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Autonomous Community of Cantabria, Spain

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Area: 5,321 sq. km 

Population: 582,206 

Capital: Santander 


Cantabria is a historic Spanish community and autonomous community with Santander as its capital city. It is bordered on the east by the Basque Autonomous Community, on the south by Castile and León , on the west by the Principality of Asturias, and on the north by the Cantabrian Sea. 

Cantabria has archaeological sites from the Upper Paleolithic period. The most significant site for cave paintings is that in the cave of Altamira, dating from about 37,000 BC and declared, along with nine other Cantabrian caves, as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The modern Province of Cantabria was constituted on 28 July 1778 at Bárcena la Puente, Reocín. The Organic Law of the Autonomy Statute of Cantabria was approved on 30 December 1981, giving the region its own institutions of self-government. 


The economy of Cantabria has primary industry, employing 5.8% of the active population in the sectors of cattle farming, traditional dairy farming, and meat production; agriculture, especially corn, potatoes, vegetables, and roughage; maritime fishing; and the mining of zinc and quarries. 

The secondary industry which employs 30.3% of the active population is the sector with the most productivity in recent years due to construction; that of ironworking, food service, chemistry, paper production, textile fabrication, pharmacy, industrial groups and transport, etc. The service sector employs 63.8% of the active population and is increasing, given that large concentrations of the population live in the urban centers and the importance that tourism has acquired in the recent years.