Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece make up southern Europe.
Spain, Portugal and Andorra make up the Iberian Peninsula Andorra is only 174 square miles and is located high in the Pyrenees Mountains that separate Spain and France. Most of this area has mild winters and hot summers Dry farming is used in many areas due to poor soil and the lack of water. Land is often left unused for years so it can store moisture.
Spain and Portugal both belong to the EU. Spain is the world’s leading produces of olive oil. Portuguese farmers grow potatoes, grains, fruits, olives and grapes. Portugal is also the leading exported of cork
The Iberian Peninsula enjoys a sunny climate, beautiful beaches, and ancient castles and cathedrals.
Spain and Portugal are both modern democracies. Spain is a constitutional monarchy, with a king or a queen, but elected officials running the country. Portugal is a parliamentary republic, with a president as head of state. A prime minister, chosen by the legislature runs the country. Andorra is governed by both Spain and France
Most people in Spain and Portugal are Roman Catholic. Despite having the same religion, they have different cultures. The people of Portugal have a unified culture based on the Portuguese language Spain is known as a “country of different countries” because the culture varies so much. Not all Spaniards speak Spanish. For instance, the Basque people in the Pyrenees Mountains see themselves as separate from Spain and speak their own language which is different than any other language in Europe.
Most people in Spain do not eat dinner until 9 or 10 at night. For special occasions they might enjoy paella (a traditional dish of shrimp, lobster, chicken, ham, vegetables, and seasoned rice. People of each region have their own music and dances. Some popular types of dance include bolero and flamenco.
Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal. Most people in Portugal live in rural areas. In contrast most people in Spain live in urban areas. It’s capital city is Madrid. Nearly 5 million people live in Madrid.
The Italian Peninsula juts out in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Alps tower over northern Italy while smaller volcanic mountains echo through southern Italy. Most of Italy enjoys a mild climate with sunny summer and rainy winters. In Spring and Summer, dry winds called siroccos blow in from North Africa.
Venice is a city built on 117 small islands. There are no cars in the cities. You rely on boat transportation (gondolas).
After WWI, Italy became a democratic republic. But democracy did not bring peace. No political party has ever been strong enough to gain control. Instead, they have a coalition government where different parties work together to run the country.
About 70% of Italy’s people live in cities. Around 95% of Italians are Catholic. The Vatican City (an independent state) in surrounded by Rome and is the center of the Catholic church. It is home to St. Peter’s Basilica, the world’s largest cathedral. The people speak Italian which developed from Latin. Pasta is a popular dish in Italy.
Greece sits on the Balkan Peninsula It also includes 2,000 islands that surround the mainland. Only 170 have people living on them. The area is prone to earthquakes. The mountains keep the different areas separated from each other.
Belongs to the EU, but has a fairly unindustrialized economy. Capital city is Athens. The major crops are olives and grapes. No part of Greece is more than 85 miles to the sea and shipping is vital to the economy. Tourism is also very important to the economy. Every year millions of people come to Greece to visit historic sites like the Parthenon.
Parliamentary republic 60% of the total population (11 million) live in urban areas. More than 95% are Greek Orthodox Christians Easter is the most important Greek holiday. Traditional foods include lamb, fish and feta cheese.