Andalusia or Andalucía is one of 17 regions of Spain. It is in southern Spain.
Andalusia is part of the so called Autonomous communities of Spain. It is the first in population among the Autonomous communities and the second in area. With 7,975,672 people and eight provinces it is a well-known region in Europe. The capital is Seville, with 705,000 inhabitants and 1,350,000 in the metropolitan area. Another big city is Malaga, with 560,000 inhabitants and 1,075,000 in the metropolitan area. Other famous Andalusian cities are Cordoba, Granada, Almeria, Cadiz, Jaen, Huelva, Jerez, and Marbella. The most important river is the Guadalquivir and the highest mountain in Andalusia and in the Iberian Peninsula is the Mulhacen
The name Andalusia is the modern version of the name Al-Andalus which goes back to the Middle Ages. During that period, northern Iberian Peninsula was controlled by Christian kings and the southern Iberian Peninsula was controlled by Muslims. In 711 CE, the Muslims invaded the Iberian Peninsula, then controlled by Christians of Visigothic origin. By 719 the Muslims conquered all of the peninsula except for a small area in the northern Pyrenees Mountains. The Muslims used the name Al-Andalus for all of the territory of the Iberian Peninsula under their control. Christians in the north waged war for more than seven centuries against the Muslims, gradually taking over more and more of the southern areas. This process of war is called the reconquista, Spanish for reconquest. In the year 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain retook the last stronghold in the southern area at Granada. In that same year, the Muslims and Jews were forced to leave Spain.
The Andalusians are the inhabitants of Andalusia of the southern region in Iberia peninsula. They are generally considered an ethnically distinct peoples because of the two of the most important markers of distinctiveness: their own language and an awareness of a presumed common origin. Andalusian is said to be a distinct dialect of Spanish, although it is debatable, according to the nationalists. The Andalusians have a rich culture which includes the famous flamenco style of music and dance, even though it was adopted by the Spanish gypsies who have changed it and monopolized into their own culture.
- Joseph O'Callaghan, A History of Medieval Spain, 1975, Cornell University Press.