Castile and León
|Castilla y León
Castilla y León (Spanish)
Castiella y Llión (Leonese)
Castela e León (Galician)
|Castile and León (Spanish)|
Location of Castile and Leon within Spain
|Capital||Undeclared (Valladolid de facto)|
|• President||Juan Vicente Herrera (PP)|
|Area(18.6% of Spain; Ranked 1st)|
|• Total||94,222 km2 (36,379 sq mi)|
|• Density||27/km2 (70/sq mi)|
|• Pop. rank||6th|
|• Percent||5.42% of Spain|
|Official languages||Spanish (Leonese and Galician have special status)|
|Statute of Autonomy||2 March 1983|
|Congress seats||31 (of 350)|
|Senate seats||39 (of 266)|
|Website||Junta de Castilla y León|
Castile and León (English / /; Spanish: Castilla y León [kasˈtiʎa i leˈon] ( listen); Leonese: Castiella y Llión [kasˈtjeʎa i ʎiˈoŋ]; Galician: Castela e León [kasˈtɛla e leˈoŋ]) is an autonomous community in north-western Spain. It was constituted in 1983, although it existed for the first time during the First Spanish Republic in the 19th century. León first appeared as a Kingdom in 910, whilst the Kingdom of Castile gained an independent identity in 1065 and was intermittently held in personal union with León before merging with it permanently in 1230. It is the largest autonomous community in Spain and the third largest region of the European Union, covering an area of 94,223 square kilometres (36,380 sq mi) with an official population of around 2.5 million (2011).
It is the region of the world with the most World Heritage Sites, 8 in total. 23 April is designated Castile and León Day, commemorating the defeat of the comuneros at the Battle of Villalar during the Revolt of the Comuneros, in 1521.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Climate
- 3 Regional administration and government
- 4 Culture
- 5 History
- 6 Demography
- 7 Economy
- 8 Transportation
- 9 Nature
- 10 See also
- 11 Notes
- 12 External links
Castile and León is bordered by Portugal and Galicia to the west and by Asturias and Cantabria to the north. Aragon, the Basque Country and La Rioja is to the east and the border to the south is with Madrid, and with Castile-La Mancha and Extremadura to the southwest.
Castile and León is in the Meseta Central, a plateau in the middle of the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula; the Spanish part of the Douro River basin is nearly coterminous. There is also El Bierzo (León) and Laciana (León), Valle de Mena (Burgos), and the Valle del Tietar (Ávila), very secluded mountain valleys including some from neighbouring valleys and stretches.
Much of its territory consists of a large, central plateau - the Meseta. Its height lies between 700-1000m.
The most prominent hydrographic feature of Castile and León is the River Douro (Spanish: Duero) and its tributaries. The Douro runs 897 kilometres (557 mi) from its headwaters in the Picos de Urbión in Soria to its mouth at the Portuguese city of Porto. Flowing into the Douro from the north, on its right bank, are the Pisuerga, the Valderaduey and the Esla, its most capacious tributaries, and from the east, on its left bank, the lesser flows of the Adaja and Duratón.
The highest rainfall is found in Leon, with a yearly average of 556mm, whilst Palencia has the lowest amount. The region has a continental climate, characterized by relatively cold winters and dry warm summers. This is the result of distance from the sea and high altitude. Only two small areas have a milder climate, the section of the province of Avila which extends south of Gredos mountains into the Tiétar valley, and the area where the Duero river forms a natural border between Zamora province and Portugal known as the Arribes del Duero.
Regional administration and government
Each of these provinces is named after its respective provincial capital.
|Political party||Autonomic elections, 2011||Autonomic elections, 2007||Autonomic elections, 2003|
|Partido Popular de Castilla y León||51.59%||53||49.41%||48||48.56%||48|
|Partido Socialista de Castilla y León||29.61%||29||37.49%||33||36.74%||32|
|Unión del Pueblo Leonés||1.85%||1||2.74%||2||3.88%||3|
|Izquierda Unida LVCyL||4.89%||1||3.09%||0||3.43%||0|
|Tierra Comunera - ACAL||-||-||1.16%||0||1.19%||0|
Besides the dominant Castilian Spanish, three other regional languages figure in the linguistic patrimony of Castile and León. Two of these are recognized explicitly in the Statute of Autonomy. The Leonese language, according to the Statute, "will be the object of specific protection [...] for its particular value in the linguistic heritage of the Community". The Galician language, according to the statute, "merits respect and protection in the places where it is habitually used, which is effectively to say the portions of the comarcas of El Bierzo and Sanabria bordering Galicia. In addition, although unmentioned in the Statute, in the comarca of El Rebollar in the province of Salamanca, people speak a variety of Extremaduran known as Habla del Rebollar ("the speech of Rebollar").
Castile and León traces its history to the medieval kingdoms of Castile and León, which were permanently united under the Crown of Castile in 1301. Together with other Christian-ruled Iberian kingdoms, the separate monarchies of Castile and León participated in the Reconquista, the re-conquest of Iberia from the Moors, its medieval Muslim rulers.
