mountain range, south-central Spain, forming the southern edge of the Meseta Central and stretching for about 200 miles (320 km) from the Sierra de Alcaraz (5,896 feet [1,797 metres]) in the east to the Portuguese border in the west. It includes many minor ranges that run transversely-e.g., the Sierras Madrona, Sur de Alcudia, and de Aracena. The Meseta Central drops abruptly (about 3,000 feet [1,000 metres]) to the Guadalquivir valley. The Sierra Morena forms the main watershed between the Guadiana and Guadalquivir rivers and is mostly wild, desolate country thickly covered with dense evergreen bushes and shrubs. Its great breadth has long made it a formidable barrier in the history of Spain. Silver, lead, and copper are mined in the Linares region, mercury at Almaden, and copper at Nerva and at Tharsis, in the Sierra de Aracena. The chief communication route between Madrid and Sevilla runs through Cordoba, the Despenaperros Pass, and La Mancha. Livestock raising and the cultivation of cereals are important in the foothills of the sierra.
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