Castile and León
Castile and León (/ ... /; Spanish: Castilla y León [kasˈtiʎa i leˈon] ( listen); Leonese: Castiella y Llión [kasˈtjeʎa i ʎiˈoŋ]; Galician: Castela e León [kasˈtɛla e leˈoŋ]) is an autonomous community in north-western Spain. It was constituted in 1983, although it existed for the first time during the First Spanish Republic in the 19th century. León first appeared as a Kingdom in 910, whilst the Kingdom of Castile gained an independent identity in 1065 and was intermittently held in personal union with León before merging with it permanently in 1230. It is the largest autonomous community in Spain and the third largest region of the European Union, covering an area of 94,223 square kilometres (36,380 sq mi) with an official population of around 2.5 million (2011).
|Castile and León
Castilla y León (in Spanish)
Castiella y Llión (in Leonese)
Castela e León (in Galician)
|Castilla y León (in Spanish)|
Location of Castile and León within Spain
|Capital||Undeclared (Valladolid de facto)|
|• President||Juan Vicente Herrera (PP)|
|• Total||94,222 km2 (36,379 sq mi)|
|Area rank||1st (18.6% of Spain)|
|• Density||26/km2 (67/sq mi)|
|• Pop. rank||6th|
|• Percent||5.42% of Spain|
|Official languages||Spanish (Leonese and Galician have special status)|
|Statute of Autonomy||2 March 1983|
|Parliament||Cortes of Castile and León|
|Congress seats||31 (of 350)|
|Senate seats||39 (of 266)|
|Website||Junta de Castilla y León|
From the beginning of the federalist debate in Spain in the 19th century during the First Spanish Republic there were projects of autonomy for a Castile and León region, as the project of Castilian Mancomunity, Bases de Segovia, Castilian Provincial League or Castilian Federal Pact, but also including current Cantabria and La Rioja. Same project that continued to exist during the Second Spanish Republic and that was finally carried out after the Constitution of 1978 , but without Cantabria and La Rioja that, although it was considered to include them, finally formed uniprovincial autonomies.
Its Statute of Autonomy declares in its preamble:
The Autonomous Community of Castile and León arises from the modern union of the historical territories that composed and gave name to the old crowns of León and Castile. Eleven hundred years ago, the Kingdom of León was constituted, from which that of Castile and Galicia were dislodged as kingdoms throughout the 9th century, and, in 1143, that of Portugal. During these two centuries the monarchs who held the government of these lands attained the dignity of emperors, as attested by the terms of Alfonso VI and Alfonso VII.
In Castile and León, more than 60% of all of Spain's heritage sites are found (architectural, artistic, cultural, etc.). All of which translate into: 8 World Heritage sites, almost 1800 classified cultural heritage assets, 112 historic sites, 400 museums, more than 500 castles, of which 16 are considered of high historical value, 12 cathedrals, 1 concathedral, and the largest concentration of Romanesque art in the world. With 8 World Heritage sites, Castile and León is the region of the world with more cultural assets distinguished by the highest protection figure granted by Unesco, ahead of the Italian regions of Tuscany and Lombardy, both with 6 sites. 
Also, the Montes de Valsaín mountains and the Béjar and Francia mountain ranges, in the Sistema Central, the valleys of Laciana, Omaña y Luna and the Picos de Europa and Los Ancares, in the Cantabrian Mountains, and the Iberian Plateau, in the border area with Portugal, have been declared biosphere reserve by UNESCO, which also recognizes the geopark of La Lora with this figure of protection. In addition, Castile and León is strongly related to two of the records of the Memory of the World Programme of UNESCO which are the Decreta of the Cortes of León of 1188, curia regia considered the birthplace of worldwide parliamentarism by the institution itself, and the Treaty of Tordesillas.
The Index of development of social services reflects that the community has one of the best social services in the country, positioning itself as the third autonomy that offers the best benefits to its citizens, after the Basque Country and Navarre. Its education, according to the Programme for International Student Assessment report of 2015, leads the scores in reading and sciences with a score comparable to that of the ten best countries in the study.
The Statute of Autonomy of Castile and León, reformed for the last time in 2007, establishes in the sixth article of its preliminary title the symbols of the community's exclusive identity. These are: the coat of arms, the flag, the banner and the anthem. Its legal protection is the same as that corresponding to the symbols of the State -whose outrages are classified as crime in article 543 of the Penal Code-.
In the articulated statuary, the coat of arms is defined as follows:
The coat of arms of Castile and León is a stamped shield by open royal crown, barracked in cross. The first and fourth quartering: in the field of gules, a merloned golden castle of three merlons, drafted of sable and rinse of azure. The second and third quartering: in a silver field, a rampant lion of purple, lingued, dyed and armed with gules, crowned with gold.
Likewise, the flag is described as follows:
The flag of Castile and León is quartered and contains the symbols of Castile and León, as described in the previous section. The flag will fly in all the centres and official acts of the Community, to the right of the Spanish flag.
Following the same wording, the banner is constituted by the shield quartered on a traditional crimson background. The Statute also expresses: "The anthem and the other symbols [...] will be regulated by specific law". After the promulgation of the fundamental norm, this law was not promulgated, so the anthem does not exist, but de iure is a symbol of autonomy.
