For other uses, see Asturias (disambiguation).
Comunidad Autónoma del Principado de Asturias
Comunidá Autónoma del Principáu d'Asturies
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FlagCoat of arms
Anthem: Asturias, patria querida
Official language(s)Spanish; Asturian has special status
 – Total
 – % of Spain
Ranked 10th
 10,604 km
 – Total (2006)
 – % of Spain
 – Density
Ranked 13th
 – English
 – Spanish
 – Asturian

Statute of AutonomyJanuary 11, 1982

 – Congress seats
 – Senate seats

 6 (4 elected, 2 appointed)
PresidentVicente Alberto Álvarez Areces (PSOE)
ISO 3166-2O
Gobierno del Principado de Asturias
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Traditional 'horru' grain barn, Parque Natural de Redes. December 2004

The principality of Asturias (Spanish: Principado de Asturias, Asturian: Principáu d'Asturies or Asturies) is an autonomous community within the kingdom of Spain, former Kingdom of Asturias in the Middle Ages. It is situated on the north coast facing the Cantabrian Sea (Mar Cantábrico, the Spanish name for the Bay of Biscay).

The most important cities are the provincial capital, Oviedo (Uviéu), the seaport and largest city Gijón (Xixón), and the industrial town of Avilés. Other towns include Mieres, Langreo (Llangréu) (with La Felguera and Sama), Siero, Cangas de Onís (Cangues), Cangas del Narcea, Grado (Grau), Lena (Llena), Laviana (Llaviana), El Entrego (L'Entregu), Villaviciosa, Vegadeo ( A Veiga ), and Llanes. See also List of municipalities in Asturias, Comarcas of Asturias.

Asturias is bordered on the east by Cantabria, on the south by Castilla y León, on the west by Galicia, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea.


Asturias has been occupied by humans since the Lower Paleolithic era; and during the Upper Paleolithic was characterized by cave paintings in the eastern part of the area. In the Mesolithic period a native culture developed, that of the Asturiense, and later, with the introduction of the Bronze Age, megaliths and tumuli were constructed. In the Iron Age, the territory came under the cultural influence of the Celts; the local Celtic peoples, known as the Astures, were composed of tribes such as the Luggones, the Pesicos, and others, who populated the entire area with castros (fortified hill-towns). Today the Astur Celtic influence persists in toponyms, such as those of rivers and mountains.

With the conquest of Asturias by the Romans under Augustus (29-19 BC), the region entered into the annals of history. After several centuries without foreign presence, the Suebi and Visigoths occupied the land from the 6th century AD to the beginning of the 8th century, ending with the . However, as it had been for the Romans and Visigoths, the Moors did not find mountainous territory easy to conquer, and the lands along Spain's northern coast never fully became part of Islamic Spain. Rather, with the beginning of the Moorish conquest in the 8th century, this region became a refuge for Christian nobles, and in 722 a de facto independent kingdom was established, the Regnum Asturorum (Kingdom of Asturias), which was to became the cradle of the incipient Reconquista (Reconquest).¹

In the 10th century, the Kingdom of Asturias gave way to the Kingdom of León, and during the Middle Ages the geographic isolation of the territory made historical references scarce. Through the rebellion of Henry II of Castile in the 14th century, the Principality of Asturias was established. The most famous proponents of independence were Gonzalo Peláez and Queen Urraca, who while achieving significant victories were ultimately defeated by Castilian troops. After its integration into the Kingdom of Spain, Asturias provided the Spanish court with high-ranking aristocrats and played an important role in the colonization of the Americas; in the 16th century the population reached 100,000 for the first time, and within another century that number would double due the arrival of American corn.
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Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos
During the 18th century, Asturias was one of the centres of the Spanish Enlightenment. The renowned thinker Benito de Feijoo settled in the Benedictine Monastery of San Vicente, Oviedo. Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a polymath and prominent reformer and politician of the late 18th century, was born in the seaside town of Gijón.

