Hispania Wikipedia Essay

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For other uses, see Hispania (disambiguation).

Hispania (; Latin: [hɪsˈpaːnia]) was the Roman and Greek name for the Iberian Peninsula. Under the Republic, Hispania was divided into two provinces: Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior. During the Principate, Hispania Ulterior was divided into two new provinces, Baetica and Lusitania, while Hispania Citerior was renamed Hispania Tarraconensis. Subsequently, the western part of Tarraconensis was split off, first as Hispania Nova, later renamed Callaecia (or Gallaecia, whence modern Galicia). From Diocletian's Tetrarchy (AD 284) onwards, the south of remaining Tarraconensis was again split off as Carthaginensis, and probably then too the Balearic Islands and all the resulting provinces formed one civil diocese under the vicarius for the Hispaniae (that is, the Celtic provinces). The name, Hispania, was also used in the period of Visigothic rule.

The modern placenames Spain and Hispaniola are both derived from Hispania.

Etymology[edit]

The origin of the word Hispania is much disputed and the evidence for the various speculations are based merely upon what are at best mere resemblances, likely to be accidental, and suspect supporting evidence. One theory holds it to be of Punic derivation, from the Phoenician language of colonizing Carthage.[1] Specifically, it may derive from a Punic cognate of Hebrew אי-שפניא (i-shfania) meaning "island of the hyrax" or "island of the hare" or "island of the rabbit" (Phoenician-Punic and Hebrew are both Canaanite languages and therefore closely related to each other).[2] Some Roman coins of the Emperors Trajan and his son Hadrian, born in Hispania, depict Hispania and a rabbit. Golden Roman coin Aureus-Hadrianus showing the face of Hadrian in one side and Hispania with Rabbit. Others derive the word from Phoenician span, meaning "hidden", and make it indicate "a hidden", that is, "a remote", or "far-distant land".[3]

Another theory, proposed by the etymologist Eric Partridge in his work Origins, is that it is of Iberian derivation and that it is to be found in the pre-Roman name for Seville, Hispalis, which strongly hints at an ancient name for the country of *Hispa, an Iberian or Celtic root whose meaning is now lost. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis.[4]Hispalis may alternatively derive from Heliopolis (Greek for "city of the sun"). According to Manuel Pellicer Catalán, the name derives from Phoenician Spal "lowland", [5][6] rendering this explanation of Hispania dubious. Occasionally Hispania was called Hesperia Ultima, "the last western land" in Greek, by Roman writers, since the name Hesperia had already been used by the Greeks to indicate the Italian peninsula.

Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place.[7][8]

During Antiquity and Middle Ages, the literary texts derive the term Hispania from an eponymous hero named Hispan, who is mentioned for the first time in the work of the Roman historian Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, in the 1st century BC.

Although "Hispania" is the Latin root for the modern name "Spain", substituting Spanish for Hispanicus or Hispanic, or Spain for Hispania, should be done carefully and taking into account the correct context. The Estoria de España ("The History of Spain") written on the initiative of Alfonso X of Castile "El Sabio" ("the Wise"), between 1260 and 1274, during the Reconquest of Spain, is believed to be the first extended history of Spain in Old Spanish using the words "España" ("Spain") and "Españoles"("Spanish") to refer to Medieval Hispania. The use of Latin "Hispania", Castilian "España", Catalan "Espanya" and French "Espaigne", between others, to refer to Roman Hispania or Visigothic Hispania was common throughout all the Late Middle Ages. A document dated 1292 mentions the names of foreigners from Medieval Spain as "Gracien d'Espaigne".[10] Latin expressions using "Hispania" or "Hispaniae" like "omnes reges Hispaniae" are used often in the Middle Ages at the same time as the emerging Spain Romance languages during the Reconquista use the Romance version interchangeably. In James Ist Chronicle Llibre dels fets, written between 1208 and 1276, there are many instances of this: when it talks about the different Kings, "los V regnes de Espanya" ("The 5 Kings of Spain"); when it talks about a military fort built by the Christians saying that it is "de los meylors de Espanya" ("from the best of Spain"); when it declared that Catalonia, one of the integral parts of the Crown of Aragon, is "lo meylor Regne Despanya, el pus honrat, el pus noble" ("the best kingdom of Spain, the most honest, the most noble"); when it talks about the conflict that has existed for long "entre los sarrains e los chrestians, en Espanya" ("between Saracens and Christians, in Spain") [11] Since the borders of modern Spain do not coincide with those of the Roman province of Hispania or of the Visigothic Kingdom, it is important to understand the context of medieval Spain versus modern Spain. The Latin term Hispania, often used during Antiquity and the Low Middle Ages as a geographical name, starts to be used also with political connotations, as shown in the expression "Laus Hispaniae" ("Praise to Hispania") to describe the history of the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula of Isidore of Seville's "Historia de regibus Gothorum, Vandalorum et Suevorum". :

You are, Oh Spain, holy and always happy mother of princes and peoples, the most beautiful of all the lands that extend far from the West to India. You, by right, are now the queen of all provinces, from whom the lights are given not only the sunset, but also the East. You are the honor and ornament of the orb and the most illustrious portion of the Earth ... And for this reason, long ago, the golden Rome desired you

In modern history, Spain and Spanish have become increasingly associated with the Kingdom of Spain alone, although this process took several centuries. After the union of the central peninsular Kingdom of Castile with the eastern peninsular Kingdom of Aragon in the 15th century under the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, only Navarra and Portugal were left to complete the whole Peninsula under one Monarchy. Navarre followed soon after in 1512, and Portugal in 1580. During this time, the concept of Spain was still unchanged. The King of Portugal would protest energetically when during a public act King Fernando talked about the "Crown of Spain".[12] This sentiment was also shared by the Portuguese people, as shown by who is considered Portugal's and Portuguese language's greatest poet, Luís de Camões, when in 1572 he defined the Portuguese people as "Uma gente fortíssima de Espanha" ("A very strong people of Spain").[13] It was after the independence of Portugal in 1640 when the concept of Spain started to shift and be applied to all the Peninsula except Portugal. Even so, Portugal would still complain when the terms "Crown of Spain" or "Monarchy of Spain" were still used in the 18th century with the Treaty of Utrecht.[12]

Pre-Roman history[edit]

Main articles: Prehistoric Iberia and Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian peninsula has long been inhabited, first by early hominids such as Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis and Homo antecessor. In the Paleolithic period, the Neanderthals entered Iberia and eventually took refuge from the advancing migrations of modern humans. In the 40th millennium BC, during the Upper Paleolithic and the last ice age, the first large settlement of Europe by modern humans occurred. These were nomadichunter-gatherers originating on the steppes of Central Asia. When the last Ice Age reached its maximum extent, during the 30th millennium BC, these modern humans took refuge in Southern Europe, namely in Iberia, after retreating through Southern France. In the millennia that followed, the Neanderthals became extinct and local modern human cultures thrived, producing pre-historic art such as that found in L'Arbreda Cave and in the Côa Valley.

