also spilled over into the Iberian peninsula, with Castile particularly taking a role in the conflict by providing key naval support to France that helped lead to that nation's eventual victory. After the accession of Henry III to the throne of Castile, the populace, exasperated by the preponderance of Jewish influence, perpetrated a massacre of Jews at Toledo. In 1391, mobs went from town to town throughout Castile and Aragon, killing an estimated 50,000 Jews, or even as many as 100,000, according to Jane Gerber. Women and children were sold as slaves to Muslims, and many synagogues were converted into churches. According to
Hasdai Crescas Hasdai ben Abraham Crescas (; he, חסדאי קרשקש; c. 1340 in Barcelona – 1410/11 in Zaragoza) was a Spanish-Jewish philosopher and a renowned halakhist (teacher of Jewish law). Along with Maimonides ("Rambam"), Gersonides ("Ralba ...
, about 70 Jewish communities were destroyed. During the 15th century, Portugal, which had ended its southwards territorial expansion across the Iberian Peninsula in 1249 with the conquest of the Algarve, initiated an overseas expansion in parallel to the rise of the
House of Aviz The House of Aviz (Portuguese language, Portuguese: ''Casa de Avis''), also known as the Joanine Dynasty (''Dinastia Joanina''), was a dynasty of Portuguese people, Portuguese origin which flourished during the Portuguese Renaissance, Renaissance ...
, conquering Ceuta (1415) arriving at
Porto Santo Porto Santo Island () is a Portugal, Portuguese island northeast of Madeira Island in the North Atlantic Ocean; it is the northernmost and easternmost island of the archipelago of Madeira Islands, Madeira, located in the Atlantic Ocean west of Eu ...
(1418),
Madeira ) , anthem = ( en, "Anthem of the Autonomous Region of Madeira") , song_type = Regional anthem , image_map=EU-Portugal_with_Madeira_circled.svg , map_alt=Location of Madeira , map_caption=Location of Madeira , subdivision_type=Sovereign st ...
and the
Azores ) , motto =( en, "Rather die free than subjected in peace") , anthem= ( en, "Anthem of the Azores") , image_map=Locator_map_of_Azores_in_EU.svg , map_alt=Location of the Azores within the European Union , map_caption=Location of the Azores wi ...
, as well as establishing additional outposts along the North-African Atlantic coast. In addition, already in the Early Modern Period, between the completion of the Granada War in 1492 and the death of Ferdinand of Aragon in 1516, the Hispanic Monarchy would make strides in the imperial expansion along the Mediterranean coast of the Maghreb. During the Late Middle Ages, the
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is the age of the Israelites""The ...
acquired considerable power and influence in Castile and Aragon. Throughout the late Middle Ages, the Crown of Aragon took part in the mediterranean slave trade, with
Barcelona Barcelona ( , , ) is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within ci ...
(already in the 14th century),
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Valencian Community, Valencia and the Municipalities of Spain, third-most populated municipality in Spain, with 791,413 inhabitants. It is ...
(particularly in the 15th century) and, to a lesser extent,
Palma de Mallorca Palma (; ; also known as ''Palma de Mallorca'', officially between 1983–88, 2006–08, and 2012–16) is the capital and largest city of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of the Balearic Islands in Spain. It is situate ...
(since the 13th century), becoming dynamic centres in this regard, involving chiefly eastern and Muslim peoples. Castile engaged later in this economic activity, rather by adhering to the incipient atlantic slave trade involving sub-saharan people thrusted by Portugal (Lisbon being the largest slave centre in Western Europe) since the mid 15th century, with Seville becoming another key hub for the slave trade. Following the advance in the conquest of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada, the seizure of
Málaga Málaga (, ) is a Municipalities of Spain, municipality of Spain, capital of the Province of Málaga, in the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia. With a population of 578,460 in 2020, it is the second-most populou ...
entailed the addition of another notable slave centre for the Crown of Castile. By the end of the 15th century (1490) the Iberian kingdoms (including here the Balearic Islands) had an estimated population of 6.525 million (Crown of Castile, 4.3 million; Portugal, 1.0 million; Principality of Catalonia, 0.3 million; Kingdom of Valencia, 0.255 million; Kingdom of Granada, 0.25 million; Kingdom of Aragon, 0.25 million; Kingdom of Navarre, 0.12 million and the Kingdom of Mallorca, 0.05 million). For three decades in the 15th century, the ''Hermandad de las Marismas'', the trading association formed by the ports of Castile along the Cantabrian coast, resembling in some ways the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Central Europe, Central and Norther ...
, fought against the latter, an ally of England, a rival of Castile in political and economic terms. Castile sought to claim the Gulf of Biscay as its own. In 1419, the powerful Castilian navy thoroughly defeated a Hanseatic fleet in La Rochelle. In the late 15th century, the imperial ambition of the Iberian powers was pushed to new heights by the
Catholic Monarchs The Catholic Monarchs were Isabella I of Castile, Queen Isabella I of Crown of Castile, Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, King Ferdinand II of Crown of Aragón, Aragon, whose marriage and joint rule marked the ''de facto'' unification of Spain ...
in Castile and Aragon, and by Manuel I in Portugal. The last Muslim stronghold,
Granada Granada (,, DIN: ; grc, Ἐλιβύργη, Elibýrgē; la, Illiberis or . ) is the capital city of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at t ...
, was conquered by a combined Castilian and Aragonese force in 1492. As many as 100,000 Moors died or were enslaved in the military campaign, while 200,000 fled to North Africa. Muslims and Jews throughout the period were variously tolerated or shown intolerance in different Christian kingdoms. After the
fall of Granada The Granada War ( es, Guerra de Granada) was a series of military campaigns between 1482 and 1491 during the reign of the Catholic Monarchs The Catholic Monarchs were Isabella I of Castile, Queen Isabella I of Crown of Castile, Castile and ...
, all Muslims and Jews were ordered to convert to Christianity or face expulsion—as many as 200,000 Jews were expelled from Spain. Historian Henry Kamen estimates that some 25,000 Jews died en route from Spain. The Jews were also expelled from Sicily and Sardinia, which were under Aragonese rule, and an estimated 37,000 to 100,000 Jews left. In 1497, King
Manuel I of Portugal Manuel I (; 31 May 146913 December 1521), known as the Fortunate ( pt, O Venturoso), was list of Portuguese monarchs, King of Portugal from 1495 to 1521. A member of the House of Aviz, Manuel was Duke of Beja and Duke of Viseu, Viseu prior to su ...
forced all Jews in his kingdom to convert or leave. That same year he expelled all Muslims that were not slaves, and in 1502 the
Catholic Monarchs The Catholic Monarchs were Isabella I of Castile, Queen Isabella I of Crown of Castile, Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, King Ferdinand II of Crown of Aragón, Aragon, whose marriage and joint rule marked the ''de facto'' unification of Spain ...
followed suit, imposing the choice of
conversion to Christianity Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to Christianity. Different Christian denominations may perform various different kinds of rituals or ceremonies initiation into their community of believe ...
or exile and loss of property. Many Jews and Muslims fled to
North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in t ...
and the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
, while others publicly converted to Christianity and became known respectively as
Marrano Marranos were Spanish and Portuguese Jews living in the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ibérique * mwl, ...
s and
Morisco Moriscos (, ; pt, mouriscos ; Spanish for "Moorish") were former Muslims and their descendants whom the Roman Catholic church and the Spain, Spanish Crown commanded to Conversion to Christianity, convert to Christianity or face compulsory ex ...
s (after the old term ''Moors''). 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. From 1609 to 1614, over 300,000 Moriscos were sent on ships to North Africa and other locations, and, of this figure, around 50,000 died resisting the expulsion, and 60,000 died on the journey. The change of relative supremacy from Portugal to the Hispanic Monarchy in the late 15th century has been described as one of the few cases of avoidance of the Thucydides Trap.


