Southern Europe’s climate is a moderate Mediterranean climate, with mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
Not as many people have moved from the countryside to the city in southern Europe, compared with Western Europe.
Northern Italy is more industrialized than southern Italy. The northern region has a global industrial and financial sector as well as famous cultural cities. The southern regions are more rural.
A similar situation exists in Spain. The urbanized Catalonia region around Barcelona in the northeast has high-tech industries and a high standard of living. Southern Spain has large rural areas with economies based heavily on agricultural production.
Portugal and Greece are not as industrialized and do not have the same economic opportunities. Historically, southern Europe, Portugal, and Greece all have a lower gross domestic product (GDP) per capita than northern or Central Europe. Greece has had serious economic difficulty in recent years.
Southern European countries have much larger populations than the north. The culture of southern Europe is built around agriculture, based on locally grown fresh food. Olive oil and wine are major agricultural exports.
The main languages of Iberia and Italy are based on the Romance language group. Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European language family. The most dominant religious affiliation in the south is Roman Catholicism, except in Greece, where the Eastern (Greek) Orthodox Church is prominent.
Spain is the most diverse nation in southern Europe, with distinct ethnic groups. The Basques in the north along the French border want to separate and create their own nation-state. The region of Galicia in northwest Spain is an autonomous region. The island state of Cyprus is divided into Greek and Turkish ethnic groups.
Source: Southern Europe
By Saylor Academy, CC-BY 3.0