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The Guadalquivir is the fifth longest river
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in the Iberian peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 and the second longest river to be its whole length in Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. The Guadalquivir is 657 kilometers long and drains an area of about 58,000 square kilometers. It begins at Cañada de las Fuentes in the Cazorla
Sierra de Cazorla
Sierra de Cazorla is a mountain range of the Prebaetic System in the Jaén Province in Spain. It is named after the ancient town of Villa de Segura and it gives its name to the Segura River...

 mountain range (Jaén), passes through Córdoba
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

 and Seville
Seville is the artistic, historic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of the autonomous community of Andalusia and of the province of Seville. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, with an average elevation of above sea level...

 and ends at the fishing village of Bonanza
Bonanza, Spain
Bonanza is a port in the city of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the province of Cádiz and the community of Andalusia, Spain.- Fiction :Neal Stephenson named half of his novel The Confusion after the port, and had a character describe it as functioning as a chief treasure port of Spain until 1686, and as...

, in Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Sanlúcar de Barrameda
Sanlúcar de Barrameda is a city in the northwest of Cádiz province, part of the autonomous community of Andalucía in southern Spain. Sanlúcar is located on the left bank at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River opposite the Doñana National Park, 52 km from the provincial capital Cádiz and...

, flowing into the Gulf of Cádiz
Gulf of Cadiz
The Gulf of Cádiz is the arm of the Atlantic Ocean between Cape St. Vincent in Portugal and Cape Trafalgar at the western end of the Strait of Gibraltar...

, in the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. The marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

y lowlands at the river's end are known as "Las Marismas
Las Marismas
The Guadalquivir Marshes is an area of marshy lowlands near the banks of Guadalquivir River, part of Seville province, in Western Andalusia , which contains part of the territories of the municipalities of Isla Mayor, Los Palacios y Villafranca, La Puebla del Río, Villafranco del Guadalquivir,...

". It borders Doñana National Park
Doñana National Park
-Conservation:In 1989 the surroundings of the national park were given more protection when a buffer zone was declared a natural park under the management of the regional government. The two parks, national and natural, have since been classified as a single natural landscape.In 1994 UNESCO...


The Guadalquivir river is the only great navigable
A body of water, such as a river, canal or lake, is navigable if it is deep, wide and slow enough for a vessel to pass. Preferably there are few obstructions such as rocks or trees to avoid. Bridges must have sufficient clearance. High water speed may make a channel unnavigable. Waters may be...

 river in Spain. Currently it is navigable to Seville, but in Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 times it was navigable to Córdoba.

The ancient city of Tartessos
Tartessos or Tartessus was a harbor city and surrounding culture on the south coast of the Iberian peninsula , at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River. It appears in sources from Greece and the Near East starting in the middle of the first millennium BC, for example Herodotus, who describes it as...

 was said to have been located at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, although its site has not yet been found.


The name comes from the Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 al-wādi al-kabīr (الوادي الكبير), 'The Great River'. Classical Arabic Wadi is pronounced in present-day Maghreb as Oued. The Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

ns named the river Baits, later Betis (or Baetis) from Pre-Roman times to the Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 period, giving its name to the Hispania Baetica
Hispania Baetica
Hispania Baetica was one of three Imperial Roman provinces in Hispania, . Hispania Baetica was bordered to the west by Lusitania, and to the northeast by Hispania Tarraconensis. Baetica was part of Al-Andalus under the Moors in the 8th century and approximately corresponds to modern Andalucia...

 Roman province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

. An older Celtiberian name was Oba (gold river), leading to the assumption that etymologically Córdoba means city on the Oba (Cart-Oba), but it's from Phoenician qorteb meaning "oil press".

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