-7. THE PYRENEES
Of all Europe's mountain ranges, the jagged and often snow-capped Pyrenees, 435 kilometres long, have functioned most effectively as a barrier to human movement. Unlike the Alps, the Pyrenees have no low foothills or hospitable valleys to ease access into and through their heights. Rather, the Pyrenees rise abruptly from the flanking plains of France and Spain with only steep gorges and steep-walled natural amphitheatres that lead to almost impassable lofty summits. The French peasant's maxim, "Africa begins with the Pyrenees," is not without a large measure of truth in emphasizing the historic significance of the Pyrenees as a barrier in the development of Spain. In the words of the American historian Will Durant, Spain's mountains, particularly the Pyrenees, "were her protection and tragedy: they gave her comparative security from external attack, but hindered her economic advance, her political unity and her participation in European thought."
The passage tells us that the Pyrenees ------ .
provided easy access for Spain's enemies, making her vulnerable to attacks
were first explored by the American historian Will Durant
kept Spain safe from her enemies, but made it difficult for her to develop
rise from gentle foothills to lofty peaks
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