In pre-Roman times, the area that is now called Catalonia in the north-east of Iberian Peninsula – like the rest of the Mediterranean side of the peninsula – was populated by the Iberians.
From the next prehistoric era, the Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic, important remains survive, the greater part dated between 8000 BC and 5000 BC, such as those of Sant Gregori (Falset) and el Filador (Margalef de Montsant).
Catalonia comprises most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia (with the remainder Roussillon now part of France's Pyrénées-Orientales).
It is bordered by France and Andorra to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and Valencia to the south.
Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona.
The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second-most populated municipality in Spain and the core of the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union.