Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
– % of Spain
| Ranked 16th|
5 045 km²
– Total (2003)
– % of Spain
| Ranked 17th|
|Statute of Autonomy||June 9, 1982|
– Congress seats
– Senate seats
|President||Pedro Sanz Alonso (PP)|
|Gobierno de La Rioja|
It is bordered by the Basque Country (province of Álava), Navarre, Aragon (province of Zaragoza), and Castile and León (provinces of Soria and Burgos). The Río Ebro flows through this region, as does the Río Oja , for which it is known.
The territory of La Rioja (the name appeared in a charter of 1099) was formerly known as the province of Logroño for the fortified site around which it developed. The 12th-century church Iglesia de Santa Maria de Palacio recalls its original as a chapel of the administrative palace. Logroño was a borderland disputed between the kings of Navarre and the kings of Castile starting in the 10th century; the region was awarded to Castile in a judgement by Henry I of England and annexed in 1173 (1177?). Its importance was that here the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino de Santiago, crossed the River Ebro on the stone bridge, the Puente de Piedra.
La Rioja was taken by Napoleonic forces in the Peninsular War and remained solidly in French hands until 1814. The Constitutional Cortés declared La Rioja an independent province at the time of the Liberal Constitution of 1812, and in January 1822 the province of Logroño was created by royal decree, taking in the whole of the historical geography of La Rioja. However, Ferdinand VII soon annulled these decisions split up the territory amongst the surrounding provinces.
It was made into an autonomous community during the reorganization following the democratic transition following the death of Franco, owing to its economic distinction from the surrounding regions. It is the second-smallest autonomous community in Spain and has the smallest population; fully half of its 174 municipalities have populations under 200. Nearly half of its citizens live in the capital.
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