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Cantabria (Spanish pronunciation: [kanˈtaβɾja]) is a Spanish historical region[1] and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community (province of Biscay), on the south by Castile and León (provinces of León, Palencia and Burgos), on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.

Cantabria belongs to the Green Spain, the name given to the strip of land between the Cantabrian Sea and the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain. It is called green because it has particularly lush vegetation, due to a wet and moderate oceanic climate. Its climate is strongly influenced by Atlantic Ocean winds that get trapped by the mountains; the average precipitation is about 1,200 mm (47 inches).

Cantabria is the richest region in the world in archaeological sites from the Upper Paleolithic period, although the first signs of human occupation date from Lower Paleolithic. The most significant cave painting site is the cave of Altamira, dated from about 16,000 to 9000 BC and declared, with nine other Cantabrian caves, World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

The modern Province of Cantabria was constituted on 28 July 1778. The Organic Law of the Autonomy Statute of Cantabria was approved on 30 December 1981, acquiring in that way fields, bodies and institutions of self government.


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