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Geography of Spain PDF
Thursday, 01 September 2011 00:00

Whilst the history of Spain is long and complicated, the geography is more straightforward. Let's have a look.

Spain comprises the Iberian peninsula (except Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar); two island groups, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, off the west coast of Africa; and two enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla.

The country is divided into fifty provinces. Since the adoption of the current system of autonomous communities, the importance of the provinces has declined. They nevertheless remain electoral districts for national elections and as geographical referents: for instance in postal addresses and telephone codes. A small town would normally be identified as being in, say, Málaga province, rather than the autonomous community of Andalucía.

All of the provinces - with the exception of Álava, Asturias, Vizcaya, Cantabria, Guipúzcoa, Islas Baleares, La Rioja, and Navarra - are named after their principal town. Only two capitals of autonomous communities — Mérida in Extremadura and Santiago de Compostela in Galicia — are not also the capitals of provinces.

© Paul Whitelock


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Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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