Satellite image of the Iberian Peninsula
|Country||Spain , Portugal , France and Andorra (sovereign states) ; Gibraltar ( British Overseas Territory )|
|Sea ocean)|| Atlantic Ocean (west and north) |
Mediterranean Sea (south and east)
|Close||Strait of Gibraltar (to the south)|
|Surface||596 740 km²|
The Iberian Peninsula [ n 1 ] is located in southwestern Europe ; it is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean , joining the rest of the continent from the northeast. It is one of the three great southern peninsulas of Europe, together with the Italic and the Balkan peninsulas and measures approximately 596,740 km². [ citation required ] Traditionally the border of the peninsula has been established in the Pyrenean mountain range , although the isthmusIt is located on the straight line that joins the central point of the gulfs of Vizcaya and León - between the respective coasts of the cities of Bayonne and Narbonne -, thus being comprised of a southern strip of French territory to the south of the isthmus. [ 1 ]
Two countries occupy almost the entire peninsular surface, Spain and Portugal , in addition to Andorra , the British territory of Gibraltar and, partially, the French departments of the Pyrenean area, although the latter are conventionally not taken into account. Historically, the "Iberian Peninsula", "Iberia", "Hispanic Peninsula" [ n 2 ] or "Hesperian Peninsula" [ n 3 ] have been called the continental territory located "beyond" the Pyrenees . The expression "Iberian Peninsula" was first coined by the French geographer Jean-Baptiste Bory de Saint-Vincent in his workTraveler's Guide to Spain del año 1823. [ 3 ]
At present, in Spanish it receives the name of «Iberian Peninsula». Different names for this geographical feature in other languages and dialects spoken to a greater or lesser extent in the territory would be "Iberian Peninsula" (Portuguese, Galician, Asturian and Extremadura), "Iberian Peninsula" (Valencian, Catalan), "Iberian Peninsula »(English),« Péninsule ibérique »(French),« Peninsula Iberica »(Aragonese and Occitan) and« Iberiar penintsula »(Basque).
Its name comes from the river Iberus , probably the current Ebro , although it could also be another river in the province of Huelva , where very old texts mention an Iberus river and a town they call Iberians . At first, in archaic Greece the Greeks could call it "Hesperia", since Hesperia was described as the westernmost part of the Mediterranean, although it is not known with certainty if it refers to present-day Spain, Morocco or both. Later the Greeks would come to call it "Iberia." [ 4 ]
Polybius , a 2nd century BC Greek historian . C. who lived for a time in the peninsula, writes:
Iberia is called the part that falls on Our Sea (Mediterranean), from the Herákleas columns. But the part that falls towards the Great Sea or Outer Sea (Atlantic), does not have a common name to all of it, because it has been recently recognized.
Strabo dedicates Book III to the Iberian Peninsula.
The first part of it (Europe) is, as we said, the West; that is to say, Iberia; This, in its greater extension, is not very habitable, since almost all of it is covered with mountains, forests and plains with poor soil and unevenly watered.Strabo , Book III .
The size of Iberia, now called Hispania instead of Iberia by some, is large and incredible for a single country, whose extension is ten thousand stadiums and its length is equal to its width.Apiano , Historia romana .
The historiography refers to it as well with other words, according to the historical context: "Celtaria", "Celtiberia", "Land of Tartessos", " Sefarad ", " el-Andalus ", etc. Some scholars, such as Dámaso Alonso , considered that the name of the Hispanic Peninsula would be more appropriate. [ N 4 ]
Iberia was the name given by the Greeks to the peninsula, although the part they knew best was the southern Mediterranean area , around the Iberian River. Hispania was the name used by the Romans to designate the Iberian Peninsula, possibly of Punic origin (see Origin of the name of Hispania ).
After the Muslim conquest it received the name of al-Andalus , becoming part of the North African province of the Umayyad Caliphate (711 to 1492) to later become the Emirate of Córdoba and later the Caliphate of Córdoba independent of the Abbasid Caliphate. With the dissolution of the Caliphate of Córdoba in 1031, the territory was divided into the first Taifa kingdoms, a period followed by the Almoravids , the second Taifa kingdoms, the Almohad period and the third Taifa kingdoms.
Later, after the dynastic union of the Crown Crowns of Castile and Aragon and the conquests of Granada and most of the Kingdom of Navarra , the resulting territories began to be called Spain, by simplification among non-Spanish people, although the Legal unification of all these kingdoms was not consolidated until the 18th century , with the Bourbons .