The autonomous community of Castile and León is the result of the union in 1983 of nine provinces: the three that, after the territorial division of 1833, by which the provinces were created, were ascribed to the Region of León and six attached to the Old Castile, except in the latter case the provinces of Santander (current community of Cantabria) and Logroño (current La Rioja).
In the case of Cantabria the creation of an autonomous community was advocated for historical, cultural and geographic reasons, while in La Rioja the process was more complex due to the existence of three routes, all based on historical and socio-economic reasons: union with Castile and León (Union of the Democratic Centre), union to a Basque-Navarrese community (Socialist Party and Communist Party) or creation of an uniprovincial autonomy, option taken before the majority support of its population.
Several are the archaeological findings that show that in prehistoric times these lands were already inhabited. In the Atapuerca Mountains have been found many bones of the ancestors of Homo sapiens, making these findings one of the most important to determine the history of human evolution. The most important discovery that catapulted the site to international fame was the remains of Homo heidelbergensis.
Before the arrival of the Romans, it is known that the territories that make up Castile and León today were occupied by various Celtic peoples, such as vaccaei, autrigones, turmodigi, the vettones, astures or celtiberians.
The romanization was unstoppable, and to this day great Roman works of art have remained, mainly the Aqueduct of Segovia as well as many archaeological remains such as those of the ancient Clunia , Salt mines of Poza de la Sal and vía de la Plata, originating in Astorga (Asturica Augusta) and that crosses the west of the community to the capital of Extremadura, Mérida (Emerita Augusta).
With the fall of Rome, the lands were occupied militarily by the Visigoth peoples. The subsequent arrival of the Muslims and the subsequent reconquista have a lot to do with the current ethnic composition of the Iberian Peninsula. In the mountainous area of the current Asturias a small Christian kingdom was formed that opposed the Islamic presence in the Peninsula. They proclaimed themselves heirs of the last Visigoth kings, who in turn had been deeply romanized. This resistance of Visigoth-Roman heritage and supported by Christianity, was becoming increasingly strong and expanding to the south, passing its capital to the city of León and thus creating the Kingdom of León. To favor the repopulation of the new reconquered lands, were granted by the monarchs fueros or letters of repopulation.
In the Middle Ages the pilgrimage by Christianity to Santiago de Compostela was popularized. The Camino de Santiago runs throughout the region, which contributed to European culture traveling and expanding throughout the peninsula. Today that Camino is still a tourist and cultural claim of the first order.
In 1188 the basilica of San Isidoro of León had been the seat of the first parliamentary body of the history of Europe in 1188, with the participation of Third Estate. The king who summoned them was Alfonso IX of León.
The legal basis was the Roman law, due to which the kings increasingly wanted more power, like the Roman emperors. This fact is very clearly seen in the Siete Partidas of Alfonso X of Castile, which makes clear the imperial monism that he sought. The King did not want to be a primus inter pares, the king was the source of the law.
Simultaneously, a county of this Christian kingdom of León, begins to acquire autonomy and to expand. This is the primitive County of Castile, which will grow into a real kingdom of great strength among the Christian kingdoms of the Peninsula. The first Castilian count was Fernán González.
León and Castile continued to expand to the South, even beyond the Douro with its purpose of struggle and reconquest against Islam. We are in the middle of the Middle Ages and the songs of deed tell of the great deeds of the Christian nobles who fought against the Muslim enemy. Despite this, Christian and Muslim kings maintained diplomatic relations. Clear example is Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, paradigm of the medieval Christian knight, who fought both hand of Christian kings and Muslims.
The bases of the dynastic unification of the kingdoms of Castile and León, separated by only seven decades, had been put in 1194. Alfonso VIII of Castile and Alfonso IX of León signed in Tordehumos the treaty that pacified the area of Tierra de Campos and laid the foundations for a future reunification of the kingdoms, consolidated in 1230 with Ferdinand III the Saint. This agreement has gone down in history as the Treaty of Tordehumos.
With Ferdinand III, Castile and León are united under the same kingdom in a definitive way and to this day, and before him the kingdoms had already remained under the same command for some seasons.
During the Late Middle Ages there was an economic and political crisis produced by a series of bad harvests and by disputes between nobles and the Crown for power, as well as between different contenders for the throne. In the Cortes of Valladolid of 1295, Ferdinand IV is recognized as king. The painting María de Molina presents her son Fernando IV in the Cortes of Valladolid of 1295 presides today the Congress of Deputies along with a painting of the Cortes of Cádiz, emphasizing the parliamentarian importance that has all the development of Cortes in Castile and León, despite its subsequent decline. The Crown was becoming more authoritarian and the nobility more dependent on it.
Antecedents of autonomyEdit
In times of the First Spanish Republic (1873-1874), the federal republicans conceived the project to create an federated state of eleven provinces in the valley of the Spanish Douro, that would also have included the provinces of Santander and Logroño.Very few years before, in 1869, as part of a manifesto, federal republicans representatives of the 17 provinces of Albacete, Ávila, Burgos, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, León, Logroño, Madrid, Palencia, Salamanca, Santander, Segovia, Soria, Toledo, Valladolid and Zamora proposed in the so-called Castilian Federal Pact the conformation of an entity formed by two different "states": the state of Old Castile -that is presently built for the current Castilian-Leonese provinces and the provinces of Logroño and Santander-, and the state of New Castile -which conforms to the current provinces of Castile-La Mancha plus the province of Madrid-. The end of the Republic, at the beginning of 1874, thwarted the initiative.
