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Pyrenees

Introduction

Pyrenees (pĭrˈənēz) [key], Span. Pirineos, Fr. Pyrénées, mountain chain of SW Europe, 21,380 sq mi (55,374 sq km), between France and Spain, a formidable barrier between the Iberian Peninsula and the European mainland. The principality of Andorra is located among the peaks. Parts of six French departments and six Spanish provinces are in the Pyrenees region. Perpignan, Bayonne, and Orthez in France and Girona, Huesca, Pamplona, and Irún in Spain are other important cities. The Franco-Spanish border, unchanged since the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659), generally follows the watershed. The high stage of civilization reached in the Pyrenees by early humans is evidenced by the prehistoric cave paintings at Altamira and Aurignac (see Paleolithic art).

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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