Cantabria (/kænˈtæbriə/, /-ˈteɪ-/; Spanish: [kanˈtaβɾja]) is an autonomous community in northern Spain with Santander as its capital city. It is recognized as a historic community and is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community (province of Biscay), on the south by Castile and León (provinces of León, Palencia and Burgos), on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay).
Cantabria belongs to Green Spain, the name given to the strip of land between the Bay of Biscay and the Cantabrian Mountains, so called because of its particularly lush vegetation, due to the wet and moderate oceanic climate. The climate is strongly influenced by Atlantic Ocean winds trapped by the mountains; the average annual precipitation is about 1,200 mm (47 inches).
Cantabria has archaeological sites from the Upper Paleolithic period, although the first signs of human occupation date from the Lower Paleolithic. The most significant site for cave paintings is that in the cave of Altamira, dating from about 37,000 BC and declared, along with nine other Cantabrian caves, as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The modern Province of Cantabria was constituted on 28 July 1778 at Puente San Miguel, Reocín. The Organic Law of the Autonomy Statute of Cantabria was approved on 30 December 1981, giving the region its own institutions of self-government.
|Cantabria (in Spanish)|
|Anthem: Himno a la Montaña|
(in English: Anthem to the Mountain)
Location of Cantabria within Spain
|Formation||574 (Duchy of Cantabria)|
739 (Union with Asturias)
1778 (Province of Cantabria)
1833 (Province of Santander)
1982 (Autonomous Community)
|Statute of Autonomy||1 February 1982|
|• Type||Devolved government in a constitutional monarchy|
|• Body||Gobierno de Cantabria|
|• President||Miguel Ángel Revilla (PRC)|
|• Total||5,321 km2 (2,054 sq mi)|
|Area rank||15th (1.05% of Spain)|
|• Pop. rank||16th|
|• Percent||1.26% of Spain|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|Area code||+34 942 a|
|Statute of Autonomy||January 11, 1982|
|Parliament||Parliament of Cantabria|
|Congress||5 deputies (out of 350)|
|Senate||5 senators (out of 265)|
very high · 9th
|Website||Gobierno de Cantabria|
Numerous authors, including Isidore of Seville, Julio Caro Baroja, Aureliano Fernández Guerra and Adolf Schulten, have explored the etymology of the name Cantabria, yet its origins remain uncertain. It is claimed that the root cant- comes from Celtic for "rock" or "stone", while -abr was a common suffix used in Celtic regions. Thus, Cantabrian could mean "people who live in the rocks" or "highlanders", a reference to the steep and mountainous territory of Cantabria.
The name Cantabria could also be related to the Celtic root "kant" or "cant" meaning edge or rim thus "coastal district," or "corner-land", "land on the edge" thus having the same probable derivation as the name of the English county of Kent.
Cantabria is a mountainous and coastal region, with important natural resources. It has two distinct areas which are well differentiated morphologically:
Towards the south are higher mountains, the tops of which form the watershed between the drainage basins of the Rivers Ebro, Duero and the rivers that flow into the Bay of Biscay. These peaks generally exceed 1,500 m from the Pass of San Glorio in the west to the Pass of Los Tornos in the eastern part: Peña Labra, Castro Valnera and the mountain passes of Sejos, El Escudo and La Sía. The great limestone masses of Picos de Europa also stand out in the southwest of the region: most of their summits exceed 2,500 m, and their topography is shaped by the former presence of glaciers.
Due to the gulf stream, Cantabria, as well as the rest of "Green Spain", has a much more temperate climate than might be expected for its latitude, which is comparable to that of Oregon. The region has a humid oceanic climate, with warm summers and mild winters. Annual precipitation is around 1,200 mm at the coasts and higher in the mountains. The mean temperature is about 14 °C (57.2 °F). Snow is frequent in higher zones of Cantabria between the months of October and March. Some zones of Picos de Europa, over 2,500 metres high, have an alpine climate with snow persisting year round. The driest months are July and August. The mountainous relief of Cantabria has a dominant effect on local microclimate in Cantabria. It is the main cause of the peculiar meteorologic situations like the so-called "suradas" (Ábrego wind), due to the foehn effect: the southerly wind coming down from the mountains blows strongly and dry, increasing the temperature closer to the coast. This causes a decrease in air humidity and rainfall. These conditions are more frequent in autumn and winter, and the temperatures are commonly higher than 20 °C (68 °F). Fires are often helped by this type of wind: one example is the fire that destroyed part of the city of Santander in the winter of 1941. In these specific cases in the southern part of the mountain range the dry adiabatic gradient produces different conditions to the rest of the region: the wind there is fresher and more humid, and there is more rain.
The rivers of Cantabria are short and rapid, descending steeply because the sea is so close to their source in the Cantabrian Mountains. They flow perpendicular to the coastline, except for the Ebro. They also generally flow year round due to constant rainfall. Nevertheless, the rate of flow is modest (20 m³/s annual average) compared to the other rivers of the Iberian peninsula. The rapidness of their waters, caused by their steep descents, gives them great erosive power, creating the narrow V-shaped valleys characteristic of Green Spain. The environmental condition of the rivers is generally good, although increasing human activity due to rising population in the valleys continues to pose a challenge.
