Andalusia is the most populous and the second largest in area of the autonomous communities in Spain. The Andalusian autonomous community is officially recognized as a nationality of Spain. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga and Seville. Its capital is the city of Seville.
Andalusia is in the south of the Iberian peninsula, immediately south of the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Castile–La Mancha; west of the autonomous community of Murcia and the Mediterranean Sea; east of Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean; and north of the Mediterranean Sea and the Strait of Gibraltar. The small British overseas territory of Gibraltar shares a three-quarter-mile land border with the Andalusian province of Cádiz at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar.
The main mountain ranges of Andalusia are the Sierra Morena and the Baetic System, consisting of the Subbaetic and Penibaetic Mountains, separated by the Intrabaetic Basin. In the north, the Sierra Morena separates Andalusia from the plains of Extremadura and Castile–La Mancha on Spain's Meseta Central. To the south the geographic subregion of Upper Andalusia lies mostly within the Baetic System, while Lower Andalusia is in the Baetic Depression of the valley of the Guadalquivir.
The name "Andalusia" is derived from the Arabic word Al-Andalus. As well as Muslim and Romani influences, the region's history and culture have been influenced by the earlier Iberians, Carthaginians/Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Byzantines, all of whom preceded the Muslims, as well as the Castilian and other Christian North Iberian nationalities who regained and repopulated the area in the latter phases of the Reconquista. There was also a relatively large Sephardic Jewish presence.
Andalusia has been an economically poor region in comparison with the rest of Europe. However, the growth of the community especially in the sectors of industry and services was above average in Spain and higher than many communities in the eurozone. The region has, however, a rich culture and a strong cultural identity. Many cultural phenomena that are seen internationally as distinctively Spanish are largely or entirely Andalusian in origin. These include flamenco, bullfighting, and certain Moorish-influenced architectural styles.
Andalusia's interior is the hottest area of Europe, with cities like Córdoba and Seville averaging above 36 °C (97 °F) in summer high temperatures. Late evening temperatures can sometimes stay around 35 °C (95 °F) up close to midnight, with daytime highs of over 40 °C (104 °F) common.