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ETHNONYM: Andalucians


Identification. Andalusians are the people of the eight southernmost provinces of Spain: Huelva, Seville, Cadiz, Cordoba, Malaga, Jaen, Granada, and Almería.

Location. Andalusia borders the Portuguese Algarve on the west; the Spanish provinces of the Estremadura, Castile-La-Mancha, and Murcia on the northwest, north, and northeast; the Gulf of Cadiz to the southwest; and the Mediterranean on the southeast. Most of the region (Huelva, Cadiz, Seville, Cordoba, and Jaen) lies on the flat tablelands of the meseta and consists of rolling expanses of fields largely given over to cereal crops and olive groves. Malaga and Granada are hilly, even mountainous in places, and Almería, at the southeastern extremity of the region, is arid and largely barren. The climate on the meseta is one of extended hot, dry summers and rains, heavy at rimes, in autumn and early winter.

linguistic Affiliation. Andalusian is a Spanish dialect, strongly flavored with Arabic-derived words, reflecting the long Moorish occupation of the region.

History and Cultural Relations

There is evidence that as long ago as 1000 b.c. there were thriving trade relations between the peoples of this region and Phoenicia. This early civilization is the "Tarshish" of the Old Testament (called Tartessos by the Greeks), and it may well date back to the time of the Minoans, or even earlier. Its earliest peoples were of Celtiberian stock and may have come from the east. As long ago as the fourth or fifth millennium, Aegean ships began to arrive at Almería, seeking to trade for Andalusia's rich copper resources. While it is unclear whether the trade in copper and other Andalusian minerals stimulated the development of Tartessan civilization or whether Sociopolitical organization predated the trade, by the middle of the third millennium or the start of the second, a loose confederation of tribes existed. After the Aegeans came the Phoenicians, who established a trading post at what is now Cadiz by 1100 b.c. The Phoenicians and their colonists (especially the Carthaginians) held sway in the region until the coming of the Romans in 206 b.c. Along with their trade and language, they brought many other eastern Mediterranean peoples to the region. Of singular importance to the region's developing economy and culture were the Jewish wine and olive growers and traders who established colonies of their own. These Sephardic Jews flourished in Andalusia throughout the times of Phoenician, Roman, and Muslim rule.

By the time of the Roman conquest, Andalusia was the home of great ethnic diversity, being comprised of Africans, Jews, Phoenicians, and Greeks, as well as descendants of the indigenous Celtiberian peoples. Roman rule did not diminish this diversity but simply provided an integrative political and economic framework within which it could function. The Muslims conquered these Roman territories of southern Spain in the early eighth century a.d. Much of the population converted to Islam under the Moors, but there was tolerance on the part of the new rulers, so conversion was not forced. Thus the Sephardic enclaves remained vital participants in the region's economy and formed the essential core of its trade, crafts, and merchant classes. Moorish occupation in Andalusia, which lasted until nearly the end of the fifteenth century, had the positive effect of sparing Andalusia from the "Dark Ages" of the rest of Europe, for Andalusia participated in the Islamic high culture of the time and became a center for advances in philosophy, theology, the sciences, medicine, and the arts. It was not until the expansion of Castilian-based Christianity into the region, which began in the 1100s but was not fully successful until the late 1500s, that the rich and vibrant culture of Andalusia was cut off from its eastern sources. The persecutions, forced conversions, and suppression of all things Moorish that ensued in the course of this Castilian-based crusade resulted in the destruction of much of this culture. In addition, with the expulsion of the Jews, Moors, and moriscos (Jewish converts to Islam) and the confiscation of much of their property and wealth, an economic decline of the region began that has persisted to this day. At some time in the late 1400s, Gypsies arrived in the region. Although found throughout Europe, the Gypsies became more settled and assimilated in Andalusia than they did elsewhere in the world, a fact that enabled them to influence the Development of Andalusian cultural forms, particularly music.

