|— Autonomous Community —|
Map of Aragón
|- President||Marcelino Iglesias Ricou (PSOE)|
|Area (9.4% of Spain; Ranked 4th)|
|- Total||47,719 km2 (18,424.4 sq mi)|
|- Density||26.8/km2 (69.3/sq mi)|
|- Pop. rank||11th|
|- Percent||2.9% of Spain|
Recognized minority languages:
|Statute of Autonomy||August 16, 1982|
|Senate seats||14 (12 elected and 2 appointed)|
|Website||Gobierno de Aragón|
Aragon (Spanish and Aragonese: Aragón, Catalan: Aragó) is an autonomous community of Spain. Located in northeastern Spain, the region comprises three provinces from north to south: Huesca, Zaragoza, and Teruel. Its capital is Zaragoza (also called Saragossa in English).
Aragon's northern province of Huesca borders France and is positioned in the middle of the Pyrenees. Within Spain, the region is flanked by Catalonia on the east, Valencia and Castile-La Mancha to the south, and Castile and Leon, La Rioja, and Navarre to the west.
Covering an area of 47,719 km2 (18,424 sq mi), the region's terrain ranges diversely from permanent glaciers to verdant valleys, rich pasture lands and orchards, through to the arid steppe plains of the central lowlands. Aragon is home to many rivers—most notably, the river Ebro—Spain's largest river in volume, which runs west-east across the entire region through the province of Zaragoza. It is also home to the Aneto, the highest mountain in the Pyrenees.
As of 2006, the population was 1,277,471—with half of the region's people living in Zaragoza, its capital city.
In addition to its three provinces, Aragon is subdivided into 33 comarcas or counties; all with a rich geopolitical and cultural history from its pre-Roman and Roman days; and the four centuries of Islamic period as Marca Superior of Alandalus or kingdom (or taifa) of Saraqustah; and as lands that once belonged to the Frankish Spanish March or Marca Hispanica; and counties that later formed the Kingdom of Aragon and eventually the empire or Crown of Aragon.
The majority of Aragonese people, 71.8%, live in the province of Zaragoza; 17.1% in Huesca and 11.1% in Teruel. The population density of the region is the second lowest in Spain: only 26,8/km2; after Castilla La Mancha. The most densely populated areas are around the valley of the river Ebro, particularly around Zaragoza and the Pyrenean foothills, while the areas with the fewest inhabitants tend to be those that are higher up in the Pyrenean mountains, and in the southern drier province of Teruеl.
|Demographic evolution of Aragon and
percentage of the total national population
In addition to Spanish, understood and spoken by virtually everyone in the region, the Aragonese language continues to be spoken in the mountainous northern counties of the Pyrenees, particularly in western Ribagorza, Sobrarbe, Jacetania and Somontano and is enjoying a resurgence of popularity as a tool for regional identity. Similarly, in the comarcas of eastern Ribagorza, La Litera, Bajo Cinca, Bajo Aragón-Caspe, Bajo Aragón and Matarraña, the Catalan language is spoken. The strip-shaped Catalan-speaking area in Aragon is usually known as La Franja.
With such a low population density large areas of Aragon remain wild and relatively untouched. It is a land of extreme natural contrasts, both in climate and geologically, from the green valleys and snow-capped peaks of the Pyrenees to the dry plains and lonely hilly areas of the south.
Aragon's Pyrenees include splendid and varied landscapes with soaring peaks, deep canyons, dense forests and spectacular waterfalls. Its rugged peaks include the Aneto (3,404 m), the highest in the range, the misty Monte Perdido (3,355 m), Perdiguero (3,221 m), Cotiella (2,912 m) and many others.
Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, near the border with France, boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe with its canyons, frozen lake caverns, numerous waterfalls and varied wildlife many species of which are endemic to the Pyrenees. The park is also one of the last sanctuaries of birds of prey in the range. Many beautiful mountain butterflies and flowers can be seen in the summer, while during winter the region is a paradise for skiers.