The main rivers of the region, sorted by drainage basin, are:
Cantabria is the only autonomous community whose rivers flow into every one of the seas which surround the Iberian Peninsula: The Cantabrian Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
The variation in the altitude of the region, which in a short distance ranges from sea level to 2,600 meters in the mountains, leads to a great deal of diversity in vegetation and a large number of biomes. Cantabria has vegetation typical of the Atlantic side of the Iberian Peninsula. It is characterized by forests of leafy deciduous trees such as oak and European beech. Nevertheless, human intervention dating back to ancient times has favored the creation of pastures, allowing the existence of large areas of grassland and prairies suitable for grazing cattle. These grasslands are mingled with plantations of eucalyptus and native oak. The southern part of Cantabria, including the comarca of Campoo the fringes of the Castilian plateau, is characterized by the transition to drier vegetation. Another diversifying factor which contributes to local variation within the region is the Mediterranean ecotone, giving rise to species unique to the region, such as the Holm Oak and arbutus trees, which are found in poor limestone soils with little moisture.
In Cantabria there are several zones of plant life:
During the last two decades of the 20th century, and due mainly to European agricultural policies (CAP), many farmers were forced to substitute forestry for livestock farming, so as to avoid unemployment and poverty.[n 1] This provoked a surge of eucalyptus - see Eucalyptus article on Spanish Wikipedia - plantations (and to a less extent of Pines) which often hid the illegal destruction of native forests, just as the spread of livestock farming had done in the past by the endemic conversion of forest into prairie. These acts have been laxly controlled by the local councils or the central governments, in a process that clearly follows the saying: "Pan para hoy, hambre para mañana" (which translates as: "short-term gain, long-term pain").
The plantation of pines has given way in the last decades to that of eucalyptus due to the fact this non-indigenous species has no natural attacker within the European ecosystem (while pines are highly vulnerable to the Pine Processionary).
Both in relative and absolute terms the use of woods for forestry has increased in Cantabria, and is now almost 70% of all woods in the region.
Along with these characteristics it would also be necessary to mention peculiarities of the comarca of Liébana, which has a microclimate very similar to the Mediterranean, allowing to grow cork oaks, vines and olives, and which is still very well conserved from human activity. The other remarkable comarca is Campoo, in southern Cantabria, with its Pyrenean Oak.
The most important of these is the Picos de Europa National Park, which affects Castile and León and Asturias in addition to Cantabria, the three autonomous communities sharing its management. Santoña, Victoria and Joyel marshes are also Special Protection Areas for the birds (ZEPA).
Furthermore, nine Sites of Community Importance (LIC) have been declared: Western Mountain, Eastern Mountain, Western Rias and Oyambre Dunes, Dunes of Liencres and Estuary of the Pas, El Puntal Dunes and Estuary of the Miera, Ria de Ajo, Marshes of Noja-Santoña, Escudo de Cabuérniga Range and several caves with important bat colonies.
According to the 2009 census, the region has a population of 591,886 which constitutes 1.29% of the population of Spain, with the population density numbering 106.8 people per kilometer. The average life expectancy for male inhabitants is 75 years; for female inhabitants, it is 83 years.
In relative contrast to other regions of Spain, Cantabria has not experienced much immigration. In 2007, only 4.7% of the population were immigrants. The predominant countries of origin for immigrants to Cantabria are Colombia, Romania, Ecuador, Peru, Moldova, and Morocco.
The majority of the population resides in the coastal area, particularly in two cities: Santander, with 183,000 people, and Torrelavega, the second largest urban and industrial centre in Cantabria, having a population of around 60,000. These two cities form a conurbation known as the Santander-Torrelavega metropolitan area. Castro Urdiales has an official population of 28,542, making it the fourth largest in the region because of its proximity to the Bilbao metropolitan area, there are a large number of people not registered in Castro Urdiales, and the true count may be double the official figure.
The most important municipalities of Cantabria are the following:
The first written reference to the name Cantabria emerges around 195 BC, in which the historian Cato the Elder speaks in his book Origines about the source of the Ebro River in the country of the Cantabri:
...The Ebro River starts in the land of the Cantabri, large and beautiful, with abundant fish...— Cato the Elder, Origines: VII[n 2]
There are about 150 references to Cantabria or the Cantabri in surviving Greek and Latin texts. The Cantabri were used as mercenaries in various conflicts, both within the Iberian Peninsula and elsewhere. It is certain that they participated the Second Punic War, from references by Silius Italicus and Horace. When C. Hostilius Mancinus was besieging Numantia, he withdrew upon learning that Cantabri and Vaccaei were present among his auxiliaries. The Cantabrian Wars began in 29 BC. They were defeated by Agrippa with great slaughter in 19 BC, but they revolted again under Tiberius and were never entirely subdued.
In older geographers, the term Cantabria referred to an expansive country bounded by the Cantabrian Sea (the Bay of Biscay), the western side of the Sella valley in Asturias, the hillfort of Peña Amaya in Burgos, and along the Aguera River almost as far as Castro Urdiales. It thus included areas of Asturias, Santander, Biscay, and Guipuzcoa. Following the Roman conquest of Spain, however, it was restricted to the area of Santander and eastern Asturias, forming a part of Hispania Tarraconensis ("Tarragonan Spain"). The principal tribes of the area were the Pleutauri, the Varduli, the Autrigones, the Tuisi, and the Conisci or Concaui, who were known for feeding on their horses' blood.[n 3] The area was well settled, with the largest city being Juliobriga, and the local mountains exploited for lead mines.
Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, Cantabria regained its independence from the rule of the Visigoths. In 574, King Liuvigild attacked Cantabria and managed to capture the south of the country, including the city of Amaya, where he established a Visigothic province called the Duchy of Cantabria (see picture), which would serve as a limes or frontier zone to contain the Cantabri as well as their neighbors the Vascones. To the north of this cordon, however, the Cantabri continued to live independently until the Arab invasion. In 714, a mixed Arab/Berber army of Muslim Moors invaded the upper valleys of the Ebro and succeeded in capturing Amaya, the Cantabrian capital, forcing the Cantabrians back to their traditional frontiers, where they joined forces with the Kingdom of Asturias. In the first chronicles of the Reconquista, Cantabria still appears to be acknowledged as a region. In the Albendense Chronicle, when speaking of Alfonso I, it says, "This was the son of Peter, the duke of Cantabria".[n 4]
During the 9th century, on mentioning the monastery of Saint Zacharias, Eulogius pinpoints it in Seburim (maybe Zubiri) on the river Arga, "waters all of Cantabria", in a letter sent to the bishop of Pamplona Williesind, suggesting a region stretching out far into the east. From this period on, source documents barely reference Cantabria by name, with Asturias featuring in names of the comarcas called Asturias de Santillana, Asturias de Trasmiera and Asturias de Laredo.
From a central core formed by the Hermandad de las Cuatro Villas (Brotherhood of the Four Cities) (Santander, Laredo, Castro Urdiales and San Vicente de la Barquera), the Hermandad de las Marismas (Brotherhood of the Marshes) was created, thereby uniting all the important seaports to the East of Asturias. During the period of the Reconquista, the Four Cities actively participated in the re-settling of Andalusia, dispatching men and ships. The coastal port cities of Cádiz and El Puerto de Santa María were settled by families from the Cantabrian Sea ports. Ships from the Four Cities took part in the taking of Seville, destroying the ship bridge linking Triana and Sevilla, a victory that is represented by the Carrack and the Torre del Oro of Sevilla in the coat of arms of Santander, Coat of arms of Cantabria and Avilés (Asturias).
In the 16th century, the name La Montaña (The Mountain) was widespread in popular usage and in literature, as a designation of the Ancient Cantabria, as opposed to Castile, which referred solely to the Central Plateau. This distinction has survived into modern times.
With the rise of the Catholic Monarchs, the Brethren of the Marshes disappeared, leaving the Coregiment of the Four Villas, which included the whole area of influence of the old Brethren of the Four Villas (almost all of Cantabria). During the Ancien Régime, the greatest jurisdictional lordships of Cantabria were mainly under the control of three of the Grandee families of Spain: that of Mendoza (Dukes of Infantado, Marquises of Santillana), of Manrique de Lara (Marquises of Aguilar de Campoo, Counts of Castañeda), and to a lesser extent that of Velasco (Dukes of Frías, Constables of Castile).
From the 16th century on, there was renewed interest in studying Cantabria and the Cantabri, particularly concerning the precise location of the territory that this people had occupied. It was not until the 18th century that the debate about the location and size of Ancient Cantabria was settled in a series of works which described the history of the history of the region such as La Cantabria by the Augustinian father and historian Enrique Flórez de Setién. Concurrent with the resurgence of this interest in the Cantabrians and the clarification of the aforementioned polemic, many institutions, organizations and jurisdictions in the mountainous territory received the name of "Cantabrian" or "of Cantabria".
In 1727, the first attempt to unify what would later become the Province of Cantabria occurred. Despite this, the high level of autonomy that the small entities of the fractured estate of Cantabria enjoyed, combined with a lack of resources, continued to be the main reason for Cantabria's weakness, aggravated by the progressive advance of the Bourbonic centralism and its administrative efficiency. The latter continually emphasised the impossibility of the smaller territories facing a multitude of problems on their own: from communications to the exercise of justice, from putting aside adequate reserves for hard times to the indiscriminate levees for soldiers, and above all the progression of fiscal impositions. All of this led to an acceleration of contact between villas, valleys and jurisdictions, which tended to focus on the Assemblies of the Provinces of the Nine Valleys, led by the deputies elected by the traditional entities of self-government.
There were two events that triggered the culmination of the integration process in this second attempt:
In this General Assembly a framework was established and formal steps began to be taken, leading to administrative and legal unity in 1778. This all culminated in the success of the Assembly held in the Assembly House of Puente San Miguel on July 28, 1778, where the Province of Cantabria was constituted. It was achieved by passing the common ordinances which had been developed to that end, and which had been discussed and approved previously in councils of all the villas, valleys and subscribed jurisdictions. They were, in addition to the Nine Valleys: Rivadedeva, Peñamellera, the Province of Liébana, Peñarrubia, Lamasón, Rionansa, the Villa of San Vicente de la Barquera, Coto de Estrada, Valdáliga, the Villa of Santillana del Mar, Lugar de Viérnoles, the Villa of Cartes and environs, the Valley of Buelna, the Valley of Cieza, the Valley of Iguña with the Villas of San Vicente and Los Llares, the Villa of Pujayo, the Villa of Pie de Concha y Bárcena, the Valley of Anievas, and the Valley of Toranzo.
Having learned lessons from the failed attempt of 1727, the first objective of the new entity was to obtain approval from King Charles III for the union of all the Cantabrian jurisdictions into one province. The royal ratification was granted on 22 November 1779.