In 1921, on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the Battle of Villalar, the Santander City Council advocated the creation of a Castilian and Leonese Commonwealth of eleven provinces, idea that would be maintained in later years. At the end of 1931 and beginning of 1932, from León, Eugenio Merino elaborated a text in which the base of a Castilian-Leonese regionalism was put. The text was published in the Diario de León newspaper.
During the Second Spanish Republic, especially in 1936, there was a great regionalist activity favorable to a region of eleven provinces, and even bases for the Statute of Autonomy were elaborated. The Diario de León advocated for the formalization of this initiative and the constitution of an autonomous region with these words:
Join in a personality León and Old Castile around the great basin of the Douro, without to fall now into provincial rivalries.— Diario de León, May 22, 1936.
The end of the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of Franco regime ended the aspirations of the autonomy for the region. The philosopher José Ortega y Gasset collected this scheme in his publications.
After the death of Francisco Franco, regionalist, autonomist and nationalist organizations (Castilian-Leonese regionalism and Castilian nationalism) as Regional Alliance of Castile and León (1975), Regional Institute of Castile and León (1976) or the Autonomous Nationalist Party of Castile and León (1977). Later after the extinction of these formations arose in 1993 Regionalist Unity of Castile and León.
At the same time, others of Leonesist character arose, such as the Leonese Autonomous Group (1978) or Regionalist Party of the Leonese Country (1980), which advocated the creation of a Leonese autonomous community, composed of provinces of León, Salamanca and Zamora. The popular and political support that maintained the uniprovincial autonomy in León became very important in that city.
After the entry into operation of the Castilian-Leonese pre-autonomous body, which was created by the Provincial Council of León in its agreement of April 16 of 1980, the same institution of León revoked in January 13 of 1983 its original agreement, just when the draft Organic Law entered into the parliament existence of contradictory agreements and which was valid was resolved by the Constitutional Court in the Sentence 89/1984 of September 28 in its foundation of law declares that the subject of the process is not already integrated, as in its preliminary phase, by the councils and municipalities, but it is a new body that is born because it has already manifested the driving will and expresses now that of the territory as a whole; and that will already has a different object, the future legal regime of the territory that has already manifested its will to become an autonomous community through initiatives that have exhausted its effects.
Coinciding with that sentence, there were several demonstrations in León, some of them numerous, in favor of the option only León, which according to some sources brought together a number close to 90 000 attendees, This is the highest concentration held in the city in the Democracy until the subsequent rejection of the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
In an agreement adopted on July 31, 1981, the Provincial Council of Segovia decided to exercise the initiative so that Segovia could be constituted as a uniprovincial autonomous community, but in the municipalities of the province the situation was equal between the supporters of the uniprovincial autonomy or with the rest of Castile and León.
The City Council of Cuéllar initially adhered to this autonomic initiative in agreement adopted by the corporation on October 5 of 1981. However, another agreement adopted by the same corporation dated December 3 of the same year revoked the previous one and the process was paralyzed pending the processing of an appeal filed by the provincial deputation against this last agreement this change of opinion of the city council of Cuéllar inclined the balance in the province towards the autonomy with the rest of Castile and León, but it was an agreement that arrived out of time. Finally the province of Segovia was incorporated into Castile and León along with the other eight provinces and legal coverage was given through the Organic Law 5/1983 for "reasons of national interest", as provided for in article 144 c of the Spanish Constitution for those provinces that have not exercised their right on time.
The community grants each year, on the occasion of the Castile and León Day, the Castile and León Awards to the Castilian-Leonese outstanding in the following areas: arts, human values, scientific research, social sciences, restoration and conservation, environment and sports.
Castile and León is an autonomous community with no exit to the sea that is located in the north-western quadrant of the Iberian Peninsula. Its territory borders on the north with the uniprovincial communities of the Principality of Asturias and Cantabria as well as with the Basque Country (Biscay and Álava); to the east with the uniprovincial community of La Rioja and with Aragon (province of Zaragoza), to the south with the Community of Madrid, Castile-La Mancha (provinces of Toledo and Guadalajara) and Extremadura (province of Cáceres) and to the west with Galicia (provinces of Lugo and Ourense) and Portugal.
The morphology of Castile and León is formed, for the most part, by the Meseta and a belt of mountainous reliefs. The plateau is a high plateau, which has an average altitude close to 800 m.a.s., is covered by deposited clay materials that have given rise to a dry and arid landscape.
Following the morphology of the area can be seen: to the north, the mountains of the provinces of Palencia and of León with high and spiky summits and the mountains of province of Burgos, divided into two parts by the Pancorbo gorge, link between the Basque Country and Castile. Of these, the northern part belongs to the Cantabrian Mountains and reaches the city of Burgos. The east-southeast zone, belonging to the Sistema Ibérico. In the northwest part the mountains of Zamora extend, with peaks inplateauted by the erosion. To the east, in the Soria mountains, you can see the Sistema Ibérico, presided over by the Moncayo Massif, its highest peak. Separating the northern plateau from the southern, to the south, the Sistema Central rises, where the mountain ranges of Gata, Francia, Béjar and Gredos in the western half and those of Ávila, Guadarrama, Somosierra and Ayllón in the eastern half.