The principal valleys in the mountains include those of Hecho, Canfranc, Tena , Benasque and others. The green valleys hide pretty villages with nice Romanesque churches and typical Pyrenean houses with flowers on the balconies. The oldest Romanesque cathedral in Spain is located in the medieval town of Jaca in the very northern part of Huesca Province.
Further south, the Ebro valley, irrigated by the river Ebro, is a rich and fertile agricultural area covered with vast fields of wheat, barley and other fruit and vegetable crops. Many beautiful and little-known settlements, castles and Roman ruins dot the landscape here. Some of the most notable towns here include Calatayud, Daroca, Sos del Rey Catolico, Caspe and others.
South of Zaragoza and the Ebro valley, the elevation rises again into the Sistema Ibérico, a mountain range that separates the Ebro valley from the Meseta Central and plains of Castile-La Mancha. The highest mountain in this range is the Moncayo (2,313 m) and, despite getting less snow than in the Pyrenees, it has several ski resorts.
Aragon's climate can be defined like continental moderate, and is determined by its elevation changes. Several Aragonese climate zones can be observed: very cold - in the Pyrenees mountains; a cold stop of the Pyrenean interior such as at Albarracín; temperate - in the Pyrenean and Iberian pre-mountainous areas; a subwarm area - in the central depression and the depressions of the Martín-Ebro river, Sariñena and Matarraña.
In the middle of Aragon, which is only 200 metres (660 ft) above sea level, the annual average temperature is around 14 °C (57 °F). To the north and south of the Ebro valley, where the elevation rises to 500 m (1,600 ft) above sea level, the temperature drops by two degrees. In the mountains, between 600 m (2,000 ft) and 1,000 m (3,300 ft) observed temperatures are between 11 and 12 °C (52 and 54 °F).
Before Aragon came into being as a self-proclaimed kingdom in 1035 A.D., the northern counties of Jaca, Sobrarbe and Ribagorza were all independent marches and Frankish feudal fiefs. In a bid to stem Frankish and Moorish invasions, a northern alliance of the counties of Aragon, Sobrarbe, Ribagorza, and the duchy of Castile united with the Kingdom of Pamplona (later Navarre). After King Sancho's death, the kingdom was divided between his sons. Ramiro I was initially named king of Aragon; later, after his brother Gonzalo's death, he was also named king of Sobrarbe and Ribagorza. The new kingdom of Aragon grew quickly, and incorporated Navarre. This kingdom conquered the Muslim kingdom and city of Zaragoza in 1118. Split from the kingdom of Navarre, the kingdom of Aragon was re-established in 1035 and lasted as a separate kingdom (Crown of Aragon) until 1707 when Philip V, the first Bourbon king of Spain, signed the Nueva Planta decrees, consolidating Spain into a more centralized state.
The dynastic union between Petronila, Queen of Aragon, and Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, produced a son, Alfonso II of Aragon who inherited all their respective territories creating the Crown of Aragon which included all lands and people, titles and states previously until then outside of the Kingdom of Aragon. This Crown was effectively ended after the dynastic union with Castile (see below) but the title continued being used until 1714. The dynasty of the Kings of Aragon (called by some present-day historians "Kings of Aragon and Counts of Barcelona") ruled the present administrative region of Aragon, Catalonia, and later the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Sicily, Naples and Sardinia (see Aragonese Empire).
In the Crown of Aragon, the king was the direct king of the Aragonese region but also held the title of King of Valencia, King of Majorca (for a time), Count of Barcelona, Lord of Montpellier, and (temporarily) Duke of Athens and Neopatria. Each of these titles gave him sovereignty over a certain region, and these titles changed as he lost and won territories.
During the War of the Spanish Succession the advancing army of German, British and Dutch troops defeated the Spanish Army in the battle of Saragossa in 1710. As a result of the battle Felipe V was forced to abandon Madrid and retreated to Valladolid.