The 28 jurisdictions that initially comprised the Province of Cantabria were clear in their intention that all the other jurisdictions that formed the Party and Baton of the Four Villas of the Coast should be included in the new province. To this end they set out the steps needed for this to happen as soon as those jurisdictions should request it. They would have to abide by the ordinances, having the same rights and duties as the founders, all on an equal footing. Thus, the following joined in quick succession: the Abbey of Santillana, the Valleys of Tudanca, Polaciones, Herrerías, Castañeda, the Villa of Torrelavega and environs, Val de San Vicente, Valle de Carriedo, Tresviso, and the Pasiegan Villas of La Vega, San Roque and San Pedro, as well as the city of Santander with its abbey.
Competition between the townships of Laredo and Santander led to the latter, having initially allowed the name of Cantabria for the province created at the beginning of the 19th century, later retracting its consent and demanding that it bear the name of Santander, so there would be no doubt as to which was the capital. When in 1821 the Provincial Council presented before the constitutional Courts its definitive plan for the provincial borders and legal entities, it proposed the name of Province of Cantabria, to which the Township of Santander replied that "this province must retain the name of Santander". However, many newspapers still showed in their headings the name of Cantabria, or Cantabrian.
During the War of Independence (1808–1814), Bishop Rafael Tomás Menéndez de Luarca, a strong defender of absolutism, promoted himself as the "Regent of Cantabria" and established the Cantabrian Armaments in Santander, a section of the army whose purpose was to travel to all the mountain passes from the Central Plateau to detain any French troop.
Although defeated, he managed later to regroup in Liébana under the command of General Juan Díaz Porlier, calling his forces the Cantabrian Division, in which there were various regiments and battalions, such as the Hussars of Cantabria (cavalry) or the Shooters of Cantabria (infantry). During the Carlist wars they formed a unit called the Cantabrian Brigade.
The use of terms with ancestral resonance through the 18th and 19th centuries continued during the 20th century, taking on a political tone that was distinctly regionalist, until 1936. In fact, the Republican Federal Party produced an autonomy statute for a Cantabrian-Castilian Federal State that year, which would include present-day Cantabria and any neighbouring areas from Castile and Asturias willing to join it. It could not be passed because of the Civil War. Following the war and the subsequent marginalization of such efforts under the Francoists regime, the use of the name of Cantabria decreased, to the point that for official purposes it was relegated to sports associations, the only arena in which Cantabria was noted as a region. Like other northern regions of Spain, it is less well known to foreign visitors.
In 1963, the president of the Provincial Council, Pedro Escalante y Huidobro, proposed reapplying the name of Cantabria to the Province of Santander, as suggested in an academic report written by the historian Tomás Maza Solano. Although further steps were taken and many of the townships were in favour of the move, the petition did not succeed, mostly due to the opposition of Santander City Council. On 30 December 1981, a process that had been started in April 1979 by the Council of Cabezón de la Sal, under the presidency of Ambrosio Calzada Hernández, culminated in the granting of self-rule to Cantabria, outlined in Article 143 of the Spanish Constitution. Cantabria based its claim to autonomy on the constitutional precept that made provision for self-government for "provinces with a historic regional character".
A Mixed Assembly formed out of provincial deputies and national members of parliament began the task of drawing up an Autonomy Statute on 10 September 1979. Following the approval of the General Courts on 15 December 1981, the King of Spain signed the corresponding Organic Law of Autonomy Statute for Cantabria on December 30 of the same year. Thus, the province of Santander broke its link to Castile, and left the former region of Castile and León to which it had belonged up to that time, together with the provinces of Ávila, Burgos, León, Logroño, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid and Zamora.
On 20 February 1982, the first Regional Assembly (now Parliament) was formed, with provisional status. From this time, the former province of Santander has been known as Cantabria and has thereby regained its historic name. The first home-rule elections were held in May 1983. The 4th Legislature (1995–1999) brought into effect the first great reform of the Autonomy Statute of Cantabria, approved by all the parliamentary groups.
The Autonomy Statute of Cantabria of 30 December 1981, established that Cantabria has in its institutions the desire to respect fundamental rights and public freedom, at the same time as consolidating and stimulating regional development through democratic channels. This document gathers all competences of the Autonomous Community that were transferred from the Government of Spain. As in other Autonomous Communities, some competences were not transferred, for example, Justice. The Statute also defines the symbols that should represent the region: The flag, the coat of arms and the anthem of Cantabria.
The Parliament of Cantabria is the principal self-government institution of the Autonomous Community, being the representative body of the Cantabrians. Presently it is constituted by thirty-nine deputies elected by universal, equal, free, direct and secret suffrage. The primary functions of the Parliament are: to exercise the legislative power, to approve the budgets of the Autonomous Community, to motivate and control the actions of the government, and to develop the rest of the competences that the Spanish Constitution, the Autonomy Statute and the rest of the legal order bestow on it. The President of the Autonomous Community holds the highest representation of the Community and ordinary representation of the Country in Cantabria, and presides over the Government, coordinating its activities.
The Government of Cantabria is the body in charge of directing the political activities and exercising the executive and regulatory powers according to the Constitution, the Statute and the laws. The Government is made up of the President, the Vicepresident (in which the President can delegate his executive functions and representations) and the Councillors, who are appointed and ceased by the President.