Whereas northern Spain looked to Europe for its cultural influences, Andalusia retained its strongly Mediterranean flavor. This development was perhaps partly the result of the concentration of the new Spanish nobility in Castile and their general unwillingness to settle in a region like Andalusia, so far from the attractions of the royal court. Andalusia itself was thus left free to develop its own cultural style, elaborating upon the diverse traditions of its long history and preserving, with modifications, elements of all of them. The fact that Spain as a whole remained outside the early industrialization and drive toward "progress" that gripped Europe during the Industrial Revolution, using the wealth it derived from its overseas colonies for consumption rather than for investment and modernization, has been cited as the cause of the nation's "stagnation." Indeed, Andalusia has become impoverished because of its reliance until well into the twentieth century upon ancient agricultural techniques and a weak industrial base. Yet this "stagnation" also provided an environment in which Andalusian culture was able to elaborate upon its unique cultural traditions, so that today it retains a distinctive flavor. The region's "backwardness" was encouraged, even enforced, by the Franco regimeas well as by the entire country's isolation from the United States and the rest of Western Europe during the postwar years, owing to the Allies' disdain for Franco's fascism. With Franco's death and the end of the fascist regime in the 1970s, and especially with Spain's entry into the European Economic Community, Economic development has begun to make inroads in the region with the introduction of modern agricultural technology and a movehowever halting and small-scaleto establish industry in the region. The 1980s brought to all of Spain a new constitution, which, among other things, sought to accomplish the decentralization of power from Castile to a series of autonomous communities. Andalusia achieved autonomous status by the middle of the decade. Retaining ties to the larger

Spanish polity, Andalusia is now able to make social and Economic development decisions for itself.


The principal settlement form in Andalusia is the pueblo, a relatively small municipal and residential center with a strongly agrarian economic focus. In most of Andalusia these population centers are geographically isolated from each other, being situated in the approximate center of the extensive lands associated with latifundia (large estate farms). What one finds is a central municipality harboring the local church, administrative buildings, shops and taverns, and dwellings, but little or no industrial focus. The majority of the residents in these population centers consists of landless agricultural laborers and their families. Scattered in the surrounding countryside are the large estate farms with their extensive fields of cereal crops or corn. Associated with each estate, usually built on an elevated site at the approximate center of the property, are the farm buildings: the owner's manor (generally occupied by a manager, for absentee landlordism has long been the rule in the region) ; outbuildings for crop storage and livestock; olive and/or grape arbors; and buildings for the processing of agricultural and animal Products. In addition, one or more small clusters of dwellings may be found on the property, owned by the landlord but housing permanent staff or long-term contract employees and their families, as well as one or more market gardens, watered by wells.


Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Most of Andalusia traditionally has been devoted to estate-based, extensive cultivation of cereals, with olives and sunflowers constituting additional important crops. Cereal cropping is carried out in conjunction with sheepherding, although the flocks have declined dramatically over the last several decades and are now found only on the largest of the region's estates. Chickens and pigs are raised on a small scale. The vast majority of economic activity in Andalusia is agriculturally related, and this situation has become more and more exacerbated in recent years as local artisans faced competition from goods brought in from beyond the local community. On the great farms, most of the agricultural produce is destined for market, and the available work consists largely of unskilled, repetitive tasks such as sowing and harvesting. Local economies never have been capable of providing full employment, and many young men (fewer women) leave to seek work in the cities or elsewhere.

Industrial Arts. Large-scale industry is uncommon in the region, but local milling and processing of olive oil, wine making, and other such enterprises are still common. Buildings are, for the most part, constructed of local materialsincluding wood-frame and, more commonly, mud-walled (stucco) structuresalthough the older estates are often made of stone.

Trade. Nearly all of Andalusia's agricultural product is destined for market, either sold directly to processors in raw state or processed locally and sold to urban markets in final form (e.g., olive oil and wine). Little is left of the great mineral trade upon which the earliest economy of the region was based. Locally there are still weekly markets for agricultural produce and livestock, as well as for some locally produced crafts.

Division of Labor. The casa, or coresident kinship group, is the basic economic production unit, and each member is expected to contribute labor toward securing the livelihood of the whole. There is a strong sexual division of labor organizing the economic roles of household members, but the nature of such gender-specific roles varies according to the class to which a household belongs. Among landed families, where the combination of current income and inherited wealth reduces the need for supplemental income, management of the household economy falls entirely to the male head of Household, while his wife concerns herself with the administration of the household and does not usually work outside of the home. In the households of agricultural laborers, the administration of the family budget falls to the wife, who may also work in the fields alongside her sons and husband. Still, regardless of the economic class to which the family belongs, there is a strong sense that home-management tasks (housekeeping, child rearing, and the like) are the exclusive Province of women, an assumption that it is best for women to remain, as far as possible, in the domestic sphere, and a strong cultural proscription for men to participate in any Domestic tasks whatsoever.