The Northern Plateau (Meseta Norte) is constituted by Paleozoic sockets. At the beginning of the Mesozoic Era, once the Hercynian folding that raised the current Central Europe and the Gallaeci zone of Spain, the deposited materials were dragged by the erosive action of the rivers.
During the alpine orogeny, the materials that formed the plateau broke through multiple points. From this fracture rose the mountains of León, with mountains of not much height and, constituting the spine of the Plateau (Meseta), the Cantabrian Mountains and the Sistema Central, formed by materials such as granite or metamorphic slates.
The karst complex of Ojo Guareña, consisting of 110 km of galleries and its caves formed in carbonatic materials of Coniacian which are situated on a level of impermeable marls, is the second largest of the peninsula.
This geological configuration has allowed upwellings of mineral-medicinal and/or thermal water, used now or in the past, in Almeida de Sayago, Boñar, Calabor, Caldas de Luna, Castromonte, Cucho, Gejuelo del Barro, Morales de Campos, Valdelateja and Villarijo, among other places.
- Douro basin
The main hydrographic network of Castile and León is constituted by the Douro river and its tributaries. From its source in the Picos de Urbión, in Soria, to its mouth in the Portuguese city of Porto, the Douro covers 897 km. From the north descend the Pisuerga, the Valderaduey and the Esla rivers, its tributaries more plentiful and by the east, with less water in its flows, highlight the Adaja and the Duratón. After passing the town of Zamora, the Douro is confined between the canyons of the Arribes del Duero Natural Park, bordering with Portugal. On the left bank are important tributaries such as Tormes, Huebra, Águeda, Côa and Paiva, all from Sistema Central. On the right they reach the Sabor, the Tua and the Tâmega, born in the Galician Massif. After the Arribes area, the Douro turns west into Portugal until it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Other watersheds
Several rivers of the community pour their waters into the Ebro basin, in Palencia, Burgos and Soria (Jalón river), that of Miño-Sil in León and Zamora, that of the Tagus in Ávila and Salamanca (rivers Tiétar and Alberche and Alagón respectively) and Cantabrian basin in the provinces through which the Cantabrian Mountains extends.
- Rivers and provincial capitals where they pass
|River||Capital||River mouth||Other locations where it passes|
|Adaja||Ávila||Douro in Villamarciel||Tordesillas and Arévalo|
|Arlanzón||Burgos||Arlanza in Quintana del Puente||Arlanzón and Pampliega|
|Carrión||Palencia||Pisuerga in Dueñas||Guardo and Carrión de los Condes|
|Tormes||Salamanca||Douro in Fermoselle||El Barco de Ávila, Guijuelo, Alba de Tormes and Ledesma|
|Eresma||Segovia||Adaja in Matapozuelos||Coca|
|Douro||Soria and Zamora||Atlantic Ocean in Porto||Almazán, Aranda de Duero, Tordesillas, Toro, Aldeadávila de la Ribera and Vilvestre|
|Pisuerga||Valladolid||Douro in Geria||Aguilar de Campoo, Cervera de Pisuerga, Venta de Baños, Dueñas, Tariego de Cerrato and Simancas|
Lakes and reservoirsEdit
In addition to the rivers, the Douro basin also hosts a large number of lakes and lagoons such as the Negra de Urbión Lake, in the Picos de Urbión, the Grande de Gredos Lake , in Gredos, the Sanabria Lake, in Zamora or the La Nava de Fuentes Lake in Palencia. Also emphasize a great amount of reservoirs, fed by the water coming from the rains and the thaw of the snowy summits. Thus, Castile and León, despite not having abundant rainfall, is one of the communities in Spain with the highest level of water dammed.
Many of these natural lakes are being used as an economic resource, boosting rural tourism and helping to conserve ecosystems. The Sanabria Lake was a pioneer in this.
Castile and León has a continentalized Mediterranean climate, with long, cold winters, with average temperatures between 3 and 6 °C in January and short, hot summers (average 19 to 22 °C), but with the three or four months of summer aridity characteristic of the Mediterranean climate. Rainfall, with an average of 450-500 mm per year, is scarce, accentuating in the lower lands.
- Climatic factors
In Castile and León the cold extends almost continuously for much of the year, being a very characteristic element of its climate. The coldest periods of winter are associated with invasions of a continental polar front and strata of marine arctic air, rare is that they do not reach temperatures of the order of -5 ° to -10 °C. Likewise, in situations of anticyclone, in the interior of the region they cause persistent fogs, creating prolonged cold situations due to radiation processes. The intense "cold waves" of the winter central months are typical, showing a particular tendency to occur from the second fortnight of December to the first of February. During its course the most extreme minimum temperatures occur, whose values vary between -10 ° and -13 °C of its westernmost sector and -15 ° and -20 °C of the central plains and high moorlands. The lowest recorded records reach -22 °C of Burgos, -21.9 °C in Coca (Segovia), -20.4 °C in Ávila, -20 °C in Salamanca and -19.2 °C in Soria. The high altitude of the Meseta and its mountains accentuates the contrast between winter and summer temperatures, as well as day and night temperatures.