After several legislatures presided by the Partido Popular or by Juan Hormaechea's UPCA, the Regional Government of Cantabria was directed by a coalition of the Regionalist Party of Cantabria and Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) from year 2003 until 2011. The President was Miguel Ángel Revilla of Partido Regionalista de Cantabria (PRC), and the Vice President was Dolores Gorostiaga of the PSOE. As a result of the absolute majority of the Partido Popular in the regional elections of 2011, the president from 2011 to 2015 was Ignacio Diego Palacios, and the Vice President was also the healthcare Councillor, Maria José Sáenz de Buruaga. After the 2015 regional elections, Miguel Ángel Revilla of Partido Regionalista de Cantabria (PRC) was invested president for a third tenure with the support of PSOE.
There are 102 municipalities in Cantabria generally comprising several townships, and from these, several districts. A number of municipalities bear the name of one of their townships (be it its capital or not), but not all them do. Each municipality is governed by its own city or municipal council, and two of them, Tresviso and Pesquera, do it by concejo abierto (open council), having fewer than 250 inhabitants.
The Mancomunidad Campoo-Cabuérniga is not a municipality, but a communal property, singular for its size and characteristics, of shared management between the municipalities of Hermandad de Campoo de Suso, Cabuérniga, Los Tojos and Ruente. This mountain estate is used as a grazing ground for Tudanca cattle and also for horses in less amount, in its brañas or grass prairies, and even nowadays transhumant cattle farming traditions survive in this region.
The Cantabrian legislation divides the autonomous community in administrative regions called comarcas, but traditionally, other subdivisions of the territory have been used.
Law 8/1999 of Comarcas of the Autonomous Community of Cantabria of 28 April 1999 establishes that the comarca is a necessary entity, integral in the territorial organization of the region. This law opens the development of the comarcalization in Cantabria promoting the creation of comarcal entities, which have barely begun to appear. The law establishes that the creation of comarcas will not become mandatory for the whole territory until at least the 70% of it had not been comarcalized by its own will. It also adds that Santander will not ruled by comarcalization and should establish its own metropolitan area instead.
Comarcas in Cantabria have not reached administrative nature and barely have definite borders. Only Liébana for its geographic position in Picos de Europa, Trasmiera and Campoo, in the Ebro basin are established are clearly defined comarcas in the region. Nevertheless, functional differences in the territory can be distinguished, dividing it in the following areas: Santander Bay, of industrial and urban nature; Besaya, also industrial; Saja-Nansa, eminently rural; Western Coast, which has urban character; Eastern Coast, vacational; the traditionally renowned Trasmiera; rural Pas-Miera; Asón-Agüera, also mainly rural; the very well defined Liébana, and Campoo-Los Valles, rural and industrial by regions.
Until the 13th century, Cantabria was organized in valleys, as was typical in all of northern Spain. From then on, it was substituted by the organization in cities, towns or historic comarcas that grouped several valleys.
The economy of Cantabria has primary industry, now in decline, employing 5.8% of the active population in the sectors of cattle farming, traditional dairy farming, and meat production; agriculture, especially corn, potatoes, vegetables, and roughage; maritime fishing; and the mining of zinc and quarries.
The secondary industry which employs 30.3% of the active population is the sector with the most productivity in recent years due to construction; that of ironworking (being Reinosa the most important city), food service (milk, meat, vegetables and seafood), chemistry (Solvay, Sniace), paper production (Sinace, Papelera del Besaya), textile fabrication (Textil Santanderina in Cabezón de la Sal), pharmacy (Moehs in Requejada), industrial groups and transport, etc. The service sector employs 63.8% of the active population and is increasing, given that large concentrations of the population live in the urban centers and the importance that tourism has acquired in the recent years. As of July 2014, the unemployment rate in Cantabria is 19.3%, compared to 24.47% in Spain; while as of April 2010 its purchasing power parity was €25,326, compared to €26,100 in Spain and €25,100 in the EU25. In 2007, Cantabria's growth of real GDP was 4.1%, compared to a 3.9% average for Spain.
The most significant consequence of the strong relief of the Cantabrian territory is the existence of topographic barriers that condition decisively the courses of the linking infrastructures, as much in the north-south orientation in the accesses to the Castilian Mesa, as in the east-west in the communication between valleys. Moreover, the cost of their construction and maintenance is much higher than average.
The main communications infrastructures of the region are:
In Cantabria, there are two daily regional newspapers in addition to the national ones: El Diario Montañés and Alerta, as well as many weekly, fortnightly and monthly publications. The main national radio stations have transmitter stations in places like Santander, Torrelavega, Castro-Urdiales, or Reinosa. There are also numerous local and regional stations. For the moment, there is no Cantabrian autonomic television with public financing, although some local channels exist (including Canal 8 DM, TeleBahía, Telecabarga, Localia TV Cantabria, etc.). In recent years, the Internet has allowed new informative proposals to emerge in the shape of digital diaries or blogs, which contribute to enrich the mediatic panorama of the region.
Spanish is the official language of Cantabria. The eastern part of Cantabria contributed to the origins of Castilian Spanish in a significant way. In the western part there are remnants of the Cantabrian language, or "mountain language", and it is also somewhat preserved in parts of the Pas and Soba valleys in its eastern zone. This language has neither regulation nor official recognition in Cantabria.
