Castile and León ( ), known
formally as the Community of Castile and León, is
one of the 17 autonomous
communities of Spain.
constructed from Old Castile (Spanish:
Castilla la Vieja) and León, first as a preautonomía—a
"pre-autonomous" region—in 1978 and then as an autonomous community
It is the largest autonomous community in Spain,
covering an area of with an official population of around 2.5
The supreme law of Castile and León, under the Spanish Constitution of 1978
is the region's Statute of Autonomy. The statute lays out the basic
laws of the region and defines a series of essential values and
symbols of the inhabitants of Castile and León, such as their
linguistic patrimony (the Castilian language, which
English-speakers common refer to simply as "Spanish
", as well as Leonese
), as well as their historic,
artistic, and natural patrimony. Other symbols alluded to are the
coat of arms, flag, and banner; there is also allusion to a
, though as of 2009 none has
been adopted. April 23 is designated Castile and León Day
commemorating the defeat of the comuneros
at the Battle of Villalar
during the Revolt of the Comuneros
and León borders on Asturias and Cantabria to the north; Aragon, the
Basque Country, and La Rioja to the east; the autonomous community of
Madrid and Castile-La Mancha to the southeast; Extremadura to the south; and Portugal and Galicia to the
and León is roughly coterminous with the Spanish part of the
Douro River basin, on the
northern half of the Meseta Central, a vast plateau in the middle of the Iberian
Peninsula. It also extends to some adjoining valleys,
such as El Bierzo (León) and many secluded mountain valleys including
Laciana (León), Valle de Mena (Burgos), and Valle del
Most of the terrain of Castile and León consists of a large portion
of Spain's Meseta Central, surrounded by mountainous regions. The
Meseta is a dry, arid high plain
, with an
average altitude of about , covered by deposits of clay
north are the mountains of the provinces of Palencia and León, with high, spindly peaks and the mountains of the
province of Burgos, divided in two by the Pancorbo Pass, leading from Castile to the
Basque Country. Of those two parts, the more northerly
belongs to the Cantabrian Mountains and continues to the city of Burgos; the
mountains of the east and southeast are part of the Sistema
Ibérico. In the northeast are the mountains of
Zamora, whose peaks have been eroded into mesas. In the east, the mountains of Soria are also
part of the Sistema Ibérico, including its highest peak, El Moncayo. Separating the
northern Meseta from the southern and from Castile-La Mancha and
Madrid, the Sistema
Central includes the Sierra de Gata and the Sierra de Gredos in the western half and the Sierra de
Guadarrama and Sierra de
Ayllón in the eastern half.
The northern Meseta is constituted of Paleozoic plinths
. After the
Europe and the Galician area of Spain at the beginning of the
, deposits were eroded away by
rivers. During the Alpine orogeny
the materials that formed the plateau were broken at multiple
points. This fracturing raised the relatively low mountains of
León, constituting a dorsal spine of the Meseta, the Cantabrian
Mountains and the Sistema Central, formed of materials such as
or metamorphic slates
result of this geology was to create medicinal mineral water springs and/or hot springs in Almeida de Sayago, Boñar, Calabor, Caldas de
Luna, Castromonte, Cucho, Gejuelo del
Barro, Morales de Campos, Valdelateja, and
prominent hydrographic feature of Castile and León is the River
Douro ( ) and its tributaries. The Douro runs from
its headwaters in the Picos de
Urbión in Soria to its mouth at the Portuguese city of Oporto.
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.
passing the city of Zamora, the Douro
flows through a canyon in the Arribes del
Duero Natural Park where it constitutes the border with Portugal,
flowing north. From its left bank, it receives the waters
of such important tributaries as the Tormes,
Huebra, Águeda, the Côa and the Paiva, all originating in the Sistema
Central. From the right bank, it receives the waters
of the Sabor, the Tua and the
originating in the Galician
The Douro, in Zamora.
Beyond the Arribes, the Douro turns west,
flowing through Portugal to the Atlantic.
Nonetheless, the Douro and its tributaries
are not the region's only important rivers; the Jalón in Palencia, Burgos, and Soria
flows via the Ebro to the Mediterranean Sea. The River Minho (Miño) flows from
León into Portugal, the Alagón in
Salamanca flows to the Tagus and several
provinces containing portions of the Cantabrian
Mountains have waters flowing north into the Cantabrian
The Tormes, in Salamanca.
Rivers played an important part in the development of the region.
Each of the provincial capitals of Castile and León is on the banks
of a river.
Rivers and capitals of provinces through which they
|Capital where river flows
||Other places where river flows
||Tordesillas and Arévalo
||Pisuerga in Dueñas
||Guardo, Carrión de
los Condes, Palencia and Dueñas.
||Douro in Fermoselle
||Guijuelo and El Barco de Ávila
||Atlantic Ocean in Porto
||Almazán, Aranda de
Duero, Toro, Tordesillas, Aldeadávila de la Ribera, and Vilvestre
||Douro in Geria
||Aguilar de Campoo, Cervera de Pisuerga, Venta de Baños, Dueñas, Tariego de
Cerrato, and Simancas
Lakes and reservoirs
these rivers, the Douro basin also has a great number of lakes and
lagoons, such as the Laguna Negra, in
the Picos de Urbión, the Laguna Grande
in Gredos, the Sanabria Lake in Zamora or the Laguna de la Nava in Palencia.