In the Mesolithic period, beginning in the 10th millennium BC, the Allerød Oscillation occurred. This was an interstadial deglaciation that lessened the harsh conditions of the Ice Age. The populations sheltered in Iberian Peninsula (descendants of the Cro-Magnon) migrated and recolonized all of Western Europe. In this period one finds the Azilian culture in Southern France and Northern Iberia (to the mouth of the Douro river), as well as the Muge Culture in the Tagus valley.

The Neolithic brought changes to the human landscape of Iberia (from the 5th millennium BC onwards), with the development of agriculture and the beginning of the European Megalith Culture. This spread to most of Europe and had one of its oldest and main centres in the territory of modern Portugal, as well as the Chalcolithic and Beaker cultures.

During the 1st millennium BC, in the Bronze Age, the first wave of migrations into Iberia of speakers of Indo-European languages occurred. These were later (7th and 5th centuries BC) followed by others that can be identified as Celts. Eventually urban cultures developed in southern Iberia, such as Tartessos, influenced by the Phoenician colonization of coastal Mediterranean Iberia, with strong competition from the Greek colonization. These two processes defined Iberia's cultural landscape – Mediterranean towards the southeast and Continental in the northwest.

Languages[edit]

Main article: Languages of Iberia

Latin was the official language of Hispania during the Rome's more than 600 years of rule, and by the empire's end in Hispania around 460 AD, all the original Iberian languages, except the ancestor of modern Basque, were extinct. Even after the fall of Rome and the invasion of the GermanicVisigoths and Suebi, Latin was spoken by nearly all of the population, but in its common form known as Vulgar Latin, and the regional changes which led to the modern Iberian Romance languages had already begun.

Carthaginian Hispania[edit]

Further information: Second Punic War and Carthaginian Iberia

After its defeat by the Romans in the First Punic War (264 BC–241 BC), Carthage compensated for its loss of Sicily by rebuilding a commercial empire in Hispania.

The major part of the Punic Wars, fought between the Punic Carthaginians and the Romans, was fought on the Iberian Peninsula. Carthage gave control of the Iberian Peninsula and much of its empire to Rome in 201 BC as part of the peace treaty after its defeat in the Second Punic War, and Rome completed its replacement of Carthage as the dominant power in the Mediterranean area. By then the Romans had adopted the Carthaginian name, romanized first as Ispania. The term later received an H, much like what happened with Hibernia, and was pluralized as Hispaniae, as had been done with the Three Gauls.

Roman Hispania[edit]

Further information: Roman Conquest of Hispania and Romanization of Hispania

Roman armies invaded Hispania in 218 BC and used it as a training ground for officers and as a proving ground for tactics during campaigns against the Carthaginians, the Iberians, the Lusitanians, the Gallaecians and other Celts. It was not until 19 BC that the Roman emperor Augustus (r. 27 BC–AD 14) was able to complete the conquest (see Cantabrian Wars). Until then, much of Hispania remained autonomous.

Romanization proceeded quickly in some regions where we have references to the togati, and very slowly in others, after the time of Augustus, and Hispania was divided into three separately governed provinces (nine provinces by the 4th century). More importantly, Hispania was for 500 years part of a cosmopolitan world empire bound together by law, language, and the Roman road. But the impact of Hispania in the newcomers was also big. Caesar wrote on the Civil Wars that the soldiers from the Second Legion had become Hispanicized and regarded themselves as hispanicus.

Some of the peninsula's population were admitted into the Roman aristocratic class and they participated in governing Hispania and the Roman empire, although there was a native aristocracy class who ruled each local tribe. The latifundia (sing., latifundium), large estates controlled by the aristocracy, were superimposed on the existing Iberian landholding system.

The Romans improved existing cities, such as Lisbon (Olissipo) and Tarragona (Tarraco), established Zaragoza (Caesaraugusta), Mérida (Augusta Emerita), and Valencia (Valentia), and reduced other native cities to mere villages. The peninsula's economy expanded under Roman tutelage. Hispania served as a granary and a major source of metals for the Roman market, and its harbors exported gold, tin, silver, lead, wool, wheat, olive oil, wine, fish, and garum. Agricultural production increased with the introduction of irrigation projects, some of which remain in use today. The Romanized Iberian populations and the Iberian-born descendants of Roman soldiers and colonists had all achieved the status of full Roman citizenship by the end of the 1st century. The emperors Trajan (r. 98–117), Hadrian (r. 117–138), and Marcus Aurelius (r. 161–180) were of Hispanic origin. The Iberian denarii, also called argentum oscense by Roman soldiers, circulated until the 1st century BC, after which it was replaced by Roman coins.

Hispania was separated into two provinces (in 197 BC), each ruled by a praetor: Hispania Citerior ("Hither Hispania") and Hispania Ulterior ("Farther Hispania"). The long wars of conquest lasted two centuries, and only by the time of Augustus did Rome managed to control Hispania Ulterior. Hispania was divided into three provinces in the 1st century BC.

In the 4th century, Latinius Pacatus Drepanius, a Gallic rhetorician, dedicated part of his work to the depiction of the geography, climate and inhabitants of the peninsula, writing:

This Hispania produces tough soldiers, very skilled captains, prolific speakers, luminous bards. It is a mother of judges and princes; it has given Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius to the Empire.

With time, the name Hispania was used to describe the collective names of the Iberian Peninsula kingdoms of the Middle Ages, which came to designate all of the Iberian Peninsula plus the Balearic Islands.

The Hispaniae[edit]

During the first stages of Romanization, the peninsula was divided in two by the Romans for administrative purposes. The closest one to Rome was called Citerior and the more remote one Ulterior. The frontier between both was a sinuous line which ran from Cartago Nova (now Cartagena) to the Cantabrian Sea.

Hispania Ulterior comprised what are now Andalusia, Portugal, Extremadura, León, a great portion of the former Castilla la Vieja, Galicia, Asturias, and the Basque Country.

Hispania Citerior comprised the eastern part of former Castilla la Vieja, and what are now Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia, and a major part of former Castilla la Nueva.

