one of the three great peninsulas of southern Europe, the other two being the Balkan (to the east) and the Iberian (to the west). The Italian Peninsula extends from the region of the Po River southward for some 600 miles (960 km); it has a maximum width of 150 miles (240 km). To the east lies the Adriatic Sea, to the south the Ionian Sea, and to the west the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas.
The Apennines, a volcanic mountain chain subject to frequent earthquakes, extends the length of the peninsula; lowlands are mostly along the coasts. The peninsula comprises much of Italy and includes the independent republic of San Marino as well as Vatican City.
What three groups settled in the Italian peninsula?
Greeks, Latins, and Etruscans.
The Balkan Peninsula, southeasternmost peninsula of Europe, c.200,000 sq mi (518,000 sq km), is bounded by the Black Sea, Sea of Marmara, Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Ionian Sea, and Adriatic Sea. Although there is no sharp physiographic separation between the peninsula and Central Europe, the line of the Sava and Danube rivers is commonly considered as the region’s northern limit. The Balkan Peninsula therefore includes most of Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, continental Greece (including the Peloponnesus), Bulgaria, European Turkey, and SE Romania. These countries, successors to the Ottoman Empire, are called the Balkan States. Historically and politically the region extends north of this line to include all of Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Romania.
The peninsula is very mountainous; the main ranges are the Dinaric Alps, the Balkans, the Rhodope Mts., and the Pindus. Except for the barren Karst plateau in the northwest and the eroded highlands of Greece, the mountains are densely forested. The Morava, Vardar, Strimón, Mesta, and Maritsa are the largest rivers. The Morava and Vardar river valleys form the chief corridor across the peninsula. The mild Mediterranean-type climate, with its dry summer period, is limited to the southern and coastal areas. Covering a greater area are the humid subtropical climate in the northwest and the harsher humid continental climate in the northeast. The region as a whole is largely agricultural; fruits, grains, and grazing are important. A variety of mineral deposits are found there, including iron ore, coal, manganese, copper, lead, and zinc.
The peoples of the Balkan Peninsula make up several racial groups. However, linguistic and religious differences are more distinct than the racial divisions. The peninsula, at the crossroads of European and Asian civilizations, has a long history; Ancient Greece, the Byzantine Empire, and the Ottoman Empire flourished there.
See R. D. Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts (1994); M. Tedorov, Imagining the Balkans (1997); M. Mazower, The Balkans: A Short History (2000).
A peninsula in southwestern Europe, occupied by Spain and Portugal. Its name derives from its ancient inhabitants whom the Greeks called Iberians, probably after the Ebro (Iberus), the peninsula’s second longest river (after the Tagus). The Pyrenees form an effective land barrier in the northeast from the rest of Europe, and in the south at Gibraltar the peninsula is separated from North Africa by a narrow strait. The Atlantic Ocean washes the western and northern coasts, and the Mediterranean Sea the eastern. Cape da Roca, in Portugal, is the most westerly point of continental Europe.