Laguna Negra, Picos de Urbión,
Province of Soria
There are also a great number of reservoirs, fed by the snows and
rains in the mountains and by glacial
meltwater. Despite having relatively little rainfall, Castile and
León has one of Spain's largest quantities of water held in
Castile and León has a continentalized
: a Mediterranean climate
with a marked
character of a continental
. The continentalized Mediterranean climate is similar
to a typical Mediterranean
, but with more extreme temperatures typical of a
continental climate. Winters are long and cold, with average
temperatures between and in January. Summers are short and hot
(averages between and ), with the three or four dry summer months
typical of a Mediterranean climate. Rain averages only to annually,
mostly in the lower altitudes.
The mountains surrounding Castile and León block the winds from the
seas, reducing precipitation in the region. Consequently, the rains
fall very unequally through the Castilian-Leonese region.
center of the Douro basin receives an annual rainfall of , in the
western comarcas (roughly shires) of the mountains of León and the Cantabrian
Mountains precipitation can be as much as per
The high altitude of the Castilian-Leonese Meseta and mountain
ranges contributes not only to the contrast of summer and winter
temperatures, but also to a marked contrast of day and night
Although the climate throughout Castile and León is predominantly a
continentalized Mediterranean climate throughout, there are
distinctive climatic regions.
In the north, Castile and León includes the southern face of the
Cantabrian Mountains; the northern slope, facing the Atlantic,
falls within other provinces. The highest portion of the Cantabrian
Mountains in Castile and León experiences the oceanic climate
from the Atlantic, with
milder winters (at least relative to the altitude) and more
temperate summers. The lower slopes of the same range share these
temperate summers, but have the colder winters more typical of the
Nearly all of the central portion of the Meseta has the
continentalized Mediterranean climate discussed above, although the
eastern part of Zamora has a much drier climate.
The mountainous regions of the northeast, east, and south have a
typical Mediterranean mountain climate, with little rain, hot
summers, and cold winters.
Regional administration and government
Provinces of Castile and León
Castile and León is divided into nine provinces
Each of these provinces is named after its respective provincial
the "Statute of Autonomy" for Castile and León does not specify any
city to be the capital of the autonomous community, the city of
Valladolid serves that purpose in certain contexts.
Initially, the Courts (Cortes, the
legislature) met provisionally in Burgos; Tordesillas was discussed as a possible capital, and at one
point, the Courts met, also on a provisional basis, at the Castle
Seat of the Courts of Castile and León
Finally, a law adopted in 1987 established
the Junta of Castile and León—the Regional Executive government of
the Community—and the Courts—the legislature—in Valladolid. Thus,
Valladolid is now effectively the capital.
However, other institutions of government and administration are
distributed through the region. The Economic and Social Council is
in Valladolid, but the Superior Tribunal of Justice—the highest
regional judiciary body—is in Burgos, the Consultative Council
) is in Zamora, the Board of Auditors
(Consejo de Cuentas
) in Palencia, and the Ombudsman
(Procurador del Común
literally "Common Attorney") in León.
of Castile and
León is known as the Junta de
Castilla y León
It has one head of the Regional Executive (Spanish: Presidente
de la Junta
) and twelve departments: Two
and ten ministries
Courts of Castile and León
(Spanish: Cortes de Castilla y
) is the elected legislature
the Autonomous Community. The tradition of the Regional Courts is
traced back to the Royal Council
(Latin: Curia Regis
) of León
(1188). The Curia Regis
was a king's summons of the
estates of the realm. Although the practical outcome of the Curia
Regis of 1188 is still disputed, its charter
seems to be an early movement towards the rule of constitutional
law, much like the Magna Carta
Regional Courts meet in Valladolid.
Three parties have parliamentary representation in Castile and
- Partido Popular de Castilla y León: Associated with the
national center-right People's
Party (PP): 48 seats in the Regional Courts, 18 seats in the
Cortes Generales (the national
legislature of Spain).
- Partido Socialista de Castilla y León: Associated with the
national center-left Spanish Socialist Workers'
Party (PSOE): 33 seats in the Regional Courts, 14 seats in the
- Unión del Pueblo Leonés
("Leonese People's Union"): A Leonese nationalist party: 2 seats in
the Regional Courts.