In 27 BC, the general and politician Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa divided Hispania into three parts, namely dividing Hispania Ulterior into Baetica (basically Andalusia) and Lusitania (including Gallaecia and Asturias) and attaching Cantabria and the Basque Country to Hispania Citerior.

The emperor Augustus in that same year returned to make a new division leaving the provinces as follows:

By the 3rd century the emperor Caracalla made a new division which lasted only a short time. He split Hispania Citerior again into two parts, creating the new provinces Provincia Hispania Nova Citerior and Asturiae-Calleciae. In the year 238 the unified province Tarraconensis or Hispania Citerior was re-established.

In the 3rd century, under the Soldier Emperors, Hispania Nova (the northwestern corner of Spain) was split off from Tarraconensis, as a small province but the home of the only permanent legion is Hispania, Legio VII Gemina. After Diocletian's Tetrarchy reform in AD 293, the new dioecesis Hispaniae became one of the four dioceses—governed by a vicarius—of the praetorian prefecture of Gaul (also comprising the provinces of Gaul, Germania and Britannia), after the abolition of the imperial Tetrarchs under the Western Emperor (in Rome itself, later Ravenna). The diocese, with capital at Emerita Augusta (modern Mérida), comprised the five peninsular Iberian provinces (Baetica, Gallaecia and Lusitania, each under a governor styled consularis; and Carthaginiensis, Tarraconensis, each under a praeses), the Insulae Baleares and the North African province of Mauretania Tingitana.

Christianity was introduced into Hispania in the 1st century and it became popular in the cities in the 2nd century. Little headway was made in the countryside, however, until the late 4th century, by which time Christianity was the official religion of the Roman Empire. Some heretical sects emerged in Hispania, most notably Priscillianism, but overall the local bishops remained subordinate to the Pope. Bishops who had official civil as well as ecclesiastical status in the late empire continued to exercise their authority to maintain order when civil governments broke down there in the 5th century. The Council of Bishops became an important instrument of stability during the ascendancy of the Visigoths. The last vestiges of Roman rule ended in 472.

Germanic Hispania[edit]

Further information: Visigoths, Suebi, Alans, and Vandals

The undoing of Roman Spain was the result of four tribes crossing the Rhine New Year's Eve 407. After three years of depredation and wandering about northern and western Gaul the GermanicBuri, Suevi and Vandals, together with the SarmatianAlans move into Iberia in September or October 409 at the request of Gerontius a Roman usurper. Thus began the history of the end of Roman Spain which came in 472. The Suevi established a kingdom in Gallaecia in what is today modern Galicia and northern Portugal. The Alans' allies, the Hasdingi Vandals, also established a kingdom in another part of Gallaecia. The Alans established a kingdom in Lusitania – modern Alentejo and Algarve, in Portugal. The Silingi Vandals briefly occupied parts of South Iberia. In an effort to retrieve the region the western Roman emperor, Honorius (r. 395–423), promised the Visigoths a home in southwest Gaul if they destroyed the invaders in Spain. They all but wiped out the Silingi and Alans. The remnant joined the Asding Vandals who had settled first in the northwest with the Sueves but south to Baetica. It is a mystery why the Visigoths were recalled by patrician Constantius (who in 418 married Honorius' sister who had been married briefly to the Visigothic king Ataulf). The Visigoths, the remnants of the two tribes who joined them and the Sueves were confined to a small area in the northwest of the peninsula. The diocese may even have been re-established with the capital at Mérida in 418. (Kulikowski, M. The Career of the 'comes Hispanarum' Asterius, {Phoenix, 2000a,54: 123-141. The Roman attempt under general Castorius to dislodge the Vandals from Cordoba failed in 422. The Vandals and Alans crossed over to North Africa in 429, an event which is considered to have been decisive in hastening the decline of the Western Empire. However their departure allowed the Romans to recover 90% of the Iberian peninsula until 439. After the departure of the Vandals only the Sueves remained in a northwest corner of the peninsula. Roman rule which had survived in the eastern quadrant was restored over most of Iberia until the Sueves occupied Merida in 439, a move which coincides to the Vandal occupation of Carthage late the same year. Rome made attempts to restore control in 446 and 458. Success was temporary. After the death of emperor Majorian in 461 Roman authority collapsed except in Tarraconensis the northeastern quadrant of the peninsular. The Visigoths, a Germanic people, whose kingdom was located in southwest Gaul, took the province when they occupied Tarragona in 472. They also confined the Sueves who had ruled most of the region to Galicia and northern Portugal. In 484 the Visigoths established Toledo as the capital of their kingdom. Successive Visigothic kings ruled Hispania as patricians who held imperial commissions to govern in the name of the Roman emperor. In 585 the Visigoths conquered the Suebic Kingdom of Galicia, and thus controlled almost all of Hispania.

A century later, taking advantage of a struggle for the throne between the Visigothic kings Agila and Athanagild, the eastern emperorJustinian I sent an army under the command of Liberius to take back the peninsula from the Visigoths. This short-lived reconquest covered only a small strip of land along the Mediterranean coast roughly corresponding to the ancient province of Baetica, known as Spania.

Under the Visigoths culture was not as highly developed as it had been under Roman rule when a goal of higher education had been to prepare gentleman to take their places in municipal and imperial administration. With the collapse of the imperial administrative super-structure above the provincial level (which was practically moribund) the task of maintaining formal education and government shifted to the Church from the old ruling class of educated aristocrats and gentry. The clergy for the most part emerged as the qualified personnel to manage higher administration in concert with local powerful 'notables who gradually displaced the old town councils. As elsewhere in early medieval Europe, the church in Hispania stood as society's most cohesive institution. The Visigoths are also responsible for the introduction of mainstream Christianity to the Iberian peninsula; the earliest representation of Christ in Spanish religious art can be found in a Visigothic hermitage, Santa Maria de Lara. It also embodied the continuity of Roman order. Romans continued to run the civil administration and Latin continued to be the language of government and of commerce on behalf of the Visigoths, E.A. Thompson, The Visigoths in Spain, 1969 pp. 114-131.

Religion was the most persistent source of friction between the Roman Catholic Romans and their Arian Visigothic overlords, whom the former considered heretical. At times this tension invited open rebellion, and restive factions within the Visigothic aristocracy exploited it to weaken the monarchy. In 589, Recared, a Visigothic ruler, renounced his Arianism before the Council of Bishops at Toledo and accepted Catholicism, thus assuring an alliance between the Visigothic monarchy and the Romans. This alliance would not mark the last time in the history of the peninsula that political unity would be sought through religious unity.