Modern Iberia

Challenging the conventions about the advent of modernity,
Immanuel Wallerstein Immanuel Maurice Wallerstein (; September 28, 1930 – August 31, 2019) was an American sociology, sociologist and economic historian. He is perhaps best known for his development of the general approach in sociology which led to the emergence o ...
pushed back the origins of the capitalist modernity to the Iberian expansion of the 15th century. During the 16th century Spain created a vast empire in the Americas, with a state monopoly in
Seville Seville (; es, Sevilla, ) is the capital and largest city of the Spain, Spanish autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir, River Gua ...
becoming the center of the ensuing transatlantic trade, based on
bullion Bullion is non-ferrous metal that has been refined to a high standard of chemical element, elemental purity. The term is ordinarily applied to bulk metal used in the production of coins and especially to precious metals such as gold and silver. ...
. Iberian imperialism, starting by the Portuguese establishment of routes to Asia and the posterior transatlantic trade with the New World by Spaniards and Portuguese (along Dutch, English and French), precipitated the economic decline of the Italian Peninsula. The 16th century was one of population growth with increased pressure over resources; in the case of the Iberian Peninsula a part of the population moved to the Americas meanwhile Jews and Moriscos were banished, relocating to other places in the Mediterranean Basin. Most of the Moriscos remained in Spain after the
Morisco revolt Moriscos (, ; pt, mouriscos ; Spanish for "Moorish") were former Muslims and their descendants whom the Roman Catholic church and the Spain, Spanish Crown commanded to Conversion to Christianity, convert to Christianity or face compulsory ex ...
in Las Alpujarras during the mid-16th century, but roughly 300,000 of them were expelled from the country in 1609–1614, and emigrated ''en masse'' to North Africa. In 1580, after the political crisis that followed the 1578 death of King Sebastian, Portugal became a dynastic composite entity of the Hapsburg Monarchy; thus, the whole peninsula was united politically during the period known as the
Iberian Union pt, União Ibérica , conventional_long_name =Iberian Union , common_name = , year_start = 1580 , date_start = 25 August , life_span = 1580–1640 , event_start = War of the Portuguese Succession , event_end = Portuguese Restoration War ...
(1580–1640). During the reign of
Philip II of Spain Philip II) in Spain, while in Kingdom of Portugal, Portugal and his Italian kingdoms he ruled as Philip I ( pt, Filipe I). (21 May 152713 September 1598), also known as Philip the Prudent ( es, Felipe el Prudente), was King of Spain from 1556, K ...
(I of Portugal), the Councils of Portugal, Italy, Flanders and Burgundy were added to the group of counselling institutions of the Hispanic Monarchy, to which the Councils of Castile, Aragon, Indies, Chamber of Castile, Inquisition, Orders, and Crusade already belonged, defining the organization of the Royal court that underpinned the through which the empire operated. During the Iberian union, the "first great wave" of the
transatlantic slave trade The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and ...
happened, according to Enriqueta Vila Villar, as new markets opened because of the unification gave thrust to the slave trade. By 1600, the percentage of urban population for Spain was roughly 11.4%, while for Portugal the urban population was estimated as 14.1%, which were both above the 7.6% European average of the time (edged only by the Low Countries and the Italian Peninsula). Some striking differences appeared among the different Iberian realms. Castile, extending across a 60% of the territory of the peninsula and having 80% of the population was a rather urbanised country, yet with a widespread distribution of cities. Meanwhile, the urban population in the
Crown of Aragon The Crown of Aragon ( , ) an, Corona d'Aragón ; ca, Corona d'Aragó, , , ; es, Corona de Aragón ; la, Corona Aragonum . was a composite monarchy ruled by one king, originated by the dynastic union of the Kingdom of Aragon and the County o ...
was highly concentrated in a handful of cities:
Zaragoza Zaragoza, also known in English as Saragossa,''Encyclopædia Britannica'"Zaragoza (conventional Saragossa)" is the capital city of the Province of Zaragoza, Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Ara ...
(
Kingdom of Aragon The Kingdom of Aragon ( an, Reino d'Aragón, ca, Regne d'Aragó, la, Regnum Aragoniae, es, Reino de Aragón) was a medieval and early modern Monarchy, kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula, corresponding to the modern-day Autonomous communities ...
),
Barcelona Barcelona ( , , ) is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within ci ...
(
Principality of Catalonia The Principality of Catalonia ( ca, Principat de Catalunya, la, Principatus Cathaloniæ, oc, Principat de Catalonha, es, Principado de Cataluña) was a Middle Ages, medieval and early modern state (polity), state in the northeastern Iberian P ...
), and, to a lesser extent in the
Kingdom of Valencia Kingdom commonly refers to: * A monarchy A monarchy is a government#Forms, form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The legitimacy (political)#monarchy, political legitimacy and au ...
, in
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Valencian Community, Valencia and the Municipalities of Spain, third-most populated municipality in Spain, with 791,413 inhabitants. It is ...
,
Alicante Alicante ( ca-valencia, Alacant) is a city and municipalities of Spain, municipality in the Valencian Community, Spain. It is the capital of the province of Alicante and a historic Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean port. The population of the ...
and
Orihuela Orihuela (; ca-valencia, Oriola ) is a city and municipality located at the feet of the Sierra de Orihuela mountains in the province of Alicante Alicante ( ca-valencia, Alacant) is a city and municipalities of Spain, municipality in the V ...
. The case of Portugal presented an hypertrophied capital,
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
(which greatly increased its population during the 16th century, from 56,000 to 60,000 inhabitants by 1527, to roughly 120,000 by the third quarter of the century) with its demographic dynamism stimulated by the Asian trade, followed at great distance by
Porto Porto or Oporto () is the List of cities in Portugal, second-largest city in Portugal, the capital of the Porto District, and one of the Iberian Peninsula's major urban areas. Porto city proper, which is the entire concelho, municipality of Port ...
and
Évora Évora ( , ) is a city and a municipalities of Portugal, municipality in Portugal. It has 53,591 inhabitants (2021), in an area of 1307.08 km2. It is the historic capital of the Alentejo and serves as the seat of the Évora District. Due ...
(both roughly accounting for 12,500 inhabitants). Throughout most of the 16th century, both Lisbon and
Seville Seville (; es, Sevilla, ) is the capital and largest city of the Spain, Spanish autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir, River Gua ...
were among the Western Europe's largest and most dynamic cities. The 17th century has been largely considered as a very negative period for the Iberian economies, seen as a time of recession, crisis or even decline, the urban dynamism chiefly moving to Northern Europe. A dismantling of the inner city network in the Castilian plateau took place during this period (with a parallel accumulation of economic activity in the capital,
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.4 million inhabitants and a Madrid metropolitan area, metropolitan area population of approximately 6.7 million. It is the Largest cities of the Europ ...
), with only New Castile resisting recession in the interior. Regarding the Atlantic façade of Castile, aside from the severing of trade with Northern Europe, inter-regional trade with other regions in the Iberian Peninsula also suffered to some extent. In Aragon, suffering from similar problems than Castile, the expelling of the Moriscos in 1609 in the Kingdom of Valencia aggravated the recession. Silk turned from a domestic industry into a raw commodity to be exported. However, the crisis was uneven (affecting longer the centre of the peninsula), as both Portugal and the Mediterranean coastline recovered in the later part of the century by fuelling a sustained growth. The aftermath of the intermittent 1640–1668 Portuguese Restoration War brought the
House of Braganza The Most Serene House of Braganza ( pt, Sereníssima Casa de Bragança), also known as the Brigantine Dynasty (''Dinastia Brigantina''), is a dynasty of emperors, kings, princes, and dukes of Portuguese people, Portuguese origin which reigned in ...
as the new ruling dynasty in the Portuguese territories across the world (bar
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a Spanish Autonomous communities of Spain#Autonomous cities, autonomous city on the north coast of Africa. Bordered by Morocco, it lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlan ...
), putting an end to the Iberian Union. Despite both Portugal and Spain starting their path towards modernization with the liberal revolutions of the first half of the 19th century, this process was, concerning structural changes in the geographical distribution of the population, relatively tame compared to what took place after World War II in the Iberian Peninsula, when strong urban development ran in parallel to substantial
rural flight Rural flight (or rural exodus) is the Human migration, migratory pattern of peoples from rural sociology, rural areas into urban areas. It is urbanization seen from the rural perspective. In Industrialisation, industrializing economies like Indu ...
patterns.