Two other parties, the left-wing United Left
IU) and the left-of-center Castilian Nationalist Tierra Comunera - ACAL
, contest elections
and have held seats in the Regional Courts in the past, but as of
2009 neither is represented in that body.
||Autonomic elections, 2007
||Autonomic elections, 2003
||Autonomic elections, 1999
|Partido Popular de Castilla y León
|Partido Socialista de Castilla y León
|Unión del Pueblo Leonés
|Izquierda Unida LVCyL
|Tierra Comunera - ACAL
of Castile and León
(Spanish: Procurador del Común
) is appointed by the
of the Ombudsman of Castile and León: León
Committee of Castile and León
) is a group of five legal analysts. They are
appointed by the Regional Courts and the Junta. The Committee
delivers reports on legal issues both to the Regional Government
and to incumbent municipal governments.
of the Consultive Committee: Zamora
Flag and coat of arms
flag of Castile and
León and coat
of arms of Castile and León each show the quartered coats of arms of Castile, represented by a castle, and León, represented by a lion.
The seal is topped with a royal
Castile and León Day
The regional holiday Castile
and León Day
commemorates the events of April 23, 1521, when
the Revolt of the Comuneros
was defeated. While the politics and meaning of the revolt
remains a matter of contention, it has been embraced by liberals and, later, the left as a symbol of opposition to
absolutism and privilege since at least
1821 during the trienio
liberal—the three years of liberal ascendancy—when
Juan Martín Díez, "El
Empecinado" ("The Undaunted"), made a speech at Villalar (now
los Comuneros) honoring the Comuneros.
This tradition was
embraced strongly during the Second Spanish Republic
and again in
the post-Franco transition to democracy
when tens of thousands began to gather at Villalar on the
Every year on the occasion of Castile and León Day, the Community
awards the Castile and León
(Premios Castilla y León
) to Castilian-Leonese
people distinguished in seven areas: Arts, Human Values, Scientific
Investigation, Social Science, Restoration and Conservation, the
Environment, and Sports.
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 patrimony of the Community". The
, 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
In addition, although unmentioned in the Statute, in the comarca of
in the province of
Salamanca, people speak a variety of Extremaduran
known as Habla del
("the speech of Rebollar").
Historic union of the Kingdoms of Castile and León
and León traces back to the historic kingdoms (or Crowns)
of León and Castile. Together with other
Christian Iberian kingdoms, the separate monarchies of Castile and
León participated in the Reconquista, the reconquest of Iberia from
the so-called Moors, its medieval Muslim rulers.
Other kingdoms participating in
were, first, Galicia
, and later other kingdoms carved
out of lands won back to Christendom over the centuries: the
Kingdoms of Toledo
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,
, Bermudo's sister.
Although he declared himself Emperor of All Spain
in 1056, the
union ended with Ferdinand's death in 1065, when Castile, León, and
Galicia each passed to a different one of Ferdinand's sons and
certain cities to his daughters, with a further division of spheres
of influence in the Muslim taifas
The arrangement did not hold. The sons soon fought; eventually one
son, Alfonso VI of León
again created an effective union and in 1077 again claimed the
title of Emperor of All Spain. However, his death in 1109 left the
kingdoms again disunited.
managed another personal dynastic union from 1126 until his death
in 1157. Finally, Ferdinand III
, later canonized
the definitive union of the two Crowns. After Ferdinand's father
Alfonso IX of León
1230, Ferdinand, already ruler of Castile, conquered León from his
own half-sisters Sancha and Dulce, much against the desires of the
Leonese clergy and nobility. His son and successor Alfonso X
, unusually highly educated
for a monarch of that era, established Castilian as a language of
learning and culture, beginning the process by which the Castilian
language would become the dominant language of much of Spain, with
other languages—including Leonese—increasingly seen as local
Although the theory and spirit of absolutism
remained strong in Spain into living
memory, the medieval Cortes of León is one of the earliest
ancestors of Europe's parliaments
remote origins of the Cortes dates back to the early 12th century.
The Cortes of León of
called by Alfonso IX is one of the earliest documented
gatherings of the estates
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.
kingdom of Castile, the first curia—a large assembly to
address the affairs of the kingdom—appears to have been convoked by
Alfonso VIII in 1187 at San Esteban de Gormaz, with the leading men of fifty cities in
In his capacity as king of Castile, Ferdinand
III received the homage of large delegations at Valladolid in 1217
and convoked a curia in 1219 at Burgos.
The comparatively early date of these assemblies results directly
from the relative autonomy granted to towns and cities in the north
Iberian regions as the Reconquista moved forward and these places
were repopulated. Another factor was the application of Roman law
, which contributed a theory for the
convening of municipalities and for their participation in
These 12th and 13th century assemblies continued through the
following centuries, forming the most remote ancestry of today's
Cortes of Castile and León and constituting part of the European
tradition of parliamentarianism.
As is clearly evident, these medieval Cortes had little resemblance
to present-day parliamentary assemblies. They were not democratic
in any modern sense of the term, because there was no direct
representation of the populace. There was little in them of the
slow rise of constitutionalism
the Parliament of England
vast, independent power gained by the nobles of the Polish sejm
, nor, even more clearly, the broad
first seen on a large scale at the
time of the French
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
Democratic Federal Party
(Partido Republicano Democrático
) intended to make this a reality. However, the fall of
the Republic at the beginning of 1874 put an end to this
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
, in León, wrote a piece for the Diario de León
stating a basis for
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
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." The
establishment of a centralising regime after the Spanish Civil War
brought an end to these
aspirations for regional autonomy.