Court ceremonials – from Constantinople – that proclaimed the imperial sovereignty and unity of the Visigothic state were introduced at Toledo. Still, civil war, royal assassinations, and usurpation were commonplace, and warlords and great landholders assumed wide discretionary powers. Bloody family feuds went unchecked. The Visigoths had acquired and cultivated the apparatus of the Roman state but not the ability to make it operate to their advantage. In the absence of a well-defined hereditary system of succession to the throne, rival factions encouraged foreign intervention by the Greeks, the Franks, and finally the Muslims in internal disputes and in royal elections.

According to Isidore of Seville, it is with the Visigothic domination of the zone that the idea of a peninsular unity is sought after, and the phrase Mother Hispania is first spoken. Up to that date, Hispania designated all of the peninsula's lands. In Historia Gothorum, the Visigoth Suinthila appears as the first monarch where Hispania is dealt with as a Gothic nation.

End of Hispania[edit]

Main article: Muslim conquest of Hispania

I greet you, oh king of Al-Andalus, she that was called Hispania by the ancients.

— Oton's Embassador to Abderramán III in Medina Azahara.

The North African Muslims, referred to as Moors, conquered Hispania (اسبانيا, Arabic: Isbānīya) (711–719), and called the area they controlled Al-Andalus (الأندلس). In the chronicles and documents of the High Middle Ages the terms derived from Hispania, Spania, España or Espanha continued to be used by the Christians but only in reference to Muslim controlled areas. King Alfonso I of Aragon (1104–1134) says in his documents that "he reigns over Pamplona, Aragon, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza", and that when in 1126 he made an expedition to Málaga he "went to the lands of España".

In the last years of the 12th century the whole Iberian Peninsula, Muslim and Christian, became known as "Spain" (España, Espanya or Espanha) and the denomination "the Five Kingdoms of Spain" became used to refer to the MuslimKingdom of Granada and the Christian kingdoms of Aragon, Castile, Portugal, and Navarre.

Economy[edit]

Main article: Economy of Hispania

Before the Punic Wars, Hispania was a land with much untapped mineral and agricultural wealth, limited by the primitive subsistence economies of her native peoples outside of a few trading ports along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Occupations by the Carthaginians and then by the Romans for her abundant silver deposits developed Hispania into a thriving multifaceted economy. Several metals, olives, oil from Baetica, salted fish and garum, and wines were some of the goods produced in Hispania and traded throughout the Empire. The gold mining was the most important activity in the NO of the peninsula. This activity is attested in archaeological sites as Las Médulas (Spain) and Casais (Ponte de Lima, Portugal).[14]

Climate[edit]

See also: Climate of Ancient Rome

Unusually high precipitation levels were during the so-called Iberian–Roman Humid Period. The Roman Spain experienced its three phases: the most humid interval in 550–190 BC, an arid interval in 190 BC–150 AD and another humid period in 150–350.[15] In 134 BC the army of Scipio Aemilianus in Spain had to march at night due to extreme heat, when some of its horses and mules died of thirst[16] (even though earlier, in 181 BC, heavy spring rains prevented the Celtiberians from relieving the Roman siege of Contrebia).[16] Through the 2nd century AD warm temperatures dominated particularly in the Austurian mountains along the north coast, punctuated by further cool spells from c. 155 to 180.[17] After about 200 the temperatures fluctuated, trending toward cool.[17]

Sources and references[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/.

Modern sources in Spanish and Portuguese[edit]

  • Altamira y Crevea, Rafael Historia de España y de la civilización española. Tomo I. Barcelona, 1900. Altamira was a professor at the University of Oviedo, a member of the Royal Academy of History, of the Geographic Society of Lisbon and of the Instituto de Coimbra. (In Spanish.)
  • Aznar, José Camón, Las artes y los pueblos de la España primitiva. Editorial Espasa Calpe, S.A. Madrid, 1954. Camón was a professor at the University of Madrid. (In Spanish.)
  • Bosch Gimpera, Pedro; Aguado Bleye, Pedro; and Ferrandis, José. Historia de España. España romana, I, created under the direction of Ramón Menéndez Pidal. Editorial Espasa-Calpe S.A., Madrid 1935. (In Spanish.)
  • García y Bellido, Antonio, España y los españoles hace dos mil años (según la Geografía de Estrabón). Colección Austral de Espasa Calpe S.A., Madrid 1945 (first edition 8-XI-1945). García y Bellido was an archeologist and a professor at the University of Madrid. (In Spanish.)
  • Mattoso, José (dir.), História de Portugal. Primeiro Volume: Antes de Portugal, Lisboa, Círculo de Leitores, 1992. (in Portuguese)
  • Melón, Amando, Geografía histórica española Editorial Volvntad, S.A., Tomo primero, Vol. I Serie E. Madrid 1928. Melón was a member of the Royal Geographical Society of Madrid and a professor of geography at the Universities of Valladolid and Madrid. (In Spanish.)
  • Pellón, José R., Diccionario Espasa Íberos. Espasa Calpe S.A. Madrid 2001. (In Spanish.)
  • Urbieto Arteta, Antonio, Historia ilustrada de España, Volumen II. Editorial Debate, Madrid 1994. (In Spanish.)
  • El Housin Helal Ouriachen, 2009, La ciudad bética durante la Antigüedad Tardía. Persistencias y mutaciones locales en relación con la realidad urbana del Mediterraneo y del Atlántico, Tesis doctoral, Universidad de Granada, Granada.

Other modern sources[edit]

Classical sources[edit]

Other classical sources have been accessed second-hand (see references above):

  • Strabo, Geographiká. Book III, Iberia, written between the years 29 and 7 BC and touched up in AD 18. The most prestigious and widely used edition is Karl Müller's, published in Paris at the end of the 19th century, one volume, with 2 columns, Greek and Latin. The most reputed French translation is Tardieu, París 1886. The most reputed English translation (with Greek text) is H.L. Jones, vol. I–VIII, London 1917ff., ND London 1931ff.
  • Ptolemy (Greek astronomer of the 2nd century) Geographiké Hyphaégesis, geographic guidebook.
  • Pacatus (Gallicrhetorician) directed a panegyric on Hispania to the emperor Theodosius I in 389, which he read to the Senate.
  • Paulus Orosius (390–418) historian, follower of Saint Augustine and author of Historiae adversus paganos, the first Christian universal history, and of Hispania Universa, an historical guide translated into Anglo-Saxon by Alfred the Great and into Arabic by Abd-ar-Rahman III.
  • Lucius Anneus Florus (between 1st and 2nd century). Compendium of Roman History and Epitome of the History of Titus Livius (Livy). The relevant texts of Livy have been lost, but we can read them via Florus.
  • Trogus Pompeius. Believed to be a Gaul with Roman citizenship. Historia universal written in Latin in the times of Augustus Caesar.
  • Titus Livius (Livy) (59 BC–17 BC). Ab urbe condita, Book CXLII of Livy's surviving work.

