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|Extremadura (in Spanish)|
|Anthem: Himno de Extremadura|
Location of Extremadura within Spain
|Provinces||Cáceres, and Badajoz|
|• Type||Devolved government in a constitutional monarchy|
|• Body||Gobierno de Extremadura|
|• President||Guillermo Fernández Vara (PSOE)|
|• Total||41,634 km2 (16,075 sq mi)|
|• Density||26/km2 (68/sq mi)|
extremeño (m), extremeña
|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 264)|
Extremadura (//; Spanish: [e(ɣ)stɾemaˈðuɾa]; Extremaduran: Estremaúra [eʰtːɾemaˈuɾa]; Fala: Extremaúra;) is an autonomous community of western Iberian Peninsula whose capital city is Mérida, recognised by the State of Autonomy of Extremadura. It is made up of the two largest provinces of Spain: Cáceres and Badajoz. It is bordered by the provinces of Salamanca and Ávila (Castile and León) to the north; by provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real (Castile–La Mancha) to the east, and by the provinces of Huelva, Seville, and Córdoba (Andalusia) to the south; and by Portugal to the west. Its official language is Spanish.
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 government of Extremadura is called Gobierno de Extremadura.
The Day of Extremadura is celebrated on 8 September. It coincides with the Catholic festivity of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
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 Central Plateau).
In the north is the Sistema Central with the highest point in Extremadura, 2,401 m (7,877 ft) high Calvitero. The main subranges of the Sistema Central in Extremadura are the Sierra de Gata and Sierra de Béjar.
In the centre is the Sierra de las Villuercas, which reaches an altitude of 1,603 m (5,259 ft) on the Pico de las Villuercas. Other notable ranges are Sierra de Montánchez and the Sierra de San Pedro, which form part of the greater Montes de Toledo system.
There are four different hydrographic basins:
It is characterized by its very hot and dry summers, with great droughts, and its mild winters due to the oceanic influence from its proximity to the Atlantic coast of Portugal.
The yearly temperature fluctuates between an average minimum of 4 °C (39 °F) and an average maximum of 33 °C (91 °F). In the north of Extremadura, the average temperatures are lower than those in the south, with temperatures gradually rising south towards the Sierra Morena, where they drop because of the altitude.
During the summer, the average temperature in July is greater than 26 °C (79 °F), at times reaching 40 °C (104 °F).
The winters are mild, with the lowest temperatures being registered in the mountainous regions, with an average temperature of 7.5 °C (45 °F).
The average snowfall is 40 cm (16 in), mainly occurring in January and February on high ground.
|Most populous cities|
|7||Villanueva de la Serena||26,076|
|8||Navalmoral de la Mata||17,386|
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.
Within the region of Extremadura, there live 29,068 foreign citizens, according to the INE census of January 1, 2007, of which 16,647 reside in the province of Badajoz and 12,421 in the province of Cáceres.
The largest immigrant community is Moroccan with 9,218 people, followed by Romanians with 4,324. There are 98 Icelanders and 6 Liechtensteiners. Brazilians account for 1,676 and Colombians make up 1,409. Of immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa, the largest community is Senegalese with 88 people. Of those from Asia, the Chinese make up the largest group with 631 people. There are also 3,492 Portuguese people living within the region.
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 language that is officially recognized is Spanish (whose local dialects are collectively called Castúo), but other languages are also spoken:
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.
During the Andalusian period as of 711, present-day Extremadura was on the north-western marches—extremadura is from Latin words meaning literally "outermost hard", the outermost secure border (the march) of an occupied territory—with Mérida being its head city. It was part of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, but after its definite collapse in 1031 the Caliphate fragmented into small regional kingdoms, and the lands of Extremadura were included in the Taifa of Badajoz on two taifa periods. The kingdom in turn broke up twice under Almoravid and Almohad push (1094 and 1151). After the Almohad disaster in Navas de Tolosa (1212), Extremadura fell to the troops led by Alfonso IX of León in c.1230.
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. The two (to date) Spanish astronauts, Miguel López-Alegría and Pedro Duque, also have family connections 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).
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).
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.
Extremadura has produced many musicians, including: 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).
TV personalities include: Isabel Gemio, Maruchi Leon, Agustín Bravo, and Berta Collado.
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