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León(lā-ōn`), historic region and former kingdom, NW Spain, E of Portugal and Galicia, now part of Castile–León. It includes the provinces of León, Salamanca, and Zamora, named after their chief cities. It is sparsely populated, and the climate is harsh; winters are long and cold, and the summers are extremely hot and often accompanied by drought. Northern León, which is crossed by the Cantabrian Mts., has coal mines, forests, and mountain pastures; the rest of the region is a dry plateau drained by the Duero River and its tributaries. León has long been noted for its linen manufactures. Early in the Christian reconquest, the kings of Asturias gained control over León (8th–9th cent.); their territory, of which the city of León was made the capital in the 10th cent., became the kingdom of Asturias and León. The power of the kings also extended over Galicia and part of Castile, Navarre, and the Basque Province, but it was too weak to prevent the rise of the independent kingdoms of Navarre and Castile. León was conquered (1037) by Ferdinand I of Castile, on whose death (1065) the kingdoms again became separate. Reunited in 1072 under Alfonso VI, León and Castile were again separated in the 12th cent. and remained so until Ferdinand III accomplished the final reunion in 1230.
León,city (1990 pop. 758,270), Guanajuato state, central Mexico. It is located in a fertile river valley c.5,600 ft (1,700 m) high, but with a mild, temperate climate. Frequent floods, which in 1888 almost washed the city away, necessitated the building of a protective dam. León, on the main rail line between El Paso, Tex., and Mexico City, is a commercial, agricultural, and mining center and one of Mexico's leading shoe manufacturers. The city's mines yield gold, copper, silver, lead, and tin. León was officially founded in 1577.
León,city (1995 pop. 125,117), W Nicaragua. It is Nicaragua's second largest city and the rail and commercial center between CorintoCorinto
, town (1995 pop. 16,997), NW Nicaragua, on the Pacific Ocean. It is a railroad terminus and Nicaragua's leading Pacific port. Coffee, cotton, sugar, hides, and woods are exported.
..... Click the link for more information. and ManaguaManagua
, city (1995 pop. 819,731), W Nicaragua, capital and largest city of Nicaragua, on the southern shore of Lake Managua. It is the commercial and industrial center of the country. Situated on the Inter-American Highway, the city is the hub of Nicaragua's railroads.
..... Click the link for more information. . It was founded in 1524 on Lake Managua by Francisco Fernández de CórdobaFernández de Córdoba, Francisco
, d. 1526?, Spanish conquistador. Sent in 1523 by Pedro Arias de Ávila to deprive Gil González de Ávila (d.
..... Click the link for more information. and moved west to its present site in 1610 after a severe earthquake. In colonial times, León was the Nicaragua's political hub. Center of the intellectuals and artisans, León became the stronghold of the liberal forces after independence from Spain (1821) and engaged in bitter rivalry with conservative GranadaGranada
, city (1995 pop. 74,396), W Nicaragua, on Lake Nicaragua. It is Nicaragua's third largest city and the center of commerce on Lake Nicaragua. Located in a rich agricultural region, Granada has been the stronghold of Nicaragua's landed aristocracy; manufactures include
..... Click the link for more information. . Costly revolutions, in one of which León accepted aid from the U.S. filibuster William WalkerWalker, William,
1824–60, American filibuster in Nicaragua, b. Nashville, Tenn. Walker, a qualified doctor, a lawyer, and a journalist by the time he was 24, sought a more adventurous career.
..... Click the link for more information. , led to the founding of Managua (1855). The city is still the country's liberal center; it was heavily pro-Sandinista during the revolution against the Somoza dictatorship. The poet Rubén DaríoDarío, Rubén
, 1867–1916, Nicaraguan poet, originally named Félix Rubén García Sarmiento. A child prodigy, he gained a thorough knowledge of Spanish and French cultures through reading; it was then widened during many years abroad in both
..... Click the link for more information. is buried in its cathedral. Ash from the Cerro Negro volcano damaged the city in 1992.
León,city (1990 pop. 137,758), capital of León prov., NW Spain, in Castile-León, at the foot of the Cantabrian Mts. and at the confluence of the Bernesga and Torio rivers. It is an agricultural and commercial center. Dating from Roman times, it was reconquered from the Moors in 882 by Alfonso III of Asturias. Early in the 10th cent., León replaced Oviedo as the capital of the kingdom of Asturias, which became the kingdom of León. The city flourished in the 12th and 13th cent. as a trade center but declined after the kings of León and Castile made Valladolid their favored residence. It still retains a medieval atmosphere, and its many historic monuments attract tourists. Most notable is the Spanish Gothic cathedral (13th–14th cent.).
a kingdom in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula from the tenth to the 13th century.