Until the end of the 17th century , the beginning of the 18th century , all the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula were considered Spanish, as today the various peoples of Scandinavia are considered Scandinavian, or those of the Balkan Peninsula are considered Balkan. [ citation needed ] With difficulty, the Portuguese felt obliged to stop calling themselves Spanish, so as not to be taken for Castilian, as the Castilianization of other kingdoms of ancient Hispania developed .
Due to the manifest historical, political and cultural impossibility shown to continue calling the Portuguese "Spanish", without them being confused with the Castilians by other peoples who ruled inside and outside the Hispanic peninsula , since then, the use of the expression "Iberian" to designate the "two peoples" of the Hispanic peninsula , now preferably called by the neologism Iberian Peninsula . This process was parallel and similar to the one that emerged abroad of calling the Castilian language Spanish, which had become the only official language by the Spanish government, until they changed the official designation of the State, with the creation of the official name: Kingdom of Spain. in the centuryXVIII , and the change of the title of the kings of León, Castile, Aragon, Sicily, etc. for the kings of Spain for symbolic purposes of administrative unification and for the new international presentation of the monarchy of the plateau. [ 5 ]
The peninsula would have about 622,918 km² , including about 40,000 km² corresponding to the southern part of the isthmus, but north of the Pyrenees, French territory. [ 6 ] If that area is excluded, the area would amount to about 582,918 km² . [ 6 ] [ 7 ]
Within its geographical limits are peninsular Spain , continental Portugal , Andorra and Gibraltar , in addition to the aforementioned French southern strip . To the south, the peninsula is separated from Africa ( Morocco and Algeria ) by the Mediterranean Sea (which in this area is called the Alboran Sea ) and the Atlantic Ocean, the Strait of Gibraltar being the limit between the two. The highest point is Mulhacén at an altitude of 3478.6 m above sea level. The longest river is the Tagus, with a length of 1007 km (731 km in Spain and 275 km in Portugal).
The Greek geographer Strabo , speaking of the Iberian Peninsula, compares it to a bull's skin:
Iberia ... looks like a skin stretched in the direction of its length from west to east and in the direction of its width from north to south.
Due to its size, the Iberian peninsula would occupy, in case of being reunited under the same State (as it was between 1580 and 1640, with the exception of Andorra ), the 48th place as the largest country in the world and due to its population it would occupy the place number 24.
There is no scientific consensus on where the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula is located. [ 6 ] Traditionally, the Madrid towns of Getafe , with Cerro de los Ángeles as a geodesic point, and Pinto , at the confluence of Maestra María del Rosario and Hospital streets, have disputed this recognition for centuries. However, more recently, other studies have come out that would place the geographic center in the province of Toledo . [ 8 ] [ 9 ]
Its topography has as its main characteristic that most of its surface is configured as a plateau , with a slight slope towards the west; This has an average height of six hundred meters above sea level; the coastline is rocky with cliffs to the north, northeast, northwest and southeast, with most of the east and south coastline being softer.
- Point to the north: islet Estaquín of follow them [ required clarification ] [ 10 ] or Stake Bars province of Corunna (43 ° 47'24 "N). [ 11 ]
- Southernmost point : tip of Tarifa on the island of Las Palomas , province of Cádiz (36 ° 00'08 "N).
- Most westerly point: Cape of the Rock in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park , Lisbon district (9 ° 29'00 "W).
- Easternmost point: Masa de Oro island in the Cabo de Creus natural park , Girona province (3 ° 19'00 "E).
- Highest point: Mulhacen (3482 m asl ).
- Lowest point with respect to mean sea level: Las Cruces mine (Seville), 190 meters below sea level. [ 12 ]
- Deepest point with respect to the surface: Torca del Cerro del Cuevón (1589 m below the surface, located at 2019 m asl).
- Geographic center: According to the National Geographic Institute, it is difficult to determine and highly dependent on the methodology used. Historically, the Madrid towns of Getafe and Pinto have disputed this recognition, but other studies place it in different parts of the province of Toledo . [ 8 ] [ 9 ]
- Highest temperature: 47.4 ° C in Amareleja , August 1, 2003. [ 13 ]
- Lowest temperature: −35.8 ° C in Vega de Liordes , León , on January 7, 2021.
The main rivers of the Iberian Peninsula are, in descending order of length, the Tagus , the Ebro , the Duero , the Guadiana and the Guadalquivir . All of them are more than six hundred kilometers long each.
