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Autonomous Community of La Rioja
La Rioja
—  Autonomous Community  —
Flag of La Rioja
Coat-of-arms of La Rioja
Coat of arms
Map of La Rioja in Spain
Coordinates: 42°15′N 2°30′W / 42.25°N 2.5°W / 42.25; -2.5Coordinates: 42°15′N 2°30′W / 42.25°N 2.5°W / 42.25; -2.5
Capital Logroño
 - President Pedro Sanz Alonso (PP)
Area (1.0% of Spain; Ranked 16th)
 - Total 5,045 km2 (1,947.9 sq mi)
Population (2007)
 - Total 308,968
 - Density 61.2/km2 (158.6/sq mi)
 - Pop. rank 17th
 - Percent 0.7% of Spain
ISO 3166-2 LO
Parliament Cortes Generales
Congress seats 4
Senate seats 4
Website Gobierno de La Rioja

La Rioja is a province and autonomous community of northern Spain. Its capital is Logroño. Other cities and towns in the province include Calahorra, Arnedo, Alfaro, Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and Nájera.



In Roman times the territory of La Rioja was inhabited by the tribes of the Berones (central country), Autrigones (upper country, extending also north and west of it) and the Vascones (lower country, extending also north and east of it). It was part of the province of Hispania Tarraconensis. In Medieval times La Rioja was often a disputed territory. The Visigoths created the Duchy of Cantabria that probably included most of La Rioja, as a border march against the Vascones. After the Muslim invasion of 711, La Rioja fell into the Muslim domains of Al Andalus.

In the early 10th century, Sancho I of Pamplona conquered most of the territory, except for the lower region around Arnedo, which came under control of his allies the Banu Qasi of Tudela. La Rioja briefly formed the independent Kingdom of Viguera from 970 to about 1005, at which point it became a part of the Kingdom of Pamplona. Nájera, in the Rioja, often served as capital of the kingdom.

After the independence of Castile in 1035, this new kingdom fiercely fought against Pamplona for the possession of Bureba, La Rioja and other territories. In 1076, after the murder of Sancho VI, Navarre was divided among Castile and Aragon. Castile obtained La Rioja and many other Navarrese lands

Nevertheless, since 1134, García Ramírez the Restorer and his son Sancho VI the Wise fought bitterly with Castile for the recovery of the former Pamplonese domains. Only in 1179 would they sign a peace agreement by which La Rioja was ceded definitively to Castile.

The territory remained divided between the provinces of Burgos and Soria until the administrative reform of Riego in 1822 that created the province of Logroño.

In 1980 it changed its name to province of La Rioja and in 1982 it was constituted as uni-provincial autonomous community with that name.


Recent history

Monasterios de San Millán de Yuso

The territory of La Rioja (the name appeared in a charter of 1099) was formerly known as the province of Logroño for the fortified site around which it developed. The 12th-century church Iglesia de Santa Maria de Palacio recalls its origin as a chapel of the administrative palace. Logroño was a borderland disputed between the kings of Navarre and the kings of Castile starting in the 10th century; the region was awarded to Castile in a judgement by Henry I of England and annexed in 1173 (1177?). Its importance was that here the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino de Santiago, crossed the River Ebro on the stone bridge, the Puente de Piedra.

Arnedillo, in La Rioja

La Rioja was taken by Napoleonic forces in the Peninsular War and remained solidly in French hands until 1814. In the 1810 project of Llorente it was to be a part of the prefecture of Arlanzón (capital in Burgos). The Constitutional Cortes declared La Rioja an independent province at the time of the Liberal Constitution of 1812, and in January 1822 the province of Logroño was created by royal decree, taking in the whole of the historical geography of La Rioja. However, Ferdinand VII soon annulled these decisions and recovered most of the divisions of the Ancient Regime. In the 1833 reorganization, a province of Logroño appeared again in the region of Castilla la Vieja. In 1841, the province increased its territory temporarily.

It was made into an autonomous community during the reorganization following the democratic transition following the death of Francisco Franco, owing to its economic distinction from the surrounding regions. It is the second-smallest autonomous community in Spain and has the smallest population; fully half of its 174 municipalities have populations under 200. Nearly half of its citizens live in the capital.


A map of the municipalities in La Rioja, Spain
View of La Rioja

It is bordered by the Basque Country (province of Álava), Navarre, Aragón (province of Zaragoza), and Castile and León (provinces of Soria and Burgos). The river Ebro flows through this region, as does the river Oja, for which it is known.

Mountains and mountain ranges

  • Sierra de la Demanda
  • Sierra de Camero Viejo
  • Sierra de Camero Nuevo
  • Sierra de Cebollera
  • Picos de Urbión
  • Monte San Lorenzo



  • The climate is mainly Mediterranean climate. The Rioja Alta comarca receives more precipitation than Rioja Baja.
  • The average temperature ranges from 11.8°C - 31.8°C (53°F - 88°F) and the precipitation ranges between 300 mm - 600 mm as an annual average.
  • The wind called Cierzo is very frequent around La Rioja during the winter.


  • Ebro - the more important river that crosses the Community. In La Rioja have the following affluents:
Wine barrels kept on a cellar in Haro, La Rioja

Flora and fauna

Natural resources

Glasses of wines for the people tastes in the Vivancos Museum, La Rioja


It is known for its production of Rioja DOCa wines (although the Rioja viticultural region extends slightly into the neighboring administrative regions of Álava and Navarra).

Battle of Wine in Haro (La Rioja)
  • Rioja (wine)
  • Industry:
    • Wine Production and conserves: in Logroño, Cenicero, Haro and Calahorra.
    • Textil and footwear: in Logroño, Arnedo, Cervera del Río Alhama and Ezcaray.
    • Furniture factories: in Ezcaray, Logroño and Nájera.
    • Rubber, plastics, chemical products and transport machinery.

Transport and commerce

Demography and major cities

Rank: City: Population:
1 Logroño 145,866
2 Calahorra 23,768
3 Arnedo 14,082
4 Haro 11,463
5 Alfaro 9,576
6 Nájera 8,073

Government and politics


San Millán de Suso

Native or Famous people from La Rioja

see also Cat:Riojan people

Other topics

External links


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