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Andalusia ( ) is an autonomous community of Spainmarker. It is the most populous and the second largest, in terms of land area, of the seventeen autonomous communities of the Kingdom of Spain. Its capital and largest city is Sevillemarker. The region is divided into eight provinces: Huelvamarker, Sevillemarker, Cádizmarker, Córdobamarker, Málagamarker, Jaénmarker, Granadamarker and Almeríamarker.

Andalusia is located south of the autonomous communities of Extremaduramarker and Castile-La Manchamarker; west of the autonomous community of Murciamarker and the Mediterranean Seamarker; east of Portugalmarker and the Atlantic Oceanmarker; and north of the Mediterranean Seamarker, the Strait of Gibraltarmarker, which separates Spainmarker from Moroccomarker, and the Atlantic Oceanmarker. The small British overseas territory of Gibraltarmarker shares a three-quarter-mile land border with the Andalusian province of Cádizmarker at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltarmarker.

History

Carthaginians and Romans

With the fall of the Phoenician cities, Carthagemarker became the dominant sea power of the western Mediterranean and the most important trading partner for the Semitic towns along the Andalusian coast. Between the first and second Carthaginian wars, Carthage extended its control beyond Andalusia to include all of Iberia except the Basquelands. Andalusia was the major staging ground for the war with Rome led by the Barkid Hannibal. The Romans defeated the Carthaginians and conquered Andalusia, the region being renamed Baetica.

Vandals and Visigoths

The Vandals moved briefly through the region during the 5th century AD before settling in North Africa, after which the region fell into the hands of the Kingdom of the Visigoths who had to face the Byzantine interests in the region.

Muslim period

The Umayyad Caliphate conquest of the Iberian Peninsulamarker in 711–718 marked the collapse of Visigothic rule. The Berber Tariq ibn Ziyad, known in Spanish history and legend as Tariq el Tuerto (Tariq the one-eyed), was an Umayyad general who led the conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711. Andalusian culture was deeply influenced by over half a millennium of Muslim rule during the Middle Ages. The history of Al-Andalus, was one of a succession of different Islamic states. Under the caliphate, the name "Al-Andalusmarker" was applied to a much larger area than the present Spanish region, and at some periods it referred to nearly the entire Iberian peninsula. It is nevertheless true that the Guadalquivir valley in Andalusia was the hub of Muslim power in the peninsula, with Cordoba as its capital. However, internal divisions after Almanzor sparked the decomposition of the Caliphate (1031) in many areas. The taifa of Seville was especially influential.

Andalusia under the rule of Castile

After the conquest of Toledo in 1085 by Alfonso VI, Christian rule dominated the peninsula, the main Taifas therefore had to resort to assistance from various Muslim powers across the Mediterranean. After the victory in Zalaca, Almoravid (1086) constructed a unified Al-Andalus and set up his capital in Granada, ruling until mid-twelfth century. The various Taifa kingdoms were assimilated. Almohads expansion in North Africa weakened Al-Andalus. The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), marked the beginning of the end of the Almohad dynasty. The weakness caused by the collapse of Almohad power and the subsequent creation of third Taifas kingdoms helped the rapid conquest or reconquest of Christian lands in the valley of the Guadalquivir. Cordova was conquered in 1236 and Seville in 1248. The Reconquest of Granada in 1492 put an end to Muslim domination.

On August 3, 1492 Columbus left the town of Huelva Palos de la Frontera, with the first expedition that resulted in the so-called discovery of America. Many Andalusians participated in the expedition that would end the Middle Ages and signal the beginning of modernity. Contacts between the Spanish and America, including maintenance of the colonies until the end of the colonial period, came almost exclusively through Andalusia. The reason for the importance of Andalusia is that all traffic to the new continent became, in reality, an Andalusian monopoly. This was an era of splendor and boom for the region, which became the wealthiest and most cosmopolitan of Spain and one of the most influential worldwide.

Administrative divisions

Province Capital Population Density Municipalities
Almeríamarker Almeríamarker 635,850 72.5 hab./km² Municipalities
Cádizmarker Cádizmarker 1,180,817 158.8 hab./km² Municipalities
Córdobamarker Córdobamarker 788,287 72.4 hab./km² Municipalities
Granadamarker Granadamarker 882,184 68.7 hab./km² Municipalities
Huelvamarker Huelvamarker 483,792 47.7 hab./km² Municipalities
Jaénmarker Jaénmarker 662,751 49.1 hab./km² Municipalities
Málagamarker Málagamarker 1,491,287 204.1 hab./km² Municipalities
Sevillemarker Sevillemarker 1,813,908 129.2 hab./km² Municipalities


A map of the provinces of Andalusia.


Other important Andalusian cities are:

Economy

Andalusia is traditionally an agricultural area, but the service sector (particularly tourism, retail sales, and transportation) now predominates. The construction sector, now growing very quickly, also makes an important contribution to the region’s economic fabric. The industrial sector is less developed than in other regions in Spain. As of early 2008, the regional economy is experiencing sustained growth.

According to the Spanish Instituto Nacional de Estadística, the GDP per capita of Andalusia (€17,401; 2006) is still the second lowest in Spain. At the same time, the economic growth rate for the 2000-2006 period was 3.72%, one of the highest in the country.

Andalusia, a chameleonic region steeped in history, tradition, art and culture, is one of the world's up-and-coming MICE destinations. For whatever the event being planned, there is a staggering variety of impeccable venues, from luxury convention and meeting hotels, spas and state-of-the-art conference and congress centres, marinas and golf complexes to medieval castles, Baroque palaces, haciendas, wineries and botanical gardens.

Transport and commerce

The main road in the region is the European Route E15, and other main roads to go through Andalusia.

Three cities (Córdoba, Málagamarker and Sevillemarker) have a connection between them and Madrid over the high speed train (AVE), and the rest of the network is under construction.

Málaga Airport is the international airport of Andalusia, accounting for 85 percent of its international traffic. It is the only one that can offer a wide variety of international destinations.

The airport has a daily link with twenty cities in Spainmarker and over a hundred cities in Europe (mainly in United Kingdommarker, Central Europe and the Nordic countries but also the main cities of Eastern Europe: Moscowmarker, Saint Petersburgmarker , Sofiamarker, Rigamarker or Bucharestmarker), North Africa, Middle East (Riyadhmarker, Jeddahmarker and Kuwaitmarker) and Northern America (New Yorkmarker, Torontomarker and Montrealmarker).

The main ports are Algeciras (for freight and container traffic) and Málaga for cruise ships.

Government and politics

The Autonomous Community of Andalusia is administrated through the "Junta de Andalucía" and is one of the four historic regions of Spain. It has a local parliament and president. The chief of state for Spain is King Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon.

Tourism in Andalusia

Due in part to the relatively mild winter and spring climate, the south of Spain is somewhat legendary for its attraction to overseas visitors – especially tourists from Northern Europe. While inland areas such as Jaénmarker, Córdobamarker and the hill villages and towns remain in part untouched by the throngs of tourists, the coastal areas of Andalusia are heavy with visitors for much of the year.

Monuments



Native or famous people from Andalusia







See also



References

External links




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