It was formed in 901–910 when the Kingdom of Asturias was divided between the sons of King Alfonso III into León, Galicia, and Asturias. In 914, Galicia became part of Leon, and in 924 the territories of León, Galicia, and Asturias were united as the Kingdom of León, with the city of León as the capital. In the 950’s, León suffered several severe defeats at the hands of the caliphate of Cordova, which forced it to pay tributes. Between 981 and 1002, León was again subjected to devastating raids by the Muslims, and in 988 al-Mansur sacked the city of León. With the death of al-Mansur in 1002 the Muslim raids stopped, and the danger of a Muslim conquest of León passed.
After the disintegration of the caliphate of Cordova in 1031, the kings of León went over to the counteroffensive, and during the Christian reconquest, León extended its territory to the Tajo River; the Portuguese lands annexed to León in that period became a separate county in 1095. (Portugal became an independent kingdom only in the 12th century.) In 1035, Castile, which had been a county since 923, split off from León to form an independent kingdom. León and Castile were united as the Kingdom of León and Castile from 1037 to 1065 and from 1072 to 1157; the final unification took place in 1230. The socioeconomic structure of León was close to that of Castile, but monastic and episcopal landholding played a more marked role in Leon.
a region in central Spain, located in the basin of the middle reaches of the Duero River, mostly in the west of the plateau of Old Castile. Administratively the territory is divided into the provinces of León, Zamora, and Salamanca. Area, 38,400 sq km; population, 1.2 million (1970). The chief city is Leon.
León is an agrarian and industrial region. The region is characterized by a concentration of landed property in the hands of landowners, a peasantry with small landholdings, and a large mass of small tenants and farmhands. Livestock raising includes cattle (especially bulls for bullfighting), sheep (more than 2.5 million head), and swine. About four-fifths of the cultivated land is in grain crops, primarily in the Tierra del Pan (the “land of bread”), and legumes. The vineyards are mainly in the Tierra del Vino (the “land of wine”). The mining industry includes the mining of iron ore (about 1.5 million tons a year) in the area of the cities of Ponferrada and Astorga and coal mining (up to 2 million tons) on the southern slopes of the Cantabrian Mountains, mainly in the areas of the cities of Villablino and Cistierna. León has a large hydroelectric power industry (the Aldeadávila Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Duero River is one of the largest in the country). The region’s industries include wool (centered in the city of Béjar), flour milling, leather, wine, and meat-packing, as well as the production of inorganic fertilizers and metalworking. The region is traversed by a railroad connecting Asturias with Madrid, which crosses the Cantabrian Mountains through the Pajares Pass.
a city in central Mexico, in the south of the Mexican Highland, in the state of Guanajuato. Population, 454,000 (1970).
A major industrial, commercial, and transportation center, León processes the products of Bajío, which is an important region of commercial agriculture. León is the chief center of the leather and footwear industry. Other industries include the textile, food, metalworking, and chemical industries. León was founded in 1576. Gold, silver, and nonferrous metal ores are mined in the region of León.
a city in western Nicaragua, the administrative center of the province of Leon. Population, 53,000 (1970).
León is a railroad junction and the commercial center of an agricultural region (cotton, sugarcane, and livestock raising). In the city agricultural products are processed; there is also a furniture factory. The National University was founded in 1812 in Leon. The city itself was founded in 1524, but after an earthquake in 1609 it was built anew in 1610 at a distance of 32 km from the old city. It was the capital of Nicaragua until the mid-19th century. León has a network of straight streets; in the baroque style there are one-story houses with entrances at the corners, keel-shaped arches, and intricate pediments at the portals. There are churches of the colonial period, such as the churches of San Juan Bautista (built from 1560 to 1705), La Merced (founded in 1685), and La Recollección (built in 1795), as well as a five-aisled cathedral (built from 1747 to 1825), with the tomb of the poet R. Darío in the interior and with a classicistic western facade.
a city in the north of Spain, in the historical region of Leon. The administrative center of the province of Leon. Population, 105,200 (1971).
León is a railroad junction and has an airport. Industry is represented by food processing (sugar, flour, dairy, and meat), leather, and silicates and ceramics. New branches include metalworking and chemicals and pharmaceuticals. León was founded as an ancient Roman military camp. The city’s architectural monuments include the remnants of Roman walls, the Romanesque Church of San Isidoro (11th and 12th centuries; the “Pantheon of Kings,” 11th century), the early Gothic cathedral (1205–88; finished in the 14th and 15th centuries), the San Marcos Monastery (16th to 18th centuries, architects Juan de Badajoz and others; now an archaeological museum), and the Casa de los Botines (about 1900; architect A. Gaudí).