Neo-modern references[edit]

  • E. Hübner, La Arqueologia de España (Barcelona, 1888)
  • E. S. Bouchier, Spain under the Roman Empire (Oxford, 1914)

See also[edit]

The Tower of Hercules in Corunna, Galicia, Spain, is the world's oldest Roman lighthouse still in use.[9]
Carthaginian influence sphere before the First Punic War.
Iberian Peninsula (AD 530–AD 570)
The Iberian Peninsula in the year 560 AD
Al-Andalus under the Caliph of Cordoba

"Iberia" redirects here. For other uses of "Iberia", see Iberia (disambiguation).

Native names

  • Peninsula Iberica  (Aragonese)
  • Península Ibérica  (Asturian)
  • Iberiar Penintsula  (Basque)
  • Península Ibèrica  (Catalan)
  • Iberian Peninsula  (English)
  • Péninsule Ibérique  (French)
  • Península Ibérica  (Galician)
  • Península Eibérica  (Mirandese)
  • Peninsula Iberica  (Occitan)
  • Península Ibérica  (Portuguese)
  • Península Ibérica  (Spanish)

Satellite image of the Iberian Peninsula.

Geography
LocationSouthwest Europe
Coordinates40°N4°W / 40°N 4°W / 40; -4Coordinates: 40°N4°W / 40°N 4°W / 40; -4
Area582,000 km2 (225,000 sq mi)
Highest elevation3,478 m (11,411 ft)
Highest pointMulhacén
Administration
Capital and largest townAndorra la Vella
Area covered468 km2 (181 sq mi; 6999100000000000000♠0.1%)
Capital and largest cityLisbon
Area covered89,015 km2 (34,369 sq mi; 7001153000000000000♠15.3%)
Capital and largest cityMadrid
Area covered492,175 km2 (190,030 sq mi; 7001846009999900000♠84.6%)
Capital cityGibraltar
Largest districtWestside
Area covered7 km2 (2.7 sq mi; 5000000000000000000♠0%)
Largest communeFont-Romeu-Odeillo-Via
Area covered33,563 km2 (12,959 sq mi; 7000580000000000000♠5.8%)
Demographics
DemonymIberian
PopulationOver 57 million

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

Name[edit]

Greek name[edit]

The word Iberia is a noun adapted from the Latin word "Hiberia" originated by the Ancient Greek word Ἰβηρία (Ibēría) by Greek geographers under the rule of the Roman Empire to refer to what is known today in English as the Iberian Peninsula.[1] At that time, the name did not describe a single political entity or a distinct population of people.[2]Strabo's 'Iberia' was delineated from Keltikē (Gaul) by the Pyrenees[3] and included the entire land mass southwest (he says "west") of there.[4] The noun "Hiberia" fell into disuse when the Romans decided to call the most western part of the peninsula "Lusitania" (today Portugal) and the remaining territory as "Hispania" (modern Spain). With the fall of the Roman Empire and the establishment of the new Castillian language in Spain, the word "Iberia" appeared for the first time in use as a direct 'descendant' of the Greek word "Ἰβηρία" and the Roman word "Hiberia".

The ancient Greeks reached the Iberian Peninsula, of which they had heard from the Phoenicians, by voyaging westward on the Mediterranean.[5]Hecataeus of Miletus was the first known to use the term Iberia, which he wrote about circa 500 BC.[6]Herodotus of Halicarnassus says of the Phocaeans that "it was they who made the Greeks acquainted with... Iberia."[7] According to Strabo,[8] prior historians used Iberia to mean the country "this side of the Ἶβηρος (Ibēros)" as far north as the river Rhône in France, but currently they set the Pyrenees as the limit. Polybius respects that limit,[9] but identifies Iberia as the Mediterranean side as far south as Gibraltar, with the Atlantic side having no name. Elsewhere[10] he says that Saguntum is "on the seaward foot of the range of hills connecting Iberia and Celtiberia."

Strabo[11] refers to the Carretanians as people "of the Iberian stock" living in the Pyrenees, who are distinct from either Celts or Celtiberians.

Roman names[edit]

Main article: Hispania

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 Ebro, which the Romans called Hiberus. Hiber (Iberian) was thus used as a term for peoples living near the river Ebro.[3][12] The first mention in Roman literature was by the annalist poet Ennius in 200 BC.[13][14][15]Virgil refers to the Ipacatos Hiberos ("restless Iberi") in his Georgics.[16] The Roman geographers and other prose writers from the time of the late Roman Republic called the entire peninsula Hispania.

As they became politically interested in the former Carthaginian territories, the Romans began to use the names Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior for 'near' and 'far' Hispania. At the time Hispania was made up of three Roman provinces: Hispania Baetica, Hispania Tarraconensis, and Hispania Lusitania. Strabo says[8] 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 the Caucasus.)

Whatever language may generally have been spoken on the peninsula soon gave way to Latin, except for that of the Vascones, which was preserved as a language isolate by the barrier of the Pyrenees.

Etymology[edit]

The Iberian Peninsula has always been associated with the Ebro, Ibēros in ancient Greek and Ibērus or Hibērus in Latin. The association was so well known it was hardly necessary to state; for example, Ibēria was the country "this side of the Ibērus" in Strabo. Pliny goes so far as to assert that the Greeks had called "the whole of Spain" Hiberia because of the Hiberus River.[17] The river appears in the Ebro Treaty of 226 BC between Rome and Carthage, setting the limit of Carthaginian interest at the Ebro. The fullest description of the treaty, stated in Appian,[18] uses Ibērus. With reference to this border, Polybius[19] states that the "native name" is Ibēr, apparently the original word, stripped of its Greek or Latin -os or -us termination.

