Province of León

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León (UK: /lˈɒn/, US: /lˈn/, Spanish: [leˈon]; Leonese: Llión [ʎiˈoŋ]; Galician: [leˈoŋ]) is a province of northwestern Spain in the northern part of the Region of León and in the northwestern part of the autonomous community of Castile and León.

Main sights from the province of León. From left to right: Pantheon of San Isidoro, Ponferrada castle, Las Médulas, Astorga, Castrillo de los Polvazares, Barrios de Luna Reservoir.
Main sights from the province of León. From left to right: Pantheon of San Isidoro, Ponferrada castle, Las Médulas, Astorga, Castrillo de los Polvazares, Barrios de Luna Reservoir.
Map of Spain with León highlighted
Map of Spain with León highlighted
Coordinates: 42°40′N 6°00′W / 42.667°N 6.000°W / 42.667; -6.000
Autonomous communityCastilla y León
 • Total15,581 km2 (6,016 sq mi)
 • RankRanked 7th
 3.08% of Spain
 • Total463,746
 • RankRanked 30th
 • Density30/km2 (77/sq mi)
 1.08% of Spain
Spanish: Leonés/Leonesa

About one quarter of its population of 463,746 (2018) lives in the capital, León. The climate is dry, cold in winter and hot in summer. This creates the perfect environment for wine and all types of cold meats and sausages like the leonese "Morcilla" and the "Cecina".

There are two famous Roman Catholic cathedrals in the province, the main one in León and another in Astorga. The province shares the Picos de Europa National Park (in the Picos de Europa mountain range) with Cantabria and Asturias. It has 211 municipalities.



The province of León was established in 1833 with the new Spanish administrative organisation of regions and provinces to replace former kingdoms. The greater Leonese Region was composed of the provinces of León, Salamanca and Zamora.

The Kingdom of León was founded in 910 A.D. when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the Iberian peninsula shifted their main seat from Oviedo to the city of León. The eastern, inland part of the kingdom was joined dynastically to the Kingdom of Castile, first in 1037–1065, then in 1077–1109 and again in 1126–1157, 1230–1296 and from 1301 onward (see: historic union of the Kingdoms of Castile and León). The western and Atlantic provinces became the Kingdom of Portugal in 1139.

The independently administered Kingdom of León, situated in the northwestern region of the Iberian Peninsula, retained the status of a kingdom until 1833, although dynastic union had brought it into the Crown of Castile. The Kingdom was composed of Adelantamientos Mayores, where the Leonese Adelantamientos consisted of the territories between the Picos de Europa and the Duero River. The political and military chiefs of these territories were referred to as Adelantados; those chiefs began to convene as an assembly in the early 12th century, while the crown appointed the Merinos as minor and appellate judges.[1]

According to UNESCO, in 1188 the Kingdom of León developed the first Parliament in Europe, the Cortes de León, which included the elected representatives of towns and cities.[2] In 1202, that Parliament approved economic legislation to regulate trade and guilds.[3]



The historical population is given in the following chart:



The Provincial Government of León signed accords with language associations for promoting the Leonese language.[citation needed] Leonese is taught in the city of León, Mansilla de las Mulas, La Bañeza, Valencia de Don Juan or Ponferrada for adult people, and in sixteen schools of León.[citation needed] The City Council of León writes some of its announcements in Leonese in order to promote the language.[citation needed]

In the western part of the El Bierzo, the westernmost region of the province, Galician language is spoken and taught at schools.[citation needed]


Peñalba de Santiago, a medieval village in El Bierzo.

As for the temperatures, in general it is a cold climate due to the altitude and the abundance of frost (which persist from November to May), being more intense in the mountainous areas reaching -18 °C. Vega de Liordes, an enclave in the León sector of Picos de Europa belonging to the municipality of Posada de Valdeón registered −35.8 °C (−32.4 °F) on January 7, 2021.[4][5]




  • Cecina de León: from beef. In the Leonese language, cecina means "meat that has been salted and dried by means of air, sun or smoke". Cecina de León is made of the hind legs of beef, salted, smoked and air-dried in the province of León, and has PGI status.
  • Botillo: from pig. Traditionally made in the western Leonese regions, botiellu in Leonese or botelo in Galician, is a dish of meat-stuffed pork intestine. It is a culinary specialty of the county of El Bierzo and also of the region of Trás-os-Montes in Portugal. This type of embutido is a meat product made from different pieces left over from the butchering of a pig, including the ribs, tail, and bones with a little meat left on them. These are chopped; seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and other spices; stuffed in the cecum of the pig; and partly cured via smoking. It can also include the pig's tongue, shoulder blade, jaw, and backbone, but never exceeding 20% of the total volume. It is normally consumed cooked, covered with a sheet. In some parts of the province, specially close to Orbigo river it's also known as Yosco. It has PGI status.


  • Queso de Valdeón (Valdeón cheese): a blue cheese produced in Posada de Valdeon, traditionally wrapped in chestnut or sycamore maple leaves before being sent to market.


  • Bierzo: in the west of the province of León and covers about 3,000 km2. The area consists of numerous small valleys in the mountainous part (Alto Bierzo) and of a wide, flat plain (Bajo Bierzo). The denominación de origen covers 23 municipalities.
  • Tierra de León: in the southeast of the province of León.






See also


Notes and references

  1. ^ Jular Pérez-Alfaro, Cristina (1990). Los Adelantados y Merinos Mayores de León (siglos XIII-XV). León, Spain: Universidad de León. ISBN 84-7719-225-1.
  2. ^ "The Decreta of León of 1188 - The oldest documentary manifestation of the European parliamentary system | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". Retrieved 2023-07-07.
  3. ^ Keane, John (2016-01-31). "91. The Life and Death of Democracy". Democracy. New York Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press. doi:10.7312/blau17412-110. ISBN 9780231539500.
  4. ^ "Vega de Liordes (León) bate este jueves el récord histórico de temperatura mínima en España con -35,8 grados" [Vega de Liordes (León) beats this Thursday the historical record for the minimum temperature in Spain with -35.8 degrees] (in Spanish). 7 January 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Spain records coldest ever temperature at minus 35.8 degrees Celsius". Retrieved 12 January 2021.