Castile and León
Castile and León is an autonomous community in north-western Spain. It was created in 1983. Formed by the provinces of Ávila, Burgos, León, Palencia, Salamanca, Segovia, Soria, Valladolid and Zamora, it is the largest autonomous community in Spain in terms of area, covering 94,222 km2. It is however sparsely populated, with a population density below 30/km2. While a capital has not been explicitly declared, the seats of the executive and legislative powers are set in Valladolid by law and for all purposes that city serves as de facto regional capital. Castile and León is a landlocked region, bordered by Portugal as well as by the Spanish autonomous communities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, La Rioja, Aragon, Castilla–La Mancha, the Community of Madrid and Extremadura. Chiefly comprising the northern half of the Inner Plateau, it is surrounded by mountain barriers (the Picos de Europa to the North, the Sistema Central to the South and the Sistema Ibérico to the East) and it is drained by the Douro River, flowing west toward the Atlantic Ocean. The region contains eight World Heritage Sites. UNESCO recognizes the Cortes of León of 1188 as the cradle of worldwide parliamentarism.