Due to the mountainous barriers that surround Castile and León, the maritime winds are stopped, thus stopping the precipitations. Due to that, the rains fall in a very unequal way in the Castilian and Leonese territory. While in the middle of the Douro basin there is an annual average of 450 mm, in the western regions of the mountains of León, the Cantabrian Mountains and the southern area of the Provinces of Ávila and Salamanca, rainfall reaches 1500 mm per year, with a maximum of 3400 mm per year in the western part of the Sierra de Gredos, in the Candelario-Bejar Massif, which makes this area the rainiest not only from Spain, but from the Iberian Peninsula.
- Climatic regions
Although Castile and León is framed within the continental climate, in its lands different climate domains are distinguished:
- According to the Köppen climate classification, a large part of the autonomous community falls within the Csb or Cfb variants, with the average of the warmest month below 22 °C but above 10 °C for five or more months.
- In several areas of the Meseta Central the climate is classified as Csa (warm Mediterranean), by exceeding 22 °C during the summer.
- In high elevations of the Cantabrian Mountains and mountain areas, there is a cold temperate climate with average temperatures under 3 °C in the coldest months and dry summers (Dsb or Dsc).
Castile and León has many protected natural sites. Actively collaborates with the European Union program Natura 2000. There are also some special protection area for birds or SPA. The solitary evergreen oaks and junipers (Juniperus sect. Sabina) that now draw the Castilian-Leonese plain are remnants of the forests that covered these same lands long ago. The agricultural holdings, due to the need of land for the cultivation of cereal and pastures for the immense herds of the Castilian Plateau, supposed the deforestation of these lands during the Middle Ages. The last Castilian and Leonese forests of junipers are found in the Provinces of León, Soria and Burgos. They are not very leafy forests that can form mixed communities with evergreen oaks, quercus fagineas or pines.
The Castilian-Leonese slope of the Cantabrian Mountains and the northern foothills of the Sistema Ibérico have a rich vegetation. The most humid and fresh slopes are populated by large beechs, whose extension areas can reach 1,500 m altitude. In turn, the European beech forms mixed forests with the yew, the sorbus, the whitebeam, the European holly and the birch. On the sunny slopes the sessile oak, the European oak, the ash, the lime tree, the sweet chestnut, the birch and the scots pine (a typical species from the north of the Province of León).
On the lower slopes of the Sistema Central extensive extensions of holm oaks survive. At a higher level, between 1000 and 1100 masl, chestnut trees abound. Above them predominates the pyrenean oak, very resistant to the cold, whose stratum extends until the 1700 masl. However, many oak groves have disappeared, cut down by man and replaced by pine trees of repopulation. The main native pine forests are found in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The subalpine zones located between 1700 and 2200 masl are home to thickets of cytisus oromediterraneus and junipers.
Much of the Province of Salamanca, especially in the districts of Campo Charro and Comarca de Ciudad Rodrigo, is occupied by dehesas, a type of forest similar to that of the African savannas, with evergreen oaks, cork oaks, quercus faginea and pyrenean oaks. The Province of Salamanca and that of Valladolid in the region of Rueda also has the only Castilian-Leonese olive groves, since these trees do not grow in any of the other regions of the community. Also noteworthy are the wine regions with very good quality wines such as those from Toro, those from Ribera del Duero (Valladolid, Burgos, Soria) those from Rueda, or those of Cigales.
Castile and León presents a great diversity of fauna. There are numerous species and some of them are of special interest because of their uniqueness, such as some endemic species, or because of their scarcity, such as the brown bear. There have been counted 418 species of vertebrates, which make up 63% of all vertebrates that live in Spain. Animals adapted to life in the high mountains, inhabitants of rocky places, inhabitants of fluvial courses, species of plains and forest residents form the mosaic of the Castilian-Leonese fauna.
The isolation to which the high summits are subject leads to the existence of abundant endemisms such as the Spanish ibex, which in Gredos constitutes a unique subspecies in the Peninsula. The European snow vole is a graceful small mammal of grayish brown color and long tail that lives in open spaces over the limit of the trees.
Small and large mammals such as squirrel, dormouse, talpids, European pine marten, Beech marten, fox, wildcat, wolf, quite abundant in some areas, boar, deer, roe deer and, only in the Cantabrian Mountains, some specimens of brown bear tend to frequent the deciduous forests, although some species also extend to coniferous forests and scrubland. The wildcat is slightly larger than a domestic cat, has a short and stout tail, with dark rings and striped fur. The Iberian lynx, however, lives almost exclusively in areas of Mediterranean scrubland.
Small reptiles such as the ladder snake, the coronella girondica and the aesculapian snake are also found in this environment. The smooth snake can be found from sea level to 1,800 m in height and in the community it tends to live on the heights. Further up, in the rocky areas of the subalpine floor at about 2,400 m altitude the Iberian rock lizard lives, one of the few reptiles adapted at this point.
