La Rioja (Spain)


La Rioja (, , ) is an and in , in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. Its capital is . Other include , , , , , and . It has an estimated population of 315,675 inhabitants (INE 2018), making it the least populated region of Spain. It covers part of the valley towards its north and the Iberian Range in the south. The community is a single province, so there is no County Council, and it is organized into 174 municipalities. It borders the Basque Country (province of ) to the north, to the northeast, to the southeast (province of ), and to the west and south (provinces of and ). The area was once occupied by pre-Roman , and . After partial recapture from the s in the early tenth century, the region became part of the , later being incorporated into Castile after a century and a half of disputes. From the eighteenth century the Rioja region remained divided between the provinces of Burgos and Soria, until in 1833 the province of Logroño was created, changing the name of the province to La Rioja in 1980 as a prelude to its constitution under a single provincial autonomous community in 1982. The name "Rioja" (from ) is first attested in 1099. The region is well known for under the brand '.


Roman and Muslim periods

In Roman times the territory of La Rioja was inhabited by the tribes of the (central country), (upper country, extending also north and west of it) and the (lower country, extending also north and east of it). It was part of the province of . In medieval times La Rioja was often a disputed territory. The created the that probably included most of La Rioja, as a border against the . After the of AD 711, La Rioja fell into the Muslim domains of .

Medieval period

Most of the territory was reconquered in 923 by , acting for the Kingdom of Pamplona together with the Kingdom of León and the Counts of Castile, feudal lords of the Leonese King. The lower region around came under control of his allies the of . The territory to the east of the Leza River remained under Muslim control. Later there was a dispute between Count and the kings of Pamplona-Navarra, involving great battles. It was decided in favour of the Navarrese after the imprisonment of the Count's family in Cirueña, in 960. La Rioja briefly formed the independent from 970 to about 1005, at which point it became a part of the . Sancho Garcés moved the capital of the Kingdom of Pamplona to Nájera (La Rioja), creating the so-called kingdom of Nájera-Pamplona which was, due to its large size, the first Spanish Empire. After the independence of in 1035, this new kingdom fiercely fought against Pamplona for the possession of , La Rioja and other territories. In 1076, after the murder of , Navarre was divided among Castile and Aragon. Castile obtained La Rioja, together with other Navarrese lands. The name "La Rioja" first appears in written records in the Miranda de Ebro charter of 1099. The territory was centred on the fortified site of Logroño: the 12th-century church Iglesia de Santa Maria de Palacio recalls its origin as a chapel of the administrative palace. Logroño was a disputed between the and the from the 10th century; From 1134 the Navarrese under ("the Restorer") and his son ("the Wise") fought bitterly with Castile for the recovery of the former Pamplonese domains. The region was awarded to in a judgement by and annexed in 1177. Its importance lay in part in the pilgrimage route to , the ', which crossed the River Ebro on the stone bridge, the ''Puente de Piedra''.

Province of Logroño

Up to the 19th century the territory remained divided between the provinces of and . The region was taken by Napoleonic forces in the and remained solidly in French hands until 1814. In the 1810 project of it was to be a part of the of with its capital in . The declared La Rioja an independent province at the time of the Liberal , and during the in January 1822 the province of Logroño was created by royal decree as part of the administrative reform of , taking in the whole of the historical territory of La Rioja. However, soon annulled these decisions and restored most of the previous territorial divisions. In , a province of Logroño was again formed within the region of . The province increased its territory temporarily in 1841.

Autonomous community

In 1980 the province changed its name to La Rioja, and following the adoption of the Estatuto de San Millán in 1982, during the reorganization following the , it was constituted as a uni-provincial ,. It is the second-smallest autonomous community in Spain and has the smallest population; half of its 174 municipalities have populations under 200. Nearly half of its citizens live in the capital.


La Rioja is bordered by the (province of ), , (province of ), and (provinces of and ). The river flows through this region, as does the river , after which it is named. The Ebro runs through the north of the community. The entire right bank (which is to the south) belongs to La Rioja. There are only three municipalities, , and on the left bank (known as the Riojan Sonsierra), although Logroño, , , and Alfaro also have parts of their respective municipal territories on that bank. Because of their proximity, the area between the Ebro and the is called .


The climate is mainly . The Rioja Alta comarca receives more precipitation than Rioja Baja. The average temperature ranges from and the precipitation ranges between as an annual average. The wind called ' is very frequent around La Rioja during the winter.

Mountains and mountain ranges

The mountains in La Rioja are part of the . This mountain range extends to the south of the Ebro river, parallel to it at a distance of about , with altitudes ranging between . From the mountain range the runs northwards, into the heart of La Rioja, incorporating which, at , is the highest peak in the province. Other mountains include , , , and .


The is the main river passing through the community. Emerging from the narrow channel between the rocks of the , it reaches La Rioja, through which it runs for , before continuing its journey to the Mediterranean. In the Conchas de Haro the altitude of the river is and when it leaves the community, in the Sotos del Ebro Natural Reserve in , it is high. The river therefore flows very quickly through La Rioja. Seven rivers descend rapidly towards the Ebro from the mountain range, which is why La Rioja is sometimes called: "Zone of the seven valleys". They are, from east to west, , , Leza, Iregua, , and , although the headwaters of the Alhama and Cidacos originate in and those of Najerilla-Neila and Tirón are from Burgos. Sometimes Linares (a tributary of Alhama) is added, grouping Tirón with its tributary, the Oja. All the rivers of these valleys form tributaries that go on to form many valleys in their own right, such as those of Linares, Ocon, Jubera, Tuerto, Brieva, Viniegras and San Millán. There is an almost unlimited number of grandiose canyons, quite splendid in nature, such as Aguas Buenas, Nieva, Manzanares, Ardancha, Navajún, Valderresa, Ollora, Tobia, San Martín and others.

