Extremadura

Extremadura (ĕstrəmədŏˈrə) [key], autonomous region (1990 pop. 1,102,319), W central Spain, on the border with Portugal. It was established as an autonomous region in 1983 by the statute of autonomy. A tableland crossed by mountains and by the Tagus (Tajo) and Guadiana rivers, it comprises the provinces of Badajoz and Cáceres. Much of it is poverty-ridden, with poor communications, absentee landlordism, and steady emigration. Wine, olive oil, and cereals are produced through dry farming. Elsewhere, the more rugged terrain serves as winter grazing land for sheep from Castile and León; hogs are also raised in large numbers. Reconquered from the Moors in the 12th and 13th cent., the region was frequently a battlefield in the Spanish wars with Portugal and again in the Peninsular War. Most of Extremadura fell to the Nationalists early in the Spanish civil war. The conquistadors Pizarro and Cortés were born there.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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