The early range of these natives, which geographers and historians place from today's southern Spain to today's southern France along the Mediterranean coast, is marked by instances of a readable script expressing a yet unknown language, dubbed "Iberian." Whether this was the native name or was given to them by the Greeks for their residence on 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[20] means "valley" or "watered meadow", while ibai[20] means "river", but there is no proof relating the etymology of the Ebro River with these Basque names. In Serbia, there is river Ibar, but there is no proof relating the etymology of the Ebro River with this Serbian river name.

Prehistory[edit]

Main article: Prehistoric Iberia

Palaeolithic[edit]

The Iberian Peninsula has been inhabited for at least 1.2 million years as remains found in the sites in the Atapuerca Mountains demonstrate. Among these sites is the cave of Gran Dolina, where six hominin skeletons, dated between 780,000 and one million years ago, were found in 1994. Experts have debated whether these skeletons belong to the species Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, or a new species called Homo antecessor.

Around 200,000 BP, during the Lower Paleolithic period, Neanderthals first entered the Iberian Peninsula. Around 70,000 BP, during the Middle Paleolithic period, the last glacial event began and the Neanderthal Mousterian culture was established. Around 37,000 BP, during the Upper Paleolithic, the Neanderthal Châtelperronian cultural period began. Emanating from Southern France, this culture extended into the north of the peninsula. It continued to exist until around 30,000 BP, when Neanderthal man faced extinction.

About 40,000 years ago, anatomically modern humans entered the Iberian Peninsula from Southern France.[21] Here, this genetically homogeneous population (characterized by the M173 mutation in the Y chromosome), developed the M343 mutation, giving rise to Haplogroup R1b, still the most common in modern Portuguese and Spanish males.[22] On the Iberian Peninsula, modern humans developed a series of different cultures, such as the Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean and Magdalenian cultures, some of them characterized by the complex forms of the art of the Upper Paleolithic.

Neolithic[edit]

During the Neolithic expansion, various megalithic cultures developed in the Iberian Peninsula. An open seas navigation culture from the east Mediterranean, called the Cardium culture, also extended its influence to the eastern coasts of the peninsula, possibly as early as the 5th millennium BC. These people may have had some relation to the subsequent development of the Iberian civilization.

Chalcolithic[edit]

In the Chalcolithic (c. 3000 BC), a series of complex cultures developed that would give rise to the peninsula's first civilizations and to extensive exchange networks reaching to the Baltic, Middle East and North Africa. Around 2800 – 2700 BC, the Beaker culture, which produced the Maritime Bell Beaker, probably originated in the vibrant copper-using communities of the Tagus estuary in Portugal and spread from there to many parts of western Europe.[23]

Bronze Age[edit]

Bronze Age cultures developed beginning c.1800 BC, when the civilization of Los Millares was followed by that of El Argar. From this centre, bronze technology spread to other cultures like the Bronze of Levante, South-Western Iberian Bronze and Las Cogotas.

In the Late Bronze Age, the urban civilisation of Tartessos developed in the area of modern western Andalusia, characterized by Phoenician influence and using the Southwest Paleohispanic script for its Tartessian language, not related to the Iberian language.

Early in the first millennium BC, several waves of Pre-Celts and Celts migrated from Central Europe, thus partially changing the peninsula's ethnic landscape to Indo-European-speaking in its northern and western regions. In Northwestern Iberia (modern Northern Portugal, Asturias and Galicia), a Celtic culture developed, the Castro culture, with a large number of hill forts and some fortified cities.

Proto-history[edit]

Main article: Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula

By the Iron Age, starting in the 7th century BC, the Iberian Peninsula consisted of complex agrarian and urban civilizations, either Pre-Celtic or Celtic (such as the Lusitanians, Celtiberians, Gallaeci, Astures, Celtici and others), the cultures of the Iberians in the eastern and southern zones and the cultures of the Aquitanian in the western portion of the Pyrenees.

The seafaring Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians successively settled along the Mediterranean coast and founded trading colonies there over a period of several centuries. Around 1100 BC, Phoenician merchants founded the trading colony of Gadir or Gades (modern day Cádiz) near Tartessos. In the 8th century BC, the first Greek colonies, such as Emporion (modern Empúries), were founded along the Mediterranean coast on the east, leaving the south coast to the Phoenicians. The Greeks coined the name Iberia, after the river Iber (Ebro). In the sixth century BC, the Carthaginians arrived in the peninsula while struggling with the Greeks for control of the Western Mediterranean. Their most important colony was Carthago Nova (modern-day Cartagena, Spain).

History[edit]

Roman rule[edit]

Main articles: Lusitania and Hispania

In 218 BC, during the Second Punic War against the Carthaginians, the first Roman troops invaded the Iberian Peninsula; however, it was not until the reign of Augustus that it was annexed after two centuries of war with the Celtic and Iberian tribes and the Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian colonies. The result was the creation of the province of Hispania. It was divided into Hispania Ulterior and Hispania Citerior during the late Roman Republic, and during the Roman Empire, it was divided into Hispania Tarraconensis in the northeast, Hispania Baetica in the south and Lusitania in the southwest.

Hispania supplied the Roman Empire with silver, food, olive oil, wine, and metal. The emperors Trajan, Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and Theodosius I, the philosopher Seneca the Younger, and the poets Martial and Lucan were born from families living on the Iberian Peninsula.

Germanic kingdoms[edit]

Main articles: Visigothic Kingdom and Spania

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

Islamic Caliphate[edit]

Main articles: Al-Andalus, Islam in Spain, and Islam in Portugal

In 711, a Muslim army invaded the Visigothic Kingdom in Hispania. Under Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Islamic army landed at Gibraltar and, in an eight-year campaign, occupied all except the northern kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula in the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Al-Andalus (Arabic: الإندلس‎, tr. al-ʾAndalūs, possibly "Land of the Vandals"),[24][25] is the Arabic name given to what is today southern Spain by its Muslim Berber and Arab occupiers.

From the 8th–15th centuries, only the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula was incorporated into the Islamic world and became a center of culture and learning, especially during the Caliphate of Córdoba, which reached its height of its power under the rule of Abd-ar-Rahman III and his successor al-Hakam II.[26] The Muslims, who were initially Arabs and Berbers, included some local converts, the so-called Muladi.[27] The Muslims were referred to by the generic name, Moors[28] The Reconquista gained momentum on c. 718, when the Christian Asturians opposed the Moors, the southern march to push out the Muslims continued for three hundred years[citation needed], so for another four hundred years, only the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula was transformed into a Romance-speaking and Arabic-speaking Muslim land, along with pockets of a large minority of Arabic-speaking Sephardi Jews[citation needed].