The Industrial Revolution came to Asturias with the discovery and systematic exploitation, after 1830, of coal and iron resources. At the same time there was significant migration to the Americas (especially Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba and Mexico); those who succeeded overseas often returned to their native land much wealthier. These entrepreneurs were known collectively as 'Indianos', for having visited and made their fortunes in the West Indies and beyond. The heritage of these wealthy families can still be seen in Asturias today: many large 'modernista' villas are dotted across the region, as well as cultural institutions such as free schools and public libraries.

Like all Spain, Asturias played its part in the events that led up to and including the Spanish Civil War. In 1934, the left-wing workers' movement fought the right-wing government of the Second Spanish Republic in the so-called 'Revolution of Asturias'. Troops under the command of Francisco Franco were brought from the North African colonies to put down the rebellion and a ferocious oppression followed. As a result, Asturias remained loyal to the democratic republican government during the Spanish Civil War, and was the scene of an extraordinary defence in extreme terrain, the Battle of El Mazuco. With Franco eventually gaining control of all Spain, Asturias — traditionally linked to the Spanish crown — was known merely as the 'Province of Oviedo' from 1936 until Franco's death in 1975. The province's name was restored fully after the return of democracy to Spain, in 1977.

In 1982 Asturias became an Autonomous Community within the decentralized territorial structure established by the Constitution of 1978. The Asturian regional government holds comprehensive competencies in important areas such as health, education and protection of the environment. Since 1999 the President of the Government of Asturias has been Vicente Álvarez Areces, of the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party (PSOE).

¹ For this reason, since the 14th century the heir to the Spanish throne has automatically taken the title Prince of Asturias, much as the heir to the British throne is the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland.

Geography and climate

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The Picos de Europa, from Parque Natural de Redes. December 2004
The Cantabrian Mountains (Cordillera Cantábrica) form Asturias's natural border with the province of León to the south. In the eastern range, the Picos de Europa National Park contains the highest and arguably most spectacular mountains, rising to 2648 metres (8688 feet) at the Torrecerredo peak. Other notable features of this predominantly-limestone range are the Parque Natural de Redes in the central east, the central Ubiñas south of Oviedo, and the Parque Natural de Somiedo in the west. The Cantabrian mountains offer opportunities for activities such as climbing, walking, skiing and caving, and extend some 200 kilometres in total, as far as Galicia province to the west of Asturias, and Cantabria province to the east.

The Asturian coastline is extensive, with hundreds of beaches, coves and natural sea caves. Notable examples include the Playa del Silencio (Beach of Silence) near the fishing village of Cudillero (west of Gijón), as well as the many beaches surrounding the summer resort of Llanes, such as the Barro, Ballota and Torimbia (the latter a predominantly nudist beach). Most of Asturias' beaches are sandy, clean and bordered by steep cliffs, on top of which it is not unusual to see grazing livestock.

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Playa de Ballota, near Andrin, Llanes. June 2005
The key features of Asturian geography are its rugged coastal cliffs and the mountainous interior. The climate of Asturias, as with the rest of northwest Spain, is more varied than that of southern parts of the country. Summers are generally humid and warm, with considerable sunshine, but also some rain. Winters are fairly mild but with some very cold snaps. The cold is especially felt in the mountains, where snow is present from November till May. Both rain and sunshine are regular weather features of Asturian winters. Annual rainfall is above 900 mm (35.4 in) throughout the region (e.g. Gijón, 971 mm or 38.2 in), but it increases as one travels inland, and reaches its peak in the Picos de Europa (e.g. Amieva, 1800 mm or 76 in). Asturias is regarded to be a part of so called Green Spain.


