Iberian Peninsula

Iberian Peninsula
España y Portugal.jpg
Satellite image of the Iberian Peninsula.
Iberia (orthographic projection).svg
LocationSouthwestern Europe
Coordinates40°30′N 4°00′W / 40°30′N 4°00′W / 40.500; -4.000
Area582,000 km2 (225,000 sq mi)
Highest elevation3,478 m (11,411 ft)
Highest pointMulhacén
Capital and largest townAndorra la Vella
Area covered468 km2 (181 sq mi; 0.1%)
Capital and largest cityLisbon
Area covered89,015 km2 (34,369 sq mi; 15.3%)
Capital and largest cityMadrid
Area covered492,175 km2 (190,030 sq mi; 84.6%)
Capital cityGibraltar
Largest districtWestside
Area covered7 km2 (2.7 sq mi; 0%)
Largest communeFont-Romeu-Odeillo-Via
Area covered33,563 km2 (12,959 sq mi; 5.8%)
PopulationOver 57 million

The Iberian Peninsula n/,[a] also known as Iberia,[b] is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Spain and Portugal, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra, and a small part of France along the peninsula's northeastern edge, as well as Gibraltar on its south coast, a small peninsula that forms an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. With an area of approximately 582,000 km2 (225,000 sq mi), it is the second largest European peninsula, after the Scandinavian.


Iberian Peninsula and southern France, satellite photo on a cloudless day in March 2014

Greek name

The word Iberia is a noun adapted from the Latin word "Hiberia" originated by the Ancient Greek word Ἰβηρία (Ibēríā) by Greek geographers under the rule of the Roman Empire to refer to what is known today in English as the Iberian Peninsula.[1] At that time, the name did not describe a single political entity or a distinct population of people.[2] Strabo's 'Iberia' was delineated from Keltikē (Gaul) by the Pyrenees[3] and included the entire land mass southwest (he says "west") of there.[4] The noun "Hiberia" fell into disuse when the Romans decided to call the most western part of the peninsula "Lusitania" (today Portugal) and the remaining territory "Hispania" (modern Spain). With the fall of the Roman Empire and the establishment of the new Castillian language in Spain, the word "Iberia" appeared for the first time in use as a direct 'descendant' of the Greek word "Ἰβηρία" and the Roman word "Hiberia".

The ancient Greeks reached the Iberian Peninsula, of which they had heard from the Phoenicians, by voyaging westward on the Mediterranean.[5] Hecataeus of Miletus was the first known to use the term Iberia, which he wrote about circa 500 BC.[6] Herodotus of Halicarnassus says of the Phocaeans that "it was they who made the Greeks acquainted with... Iberia."[7] According to Strabo,[8] prior historians used Iberia to mean the country "this side of the Ἶβηρος (Ibēros)" as far north as the river Rhône in France, but currently they set the Pyrenees as the limit. Polybius respects that limit,[9] but identifies Iberia as the Mediterranean side as far south as Gibraltar, with the Atlantic side having no name. Elsewhere[10] he says that Saguntum is "on the seaward foot of the range of hills connecting Iberia and Celtiberia."

Strabo[11] refers to the Carretanians as people "of the Iberian stock" living in the Pyrenees, who are distinct from either Celts or Celtiberians.

Roman names

According to Charles Ebel, the ancient sources in both Latin and Greek use Hispania and Hiberia (Greek: Iberia) as synonyms. The confusion of the words was because of an overlapping in political and geographic perspectives. The Latin word Hiberia, similar to the Greek Iberia, literally translates to "land of the Hiberians". This word was derived from the river Ebro, which the Romans called Hiberus. Hiber (Iberian) was thus used as a term for peoples living near the river Ebro.[3][12] The first mention in Roman literature was by the annalist poet Ennius in 200 BC.[13][14][15] Virgil refers to the Ipacatos Hiberos ("restless Iberi") in his Georgics.[16] The Roman geographers and other prose writers from the time of the late Roman Republic called the entire peninsula Hispania.

As they became politically interested in the former Carthaginian territories, the Romans began to use the names Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior for 'near' and 'far' Hispania. At the time Hispania was made up of three Roman provinces: Hispania Baetica, Hispania Tarraconensis, and Hispania Lusitania. Strabo says[8] that the Romans use Hispania and Iberia synonymously, distinguishing between the near northern and the far southern provinces. (The name "Iberia" was ambiguous, being also the name of the Kingdom of Iberia in the Caucasus.)

Whatever language may generally have been spoken on the peninsula soon gave way to Latin, except for that of the Vascones, which was preserved as a language isolate by the barrier of the Pyrenees.

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Iberische Halbinsel
Ænglisc: Iberia
azərbaycanca: Pireney yarımadası
Bân-lâm-gú: Iberia Poàn-tó
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Пірэнэйскі паўвостраў
brezhoneg: Ledenez iberek
dolnoserbski: Pyrenejska połkupa
Esperanto: Iberio
føroyskt: Iberianes
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Iberia Pan-tó
hornjoserbsce: Pyrenejska połkupa
Ido: Iberia
Bahasa Indonesia: Iberia
interlingua: Peninsula Iberic
íslenska: Íberíuskagi
Kiswahili: Rasi ya Iberia
Latina: Hiberia
latviešu: Pireneju pussala
Lëtzebuergesch: Iberesch Hallefinsel
Malagasy: Tanjona Iberika
მარგალური: პირენეშ ჩქონი
مازِرونی: ایبری
Bahasa Melayu: Semenanjung Iberia
norsk nynorsk: Pyrenéhalvøya
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Pireney yarim oroli
پنجابی: ایبیریا
Simple English: Iberian Peninsula
slovenščina: Iberski polotok
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Pirinejski poluotok
татарча/tatarça: Пиреней ярымутравы
vepsän kel’: Pirenejan pol'sar'
Tiếng Việt: Bán đảo Iberia