Castilekăstēl´ [key], Span. Castillakästē´lyä [key], historic region and former kingdom, central and N Spain, traditionally divided into Old Castile and New Castile, and now divided into Castile–La Mancha and Castile-Leon. Castile is generally a vast, sparsely populated region surrounding the highly industrialized Madrid area. It includes most of the high plateau of central Spain, across which rise the rugged Sierra de Guadarrama and the Sierra de Gredos, forming a natural boundary between Old and New Castile. The upper Duero, the Tagus, and Guadiana rivers form the chief valleys etched into the plateau. The soil of Castile, ravaged by centuries of erosion, is poor, and rainfall is sparse.
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