The only official language in Asturias is Spanish. The Asturian language is also spoken, and is protected by Ley 1/1998, de 23 de marzo, de uso y promoción del bable/asturiano ('Law 1/1998, of March 23, of Use and Promotion of Bable/Asturian'). It is used sometimes by the Asturian civil service. In the western part of Asturias, Eonavian is also spoken, and its promotion also falls under the responsibility of Law 1/1998. Whether Eonavian is a dialect continuum or a variety of Galician language, however, is a subject of debate, and its use in the Asturian Administration is minor compared to the use of the Asturian language. There is an ongoing process to change all place names in Asturias into traditional Asturian and Eonavian ones.

Food and drink

See main article: Asturian cuisine
Enlarge picture
Fabada asturiana, a typical dish of Asturias
While Asturias is especially known for its seafood, the most famous regional dish is fabada asturiana, a rich stew typically made with large white beans (fabes), shoulder of pork (lacón), black sausage (morcilla), spicy sausage (chorizo), and saffron (azafrán).

Apple groves foster the production of the traditional alcoholic drink, a natural cider (sidra). When Asturian cider is served it is poured in a particular way, El Escanciado: since it is natural and bottled without gas, the bottle must be held above the head allowing for a long vertical pour (requiring considerable skill and accuracy) which causes the cider to be aerated when it splashes into the glass below. This gives it a pleasant "zingy" taste. The glass is passed around and everyone drinks from the same glass. After drinking most of the glass, it is customary to splash a little out onto the ground, as a way to clean the glass of any lees for the next pouring.

Asturian cheeses, especially Cabrales, are also famous throughout Spain and beyond; Asturias is often called "the land of cheeses" (el país de los quesos) due to the product's diversity and quality in this region.


For centuries the backbone of the Asturian economy was agriculture, and fishing. Milk production and its derivatives was also traditional, but its big development was a byproduct of the economic expansion of the late 1960's. Nowadays, products from the Central Lechera Asturiana are being commercialised all over Spain.

The main regional industry in modern times, however, was coal mining and steel production: in the times of Francisco Franco's dictatorship, it was the centre of Spain's steel industry. The then state-owned ENSIDESA steel company is now part of the privatised Aceralia, now part of the ARCELOR Group. The industry created many jobs which resulted in significant migration from other regions in Spain, mainly Extremadura, Andalusia and Castilla y León.

The steel industry is now in decline, as is mining, as a result of competition from Eastern Europe, high costs of production, and decline in global steel demand. Regional economic growth is below the broader Spanish rate, though in recent years growth in service industries has helped reduce Asturias's high rate of unemployment. Large out-of-town retail parks have opened near the region's largest cities (Gijón and Oviedo), whilst the ever-present Spanish construction industry appears to continue to thrive.

Asturias has benefited extensively since 1986 from European Union investment in roads and other essential infrastructure, though there has also been some controversy regarding how these funds are spent, for example, on miners' pensions.

The Center for the Development of Information and Communication Technologies (CTIC) is located in Asturias. A non-profit organization, made up of information technologies firms and the Government of the Principality, it is best known for producing The Web Accessibility Test (TAW), a free tool for the analysis of Web sites.

Tourist attractions

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Oviedo Cathedral and Plaza. April 2005
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Asturian countryside near Pola de Lena

Major attractions

Oviedo, the capital city of Asturias: a clean, picturesque city with a diverse architectural heritage. Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo, a pre-Romanesque church and a palace respectively, which were built by the first Asturian kings on Mount Naranco, to the north of the city.

The Picos de Europa National park, and other parts of the Asturian mountain range: The most famous mountain in the park is the Picu Urriellu (2519 m or 8262 ft), also known as El Naranjo de Bulnes, a molar-shaped peak which glows orange in the evening sun, hence its name. Weather permitting, it can be viewed clearly from Camarmeña village, near Poncebos, south of Arenas de Cabrales.