After the death of the dictator Francisco Franco
unleashed the Spanish transition to
, there was an upwelling of Castilian-Leonese
regionalist, autonomist and nationalist organizations, such as
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
, 1977). None of these survive
today, but similar sentiments are now represented by Unidad Regionalista
de Castilla y León
In parallel there was a rise of groups advocating Leonesismo
, Leonese particularism. Among
these were the Grupo
(1978) and the Partido Regionalista del País
, 1980), which proposed the
creation of a Leonese autonomous community composed of the
provinces of León, Salamanca and Zamora. Support for this option
was particularly strong in the city of León.
Forming the autonomous community
Castile and León obtained a "pre-autonomic" regime by the Royal
Decree Ley 20/1978, June 13, 1978. This set the region on the course toward
establishing an autonomous community, a path that had been offered
first to Catalonia toward the end of 1977 and would eventually be
granted to every part of Spain.
Five years later, in 1983,
the autonomous community of Castile and León was made concrete by
the Statute of Autonomy accepted by both the community and the
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
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 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
31, 1981, the Provincial Deputation of Segovia initiated a process
by which that province would have become, like the provinces of
Santander (now Cantabria) and Logroño (now La Rioja) a "uniprovincial" autonomous community in its own
The municipalities of the province were almost
exactly equally divided between this uniprovincial solution and
membership in an autonomous Castile and León. The municipal
government of Cuéllar adopted a resolution favoring the uniprovincial
solution on October 5, 1981; then, less than two months later on
December 3 they reversed themselves, tipping the balance among the
municipalities in favor of integration with Castile and
Segovia ultimately became part of Castile and León
under the Ley Orgánica
, which asserted that "for reasons of national interest,"
as foreseen by Article 144 c) of the Spanish Constitution of 1978
Segovia had abrogated its right to uniprovincial autonomy by
failing to develop a concrete proposal in a timely manner.
The autonomous community
Castile and León consists of nine provinces: León, Salamanca and
Zamora, which had constituted the Region of León
since the territorial
division of 1833, plus six of the eight provinces of Old Castile.
The Old Castilian provinces of Santander and Logroño were omitted
from the new entity of Castile and León.
At the same time as the formation of Castile and León, Santander
and Logroño each became a uniprovincial autonomous community.
Santander is now the autonomous community of Cantabria and Logroño
the autonomous community of La Rioja. The separation of Cantabria
was motivated by historical, cultural, and geographic differences
from the rest of Old Castile. The separation of La Rioja was more a
matter of compromise. In principle, looking at history and
culture, La Rioja could have been united either with Castile and
León, united in a Basque-Navarrese region, or left as a separate region of its
The center-right UCD
former course of action, the center-left PSOE
and leftist CPE
but the populace preferred the third option.
is the only comarca whose
juridical identity is explicitly recognized by the
Castilian-Leonese Statute of Autonomy, although many other comarcas
have been established. There are some groups in El Bierzo that wish
to increase its autonomy, either by enhancing the powers of its
Comarcal Council, recuperating the status it had in the 1820s as a
province in its own right, gaining the status of a separate
autonomous community, or removing all or part of El Bierzo from
Castile and León and forming a new union with Galicia
As of January 1, 2007 Castile and León has 2,528,417 inhabitants:
1,251,082 males and 1,277,335 females, representing 5.69 percent of
the population of Spain. As of January 2005 the population of
Castile and León, by province, stood as follows: Ávila, 168,638
inhabitants; Burgos, 365,972; León, 497,387; Palencia, 173,281;
Salamanca, 351,326; Segovia, 159,322; Soria, 93,593; Valladolid,
521,661; and Zamora, 197,237. The most recent official census by
, in 2000,
gave a population of 2,479,118, which was 6.12 percent of the
The region is relatively sparsely populated, covering nearly a
fifth of Spain's surface area and having (by these various numbers)
only 5.69 or 6.12 percent of the national population. The
population density, based on the 2009 statistic, is , less than a
third of the national average of .
The rate of natural
is negative, and one of the the lowest in Spain.
25,080 deaths per year versus 17,857 births gives a death rate of
10.12 per thousand and a birth rate of 7.20 per thousand, for a
rate of natural increase of -2.92 per thousand or -0.292 percent.
Infant mortality stands at 0.33 percent, with 59 annual deaths of
infants below the age of one year in 2000.
Despite the negative rate of natural increase, in the last decade
or more the population has been increasing due to immigration,
reversing a decades-long downward trend. There were 22,910
immigrants in 1999 and 24,340 in 2000.
is above the Spanish
national average: 83.24 years for women and 78.30 for men.
