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Extremadura (// EK-strim-ə-DEWR-ə, Spanish: [e(k)stɾemaˈðuɾa]; Extremaduran: Estremaúra; Portuguese: Estremadura; Fala: Extremaúra) is an autonomous community of Spain. Its capital city is Mérida. Located in the central-western part of the Iberian Peninsula, it is made up of the two largest provinces of Spain: Cáceres and Badajoz. Extremadura is bordered by Portugal to the west and by the autonomous communities of Castile and León (north), Castilla–La Mancha (east) and Andalusia (south). Its official language is Spanish.
|Anthem: Himno de Extremadura |
"Anthem of Extremadura"
Location of Extremadura within Spain
|Provinces||Cáceres, and Badajoz|
|• Type||Devolved government in a constitutional monarchy|
|• Body||Junta de Extremadura|
|• President||Guillermo Fernández Vara (PSOE)|
|• Total||41,634 km2 (16,075 sq mi)|
|• Density||26/km2 (68/sq mi)|
extremeño (m), extremeña (f)
|ISO 3166 code||ES-EX|
|Statute of Autonomy||February 26, 1983|
|Parliament||Assembly of Extremadura|
|Congress||10 deputies (out of 350)|
|Senate||10 senators (out of 265)|
very high · 17th
It is an important area for wildlife, particularly with the major reserve at Monfragüe, which was designated a National Park in 2007, and the International Tagus River Natural Park (Parque Natural Tajo Internacional). The regional executive body, led by the President of Extremadura, is called Junta de Extremadura.
The region is at the centre of the plans for energy transition and decarbonisation in Spain, thanks to the installation of a huge amount of megawatts of solar power and the granting of lithium mining licenses. However, such prospects have sparked criticism and concern regarding how to avoid a "third energy colonisation" after those of the construction of reservoirs for hydroelectric use and the building of nuclear power plants.
Extremadura is contained between 37° 57′ and 40° 85′ N latitude, and 4° 39′ and 7° 33′ W longitude.
The area of Extremadura is 41,633 km2 (16,075 sq mi), making it the fifth largest of the Spanish autonomous communities. It is located in the Southern Plateau (a subdivision of the Spanish Central Plateau).
The region is crossed from West to East by two large rivers, the Tagus and the Guadiana, lining up three basic areas from North to South by combining mountain ranges and rivers: the territory spanning from the Sistema Central to the Tagus, the so-called Mesopotamia extremeña in between the Tagus and the Guadiana and the territory from the Guadiana to Sierra Morena. Besides the catchment basins of the Tagus and the Guadiana covering most of the territory by far, fringe areas of the region are drained by the Douro (north) and the Guadalquivir (south). Notable Tagus tributaries include the Tiétar and the Alagón (rightbank) and the Almonte, Ibor, Salor and the Sever (leftbank). Regarding the Guadiana, important leftbank tributaries include Guadarranque and Ruecas and rightbank tributaries include the Zújar River and the Matachel.
The highest point in Extremadura, the 2,401 m (7,877 ft) high Calvitero (or El Torreón), is located in the Sistema Central, in the northeastern end of the region, bordering with Castile and León. The main subranges of the Sistema Central in Extremadura are the Sierra de Gata and Sierra de Béjar.
The modest heights of Sierra de las Villuercas (topping at 1,603 m (5,259 ft) on the Pico de las Villuercas) rise in the Mesopotamia extremeña. Other notable ranges include the Sierra de Montánchez and the Sierra de San Pedro, part of the larger Montes de Toledo system.
The climate of Extremadura is hot-summer Mediterranean (Csa in the Köppen climate classification). Extremadura generally presents average annual temperatures somewhat warmer than most of the Iberian Peninsula, featuring nonetheless a north–south gradient. Annual thermal amplitude generally ranges from 16 to 19ºC. Average annual precipitation stands at around 600 mm. Parts of the Sistema Central presents more than 1,500 mm while it barely rains 400 mm in parts of the province of Badajoz. Summers are very hot and dry, with the rain concentrated in the cold months instead, leading to a high degree of water stress during the summer months.
Lusitania, an ancient Roman province approximately including current day Portugal (except for the northern area today known as Norte Region) and a central western portion of the current day Spain, covered in those times today's Autonomous Community of Extremadura. Mérida (now capital of Extremadura) became the capital of the Roman province of Lusitania, and one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire.
Just like the bulk of the Iberian Peninsula, the territory was conquered by the Umayyads in the early 8th century. As part of the Emirate and later Caliphate of Córdoba, it largely constituted a territorial subdivision (cora) of the former polities centered around Mérida. Following the collapse of the Caliphate in the early 11th century during the so-called Fitna of al-Andalus and its ensuing fragmentation into ephemeral statelets (taifas), the bulk of the territory of current day Extremadura became part of the (First) Taifa of Badajoz (Baṭalyaws), centered around the namesake city and founded by Sapur, a Ṣaqāliba previously freed by Al-Hakam II.