Land Tenure. Land tenure takes one of three forms. Direct ownership is the preferred and the most common form. Leaseholds, traditionally for six years although variations in terms of the lease are not infrequent, are secured for payments in cash or kind (although today it is rare for agreements to be based upon the latter). Rents have soared in recent decades, and the lessor must often pay a substantial annual rent without certainty of the future profits at the harvest. Together, these factors have contributed to the decline in popularity of this form of land tenure. Sharecroppingin which an individual shares in the profits of the farm in return for the contribution of his labor in producing the cropwas once far more common than it is today, partly because of the mechanization of many farming tasks, which has reduced the need for outside labor. When sharecropping does occur, the proceeds of the sale of farm products are generally split, 50-50, between the landowner and the sharecropper.


Kin Groups and Descent. Kinship is reckoned bilaterally and extends across five generationsan individual reckons as part of his/her kindred all lineal consanguines in the categories of grandchildren, children, siblings and some collaterals, parents and parents' siblings and collaterals, and grandparents. Collateral kin relations are not counted as particularly significant beyond first cousins.

Kinship Terminology. There is no distinction made Between maternal and paternal kin, referentially, but the difference between first cousins (part of the kindred) and second cousins (recognized as relatives but not considered to be particularly close) is marked terminologically: first cousins are called primos hermanos (brother cousins) while all cousins further removed are collectively referred to merely as primos (cousins). People recognized as members of one's kindred are referred to as parientes, alternatively as familiares. Spiritual kinship is important in Andalusia. For instance, godparents are chosen at two stages of an individual's life: as sponsors for baptism, and as sponsors at marriage. However, in Andalusia these individuals are usually also the grandparents of the sponsored person, so that godparenthood does not usually draw into the kinship network anyone not already a part of it.

Marriage and Family

Marriage. The decision to marry is made by the potential spouses, but not without the active involvement of the Parents of both in the selection process. Courtship is carried out by the men, but it is held that the woman usually initiates it by expressing her interest in a potential suitor through discreet flirting. Although traditional laws stipulating that only church weddings were legitimate have been changed to recognize civil unions, the church wedding is still the rule. Despite the fact that informal liaisons are not officially or religiously recognized, common-law marriage among landless laborers is not unusual, and couples living together in this fashion are often tacitly accepted without serious damage to their reputations as long as they comport themselves as a properly married pair (i.e., maintain a monogamous union). They are expected to make every effort to regularize such a union when a child is imminent. Because of the strong social pressures to conform to the twin precepts of honore and verguenza (honor and shame), adultery and/or premarital sex are traditionally negatively sanctioneda situation that both church and state have long reinforced. Divorce was legally prohibited until very recently and remains repugnant to the church, but it does happen on occasion. It is much less likely for a wife to try to divorce her husband than for the reverse to occur. Postmarital residence is neolocal but tends to be in the same Communityquite frequently the same neighborhoodas that of the wife's family.

Domestic Unit. The domestic unit is, minimally, the Nuclear familya man, his wife, their children. Although this form of household is the most common, extended families do occur and usually consist of a nuclear family and a member or members of the grandparental generation. Even when not coresident, the households of a woman and her married daughter tend to maintain strong ties, based on their close emotional relationship and proximity, which lead to the cooperation of the two in their day-to-day work and personal lives.

Inheritance. In Andalusia, heritable property is divided equally among all heirs, with no distinction made on the basis of order of birth or gender.

Socialization. Child rearing is the responsibility of the mother because the cultural proscription against male participation in the domestic sphere is strong. A father's relationship with his children is generally remote, to the point of formality. This distant relationship remains in place even after a son achieves maturity. In early childhood, the motherchild tie is very strong, but it gradually weakens between mother and son as the boy approaches his teenage years. At this time, young men are expected to begin to establish an increasingly "public" identity, spending greater and greater amounts of time away from the house in the company of their male contemporaries. Still, however much independence a young man achieves, as a "good son" he is expected to revere his mother throughout his life. A daughter rarely undergoes such a separation from her mother. Rather, upon reaching puberty a daughter is expected to retire further and further into the life of the casa, lest she risk incurring gossip. Thus, the mother-daughter bond is strengthened, rather than weakened, as the daughter achieves adulthood.

Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Traditional Andalusian society has been said to operate primarily according to principles of patron-clientage, according to which those with greater access to wealth, power, or other resources are recruited by those with lesser access, to provide assistance. The terms used to justify such relationships may be fictive kin (by making the patron godparent to one's child) or loyalty and friendship (as between employer/employee). In modern Andalusia, more explicitly class-based factors appear to comprise the primary organizing principle. The institution of the cofradia (Brotherhood, fraternal order) has importance in organizing Cooperative efforts in preparing for ritual occasions and as a kind of mutual-aid society for its members; it is a village-based Organization of men, united for specific purposes or tasks. Each man is born into the cofradia of his father.