Regarding the fairs, understood as big markets of products periodically celebrated, it is remarkable the Livestock Fair of Torrelavega taking place in the National Livestock Market "Jesús Collado Soto", the third biggest of Spain, that groups the buy and sell of all kinds of cattle in the region itself and the adjacent ones, being the bovine the main product. All over the region cattle and typical products fairs are celebrated weekly, monthly, or annually to gather the neighbours of the land. There are many different festivities in Cantabria, some of them limited just to small villages, but there are also festivals that attract tourism from all over the country. The most important are the following:
The following festivals are also remarkable in modern Cantabrian culture: Santander International Festival (Arts festival), Santander Summer Festival (Music festival), Sotocine (Film festival)
The north of the Spanish state is a rich area for mythology. From Galicia to the Basque Country, passing by Asturias and Cantabria, there are rites, stories and imaginary or impossible beings (or maybe not so).
Cantabrian lore turns its forests and mountains into magical places where the myths, beliefs and legends have been present as an essential part of the Cantabrian culture, either because they have been living in the popular heritage through the oral tradition transmitted from father to son, or because they have been recovered by scholars (Manuel Llano and others) who have worried about preserving the cultural heritage. Its mythology and superstitions present a great Celtic influence that has diluted with the pass of time, being romanized or Christianized in many cases.
There is a heavy presence of fabulous beings of giant proportions and cyclopean features (the ojáncanos), fantastic animals (culebres, caballucos del diablu (lit. horses of the devil, damselflies), ramidrejus, etc.), færies (anjanas, ijanas of Aras), duendes (nuberos, ventolines, trentis, trasgus, trastolillos, musgosu, tentiruju), anthropomorphic characters (the sirenuca (little mermaid), the fish-man, the cuegle, the wife-bear of Andara, the guajona), etc.
The traditional sport of Cantabria is the game of bolos (skittles) in its four forms: bolo palma, pasabolo tablón, pasabolo losa and bolo pasiego. The first one is the most widespread, exceeding regional nature and reaching the eastern zone of Asturias and also being the most complex in its game rules. The existence of boleras or skittle rings is important in every Cantabrian township, often being near the church or the village pub. Since the late 1980s, skittle play has consolidated with the reinforcement of skittle schools, revamped by different town councils and Cantabrian institutions, various competitions, and media coverage.
The remo (rowing) is a very traditional sport in the coastal towns. The origins of rowing in Cantabria go back many centuries, when several traineras (traditional fishing longboats) competed for the selling of the caught fish, which was reserved for the first ship to arrive to the fish market. At the end of the 19th century, work became sport and people started to celebrate regattas between Cantabrian townships. The sport clubs of Cantabria, especially the Astillero, Castro Urdiales, and the Pedreña belong to the most prize-winning teams of the history of this sport, and nowadays they are having one of the best moments after a decades-long period of trophy drought.
The Pasiegan jump is another of the outstanding rural sports of the region and a clear example of how the use of a work skill that disappears with the pass of time, gives rise to games and competition. Similar to other forms, like the Canarian shepherd jump, in the beginning this technique was used in the Pasiegan valleys to cross the stone walls, the fences, the creeks or the ravines that bordered the fields and obstructed the pass in the abrupt geography of the highland areas of Cantabria.
Referring to mass sports, Cantabria is present in national and international competitions through teams such as the Racing de Santander, the RS Gimnástica de Torrelavega and the Cantabria autonomous football team in football or the Independiente RC in rugby union. The Club Balonmano Cantabria that won Leagues and King's Cups as well as IHF Super Globe, EHF Champions League, EHF Cup Winners' Cup and EHF Cup in handball or the Cantabria Lobos that played in the ACB in basketball represented the highest level of the Cantabrian sport in the recent past.
Cantabria has been the birthplace of exceptional and notable individuals in fields such as literature, arts, sciences, etc. Many of them have played a decisive role, not only in the history and events of the region, but also on the national and international levels. These include:
Camargo (Camargu, in Cantabrian) is a municipality in the province and autonomous community of Cantabria, northern Spain. Its capital is Muriedas.Cave del Valle (Cantabria)
Cave del Valle (Spanish: Cueva del Valle, The Valley's Cave), locally also known as La Viejarrona (Old Girl), is located near El Cerro Village in the municipality of Rasines in Cantabria, northern Spain. The cave is the source of the Silencio River, a tributary of the Rio Ruahermosa, which in turn is a tributary of the Asón River. Notable for its prehistoric, but particularly for its speleologic significance as it is recognized as one of the longest cavities in the world. The site is very popular among cavers, who have explored a total of over 60 km (37.28 mi) so far.Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain
Under the name Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain (Cueva de Altamira y arte rupestre paleolítico del Norte de España) are grouped 18 caves of northern Spain, which together represent the apogee of Upper Paleolithic cave art in Europe between 35,000 and 11,000 years ago (Aurignacian, Gravettian, Solutrean, Magdalenian, Azilian).
They have been collectively designated a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2008.
Chief among these caves is Altamira, located within the town of Santillana del Mar in Cantabria. It remains one of the most important painting cycles of prehistory, originating in the Magdalenian and Solutrean periods of the Upper Paleolithic. This cave's artistic style represents the Franco-cantabrian school, characterized by the realism of its figural representation. Altamira Cave was declared a World Heritage Site in 1985.
