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Extremadura (Extremaduran: Estremaura) is an autonomous community of western Spainmarker whose capital city is Méridamarker. It includes the provinces of Cáceresmarker and Badajozmarker. Extremadura borders Portugalmarker to the west, and it is an important area for wildlife, particularly with the major reserve at Monfragüemarker, which was designated a National Park in 2007, or the project of the International Tagusmarker River Natural Park (Parque Natural Rio Tajo internacional). To the north it borders Castile and Leónmarker (provinces of Salamancamarker and Ávilamarker); to the south, it borders Andalusiamarker (provinces of Huelvamarker, Sevillemarker, and Córdoba); and to the east, it borders Castile-La Manchamarker (provinces of Toledomarker and Ciudad Realmarker).

Geography

Extremadura is contained within 37° 57' N, 40° 85' N latitude and 4° 39' W, 7° 33' W longitude.

The area of Extremadura is 41,633 km², making it the 5th largest of the Spanish autonomous communities.

It is located in the Southern Plateau (a subdivision of the Central Plateau).

Mountain systems

To the north of Extremadura rise the sierras of the Sistema Centralmarker, composed of the Sierra de Gredosmarker, the Sierra de Béjar where it reaches its highest altitude in the Calvitero at 2401 m and Sierra de Gatamarker which separates Extremadura from Castilemarker.

In the center is the Sierra de las Villuercas which reaches an altitude of 1603 m on the Pico [Peak] Villuercas, Sierra de Montánchez and the Sierra de San Pedro, which form part of the Montes de Toledo.

To the south rises the Sierra Morena which separates Extremadura from Andalusiamarker with Sierra de Tentudía where the highest altitude of these mountains in Extremadura is Pico Tentudía with 1104 m.

Hydrographic network

There are four different hydrographic basins:

  • The basin of the Tagusmarker, with two principal tributaries: to the right: the Tiétar and the Alagónmarker and to the left: the Almonte, Ibor, Salor and the Sever. The tributaries on the right edge carry a large quantity of water, which feed the gorges of the Sistema Centralmarker where the rainfall is abundant and the winter brings a great quantity of snow.
  • The basin of the Guadianamarker, which has principal tributaries: to the right: Guadarranque and Ruecas to the left: Zújarmarker which is its plentiful tributary and the Matachel.
  • The basin of the Guadalquivir with only 1411 km² in Extremadura (2.45% of total).
  • The basin of the Dueromarker with only 35 km² in Extremadura (0.04% of the basin).


Climate

The climate of Extremadura is Mediterranean, except to the north, where it is continentalized, and to the west, where the influence of the Atlantic makes the climate milder.

In general, it is characterized by its very hot and dry summers, with great droughts, and its long and mild winters due to the oceanic influence because of its proximity to the Atlantic coast of Portugalmarker.

Temperatures

The average yearly temperature fluctuates between 16 and 17°C year to year. In the north of Extremadura, the average temperatures are lower than those in the south, with temperatures gradually rising as you go south to the Sierra Morena, where they drop because of the altitude.

During the summer, the average temperature in July is greater than 26°C, at times reaching 40°C.

The winters are mild with the lowest temperatures being registered in the mountainous regions, with an average temperature of 7.5 °C.

Population

Most populous cities
Position Municipality Population
1 Badajozmarker 145,257
2 Cáceresmarker 115,207
3 Méridamarker 54,915
4 Plasenciamarker 49,785
5 Don Benitomarker 39,051
6 Almendralejomarker 33,424
7 Villanueva de la Serenamarker 26,978
8 Navalmoral de la Matamarker 18,089
9 Zaframarker 16,417
10 Montijomarker 15,648


As of 2006-01-01, the population of Extremadura is 1,086,373 inhabitants, representing 2.74% of the Spanish population (44,708,964).

The population density is very low (25.81 people/km²) if compared to Spain (84.42 people/km²).