In 1999 the distribution by age showed 317,783 people 14 years or
younger; 913,618 between 15 and 39 years; 576,183 between 40 and 59
years; and 677,020 60 years or older.
Depopulation in the mid-20th century
before the Spanish Civil War
(1936-1939), the the rural areas (and smaller cities) of
present-day Castile and León were losing population due to
emigration to Spain's large cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, etc.) and abroad (to Germany, France, Switzerland, among others).
This trend accelerated in
the decade immediately after the Civil War. The growth of a
strong industrial center in Valladolid, including Spain's first automobile factory—the
Renault plant led by the soldier and
engineer Manuel Jiménez
Alfaro—mitigated, but did not stop, the emigration.
both the 1960s and 1980s, the urban nuclei and provincial capitals
gained population, but the region as a whole still suffered a net
loss. To this day, the region has an aging population and a low
birth rate contrasted against a merely average death rate by
The provinces of Valladolid and Segovia have reliably gone against
this trend. The province of Valladolid has the region's most
dynamic economy and, since 1987, its capital city has increasingly
taken on the role of a regional capital. The province of
Segovia is near enough to Madrid to
participate in that city's dynamic growth.
Plaza Mayor (main square) of
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.
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.
INE]], January 1, 2008):
||Aranda de Duero
||San Andrés del Rabanedo
||Laguna de Duero
||Miranda de Ebro
||Medina del Campo
The regional per capita GDP
Castile and León is €
21,244, slightly lower
than the Spanish average of €22,152. The two most prosperous and
industrialized provinces, Valladolid and Burgos, exceed the
national per capita GDP.
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.
In 2007, the unemployment rate was down to 6.99 percent, but the
number up to 14.14 percent by July 2009.
Primary sector (agriculture and livestock)
Castile and León has roughly of arable land, more than half of the
region's area. The land is generally dry, but fertile; dryland farming
, predominates. Nonetheless,
there is increasing irrigation in the basins of the Douro,
Pisuerga, and Tormes. About 10 percent of the region's farmland is
irrigated, allowing intensive farming in those regions. Flat
topography and improved communications have facilitated the entry
of technical innovations throughout the agricultural production
process, above all in areas such as the provinces of Valladolid and
Burgos where production per hectare is among Spain's highest.
Castile and León's most fertile lands are in the Esla valley of
León, in the countryside of Valladolid and in the Tierra de Campos
, which intersects the
provinces of Zamora, Valladolid, Palencia, and León.
Despite the declining rural population, and despite
lower-than-average rural population density today,
Castilian-Leonese agricultural production represents some 15
percent of Spain's primary sector.
Castile and León is known as "the granary of Spain" and is among
Spain's leaders in production of cereals
Wheat is the most traditional crop, with the importance of barley
increasing since the 1960s. The next most
important cereals after these two, in terms of acreage devoted to
their production are rye
. In addition to such legumes
as locust beans
cultivation has spread in the southern plains.
The land devoted to vineyards
greatly in the last three decades of the 20th century. Thanks to
adoption of more modern techniques, the currently devoted to
vineyards are turning out vastly better wines than those the region
traditionally produced. Now rivaling in quality the wines of La
Rioja, they are increasingly known even beyond the borders of
Spain. The region's principal zones of viticulture
—each with a mandated Designation of Origin
(Denominación de Origen
)—are D.O. Ribera del
Rueda, D.O. Toro
, D.O. Bierzo
, and D.O. Tierra de León
In the irrigated zones, Castile and León grows sugar beets
—a product subsidized by the
authorities of the autonomic region—potatoes
, and vegetables. The province of
León also grows maize
, and legumes.
Agricultural work force
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. El sector agrícola y ganadero de
la región representa el 7,6 % del total en España.
Historically, Castile and León was a land of small livestock
operations that proliferated in the major agricultural regions and
in the mountainous areas. While the sector is by no means extinct,
there is no question that it is undergoing a decline that is part
and parcel of the depopulation of rural Castile and León.
Nomadic pastoralism remains in some
areas: large flocks, mainly of sheep, are drive hundreds of miles
each year from the flat land to pasture land of mountains as in El
Bierzo, the Cantabrian valleys of León, the Sierra de
Gredos or the Picos de
This migratory husbandry, so historically
connected to the region, suffers from a continually greater
shortage of manpower.
Nonetheless, livestock accounts for a significant part of Castile
and León's agricultural production. Large, modern farms raise
cattle, pigs, and sheep for meat and milk. Milk is generally sold
through farmer-owned cooperatives
control its subsequent marketing. Castile and León produces over of
milk annually, second in Spain after Galicia.
Castile and León has approximately 5,425,000 sheep, 2,800,000 pigs,
and 1,200,000 cattle. Far behind these numbers, there 166,200
goats, and 71,700 horses, mules, and donkeys. The greatest
production of meat is of pork ( ), beef ( ), and poultry ( ); wool
production is Spain's largest, at ( ).
of Castile and León has been deforested, representing 40 percent of historic forest lands. This deforestation is principally due to human activities over the centuries. However, the decline in rural population is resulting in an increase in forested land in recent decades.
