Iberian Peninsula

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Iberian Peninsula, c.230,400 sq mi (596,740 sq km), SW Europe, separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees. Comprising Spain and Portugal, it is washed on the N and W by the Atlantic Ocean and on the S and E by the Mediterranean Sea; the Strait of Gibraltar separates it from Africa. The Iberian Peninsula is dominated by the Meseta (central plateau), a great uplifted fault block (average elevation 2,000 ft/610 m) ringed and crossed by mountain ranges. It covers about two thirds of the peninsula. Coastal lowlands, the site of the major industrial cities, surround the primarily agrarian-oriented Meseta. Climatically, the Iberian Peninsula has hot summers, cold winters, and limited precipitation. Five major rivers drain the peninsula.

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Iberian Peninsula Part of sw Europe occupied by Spain and Portugal, separated from Africa by the Strait of Gibraltar and from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees Mountains. The early Iberian inhabitants were colonized by Phoenicians and then Carthaginians until the 2nd century bc, when Rome dominated. Fourth-century Visigothic incursions were followed by the Moorish invasions from North Africa. By the 13th century, the Christian reconquest of the Peninsula was virtually complete. Area: 596,384sq km (230,264sq mi).

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This entry comprises three subentries:

Iberian Peninsula: Overview

Iberian Peninsula: Portugal

Iberian Peninsula: Spain