In the mountain rivers live the otter and desman and in its waters the trout, anguillidae, the common minnows and some of the increasingly scarce autochthonous river crabs. The otter and the desman are two mammals with aquatic habits and very good swimmers. The otter feeds mainly on fish, while the desman seeks its food among the aquatic invertebrates that inhabit the riverbed. In lower sections of calmer waters swim barbel s and carps. Among the amphibians, the salamanders and as remarkable species: the Almanzor salamander (Salamandra salamandra almanzoris) and the Gredos toad (Bufo bufo gredosicola), which are two endemic subspecies to the Sistema Central.
Where the rivers are encased forming sickles and canyons, rock-dwelling birds such as griffon vulture, cinereous vulture, Egyptian vulture, golden eagle or peregrine falcon. The Egyptian vulture, a small vulture, is black and white with a yellow head. Downstream and on its banks between the lush vegetation form their colonies the black-crowned night heron and the grey heron and the goldcrest, the eurasian penduline tit, the eurasian hoopoe and the common kingfisher.
Among the birds that populate the open Mediterranean forests live two endangered species: the black stork and the Spanish imperial eagle. The black stork, much rarer than its congener the white stork, is of solitary habits and lives far from man. The Spanish imperial eagle nests in the trees and feeds mainly on rabbits, but also birds, reptiles and carrion.
In the coniferous forests live among others the short-toed treecreeper, the coal tit and the eurasian nuthatch, a bird of gray back and flanks reddish-orange that it nests in holes to which it narrows the entrance with mud. The western capercaillie is a very dark and large rooster that lives in forest environments, so it is very difficult to observe. Among the forest raptors are the accipiter, the eurasian sparrowhawk or the tawny owl, which frequently attack other smaller birds such as eurasian jay, european green woodpecker, fringilla, great spotted woodpecker and typical warbler.
The bustard frequents the open plains with rain-fed crops; It is large and has a grayish head and neck and a brown back. In the Castilian-Leonese wetlands during the winter many specimens of greylag goose, which breeds in northern Europe and visits the area in winter, are concentrated.
The naturalist Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente (1928 - 1980), natural from Poza de la Sal, stands out in the scientific study and its dissemination. He had a great research and made the leap to fame with the television series El hombre y la Tierra (TVE).
In the Montaña Palentina, in the municipality of San Cebrián de Mudá, a program of reintroduction of the European bison, animal that had been a thousand years without presence in the Iberian Peninsula, in order to avoid the extinction of the species.
With 2 528 417 inhabitants (January 1 of 2007), 1 251 082 men and 1 277 335 women, the population of Castile and León represents 5.69% nbsp; the population of Spain, although its vast territory covers almost a fifth of the total area of the country. In January 2005, the population of Castile and León was divided, by province, as follows: Province of Ávila, 168 638 inhabitants; Province of Burgos, 365 972; Province of León, 497 387; Province of Palencia, 173 281; Province of Salamanca, 351 326; Province of Segovia, 159 322; Province of Soria, 93 593; Province of Valladolid, 521 661; and Province of Zamora, 197 237.
The autonomous community has a very low population density, around 26.57 hab./km², a record that is more than three times lower than the national average, which indicates that it is a sparsely populated and demographically decline, especially in rural areas and even in small traditional cities. The demographic characteristics of the territory show an aging population, with a low birth rate and mortality that approaches the state average.
In the year 2000, the population of Castile and León totaled 2 479 118 people, that is, 6.12 % of the Spanish total. Its natural growth was one of the lowest in Spain: -7223 (-2.92 gross rate), as a result of the difference between the 25 080 deaths (10.12 of the gross rate) and the 17 857 births ( 7.20 gross rate). The number of inhabitants in 1999 was slightly higher (2 488 062), so that, despite the negative growth, the relative numerical stability is partly due to the increase in immigration: of 22 910 immigrants in 1999 it went to 24 340 in 2000. In that year, 59 children under the age of one year died.
The life expectancy is higher than the Spanish average: 83.24 for women and 78.30 for men, a superiority that in 1999 was repeated in the register, since women added 1 260 906 and the males 1 227 156. A study by the University of Porto (Portugal) cites Castile and León as one of the European regions where old people could expect to live longer.
In 1999, the age distribution gave the following results: 317 783 people from 0 to 14 years old; 913 618 between 15 and 39 years old; 576 183 from 40 to 59 years and 677 020 over 60 years.
The active population in 2001 was 1 005 200 and occupied 884 200 people, with which the unemployment was 12.1 % of the active population. For sectors of the employed population, 10.9% worked in agriculture, 20.6% in the industry, 12.7% in construction, and 63,1 % in the services sector.
Many of the people of the territory, who devoted themselves mostly to agriculture and livestock, gradually abandoned the area, heading towards urban areas, much more prosperous. This situation was further aggravated at the end of the Spanish Civil War, with a progressive rural emigration. During the 1960s and 1980s, large urban centers and provincial capitals suffered a slight demographic increase due to a thorough urbanization process, although, despite this, the Castilian-Leonese area continues to suffer serious depopulation. Only the Provinces of Ávila, Valladolid and Segovia are gaining population in recent years.
There is also an increase in the population of metropolitan areas around cities such as Valladolid, Burgos or León. Due to this phenomenon, cities such as Laguna de Duero or San Andrés del Rabanedo have seen their population increase rapidly in a few years. The metropolitan area of the city of Valladolid is, by far, the largest in the autonomous community, with more than 430 000 inhabitants.
