Castile (historical region)

Castile (/kæˈstiːl/; Spanish: Castilla [kasˈtiʎa]) is a historical region of Spain divided between Old Castile and New Castile.[1] The area covers the modern autonomous communities of Cantabria and La Rioja with eastern Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha, and Madrid.

Castile's name derives from the Spanish for "land of castles" (castle in Spanish is castillo) in reference to the castles built in the area to consolidate the Christian Reconquest from the Moors.[1]


Two possible interpretations of the territory of Castile
Two possible interpretations of the territory of Castile
800 m (2,600 ft)


Originally an eastern county of the kingdom of León, in the 11th century Castile became an independent realm with its capital at Burgos. The County of Castile, which originally included most of Burgos and parts of Vizcaya, Álava, Cantabria and La Rioja.,[2] became the leading force in the northern Christian states' 800-year Reconquista ("reconquest") of central and southern Spain from the Moorish rulers who had dominated most of the peninsula since the early 8th century.

The capture of Toledo in 1085 added New Castile to the crown's territories, and the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (1212) heralded the Moors' loss of most of southern Spain. León was finally reunited with Castile in 1230, and the following decades saw the capture of Córdoba (1236), Murcia (1243) and Seville (1248). By the Treaty of Alcaçovas with Portugal on March 6, 1460, the ownership of the Canary Islands was transferred to Castile.

The dynastic union of Castile and Aragon in 1469, when Ferdinand II of Aragon wed Isabella I of Castile, would eventually lead to the formal creation of Spain as a single entity in 1516 when their grandson Charles V assumed both thrones. See List of Spanish monarchs and Kings of Spain family tree. The Muslim Kingdom of Granada (roughly encompassing the modern day provinces of Granada, Malaga and Almeria) was conquered in 1492, formally passing to the Crown of Castile in that year.


Since it lacks modern day official recognition, Castile no longer has clearly defined borders. Historically, the area consisted of the Kingdom of Castile. After the kingdom merged with its neighbours to become the Crown of Castile and later the Kingdom of Spain, when it united with the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre, the definition of what constituted Castile gradually began to change. Its historical capital was Burgos. In modern Spain, it is generally considered to comprise Castile and León and Castile–La Mancha, with Madrid as its centre. West Castile and León, Albacete, Cantabria and La Rioja are sometimes included in the definition (controversial for historical, political, and cultural reasons).

Since 1982 there have been two nominally Castilian autonomous communities in Spain, incorporating the toponym in their own official names: Castile and Leon and Castile-La Mancha. A third, the Community of Madrid is also regarded as part of Castile, by dint of its geographic enclosure within the entity and, above all, by the statements of its Statute of Autonomy, since its autonomic process originated in national interest and not in popular disaffection with Castile.[3]

Other territories in the former Crown of Castile are left out for different reasons. In fact, the territory of the Castilian Crown actually comprised all other autonomous communities within Spain with the exception of Aragon, Balearic Islands, Valencia and Catalonia, all belonging to the former Crown of Aragon, and Navarre, offshoot of the older Kingdom of the same name. Castile was divided between Old Castile in the north, so called because it was where the Kingdom of Castile was founded, and New Castile, called the Kingdom of Toledo in the Middle Ages. The Leonese region, part of the Crown of Castile from 1230, was from medieval times considered a region in its own right on a par with the two Castiles, and appeared on maps alongside Old Castile until the two joined as one region - Castile and Leon - in the 1980s. In 1833, Spain was further subdivided into administrative provinces.

Two non-administrative, nominally Castilian regions existed from 1833 to 1982: Old Castile, including Santander (autonomous community of Cantabria since 1981), Burgos, Logroño (autonomous community of La Rioja since 1982), Palencia, Valladolid, Soria, Segovia and Ávila, and New Castile consisting of Madrid (autonomous community of Madrid since 1983), Guadalajara, Cuenca, Toledo and Ciudad Real.


The language of Castile emerged as the primary language of Spain—known to many of its speakers as castellano and in English sometimes as Castilian, but generally as Spanish. See Names given to the Spanish language. Historically, the Castilian Kingdom and people were considered to be the main architects of the Spanish State by a process of expansion to the South against the Moors and of marriages, wars, assimilation, and annexation of their smaller Eastern and Western neighbours. From the advent of the Bourbon Monarchy following the War of the Spanish Succession until the arrival of parliamentary democracy in 1977, the Castilian language was the only one with official status in the Spanish state.


506-Castile 1210

Castile in 1210

Corona de Castilla 1400 en

Kingdoms of the Crown of Castile in 1400. Note how Old Castile was called Kingdom of Castile and New Castile was called the Kingdom of Toledo.

España y Portugal (1770)

Castile and other Iberian regions in 1770

Kastilien 1833

Old Castile and New Castile (1833 until the early 1980s).