The geology of the Iberian Peninsula responds to a long geological history, from the Proterozoic times to the present, reflecting mergers and breaks of continents, opening of oceans and important orogenic episodes. The traces and scars of this history configure the continental crust, the structure and nature of the igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks that make up the peninsula as well as the current reliefs.
Its geographic isolation has allowed the development of a characteristic flora and fauna that include a significant number of endemic taxa . Interestingly it should be noted that in Spain there are 17 804 million trees each year and grow an average of over 284 million, according to a study by the Spanish Society of Forestry Sciences in September 2009. [ 14 ]
Spain is the second country in the European Union with the largest forest area, a total of 26.27 million hectares or 57% of its territory, the wooded area, according to the third forest inventory, being 14.73 million ha and the rest of the Mediterranean scrub. [ N 5 ]
The flora of the peninsula, due to its biohistorical, geographical, geological, orographic conditions, etc., is one of the richest and most varied in all of Europe, comparable to that of Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy and even more diverse; it is estimated that it includes more than 8000 species of plants, many of them endemic .
The Mediterranean has been subjected in the past to great changes in climate and vegetation, together with variations, sometimes very large, in sea level and variations in the relative positions of the continental masses (European and African plates). With the entry of plants and isolation, due to marine fluctuations or periodic glaciations, a varied diversity of plant species can be found.
The Iberian peninsula, located on an important passageway between Africa and Europe , was enriched with the arrival, as the climate changed, of steppe, thermophilic , xerophilic , orophilic and boreo-alpine plants , many of which managed to stay later, thanks to the diversity of means that exist in the mountain ranges, which allow them to rise in altitude if the climate gets warmer, or descend if it gets colder. The geological complexity of most of the Iberian mountains, especially the Betic Mountains, the Iberian System and the Pyrenees, further increased the number of new media to adapt to and made possible the diversity and richness of today's flora.
The Eurosiberian region is represented by the Atlantic zone, which extends from the north of Portugal , most of Galicia , the Principality of Asturias , Cantabria , the Basque Country , northwestern Navarra and the western and central Pyrenees . However, its influence in the form of specific communities or species extends at many points inland, especially in the northern and western halves. It is characterized by a humid climate, softened by the oceanic influence, with cold-temperate winters and a not very accentuated dry season.
The vegetation is represented by forest deciduous oak ( Quercus petraea ) and oaks ( Quercus robur ), with fresnedas of Fraxinus excelsior and hazel groves in the freshest and deepest valley bottom soils. The montane area is characterized by the presence of beech trees and sometimes, in the Pyrenees, by Abies alba fir trees ; these beech and fir trees occupy the cool, deep-soiled slopes of the not very high mountains. The Mediterranean influence is felt in the presence of holm oak groves with laurel, which are located on the warmest ridges and slopes, especially on limestone soils , where dryness is accentuated.
The use by man throughout history has transformed many of these forests into meadows, which preserve on their borders remains of the hedges or species of the primitive forest. The natural border is formed by hedges and thorns that are installed in the clearings and cleared parts; are composed of wild roses, brambles , blackthorn , hawthorn and other shrubs more or less thorny; broom and broom can also play this role . The following are the main forests in this area.
- Annex: Continental fish of the Iberian Peninsula
- Annex: Amphibians of the Iberian Peninsula
- Annex: Reptiles of the Iberian Peninsula
- Annex: Birds of the Iberian Peninsula
- Annex: Mammals of the Iberian Peninsula
The fauna of the Iberian Peninsula presents a wide diversity that is due in large part to two factors, the geographical position of the Iberian Peninsula, between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean and between Africa and Eurasia , and the great diversity of habitats and biotopes, a consequence of a considerable variety of climates and well-differentiated regions.
Among the large carnivores, two species that have disappeared from much of Western Europe stand out: the brown bear , which survives in the Cantabrian mountains and in certain Pyrenean enclaves, and the Iberian wolf , an endemic subspecies of the Iberian Peninsula. Although the most emblematic carnivore is undoubtedly the Iberian lynx , the most threatened feline of the entire European continent. Much more numerous are the populations of wildcat , red fox and some mustelids: the badger , polecat and weasel ; somewhat less numerous are those of otter , marten andmarten . The viverrids are represented by the genet ; and the herpes , for the mongoose .
Herbivores are represented by quite widespread species, such as some deer: the red deer , the fallow deer and the roe deer . There are endemic populations of mountain goats and Pyrenean and Cantabrian pockets of chamois . Wild boar is also widespread .