Political Organization. Andalusia today, as an autonomous community within the larger national polity, has its own representative who brings to the attention of the state the interests of the region and who heads a regional board that makes decisions regarding Andalusian social and Economic issues. Local communities are under the jurisdicrion of the municipality or township, the minimal administrative level. The municipal-level political organization centers on the town hall, and the leading official is the mayor.

Social Control and Conflict. As is true for many rural, face-to-face communities, one of the strongest mechanisms for social control is local gossip and other informal expressions of public censure. There is also recourse to municipal authorities.

Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. In Spain as a whole, the Catholic church was long the only religion; freedom of worship became permissible by law only in recent decades. Andalusia is known for having its own emotionally charged and personalized brand of Catholicism, best exemplified in the extravagant Holy Week (Santa Semana) celebrations. There is a strong Madonna focus organizing Andalusian religious beliefs, and some scholars of the region trace the preeminence of the Virgin Mary to pre-Christian religious beliefs and practices in which a nurturant mother-goddess (variously personified as Aphrodite [Greek], Astarte [Phoenician], and Tanit [Carthaginian]) is paired with a son/father/consort figure (Apollo, Melkart, Hercules), citing these pairs as prefiguring the later emphasis upon Madonna and Christ figures. Traditional Holy Week saetas (lyric verses with a religious theme) make strong use of invocations of the Madonna's powers to intervene and protect the people, as well as commemorating her status as the grieving mother of the crucified Christ. The belief that saintly figures, and particularly the Madonna, are capable of being recruited to assist the faithful in daily life is strong throughout the Iberian peninsula, but it finds its most extreme expression in Andalusian religious practice. There are strong undercurrents of acceptance of the miraculous and belief in the power of penitence, which together form an essential element of Andalusian religion.

Religious Practitioners. Religious practitioners are the duly ordained priests of the Catholic church, but they are assisted by members of lay brotherhoods and sisterhoods.

Ceremonies. Life-cycle events such as baptism, marriage, and death are attended by church ritual. In the past, such ceremonies might have involved the entire village population, although today baptisms and marriages tend to be much more a family affair. Although church attendance is not strictly observed on a day-to-day basis, particularly among men, the High Holy Days of the Catholic liturgical calendar still tend to bring out the majority of parishioners, and the Lenten period is in practice the single most important ceremonial occasion. The Santa Semana masses are attended by nearly everyone, but the more secular processions and fiestas held during that week evoke the greatest degree of enthusiasm and participation among the people. Massive floats bearing the likenesses of the Madonna and the Christ figure are borne along the streets, each sponsored, prepared, and carried by a particular cofradia, and there is a strong competitive flavor to the comparisons (often couched in the verses of saetas) among the Madonnas of the different cofradías.

Arts. The "quintessentially Spanish" art forms of bull-fighting and, especially, flamenco are in fact "quintessentially Andalusian" in origin. It is in Andalusia that the fighting black bulls were first bred, and long before the development of bullfighting as we currently know it, bull rituals and bull cults were established in the regionpredating the Mithraic cult of the Roman empire and perhaps deriving from prehistoric practices. At least, there are prehistoric Andalusian cave paintings and stone carvings of bulls that have an extremely early provenance. Flamenco, too, has an ancient tradition. "The dancers of Gades [Cadiz]" were known as far back as the second century b.c., and the "puellae Gaditanae" ("girls of Cadiz") are referred to by Strabo, Martial, and Juvenal. This Andalusian tradition of the dance formed the basis upon which the Gypsies, who arrived in the region in the 1400s, elaborated and stylized to yield the form we know today as flamenco. But the region's artistic production is not limited to modern variations on ancient artistic practice. Andalusia was, after all, the birthplace of Picasso, and it has been claimed that the region provided the greatest inspiration for the development of his art. Outside of the sphere of formal performance, Andalusia also has a long tradition of folk composition, particularly represented in lyric verse (secular coplas and the more religiously oriented saetas), both of which are strongly emotional in content.

Death and Afterlife. Andalusian attitudes toward death are strongly colored by Catholic beliefs, and funerary ritual is oriented around the Catholic sacraments of confession and extreme unction. Masses must be said for the deceased, and there has long been a tradition of charitable donations as commemoration for the dead. The expenses for both of these practices are borne by the cofradia to which the deceased belonged during his or her lifetime.