Reconquest[edit]

Main article: Reconquista

Many of the ousted Gothic nobles took refuge in the unconquered north Kingdom of Asturias. From there, they aimed to reconquer their lands from the Moors; this war of reconquest is known as the Reconquista. Christian and Muslim kingdoms fought and allied among themselves. The Muslim taifa kings competed in patronage of the arts, the Camino de Santiago attracted pilgrims from all Western Europe, and the Jewish population set the basis of Sephardi culture.[citation needed]

During the Middle Ages, the peninsula housed many small states including the Kingdom of Castile, Crown of Aragon, Kingdom of Navarre, Kingdom of León and the Kingdom of Portugal. The peninsula was part of the Almohad Caliphate until they were finally uprooted. The last major Muslim stronghold was Granada, which was conquered by a combined Castilian and Aragonese force in 1492. Muslims and Jews throughout the period were variously tolerated or shown intolerance in different Christian kingdoms. However, after the fall of Granada, all Muslims and Jews were ordered to convert to Christianity or face expulsion. Many Jews and Muslims fled to North Africa and the Ottoman Empire, while others publicly converted to Christianity and became known respectively as Marranos and Moriscos. However, many of these continued to practice their religion in secret. The Moriscos revolted several times and were ultimately forcibly expelled from Spain in the early 17th century.

Post-reconquest[edit]

Main articles: History of Andorra, History of Gibraltar, History of Portugal, and History of Spain

The small states gradually amalgamated over time, with the exception of Portugal, even if for a brief period (1580–1640) the whole peninsula was united politically under the Iberian Union. After that point, the modern position was reached and the peninsula now consists of the countries of Spain and Portugal (excluding their islands—the Portuguese Azores and Madeira and the Spanish Canary Islands and Balearic Islands; and the Spanish exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla), Andorra, French Cerdagne and Gibraltar.

Geography and geology[edit]

Main articles: Geography of Portugal and Geography of Spain

The Iberian Peninsula is the westernmost of the three major southern European peninsulas—the Iberian, Italian, and Balkan. It is bordered on the southeast and east by the Mediterranean Sea, and on the north, west, and southwest by the Atlantic Ocean. The Pyrenees mountains are situated along the northeast edge of the peninsula, where it adjoins the rest of Europe. Its southern tip is very close to the northwest coast of Africa, separated from it by the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Iberian Peninsula extends from the southernmost extremity at Punta de Tarifa (36°00′15″N5°36′37″W / 36.00417°N 5.61028°W / 36.00417; -5.61028) to the northernmost extremity at Punta de Estaca de Bares (43°47′38″N7°41′17″W / 43.79389°N 7.68806°W / 43.79389; -7.68806) over a distance between lines of latitude of about 865 km (537 mi) based on a degree length of 111 km (69 mi) per degree, and from the westernmost extremity at Cabo da Roca (38°46′51″N9°29′54″W / 38.78083°N 9.49833°W / 38.78083; -9.49833) to the easternmost extremity at Cap de Creus (42°19′09″N3°19′19″E / 42.31917°N 3.32194°E / 42.31917; 3.32194) over a distance between lines of longitude at 40° N latitude of about 1,155 km (718 mi) based on an estimated degree length of about 90 km (56 mi) for that latitude. The irregular, roughly octagonal shape of the peninsula contained within this spherical quadrangle was compared to an ox-hide by the geographer Strabo.[29]

About three quarters of that rough octagon is the Meseta Central, a vast plateau ranging from 610 to 760 m in altitude.[30] It is located approximately in the centre, staggered slightly to the east and tilted slightly toward the west (the conventional centre of the Iberian Peninsula has long been considered Getafe just south of Madrid). It is ringed by mountains and contains the sources of most of the rivers, which find their way through gaps in the mountain barriers on all sides.

Coastline[edit]

The coastline of the Iberian Peninsula is 3,313 km (2,059 mi), 1,660 km (1,030 mi) on the Mediterranean side and 1,653 km (1,027 mi) on the Atlantic side.[31] The coast has been inundated over time, with sea levels having risen from a minimum of 115–120 m (377–394 ft) lower than today at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to its current level at 4,000 years BP.[32] The coastal shelf created by sedimentation during that time remains below the surface; however, it was never very extensive on the Atlantic side, as the continental shelf drops rather steeply into the depths. An estimated 700 km (430 mi) length of Atlantic shelf is only 10–65 km (6.2–40.4 mi) wide. At the 500 m (1,600 ft) isobath, on the edge, the shelf drops off to 1,000 m (3,300 ft).[33]

The submarine topography of the coastal waters of the Iberian Peninsula has been studied extensively in the process of drilling for oil. Ultimately, the shelf drops into the Bay of Biscay on the north (an abyss), the Iberian abyssal plain at 4,800 m (15,700 ft) on the west, and Tagus abyssal plain to the south. In the north, between the continental shelf and the abyss, is an extension called the Galicia Bank, a plateau that also contains the Porto, Vigo, and Vasco da Gama seamounts, which form the Galicia interior basin. The southern border of these features is marked by Nazaré Canyon, which splits the continental shelf and leads directly into the abyss.

Rivers[edit]

Main articles: List of rivers of Portugal and List of rivers of Spain

The major rivers flow through the wide valleys between the mountain systems. These are the Ebro, Douro, Tagus, Guadiana and Guadalquivir. All rivers in the Iberian Peninsula are subject to seasonal variations 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[edit]

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

  • The Pyrenees and their foothills, the Pre-Pyrenees, crossing the isthmus of the peninsula so completely as to allow no passage except by mountain road, trail, coastal road or tunnel. Aneto in the Maladeta massif, at 3,404 m, is the highest point
  • The Cantabrian Mountains along the northern coast with the massive Picos de Europa. Torre de Cerredo, at 2,648 m, is the highest point
  • The Galicia/Trás-os-Montes Massif in the Northwest is made up of very old heavily eroded rocks.[34]Pena Trevinca, at 2,127 m, is the highest point
  • The Sistema Ibérico, a complex system at the heart of the Peninsula, in its central/eastern region. It contains a great number of ranges and divides the watershed of the Tagus, Douro and Ebro rivers. Moncayo, at 2,313 m, is the highest point
  • The Sistema Central, dividing the Iberian Plateau into a northern and a southern half and stretching into Portugal (where the highest point of Continental Portugal (1,993 m) is located in the Serra da Estrela). Pico Almanzor in the Sierra de Gredos is the highest point, at 2,592 m
  • The Montes de Toledo, which also stretches into Portugal from the La Mancha natural region at the eastern end. Its highest point, at 1,603 m, is La Villuerca in the Sierra de Villuercas, Extremadura
  • The Sierra Morena, which divides the watershed of the Guadiana and Guadalquivir rivers. At 1,332 m, Bañuela is the highest point
  • The Baetic System, which stretches between Cádiz and Gibraltar and northeast towards Alicante Province. It is divided into three subsystems:
    • Prebaetic System, which begins west of the Sierra Sur de Jaén, reaching the Mediterranean Sea shores in Alicante Province. La Sagra is the highest point at 2,382 m.
    • Subbaetic System, which is in a central position within the Baetic Systems, stretching from Cape Trafalgar in Cádiz Province across Andalusia to the Region of Murcia.[35] The highest point, at 2,027 m (6,650 ft), is Peña de la Cruz in Sierra Arana.
    • Penibaetic System, located in the far southeastern area stretching between Gibraltar across the Mediterranean coastal Andalusian provinces. It includes the highest point in the peninsula, the 3,478 m high Mulhacén in the Sierra Nevada.[36]

