Earth at Night

The Iberian Peninsula

The Iberian Peninsula

Lighting up the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula in the lower center of this image from November of 2017 is the only European capital city to lie on the Atlantic coast - Lisbon, Portugal. The intensity of its electric light output contrasts its legacy as one of the oldest cities in the world - older by centuries than either Paris or London, and even older than Rome. 

Barcelona, Spain at Night

Barcelona, Spain at Night

By the middle of the 19th century, this city on the northeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea had grown into an overcrowded and unsanitary death trap. The entirety of its 187,000 inhabitants were packed into a 2-sq-km area enclosed by fortified medieval walls, which were now more effective at preventing air from circulating and incubating cholera bacteria than discouraging invaders. Life expectancy for a working class resident of Barcelona in 1843 was 23 years. Help.