See also Gitanos; Sephardic Jews


Brandes, Stanley (1980). Metaphors of Masculinity: Sex and Status in Andalusian Folklore. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Gilmore, David (1980). The People of the Plain: Class and Community in Lower Andalusia. New York: Columbia University Press.

Gilmore, David (1987). Aggression and Community: Paradoxes of Andalusian Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Josephs, Allen (1983). White Wall of Spain: The Mysteries of Andalusian Culture. Ames: Iowa State University Press.

Mitchell, Timothy (1990). Passional Culture: Emotion, Religion, and Society in Southern Spain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Pitt-Rivers, Julian A. (1971). The People of the Sierra. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


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LOCATION: Southern Spain

POPULATION: About 6.6 million

LANGUAGE: Castilian Spanish (Andalusian dialect)

RELIGION: Roman Catholicism


Andalusia is located in southern Spain. It has a distinctive culture influenced by its hot Mediterranean climate, its historical tolerance of diverse ethnic groups (including Jews and Gypsies), and, most important, its long period of rule by the Moors. (Moors are Muslims who invaded from North Africa and seized control of the region in the eighth century ad. )

The word "Andalusia" is derived from the Moorish name for SpainAl-Andalus. The Moors ruled all of Spain for three centuries, and Andalusia until nearly 1500. This period was a time of both cultural and economic wealth for the region. Andalusia reaped the benefits of Islamic advances in philosophy, medicine, the arts, and other fields, as well as the religious tolerance practiced under Moorish rule. In addition, the Moors brought to the region sophisticated irrigation and cultivation techniques that made the land bloom.

When Christian forces based in Castile finally drove the Moors out of Granada (a province in Andalusia) in 1492, their religion (as well as that of the Jews) was suppressed. Consequently, the rich cultural life that had flourished in Andalusia was largely destroyed. Much of the region's wealth was confiscated, and a long period of economic decline began. The conquering Castilianswarriors rather than farmerslet the extensive irrigation systems of the Moors deteriorate, turning the fertile farms into pastureland. Large portions of land were placed under the control of absentee landlords, and the latifundio, or large landed estates, became a way of life. This situation has continued to the present day, leaving Andalusia one of Spain's poorest regions. In addition, Andalusia never built a strong industrial base and continued to rely on outmoded farming methods well into the twentieth century. However, since the end of the repressive Franco regime (1975) and Spain's entry into the European Community (EC) in 1986, Andalusia has seen some economic progress. The Spanish government designated it as an autonomous region in 1985.


Andalusia is located in the southernmost part of the Iberian peninsula, between the Sierra Morena Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. It is bound by Portugal to the west; the Spanish provinces of Extremadura, Castile-La-Mancha, and Murcia to the north; the Mediterranean to the southeast; and the Gulf of Cádiz to the southwest. Andalusia is the largest region in Spain, and also the least densely populated. It is a land of contrasts, containing Spain's highest mountains (the Sierra Nevada chain), its hottest lowlands (the Andalusian Plains), the white beaches of the Costa del Sol, and the Las Marismas marsheshome of the Coto Dona, a national park.


According to the 1978 constitution, Castilian Spanish, the language of the central and southern parts of the country, is the national language of Spain. It is spoken by a majority of Spaniards and used in the schools and courts.

English Spanish
one un, uno
two dos
three tres
four cuatro
five cinco
six seis
seven siete
eight ocho
nine nueve
ten diez
English Spanish
Sunday Domingo
Monday Lunes
Tuesday Martes
Wednesday Miércoles
Thursday Jueves
Friday Viernes
Saturday Sábado

Andalusia also has its own regional dialectAndalusianthat contains words derived from Arabic, reflecting the region's period of Moorish rule.


The development of bullfighting in Andalusia was preceded by bull rituals and cults. Bulls are found in stone carvings as well as in the prehistoric cave paintings of the region. The Catholicism of Andalusia has a strong element of belief in the miraculous. Some scholars believe it is possible to trace the region's devotion to the Virgin Mary to the mother goddesses of pre-Christian religions.


Like people in the other regions of Spain, Andalusians are overwhelmingly Catholic. They are particularly known for the colorful Holy Week (Semana Santa) celebrations held in their cities and towns. The Catholicism of Andalusians is distinguished by an especially strong belief in the power of intercession by saints and the Virgin Mary.