- Most populated municipalities
|Most populated municipalities in the Iberian Peninsula (2011)|
| ||Pos.||Municipality||Country||Population||Pos.||Municipality||Country||Population|| |
|1||Madrid||Spain||3 265 038||11||Alicante||Spain||334 329|
|2||Barcelona||Spain||1 615 448||12||Córdoba||Spain||328 659|
|3||Valencia||Spain||798 033||13||Valladolid||Spain||313 437|
|4||Sevilla||Spain||703 021||14||Vila Nova de Gaia||Portugal||302 295|
|5||Zaragoza||Spain||674 725||15||Vigo||Spain||297 241|
|6||Málaga||Spain||568 030||16||Gijón||Spain||277 559|
|7||Lisboa||Portugal||547 733||17||Hospitalet de Llobregat||Spain||256 065|
|8||Murcia||Spain||442 203||18||Corunna||Spain||246 028|
|9||Sintra||Portugal||377 835||19||Granada||Spain||240 099|
|10||Bilbao||Spain||352 700||20||Vitoria||Spain||239 562|
|2011 population census [ 18 ] [ 19 ]|
- metropolitan areas
|Main metropolitan areas of the Iberian Peninsula|
| ||Pos.||Metropolitan area||Country||Population||Pos.||Metropolitan area||Country||Population|| |
|1||AM from Madrid||Spain||5 537 292||11||AM from Alicante-Elche||Spain||1 842 616|
|2||AM of Barcelona||Spain||5 012 961||12||AM of Murcia||Spain||1 472 991|
|3||AM from Lisbon||Portugal||2 831 814||13||AM of the Bay of Cádiz-Jerez de la Frontera||Spain||642 096|
|4||AM from Valencia||Spain||2 000 000||15||AM of Granada||Spain||917 057|
|5||AM of Porto||Portugal||1 759 524||16||AM from La Coruña||Spain||1 121 771|
|6||AM from Seville||Spain||1 535 379||14||AM from Vigo||Spain||943 257|
|7||AM from Malaga||Spain||1 218 543||17||AM from Valladolid||Spain||523 216|
|8||AM de Bilbao||Spain||1 134 514||18||AM of Pamplona||Spain||347 213|
|9||Central AM of Asturias||Spain||1 034 302||19||AM from Córdoba||Spain||327 362|
|10||AM from Zaragoza||Spain||961 518||20||AM of Santander-Torrelavega||Spain||323 816|
|2017 population census, Eurostat [ 20 ]|
The Iberian Peninsula comprises a large part of Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar. Historically, the Iberian Peninsula has been called the European continental territory that is located south of the Pyrenees.
|Country dependency [ l 1 ]||Population||Extension (square kilometers) [ 7 ]||% Extension||Capital|
|Spain [ l2 ]||46 468 102||493 515||84,663 %||Madrid|
|Portugal[l 3]||10 374 822||88 944||15,258 %||Lisboa|
|Andorra||79 218||453||0,078 %||Andorra the Old|
|Gibraltar (United Kingdom) [ l 4 ]||32 194||6||0,001 %||Gibraltar|
|Iberian Peninsula||56 954 336||582 918|
- The southern French area is not included because politically it is not considered part of the Iberian Peninsula, although geographically it does belong to it.
- The Balearic Islands , the Canary Islands , Ceuta , Melilla , and the islands and islets in North Africa are not included, as they are not part of the Iberian Peninsula.
- Not included Azores and Madeira not be part of the peninsula.
- Gibraltar has the status of overseas territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ; therefore, unlike Spain , Portugal and Andorra it is not a State .
- Peninsular Spain
- Extra-peninsular Spain
- Mainland Portugal
- Ibero-Romance languages
- From Hispania to Spain
- «When the generic noun is used to refer to a geographical feature followed by an adjective derived from the place name to which said feature corresponds - whether it is the current place name or a variant already in disuse -, both the generic noun and the adjective are written with lowercase: Andean mountain range (the Andean adjective derives from the place-name Andes ), Castilian plateau (the Castilian adjective derives from the place-name Castilla ), British Isles (the British adjective derives from the historical place-name Britania ), Iberian peninsula (the Iberian adjectivederives from the historical place name Iberia ) or the Italic peninsula (the adjective Italic derives from the place name Italy ). In these cases, they are merely appellative or common expressions, even if they designate a single referent. [...] ». Cited in RAE and ASALE (2010). "The use of lowercase and uppercase letters: landforms" . Spelling of the Spanish language . Madrid: Espasa Calpe . p. 477. ISBN 978-6-070-70653-0 . Retrieved June 3, 2017 .
