Autonomous communities are the upper-level political division of the Kingdom of Spain, established in accordance with the Constitution of Spain.
The second article of the Constitution recognizes the right to the autonomy of “regions and nations” and proclaims “the inseparable unity of the Spanish nation“.
There are currently 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities (Ceuta and Melilla, both cities are located in Morocco).
Autonomous organizations have their own statutes and their governments share power with the central government. The autonomous communities are divided into 52 states.
Autonomous Communities of Spain
Spain has 17 Autonomous Communities, they are:
- Community of Madrid
- Valencian Community
- Castile and León
- Basque Country
- Castilla-La Mancha
- Canary Islands
- Region of Murcia
- Balearic Islands
- La Rioja
Also read: Biggest cities in Spain
Andalusia is an autonomous region in southern Spain. Population is the largest region of Spain. Its capital city is Sevilla.
The language of the region is the Spanish dialect of Andalusia. The region has 17,84% of Spain with an area of 87,268 km². The population density in the region is 91,39 / km².
The Autonomous Community of Andalusia is administratively divided into eight provinces. These regions include Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Sevilla. These provinces were unearthed in 1833 by the regional organization arrangement implemented by Javier de Burgos.
Every province within the Autonomous Community of Andalusia carries the name of the city which is the center of the province.
Catalonia is an autonomous region located in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula, Spain. Catalonia consists of 4 cities: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona.
Barcelona is the largest city and capital. It is the second most populous municipality in Spain and the 17th most urbanized urban area within the European Union. According to 2014 estimates, the total population of Catalonia is 7,512,982. The population of the region is 16.1% of the population of Spain.
On 27 October 2017, in the Parliament of the Republic of Catalonia, 70 votes against 10 and 2 abstentions voted unilaterally despite the calls of the Spanish government. Following the unilateral declaration of independence, the Spanish Senate adopted regulations to ensure the dismissal of the autonomous government.
Community of Madrid
The Autonomous Region of Madrid is one of the seventeen autonomous regions of Spain and is located in the middle of the country. The region with a surface area of 7,995 square kilometers has a population of 6,489,680. Madrid is also the capital of the country.
Valenciana is an autonomous region in eastern Spain. Its capital city is Valencia. The region is divided into three administrative divisions. The region has a population of 23,255 square kilometers and 4,806,000 people. The prime minister is Francisco Camps.
Also Read: Spanish Speaking Countries
Galicia is an autonomous region in Spain. The area has a surface area of 29,574 square kilometers and a population of 2,738,000. Its capital city is Santiago de Compostela. In 1981, this region was granted autonomy. The region is divided into four provinces. A Coruña, Ourense, Pontevedra, and Lugo. The languages spoken in the region are Galician and Spanish. Galician is a language derived from Latin and similar to Portuguese. It is also spoken in Portugal and Asturias.
Castile and León
Castile and León is the largest region of Spain with a surface area of 94,223 square kilometers. It has a population of 2.511.000. Its capital city is Valladolid. It is built on the territory of the Historic Kingdom of Leon and the Old Castile. The Autonomous Region of Castile and León is administratively divided into 9; Ávila, Burgos, León, Palencia, Segovia, Soria, Salamanca, Valladolid, and Zamora. All of these provinces were named after the city.
Basque Country is an autonomous region in the north of Spain. Its surface area is 7,234 square kilometers and its population is 2,125,000. The capital city of the Autonomous Region is Vitoria-Gasteiz. The autonomy for the region was given on 25 July 1979. The region provides its own security with the police called Ertzaintza. The laws in the region define the Autonomous Region as a federation of three provinces. These provinces are Álava, Guipúzcoa, and Biscay.
Castilla-La Mancha is an Autonomous Region in Spain. The population of the land area of 79,463 square kilometers is 1,977,304. Its capital city is Toledo. Important cities are Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Guadalajara.
The Canary Islands, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, in the western part of Morocco. The Canary Islands have been accepted as a Canary Islands Autonomous Community under a law enacted on 2 August 1982 in respect of local administration.
The Canary Islands consist of the islands Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, and El Hierro. The total area of the islands is 7,447 kilometers and the population is around 2 million.
Region of Murcia
Murcia is one of the autonomous regions and has the Mediterranean coast of Spain. Its capital is Murcia, Spain’s seventh largest city. The region has a surface area of 11,313 square kilometers and a population of 1,334,431.
Aragon is an autonomous region in the northeast of Spain. The area is 47,719 square kilometers and the population is 1,277,471. Zaragoza is the capital of the region. Other important cities; Huesca, Teruel. Although Spanish is spoken throughout the region, it is spoken the Pyrenees in Aragonese and Catalan in the Franja de Ponent region.
Extremadura is an autonomous region located in the west of Spain and border with Portugal. Its surface area is 41,634 square kilometers and its population is 1,083,879. Its capital city is Mérida. Important cities are Cáceres, Badajoz, Plasencia and Mérida. The region is divided into two provinces. Badajoz and Cáceres. These two provinces are the largest cities in Spain.
The Balearic Islands Autonomous Community is an autonomous region consisting of five large islands attached to Spain and several small islands surrounding them. Together with Spanish, the official language of all Spain, Catalan is the official language in this region.
The five major islands are Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Cabrera, and Formentera. While the population of the region is 1,113,114, the total area is 4,992 square kilometers. According to historical sources, people have been living here for 2600 years.
Principality of Asturias is an autonomous region of Spain. It is located on the coast of the Cantabrian Sea, in the north of the country. Its capital city is Oviedo. Other important cities are Gijón, Avilés, Mieres, Langreo and Llanes. The land area is 10,604 square kilometers and the population is 1,077,000.
The only official language in the region is Spanish. However, the local language Asturian is spoken throughout the region and is protected by the local government.
On the western border of the region, Eonavian, a dialect of Galician, is spoken. This language is also protected by the local government.
Navarre is located on the border of France, north of Spain. Its capital city is Pamplona. The population of the region with an area of 10,391 square kilometers is 594,000. Spanish is the official language in the whole region and Basque in the northern region. August 16, 1982 is the date on which the Autonomous Region received its right.
Cantabria is an autonomous region with the same region as the province of Santander in the north of Spain. The region has a surface area of 5,321 square kilometers and its population is 562,309.
La Rioja is located in the northeast of Spain. There is both an autonomous community and a province status in the local administration. Its capital city is Logroño. The surface area is 5,045 square kilometers. Population is 322,955 people with an estimate of 2011.
Spain Ethnolinguistic Groups
The map above shows the major ethnolinguistic groups of Spain. The map is color-coded to distinguish different regions according to the predominant language or dialect spoken there.
At a glance, you can see:
- Galician is spoken in Galicia, indicated in purple in the northwest.
- Castilian (Spanish) is the most widespread language, covering most of the country in orange.
- Basque is spoken in the Basque Country and parts of Navarre, in green in the north.
- Catalan is spoken in Catalonia, Balearic Islands (primarily Catalan-speaking) and parts of Valencia (marked in orange).