However, in absolute terms the autonomous community is losing population and aging. In 2011, it was one of only four autonomous communities that lost population along with Asturias, Galicia and Aragon.
Present-day population distributionEdit
In 1960 the urban population meant 20.6% of the total population of Castile and León; in 1991 this percentage had risen to 42.3% and in 1998 it was approaching 43%, which indicates the progressive state of rural depopulation.
The phenomenon is also reflected in the number of municipalities with less than 100 inhabitants, which was multiplied by seven between 1960 and 1986. Outside the provincial capitals, cities such as Miranda de Ebro and Aranda de Duero in Province of Burgos, Ponferrada and San Andrés del Rabanedo in Province of León, Béjar in Province of Salamanca and Medina del Campo and Laguna de Duero in Province of Valladolid.
Of the 2248 municipalities of this community, the 2014 registry registered 1986 with less than 1000 inhabitants; 204 from 1001 to 5000; 35 from 5001 to 10 000; 8 of 10 001 to 20 000; 6 of 20 001 to 50 000; 5 of 50 001 to 100 000 and 4 municipalities with more than 100 000 inhabitants. The latter are: Valladolid (306 830 hab.), Burgos (177 776 hab.), Salamanca (148 042 hab.) And León (129 551 hab.) Among the least populated are, between others: Jaramillo Quemado (Burgos), with 4 inhabitants, Estepa de San Juan (Soria), with 7, Quiñonería (Soria), with 8 and Villanueva de Gormaz (Soria), with 9.
Below is a table showing the 20 municipalities with the largest population according to the municipal census of the INE of 2015:
The Catholicism is the predominant religion in the community. According to the barometer of the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS) conducted in September and October 2012, 79,4 % of Castilian-Leonese are considered Catholics, non-believers represent 13,1 %, the atheists the 4,0 % and the ones assigned to another confession the 1,8 %.
However, the percentage of practitioners is much lower. According to the same study, Catholics or another religion-believers who say they do not go to mass or other religious services almost never the 43,4 %, the 17,2 % say they go several times a year, while 24,5 % say they attend religious services almost every Sunday and public holidays, 11,5 % do so once a month, and 2,3 % say they go several times a week.
A large part of the "Route of the Castilian language" passes through the autonomous community, which indicates the importance traditionally attributed to this land in the origin and subsequent development of that language. In the province of Burgos begins its journey, due both to being the birthplace of the language according to Ramón Menéndez Pidal, and the famous Cantar de Mio Cid. Valladolid stands out for having been the residence of the author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, as well as authors such as José Zorrilla or Miguel Delibes and the thrust of its University. In Ávila the mystical writers St. Teresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross stand out. Finally, Salamanca and its University have given rise to great works for the Castilian language, such as Lazarillo de Tormes or La Celestina. Professors of its University as the writer Miguel de Unamuno also give the city great importance in the evolution of the language. To conclude, Campos de Castilla, by the Andalusian writer Antonio Machado, whose theme predominates the admiration for the Castilian lands, focusing mainly on Province of Soria.
Regarding the first testimonies of the Castilian language, in the Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos a very old beatus, the Silos Beatus is preserved. The Glosas Silenses come from that Monastery. Also in Castilian lands is the Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña, place where the Cardeña Beatus was written. In addition, the Statute of Autonomy of the community itself mentions the Cartularies of Valpuesta and the Nodicia de kesos as the most primitive traces of Castilian (Spanish) language. The Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua is responsible for carrying out various scientific works in this regard.
In addition to the Castilian language, in Castile and León two other languages or linguistic varieties are spoken in small areas of the community: the Leonese language, that "will be subject to specific protection [...] because of its particular value within the Community's linguistic heritage" and Galician language, which, according to the Statute of Autonomy, "will enjoy respect and protection in the places where it is usually used" (fundamentally, in the border areas with Galicia of the comarcas of El Bierzo and Sanabria). In the Salamancan comarca of El Rebollar, a modality of Extremaduran language is spoken (of the Asturian-Leonese branch) known as Palra d'El Rebollal. In Merindad de Sotoscueva (province of Burgos) a Castilian is spoken with some dialectal features of the Asturian-Leonese.
Administration and politicsEdit
The community is formed from nine provinces: Province of Ávila, Province of Burgos, Province of León, Province of Palencia, Province of Salamanca, Province of Segovia, Province of Soria, Province of Valladolid and Province of Zamora. The provincial capitals fall in the homonymous cities to their corresponding provinces.
The concurrence of some peculiar geographic, social, historical and economic characteristics in the Leonese region of the El Bierzo is recognized, being created in 1991 the homonymous region, the only Castilian-Leonese recognized by law, administered by a Comarcal Council.
|Province||Capital||Area (km2)||Population (2011)||Municipalities|
|Province of Ávila||Ávila||8 050.15||171 647||248|
|Province of Burgos||Burgos||14 291.81||372 538||371|
|Province of León||León||15 580.83||493 312||211|
|Province of Palencia||Palencia||8 052.51||170 513||191|
|Province of Salamanca||Salamanca||12 349.95||350 018||362|
|Province of Segovia||Segovia||6 922.75||163 171||209|
|Province of Soria||Soria||10 306.42||94 610||183|
|Province of Valladolid||Valladolid||8 110.49||532 765||225|
|Province of Zamora||Zamora||10 561.26||191 613||248|
Provision of servicesEdit
The new territorial arrangement approved by Law 7/2013, on Planning, Services and Government of the Territory of the Community of Castile and León, establishes that the geographical spaces delimited for the provision of services are the basic unit of territorial planning and services (UBOST) -urban or rural- and functional areas -stable or strategic-. Also, the new ordination determines that the mancommunities of common interest are entities for the fulfillment of their specific purposes, which may be declared when their territorial scope substantially agrees with an UBOST or several contiguous ones.
