Portugal, Spain, and the microstate of Andorra comprise the countries on the Iberian Peninsula, along with Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory. Iberians and Celts initially inhabited the peninsula, which was colonized by Carthage with the Greeks and Phoenicians. The Romans then began to conquer the region in 211 BC and ruled for 600 years introducing Latin to its people.
In the 4th century, waves of Germanic tribes invaded. The Visigoth Kingdom of Hispania ruled until the 8th century when a Muslim army conquered Christian Hispania. During the next 700 years of Moorish occupation, Al-Andalus, as they called the peninsula, was a center for culture and learning, especially in the Caliphate of Córdoba. But by the 15th century, the Christian rulers of the Kingdoms of Portugal, Granada, and Navarra, and the Crowns of Aragon and Castille had completely pushed out the Moors.
Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash
Established in 1143 as an independent kingdom separate from Spain, Portugal has two official languages: mainly Portuguese with Mirandese recognized as a sparsely spoken regional language in the northeastern Terra de Miranda. Along the Atlantic Ocean of mainland Portugal are Lisbon, the capital city at the mouth of the Tagus River, and Porto, a principal city at the mouth of the Douro River in the North. Portugal’s territory also comprises two autonomous archipelagos: Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean.
See the official Portugal Tourism pages.
Plaça dels Furs, Valencia
Photo by Ali Giaudrone
Established in 1479 after 700 years of Moorish Muslim occupation, Spain is the largest country on the Iberian Peninsula and very diverse with fifteen mainland regions, two island regions, two African enclaves, and six official languages: Castilian Spanish is universally spoken with five regional languages of Catalan, Galician, Occitan, Basque, and Aragonese. Madrid is the capital city with other major cities including Barcelona in Catalonia and Valencia in Valenciana on the Mediterranean Sea, Sevilla in Andalucia in the South, Zaragoza in Aragon, and Bilboa in the Basque Region.
See the official Spain Tourism pages.
Photo by Jossuha Théophile on Unsplash
High the Pyrennes Mountains straddled between Spain’s Catalonia and France‘s Occitanie, Andorra is a sovereign microstate formed in 1278 and headed by two co-princes: the Bishop of Urgell (whose seat is in La Seu d’Urgell) of Catalonia, Spain and the President of France. Andorra la Vella is the capital city; Catalan and French are the official languages.
See the official Andorra Tourism pages.
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