Andalusia

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Andalusia (English pronunciation: /ændəˈluːʒə/; Spanish: Andalucía, Spanish pronunciation: [andaluˈθi.a]; local pronunciation: [andaluˈsi.a]) is an autonomous community of Spain and recognized as a historical nationality.[4] It is the most populous (8,285,692 inhabitants in 2009)[5] and the second largest, in terms of land area, of the seventeen autonomous communities of the Kingdom of Spain. Its capital and largest city is Seville (Spanish: Sevilla). The region is divided into eight provinces: Huelva, Seville, Cádiz, Córdoba, Málaga, Jaén, Granada and Almería.

Andalusia is in the south of the Iberian peninsula, immediately south of the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha; west of the autonomous community of Murcia and the Mediterranean Sea; east of Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean; and north of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Spain from Morocco, and the Atlantic Ocean. The small British overseas territory of Gibraltar shares a three-quarter-mile land border with the Andalusian province of Cádiz at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar.

Andalusia has three major geographic subregions. In the north, the mountainous Sierra Morena separates Andalusia from the plains of Extremadura and Castile-La Mancha on Spain's Meseta Central. South of that, one can distinguish Upper Andalusia, generally the Baetic Cordillera, from Lower Andalusia with its Baetic Depression of the valley of the Guadalquivir.

The name Andalusia traces back to the Arabic language Al-Andalus. Besides Muslim or "Moorish" influences, the region's history and culture have been influenced by the earlier Iberians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Roman Empire, Vandals, Visigoths, all of whom preceded the Muslims, as well as the Castilian and other Christian North Iberian nationalities who conquered and repopulated the area in the latter phases of the Reconquista. There was also a relatively large Sephardic Jewish presence.

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