During the Peninsular War the Aragonese capital was a site of two fierce sieges. During the siege in 1808 the Spanish under General Palafox defeated a superior French force. In 1809 during a particularly bloody siege the Spaniards were overwhelmed by superior enemy forces. In the course of the siege almost 30,000 of the garrison and citizens of Zaragoza (from a total of 32,000) perished instead of surrendering the city. Two weeks after they breached the walls the French were forced to fight for separate houses, squares, churches, convents.
During the Spanish Civil War, Aragon saw the establishment of various anarchist communes.
Further to the south lies Teruel, famous for its Mudejar architecture, which can be easily spotted in its magnificent cathedral, churches and towers. Other notable towns to the south include Albarracin, Alcañiz, Valderrobres, Mora de Rubielos and many others.
The traditional dance is known as Jota and is one of the faster and more beautiful dances of Spain.
Aragon is among the richest autonomous regions in Spain, with GDP per capita above the nation's average. The traditional agriculture-based economy from the mid 20th century has been greatly transformed in the past several decades and now service and industrial sectors are the backbone of the economy in the region.
The well-developed irrigation system around the Ebro has greatly supported the productive agriculture. The most important crops include wheat, barley, rye, fruit and grapes. Livestock-breeding is essential especially in the northern areas, where the lush meadows provide excellent conditions for sheep and cattle. The main livestock are cattle, 334,600; sheep, 2,862,100; pigs, 3,670,000; goats, 78,000; and poultry, 20,545,000.
The chief industrial centre is the capital Zaragoza, where the largest factories are located. The largest plant is the Opel automotive plant with 8,730 employees and production of 200,000 per year. It supports many related industries in the area. Other large plants in the city include factories for trains and household appliances. Mining of iron ore and coal is developed to the south, near Ojos Negros. Electricity production is concentrated to the north where numerous hydro power plants are located along the Pyrenean rivers and in the 1,150 MW Teruel Power Plant. There is an aluminium refinery in the town of Sabiñánigo. The main centres of electronics industry are Zaragoza, Huesca and Benabarre. Chemical industry is developed in Zaragoza, Sabiñánigo, Monzón, Teruel, Ojos Negros, Fraga, Benabarre and others.
The transport infrastructure has been greatly improved. There are more than 1,000 km (620 mi) of motorways which run from Zaragoza to Madrid, Teruel, Basque country, Huesca and Barcelona. The condition of the other roads is also good. As of 2005 there are 520,000 cars in Aragon. Through the territory of the province runs the new high-speed railway between Madrid and Barcelona with siding from Zaragoza to Huesca, which is going to be continued to the French border. There is an International Airport at Zaragoza, as well as several smaller airports at Huesca, Caudé, Santa Cilia de Jaca and Villanueva de Gállego.
As an autonomous community of Spain, Aragon has an elected regional parliament or cortes, which sits at the Aljafería, a Moorish palace in the capital Zaragoza.
See list of Lieutenants of the Kingdom of Aragón.
The dynastic union of Castile and Aragon in 1479, when Ferdinand II of Aragon wed Isabella I of Castile, led to the formal creation of Spain as a single entity in 1516. See List of Spanish monarchs and Kings of Spain family tree.
With its lush pyrenean pastures, lamb, beef and dairy by-products are, not surprisingly, predominant in Aragonese cuisine. Also of note is its ham from Teruel; olive oil from Empeltre and Arbequina; longaniza from Graus; rainbow trout and salmon, boar, truffles and wild mushrooms from the upper river valleys of the Jacetania, Gallego, Sobrarbe, and Ribagorza regions; and wines from Cariñena, Somontano, Calatayud, and Campo de Borja; and fruit, especially peaches, from its fertile lower valleys. The region also features a unique local haggis, known as chireta, and several interesting seafood dishes, including various crab pastes, which developed from an old superstition that crabs help prevent illness.