Andalusians celebrate the major holidays of the Christian calendar, as well as Spain's other national holidays. These include New Year's Day (January 1), St. Joseph's Day (March 19), the Day of St. Peter and St. Paul (June 29), St. James's Day (July 25), and a National Day on October 12. Additional festivals and celebrations of many kinds take place in the region throughout the year. The most famous is Seville's Semana Santa, or Holy Week, celebration, which begins on Palm Sunday and ends on Easter Saturday. On each day, up to eleven processions of floats pass through town, organized by members of religious brotherhoods called cofradías. The nighttime processions by candlelight are especially beautiful.

Seville is also noted for its feria, a type of fair. Seville's feria takes place shortly after Easter and lasts an entire week. During this time the town is on holiday and almost all normal business shuts down. The Monday following the festival, which is also a public holiday, is popularly called Hangover Monday (Lunes de la Resaca).


Baptism, first communion, marriage, and military service are considered rites of passage for Andalusians, as they are for most Roman Catholic Spaniards. The first three of these events are the occasion, in most cases, for big and expensive social gatherings in which the family shows its generosity and economic status. Quintos are the young men from the same town or village going into military service in the same year. They form a closely knit group that collects money from neighbors to organize parties and serenade girls. In the mid-1990s, the government planned to replace required military service with a voluntary army.


In the cities, office hours begin at 9:00 am and traditionally include an extended afternoon lunch break beginning at 2:00 pm. Workers then return to their offices from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The day typically ends with a walk with friends or family or visits to neighborhood bars for drinks, tapas ( appetizers), and conversation. Dinner is often eaten as late as 10:30 pm.

In greetings, it is customary to shake hands, and in social settings women usually kiss their friends on both cheeks. Young groups formed by co-workers, fellow students, or people from the same town go together to discos, organize parties and excursions, and date among themselves. It is not unusual to have lifelong friends known since kindergarten.


Reflecting the Andalusians' Moorish heritage, houses in the region have traditionally been designed with the goal of protecting residents from the heat of the sun. Often built of stucco with thick walls and few windows, Andalusia's older houses may also be built of stone. Windows overlook patios filled with potted plants. The house is often built around a shady central court-yardsometimes including a fountainin which the family can relax and cool off. Houses in Seville often have intricately carved wrought-iron gates over their doors and windows.


Most Andalusian households consist of nuclear families (parents and children only). Sometimes one or more grandparents are included. Women have almost exclusive responsibility for child-rearing. Male participation in domestic life is sharply limited, and fathers generally maintain a more distant and formal role. As elsewhere in Spain, there is a strict standard of modesty and chastity for women before marriage. In the 1980s, high unemployment in Spain forced many young adults to continue living with their parents. This led to a rebirth of the traditional formalized courtship, or noviazgo.

Married women in Andalusia maintain close ties to their mothers. Common-law marriages among laborers are not unusual. Only church marriages were formally recognized in Spain until 1968, when civil ceremonies were first allowed by law. Divorce has been legal since the 1980s. The tradition of machismo the public assertion of masculinitycontinues to define much of men's behavior. Andalusian women have a high degree of economic independence, and compete favorably with men for the region's scarce jobs.


For everyday activities, both casual and formal, Andalusians wear modern Western-style clothing. However, traditional costumes can be seen at the region's many festivals and in flamenco dance performances. Women's attire consists of solid-colored or polka-dot dresses with tightly fitted bodices and flounced skirts and sleeves. These are worn with mantillas (lacy scarves worn over the hair and shoulders), long earrings, and hair ornaments such as combs or flowers. Male flamenco dancers wear white shirts with black suits and broad-brimmed black hats.

During the Holy Week (Semana Santa) festivals, members of religious fraternities called cofradías wear all-white costumes consisting of long robes, masks, and high-pointed hats. These are similar to those worn during the Spanish Inquisition of the fifteenth century and later adopted by the Ku Klux Klan in the United States.


Andalusians have a preference for extremely late meals. Lunch may be eaten as late as 5:00 in the afternoon, and dinner as late as midnight. Sometimes meals are skipped altogether in favor of tapas. These are snacks or appetizers eatenwith regional variationsthroughout Spain. Tapas are, in fact, said to have originated in Andalusia. Popular tapas in all of Spain include shrimp-fried squid, cured ham, chorizo (spicy Spanish sausage), and potato omelettes (called tortillas ).

The most famous Andalusian dish is gazpacho, a cold soup made with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and olive oil. The other dish for which Andalusia is known is fish fried in batter, available at special shops called freidurías. A salad of lettuce and tomatoes is served with most dishes, but these are usually the only vegetables that accompany a meal. Andalusia's most popular drink is lager beer, served ice-cold.