The shrine to the Virgin Mary of Covadonga and the mountain lakes (Los Lagos), near Cangas de Onís: Legend has it that in the 8th century, the Virgin blessed Asturian Christian forces with a well-timed signal to attack Spain's Moorish conquerors, thereby taking the invaders by surprise. The Reconquista and eventual unification of all Spain is therefore said to have started in this very location.

The Asturian coast: especially the beaches in and around the summer resort of Llanes, and the Playa del Silencio near Cudillero fishing village.

Other places of interest

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Somiedo Lake
  • Ceceda village: east of Oviedo along the N634 road. Of particular interest in this exemplary settlement are the traditional horreo grain silos, raised on stilts so as to keep field mice from getting at the grain.
  • The Dobra River: south of Cangas de Onís, famous for its unusual colour and natural beauty.
  • The senda costera (coastal way) between Pendueles and Llanes: This partly-paved nature route takes in some of Asturias' most spectacular coastal scenery, such as the noisy bufones (large water spouts created naturally by the erosion of the sea) and the Playa de Ballota.
  • The unusual rock formation on the beach at Buelna village: east of Llanes. Best viewed at low tide.

More Information

Oficial Tourist Information Website



Asturias is served by Asturias International Airport (OVD), 40 kilometres from Oviedo, near the northwest coast and the industrial town of Avilés.
  • International carriers
  • A UK-based international carrier, easyJet, began daily flights to Asturias airport in March 2005, it operates to Stansted Airport, which the airline uses as a major hub. During the winter period, easyJet usually reduces flying frequency to four flights per week.
  • A German-based carrier, Air Berlin, began flights to Asturias airport in November 2006, it operates to Mallorca which the airline uses as a major hub.
  • Several National Carriers also link Asturias to Madrid and Barcelona, Brussels, Paris, Seville and others.
  • Iberia
  • Spanair
  • Air Asturias inaugurated flights in November 2006 and was based at Ranon Airport (OVD). Air Asturias connected the region to Madrid, Paris, Lisbon and Rome. It planned to expand its network to other national, European and inter-continental destinations by 2007, but folded down the same year.
Eastern Asturias is also easily accessible from Santander Airport. Recent improvements introduced in the road network permit flying into Santander and later driving into Asturias, which can be entered in than one hour's drive.

Cheap flights to Santander Airport operated by the Irish airline Ryanair can be from the following destinations: Frankfurt Hahn, Liverpool, London Stansted and Rome Ciampino.


El Musel (the Port of Gijon) is able to receive cruise ships of any size. Companies as P&O, Swan Hellenic or Hapag Lloyd choose the Port of Gijón every year for their calls in the Atlantic European Coast. The following areas are available for cruise vessels:
*Moliner quay: 313 m berthing with 14 m draught.
*7ª Alignment: 326 m with 12 m draught.
*Espigón II. South alignment. 360 m berth with 9 m draught.

These locations allow a high degree of access control with security guaranteed for both vessels and passengers alike. The city centre is only 4 km away and the Port Authority provides dedicated coach connection allowing passengers to take advantage of the cultural, gastronomic and commercial opportunities that Gijón has to offer.


Spain's national RENFE rail network also serves Asturias well; trains regularly depart to and from the Spanish interior. Major stops are the regional capital, Oviedo, and the main coastal city, Gijón. Meanwhile the FEVE rail company links the centre of the region with Eastern and Western Asturias.


There is also a comprehensive bus service run by the ALSA company. It links Avilés, Gijón, Oviedo and Mieres with Madrid and other major towns, several times a day. These include services to Barcelona, Salamanca, León, Valladolid, La Coruña, Bilbao, Seville, San Sebastián, Paris, Brussels and Nice, to name just a few.


Asturian anthem

The Asturian anthem Asturias, patria querida (Asturias, my dear motherland) was a popular song adopted as the region's anthem and formalised by Ley 1/1984, de 27 de Abríl.

