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Provinces of Spain

Provinces of Spain
Category Province
Location Spain
Found in Autonomous community
Created by Royal Decree (30/11/1833)
Created 1833
Number 50
Populations 95,258–6,458,684
Areas 1,980–21,766 km²
Government Provincial council
Subdivisions Comarca

Spain and its autonomous communities are divided into fifty provinces (Spanish: provincias, IPA: ; sing. provincia).[note 1]


  • Provincial organization 1
  • Provinces 2
  • See also 3
  • Notes 4
  • External links 5

Provincial organization

The layout of Spain's provinces closely follows the pattern of the territorial division of the country carried out in 1833. The only major change of provincial borders since that time has been the sub-division of the Canary Islands into two provinces rather than one.

Historically, the provinces served mainly as transmission belts for policies enacted in Madrid, as Spain was a highly centralised state for most of its history. The importance of the provinces has declined since the adoption of the system of autonomous communities in the period of the Spanish transition to democracy. They nevertheless remain electoral districts for national elections and as geographical references: for instance in postal addresses and telephone codes.

A small town would normally be identified as being in, say, Valladolid province rather than the autonomous community of Castile and León. The provinces were the "building-blocks" from which the autonomous communities were created. Consequently, no province is divided between more than one of these communities.

Most of the provinces—with the exception of Álava/Araba, Asturias, Bizkaia/Vizcaya, Cantabria, Gipuzkoa/Gipúzcoa, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares, La Rioja, Las Palmas, and Nafarroa/Navarra—are named after their principal town. Only two capitals of autonomous communities—Mérida in Extremadura and Santiago de Compostela in Galicia—are not also the capitals of provinces.

Seven of the autonomous communities comprise no more than one province each: Asturias, Balearic Islands, Cantabria, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, and Navarra. These are sometimes referred to as "uniprovincial" communities.

A map of Spain's provinces.

The table below lists the provinces of Spain. For each, the capital city is given, together with an indication of the autonomous community to which it belongs and a link to a list of municipalities in the province. The names of the provinces and their capitals are ordered alphabetically according to the form in which they appear in the main WorldHeritage articles describing them. Unless otherwise indicated, their Spanish-language (Castilian) names are the same; locally valid names in Spain's other co-official languages (Basque, Catalan, Galician, Valencian) are also indicated where they differ.


Province name Capital Autonomous community Lists of municipalities
A Coruña (Galician); La Coruña (Spanish); Corunna (English, archaic) A Coruña (Galician); La Coruña (Spanish); Corunna (English, archaic) Galicia Municipalities
Álava; Araba (Basque) Vitoria; Gasteiz (Basque) Basque Country Municipalities
Albacete Albacete Castile–La Mancha Municipalities
Alicante; Alacant (Valencian) Alicante; Alacant (Valencian) Valencian Community Municipalities
Almería Almería Andalusia Municipalities
Asturias Oviedo Asturias Municipalities
Ávila Ávila Castile and León Municipalities
Badajoz Mérida Extremadura Municipalities
Balearic Islands; Illes Balears (Catalan); Islas Baleares (Spanish) Palma de Mallorca; Palma (Catalan) Balearic Islands Municipalities
Barcelona Barcelona Catalonia Municipalities
Biscay; Bizkaia (Basque); Vizcaya (Spanish) Bilbao; Bilbo (Basque) Basque Country Municipalities
Burgos Burgos Castile and León Municipalities
Cáceres Cáceres Extremadura Municipalities
Cádiz Cádiz Andalusia Municipalities
Cantabria Santander Cantabria Municipalities
Castellón; Castelló (Valencian) Castellón de la Plana; Castelló de la Plana (Valencian) Valencian Community Municipalities
Ciudad Real Ciudad Real Castile–La Mancha Municipalities
Córdoba Córdoba; Cordova (English, archaic) Andalusia Municipalities
Cuenca Cuenca Castile–La Mancha Municipalities
Gipuzkoa (Basque); Guipúzcoa (Spanish) San Sebastián; Donostia (Basque) Basque Country Municipalities
Girona (Catalan); Gerona (Spanish) Girona (Catalan); Gerona (Spanish) Catalonia Municipalities
Granada Granada Andalusia Municipalities
Guadalajara Guadalajara Castile–La Mancha Municipalities
Huelva Huelva Andalusia Municipalities
Huesca Huesca Bandera de Aragón Aragon Municipalities
Jaén Jaén Andalusia Municipalities
La Rioja Logroño La Rioja Municipalities
Las Palmas Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Canary Islands Municipalities
León León Castile and León Municipalities
Lleida (Catalan); Lérida (Spanish) Lleida (Catalan); Lérida (Spanish) Catalonia Municipalities
Lugo Lugo Galicia Municipalities
Madrid Madrid Bandera de la Comunidad de Madrid Community of Madrid Municipalities
Málaga Málaga Andalusia Municipalities
Murcia Murcia Region of Murcia Municipalities
Navarre; Nafarroa (Basque); Navarra (Spanish) Pamplona; Iruña (Basque) Navarre Municipalities
Ourense (Galician); Orense (Spanish) Ourense (Galician); Orense (Spanish) Galicia Municipalities
Palencia Palencia Castile and León Municipalities
Pontevedra Pontevedra Galicia Municipalities
Salamanca Salamanca Castile and León Municipalities
Santa Cruz de Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife Canary Islands Municipalities
Segovia Segovia Castile and León Municipalities
Seville; Sevilla (Spanish) Seville; Sevilla (Spanish) Andalusia Municipalities
Soria Soria Castile and León Municipalities
Tarragona Tarragona Catalonia Municipalities
Teruel Teruel Bandera de Aragón Aragon Municipalities
Toledo Toledo Castile–La Mancha Municipalities
Valencia; València (Valencian) Valencia; València (Valencian) Valencian Community Municipalities
Valladolid Valladolid Castile and León Municipalities
Zamora Zamora Castile and León Municipalities
Zaragoza; Saragossa (Catalan) Zaragoza; Saragossa (Catalan) Bandera de Aragón Aragon Municipalities

See also



  1. ^ In other languages of Spain:

External links

  • Maps of the provinces of Spain Maps of Spain's Provinces
  • List of municipalities of Spain listed by province from the Spanish INE (National Statistics Institute) (Spanish)
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