1902 Encyclopedia > Spain > Spain - Extent. Territorial Divisions and Population. Foreign Possessions.

(Part 7)


Spain - Extent. Territorial Divisions and Population. Foreign Possessions.

Extent.—The total area of the mainland of Spain, according to the calculations of Strelbitsky, is 495,612 square kilometres or 191,365 square miles, that of the Balearic Islands 4982 square kilometres or 1923 square miles, and that of the Canary Islands, which, though belonging geographically to Africa, are administratively associated with the kingdom of Spain, 7611 square kilometres or 2939 square miles; so that the total area of the kingdom is 508,205 square kilometres or 196,225 square miles. This total agrees pretty closely with that in Justus Perthes's table given below (Table II.), although considerable differences will be observed in the areas assigned to the mainland provinces and the two island groups respectively. The length of the coastline of the mainland, according to Strelbitsky, is 2662 miles, which is equivalent to 1 mile of coast for every 72 square miles of area, about the same proportion as in France. The greatest length from north-east to south-west is 420 miles.

Territorial Divisions and Population. Administrative Divisions.—For administrative purposes the kingdom of Spain has since 1833 been divided into forty-nine provinces, forty-seven of which belong to the mainland, divisions. Before 1833 the mainland was divided into thirteen provinces, also enumerated below, which took their names from the ancient kingdoms and principalities out of which the modern kingdom was gradually built up. The present provinces are subdivided into judicial districts (partidos judiciales) and communes (ayuntamientos).

Population. It is probable that the population of Spain attained its highest development during the period of the early Roman empire, when it has been estimated, though of course on imperfect data, to have numbered forty or fifty millions. The best evidence of a dense population in those days is that afforded by the specific estimates of ancient writers for some of the larger cities. The population of Tarraco (Tarragona) was estimated at 2 1/2 millions, and that of Nova Carthago (Cartagena), Itálica (Sevilla la Vieja), and others at several hundreds of thousands. Emérita Augusta (Merida) had a Roman garrison of 90,000 men, which also implies a large population. [208-2]

== TABLE ==

The first Spanish census was made in 1594, but some of tho provinces now included in the kingdom were for one reason or another not embraced in the enumeration, so that the total population assigned to Spain within its present limits for that date is obtained by adding the results of enumerations at different dates in the provinces then excluded. The total thus arrived at is 8,206,791. No other census took place till 1787, when the total was found to be 10,268,150; and this census was followed by another in 1797, when the population was returned as 10,541,221. Various estimates were made within the next sixty years, but the census of 1857 proved that some of these estimates must have been greatly below the truth. The total population then ascertained to exist in Spain was 15,464,340, an increase of not much less than 50 per cent, since the census of 1797. The last census took place on December 31, 1877, and the total population then ascertained, 16,631,869, shows an increase of only 7 1/2 per cent., equal to an annual increase at the rate of 0.35 per cent.—lower than in any other country in Europe except France.

As Table II. shows, the density of population in Spain as a whole is little more than that of the most thinly peopled county of England in 1881 (Westmoreland, 82 to the square mile). Looking at the old provinces, we find that the most thickly peopled are all maritime, and that all the maritime provinces except Andalusia and Murcia have a density exceeding 100 to the square mile. The most densely peopled province of all is not Catalonia, in which manufacturing industries are so highly developed, nor the Basque Provinces with their great iron industry, but Galicia, where there are neither manufactures nor minerals to speak of, but where tillage occupies a relatively larger area than anywhere else in Spain. Of the modern provinces the most thinly peopled are Cuenca and Ciudad Real, in the barren region of the east and south of New Castile, and Albacete in the Murcian steppe, in each case the density being less than half of that of the most thinly peopled English county. The column indicating the increase (or decrease) per cent, of the population between 1857 and 1877 shows that, outside of the province in wdiieh the capital is situated, the increase points chiefly to the recent development of manufactures and mining,—to the development of copper mines in Huelva, lead mines in Jaen, iron mines in Vizcaya, cotton manufactures in Barcelona. In Murcia it points no doubt to the great development of the trade in esparto as well as in southern fruits. On the other hand the decrease in Lerida and Gerona indicates how the attraction of higher wages in the manufacturing districts of Catalonia tends to deplete the neighbouring country districts.

As regards the distribution of population between town and country, Spain contrasts in a marked manner with Italy, Spain having but few large towns and a relatively large country population. In 1877 there were only five towns with more than 100,000 inhabitants -.—Madrid (397,816), Barcelona (248,943), Valencia (143,861), Seville (134,818), and Malaga (115,882). Only nine had a population between 50,000 and 100,000, and besides these only 171 had a population above 10,000.

The birth-rate in Spain is 33.9 per thousand as against 35.1 in England and Wales, the death-rate 29.1 (21.4 in England and Wales); the number of marriages per thousand inhabitants was 7.32 [208-2] (8.08 in England and Wales). The percentage of illegitimacy is 5.6. Tho number of males born for every 100 females averages 107, a higher proportion than in any other country of Europe for which statistics are obtainable except Greece (112) and Roumania (111).

Foreign Possessions.—The population of the principal foreign possessions of Spain in 1877 numbered 7,822,123, made up as follows :—

== TABLE ==

Besides the Philippine Islands in the Eastern Archipelago, Spain possesses the greater part of the Sulu Archipelago, and, in the Pacific, the Marianne, Pelew, and Caroline Islands. Off the Guinea coast she possesses the Island of Annobon as well as that of Fernando Po, and on the coast itself the district round Coriseo Bay. She has likewise declared a protectorate over the West African coast between Capes Bojador and Blanco (desert of Sahara). The presidios, whose population is given in Table II., are Peñon de Velez, Alhucemas, and Melila (besides Ceuta).


208-1 Garrido, La España Contemporanea, i. 489.

208-2 In all these cases the figures for Spain are the means of the years 1865-70 and 1880-83 inclusive.

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