Secondary sector (industry, mining, energy)
As of 2000, industry 18 percent of the work force of Castile and
León were engaged in industry, generating 25 percent of regional
. The principal industrial centers 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).
The most important sub-sectors are automobiles, paper, chemicals,
all centered in Valladolid and Burgos, as well as the food industry
including the production of
flour, sunflower oil, and wine, found in all the provincial
capitals. The Spanish dairy brand Leche
is based in Aranda de Duero. Other industries are
textiles in Béjar; tile and bricks in Palencia; sugar processing in
León, Valladolid, Toro, Miranda
de Ebro, and Benavente; pharmaceuticals in León, Valladolid and
principally at the GlaxoSmithKline
factory in Aranda de Duero; metallurgy and steel en Ponferrada;
chemicals in Miranda de Ebro and Valladolid; aeronautics in
has been important in Castile y León since the time of the Roman Empire, when the Roman Via de la Plata (English: "Silver Way",
Spanish: Vía de la Plata) from Asturica Augusta (Astorga) to Emerita Augusta (Mérida) and Hispalis (Seville) was built to transport silver and gold mined from
the deposits of las
Médulas in El Bierzo.
Centuries later, after the Spanish Civil War, mining was again a
factor in the economic development of the region.However,
production of iron
declined notably from the 1970s
onward. Coal mining
coal) continued due to local demand
for thermal power generation. Numerous Leonese mines closed in the
1980s and 1990s, causing unemployment and poverty, and providing
another cause for emigration. Despite investments under the Mining
Action Plan of the Junta of Castile and León, coal mining continues
to be a troubled industry regionally.
The Douro and Ebro Rivers have numerous hydroelectric
plants that make Castile and
León one of Spain's leading regions in terms of power generation.
Among these are hydroelectric plants Burguillo, Rioscuro, Las
Ondinas, Cornatel, Bárcena, Aldeadávila I y II
, Saucelle I y II
, Castro I y II
, Villalcampo I y II
, Valparaíso, and
Ricobayo I y II
Installed hydroelectric power total 3,992 megawatts, with an annual
product of 5,417 gigawatt hours. Nuclear power generates another
3,483 gigawatts per year. Thermal power from carboniferous fuels
remains the region's leading source of energy, contributing 16,956
gigawatt hours for a regional total of 25,856 gigawatt hours from
these major facilities. All of the nuclear power comes from the
Santa María de Garoña Nuclear Power
Plant in the province of Burgos, which is currently (as
of 2009) expected to shut down in July 2013.
are the region's other thermal
Castile and León also produces wind
, with more than 100 operating wind energy farms. There
are 46 wind energy farms in Burgos with a potential of 1,275
megawatts, with a regional total potential of 3,128 megawatts.
Other (non-renewable) energy sources are natural gas
(194 megawatts installed) and
Tertiary sector (services)
63.1 percent of the work force of Castile and León is deployed in
the service sector.
Tourism in Castile and León increased throughout the 1990s,
capitalizing on the cultural and historic singnificance of the
Castilian-Leonese cities and the attractive natural areas and
countryside of the various comarcas. In 2001, Castile and León
received roughly 315,000 visitors, of whom 42,000 were from abroad.
region contains six UNESCO World Heritage
of Lerma in the province of Burgos, formerly the seat of a
duke, is also a prominent tourist
Castile and León has numerous castles, all of which are to some
degree tourist destinations:
The leading sectors of internal commerce in Castile and León are
food, automobiles, textiles, and footwear. Exports vary by region.
The provinces of Ávila, Palencia, and Valladolid are all export
vehicles and automobile chassis. Burgos and Vallodolid export
tires. León exports steel and objects manufactured from slate.
Salamanca exports beef; Segovia exports pork; Zamora exports lamb,
mutton, and goat meat. Soria exports rubber products.
Castile and León also exports a great deal of wine. The wines of
the Province of Valladolid have the widest distribution abroad, but
Zamora is also an important wine region.
Leading imports are vehicles and vehicle parts, such as motors or
leading sources of foreign imports are France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal and the United States. Exports travel throughout the European Union as well as to Turkey, Israel, and the United States.