Geography and geology

The Iberian Peninsula is the westernmost of the three major southern European peninsulas—the Iberian, Italian, and
Balkan The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographical area in southeastern Europe with various geographical and historical definitions. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whol ...
. It is bordered on the southeast and east by the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the e ...
, and on the north, west, and southwest by the
Atlantic Ocean The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's five oceans, with an area of about . It covers approximately 20% of Earth's surface and about 29% of its water surface area. It is known to separate the " Old World" of Africa ...
. The
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
mountains are situated along the northeast edge of the peninsula, where it adjoins the rest of Europe. Its southern tip, located in
Tarifa Tarifa (, Arabic: طريفة) is a Spanish municipality in the province of Cádiz, Andalusia. Located at the southernmost end of the Iberian Peninsula, it is primarily known as one of the world's most popular destinations for windsports. Tarifa ...
is the southernmost point of the European continent and is very close to the northwest coast of Africa, separated from it by the
Strait of Gibraltar The Strait of Gibraltar ( ar, مضيق جبل طارق, Maḍīq Jabal Ṭāriq; es, Estrecho de Gibraltar, Archaism, Archaic: Pillars of Hercules), also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to ...
and the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the e ...
. The Iberian Peninsula encompasses 583,254 km2 and has very contrasting and uneven relief. The mountain ranges of the Iberian Peninsula are mainly distributed from west to east, and in some cases reach altitudes of approximately 3000 mamsl, resulting in the region having the second highest mean altitude (637 mamsl) in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on context. The concept of "the West" appeared in Europe in juxtaposition to "the East" and originally applied to the ancient Mediterranean ...
. The Iberian Peninsula extends from the southernmost extremity at Punta de Tarifa to the northernmost extremity at Punta de Estaca de Bares over a distance between lines of latitude of about based on a degree length of per degree, and from the westernmost extremity at Cabo da Roca to the easternmost extremity at
Cap de Creus The Cap de Creus (Cabo de Creus in Spanish language, Spanish) is a peninsula and a headland located at the far northeast of Catalonia, some south from the French border. The cape lies in the municipal area of Cadaqués, and the nearest large t ...
over a distance between lines of longitude at 40° N latitude of about based on an estimated degree length of about 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 Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see ...

Strabo
. About three quarters of that rough octagon is the
Meseta Central The ''Meseta Central'' (, sometimes referred to in English as Inner Plateau) is one of the basic geographical units of the Iberian Peninsula. It consists of a plateau covering a large part of the latter's interior. Developed during the 19th cent ...
, 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 Getafe () is a municipalities in Spain, municipality and a city in Spain belonging to the Community of Madrid. , it has a population of 180,747, the region's sixth most populated municipality. Getafe is located 13 km south of Madrid's city ...
just south of
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.4 million inhabitants and a Madrid metropolitan area, metropolitan area population of approximately 6.7 million. It is the Largest cities of the Europ ...
). 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

The coastline of the Iberian Peninsula is , on the Mediterranean side and on the Atlantic side. The coast has been inundated over time, with sea levels having risen from a minimum of lower than today at the
Last Glacial Maximum The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Late Glacial Maximum, was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets were at their greatest extent. Ice sheets covered much of Northern North America, Northern Eu ...
(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 length of Atlantic shelf is only wide. At the
isobath Bathymetry (; ) is the study of underwater depth of seabed, ocean floors (''seabed topography''), lake floors, or river floors. In other words, bathymetry is the underwater equivalent to hypsometry or topography. The first recorded evidence of w ...
, on the edge, the shelf drops off to . 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 The Bay of Biscay (), known in Spain as the Gulf of Biscay ( es, Golfo de Vizcaya, eu, Bizkaiko Golkoa), and in France and some border regions as the Gulf of Gascony (french: Golfe de Gascogne, oc, Golf de Gasconha, br, Pleg-mor Gwaskogn), ...
on the north (an abyss), the Iberian abyssal plain at 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
seamount A seamount is a large geologic landform that rises from the ocean floor that does not reach to the water's surface (sea level), and thus is not an island, islet or cliff, cliff-rock. Seamounts are typically formed from volcano#Extinct, extinct v ...
s, 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

The major rivers flow through the wide valleys between the mountain systems. These are the
Ebro , name_etymology = , image = Zaragoza shel.JPG , image_size = , image_caption = The Ebro River in Zaragoza , map = SpainEbroBasin.png , map_size = , map_caption = The Ebro ...
,
Douro The Douro (, , ; es, Duero ; la, Durius) is the highest-flow river of the Iberian Peninsula. It rises near Duruelo de la Sierra in Soria Province, central Spain, meanders south briefly then flows generally west through the north-west part of ...
,
Tagus The Tagus ( ; es, Tajo ; pt, Tejo ; see #Name, below) is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. The river rises in the Montes Universales near Teruel, in mid-eastern Spain, flows , generally west with two main south-westward sections ...
,
Guadiana The Guadiana River (, also , , ), or Odiana, is an international river defining a long stretch of the Portugal-Spain border, separating Extremadura Extremadura (; ext, Estremaúra; pt, Estremadura; Fala language, Fala: ''Extremaúra'' ...
and
Guadalquivir The Guadalquivir (, also , , ) is the fifth-longest river in the Iberian Peninsula and the second-longest river with its entire length in Spain. The Guadalquivir is the only major navigability, navigable river in Spain. Currently it is navigable ...
. All rivers in the Iberian Peninsula are subject to seasonal variations in flow. The Tagus is the longest river on the peninsula and, like the Douro, flows westwards with its lower course in Portugal. The Guadiana river bends southwards and forms the border between Spain and Portugal in the last stretch of its course.