According to a popular myth, this song is sung by drunk people all over Spain; in reality, however, this is extremely uncommon. This notion might have been introduced in the time of the Spanish Civil War by Francisco Franco's side to discredit Asturias, since this song was born in the mining community - a centre of Spanish socialism. Some variants of the anthem were also used by the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War and the 1934 miners' uprising that preceded the war.


"Asturias" is also the name of the fifth movement of the Suite Española, Op. 47 by Spanish composer Isaac Albéniz. Nevertheless, the music has little in common with the region's own Folklore. More authentic is Rimsky Korsakov's Spanish Cappriccio, which quotes liberally from Asturian musical heritage.

Famous citizens

See also


  • Bowen-Jones, H. and W.B. Fisher. Spain: An Introductory Geography. New York: Praeger, 1966.
  • Dresner, Denise, ed. Guide to the World. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1998. S.v. "Asturias"
  • Encyclopedia Americana. Danbury: Grolier, 2002. S.v. "Asturias"
  • Merriam-Webster's Geographical Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1997. S.v. "Asturias"

External links

[ edit ]Municipalities in Asturias
Allande | Aller | Amieva | Avils | Belmonte de Miranda | Bimenes | Boal | Cabrales | Cabranes | Candamo | Cangas de Ons | Cangas del Narcea | Caravia | Carreo | Caso | Castrilln | Castropol | Coaa | Colunga | Corvera de Asturias | Cudillero | Degaa | El Franco | Gijn/Xixn | Gozn | Grado | Grandas de Salime | Ibias | Illano | Illas | Langreo/Llangru | Laviana | Lena | Llanera | Llanes | Mieres | Morcn | Muros de Naln | Nava | Navia | Norea | Ons | Oviedo | Parres | Peamellera Alta | Peamellera Baja | Pesoz | Piloa | Ponga | Pravia | Proaza | Quirs | Las Regueras | Ribadedeva | Ribadesella | La Ribera/Ribera de Arriba | Riosa | Salas | San Martn de Oscos | San Martn del Rey Aurelio | San Tirso de Abres | Santa Eulalia de Oscos | Santo Adriano | Sariego | Siero | Sobrescobio | Somiedo | Soto del Barco | Tapia de Casariego | Taramundi | Teverga | Tineo | Valds | Vegadeo | Villanueva de Oscos | Villaviciosa | Villayn | Yernes y Tameza

Asturias, or Principality of Asturias, is an autonomous community of Spain

Asturias may also refer to:
  • The language particular to Asturia.
  • Kingdom of Asturias, stablished in the early 8th century by King Pelayo

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flag of Asturias shows the "Cruz de la Victoria" (Victory Cross) in gold (yellow PMS 109) over blue (PMS 829).

This Cross was carried by Don Pelayo (later King Pelayo), in the decisive Battle of Covadonga against the Moors in 722.
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The coat of arms of Asturias (Asturian: Escudu d'Asturies, Spanish: Escudo de Asturias, Galician: Escudo de Asturias
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An anthem is a composition to an English religious text sung in the context of an Anglican service. The term has evolved to mean a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a certain group of people, as in the term "national anthem". See below for other uses.
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Asturias, patria querida is the anthem of the Spanish autonomous community of Asturias, although it is widely regarded throughout the Spanish territory as a kind of informal, festive substitute to the Spanish national anthem, which lacks lyrics.
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capital (also called capital city or political capital — although the latter phrase has a second meaning based on an alternative sense of "capital") is the center of government.
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Flag Coat of Arms

Location of Oviedo
Coordinates :
Time Zone :
General information
Native name Oviedo (Asturian)
Spanish name Oviedo
Postal code 33001 to 33013
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An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in the countries, states, and other territories. It is typically the language used in a nation's legislative bodies, though the law in many nations requires that government documents be produced in other
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 Spanish, Castilian
Writing system: Latin (Spanish variant)
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2:
ISO 639-3: —

Spanish (
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Asturian (Asturian: Asturianu or Bable) is a Romance language of the West Iberian group, Astur-Leonese Subgroup, spoken in the Spanish province of Asturias by the Asturian people.
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Area is a physical quantity expressing the size of a part of a surface. The term Surface area is the summation of the areas of the exposed sides of an object.