Aragon (Spanish: Aragón) is a region in the north of Spain.
Aragon is divided into the three provinces below:
Aragon is divided into the 33 counties (comarcas) below:
|01||Jacetania||1.857,9||18.166||9,8||Jaca||Huesca / Zaragoza|
|03||Sobrarbe||2.202,7||7.293||3,3||Aínsa y Boltaña||Huesca|
|04||Ribagorza||2.459,8||12.811||5,2||Graus y Benabarre||Huesca|
|05||Cinco Villas||3.062,5||33.154||10,8||Ejea de los Caballeros||Zaragoza|
|06||Hoya de Huesca / Plana de Uesca||2.525,6||64.531||25,6||Huesca||Huesca / Zaragoza|
|07||Somontano de Barbastro||1.166,6||23.464||20,1||Barbastro||Huesca|
|09||La Litera / La Llitera||733,9||18.847||25,7||Binéfar y Tamarite de Litera||Huesca|
|10||Los Monegros||2764,4||20.896||7,6||Sariñena||Huesca / Zaragoza|
|11||Bajo Cinca / Baix Cinca||1.419,6||23.366||16,5||Fraga||Huesca / Zaragoza|
|12||Tarazona y el Moncayo||452,4||14.575||32,2||Tarazona||Zaragoza|
|13||Campo de Borja||690,5||14.524||21,0||Borja||Zaragoza|
|15||Ribera Alta del Ebro||416,0||24.875||59,8||Alagón||Zaragoza|
|16||Valdejalón||933,3||26.437||28,3||La Almunia de Doña Godina||Zaragoza|
|18||Ribera Baja del Ebro||989,9||9.197||9,3||Quinto||Zaragoza|
|19||Bajo Aragón-Caspe / Baix Aragó-Casp||997,3||13.606||13,6||Caspe||Zaragoza|
|20||Comunidad de Calatayud||2.518,1||40.327||16,0||Calatayud||Zaragoza|
|21||Campo de Cariñena||772,0||10.580||13,7||Cariñena||Zaragoza|
|22||Campo de Belchite||1.043,8||5.196||5,0||Belchite||Zaragoza|
|24||Campo de Daroca||1.117,9||6.594||5,9||Daroca||Zaragoza|
|25||Jiloca||1.932,1||13.972||7,2||Calamocha y Monreal del Campo||Teruel|
|26||Cuencas Mineras||1.407,6||9.476||6,7||Montalbán y Utrillas||Teruel|
|27||Andorra-Sierra de Arcos||675,1||11.123||16,5||Andorra||Teruel|
|29||Comunidad de Teruel||2.791,6||45.313||16,2||Teruel||Teruel|
|31||Sierra de Albarracín||1.414,0||4.912||3,5||Albarracín||Teruel|
|32||Gúdar-Javalambre||2.351,6||8.574||3,6||Mora de Rubielos||Teruel|
|33||Matarraña / Matarranya||933,0||8.673||9,3||Valderrobres y Calaceite||Teruel|
|#||Total Aragón||47.719,2||1.277.471||26,8||Zaragoza||Huesca / Zaragoza / Teruel|
Aragon is the heart of what was in the Middle Ages the Crown of Aragon, which also included regions like Valencia, Murcia, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Venice, the South of Italy, Sicily and some Greek colonies.
In the Fifteenth century its King Ferdinand married Isabel of Castile and formed the Kingdom of Spain.
Although it used to have its own language, Aragonese, and laws, over the centuries most of them were lost and it became more like Castile.
Nowadays, Aragon, despite its large size, has a population of only 1 million, making it largely uninhabited, with a capital, Zaragoza, that holds over half the population.
Some interesting plants even for a non-biologist are:
Spanish is spoken in Aragon by the whole population.
Aragonese (Aragonese or Castilian: aragonés, also known as fabla), is spoken in the north, but is not recognized as an official language. This language is similar to Catalan and Castilian with some Basque and Occitan influences. Catalan is also spoken in the East of the region (Catalan: 'Franja de Ponent, literally West Strip, being West of Catalunya) though, it has no official status.