- words attributed to St. Isidore, which exalts the Gothic race and sing the virtues of Spania (referring to the entire peninsula): [ 2 ] You are, oh Spain (Spania) , sacred mother always happy of princes and peoples, the most beautiful of all lands that extend from the west to India. You, by right, are now the queen of all the provinces, from whom not only the sunset but also the east receive their lights. You are the honor and adornment of the world, the most illustrious portion of the earth where the glorious fecundity of the Gothic nation is greatly enjoyed and flourished.—San Isidoro de Sevilla, De laude Spaniae .
- "Hesperia" and "Hesperian peninsula" were expressions used by some geologists, who have not been fortunate, as well as, because of inadequate, the "Pyrenean peninsula" used by Willkomm and other Germanic authors in the second half of the 19th century .
- The name "Iberian Peninsula" is less correct than the term "Hispanic" because the Iberian people , from which the name derives, only settled in the south-western half of the peninsula while Hispania represented the entire peninsula (including Portugal) geographically until Spain (the name derived from Hispania) became a political unit that did not represent the entire peninsula for the independence of Portugal from the kingdom of León . Therefore, historiography has also been concerned with finding another name that did not have political connotations and that would unite Portugal and Spain.Politics, the Iberian element is in both, but it left out the northwestern areas such as Galicia, Asturias, León, etc. that were never in the Iberian zone. Dámaso Alonso naming the Hispanic peninsula in an assessment of a theory by Menéndez Pidal . «Pidal's theory therefore has quite a few dark spots. It is today the most satisfactory explanation of a set of phonetic facts (and perhaps also of toponymy) of the Hispanic Peninsula ... The community of Latin spoken in the Hispanic Peninsula and in southern Italy is still reinforced by a whole series of facts no longer of phonetic order but syntactic, morphological and lexical ».Some geographers believe, not without foundation, that it would be better to call it the Hispanic Peninsula, in memory of the Roman Hispania that encompassed both current States: Spain (v.) And Portugal (v.). But the Portuguese, and in part the Catalans as well, are suspicious of calling it Hispanic, preferring the nickname Iberian ...
- Sweden , with 30.9 million hectares (75% of its territory), is the country with the largest area of forests; they are followed by Finland , with 23.3 million ha; France , with 17.3 million ha; Germany and Italy , with 11 million ha, respectively, and Poland , with 9.2 million. [ 15 ] [ 16 ]
- «Iberian Peninsula» . libraryvirtual.defensa.gob.es .
- Eloy Benito Ruano (1997). Spain: reflections on the being of Spain . p. 86.
- Antonio García Bellido, Spain and the Spanish two thousand years ago , Espasa Calpe, 1945, ISBN 84-239-0515-2 , p. 51, notes 1 and 2.
- The Discovery of America and the Treaty of Tordesillas . , by Manuel Fernandes Costa, Brief Library, Portuguese Culture Institute, State Secretariat for Culture, Ministry of Culture and Science , 1st ed., Lisbon, 1979.
- "Where is the center of the peninsula really?" . It is for Madrid. January 16, 2009.
- "Presentation of the Iberian Peninsula" .
- "Battle for Madrid's Greenwich" . The reason. January 21, 2012.
- Javier Colomo Ugarte (2007). "Geographical center of the surface . " Page of studies and debate on geography, history, economy and politics - Geographical Studies . Retrieved October 20, 2016 .
- Estaquin of Sigüelos
- Cabo, Angel; Vigil, Marcelo (1973). History of Spain. Alfaguara: Geographical conditions. Ancient Age . Editorial Alliance. p. 7. ISBN 84-206-2037-8 . «The tip of Estaca de Bares, the northern end of the Iberian Peninsula, is at 43 ° 47 '24", latitude N. "
- Antena3.com (2015) « Las cruces, the deepest point of the Iberian Peninsula » Antena 3 , El tiempo, Actualidad. (Accessed June 3, 2018)
- Hernanz, E. (2013) « The most extreme temperatures in history in Spain » ABC , Sociedad. (Consulted on June 3, 2018)
- The number of trees in Spain grows 130% in 35 years
- «More than half of Spain is forest» . KissFm. October 20, 2008. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009.
- Belén Tobalina (September 25, 2009). "Spain wastes the resources of its forests . " The reason. Archived from the original on December 27, 2009.
- «Archived copy» . Archived from the original on October 2, 2018 . Retrieved January 3, 2014 .
- "National Statistical Institute" . 2012 . Retrieved August 3, 2012 .
- Population on 1 January by broad age group, sex and metropolitan regions - Eurostat, 2016