In 2008 the World Heritage Site was expanded to include 17 additional caves located in three autonomous regions of northern Spain: Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country.Cave of Chufín
The cave of Chufín located in the town of Riclones in Cantabria (Spain). It is located in the place of confluence of the Lamasón and Nansa rivers in an environment with steep slopes where there are several caves with rock art. It is one of the caves included in the list of World Heritage of UNESCO since July 2008, within the site «Cave of Altamira and Paleolithic Cave Art of Northern Spain».
It was discovered by the photographer Manuel de Cos Borbolla, natural of Rabago (Cantabria)
In Chufín found different levels of occupation, the oldest being around 20000 years old. The cave, small size, has some deep sentillez subtle engravings and paintings from red deer, goats and cattle that are represented very schematically.
It also found a large number of symbols. One group, called type "sticks", accompanies the paintings inside animals. There is also a large number of drawings using points (puntillaje), including one which has been interpreted as a representation of a vulva.Caves in Cantabria
The Cantabrian caves' unique location make them an ideal place to observe the settlements of early humans thousands of years ago. The magnificent art in the caves includes figures of various animals of the time such as bison, horses, goats, deer, cattle, hands and other paintings. Archaeologists have found remains of animals such as bears, the remains of arrows and other material indicating a human presence; these artifacts are now found mostly in the Regional Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria.Costa de Cantabria
Costa de Cantabria is a Spanish geographical indication for vino de la tierra wines located in the autonomous region of Cantabria, on the north coast of Spain. Vino de la tierra is one step below the mainstream denominación de origen indication on the Spanish wine quality ladder.
The area covered by this geographical indication comprises the municipalities in Cantabria located between the Atlantic or Cantabrian Sea coast and the Picos de Europa mountain range. It specifically excludes the municipalities already covered by the Liébana Vino de la Tierra geographic indication.
The vineyards are located mainly in the municipalities of Valle de Villaverde, Vidular, Bárcena de Cicero and Esles.
It acquired its Vino de la Tierra status in 2005.Divisiones Regionales de Fútbol in Cantabria
The Divisiones Regionales de Fútbol in the Cantabria, are organized by Cantabrian Football Federation:
Regional Preferente (Level 5)
Primera Regional (Level 6)
Segunda Regional (Level 7)Duchy of Cantabria
The Duchy of Cantabria (Spanish: Ducado de Cantabria, Cantabrian: Ducáu de Cantabria) was a march created by the Visigoths in northern Spain to watch their border with the Cantabrians and Basques. Its precise extension is unclear in the different periods, but seems likely that it included Cantabria, parts of Northern Castile, La Rioja, and probably western areas of Biscay and Álava.
The two main towns of Cantabria before its conquest by the Goths were Amaya (in northern Burgos) and the City of Cantabria, believed to have been near modern Logroño. Both towns were destroyed in 574 by Liuvigild, who massacred many of their inhabitants. The legend of this destruction remained for long in the memory of the affected peoples. Bishop Braulio of Zaragoza (631-651) wrote in his Life of St. Emilianus how the saint prophesied the destruction of Cantabria because of their alleged sins. It is held in popular belief that the converted refugees from the City of Cantabria founded the monastery of Our Lady of Codés in Navarre.
A Senate of Cantabria mentioned in the Saint Aemilianus' work bears witness to a local nobility and a governing diet that may have been of the last independent Hispano-Roman provincial authorities. Some names are provided too, such as autochthonous Sicorius or Tuentius, with no clear ethnic affiliation, and Latin names Honorius and Nepotianus.In 581, right before major Frankish expeditions against the Basques and the establishment of the Duchy of Vasconia under Frank suzerainty, the count of Bordeaux Galactorius is cited by the poet Venantius Fortunatus as fighting both the Basques and the Cantabrians, while the Chronicle of Fredegar brings up a shadowy Francio duke of Cantabria ruling for a long period some time before Sisebut's successful campaigns against Basques and Cantabrians. Archaeological discoveries in the last decades around the millennium have brought to light that the cultural and economic influences, and even small groups of people in the near Basque territory once part of the duchy or limiting with it, came from way beyond the Pyrenees during this time gap of political vacuum or at the best, uncertain authority.In the late Visigothic period, at a second stage after the 6th century Cantabrian defeat, the Duchy of Cantabria is attested as being a buffer zone bearing witness to continuous fighting between Visigoths and Basques. In 670, the Visigothic king Wamba was campaigning there against the Basques when he heard of a rebellion in Septimania. Notice of a certain duke Peter of Cantabria, father of Alfonso I of Asturias, is attested on 9th century Asturian documents for the first years of the Umayyad conquest of Hispania.Himno a la Montaña
Himno a la Montaña (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈimno a la monˈtaɲa], "Hymn to the Mountain"), or Himno de Cantabria ("Anthem of Cantabria"), is the official anthem of the Spanish autonomous community of Cantabria. It was composed in 1926 by Juan Guerrero Urresti at the behest of the then Provincial Council of Santander (Diputación Provincial de Santander) and subsequent arrangements by José del Río Sainz, in the region's official anthem.Laredo, Cantabria
Laredo (Spanish pronunciation: [laˈɾeðo]) is a town in the autonomous community of Cantabria. According to the 2008 census (INE), the municipality has a population of 12,648 inhabitants. In addition to Laredo, the municipality includes the villages of La Arenosa, El Callejo, Las Cárcobas, Las Casillas, La Pesquera, Tarrueza and Villante. Except from the last two, the other villages had been physically integrated into Laredo.