Most major surface routes from northern Spain to the capital,
Madrid, and to southern Spain and Portugal, and thence to the rest
of Europe and Africa, pass through Castile and León. Portugal's
most important route to the east also traverses the region. As a
result Castile and León is an important nexus in the transportation
network of the Iberian peninsula and Europe. In addition, proximity
to Madrid means that a lot of transportation to that capital passes
through Castile and León.
major land routes for merchandise and transport are Autovía A-1 (the Autovía del
Norte) which runs from Madrid to the Basque port of Irun on the French border and Autovía A-6, the Autovía del
Noroeste, which runs from Madrid to Arteixo, A
Also important is Autovía A-62
(the Autovía de
), which comes out of Portugal through the cities of
Salamanca, Valladolid, Palencia, and Burgos and continues east as
part of European route
. Along those three
routes are such important cities as Medina del Campo, Aranda
de Duero, and Miranda de Ebro.
years have seen a big improvement in accessibility from the rest of
Europe, mainly through the operations of low-cost airlines at the Valladolid airport
of Villanubla, which handles both domestic and international
traffic. The León Airport, also known as Virgen del Camino, currently handles
only domestic traffic, but hopes to handle international traffic in
the future. Salamanca Airport, also known as Matacán, handles domestic flights
and international charter
flights. The Burgos Airport, also known as Villafría, opened in July
2008. Madrid's main airport Barajas is nearby as well, although as of 2009 there is no
direct connection through public transportation.
Terminal de Burgos-Villafría.
Virgen del Camino are among Europe's leaders in terms of recent
growth of air traffic; Villanubla is experiencing lesser growth of
about 3 percent annually.
Castile and 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, and Valladolid are all important
Railways operate in several different gauges: Iberian gauge
(1,668 mm), UIC gauge
(1,435 mm) and Narrow gauge
(1,000 mm). 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)
Lines with no current passenger service:
UIC gauge lines (ADIF/RENFE)
As stated above, Castile and León is the land transport hub of
northern Spain. It is crossed by International E-roads E80
. These are the main road connections
from Portugal and the south of Spain to the rest of Europe.
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 ofroads financed by the private sector
, as well
as the public construction of roads that has long prevailed.
List of Autovías and Autopistas in Castile and León
Rail and bus pass
Since May 1, 2007, certain regions of the provinces of Segovia and
Ávila have been included in the Abono Transportes de Madrid
zone-based system of regional transport in and around Spain's
capital. The cities of Segovia and Ávila are included in the
outermost zone, C2, as are some other municipalities of their
respective provinces. The monthly or yearly pass allows use of all
public buses and trains.
Flora and vegetation
The solitary oaks
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
. The last juniper forests of
Castile and León can be found in the provinces of Soria and Burgos.
In some of these forest, junipers are mixed with pine
—or even with oak or gall
—but the conifers
Castilian-Leonese slope of the Cantabrian Mountains and the northern foothills of the Sistema
Ibérico both boast rich vegetation.
The cool, moist
slopes are populated by large beech
which can extend as high as altitudes of . The beeches may form
mixed forests with yew
(mountain ash), common hawthorne
, and birch
. The sunny
slopes bring forth sessile oak
, English oak
common hawthorne, chestnut
, birch, and
pinar de Lillo
), a native pine species of northern León.
Wide extensions of oak survive on the lower slopes of the Sistema
Central. Higher up, between and altitude, chestnuts are abundant.
higher up, Quercus pyrenaica—an oak species now rarely
found in the eponymous Pyrenees—predominates.
With its strong resistance
to cold, it can reach heights of . 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 and are home to shrubs and
the province of Salamanca, above all in the comarcas of Salices and Ciudad Rodrigo, is occupied by dehesas, a type of
sparsely wooded land resembling the African savannas, with oak, cork
oak, gall oak and Turkish
oak.The provinces of Salamanca and Valladolid
in the area of Rueda also have olive trees,
which do not grow elsewhere in Castile and León.
Castile and León has a great diversity of fauna. Some of these are
notable either for being endemic to the region or for their rarity.
418 species of vertebrates
identified, constituting 63 percent of the vertebrates that can be
found in Spain. Animals adapted to the high mountains, inhabitant
of rocky landscapes, river dwellers, lowland species, and forest
animals all can be found in Castile and León.
isolation of the high peaks preserves many endemic animals such as
the Western Spanish Ibex
(Capra pyrenaica victoriae) of which there are only two
wild populations in the world, both along the border between
Castile and León and Extremadura.
) is a species of rodent
family, a small grayish brown
mammal with a long tail that lives in open spaces above timberline
, and Iberian Wolves
are all abundant in some areas.
