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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Catalan: Ebre
Ebro Delta from space
Country Spain
 - left Oca, Oja, Tirón, Najerilla, Iregua, Cidacos, Alhama, Jalón, Huerva, Martín, Guadalope, Matarraña
 - right Nela, Jerea, Bayas, Zadorra, Ega, Aragón, Gállego, Segre
 - location Pico de los Tres Mares, Cantabria, Spain
 - elevation 1,980 m (6,496 ft)
 - location Mediterranean Sea, Spain
 - elevation m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 40°43′12″N 0°51′47″E / 40.72°N 0.86306°E / 40.72; 0.86306
Length 910 km (565 mi)
Basin 80,093 km2 (30,924 sq mi)
Discharge mouth
 - average 426 m3/s (15,044 cu ft/s)
Watershed of the Ebro

The Ebro (Spanish, pronounced [eβɾo]) or Ebre (Catalan, pronounced [eβɾə] or [eβɾe]) is Spain's most voluminous river. Its source is in Fontibre (Cantabria). It flows through cities such as Miranda de Ebro (Castile and Leon), Logroño (La Rioja), Zaragoza (Aragon), and the Catalan cities of Flix, Tortosa, and Amposta before discharging in a delta on the Mediterranean Sea in the province of Tarragona.



The Romans named this river Iber (Iberus Flumen), hence its current name (but probably derives from the Greek Hèvros, Εβρος). Arguably the whole peninsula and some of the peoples living there were named after the river.[1]


In antiquity, The Ebro was used as the dividing line between Roman (north) and Carthaginian (south) expansions after the First Punic War. When Rome, fearful of Hannibal's growing influence in the Iberian Peninsula, made the city of Saguntum (considerably south of the Ebro) a protectorate of Rome, Hannibal viewed this treaty as an aggressive action by Rome and used the event as the catalyst to the Second Punic War.

One of the earliest Cistercian monasteries in Spain, Real Monasterio de Nuestra Senora de Rueda (Royal Monastery of Our Lady of the Wheel), is located on the banks of the Ebro in Aragon. This edifice survives to the present intact, having been established in the year 1202 AD. The monastery is strongly connected to the Ebro, since it used one of the first large waterwheels established in Spain for the production of power. The monastery also diverted flow from the Ebro to create a circulating hydrological central heating system for its buildings.

The river Ebro was the initial starting ground of one of the most famous Republican offensives during the Spanish Civil War, in 1938. The offensive itself, known as the Battle of the Ebro, ended in defeat for the Republican forces, even though they enjoyed initial success in its first stages. However, they were not able to reach the desired objective of Gandesa.

Delta geography

The Ebro Delta (in Catalan: Delta de l'Ebre), in the Province of Tarragona, Catalonia, is one of the largest wetland areas (320 km²) in the western Mediterranean region. The Ebro delta has grown rapidly—the historical rate of growth of the delta is demonstrated by the town of Amposta. This town was a seaport in the 4th Century, and is now located well inland from the current Ebro river mouth. The rounded form of the delta attests to the balance between sediment deposition by the Ebro and removal of this material by wave erosion.

The modern delta is in intensive agricultural use for rice, fruit (in particular citrus), and vegetables. The Ebro delta also hosts numerous beaches, marshes, and salt pans that provide habitat for over 300 species of birds. A large part of the delta was designated as Ebro Delta Natural Park in 1983 (Parc Natural del Delta de l'Ebre).[2] A network of canals and irrigation ditches constructed by both agricultural and conservation groups are helping to maintain the ecologic and economic resources of the Ebro Delta.

See the Ebro Delta Natural Park's website (in Catalan and Spanish).

Flow and floods

The Ebro river is the most important river in Spain, 928 km in length and with a drainage basin of 85,550 km². However, the mean annual flow decreased by approximately 29% during the 20th Century due to many causes: the construction of dams, the increasing demands for irrigation and the evaporation (higher than the rainfall, due to low rainfall, high sunshine and strong and dry winds) from reservoirs in the river basins. This situation has a direct impact on the deltaic system at the mouth of the river because its hydrological dynamics are mainly controlled by the river discharge, and the introduction of the salt wedge is favoured by the low tidal range (20 cm) and the diminution on the river discharge. The mean annual river flow is approximately the critical flow which determines the formation and the break-up of the salt wedge. Thus, when the river discharge is between 300 and 400 m³, the salt wedge can occupy the last 5 km of the estuary, but when the discharge is between 100 and 300 m³, the salt wedge can advance up to 18 km from the mouth. For less than 100 m³, the salt wedge quickly advances to its maximum extent, reaching 32 km from the mouth. In addition to decreased mean annual flow, the increased river regulation in the Ebro basin has produced daily and seasonal changes in the flow pattern.