This ordination is still in the implementation phase, and in September 2015 the draft map dividing the autonomous community was presented in 147 rural UBOST and 15 urban UBOST.
The Statute of Autonomy does not explicitly establish one capital. Initially the Cortes were installed provisionally in Burgos; the possibility of fixing a capital in Tordesillas was also discussed, although the final decision was to install the Cortes provisionally in the castle of Fuensaldaña.
Finally, through the autonomous laws 13/1987 and 14/1987, approved simultaneously, it was decided respectively to establish that the Junta de Castilla y León -the government of the Community-, its President, and the Cortes -the legislative body- had its headquarters in the city of Valladolid; and that the Upper Court of Justice of Castile and León had its headquarters in Burgos. The main autonomous institutions are the following:
- Junta de Castilla y León (Regional Government of Castile and León), with headquarters in Valladolid, is the regional executive, formed by the President of the Regional Government, the vice presidents and the councilors
- Cortes de Castilla y León (Parliament of Castile and León), based in Valladolid
- Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Castilla y León (Upper Court of Justice of Castile and León), based in Burgos
- Consejo Consultivo de Castilla y León (Advisory Council of Castile and León), based in Zamora
- Consejo de Cuentas de Castilla y León (Council of Accounts of Castile and León), with headquarters in Palencia
- Procurador del Común (Ombudsman), based in León
- Consejo Económico y Social de Castilla y León (Economic and Social Council of Castile and León), based in Valladolid
In 2001 the work force was 1,005,200 with 884,200 employed, meaning 12.1 percent of the work force were out of work. 10.9 percent of the employed population work in agriculture, 20.6 percent in industry, 12.7 percent in construction, and 63.1 percent in the service sector.
Some 92,600 people work in the primary sector in Castile and León, about 10 percent of employment in the region. 2001 data showed 5 percent unemployment in this sector.
Broken down by provinces, approximately 9,400 are employed in this sector in Ávila, 8,100 each in Burgos and Palencia, 18,300 in León, 9,200 in Salamanca, 6,400 in Segovia, 5,600 in Soria, 8,300 in Valladolid, and 14,600 in Zamora. The region's agricultural and farming sector represent 7.6% of the total in Spain.
As of 2000, industry 18 %of the work force were engaged in industry, generating 25 percent of regional GDP. The principal industrial centres are the cities of Valladolid (21,054 workers in industry), Burgos (20,217), Aranda de Duero (4,872), León (4,521) and Ponferrada (4,270).
Tourism highlights of the region include:
Castilla y León has an extensive rail network, including the principal lines from Madrid to Cantabria and Galicia. The line from Paris to Lisbon crosses the region, reaching the Portuguese frontier at Fuentes de Oñoro in Salamanca. Astorga, Burgos, León, Miranda de Ebro, Palencia, Ponferrada, Medina del Campo and Valladolid are all important railway junctions.
Railways operate in several different gauges: Iberian gauge (1,668 mm (5 ft 5 21⁄32 in)), UIC gauge (1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)) and Narrow gauge (1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3⁄8 in)). Except for some narrow-gauge lines, trains are operated by RENFE on lines maintained by the Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF); both of these are national, state-owned companies.
Iberian gauge lines (ADIF/RENFE)Edit
- Madrid - Irun
- Madrid - Burgos
- Castejón de Ebro - Bilbao
- Venta de Baños - A Coruña
- Palencia - Santander
- León - Gijón
- Medina del Campo - Santiago de Compostela
- Medina del Campo - Fuentes de Oñoro
- Torralba - Soria
- Villalba - Segovia
- León - Bilbao: Ferrocarril de La Robla, Europe's longest narrow-gauge line, operated by FEVE
- Cercedilla - Cotos: operated by RENFE
- Ponferrada - Villablino: operated by the Ferrocarril MSP under the Junta of Castile and León
The region is also crossed by two major ancient routes:
- The Way of St. James, mentioned above as a World Heritage Site, now a hiking trail and a motorway, from east to west.
- The Roman Via de la Plata ("Silver Way"), mentioned above in the context of mining, now a main road through the west of the region.
The road network is regulated by the Ley de carreteras 10/2008 de Castilla y León (Highway Law 10/2008 of Castile and León). This law allows for the possibility of roads financed by the private sector through concessions, as well as the public construction of roads that has long prevailed.
The origin of Spanish language is in Las Merindades. Cartularios de Valpuesta are one of the first recorded words in castillian language. In 1492, in Salamanca, the first grammar of Spanish language was published by Antonio de Nebrija.
Juan del Encina is the most important renacentist writer.
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