Aragon is connected to France by roads and tunnels (Somport) but not by train. It has no coast, so it's not accessible by boat.
There is an airport in Zaragoza (flights from Milán-Bergamo, Roma, London-Standsted, Frankfurt, París, Lisboa, Madrid, Malaga, Santigo de Compostela, Palma de Majorca).
Roads are really good in the region and its towns. Even if you go canyoning or other active sports, typically you don't need a 4x4, as you always leave car on a parking near starting point of activities.
Cycling is very popular sports in the region, and the roads are really good.
Rock climbing: Los Mallos for serious climbers.
Hydrospeed: Ideal time is April-May, as it requires much water in the rivers.
Canyoning: According to outdoor activities operators, Aragon canyons are the best in Europe (most long and intensive) and third in the world--and there are up to 150 canyons available in the region. In summer, about 16 canyons are in active use. May is ideal time for experienced canyoners: almost every canyon have just enough water, and water is warm enough. June-July and September is good for well-fit canyoners. August is a peak season for non-experienced canyoners looking for fun with minimal effort.
Canyons are both in Sierra de Guara and Pireneus. In the whole region, there's no places for horizontal abseiling (like moving over a rope above a river from one side of canyon to another). Most canyons were originally discovered and gone through in 1970s. Alquezar is the main starting point for canyons in Aragon.
Equipment to bring for commercial canyoning specific for this region: shoes for slippery stones.
Trenza de Almudevar y Huesca:
Excellent wines of the region: Somontano, Cariñena, Borja, Paniza, Calatayud, Lecera and Valle de Jalón.
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ARAGON, or Arragon (in Span. Aragon), a captaincygeneral, and formerly a kingdom of Spain; bounded on the N. by the Pyrenees, which separate it from France, on the E. by Catalonia and Valencia, S. by Valencia, and W. by the two Castiles and Navarre. Pop. (1900) 912,711; area, 18,294 sq. m. Aragon was divided in 1833 into the provinces of Huesca, Teruel and Saragossa; an account of its modern condition is therefore given under these names, which have not, however, superseded the older designation in popular usage.
Aragon consists of a central plain, edged by mountain ranges. On the south, east and west, these ranges, though wild and rugged, are of no great elevation, but on the north the Pyrenees attain their greatest altitude in the peaks of Aneto (11,168 ft.) and Monte Perdido (10,998 ft.) - also known as Las Tres Sorores, and, in French, as Mont Perdu. The central pass over the Pyrenees is the Port de Canfranc, on the line between Saragossa and Pau. Aragon is divided by the river Ebro, which flows through it in a south-easterly direction, into two nearly equal parts, known as Trans-ibero and Cis-ibero. The Ebro is the principal river, and receives from the north, in its passage through the province, the Arba, the Gallego and the united waters of the Cinca, Esera, Noguera Ribagorzana, Noguera Pallaresa and Segre - the last three belonging to Catalonia. From the south it receives the Jalon and Jiloca (or Xalon and Xiloca) and the Guadalope. The Imperial Canal of Aragon, which was begun by the emperor Charles V. in 1529, but remained unfinished for nearly two hundred years, extends from Tudela to El Burgo de Ebro, a distance of 80 m.; it has a depth of 9 ft., and an average breadth of 69, and is navigable for vessels of about 80 tons. The Royal Canal of Tauste, which lies along the north side of the Ebro, was cut for purposes of irrigation, and gives fertility to the district. Two leagues north-north-east of Albarracin is the remarkable fountain called Cella, 3 700 ft. above the sea, which forms the source of the Jiloca; and between this river and the Sierra Molina is an extensive lake called Gallocanta, covering about 6000 acres. The climate is characterized by extreme heat in the summer and cold in the winter; among the mountains the snowfall is heavy, and thunderstorms are frequent, but there is comparatively little rain.