Mountains

The terrain of the Iberian Peninsula is largely
mountainous A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. Although definitions vary, a mountain may differ from a plateau in having a limited Summit (topography), summit area, and ...
. The major mountain systems are: * The
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
and their foothills, the
Pre-Pyrenees The Pre-Pyrenees are the foothills of the Pyrenees. Description As a mountainous system the Pre-Pyrenees are part of the Pyrenees. They run parallel to the main mountain range in a west to east direction. On the French side the Pyrenees's slop ...
, crossing the isthmus of the peninsula so completely as to allow no passage except by mountain road, trail, coastal road or tunnel.
Aneto Aneto (''pic d'Aneto'' in French language, French, formerly ''pic de Néthou'') is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees and in Aragon, and Spain's third-highest mountain, reaching a height of . It stands in the Spanish province of Huesca (provi ...
in the
Maladeta Maladeta (3,312 m) is a mountain in the Pyrenees, close to the highest peak in the range, Aneto. It is located in the Natural Park of Posets-Maladeta in the town of Benasque in Province of Huesca, Aragon, Spain. Its northern slope contains the M ...
massif, at 3,404 m, is the highest point * The
Cantabrian Mountains The Cantabrian Mountains or Cantabrian Range ( es, Cordillera Cantábrica) are one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain. They stretch for over 300 km (180 miles) across northern Spain, from the western limit of the Pyrenee ...
along the northern coast with the massive
Picos de Europa The Picos de Europa ("Peaks of Europe", also the Picos) are a mountain range extending for about , forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain. The range is situated in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castil ...
. 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 highest point * The
Sistema Ibérico The Iberian System ( es, Sistema Ibérico, ) is one of the major systems of mountain range A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills arranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain b ...
, 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 and Ebro rivers. Moncayo, at 2,313 m, is the highest point * The
Sistema Central The Central System, Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other p ...
, dividing the Iberian Plateau into a northern and a southern half and stretching into Portugal (where the highest point of
Continental Portugal Continental Portugal ( pt, Portugal continental, ) or mainland Portugal comprises the bulk of the Portugal, Portuguese Republic, namely that part on the Iberian Peninsula and so in Continental Europe, having approximately 95% of the total popula ...
(1,993 m) is located in the
Serra da Estrela Serra da Estrela () is the highest mountain range in Continental Portugal. Together with the Serra da Lousã it is the westernmost constituent range of the Sistema Central and also one of the highest in the system. It includes mainland Portugal's ...
). Pico Almanzor in the
Sierra de Gredos The Sierra de Gredos is a mountain range in central Spain that spans the provinces of Ávila, Spain, Ávila, Salamanca, Spain, Salamanca, Cáceres, Spain, Cáceres, Madrid, and Toledo, Spain, Toledo. It is part of the much larger Sistema Central ...
is the highest point, at 2,592 m * The
Montes de Toledo The Montes de Toledo are one of the main systems of mountain ranges in the Iberian Peninsula The Iberian Peninsula (), ** * Aragonese language, Aragonese and Occitan language, Occitan: ''Peninsula Iberica'' ** ** * french: Péninsule Ib ...
, which also stretches into Portugal from the
La Mancha La Mancha () is a natural region, natural and historical region located in the provinces of Spain, Spanish provinces of province of Albacete, Albacete, province of Cuenca, Cuenca, province of Ciudad Real, Ciudad Real, and province of Toledo, Tol ...
natural region at the eastern end. Its highest point, at 1,603 m, is La Villuerca in the Sierra de Villuercas,
Extremadura Extremadura (; ext, Estremaúra; pt, Estremadura; Fala language, Fala: ''Extremaúra'') is an autonomous communities in Spain, autonomous community of Spain. Its capital city is Mérida, Spain, Mérida, and its largest city is Badajoz. Loc ...
* The
Sierra Morena The Sierra Morena is one of the main systems of mountain range A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills arranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain range ...
, which divides the watershed of the Guadiana and Guadalquivir rivers. At 1,332 m, Bañuela is the highest point * The
Baetic System The Baetic System or Betic System ( es, Sistema Bético) is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain. Located in the southern and eastern Iberian Peninsula, it is also known as the Cordilleras Béticas (Baetic Mountain Ranges) or Baet ...
, which stretches between
Cádiz Cádiz (, , ) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is the first-level politica ...
and Gibraltar and northeast towards
Alicante Province Alicante ( ca-valencia, Alacant) is a Provinces of Spain, province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the Valencian Community. It is the second most populated Valencian province. Likewise, the second and third biggest cities in the Valenc ...
. It is divided into three subsystems: **
Prebaetic System The Prebaetic System ( es, Sistemas Prebéticos or ''Sistema Prebético'', also often referred to simply as ''Prebético'') is a system of mountain ranges that forms the northeasternmost prolongation of the Baetic System The Baetic System or ...
, which begins west of the Sierra Sur de Jaén, reaching the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa, and on the e ...
shores in
Alicante Province Alicante ( ca-valencia, Alacant) is a Provinces of Spain, province of eastern Spain, in the southern part of the Valencian Community. It is the second most populated Valencian province. Likewise, the second and third biggest cities in the Valenc ...
. 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 Region of Murcia (, ; es, Región de Murcia ), is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Spain located in the southeastern part of the Iberian Peninsula, on the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean coast. The region is in ...
. The highest point, at , is Peña de la Cruz in Sierra Arana. **
Penibaetic System The Penibaetic System ( es, Sistema Penibético or ''Cordillera Penibética'') is the southernmost of the three systems of mountain ranges of the Baetic System The Baetic System or Betic System ( es, Sistema Bético) is one of the main syst ...
, located in the far southeastern area stretching between Gibraltar across the Mediterranean coastal Andalusian provinces. It includes the highest point in the peninsula, the 3,478 m high
Mulhacén Mulhacén (), with an elevation of , is the highest mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. Although definitions vary, a mountain may differ from a ...
in the
Sierra Nevada The Sierra Nevada () is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley (California), Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Cars ...
.


