Andalusia (UK: , US: ; Spanish: Andalucía [andaluˈθi.a] ) is the southernmost autonomous community in Peninsular Spain. Andalusia is located in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, in southwestern Europe. It is the most populous and the second-largest autonomous community in the country. It is officially recognised as a historical nationality and a national reality. The territory is divided into eight provinces: Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga, and Seville. Its capital city is Seville. The seat of the High Court of Justice of Andalusia is located in the city of Granada.
Andalusia is immediately south of the autonomous communities of Extremadura and Castilla-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. Gibraltar shares a 1.2 kilometres (3⁄4 mi) land border with the Andalusian portion of the 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 (الأندلس), which in turn may be derived from the Vandals, the Goths or pre-Roman Iberian tribes. The toponym al-Andalus is first attested by inscriptions on coins minted in 716 by the new Muslim government of Iberia. These coins, called dinars, were inscribed in both Latin and Arabic. The region's history and culture have been influenced by the Tartessians, Iberians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Byzantines, Berbers, Arabs, Jews, Romanis and Castilians. During the Islamic Golden Age, Córdoba surpassed Constantinople to be Europe's biggest city, and became the capital of Al-Andalus and a prominent center of education and learning in the world, producing numerous philosophers and scientists. The Crown of Castile conquered and settled the Guadalquivir Valley in the 13th century. The mountainous eastern part of the region (the Kingdom of Granada) was subdued in the late 15th century. Atlantic-facing harbors prospered upon trade with the New World. Chronic inequalities in the social structure caused by uneven distribution of land property in large estates induced recurring episodes of upheaval and social unrest in the agrarian sector in the 19th and 20th centuries.Andalusia has historically been an agricultural region, compared to the rest of Spain and the rest of Europe. Still, the growth of the community in the sectors of industry and services was above average in Spain and higher than many communities in the Eurozone. The region has a rich culture and a strong identity. Many cultural phenomena that are seen internationally as distinctively Spanish are largely or entirely Andalusian in origin. These include flamenco and, to a lesser extent, bullfighting and Hispano-Moorish architectural styles, both of which are also prevalent in some other regions of Spain.
Andalusia's hinterland is the hottest area of Europe, with Córdoba and Seville averaging above 36 °C (97 °F) in summer high temperatures. These high temperatures, typical of the Guadalquivir valley (and other valleys in southern Iberia) are usually reached between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. (local time), tempered by sea and mountain breezes afterwards. However, during heat waves late evening temperatures can locally stay around 35 °C (95 °F) until close to midnight, and daytime highs of over 40 °C (104 °F) are common. Also, Seville is the warmest city in continental Europe with average annual temperature of 19.2 °C (66.6 °F).