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Others are Andalucía and the Canary Islands; Aragón; Asturias; Castile; Extremadura; León; Murcia; and Navarra, whose regional identities are strong but whose language, if in some places dialectic, is mutually intelligible with the official Castilian Spanish.
The national territory is divided into fifty provinces, which date from 1833 and are grouped into seventeen autonomous regions, or comunidades autónomas. Spain occupies about 85 percent of the Iberian peninsula, with Portugal on its western border.
Great local diversity flourishes on Spanish terrain and is part of Spain's essence. The name España is of uncertain origin; from it derived the Hispania of the roman Empire.Important regions within the modern nation are the Basque Country (País Vasco), the Catalan-Valencian-Balearic area, and Galicia—each of which has its own language and a strong regional identity.This growing power was soon to be enhanced by the Crown's monopoly (vis-a-vis other regions and the rest of Europe) on all that accrued from Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New World, which occurred under Crown sponsorship.Madrid, already at the time an ancient Castilian town, was selected as Spain's capital in 1561, replacing the court's former home, Valladolid.