Within a recent geological period, central Aragon was undoubtedly submerged by the sea, and the parched chalky soil remains saturated with salt, while many of the smaller streams run brackish. As the mountains of Valencia and Catalonia effectually bar out the fertilizing moisture of the sea-winds, much of the province is a sheer wilderness, stony, ash-coloured, scarred with dry watercourses, and destitute of any vegetation except thin grass and heaths. In contrast with the splendid fertility of Valencia or the south of France, the landscape of this region, like the rest of central Spain, seems almost a continuation of the north African desert area. There are, however, extensive oak, pine and beech forests in the highlands, and many beautiful oases in the deeply sunk valleys, and along the rivers, especially beside the Ebro, which is, therefore, often called the "Nile of Aragon." In such oases the flora is exceedingly rich. Wheat, maize, rice, oil, flax and hemp, of fine quality, are grown in considerable quantities; as well as saffron, madder, liquorice, sumach, and a variety of fruits. Merino wool is one of the chief products.
In purity of race the Aragonese are probably equal to the Castilians, to whom, rather than to the Catalans or Valencians, they are also allied in character. The dress of the women is less distinctive than that of the men, who wear a picturesque black and white costume, with knee-breeches, a brilliantly coloured sash, black hempen sandals, and a handkerchief wound round the head.
Three counties - Sobrarbe, situated near the headwaters of the Cinca, Aragon, to the west, and Ribagorza or Ribagorca, to the east - are indicated by tradition and the earliest chronicles as the cradle of the Aragonese monarchy. These districts were never wholly subdued when the Moors overran the country (711-713). Sobrarbe especially was for a time the headquarters of the Christian defence in eastern Spain. About 1035, Sancho III. the Great, ruler of the newly established kingdom of Navarre, which included the three counties above mentioned, bequeathed them to Gonzalez and Ramiro, his sons. Ramiro soon rid himself of his rival, and welded Sobrarbe, Ribagorza and Aragon into a single kingdom, which thenceforward grew rapidly in size and power and shared with Castile the chief part in the struggle against the Moors. The history of this period, which was terminated by the union of Castile and Aragon under Ferdinand and Isabella in 1479, is given, along with a full account of the very interesting constitution of Aragon, under Spain. At the height of its power under James I. (1213-1276), the kingdom included Valencia, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and the considerable territory of Montpellier in France; while Peter III. (1276-1285) added Sicily to his dominions.
The literature relating to Aragon is very extensive. See, in addition to the works cited in the article Spain (section History), " Les Archives d'Aragon et de Navarre," by L. Cadier, in Bibliotheque de l' E cole des Charles, 49 (Paris, 1888). Among the more important original authorities, the following may be selected: - for general history, Anales de la corona de Aragon, by G. Curita, 3rd ed. in 7 folio volumes (Saragossa, 1668-1671; 1st ed. 1562-1580); - for ecclesiastical history, Teatro historico de las iglesias de Aragon (Pamplona, 1770-1807); for economic history, Historia de la economia politica de Aragon, by I. J. de Asso y del Rio (Saragossa, 1798). For the constitution and laws of Aragon, see Origines del Justicia de Aragon, &c., by J. Ribera Tarrago (Saragossa, 1897), and Instituciones y reyes de Aragon, by V. Balaguer (Madrid, 1896). The topography, inhabitants, art, products, &c., of the kingdom are described in a volume of the series Espana entitled Aragon, by J. M. Quadrado (Barcelona, 1886).
Aragon (Aragón in Spanish and Aragonese, Aragó in Catalan) is an autonomous community in the north of Spain. The capital of Aragon is Zaragoza (sometimes called Saragossa in English). The population is 1,217,514.
Three languages are spoken in Aragon:
All the people in Aragón speaks Spanish, but there are people that also speak Catalan or Aragonese.
There are three provinces in Aragon:
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