Conversely, the kingdoms of León, Castile and Portugal (most notably the first one) made advances in the 11th and 12th centuries across the territory (with for example the successive Leonese conquests of Coria in 1079 and 1142, the Portuguese attempts at expanding across the Guadiana basin in the second half of the 12th century, or the Castilian founding of Plasencia in 1186) not free from setbacks either caused by the Almoravid and Almohad impetus, which also entailed the demise of the first and second taifa of Badajoz in 1094 and 1150, respectively. In the Almohad case, their 1174 offensive removed Leonese control from every fortress south of the Tagus (including Cáceres). After the Almohad disaster at the 1212 Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, the remaining part of current-day Extremadura under Muslim control fell to the troops led by Alfonso IX of León—Alcántara (1214), Cáceres (1227–1229), Mérida (1230), Badajoz (1230)— and later to the military orders of Santiago and Alcántara—Trujillo (1232), Medellín (1234)—on behalf of Ferdinand III of Castile. The last fortresses in the Lower Extremadura were conquered by Christians by 1248.
Extremadura, which was an impoverished region of Spain whose difficult conditions pushed many of its ambitious young men to seek their fortunes overseas, was the source of many of the initial Spanish conquerors (conquistadores) and settlers in America. Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Gonzalo Pizarro, Juan Pizarro, Hernando Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, Andres Tapia, Pedro de Alvarado, Pedro de Valdivia, Inés Suárez, Alonso de Sotomayor, Francisco de Orellana, Pedro Gómez Duran y Chaves, and Vasco Núñez de Balboa and many towns and cities in North and South America carry names from their homeland. Examples include Mérida is the name of the administrative capital of Extremadura, and also of important cities in Mexico and Venezuela; Medellín is now a little town in Extremadura, but also the name of the second largest city in Colombia; Albuquerque is the largest city in New Mexico and its name is due to a transcription mistake of Alburquerque, another town in Extremadura. King Ferdinand II of Aragon died in the village of Madrigalejo, Cáceres, in 1516. Pedro de Valdivia founded numerous cities in Chile with names from small villages in Extremadura, such as Valdivia and La Serena. The capital Santiago de Chile was founded as "Santiago de Nueva Extremadura" (Santiago of New Extremadura).
Politics and governmentEdit
Autonomous institutions of governmentEdit
The Statute of Autonomy of Extremadura (enacted in 1983) is the fundamental organic law regulating the regional government, and it establishes the institutions through which the autonomous community exerts its powers:
- Assembly of Extremadura. The following are some of the functions conferred to the legislature: exerting legislative power in the autonomous community, the promotion and control of the Junta of Extremadura, the passing of the regional budget, the designation of senators correspondent to the autonomous community or the control of the media dependent on the regional government. Its members (currently 65) are directly elected through the means of proportional representation and close party lists with an electoral threshold of 5% (the most benign between the total voting percentage and the voting percentage in a particular electoral district) in two electoral districts: Badajoz and Cáceres, corresponding to the two provinces of the region.
- Junta of Extremadura. It is the collegiate body comprised by the regional president, the vice-president and the ministers (consejeros) exerting the executive and administrative functions of the regional government.
- President of the Junta of Extremadura. The officeholder is charged with directing and coordinating the action of the Junta of Extremadura, being the highest representative of Extremadura while also holding the ordinary representation of the State in the region. The regional president is elected by the legislature from among its members, needing to command an absolute majority of votes in the first round of investiture or a simple majority of positive votes in successive rounds. The president personally selects the ministers of the Junta.
The government body for each of the provinces is the deputation (diputación): the Provincial Deputation of Badajoz and the Provincial Deputation of Cáceres. The members of the plenary of the deputation are indirectly elected from among the municipal councillors based on the results of the municipal elections. In turn, the plenary elects the president of the deputation from among its members.
The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the autonomous community was 20.0 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 1.7% of Spanish economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 20,100 euros or 67% of the EU27 average in the same year. Extremadura was the community with the second lowest GDP per capita in Spain before Melilla.
The unemployment rate stood at 26.2% in 2017 and was one of the highest in the European Union.
Wild Black Iberian pigs roam in the area and consume acorns from oak groves. These pigs are caught and used for the cured ham dish jamón ibérico. The higher the percentage of acorns eaten by the pigs, the more valuable the ham. For example, jamón ibérico from pigs whose diet consists of 90% acorns or more can be sold for more than twice as much as ham whose pigs ate on average less than 70% acorns. In the US, jamón ibérico directly from Extremadura, with bone, was illegal until around 2005. At that time, enough US restaurants were in demand for the delicacy that Spain decided to export it as boneless, which the US Department of Agriculture's health codes would approve (and continue to do).
As of January 1, 2012, the population of Extremadura is 1,109,367 inhabitants, representing 2.36% of the Spanish population (46,745,807).
