Home to bullfights and flamenco, Andalusia is sunny Spain at its best. For some northern Europeans, especially Brits, it's the dream of retirement. Its beaches, especially along the Costa de la Luz and the overcrowded Costa del Sol, lure millions of visitors.
Many elderly citizens are still proud that they were some of the last holdouts against the advancing troops of General Franco during the Civil War. Although they are most definitely Spanish, many people of the region still consider themselves "Andalusian," implying a multicultured society, with traces of Roman, Moorish, and Gypsy civilizations.
Once the capital of a Moorish empire, Seville today remains the center of life in Andalusia and the guardian of its culture. Youth in the hinterlands of Andalusia often dream of going to Seville to study for a year.
The region possesses natural wealth, but poverty, particularly in the far reaches, is widespread. The European Union rates many farm laborers among the poorest on the Continent. Unemployment has forced many Andalusians to migrate to more industrialized areas such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao.
Those who stayed behind labor at winemaking, olive oil extracting, flour milling, horse and cattle breeding -- and even mining for zinc, lead, copper, and iron, an industry that dates back to Phoenician and Roman times.
Today, tourism has become the fastest growing segment of the economy.
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