Units for measuring surface area include:
square metre = SI derived unit

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1 Castile-Leon 94 223 km² 18.6%

2 Andalusia 87 268 km² 17.2%

3 Castile-La Mancha 79 463 km² 15.7%

4 Aragon 47 719 km² 9.
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Distances shorter than 1010 m
  • 15 million km — Closest distance of Comet Hyakutake from Earth
  • 18 million km — One light-minute
  • 24 million km — Radius of a heliostationary orbit

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Square kilometre (U.S. spelling: square kilometer), symbol km², is a decimal multiple of the SI unit of surface area, the square metre, one of the SI derived units. 1 km² is equal to:
  • 1,000,000 m²
  • 100 ha (hectare)
  • 1 m² = 0.

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population is the collection of people or organisms of a particular species living in a given geographic area or mortality, and migration, though the field encompasses many dimensions of population change including the family (marriage and divorce), public health, work and the
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In physics, density is mass m per unit volume V—how heavy something is compared to its size. A small, heavy object, such as a rock or a lump of lead, is denser than a lighter object of the same size or a larger object of the same weight, such as pieces of
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1 Andalusia 7 849 799 17,9% 89,95/km²

2 Catalonia 6 995 206 15,9% 217,82/km²

3 Madrid 5 964 143 13,5% 745,98/km²
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A demonym or gentilic is a word that denotes the members of a people or the inhabitants of a place. In English, the name of a people's language is often the same as this word, e.g., the "French" (language or people).
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Writing system: Latin (English variant) 
Official status
Official language of: 53 countries
Regulated by: no official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1: en
ISO 639-2: eng
ISO 639-3: eng  
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 Spanish, Castilian
Writing system: Latin (Spanish variant)
Language codes
ISO 639-1: none
ISO 639-2:
ISO 639-3: —

Spanish (
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Asturian (Asturian: Asturianu or Bable) is a Romance language of the West Iberian group, Astur-Leonese Subgroup, spoken in the Spanish province of Asturias by the Asturian people.
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January 11 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.


  • 314 - Pope Miltiades ends his reign as the Pope of Roman Catholicism by dying in power.

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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1950s  1960s  1970s  - 1980s -  1990s  2000s  2010s
1979 1980 1981 - 1982 - 1983 1984 1985

Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII
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Las Cortes Generales
The General Courts

Type Bicameral
Houses El Senado de España
Congreso de los Diputados
President of the Senate Francisco Javier Rojo García, PSOE PSE-EE
since 2004
President of the Congress Manuel Marín González, PSOE
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El Congreso de los Diputados
The Congress of Deputies

Type Lower house
Houses Congreso de los Diputados
President Manuel Marín González, PSOE
since 2004

Members 350
Political groups PSOE, PP, CiU, ERC, PNV, IU, Mixto
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El Senado de España
The Spanish Senate

Type Upper house
Houses Senate
President Francisco Javier Rojo García, PSOE PSE-EE
since 2004

Members 259
Political groups PP, PSOE, ECP, PNV, CiU, CC, Mixto
Last elections 2004
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The President of the Government of the Principality of Asturias is the head of government of the Spanish autonomous community of Asturias.

List of Presidents of Asturias

Name Took Office Party
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Vicente Alberto Álvarez Areces (b. August 4, 1943) is the current President of the Government of the Principality of Asturias in Spain, and he is a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party political party.
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The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, commonly abbreviated by its Spanish initials, PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español), is the ruling party in Spain and the second oldest, exceeded only by the Partido Carlista, founded in 1833.
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ISO 3166-2 is the second part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is a geocode system created for coding the names of country subdivisions and dependent areas.
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