Geology

The Iberian Peninsula contains rocks of every geological period from the
Ediacaran The Ediacaran Period ( ) is a geological period that spans 96 million years from the end of the Cryogenian, Cryogenian Period 635 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Cambrian, Cambrian Period 538.8 Mya. It marks the end of the Pro ...
to the Recent, and almost every kind of rock is represented. World-class
mineral deposit Ore is natural Rock (geology), rock or sediment that contains one or more valuable minerals, typically containing metals, that can be mined, treated and sold at a profit.Encyclopædia Britannica. "Ore". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Ret ...
s can also be found there. The core of the Iberian Peninsula consists of a
Hercynian The Variscan or Hercynian orogeny was a geologic mountain-building event caused by Late Paleozoic continental collision between Euramerica (Laurussia) and Gondwana to form the supercontinent of Pangaea. Nomenclature The name ''Variscan'', comes f ...
craton A craton (, , or ; from grc-gre, κράτος "strength") is an old and stable part of the continental lithosphere, which consists of Earth, Earth's two topmost layers, the Earth's crust, crust and the uppermost Earth's mantle, mantle. Having o ...
ic 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 The Baetic System or Betic System ( es, Sistema Bético) is one of the main systems of mountain ranges in Spain. Located in the southern and eastern Iberian Peninsula, it is also known as the Cordilleras Béticas (Baetic Mountain Ranges) or Baet ...
. These twofold chains are part of the Alpine belt. To the west, the peninsula is delimited by the continental boundary formed by the
magma Magma () is the molten or semi-molten natural material from which all igneous rocks are formed. Magma is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and evidence of magmatism has also been discovered on other terrestrial planets and some natural sa ...
-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 The Iberian System ( es, Sistema Ibérico, ) is one of the major systems of mountain range A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills arranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain b ...
and the Catalan Mediterranean System. The Iberian Peninsula features one of the largest
Lithium Lithium (from el, λίθος, lithos, lit=stone) is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Li and atomic number 3. It is a soft, silvery-white alkali metal. Under standard temperature and pressure, standard conditions, it ...
deposits belts in Europe (an otherwise relatively scarce resource in the continent), scattered along the Iberian Massif's and . Also in the Iberian Massif, and similarly to other Hercynian blocks in Europe, the peninsula hosts some
uranium Uranium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-grey metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons. ...
deposits, largely located in the Central Iberian Zone unit. The Iberian Pyrite Belt, located in the SW quadrant of the Peninsula, ranks among the most important volcanogenic massive sulphide districts on Earth, and it has been exploited for millennia.


Climate

The Iberian Peninsula's location and topography, as well as the effects of large
atmospheric circulation Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of Atmosphere of Earth, air and together with ocean circulation is the means by which thermal energy is redistributed on the surface of the Earth. The Earth's atmospheric circulation varies fro ...
patterns induce a NW to SE gradient of yearly precipitation (roughly from 2,000 mm to 300 mm). The Iberian peninsula has three dominant climate types. One of these is the
oceanic climate An oceanic climate, also known as a marine climate, is the humid temperate climate sub-type in Köppen climate classification, Köppen classification ''Cfb'', typical of west coasts in higher middle latitudes of continents, generally featuring ...
seen in the northeast in which precipitation has barely any difference between winter and summer. However, most of Portugal and Spain have a
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate (also called a dry summer temperate climate ''Cs'') is a temperate climate sub-type, generally characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, fairly wet winters; these weather conditions are typically experienced in the ...
; the
Warm-summer Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate (also called a dry summer temperate climate ''Cs'') is a temperate climate sub-type, generally characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, fairly wet winters; these weather conditions are typically experienced in the ...
and the
Hot-summer Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate (also called a dry summer temperate climate ''Cs'') is a temperate climate sub-type, generally characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, fairly wet winters; these weather conditions are typically experienced in the ...
, with various differences in precipitation and temperature depending on latitude and position versus the sea, this applies greatly to the Portuguese and Galician Atlantic coasts where, due to
upwelling Upwelling is an physical oceanography, oceanographic phenomenon that involves wind-driven motion of dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water from deep water towards the ocean surface. It replaces the warmer and usually nutrient-depleted ...
/
downwelling Downwelling is the process of accumulation and sinking of higher density material beneath lower density material, such as cold or saline water Water (chemical formula ) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorles ...
phenomena average temperatures in summer can vary through as much as in only a few kilometers (e.g. Peniche vs Santarém) There are also more localized
semi-arid climate A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is a dry climate sub-type. It is located on regions that receive precipitation below Evapotranspiration#Potential evapotranspiration, potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a des ...
s in central Spain, with temperatures resembling a more continental Mediterranean climate. In other extreme cases highland alpine climates such as in
Sierra Nevada The Sierra Nevada () is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley (California), Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Cars ...
and areas with extremely low precipitation and
desert climate The desert climate or arid climate (in the Köppen climate classification ''BWh'' and ''BWk''), is a dry climate sub-type in which there is a severe excess of evaporation over precipitation. The typically bald, rocky, or sandy surfaces in desert ...
s or
semi-arid climate A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is a dry climate sub-type. It is located on regions that receive precipitation below Evapotranspiration#Potential evapotranspiration, potential evapotranspiration, but not as low as a des ...
s such as the
Almería Almería (, , ) is a city and municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unit,Article 3(1). country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, constituen ...
area,
Murcia Murcia (, , ) is a city in south-eastern Spain, the Capital (political), capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of the Region of Murcia, and the List of municipalities of Spain, seventh largest city in the country. It has a ...
area and southern
Alicante Alicante ( ca-valencia, Alacant) is a city and municipalities of Spain, municipality in the Valencian Community, Spain. It is the capital of the province of Alicante and a historic Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean port. The population of the ...
area. In the southwestern interior of the Iberian Peninsula the hottest temperatures in Europe are found, with Córdoba averaging around in July. The Spanish Mediterranean coast usually averages around in summer. In sharp contrast
A Coruña A Coruña (; es, La Coruña ; historical English: Corunna or The Groyne) is a city and municipality of Galicia (Spain), Galicia, Spain. A Coruña is the most populated city in Galicia and the second most populated municipality in the autonomous ...
at the northern tip of Galicia has a summer daytime high average at just below . This cool and wet summer climate is replicated throughout most of the northern coastline. Winters in the Peninsula are for the most part, mild, although frosts are common in higher altitude areas of central Spain. The warmest winter nights are usually found in
downwelling Downwelling is the process of accumulation and sinking of higher density material beneath lower density material, such as cold or saline water Water (chemical formula ) is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorles ...
favourable areas of the west coast, such as on capes. Precipitation varies greatly between regions on the Peninsula, in December for example the northern west coast averages above whereas the southeast can average below .
Insolation Solar irradiance is the power (physics), power per unit area (surface power density) received from the Sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of the measuring instrument. Solar irradiance is measured in watts per ...
can vary from just 1,600 hours in the
Bilbao ) , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = 275 px , map_caption = Interactive map outlining Bilbao , pushpin_map = Spain Basque Country#Spain#Europe , pushpin_map_caption ...
area, to above 3,000 hours in the
Algarve The Algarve (, , ; from ) is the southernmost NUTS statistical regions of Portugal, NUTS II region of continental Portugal. It has an area of with 467,495 permanent inhabitants and incorporates 16 municipalities (concelho, ''concelhos'' or ''mun ...
and Gulf of Cádiz.


Major modern countries

The current political configuration of the Iberian Peninsula comprises the bulk of
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = ''Plus ultra'' (Latin)(English: "Further Beyond") , national_anthem = (English: "Royal March") , i ...
and
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a Sovereign state, country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southern Europe, Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes ...
, the whole microstate of
Andorra , image_flag = Flag of Andorra.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Andorra.svg , symbol_type = Coat of arms , national_motto = la, Virtus Unita Fortior, label=none (Latin)"United virtue is stro ...

Andorra
, a small part of the French department of Pyrénées-Orientales (the
French Cerdagne French Cerdagne ( ca, Alta Cerdanya, ) is the northern half of Cerdanya, which came under French control as a result of the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, while the southern half remained in Spain (as part of Catalonia). Catalans often refer t ...
), and the
British Overseas Territory The British Overseas Territories (BOTs), also known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs), are fourteen dependent territory, territories with a constitutional and historical link with the United Kingdom. They are the last remna ...
of
Gibraltar ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song = "Gibraltar Anthem" , image_map = Gibraltar location in Europe.svg , map_alt = Location of Gibraltar in Europe , map_caption = United Kingdom shown in pale green , mapsize = , image_map2 = Gibra ...