The first dynastic union of León and Castile came about in 1037, when Ferdinand, the 20-year-old Count of Castile, defeated his brother-in-law Bermudo III of León in battle and claimed the Crown of León through the rights of his own wife, Sancha, Bermudo's sister.
The medieval Cortes of León is one of the earliest ancestors of Europe's parliaments. The remote origins of the Cortes dates back to the early 12th century. The Cortes of León of 1188 called by Alfonso IX is one of the earliest documented gatherings of the estates in which commoners of the cities and towns are represented beside the clergy and nobility as counselors to the monarch. Alfonso gathered similar assemblies in 1202 in Benavente and 1208 in León.
Valladolid was home to a number of Castilian kings between the 12th and 17th centuries.
Antecedents to the autonomous community
Spain has alternated between regionalism and centralization several times in the last century and a half. In 1869, the republicans of the present Castile and León plus the provinces of Santander (now Cantabria) and Logroño (now La Rioja) had drafted the Castilian Federal Pact (Pacto Federal Castellano), which projected the creation of a federated state under the name Castilla la Vieja (Old Castile) in these eleven provinces. During the First Republic (1873–1874), the Republican Democratic Federal Party (Partido Republicano Democrático Federal) intended to make this a reality. However, the fall of the Republic at the beginning of 1874 put an end to this initiative.
In 1921, on the fourth centenary of the Battle of Villalar, the municipal government of Santander, Cantabria advocated for the establishment of a Castilian commonwealth of these same eleven provinces. In late 1931 and early 1932, the priest Eugenio Merino, in León, wrote a piece for the Diario de León stating a basis for Castilian-Leonese regionalism.
During the Second Republic, especially in 1936, there was a great deal of regionalist activity favorable to a region of eleven provinces, including the elaboration of the basis of a statute of autonomy. The Diario de León advocated for the formalization of this initiative and the constitution of an autonomous region as follows: "to unite in one personality León and Old Castile around the great basin of the Douro, without falling now into simple village rivalries."
After the death of the dictator Francisco Franco unleashed the Spanish transition to democracy, there was an upwelling of Castilian-Leonese regionalist, autonomist and nationalist organizations, such as Alianza Regional de Castilla y León (1975), Instituto Regional de Castilla y León (1976) and the Autonomic Nationalist Party of Castile and León (Partido Autonómico Nacionalista de Castilla y León, PANCAL, 1977). None of these survive today, but similar sentiments are now represented by Unidad Regionalista de Castilla y León (1993).
Forming the autonomous community
The Provincial Deputation of León agreed on April 16, 1980 to endorse the Castilian-Leonese process, but then revoked that support January 13, 1983, just as the proposed Organic Law was before the Spanish parliament. The Constitutional Court of Spain upheld the first of these two contradictory Leonese resolutions. The court's decision was met by demonstrations in León and elsewhere in the Leonese territories in favor of a policy of León solo ("León alone"). The roughly 90,000 people who gathered in León at that time constituted the largest demonstration in that city between the revival of democracy and the demonstrations after the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
The most recent official census by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística, as January 1, 2011, gave a population of 2,558,463 (1,267,671 males and 1,290,792 females) representing 5.42 percent of the population of Spain. As of January 2011 the population of Castile and León, by province, stood as follows: Ávila, 172,704 inhabitants; Burgos, 375,657; León, 497,799; Palencia,171,668; Salamanca, 352,986; Segovia, 164,169; Soria, 95,223; Valladolid, 534,874; and Zamora, 193,383.
Present-day population distribution
In 1960 only 20.6 percent of the population of present-day Castile and León was urban; by 1991 that percentage had risen to 42.3 percent. The decline in rural population has apparently been somewhat stemmed, with a 1998 statistic showing 43 percent.
Many rural areas became very sparsely populated in the mid-to-late 20th century. In 1986 there were seven times as many municipalities with less than 100 inhabitants as in 1960.
A recent study from University of Porto (Portugal) highlighted Castile and León - particularly the province of Salamanca - as one of the European regions where old people could expect to live longer.
Notable cities include the nine provincial capitals plus Miranda de Ebro and Aranda de Duero in the province of Burgos, Ponferrada and San Andrés del Rabanedo in León, Béjar in Salamanca, and Medina del Campo and Laguna de Duero in Valladolid.
Of the 2,247 municipalities in the autonomous community, the 2000 census shows 1,970 with 1,000 or fewer inhabitants; 234 between 1,001 and 5,000; 20 between 5,001 and 10,000; 10 between 10,001 and 20,000; 6 between 20,001 and 50,000; 3 between 50,001 and 100,000; and 4 with over 100,000 inhabitants. Those last are Valladolid (319,943 in 2007), Burgos (174,075), Salamanca (159,754) and León (135,059). At the other extreme Blasconuño de Matacabras (Ávila) has a population of 18, Reinoso (Burgos) has 24, Villarmentero de Campos (Palencia), has 14, and Gormaz (Soria), 17.
|Valladolid||313,437||Ponferrada||68,508||Miranda de Ebro||38,930|
|Burgos||179,251||Zamora||65,525||Aranda de Duero||33,229|
|Salamanca||153,472||Ávila||59,008||San Andrés del Rabanedo||31,562|
|León||132,744||Segovia||55,220||Laguna de Duero||22,334|
|Palencia||81,552||Soria||39,987||Medina del Campo||21,607|
In 2001 the work force was 1,005,200 with 884,200 employed, meaning 12.1 percent of the work force were out of work. 10.9 percent of the employed population work in agriculture, 20.6 percent in industry, 12.7 percent in construction, and 63.1 percent in the service sector.