Located between the cities of Santander and Bilbao, Laredo is known in the region and nationally for "La Salvé", its 5 km long beach (7 km at high tide) and for the historic part of town dating back to Roman times. Its festivities in August are also well known due to the main event that occurs every year on the last Friday of August, known as la batalla de flores (the battle of the flowers), during which large floats entirely covered with flowers and petals are paraded along the central streets.
In Laredo (and many other cities in Spain) it is tradition for a group of men to parade a giant sardine through town at the end of carnival. At the end of this ritual, called Entierro de la Sardina ("burial of the sardine"), the sardine is burned on the beach after a fireworks display.List of islands of Spain
Spain has a claim to sovereignty over a few small islands in the Pacific Ocean including Kapingamarangi. A commission of cardinals under Pope Leo XIII arbitrated a dispute for the Caroline Islands and others extending from the Equator to 11°N Latitude and from 133°E to 164°E Longitude. Germany and Spain on 17 December 1885 agreed in a treaty that they were a part of the Spanish East Indies. In 1899, Spain sold "las Carolinas" to Germany after Spain's defeat in the Spanish–American War. Japan invaded in World War II, and afterwards the islands were administered as part of the U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, with the Federated States of Micronesia gaining independence in 1986. Kapingamarangi is far south of the Carolines and the people are racially and culturally Polynesian, not Micronesian. In 1948, Emilio Pastor Santos of the Spanish National Research Council found that the charts and maps up to 1899 had shown that Kapingamarangi and a few other islands had never been considered part of the Carolines, were not included in the description of the territory transferred to Germany and were never ceded by Spain; therefore, Spain retained sovereignty. In 1949, the Cabinet of Diplomatic Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the following declaration:
"The Ministry recognises that it is a certain fact and historic truth due to Article 3 of the Treaty of July 1, 1899, that Spain reserved a series of rights in Micronesia and for another thing, the specifications of the territories which Spain ceded in 1899 leaves apart certain groups of islands in the same zone."
Successive Spanish governments have not abandoned Spain's sovereignty, insisted on enforcing it, or recognized the sovereignty of the Federated States of Micronesia over Kapingamarangi.Regionalist Party of Cantabria
The Regionalist Party of Cantabria (Spanish: Partido Regionalista de Cantabria, PRC) is the second oldest political party in the Spanish Autonomous Community of Cantabria. The PRC originated in the Association in Defense of the Interests of Cantabria (ADIC), founded on 14 May 1976, with the objective of promoting Cantabrian autonomy.SS Cantabria (1919)
SS Cantabria was a Spanish cargo ship which was sunk in a military action of the Spanish Civil War, off the coast of Norfolk 12 miles ENE of Cromer on 2 November 1938. The ship was shelled by the Spanish Nationalist auxiliary cruiser Nadir, which was part of General Franco's navy.Santander, Spain
The port city of Santander (UK: , US: ; Spanish: [santanˈdeɾ]; Cántabru: Sanander) is the capital of the autonomous community and historical region of Cantabria situated on the north coast of Spain. Located east of Gijón and west of Bilbao, the city has a population of 172,000 (2017). Santander houses the headquarters of multinational bank Banco Santander, and is the location of the founding of the namesake company.Santoña
Santoña is a town in the eastern coast of the autonomous community of Cantabria, on the north coast of Spain. It is situated by the bay of the same name. It is 45 kilometres (28 mi) from the capital Santander. Santoña is divided into two zones, an urban plain, and a mountainous area, with Mount Buciero at its eastern limit, and Brusco and the beach of Berria to the north. The beach of San Martin comprises its south limit and the fishing harbor and marsh area its western limit.Soba, Cantabria
Soba is a municipality located in the autonomous community of Cantabria, Spain.Torrelavega
Torrelavega is a municipality and important industrial and commercial hub in the single province Autonomous Community of Cantabria in northern Spain.
It is situated roughly 8 kilometres from the Cantabrian Coast and 27.5 kilometres from the capital of the Autonomous Community, Santander, half way between the Principality of Asturias and the Basque Country. The rivers Saja and Besaya flow through the city.
It is the capital of the comarca (county, but with no administrative role) of Valle del Besaya which includes also composed of the municipalities of Suances, Polanco, Cartes, Los Corrales de Buelna, Cieza, Arenas de Iguña, Bárcena de Pie de Concha, Molledo, Anievas and San Felices de Buelna.
Its highest point is 606 metres and its lowest point is 12 metres.
Torrelavega is a regional center for industry and transport, and its weekly livestock fair is famous in Spain. Its stadium is known as El Malecon. The Cave of Altamira, famed for the prehistoric paintings found inside, is about 10 kilometers northwest of the city.University of Cantabria
University of Cantabria (UC) (Spanish: Universidad de Cantabria), is a public university located in Santander, Torrelavega and Comillas in Cantabria, Spain. It was founded in 1972 and is organized in 15 schools and colleges.
It was selected as Campus of International Excellence by the Government of Spain in 2009. The UC is part, as a founding member, of the Group 9 of Spanish Universities (G9), created in 1997 with the aim of promoting collaboration between academic institutions.
The University of Cantabria first appeared in the Academic Ranking of World Universities in 2013 in the range of 151-200 best universities in the world in the field of Physics.
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