Flora and fauna

In the highlands s, and are grown. There are also thickets of , , , and . , , , and are present. There are grand hillsides with fine pasture for livestock, cattle and sheep. In the lower areas there are oaks, olive and almond trees. Near the Ebro, in the plains, the land is used for cereal, sugar beet and potatoes, while the hills are covered with vast vineyards of the wine that has brought worldwide fame to this region. All Riojan rivers, including the Ebro, have a row of poplars and cottonwood. About the Riojan Alamos has written: "... see them on the edge of the water, turning the landscape, like spears magical pointing towards the unreal and mysterious country of the riverbed."

Natural resources

and are mined. is a .

Dinosaur footprints

During the period the geographical area of was part of a flooded plain that drained periodically, leaving behind muddy areas where dinosaur tracks marked the path. Eventually they were dried and covered with new sediment layers whose weight pressed down on the lower layers, causing them to solidify into rocks over millions of years. Erosion has been wearing down the upper layers making many of these rock formations visible, bringing into view the fossilized footprints. La Rioja is notable for the number and conservation of these sites, in addition to those found in the north of , such as , and other highland locations.


Geographical comarcas: * Rioja Alta ** ** ** ** ** * Rioja Media ** Tierra de Cameros *** *** ** * Rioja Baja ** ** ** **


The (GDP) of the autonomous community was 8.5 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 0.7% of Spanish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 29,200 euros or 97% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 102% of the EU average. La Rioja is known for its production of s (although the Rioja viticultural region extends slightly into the neighboring administrative regions of and ).


There is of , and ; cultivation of , and other crops; and of .


Types of industry include wine production and conserves (in Logroño, Cenicero, Haro and Calahorra); textiles and footwear (in Logroño, Arnedo, Cervera del Río Alhama and Ezcaray); furniture manufacturing (in Ezcaray, Logroño and Nájera); rubber, plastics, chemical products and transport machinery; and , made in Casalarreina. Exports are directed mostly towards the , and .


According to the the population of La Rioja (as at 2018) is 315,675 inhabitants, with 155,758 men and 159,917 women. Its population density is 62.57 people per km2. It is the least populous autonomous community in Spain. Its capital, Logroño, with approximately 151,113 inhabitants, is its most populous city. La Rioja has . According to the same INE data, there are more men than women in 150 of them, in two the numbers are the same and in 22 there are more females than males. In the latter set, the differences are small, except in the capital where there are 4,868 more women than men.

Major cities


According to the 2007 PISA report, education in La Rioja is of the highest quality in Spain, close to that of other European countries with better overall educational levels in terms of student knowledge. In the Ministry of Education's 2009 report La Rioja was in first position among the autonomous communities as it relates to general aspects of primary and secondary education. It is placed above the Spanish average in the list of communities with the lowest levels of school failure, with 85% of students being able to obtain the ESO title, despite its schools having the highest proportion of enrolled immigrants. 6,208 euros are spent per pupil, making it the tenth ranked community in this regard. The majority of educational institutions in the community are public, followed by subsidized and private schools, the latter of which are very scarce at the primary and secondary levels. The is free in public schools and at a cost in charter schools. In La Rioja the portion of the population with higher education is 30.6%, with two institutions offering studies at this level: the and an online university, the International University of La Rioja (UNIR).Website of UNIR - International University of La Rioja.
Retrieved 15 May 2017. See also

Communication and transportation

La Rioja has connections by air via the . Rail journeys to Madrid, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Valladolid, Oviedo, Bilbao, La Coruña, Vigo are possible, since the Castejón-Miranda line crosses the region from east to west. The main railway station is that at Logroño. Road communications between La Rioja and neighboring regions are primarily through the . Additional highways have been built, such as the which connects to Logroño since 2006, and in the future will reach . Other major road routes include: * * * * (proposed) * * *

Government and politics

The current is of . The autonomous community has its own . Other organs include the ''Consejo de Gobierno'' (council of government) and the ''Tribunal Superior de Justicia'' (high court of justice).


* * * * * Monasterio de Suso (2).jpg, Logroño - Iglesia de San Bartolome 01.jpg, Portal of Calahorra - Catedral 07.jpg,

Notable people

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

See also

* *, the autonomous university. *, a popular musical instrument from La Rioja. *, a popular dance practiced in some comarcas of La Rioja. * *, one of the most important dishes in Riojan cooking


External links

Government of La Rioja

Tourism in La RiojaUniversity of La Rioja

Dinastia Vivanco Museum of the Culture of Wine

Popular Culture in La Rioja

Manuel Alvar, ''El dialecto riojano'' (The Riojan dialect), Madrid, Editorial Gredos, Biblioteca Románica hispánica, 1976, 200 pages.
{{Authority control hr:La Rioja