Gibraltar
. French Cerdagne is on the south side of the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
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 , name_etymology = , image = Zaragoza shel.JPG , image_size = , image_caption = The Ebro River in Zaragoza , map = SpainEbroBasin.png , map_size = , map_caption = 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 curves away from the rest of Europe north of the range, which is the reason why
Perpignan Perpignan (, , ; ca, Perpinyà ; es, Perpiñán ; it, Perpignano ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales Departments of France, department in southern France, in the heart of the plain of Roussillon, at the foot ...
, which is also known as the capital of
Northern Catalonia Northern Catalonia, North Catalonia, ; french: Catalogne (du) Nord ; oc, Catalonha (del) Nòrd; es, Cataluña (del) Norte) French Catalonia or Roussillon refers to the Catalan language, Catalan-speaking and Catalan-culture territory ceded to ...
, is often considered as the entrance to the Iberian Peninsula. Regarding Spain and Portugal, this chiefly excludes the Macaronesian archipelagos (
Azores ) , motto =( en, "Rather die free than subjected in peace") , anthem= ( en, "Anthem of the Azores") , image_map=Locator_map_of_Azores_in_EU.svg , map_alt=Location of the Azores within the European Union , map_caption=Location of the Azores wi ...
and
Madeira ) , anthem = ( en, "Anthem of the Autonomous Region of Madeira") , song_type = Regional anthem , image_map=EU-Portugal_with_Madeira_circled.svg , map_alt=Location of Madeira , map_caption=Location of Madeira , subdivision_type=Sovereign st ...
vis-à-vis Portugal and the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Canarias, ), also known informally as the Canaries, are a Spanish autonomous community and archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collecti ...
vis-à-vis Spain), the
Balearic Islands The Balearic Islands ( es, Islas Baleares ; or ca, Illes Balears ) are an archipelago in the Balearic Sea, near the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The archipelago is an Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community and a P ...
(Spain); and the Spanish territories in North Africa (most conspicuously the cities of
Ceuta Ceuta (, , ; ar, سَبْتَة, Sabtah) is a Spanish Autonomous communities of Spain#Autonomous cities, autonomous city on the north coast of Africa. Bordered by Morocco, it lies along the boundary between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlan ...
and
Melilla Melilla ( , ; ; rif, Mřič ; ar, مليلية ) is an autonomous cities of Spain, autonomous city of Spain located in north Africa. It lies on the eastern side of the Cape Three Forks, Morocco–Spain border, bordering Morocco and facing th ...
), as well as unpopulated islets and rocks. Political divisions of the Iberian Peninsula:


Cities

The Iberian city network is dominated by 3 international metropolises (
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain. The city has almost 3.4 million inhabitants and a Madrid metropolitan area, metropolitan area population of approximately 6.7 million. It is the Largest cities of the Europ ...
,
Barcelona Barcelona ( , , ) is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within ci ...
and
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
) and four regional metropolises (
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Valencian Community, Valencia and the Municipalities of Spain, third-most populated municipality in Spain, with 791,413 inhabitants. It is ...
,
Seville Seville (; es, Sevilla, ) is the capital and largest city of the Spain, Spanish autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated on the lower reaches of the Guadalquivir, River Gua ...
,
Porto Porto or Oporto () is the List of cities in Portugal, second-largest city in Portugal, the capital of the Porto District, and one of the Iberian Peninsula's major urban areas. Porto city proper, which is the entire concelho, municipality of Port ...
and
Bilbao ) , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = 275 px , map_caption = Interactive map outlining Bilbao , pushpin_map = Spain Basque Country#Spain#Europe , pushpin_map_caption ...
). The relatively weak integration of the network favours a competitive approach vis-à-vis the inter-relation between the different centres. Among these metropolises, Madrid stands out within the global urban hierarchy in terms of its status as a major service centre and enjoys the greatest degree of connectivity.


Major metropolitan regions

According to
Eurostat Eurostat ('European Statistical Office'; DG ESTAT) is a Directorate-General of the European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, ...
(2019), the metropolitan regions with a population over one million are listed as follows:


Ecology


Forests

The woodlands of the Iberian Peninsula are distinct
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syste ...
s. 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. The endangered
Iberian lynx The Iberian lynx (''Lynx pardinus'') is a wild Felidae, cat species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is listed as endangered species, Endangered on the IUCN Red List. In the 20th century, the Iberian lynx population ha ...
(''Lynx pardinus'') is a symbol of the Iberian mediterranean forest and of the fauna of the Iberian Peninsula altogether. A new '' Podarcis'' lizard species, '' Podarcis virescens'', was accepted as a species by the Taxonomic Committee of the ''Societas Europaea Herpetologica'' in 2020. This lizard is native to the Iberian Peninsula and found near rivers in the region.


