Main sights from the province of León. From left to right: Pantheon of San Isidoro, Ponferrada castle, Las Médulas, Astorga, Castrillo de los Polvazares, Barrios de Luna Reservoir.
Map of Spain with León highlighted
|Autonomous community||Castilla y León|
|o Total||15,581 km2 (6,016 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 7th|
|3.08% of Spain|
|o Rank||Ranked 30th|
|o Density||30/km2 (77/sq mi)|
|1.08% of Spain|
|Official language(s)||Spanish, Leonese and Galician special protection status|
About one quarter of its population of 463,746 (2018) lives in the capital, León. The climate is dry, cold in winter and hot in summer. This creates the perfect environment for wine and all types of cold meats and sausages like the leonese "Morcilla" and the "Cecina".
There are two famous Roman Catholic cathedrals in the province, the main one in León and another in Astorga. The province shares the Picos de Europa National Park (in the Picos de Europa mountain range) with Cantabria and Asturias. It has 211 municipalities.
The province of León was established in 1833 with the new Spanish administrative organisation of regions and provinces to replace former kingdoms. The Leonese Region was composed of the provinces of León, Salamanca and Zamora.
Until 1833, the independently administered Kingdom of León, situated in the northwest region of the Iberian Peninsula, retained the status of a kingdom, although dynastic union had brought it into the Crown of Castile. The Kingdom of León was founded in 910 A.D. when the Christian princes of Asturias along the northern coast of the peninsula shifted their main seat from Oviedo to the city of León. The Atlantic provinces became the Kingdom of Portugal in 1139.
The eastern, inland part of the kingdom was joined dynastically to the Kingdom of Castile first in 1037-1065, again 1077-1109 and 1126-1157, 1230-1296 and from 1301 onward. (See Castile and León#Historic union of the Kingdoms of Castile and León.) León retained the status of a kingdom until 1833, being composed by Adelantamientos Mayores, where Leonese Adelantamiento consisted of the territories between the Picos de Europa and the Duero River.
The Leonese language is recognized by the Statute of Castile and León. The Provincial Government of León signed accords with language associations for promoting Leonese. Leonese is taught in León city, Mansilla de las Mulas, La Bañeza, Valencia de Don Juan or Ponferrada for adult people, and in sixteen schools of León city. The City Council of León writes some of its announcements in Leonese in order to promote the language.
As for the temperatures, in general it is a cold climate due to the altitude and the abundance of frost (which persist from November to May), being more intense in the mountainous areas reaching -18ºC. Vega de Liordes, an enclave in the León sector of Picos de Europa belonging to the municipality of Posada de Valdeón registered -35.8 °C (-32.4 °F) on January 7, 2021.