One of the 17 autonomous regions of Spain, which is one of the oldest wine-growing areas in the world. Shortly before the turn of time, the Romans settled on the banks of the Guadiana River and founded the city of Emerita Augusta, today's Mérida. Among them there was a first big bloom in viticulture. In the 13th century the area was a hotly contested buffer zone between Christian and Moorish Spain. Under Moorish influence, viticulture declined, but reached a peak again in the 17th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was mainly emigrants from Extremadura who conquered Central and South America as conquistadores, above all Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), Francisco Pizarro (1476-1541) and Hernando de Soto (1500-1542). Most of the captured wealth flowed back home.