East Atlantic flyway

The Iberian Peninsula is an important stopover on the East Atlantic flyway for birds migrating from northern Europe to Africa. For example,
curlew sandpiper The curlew sandpiper (''Calidris ferruginea'') is a small wader that breeds on the tundra of Arctic Siberia. It is strongly bird migration, migratory, wintering mainly in Africa, but also in south and southeast Asia and in Australia and New Zeal ...
s rest in the region of the Bay of Cádiz. 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 Ortigueira is a seaport and municipality in the province of A Coruña (province), A Coruña the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain, Galicia in northwestern Spain. It belongs to the Comarcas of Galicia, comarca of Ortegal. It is located on th ...
, Ria de Corme and Ria de Laxe. In Portugal, the
Aveiro Lagoon The Aveiro lagoon (''Ria de Aveiro'') is a lagoon in Portugal. It is located on the Atlantic coast of Portugal, south of the municipality of Espinho Municipality, Espinho and north of Mira, Portugal, Mira (to the north of the Cape Mondego). Its av ...
hosts ''Recurvirostra avosetta'', the common ringed plover, grey plover and
little stint The little stint (''Calidris minuta'' or ''Erolia minuta''), is a very small wader. It breeds in arctic Palearctic, Europe and Asia, and is a long-distance bird migration, migrant, wintering south to Africa and south Asia. It occasionally is a ...
. Ribatejo Province on the
Tagus The Tagus ( ; es, Tajo ; pt, Tejo ; see #Name, below) is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. The river rises in the Montes Universales near Teruel, in mid-eastern Spain, flows , generally west with two main south-westward sections ...
supports ''Recurvirostra arosetta'', grey plover,
dunlin The dunlin (''Calidris alpina'') is a small wader FIle:Vadare - Ystad-2021.jpg, 245px, A flock of Dunlins and Red knots Waders or shorebirds are birds of the order Charadriiformes commonly found wikt:wade#Etymology 1, wading along shoreline ...
,
bar-tailed godwit The bar-tailed godwit (''Limosa lapponica'') is a large and strongly migratory wader FIle:Vadare - Ystad-2021.jpg, 245px, A flock of Dunlins and Red knots Waders or shorebirds are birds of the order Charadriiformes commonly found wikt:wade#E ...
and
common redshank The common redshank or simply redshank (''Tringa totanus'') is a Eurasian Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, i ...
. In the Sado Estuary are
dunlin The dunlin (''Calidris alpina'') is a small wader FIle:Vadare - Ystad-2021.jpg, 245px, A flock of Dunlins and Red knots Waders or shorebirds are birds of the order Charadriiformes commonly found wikt:wade#Etymology 1, wading along shoreline ...
,
Eurasian curlew The Eurasian curlew or common curlew (''Numenius arquata'') is a very large wader in the family (biology), family Scolopacidae. It is one of the most widespread of the curlews, breeding across temperate Europe and Palearctic, Asia. In Europe, th ...
, grey plover and
common redshank The common redshank or simply redshank (''Tringa totanus'') is a Eurasian Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area on Earth, comprising all of Europe and Asia. Primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Eastern Hemispheres, i ...
. The
Algarve The Algarve (, , ; from ) is the southernmost NUTS statistical regions of Portugal, NUTS II region of continental Portugal. It has an area of with 467,495 permanent inhabitants and incorporates 16 municipalities (concelho, ''concelhos'' or ''mun ...
hosts
red knot The red knot or just knot (''Calidris canutus'') is a medium-sized wader, shorebird which breeds in tundra and the Arctic Cordillera in the far north of Canada, Europe, and Russia. It is a large member of the ''Calidris'' sandpipers, second only ...
,
common greenshank The common greenshank (''Tringa nebularia'') is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae, the typical waders. The genus name ''Tringa'' is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Ulisse Aldrovandi, Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient ...
and
turnstone Turnstones are two bird species that comprise the genus ''Arenaria'' in the family (biology), family Scolopacidae. They are closely related to calidrid sandpipers and might be considered members of the tribe (biology), tribe Calidriini. The gen ...
. The Guadalquivir Marshes region of
Andalusia Andalusia (, ; es, Andalucía ) is the southernmost Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community in Peninsular Spain. It is the most populous and the second-largest autonomous community in the country. It is officially recognised as a ...
and the Salinas de
Cádiz Cádiz (, , ) is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight that make up the autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is the first-level politica ...
are especially rich in wintering wading birds:
Kentish plover The Kentish plover (''Charadrius alexandrinus'') is a small cosmopolitan shorebird (40-44 g) of the family Charadriidae that breeds on the shores of saline lakes, lagoons, and coasts, populating sand dunes, marshes, semi-arid desert, and tundra.Sz ...
, common ringed plover,
sanderling The sanderling (''Calidris alba'') is a small wader, wading bird. The name derives from Old English ''sand-yrðling'', "sand-ploughman". The genus name is from Ancient Greek ''kalidris'' or ''skalidris'', a term used by Aristotle for some grey-c ...
, and
black-tailed godwit The black-tailed godwit (''Limosa limosa'') is a large, long-legged, long-billed shorebird first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. It is a member of the godwit genus, ''Limosa''. There are four subspecies, all with orange head, neck and chest ...
in addition to the others. And finally, the Ebro delta is home to all the species mentioned above.


Languages

With the sole exception of Basque, which is of unknown origin, all modern Iberian languages descend from
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is the range of non-formal registers of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ori ...
and belong to the
Western Romance languages Western Romance languages are one of the two subdivisions of a proposed subdivision of the Romance languages based on the La Spezia–Rimini Line. They include the Gallo-Romance languages, Gallo-Romance and Iberian Romance languages, Iberian Ro ...
. 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 Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
(the official language of Spain, spoken by the entire 45 million population in the country, the native language of about 36 million in Europe), Portuguese (the official language of Portugal, with a population over 10 million), Catalan (over 7 million speakers in Europe, 3.4 million with Catalan as first language), Galician (understood by the 93% of the 2.8 million Galician population) 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. Other minority romance languages with some degree of recognition include the several varieties of
Astur-leonese Asturleonese ( ast, Asturlleonés; es, Asturleonés; pt, Asturo-leonês; mwl, Asturlhionés) is a Romance language spoken primarily in northwestern Spain, namely in the historical regions and Spain's modern-day autonomous communities of Asturi ...
, collectively amounting to about 0.6 million speakers, and the Aragonese (barely spoken by the 8% of the 130,000 people inhabiting the Alto Aragón). English is the official language of Gibraltar.
Llanito ''Llanito'' or ''Yanito'' () is a form of Andalusian Spanish heavily laced with words from English and other languages, such as Ligurian (Romance language), Ligurian; it is spoken in the British Overseas Territories, British overseas terri ...
is a unique language in the territory, an amalgamation of mostly English and Spanish. In Spain, only 54.3% could speak a foreign language, below that of the EU-28 average. Portugal meanwhile achieved 69%, above the EU average, but still below the EU median. Spain ranks 25th out of 33 European countries in the English Proficiency Index.