Kastilien heute

Self-defined Castilian autonomous communities (since the 1980s). The Leonese region joined with Old Castile, Albacete region joined with New Castile, while Cantabria, La Rioja and Madrid became administrative regions of their own.


Royal Banner of the Kingdom of Castile

Older banner of the Kingdom of Castile.

Flag of Castile

Historic Castilian flag. This flag is now used by Castilian regionalists.

Royal Banner of the Crown of Castille (Early Style)

Historic flag of the Crown of Castile. This shows the union of the Kingdom of Castile with the Kingdom of Leon to form the Crown of Castile.

Flag of Castile and León

Flag of the autonomous community of Castilla y León.

Flag of Castile-La Mancha

Flag of the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha.

Flag of the Community of Madrid

Flag of the autonomous community of Madrid. The red color symbolizes the connection to both Castiles.[4]

Flag of Castile (purple)

Flag used by Castilian Nationalists.

Flag of Castile (with star)

Flag used by Castilian Left followers.

Coats of arms

Heraldic Sign of the King of Castile (1171-1214)

Heraldic Sign of the Kingdom of Castile between 1171-1214

Royal Arms of Castille (1214-15th Century)

Historic coat of arms of the Kingdom of Castile between 1214-1230

Coat of Arms of Castile with the Royal Crest

Coat of Arms of Castile with the Royal Crest

Royal Coat of Arms of the Crown of Castile (1230-1284)

Historic coat of arms of the Crown of Castile between 1230-1284.
This shows the union of the Kingdom of Castile with the Kingdom of Leon to form the Crown of Castile.

Royal Coat of Arms of the Crown of Castile (1284-1390)

Historic coat of arms of the Crown of Castile between 1284-c.1400

Royal Coat of Arms of the Crown of Castile (15th Century)

Historic coat of arms of the Crown of Castile between c.1400-1500

Coat of Arms of the Crown of Castile (16th Century-1715)

Historic coat of arms of the Crown of Castile between 1500-1705

Coat of Arms of Castile and Leon

Coat of arms of the autonomous community of Castile and León

Coat of Arms of Castile-La Mancha

Coat of arms of the autonomous community of Castile–La Mancha

Coat of Arms of the Community of Madrid

Coat of arms of the Community of Madrid. The two castles represent the two Castilian communities and Madrid as their union

See also


  1. ^ a b Castile (region, Spain) article from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
  2. ^ Martínez Díez, Gonzalo (2005). El Condado de Castilla, (711-1038) - La Historia frente a la Leyenda. Marcial Pons, Ediciones de Historia. p. 819. ISBN 84-9718-275-8.
  3. ^ "En efecto, la negativa de las provincias castellano-manchegas a la integración de Madrid en su región, su falta de entidad regional histórica, su existencia como Área Metropolitana y, el ser la Villa de Madrid la capital del Estado significaron que la provincia madrileña partiese de cero en el camino de su autonomía, sin trámites intermedios, sin régimen preautonómico". "La falta de entidad regional histórica de Madrid, hizo preciso acudir a la vía del artículo 144, apartado a) de la Norma Fundamental: "Las Cortes Generales, mediante ley orgánica, podrán por motivos de interés nacional: a)Autorizar la constitución de una Comunidad Autónoma cuando su ámbito territorial no supere el de una provincia y no reúna las condiciones del apartado 1 del artículo 143." Blanca Cid. Directora de Gestión Parlamentaria de la Asamblea de la Comunidad de Madrid. (2003). "Sinopsis del Estatuto de la Comunidad de Madrid" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  4. ^ El escudo y la bandera. Memoria y diseños de los símbolos de la Comunidad Autónoma de Madrid., page 5. Santiago Amón, published by Comunidad de Madrid. ISBN 84-500-9765-7

Amurrio is a town and municipality located in the northwest part of the province of Álava, in the Basque Country, northern Spain. It has over 10,000 inhabitants. It is between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Bilbao, respectively to 41 km and 31 km.

Castile, New York (disambiguation)

Castile, New York refers to a village and a town located in Wyoming County, New York.

Castile (village), New York

Castile (town), New YorkThe places are named after Castile (historical region), a former kingdom in Spain, but are pronounced differently (as if written as Cast Isle).


Castilians (Spanish: castellanos) are certain inhabitants in regions of central Spain: Castile and León, Castile-La Mancha, and the Community of Madrid, who are the source of the Spanish language (Castilian) among other aspects of cultural identity. West Castile and León, Albacete, Cantabria and La Rioja are often also included in the definition, but this is controversial for historical reasons and the strong sense of unique cultural identity of those regions.

A broader definition is to consider as Castilians the population belonging to the Peninsular territories (and Canary Islands) controlled by the Crown of Castile, which is a large part of the Iberian Peninsula.