The population density is very low—25/km2 (65/sq mi)—compared to Spain as a whole.
The most populous province is that of Badajoz, with a population of 691,715 and a population density of 31.78/km2 (82.3/sq mi). With an area of 21,766 km2 (8,404 sq mi), it is the largest province in Spain. 413,766 people live in the province of Cáceres at a density of 20.83/km2 (53.9/sq mi), having an area of 19,868 km2 (7,671 sq mi), making it the largest province in Spain after Badajoz.
As of 2020, the largest foreign community is that of Romanian nationals with 8,173 people, followed by Moroccans with 7,400. Brazilians account for 3,188, Chinese for 1,655 and Colombians make up 1,409. There are also 3,188 Portuguese people living within the region. The region had a foreign population of 34,667.
The Extremaduran population, according to the 1591 census of the provinces of the Kingdom of Castile, was around 540,000 people, making up 8% of the total population of Spain. No other census was performed until 1717, when 326,358 people were counted as living in Extremadura.
From this period, the population grew steadily until the 1960s (1,379,072 people in 1960). After 1960, emigration to more prosperous regions of Spain and Europe drained the population.
The only official language is Spanish (whose local dialects are collectively called Castúo), but other languages and dialects are also spoken. The Fala, a Galician-Portuguese language, is a specially protected language and is spoken in the valley of Jálama. The Extremaduran language, the collective name for a group of vernacular dialects related to Leonese is endangered. Local variants of Portuguese are native to Cedillo and Herrera de Alcántara. Portuguese has also been accounted to be spoken as well by some people (mainly those born before the 1940s) in Olivenza.
Many legendary Spanish conquistadors hailed from Extremadura, including Vasco Núñez de Balboa, the first European to lead an expedition to reach the Pacific Ocean from America; Hernando de Soto the first European to lead an expedition to the territory of the modern-day United States; Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizarro, who conquered the Aztec and Inca empires respectively; Francisco de Orellana, who explored the length of the Amazon; Pedro de Valdivia, the first governor of Chile; and Sebastián Vizcaíno, who was a Spanish soldier, entrepreneur in the Philippines, explorer of the Californias, and diplomat in Japan.
- José de Carvajal y Lancáster (First Secretary of State under Ferdinand VI between 1746 and 1754)
- Manuel Godoy (twice First Secretary of State under Charles IV, between 1782 and 1798, and between 1801 and 1808)
Writers and poetsEdit
- Gregorio López de Tovar (writer, 1496)
- Benito Arias Montano (philosopher and writer, 1527)
- José de Espronceda (romantic poet, 1808)
- Juan Donoso Cortés (writer, 1809)
- Carolina Coronado (romantic poet, 1821)
- José María Gabriel y Galán (poet, 1870)
- Mario Roso de Luna (philosopher, astronomer and writer, 1874)
- Luis Chamizo Trigueros (poet, 1894)
- Jesús Delgado Valhondo (poet, 1909)
- Dulce Chacón (poet, 1954)
- Elisa Herrero Uceda (writer, 1957)
- Miguel Herrero Uceda (writer, 1964)
- Jorge Camacho (poet, 1966)
- José Antonio Pavón Jiménez (botanist known for researching the flora of Peru and Chile, 1754)
- Mario Roso de Luna (philosopher, astronomer and writer, 1874)
- Francisco Elías de Tejada y Spínola (philosopher, law & politics theorist)
- Emilio Santos Corchero (theoretical physicist)
- José Calderón (basketball player, 2006 FIBA World Championship winner)
- Manuel Piñero (golfer, member of the successful European 1985 Ryder Cup team)
- Enrique Tornero Hernández (swimmer, gold medalist at the 1996 Summer Paralympics)
- Adelardo (14 appearances for Spain between 1962 and 1970)
- Rafael Gordillo (75 appearances for Spain between 1978 and 1988)
- Roberto Marina (1 appearance for Spain in 1985)
- Manolo (28 appearances for Spain between 1988 and 1992)
- Ernesto Valverde (1 appearance for Spain in 1990, manager of FC Barcelona between 2017 and 2020)
- Ángel Cuéllar (2 appearances for Spain between 1994 and 1995)
- Fernando Morientes (47 appearances for Spain between 1998 and 2007, three-time UEFA Champions League winner)
- Ito (1 appearance for Spain in 1998)
- César Sánchez (1 appearance for Spain in 2000, UEFA Champions League winner)
- Yannel Correa (3 appearances for Uruguay in 2019)
Musicians and TVEdit
Extremadura has produced many musicians, including: Cristóbal Oudrid (pianist and composer), Rosa Morena (singer), Soraya Arnelas (singer), Luis Pastor (singer), Roberto Iniesta (singer of rock band Extremoduro), Pablo Guerrero, Bebe (singer), Al Carmona (conductor), Esteban Sánchez (pianist), Gecko Turner (singer).
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