Geology[edit]

Main article: Geology of the Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian Peninsula contains rocks of every geological period from the Ediacaran to the Recent, and almost every kind of rock is represented. World-class mineral deposits can also be found there. The core of the Iberian Peninsula consists of a Hercyniancratonic block known as the Iberian Massif. On the northeast, this is bounded by the Pyrenean fold belt, and on the southeast it is bounded by the Baetic System. These twofold chains are part of the Alpine belt. To the west, the peninsula is delimited by the continental boundary formed by the magma-poor opening of the Atlantic Ocean. The Hercynian Foldbelt is mostly buried by Mesozoic and Tertiary cover rocks to the east, but nevertheless outcrops through the Sistema Ibérico and the Catalan Mediterranean System.

Climate[edit]

Main articles: Climate of Portugal and Climate of Spain

The Iberian peninsula has two dominant climate types. One of these is the oceanic climate seen in the Atlantic coastal region resulting in evenly temperatures with relatively cool summers. However, most of Portugal and Spain have a mediterranean climate with various precipitation and temperatures depending on latitude and position versus the sea. There are also more localized semi-arid climates in central Spain, with temperatures resembling a more continental mediterranean climate. In other extreme cases highland alpine climates such as in Sierra Nevada and areas with extremely low precitipation and desert climates nor semi-arid climates such as the Almería[37] area, Murcia area and southern Alicante area. In the Spanish interior the hottest temperatures in Europe are found, with Córdoba averaging around 37 °C (99 °F) in July.[38] The Spanish mediterranean coast usually averages around 30 °C (86 °F) in summer. In sharp contrast A Coruña at the northern tip of Galicia has a summer daytime high average at just below 23 °C (73 °F).[39] This cool and wet summer climate is replicated throughout most of the northern coastline. Winter temperatures are more consistent throughout the peninsula, although frosts are common in the Spanish interior, even though daytime highs are usually above the freezing point. In Portugal, the warmest winters of the country are found in the area of Algarve, very similar to the ones from Huelva in Spain, while most of the Portuguese Atlantic coast has fresh and humid winters, similar to Galicia.

LocationColdest monthAprilWarmest monthOctober
Madrid9.8 °C (49.6 °F)
2.7 °C (36.9 °F)
18.2 °C (64.8 °F)
7.7 °C (45.9 °F)
32.1 °C (89.8 °F)
19.0 °C (66.2 °F)
19.4 °C (66.9 °F)
10.7 °C (51.3 °F)
Barcelona14.8 °C (58.6 °F)
8.8 °C (47.8 °F)
19.1 °C (66.4 °F)
12.5 °C (54.5 °F)
29.0 °C (84.2 °F)
23.1 °C (73.6 °F)
22.5 °C (72.5 °F)
16.5 °C (61.7 °F)
Valencia16.4 °C (61.5 °F)
7.1 °C (44.8 °F)
20.8 °C (69.4 °F)
11.5 °C (52.7 °F)
30.2 °C (86.4 °F)
21.9 °C (71.4 °F)
24.4 °C (75.9 °F)
15.2 °C (59.4 °F)
Seville16.0 °C (60.8 °F)
5.7 °C (42.3 °F)
23.4 °C (74.1 °F)
11.1 °C (52.0 °F)
36.0 °C (96.8 °F)
20.3 °C (68.5 °F)
26.0 °C (78.8 °F)
14.4 °C (57.9 °F)
Lisbon14.8 °C (58.6 °F)
8.3 °C (46.9 °F)
19.8 °C (67.6 °F)
11.9 °C (53.4 °F)
28.3 °C (82.9 °F)
18.6 °C (65.5 °F)
22.5 °C (72.5 °F)
15.1 °C (59.2 °F)
Porto13.8 °C (56.8 °F)
5.2 °C (41.4 °F)
18.1 °C (64.6 °F)
9.1 °C (48.4 °F)
25.7 °C (78.3 °F)
15.9 °C (60.6 °F)
20.7 °C (69.3 °F)
12.2 °C (54.0 °F)

Major modern countries[edit]

Political divisions of the Iberian Peninsula sorted by area:

Country/
Territory
Mainland population[42]km2sq mi %Share
Spain43,731,572 approx.[43]492,175190,03079%occupies most of the peninsula
Portugal10,047,083 approx.[44]89,01534,36915%occupies most of the west of the peninsula
France3,191,05933,56312,9596%French Cerdagne is on the south side of the Pyrenees mountain range, which runs along the border between Spain and France.[45][46][47] For example, the Segre river, which runs west and then south to meet the Ebro, has its source on the French side. The Pyrenees range is often considered the northeastern boundary of Iberian Peninsula, although the French coastline converges away from the rest of Europe north of the range.
Andorra84,0824681810.1%a northern edge of the peninsula in the south side of the Pyrenees range between Spain and France
Gibraltar(United Kingdom)29,43173<0.1%a British overseas territory near the southernmost tip of the peninsula

Major urban areas[edit]

Iberian Peninsula and southern France, satellite photo on a cloudless day in March 2014
Northeast Iberian script from Huesca.
Schematic rock art from the Iberian Peninsula.
Iberian Late Bronze Age since c. 1300 BC
Roman conquest: 220 BC - 19 BC
Germanic and Byzantine rule c.560
Map of Spain and Portugal, Atlas historique, dated approximately 1705–1739, of H.A. Chatelain.
Major Geologic Units of the Iberian Peninsula
Satellite image of Iberia at night

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