1902 Encyclopedia > Salamanca (province)

Salamanca (province)

SALAMANCA, a province of Spain, which until 1833 formed part of that of Leon, is bounded on the N. by Zamora and Valladolid, on the E. by Avila, on the S. by Caceres, and on the W. by Portugal. It has an area of 4940 square miles. The population in 1877 was 285,500; but by the year 1886 it was estimated that it had decreased to about 270,000. Salamanca belongs almost entirely to the basin of the Douro, its principal rivers being the Tormes, which follows the general slope of the province towards the north-west, and after a course of 135 miles flows into the Douro, which forms part of the north-west boundary ; the Yeltes and the Agueda, also tributaries of the Douro ; and the Alagon, an affluent of the Tagus. The northern part of the province is flat, and at its lowest point (on the Douro) is 488 feet above sea-level. The highest point (in the Sierra de Pena de Francia) is 5692 feet above the sea. The rainfall is irregular ; but where it is plentiful the soil is productive and there are good harvests of wine, oil, hemp, and cereals of all kinds. The corn harvest is always good, rain or no rain. The principal wealth of the province consists in the forests of oak and chestnut, which cover the hills in its southern part. Sheep and cattle also find good pasturage there ; and wool and merino of medium quality are grown. Gold is found in the streams, and iron, lead, copper, zinc, coal, and rock crystal in the hills, but owing to the difficulties of transport and other causes the mines are only partially developed. The manufactures of the province are few and mostly of a low class, intended for home consumption, such as frieze, coarse cloth, hats, and pottery. The cloth manufactories of Bejar turn out a material of superior quality. The tanning of hides is carried on pretty extensively, and cork and flour are exported via Santander and Barcelona. The province is traversed by a railway line to Portugal, passing Medina del Campo and Ciudad Rodrigo to Figueira da Foz. Administratively the province is divided into eight partidos judiciales, and it has 388 ayuntamientos; of these last only two besides Salamanca, the capital, have a population exceeding 5000, - Bejar (11,099) and Ciudad Rodrigo (6856). It is represented in the tortes by three senators and seven deputies. Apart from that of Leon the province has little history till the Peninsular War, when the battles of Ciudad Rodrigo, Fuentes de Ofioro, and Salamanca were fought on its soil.

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Salamanca (capital), Spain

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