Andalusian children, like other Spanish children, receive free, required schooling between the ages of six and fourteen. Following this, many students begin the three-year bachillerato (baccalaureate) course of study. They may then opt for either one year of college preparatory study or vocational training. The University of Seville is highly regarded throughout Spain.


The most important element of Andalusian culture is flamenco dancing. Flamenco dances, accompanied by a singer and guitarist, feature expressive hand and chest movements, clapping (tapoteo), and foot tapping (zapoteo). The greatest performances are said to be distinguished by a type of inspiration called duende. All performers strive for this quality. The authentic flamenco song, sung a cappella (without musical accompaniment), is the cante jondo, an anguished lament expressing love, sadness, and loss. The cante jondo has almost exclusively Arabic roots. When these songs are of a religious nature, they are called saetas. Another type of Andalusian folk song, and one which is very popular today, is the sevillana.


Andalusia is primarily an agricultural region. Important crops include various grains, sunflowers, and olives. Most of the region's farm laborers work on large estates (latifundios ). Here they perform largely unskilled, repetitive tasks such as sowing and harvesting. Unemployment has always been high. In the mid-1980s, some 40 percent of the work force under the age of twenty-five was unemployed. Many people move to the cities to work in factories or they move to the coast to obtain jobs in the tourist industry. Such emigration is more common among men than among women.


The Andalusians share the rest of Spain's passion for soccer (called fútbol ). The Spanish national sport of bullfighting originated in Andalusia, where Spain's oldest bullrings are located (in Seville and Ronda). At the beginning of the bullfight, or corrida, the torero (bullfighter) sizes up the bull while performing certain ritualized motions with his cape. Next the picadores, mounted on horseback, gore the bull with lances to weaken him, and the banderilleros stick colored banners into his neck. Finally, the torero confronts the bull alone in the ring. Exceptionally good performances are rewarded by giving the torero one or both of the bull's ears. Andalusia's other sports include tennis, swimming, hunting, and horseback riding.


In a region with extremely hot weather much of the year, Andalusian life moves at a leisurely and casual pace. Much social life centers around the neighborhood bars where one can relax with a cold drink and a plate of tapas. People also enjoy staying home and watching television, which is found even in the smallest village.


In addition to their leather crafts, Andalusians are known for their ceramics, which are distinguished by the geometric designs that originated with the Moors. (Islamic culture prohibits the representation of living things in art.) The art of Andalusian builders and stone carvers has survived in such famous buildings as the Alhambra Palace in Granada, the Giralda Tower in Seville, and the mosque in the city of Córdoba.


Andalusia is a poor region with high rates of unemployment and emigration. Much of the land is concentrated in large holdings (latifundios) by wealthy (and often absentee) landowners. The wages of Andalusia's landless laborers, or braceros, are the lowest in Spain. They are subject to long, seasonal periods of unemployment, often adding up to half the year.


Cross, Esther, and Wilbur Cross. Spain. Chicago:Children's Press, 1994.

Jacobs, Michael. A Guide to Andalusia. London, England: Viking, 1990.

Schubert, Adrian. The Land and People of Spain. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.


Tourist Office of Spain. [Online] Available, 1998.

World Travel Guide. Spain. [Online] Available, 1998.

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Andalusia (region, Spain)

Andalusia (ăndəlōō´zhə, –shə), Span. Andalucía (än´dälōōthē´ä), autonomous region (1990 pop. 7,100,060), 33,675 sq mi (87,218 sq km), S Spain, on the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Atlantic Ocean. Spain's largest and most populous region, it covers most of S Spain, comprising the provinces of Almería, Cádiz, Córdoba, Granada, Huelva, Jaén, Málaga, and Seville (Sevilla), all named for their chief cities. Andalusia is crossed in the north by the Sierra Morena and in the south by mountain ranges that rise in the snowcapped Sierra Nevada to the highest peak in mainland Spain, Mulhacén (11,417 ft/3,480 m); between the ranges lies the fertile basin of the Guadalquivir River.

Economy and People

Despite the natural wealth of the region, poverty is widespread; Andalusian farm laborers are among the poorest in Europe, and many unemployed Andalusians have migrated to more industrialized regions of Spain. With its subtropical climate, Andalusia has many affinities with Africa, which it faces. Barren lands contrast with richly fertile regions where cereals, grapes, olives, sugarcane, and citrus and other fruits are produced. Industries, based generally on local agricultural produce, include wine making, flour milling, and olive-oil extracting. Much farming has become mechanized. Cattle, bulls for the ring, and fine horses are bred. The rich mineral resources, exploited since Phoenician and Roman times, include copper, iron, zinc, and lead.