Some 92,600 people work in the primary sector in Castile and León, about 10 percent of employment in the region. 2001 data showed 5 percent unemployment in this sector.
Broken down by provinces, approximately 9,400 are employed in this sector in Ávila, 8,100 each in Burgos and Palencia, 18,300 in León, 9,200 in Salamanca, 6,400 in Segovia, 5,600 in Soria, 8,300 in Valladolid, and 14,600 in Zamora. The region's agricultural and farming sector represent 7.6% of the total in Spain.
As of 2000, industry 18 %of the work force were engaged in industry, generating 25 percent of regional GDP. The principal industrial centres are the cities of Valladolid (21,054 workers in industry), Burgos (20,217), Aranda de Duero (4,872), León (4,521) and Ponferrada (4,270).
Tourism highlights of the region include:
- Burgos Cathedral
- León Cathedral
- Segovia, with its fortress
- The walls of Ávila
- City of Salamanca
- Sierra de Francia
Castilla y León has an extensive rail network, including the principal lines from Madrid to Cantabria and Galicia. The line from Paris to Lisbon crosses the region, reaching the Portuguese frontier at Fuentes de Oñoro in Salamanca. Astorga, Burgos, León, Miranda de Ebro, Palencia, Ponferrada,Medina del Campo and Valladolid are all important railway junctions.
Railways operate in several different gauges: Iberian gauge (1,668 mm (5 ft 5 21⁄32 in)), UIC gauge (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)) and Narrow gauge (1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)). Except for some narrow-gauge lines, trains are operated by RENFE on lines maintained by the Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF); both of these are national, state-owned companies.
Iberian gauge lines (ADIF/RENFE)
- Madrid - Irun
- Madrid - Burgos
- Castejón de Ebro - Bilbao
- Venta de Baños - A Coruña
- Palencia - Santander
- León - Gijón
- Medina del Campo - Santiago de Compostela
- Medina del Campo - Fuentes de Oñoro
- Torralba - Soria
- Villalba - Segovia
- León - Bilbao: Ferrocarril de La Robla, Europe's longest narrow-gauge line, operated by FEVE
- Cercedilla - Cotos: operated by RENFE
- Ponferrada - Villablino: operated by the Ferrocarril MSP under the Junta of Castile and León
The region is also crossed by two major ancient routes:
- The Way of St. James, mentioned above as a World Heritage Site, now a hiking trail and a motorway, from east to west.
- The Roman Via de la Plata ("Silver Way"), mentioned above in the context of mining, now a main road through the west of the region.
The road network is regulated by the Ley de carreteras 10/2008 de Castilla y León (Highway Law 10/2008 of Castile and León). This law allows for the possibility of roads financed by the private sector through concessions, as well as the public construction of roads that has long prevailed.
Flora and vegetation
The solitary oaks and junipers now found on the Castilian-Leonese plains are remnants of forests that once covered these lands. Agricultural exploitation—cultivation of cereals and creation of pastures for the vast flocks of the Castilian Meseta—meant the deforestation of these lands during the Middle Ages.
Wide extensions of oak survive on the lower slopes of the Sistema Central. Higher up, between 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) and 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) altitude, chestnuts are abundant. Nonetheless, many oak forests have disappeared, cut down and replaced by pines. The principal native pine forests are in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The subalpine zones between 1,700 metres (5,600 ft) and 2,200 metres (7,200 ft) are home to shrubs and juniper.
The mountain rivers provide a habitat for nutrias and Pyrenean desmans, not to mention trout, freshwater eels, bighead carp and some increasingly rare native freshwater crabs. Mammals include the otter (Lutra lutra) and desman (Galemys pyrenaicus). In the lower depths of the river are the barbels (Barbus barbus) and carp. Local amphibians include newts, the Almanzor salamander (Salamandra salamandra almanzoris, a subspecies of fire salamander) and the Gredos toad (Bufo bufo gredosicola, a supspecies of common toad); the latter two are endemic to the Sistema Central.
Among the birds that populate the open Mediterranean forests are two endangered species: the black stork (Ciconia nigra) and the Spanish imperial eagle (also known as Iberian imperial eagle or Adalbert's eagle, Aquila adalberti).
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- Ha entrado en vigor la nueva Ley de carreteras de Castilla y León que regula la planificación, proyección, construcción, conservación, financiación, uso y explotación de las carreteras con itinerario comprendido íntegramente en el territorio de la Comunidad Autónoma de Castilla y León y que no sean de titularidad del Estado. [dead link]
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