The Iberian Peninsula, is located in the southwest corner of Europe. The peninsula is principally divided between Portugal and Spain, comprising most of their territory. It also includes Andorra and a small part of France along the peninsula's northeastern edge, as well as Gibraltar on its south coast, a small peninsula that forms an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. With an area of approximately 582,000 km2 (225,000 sq mi), it is the second largest European peninsula, after the Scandinavian.
Iberia stands out among other southern European populations as having the highest levels of ancestry originating both in North Africa as well as in Sub‑Saharan Africa.
At its height, Córdova, the heart of Moorish territory in Spain, was the most modern city in Europe. The streets were well‑paved, with raised sidewalks for pedestrians. During the night, ten miles of streets were well illuminated by lamps. (This was hundreds of years before there was a paved street in Paris or a street lamp in London.) Córdova had 900 public baths ‑ we are told that a poor Moor would go without bread rather than soap!
The Great Mosque of Córdova (La Mezquita) is still one of the architectural wonders of the world in spite of later Spanish disfigurements. Its low scarlet and gold roof, supported by 1,000 columns of marble, jasper and and porphyry, was lit by thousands of brass and silver lamps which burned perfumed oil.
Education was universal in Moorish Spain, available to all, while in Christian Europe ninety‑nine percent of the population were illiterate, and even kings could neither read nor write. At that time, Europe had only two universities, the Moors had seventeen great universities! These were located in Almeria, Córdova, Granada, Juen, Malaga, Seville, and Toledo.
In the tenth and eleventh centuries, public libraries in Europe were non‑existent, while Moorish Spain could boast of more than seventy, of which the one in Córdova housed six hundred thousand manuscripts.