Moorish influence is still strong in the character, language, and customs of the people. One of Europe's most strikingly colorful regions, Andalusia, with its tradition of bull fights, flamenco music and dance, and Moorish architecture, provides the strongest external image of Spain, especially to North Americans. Increasing tourism has made the service industry the fastest growing economic sector.


In the 11th cent. BC, the Phoenicians settled there and founded several coastal colonies, notably Gadir (now Cádiz and, supposedly, the inland town of Tartessus, which became the capital of a flourishing kingdom (sometimes identified with the biblical Tarshish). Greeks and Carthaginians came in the 6th cent. BC; the Carthaginians were expelled (3d cent. BC) by the Romans, who included S Spain in the province of Baetica. The emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius were born in the region.

Visigoths ended Roman rule in the 5th cent. AD, and in 711 the Moors, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, established there the center of their western emirate (see Córdoba). Andalusia remained under Moorish rule until most of it was conquered in the 13th cent. by the kings of Castile; the Moorish kingdom of Granada survived; it, too, fell to the Catholic kings in 1492. The Moorish period was the golden age of Andalusia. Agriculture, mining, trade, and industries (textiles, pottery, and leather working) were fostered and brought tremendous prosperity; the Andalusian cities of Córdoba, Seville, and Granada, embellished by the greatest Moorish monuments in Spain, were celebrated as centers of culture, science, and the arts.

From the 16th cent. Andalusia generally suffered as Spain declined, although the ports of Seville and Cádiz flourished as centers of trade with the New World. Gibraltar was ceded to Britain in 1713, and in 1833 Andalusia was divided into the present eight provinces. With Catalonia, Andalusia was a stronghold of anarchism during the Spanish republic (est. 1931); however, it fell early to the Insurgents in the Spanish civil war of 1936–39. The region later saw recurrent demonstrations against the national government of Francisco Franco. In 1981 it became an autonomous region and in 1982 it elected its first parliament.

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Andalusia (Andalucía) Largest, most populous and southernmost region of Spain, crossed by the River Guadalquivir, and comprising eight provinces. The capital is Seville, other major cities include Málaga, Granada, and Córdoba. In the n are the Sierra Morena mountains, which are rich in minerals. In the s are the Sierra Nevada, rising to Mulhacén (Spain's highest point), at 3378m (11,411ft). Farms in the low-lying sw raise horses and cattle (including fighting bulls) and grow most of the country's cereals; other important crops are citrus fruits, olives, sugar, and grapes. Sherry is made from grapes grown in the environs of Jerez de la Frontera, near Cádiz. The region has many fine buildings (such as the Alhambra) dating from between 711 and 1492, when it was ruled by the Moors. Area: 87,268sq km (33,707sq mi). Pop. (1998 est.) 7,236,459.

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Andalusia (city, United States)

Andalusia (ăndəlōō´shə, –zhə), city (1990 pop. 9,269), seat of Covington co., S Ala., in a farming and forestry area; inc. 1844. Its manufactures include processed peanuts and pecans, meat products, textiles, lumber, and plywood.

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tirana. Sp. song-dance popular in Andalusia, usually with rhythmic guitar acc. in 6/8 time.

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Andalusiacassia, glacier •apraxia, dyspraxia •banksia • eclampsia •estancia, fancier, financier, Landseer •intarsia, mahseer, Marcia, tarsier •bartsia, bilharzia •anorexia, dyslexia •intelligentsia • dyspepsia •Dacia, fascia •Felicia, Galicia, indicia, Lycia, Mysia •asphyxia, elixir, ixia •dossier • nausea •Andalusia, Lucia •overseer • Mercia • Hampshire •Berkshire • Caernarvonshire •Cheshire • differentia • Breconshire •Devonshire • Ayrshire •Galatia, Hypatia, solatia •alopecia, godetia, Helvetia •Alicia, Leticia •Derbyshire • Berwickshire •Cambridgeshire • Warwickshire •Argyllshire • quassia • Shropshire •Yorkshire • Staffordshire •Hertfordshire • Bedfordshire •Herefordshire • Oxfordshire •Forfarshire • Lancashire •Lincolnshire • Monmouthshire •Buckinghamshire • Nottinghamshire •Northamptonshire • Leicestershire •Wigtownshire • Worcestershire

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