Transportation

Both Spain and Portugal have traditionally used a non-standard rail gauge (the 1,668 mm
Iberian gauge Iberian gauge ( es, ancho ibérico, trocha ibérica, pt, bitola ibérica) is a track gauge of , most extensively used by the railways of Spain and Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=ye ...
) since the construction of the first railroads in the 19th century. Spain has progressively introduced the 1,435 mm
standard gauge A standard-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge of . The standard gauge is also called Stephenson gauge (after George Stephenson), International gauge, International Union of Railways, UIC gauge, uniform gauge, normal gauge and Europea ...
in its new high-speed rail network (one of the most extensive in the world), inaugurated in 1992 with the Madrid–Seville line, followed to name a few by the Madrid–Barcelona (2008), Madrid–Valencia (2010), an Alicante branch of the latter (2013) and the connection to France of the Barcelona line. Portugal however suspended all the high-speed rail projects in the wake of the
2008 financial crisis 8 (eight) is the natural number following 7 and preceding 9. In mathematics 8 is: * a composite number, its proper divisors being , , and . It is twice 4 or four times 2. * a power of two, being 2 (two cubed), and is the first number of the ...
, putting an end for the time being to the possibility of a high-speed rail connection between Lisbon, Porto and Madrid. Handicapped by a mountainous range (the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineu ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to C ...
) hindering the connection to the rest of Europe, Spain (and subsidiarily Portugal) only has two meaningful rail connections to France able for freight transport, located at both ends of the mountain range. An international rail line across the Central Pyrenees linking
Zaragoza Zaragoza, also known in English as Saragossa,''Encyclopædia Britannica'"Zaragoza (conventional Saragossa)" is the capital city of the Province of Zaragoza, Zaragoza Province and of the autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Ara ...
and the French city of Pau through a tunnel existed in the past; however, an accident in the French part destroyed a stretch of the railroad in 1970 and the Canfranc Station has been a
cul-de-sac A dead end, also known as a cul-de-sac (, from French for 'bag-bottom'), no through road or no exit road, is a street with only one inlet or outlet. The term "dead end" is understood in all varieties of English, but the official terminology ...
since then. There are four points connecting the Portuguese and Spanish rail networks: Valença do MinhoTui,
Vilar Formoso Vilar Formoso is a town and civil parish in the municipality of Almeida, Portugal, Almeida, Portugal. The population in 2011 was 2,219, in an area of 15.14 km2. One of the most important crossings on the Portugal–Spain border is located ju ...
Fuentes de Oñoro, Marvão-Beirã
Valencia de Alcántara Valencia de Alcántara (Population: 6178) is a municipality located in the province of Cáceres, in the autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is the first-level political divisions of Spain, politica ...
and
Elvas Elvas () is a Portuguese municipality, former episcopal city and frontier fortress of easternmost central Portugal, located in the district of Portalegre (district), Portalegre in Alentejo. It is situated about east of Lisbon, and about west of ...
Badajoz Badajoz (; formerly written ''Badajos'' in English) is the capital of the Province of Badajoz in the autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Extremadura, Spain. It is situated close to the Portugal, Portuguese Portugal–Spain bor ...
. The prospect of the development (as part of a European-wide effort) of the Central, Mediterranean and Atlantic rail corridors is expected to be a way to improve the competitiveness of the ports of
Tarragona Tarragona (, ; Phoenician language, Phoenician: ''Tarqon''; la, Tarraco) is a port city located in northeast Spain on the Costa Daurada by the Mediterranean Sea. Founded before the fifth century BC, it is the capital of the Province of Tarragon ...
,
Valencia Valencia ( va, València) is the capital of the Autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Valencian Community, Valencia and the Municipalities of Spain, third-most populated municipality in Spain, with 791,413 inhabitants. It is ...
,
Sagunto Sagunto ( ca-valencia, Sagunt) is a municipality of Spain, located in the province of Valencia, Valencian Community. It belongs to the modern fertile ''comarques of the Valencian Community, comarca'' of Camp de Morvedre. It is located c. 30&nbs ...
,
Bilbao ) , motto = , image_map = , mapsize = 275 px , map_caption = Interactive map outlining Bilbao , pushpin_map = Spain Basque Country#Spain#Europe , pushpin_map_caption ...
, Santander,
Sines Sines () is a city and a municipality in Portugal. The municipality, divided into two parishes, has around 14,214 inhabitants (2021) in an area of . Sines holds an important oil refinery and several petrochemical industries. It is also a popular ...
and
Algeciras Algeciras ( , ) is a municipalities in Spain, municipality of Spain belonging to the province of Cádiz, Andalusia. Located in the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, near the Strait of Gibraltar, it is the largest city on the Bay of Gibraltar ...
vis-à-vis the rest of Europe and the World. In 1980, Morocco and Spain started a joint study on the feasibility of a fixed link (tunnel or bridge) across the
Strait of Gibraltar The Strait of Gibraltar ( ar, مضيق جبل طارق, Maḍīq Jabal Ṭāriq; es, Estrecho de Gibraltar, Archaism, Archaic: Pillars of Hercules), also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to ...
, possibly through a connection of with
Cape Malabata __NOTOC__ Cape Malabata (french: Cap Malabata; es, Punta Malabata; ar, رأس ملباطا, ''Ras Malabata'', or ''Rās al-Manār'', "Lighthouse Cape") is a cape (geography), cape located about east of central Tangier, Morocco, facing the Strai ...
. Years of studies have, however, made no real progress thus far. A transit point for many submarine cables, the Fibre-optic Link Around the Globe, Europe India Gateway, and the SEA-ME-WE 3 feature landing stations in the Iberian Peninsula. The West Africa Cable System, Main One, SAT-3/WASC, Africa Coast to Europe also land in Portugal. MAREA, a high capacity communication transatlantic cable, connects the north of the Iberian Peninsula (Bilbao) to North America (Virginia), whereas
Grace Hopper Grace Brewster Hopper (; December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist, mathematician, and United States Navy Rear admiral (United States), rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I, Harvard Mar ...
is an upcoming cable connecting the Iberian Peninsula (Bilbao) to the UK and the US intended to be operative by 2022 and EllaLink is an upcoming high-capacity communication cable expected to connect the Peninsula (Sines) to South America and the mammoth 2Africa project intends to connect the peninsula to the United Kingdom, Europe and Africa (via Portugal and Barcelona) by 2023–24. Two gas pipelines: the Pedro Duran Farell pipeline and (more recently) the Medgaz (from, respectively, Morocco and Algeria) link the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula, providing Spain with Algerian natural gas. However the contract for the first pipeline expires on 31 October 2021 and—amidst a tense climate of Algerian–Moroccan relations—there are no plans to renew it.


Economy

The official currency across Iberia is the
Euro The euro (currency symbol, symbol: euro sign, €; ISO 4217, code: EUR) is the official currency of 19 out of the Member state of the European Union, member states of the European Union (EU). This group of states is known as the eurozone o ...
, with the exception of Gibraltar, which uses the
Gibraltar Pound The pound ( sign: £; ISO code: GIP) is the currency of Gibraltar. It is pegged to – and exchangeable with – sterling at par value. Coins and banknotes of the Gibraltar pound are issued by the Government of Gibraltar. History Until 187 ...
(at parity with Sterling). 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 occurs in the Pyrenees mountains. Commodities mined include: iron, gold, coal, lead, silver, zinc, and salt. Regarding their role in the global economy, both the microstate of
Andorra , image_flag = Flag of Andorra.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Andorra.svg , symbol_type = Coat of arms , national_motto = la, Virtus Unita Fortior, label=none (Latin)"United virtue is stro ...

Andorra
and the British Overseas Territory of
Gibraltar ) , anthem = "God Save the King" , song = "Gibraltar Anthem" , image_map = Gibraltar location in Europe.svg , map_alt = Location of Gibraltar in Europe , map_caption = United Kingdom shown in pale green , mapsize = , image_map2 = Gibra ...

Gibraltar
have been described as
tax haven A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal person, legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures (regiona ...
s. The Galician region of Spain, in the north-west of the Iberian Peninsula, became one of the biggest entry points of
cocaine Cocaine (from , from , ultimately from Quechuan languages, Quechua: ''kúka'') is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant mainly recreational drug use, used recreationally for its euphoria, euphoric effects. It is primarily obtained from t ...
in Europe, on a par with the Dutch ports.
Hashish Hashish ( ar, حشيش, ()), also known as hash, "dry herb, hay" is a cannabis (drug), drug made by compressing and processing parts of the cannabis plant, typically focusing on flowering buds (female flowers) containing the most trichomes. Eu ...
is smuggled from
Morocco Morocco (),, ) officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is the westernmost country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and has land borders with Algeria to A ...
via the
Strait of Gibraltar The Strait of Gibraltar ( ar, مضيق جبل طارق, Maḍīq Jabal Ṭāriq; es, Estrecho de Gibraltar, Archaism, Archaic: Pillars of Hercules), also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to ...
.


See also

* Iberian Federalism *
Macaronesia Macaronesia (Portuguese: ''Macaronésia,'' Spanish: ''Macaronesia'') is a collection of four volcanic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster, or collection of islands, or ...


Notes


References


Citations


Bibliography

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

* * * * {{Authority control Peninsulas of Europe Geography of Southwestern Europe Regions of Europe Regions of Eurasia Geography of Portugal Geography of Spain Geography of France Geography of Andorra Geography of Gibraltar Historic Jewish communities Peninsulas of Portugal Peninsulas of Spain Peninsulas of France Southwestern Europe