However, not all people in the regions of the medieval Kingdom of Castile or Crown of Castile think of themselves as Castilian. For this reason, the exact limits of what Castile is today are disputed. As an ethnicity, they are most commonly associated with the sparsely populated inner plateau of the Iberian peninsula, which is split in two by the Sistema Central mountain range and Northern or Old Castile from Southern or New Castile, the latter being somewhat closer in terms of culture and dialect to southern regions of Spain such as Andalusia, Extremadura and Murcia.

Through the Reconquista and other conquests in the Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Castile (later Crown of Castile) spread over a large part of the Iberian Peninsula, especially towards the southern Spanish regions. After this, since the 15th century, through the Spanish colonization of the Americas, the Castilians also spread over the New World, bringing with them not only their language, but also elements of their culture and traditions.

Castilla–La Mancha

Castilla–La Mancha (; Spanish: [kasˈtiʎa la ˈmantʃa] (listen); or Castile–La Mancha) is an autonomous community of Spain. Comprised by the provinces of Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara and Toledo, it was created in 1982. It is bordered by Castile and León, Madrid, Aragon, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia, and Extremadura. It is one of the most sparsely populated of Spain's regions. Albacete is the largest and most populous city. Its capital city is Toledo, and its judicial capital city is Albacete.

Castilla–La Mancha was formerly grouped with the province of Madrid into New Castile (Castilla la Nueva), but with the advent of the modern Spanish system of autonomous regions (Estado de las autonomías), it was separated due to great demographic disparity between the capital and the remaining New-Castilian provinces. Also, distinct from the former New Castile, Castilla–La Mancha added the province of Albacete, which had been part of Murcia; adding Albacete placed all of the historic region of La Mancha within this single region.

It is mostly in this region where the story of the famous Spanish novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes is situated, due to which La Mancha is internationally well-known. Although La Mancha is a windswept, battered plateau, it remains a symbol of Spanish culture with its vineyards, sunflowers, mushrooms, olive plantations, windmills, Manchego cheese, and Don Quixote.

Madrid Derby

El Derbi Madrileño (English: The Madrid Derby) is the name given to football matches between Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid, both from Madrid, Spain. Originally it referred only to those competitions held in the Spanish championship, but nowadays the term has been generalized, and tends to include every single match between the two clubs: UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey, etc. The two clubs met in Lisbon for the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final, making it the first time two clubs from the same city played in the final. They also met for the 2018 UEFA Super Cup, making it also the first time two clubs from the same city played this final.

New Castile (Spain)

New Castile (Spanish: Castilla la Nueva [kasˈtiʎa la ˈnweβa]) is a historic region of Spain. It roughly corresponds to the historic Moorish Taifa of Toledo, taken during the Reconquista of the peninsula by Christians and thus becoming the southern part of Castile. Key to the reconquest were the capture of Toledo in 1085, ending the Taifa's Kingdom of Toledo, and the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212. It continued to be called the Kingdom of Toledo when it was in the Crown of Castile. Then, it started to be called New Castile in the 18th century.

New Castile is separated from Old Castile to the north by the Sistema Central range of mountains, and have historically comprised the Spanish provinces of Ciudad Real, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Madrid and Toledo. In more modern administration, it covers the autonomous communities of Madrid and Castile–La Mancha (which also includes Albacete).

Old Castile

Old Castile (Spanish: Castilla la Vieja [kasˈtiʎa la ˈβjexa]) is a historic region of Spain, which included territory that later corresponded to the provinces of Santander (now Cantabria), Burgos, Logroño (now La Rioja), Soria, Segovia, Ávila, Valladolid and Palencia.

Its origins are in the historic Castile that was formed in the 9th century in the zone now comprising Cantabria, Álava, and Burgos.

In the 18th century, Charles III of Spain assigned to the kingdom of Castilla la Vieja the provinces of Burgos, Soria, Segovia, Ávila, Valladolid, and Palencia.

The royal decree of 30 November 1833, the reform of Javier de Burgos (see 1833 territorial division of Spain), established the basis for the division of Spain into provinces that, with a few modifications, continues down to the present day.

Another royal decree, on 30 November 1855, divided Spain into 49 provinces, and assigned the provinces of Valladolid and Palencia to the Kingdom of León, leaving to Castilla la Vieja only Santander, Burgos, Logroño, Soria, Segovia, and Ávila. Although there were further reform efforts in the 19th century, this division is reflected in the encyclopedias, geographies, and textbooks from the mid-19th century until it was superseded in the second half of the 20th century. For example, early editions of Enciclopedia Espasa, of the Encyclopædia Britannica and the popular student encyclopedia Álvarez all follow this division of provinces into Castilla la Vieja and León.

With the establishment of the autonomous community of Castile and León in 1983, Castilla la Vieja lost a large portion of its separate identity: (1) it was integrated politically with León into a larger entity; (2) but two of its provinces became autonomous communities in their own right (Santander became Cantabria and Logroño became La Rioja).

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