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Andalusia(ăndəlo͞o`zhə, –shə), Span. Andalucía (än'dälo͞othē`ä), autonomous community (1990 pop. 7,100,060), 33,675 sq mi (87,218 sq km), S Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Atlantic Ocean. Spain's largest and most populous region, it covers most of S Spain, comprising the provinces of Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga, and Seville (Sevilla), all named for their chief cities. Andalusia is crossed in the north by the Sierra Morena and in the south by mountain ranges that rise in the snowcapped Sierra Nevada to the highest peak in mainland Spain, Mulhacén (11,417 ft/3,480 m); between the ranges lies the fertile basin of the Guadalquivir River.
Economy and People
Despite the natural wealth of the region, poverty is widespread; Andalusian farm laborers are among the poorest in Europe, and many unemployed Andalusians have migrated to more industrialized regions of Spain. With its subtropical climate, Andalusia has many affinities with Africa, which it faces. Barren lands contrast with richly fertile regions where cereals, grapes, olives, sugarcane, and citrus and other fruits are produced. Industries, based generally on local agricultural produce, include wine making, flour milling, and olive-oil extracting. Much farming has become mechanized. Cattle, bulls for the ring, and fine horses are bred. The rich mineral resources, exploited since Phoenician and Roman times, include copper, iron, zinc, and lead.
Moorish influence is still strong in the character, language, and customs of the people. One of Europe's most strikingly colorful regions, Andalusia, with its tradition of bull fights, flamencoflamenco,
Spanish music and dance typical of the Romani (Gypsy), or gitano. Flamenco dancing is characterized by colorful costumes, intense and erotic movements, stamping of the feet (zapateado), and clapping of the hands (palmada
..... Click the link for more information. music and dance, and Moorish architecture, provides the strongest external image of Spain, especially to North Americans. Increasing tourism has made the service industry the fastest growing economic sector.
In the 11th cent. B.C., the Phoenicians settled there and founded several coastal colonies, notably Gadir (now CádizCádiz
, city (1990 pop. 156,903), capital of Cádiz prov., SW Spain, in Andalusia, on the Bay of Cádiz. Picturesquely situated on a promontory (joined to the Isla de León, just off the mainland), it is today chiefly a port exporting wines and other
..... Click the link for more information. and, supposedly, the inland town of Tartessus, which became the capital of a flourishing kingdom (sometimes identified with the biblical TarshishTarshish
, in the Bible. 1 Eponym of a country distant from Palestine which cannot be accurately identified; Cyprus, Spain, and Tarsus (S Asia Minor) have been suggested.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Greeks and Carthaginians came in the 6th cent. B.C.; the Carthaginians were expelled (3d cent. B.C.) by the Romans, who included S Spain in the province of Baetica. The emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius were born in the region.
Visigoths ended Roman rule in the 5th cent. A.D., and in 711 the MoorsMoors,
nomadic people of the northern shores of Africa, originally the inhabitants of Mauretania. They were chiefly of Berber and Arab stock. In the 8th cent. the Moors were converted to Islam and became fanatic Muslims.
..... Click the link for more information. , crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, established there the center of their western emirate (see CórdobaCórdoba
, city (1990 pop. 307,275), capital of Córdoba prov., S Spain, in Andalusia, on the Guadalquivir River. Modern industries in the city include brewing, distilling, textile manufacturing, metallurgy, and tourism.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Andalusia remained under Moorish rule until most of it was conquered in the 13th cent. by the kings of Castile; the Moorish kingdom of GranadaGranada,
city (1990 pop. 268,674), capital of Granada prov., S Spain, in Andalusia, at the confluence of the Darro and Genil rivers. Formerly (17th cent.) a silk center, Granada is now a trade and processing point for an agricultural area that is also rich in minerals.
..... Click the link for more information. survived; it, too, fell to the Catholic kings in 1492. The Moorish period was the golden age of Andalusia. Agriculture, mining, trade, and industries (textiles, pottery, and leather working) were fostered and brought tremendous prosperity; the Andalusian cities of Córdoba, SevilleSeville
, Span. Sevilla, city (1990 pop. 678,218), capital of Seville prov. and leading city of Andalusia, SW Spain, on the Guadalquivir River. Connected with the Atlantic by the river and by a canal accessible to oceangoing vessels, Seville is a major port as well as an
..... Click the link for more information. , and Granada, embellished by the greatest Moorish monuments in Spain, were celebrated as centers of culture, science, and the arts.
From the 16th cent. Andalusia generally suffered as Spain declined, although the ports of Seville and Cádiz flourished as centers of trade with the New World. Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in 1713, and in 1833 Andalusia was divided into the present eight provinces. With Catalonia, Andalusia was a stronghold of anarchism during the Spanish republic (est. 1931); however, it fell early to the Insurgents in the Spanish civil warSpanish civil war,
1936–39, conflict in which the conservative and traditionalist forces in Spain rose against and finally overthrew the second Spanish republic. The Second Republic
..... Click the link for more information. of 1936–39. The region later saw recurrent demonstrations against the national government of Francisco Franco. In 1981 it became an autonomous community and in 1982 it elected its first parliament.