The most populous province is that of Badajozmarker, with a population of 673,474 and a population density of 30.94 people/km². With an area of 21,766 km², it is the largest province in Spain. 412,899 people live in the province of Cáceresmarker, which has an area of 19,868 km², and thus the largest province in Spain after Badajoz's.

The most important urban centers are Badajozmarker (143,748 inhabitants), Cáceresmarker (90,218), Méridamarker (53,915) and Plasenciamarker (39,874).

Immigration to Extremadura

In the Extremaduran territory there live 29,068 foreigners, according to the INE census of January 1, 2007, of which 16,647 live in the Province of Badajozmarker and 12,421 residing in Province of Cáceresmarker. The largest immigrant community is Moroccanmarker with 9,218 people, followed by the Romanian with 4,324 and then the Portuguese with 3,492 people. Brazilians account for 1,676 and Colombians make up 1,409. Of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, the largest community is Senegalesemarker with 88 people. Of those from Asia, the Chinese make up the largest group with 631 people, followed by Kazakhstanis with 1.

Historical development

The Extremaduran population, according to the 1591 census of the provinces of the Kingdom of Castile, was around 540,000 people, making up 8% of the total population of Spain. No other census was made until 1717. That year 326,358 people were counted.

From this period, the population grew steadily until the 1960s (1,379,072 people in 1960). After 1960, emigration to more prosperous regions of Spain and Europe drained the population.

Municipalities

Extremadura consists of 383 municipalities, 164 are from the Province of Badajoz and the other 219 are from the Province of Cáceres.



Languages

The only language that is officially recognized is Spanish, but other languages are also spoken:

Agriculture

Wild Black Iberian pigs roam in the area and consume acorns from oak groves. These pigs are caught and used for the cured ham dish jamón ibérico.

History

Lusitania, an ancient Roman province approximately including current day Portugalmarker (except for the northern area today known as Norte Region), and a central western portion of the current day Spainmarker, covered in those times today's Autonomous Community of Extremadura. Méridamarker (capital of Extremadura), became the capital of the Roman Lusitania province, and one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire.

Extremadura was the source of many of the most famous Spanish conquerors ("conquistadores") and settlers in America. Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Pedro de Alvarado, Pedro de Valdivia,Inés Suárez, Francisco de Orellana, Pedro Gomez Duran y Chaves and Vasco Nunez de Balboa were all born in Extremadura and many towns and cities in America carry a name from their homeland: Méridamarker is the name of the administrative capital of Extremadura, and also of important cities in Mexico and Venezuela; Medellínmarker is now a little town in Extremadura, but also the name of the second largest city in Colombiamarker; Albuquerquemarker is the largest city in New Mexico and its name is due to a transcription mistake of Alburquerquemarker , another town in Extremadura. The two (to date) Spanish astronauts, Miguel López-Alegría and Pedro Duque, also have family connections in Extremadura. King Ferdinand II of Aragon died in the village of Madrigalejomarker, Cáceresmarker in 1516. Pedro de Valdivia founded numerous cities in Chilemarker with names from small villages in Extremadura, such as Valdiviamarker and La Serena. The capital Santiago de Chilemarker was founded as "Santiago de Nueva Extremadura" (Santiago of New Extremadura).

Notable people

Extremadura has important artists as: Soraya ArnelasEurovision Song Contest 2009 was in the 24th (penultime) of 25 partipants countries. Spanish Representative, Luis Pastor (singer), Roberto Iniesta (singer), Pablo Guerrero (singer), Bebe (singer), Alberto Porro Carmona "Al Carmona" (music conductor), Esteban Sánchez (pianist), Isabel Gemio (TV), Maruchi Leon (TV), Agustín Bravo (TV), Gecko Turner (singer), Eduardo Naranjo (painter), Dolores Morcillo (painter), Enrique Jiménez Carrero (painter) or Juan Barjola (painter), Extremoduro (rock band)

See also



References


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