Iberian Peninsula

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Iberian Peninsula,

c.230,400 sq mi (596,740 sq km), SW Europe, separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees. Comprising SpainSpain,
Span. España , officially Kingdom of Spain, constitutional monarchy (2015 est. pop. 46,398,000), 194,884 sq mi (504,750 sq km), including the Balearic and Canary islands, SW Europe.
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 and PortugalPortugal
, officially Portuguese Republic, republic (2015 est. pop. 10,418,000), 35,553 sq mi (92,082 sq km), SW Europe, on the western side of the Iberian Peninsula and including the Madeira Islands and the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.
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, it is washed on the N and W by the Atlantic Ocean and on the S and E by the Mediterranean Sea; the Strait of Gibraltar separates it from Africa. The Iberian Peninsula is dominated by the Meseta (central plateau), a great uplifted fault block (average elevation 2,000 ft/610 m) ringed and crossed by mountain ranges. It covers about two thirds of the peninsula. Coastal lowlands, the site of the major industrial cities, surround the primarily agrarian-oriented Meseta. Climatically, the Iberian Peninsula has hot summers, cold winters, and limited precipitation. Five major rivers drain the peninsula.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iberian Peninsula


a peninsula in Southwest Europe. With an area of 582,000 sq km, it is the second largest peninsula in Europe after the Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Iberian Peninsula is washed in the north by the Bay of Biscay, in the west and southwest by the Atlantic Ocean, and in the northeast, east, and southeast by the Mediterranean Sea; in the south it is separated from Africa by the Strait of Gibraltar. The peninsula is mountainous, its outline is simple, and its coastline relatively smooth. Only in the northwest are there deeply indented ria-type coasts. The land surface is occupied chiefly by the Meseta and Galician plateaus and by linearly extending mountain ranges: the Pyrenees, the Cantabrian, Catalonian, and Iberian ranges, and the Andalusian Mountains. The highest point is Mount Mulacén in the Sierra Nevada range (3,478 m). There are small lowland areas along the peninsula’s boundaries.

The climate of the Iberian Peninsula is primarily Mediterranean. In the peninsula’s continental regions it is arid, while in the western regions it is more humid and closer to an oceanic climate. The chief rivers are the Tagus, Guadiana, Douro, Ebro, and Guadalquivir. Vegetation is primarily scrub of the maquis and garigue types. The Iberian Peninsula is occupied by Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and the British crown colony of Gibraltar.

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

Iberian Peninsula

a peninsula of SW Europe, occupied by Spain and Portugal
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005