With regards to the sediment load, several authors conclude that the sediment load was reduced by more than 99% during the last century. The drastic reduction in sediment transport implies a sediment deficit in the Delta, which is causing the erosion of the coastline. This erosion together with the sinking of the Delta produced by soil compaction and tectonic subsidence cannot be balanced by the deposition of fluvial sediments, nearly all of them retained in the dams.

River flow in Zaragoza from the end of the nineteenth century:

  • March 1888: 3,760 m3/s
  • January 1891: 3,250 m³/s
  • February 1892: 3,790 m³/s
  • January 1895: 3,118 m³/s
  • March 1930: 3,600 m³/s
  • December 1930: 3,000 m³/s
  • October 1937: 3,000 m³/s
  • January 1941: 4,000 m³/s
  • February 1952: 3,260 m³/s
  • January 1961: 4,130 m³/s
  • November 1966: 3,154 m³/s
  • January 1981: 2,940 m³/s
  • February 2003: 2,988 m³/s
  • March 2003: 2,220 m³/s
  • April 2007: 2,282 m³/s.

The Ebro poured 1,874 hm³ in the river delta from 2007-03-27 to 04-11, with an average of 117 hm³/day .

Ebro in Miranda de Ebro.


The Ebro Delta Natural Park, with a total surface area of 7,802 ha, was established in 1986 and is of international importance for 8 of its plant species and 69 of its vertebrate fauna. Birdwise it boasts some 95 breeding species, is also very important for a wide range of overwintering species, and in addition serves as an essential stopover point for large numbers of migratory birds. The Ebro delta has the world's largest colony of Audouin's Gulls, which held a record number of more than 15,000 pairs in 2006. The zebra mussel is an invasive species that is extending upstream in Ebro waters.

See also


External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

EBRO (anc. Iberus or Hiberus), the only one of the five great rivers of the Iberian Peninsula (Tagus, Douro, Ebro, Guadalquivir, Guadiana) which flows into the Mediterranean. The Ebro rises at Fuentibre, a hamlet among the Cantabrian Mountains, in the province of Santander; at Reinosa, 4 m. east, it is joined on the right by the Hijar, and thus gains considerably in volume. It flows generally east by south through a tortuous valley as far as Miranda de Ebro, passing through the celebrated Roman bridge known as La Horadada ("the perforated"), near Ona in Burgos. From Miranda it winds south-eastward through the wide basin enclosed on the right by the highlands of Old Castile and western Aragon, and on the left by the Pyrenees. The chief cities on its banks are Logrono, Calahorra, Tudela, Saragossa and Caspe. Near Mora in Catalonia it forces a way through the coastal mountains, and, passing Tortosa, falls into the Mediterranean about 80 m. south-west of Barcelona, after forming by its delta a conspicuous projection on the otherwise regular coast line. In its length, approximately 465 m., the Ebro is inferior to the Tagus, Guadiana and Douro; it drains an area of nearly 32,000 sq. m. Its principal tributaries are - from the right hand the Jalon with its affluent the Jiloca, the Huerva, Aguas, Martin, Guadalope and Matarrana; from the left the Ega, Aragon, Arba, Gallego, and the Segre with its intricate system of confluent rivers. The Ebro and its tributaries have been utilized for irrigation since the Moorish conquest; the main stream becomes navigable by small boats about Tudela; but its value as a means of communication is almost neutralized by the obstacles in its channel, and seafaring vessels cannot proceed farther up than Tortosa. The great Imperial Canal, begun under the emperor Charles V. (150o-1558), proceeds along the right bank of the river from a point about 3 m. below Tudela, to El Burgo de Ebro, 5 m. below Saragossa; the irrigation canal of Tauste skirts the opposite bank for a shorter distance; and the San Carlos or New Canal affords direct communication between Amposta at the head of the delta and the harbour of Los Alfaques. From Miranda to Mora the Bilbao-Tarragona railway follows the course of the Ebro along the right bank.

<< Johannes Heinrich August Ebrard

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. a Spanish river that flows into the Mediterranean


Simple English

Ebro is a Spanish river. It flows through Reinosa, Miranda de Ebro, Logrono, Tudela, Zaragoza, and Tortosa. It empties into the Mediterranean Sea in the province of Tarragona.


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