New Castile

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Related to Castilla la Nueva: Castilla la Vieja


Castile (kăstēlˈ), Span. Castilla (kästēˈlyä), historic region and former kingdom, central and N Spain, traditionally divided into Old Castile and New Castile, and now divided among the autonomous communities of Castile and Léon, Castile–La Mancha, and Madrid. Castile is generally a vast, sparsely populated region surrounding the highly industrialized Madrid area. It includes most of the high plateau of central Spain, across which rise the rugged Sierra de Guadarrama and the Sierra de Gredos, forming a natural boundary between Old and New Castile. The upper Duero, the Tagus, and Guadiana rivers form the chief valleys etched into the plateau. The soil of Castile, ravaged by centuries of erosion, is poor, and rainfall is sparse.


The name Castile derives from the many castles built there by the Christian nobles early in the reconquest from the Moors (8th–9th cent.). Old Castile at first was a county of the kingdom of León, with Burgos its capital. Its nobles (notably Fernán González) secured virtual autonomy by the 10th cent. Sancho III of Navarre, who briefly annexed the county, made it into a kingdom for his son, Ferdinand I, in 1035.

León was first united with Castile in 1037, but complex dynastic rivalries delayed the permanent union of the two realms, which was achieved under Ferdinand III in 1230. The Castilian kings played a leading role in the fight against the Moors, from whom they wrested New Castile. They also had to struggle against the turbulent nobles and were involved in dynastic disputes that plunged the country into civil war (see Alfonso X). Peter the Cruel limited the vast privileges of the nobles, but they were permanently curbed only late in the 15th cent.

In 1479, after Isabella I had defeated the dynastic claims of Juana la Beltraneja, a personal union of Castile and Aragón was established under Isabella and her husband, Ferdinand II of Aragón. The union was confirmed with the accession (1516) of their grandson, Charles I (later Emperor Charles V), to the Spanish kingdoms. Charles suppressed the uprisings of the comuneros in 1520–21.

With the decline of Catalonia and Valencia during that period, Castile became the dominant power in Spain. It was the core of the Spanish monarchy, centralized in Madrid (the capital after the 16th cent.). Its dialect became the standard literary language of Spain, and the character of its people—proud and austere—typifies the Spanish state. Latin America was largely influenced by Castilian culture.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

New Castile


(Castilla la Nueva), a historical region in Spain, in the Tagus River basin, on the southern Meseta plateau. The area is divided into the provinces of Madrid, Guadalajara, Cuenca, Toledo, and Ciudad Real. Area, 72,300 sq km. Population, more than 5 million (1970). The capital is Madrid.

Formerly a backward agricultural region, New Castile is becoming industrialized. Grain and beans are the chief crops, particularly in La Mancha, which is one of the country’s granaries. Grapes are grown throughout the region, and fruit and vegetables are raised on irrigated land. Sheep are grazed in dry mountain pastures.

The region’s mineral resources include mercury (Almadén) and oil shale (Puertollano), and the rivers provide hydroelectric energy. The principal industries are those processing local agricultural raw materials—textiles, leather, and food. In the 1950’s and 1960’s branches of heavy industry developed, including machinery construction, particularly vehicles, metallurgy, and the chemical and petrochemical industries. Traditional handicrafts have survived, and there is flourishing cottage industry producing blades, ceramics, embroidery, and lace. Most of New Castile’s industry is concentrated in such new industrial centers as Guadalajara.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

New Castile

a region and former province of central Spain. Chief town: Toledo
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Al analizar la incidencia por cada municipio se observa la mayor incidencia en el municipio de Castilla la Nueva, luego Acacias, El Dorado, Cabuyaro, Barranca de Upia, El Castillo, Restrepo, San Carlos de Guaroa, Vistahermosa, San Juan de Arama y Guamal que tienen mayor incidencia que el global departamental.