and other deer
species can be found in
the deciduous forests and to a lesser extent in the coniferous
forests. A small population of Brown
) can be found in forests of the
Cantabrian Mountains. The wildcat Felis silvestris
slightly larger than a domestic cat, with a short, muscular tail,
and a grayish brown coat with dark rings. The Iberian lynx
found in the region, now can only be found in certain regions of
Castile and León is also home to such reptiles as the Ladder Snake
), and the Aesculapian Snake
or Zamenis longissimus
). The European Smooth Snake
) can be found from sea level up to an altitude of ;
in Castile and León it tends to be found at the higher end of its
range. Higher still, in the rocky subalpine zones around , is the
or Lacerta monticola
), one of the few reptiles adapted to these
The mountain rivers provide a habitat for nutrias
, not to mention trout
, freshwater eels
, bighead carp
and some increasingly rare native
. The nutria (Lutra
) and desman (Galemys pyrenaica
) are both
aquatic or semi-aquatic mammals, and excellent swimmers; the desman
is a mole genus. The nutria eats mainly fish, but the desman
prefers the invertebrates found along the riverbanks, including
insects. In the lower depths of the river are the barbels
) and carp
. Local amphibians include newts
, the Almanzor Salamander (Salamandra
, a subspecies of Fire Salamander
) and the Gredos Toad
(Bufo bufo gredosicola
, a supspecies of Common Toad
); the latter two are endemic to the
Where the rivers narrow to form gorges and canyons, they form a
habitat for birds of prey
such as the
, Cinereous Vulture
, Egyptian Vulture
, Golden Eagle
or Peregrine Falcon
. The small Egyptian
Vulture (Neophron percnopterus
) is black and white with a
yellow head. Further downstream, the lush vegetation of the
riverbanks makes a home for the Black-crowned Night Heron
, as well as the smaller
, European Penduline Tit
, and Common
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
). The Black Stork, much rarer than the White Stork
) is a
solitary bird that stays far away from humans. The Spanish Imperial
Eagle nests in trees and feeds largely on rabbits, but also eats
birds, reptiles and carrion.
In the coniferous forests live, among others treecreepers
(of the family Certhiidae
the Coal Tit
the Eurasian Nuthatch
), blue-grey above, with a black eyestripe, and
distinguished from other populations of this species by its reddish
underparts. The Western
) is a large, dark forest
, very difficult to observe. Among the
raptors in the forests are the Northern
, the Eurasian
and members of the true
family, which frequently prey upon such smaller birds as
(notably the Great Spotted Woodpecker,
, and warblers
of the genus Sylvia
La Great Bustard
frequents the plains cleared for dryland farming. It is among the
heaviest birds capable of flight. It has a grayish head and neck
and a brown back. In the winter, the Castilian-Leonese wetlands
teem with Greylag Geese
), that have flown south from their breeding grounds in
- Resultados autonómicos de Castilla y León
- "será objeto de protección específica […] por su particular
valor dentro del patrimonio lingüístico de la Comunidad"
- "gozará de respeto y protección en los lugares en que
habitualmente se utilice"
- Hablas de Extremadura: Frontera Leonesa.
- Artículo 1, Proyecto Constitución Federal de la I República
Española, 17 de julio de 1873
- Investigaciones históricas. Valladolid: Secretariado
de Publicaciones, Universidad de Valladolid, 1979
- Juan-Miguel Alvarez Dominguez, " El Catecismo Regionalista de Don Eugenio, un
ejemplo de regionalismo castellanoleonés patrocinado desde León
(1931)", Argutorio, nº 19 (2º semestre 2007), pp.
- «unir en una personalidad a León y Castilla la Vieja
en torno a la gran cuenca del Duero, sin caer ahora en rivalidades
pueblerinas». Diario de León, 22 de mayo de
- Seis grupos políticos se fusionan en un partido
regionalista en Castilla y León
- Tribunal Constitucional Española, Sentencia 89/1984, fundamento
de derecho 5, September 28, 1984.
- Diario de León, 5 de mayo de 1984.
- Diario de León, 13 de marzo de 2004.
- El paro bajó en Castilla y León un 5% frente a un
incremento nacional del 6,5, El Mundo, 2008-01-26.
Accessed online 2009-11-30.
- El paro sube en la Comunidad en 5.000 personas
en el segundo trimestre, rtvcyl.es, 2009-07-24. Accessed
- Fichas Municipales - 2008 DATOS ECONÓMICOS Y SOCIALES,
Caja España, 2008.
- Terra: Iberdrola contrata con Izar mantenimiento central
- 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. 
||Important cities of Castile and León through which the road
| Autovía and Autopista del Norte
||Madrid – Burgos – Irun
Duero, Lerma, Burgos, Briviesca, Miranda de Ebro
||Madrid – Barcelona
and Autopista del Noroeste
||Madrid – La Coruña
Rafael, Villacastín, Arévalo, Medina del Campo, Tordesillas, Villalpando, Benavente, La
Bañeza, Astorga, Bembibre, Ponferrada
||Zamora – Tudela de Duero (to be extended)
||Zamora, Toro, Tordesillas, Valladolid , Tudela de Duero, (Peñafiel and
Duero, by N-122).
de la Cultura
||Salamanca – Ávila
||Villacastín – Ávila
de las Rías Bajas
Rafael – Segovia
||Burgos – Fuentes de Oñoro
||Burgos, Palencia, Valladolid, Tordesillas, Salamanca, Ciudad Rodrigo
and autopista de la Plata
||Gijón – Sevilla (incomplete)
||Salamanca, Zamora, Benavente, León
||Palencia – Santander
|Palencia, Frómista, Osorno la Mayor, Aguilar de Campoo
||León – Astorga
del Camino de Santiago
||León – Burgos
||León, Sahagún, Carrión de los Condes, Burgos
||Valladolid - Segovia
||Valladolid, Cuéllar, Segovia