1902 Encyclopedia > Seville

Province and city in Spain

SEVILLE, a Spanish province—one of the eight into which Andalusia is divided—and formerly one of the four Moorish kingdoms, is bounded on the S. by Malaga and Cadiz, on the W. by Huelva, on the N. by Badajoz, and on theE. by Cordova. The superficial area is 5429 square miles, and in 1877 the population numbered 505,291. Northwards the province is broken up by low spurs of the Sierra Morena, the summits of which in the extreme north rise to a considerable height; but in the southern and larger half the ground is flat and fertile, and the only mountainous part is the frontier line formed by the Sierra de Ronda. The Guadalquivir traverses the province from north-east to south-west and receives in its course the waters of several streams, the chief being the Genii and the Guadaira on the left, and the Guadalimar to the rght. The province is one of the most productive and flourishing in Spain, and grows all kinds of grain and vegetables. Oil and wine, oranges and olives, are among its chief exports, while tobacco, leather, paper, spirits, chocolate, textile fabrics of silk and wool, soap, glass, and earthen-ware are amongst its manufactures. Sheep and oxen, horses and asses, are reared on its pastures; and in the mountainous districts there are copper, silver, lead, iron, coal, and salt mines, and quarries of chalk and marble. Commerce has made great strides of late years owing to the opening up of the country by railways, and foreign capital has developed the natural resources of the district. The province is divided for administrative purposes into fourteen partidos judiciales and ninety-eight ayuntamientos, and is represented in the cortes by four senators and twelve deputies. The following towns have a population of more than 10,000 within the municipal boundaries :— Seville (see below), Carmona (17,126), Constantina (10,988), Écija (21,955), Lebrija (12,861), Marchena (13,768), Moron de la Frontera (11,879), Osuna (17,211), and Utrera (15,093).

SEVILLE (Span. Sevilla, Latin Ispalis, Arabic Ishbi-liya), capital of the above province and the seat of an archbishopric, with a population of 133,938 in 1877, is situated in 37° 22' N. lat. and 5° 58' W. long., 62 miles (95 by rail) north-north-eást of Cadiz and 355 miles south-south-west of Madrid, on the left bank of the Guadal-quivir, which here flows through a level country as productive as a garden. The river is navigable up to the city, which is highly pictur-esque in its combination of ancient buildings with busy commerce. From the earliest times the port has been a chief outlet for the wealth of Spain. Under the Romans the city was made the capital of Bsetica, and became favourite resort for wealthy Romans. The emperors Hadrian, Trajan, and Theo-dosius were born in the neighbourhood at Itálica (now Santiponce) where are the remains of a considerable amphitheatre. The chief existing monument of the Romans in Seville itself is the aqueduct, on four hundred and ten arches, by which the water from Alcalá de Gua-daira continued until recently to be supplied to the town. At the beginning of the 5th century the Silingi Vandals made Seville the seat of their empire, until it passed in 531 under the Goths, who chose Toledo for their capital. After the defeat of Don Roderick at Guadalete in 712 the Arabs took posses-sion of the city after a siege of some months. Under the Arabs Seville continued to flourish. Edrisi speaks in particular of its great export trade in the oil of Aljarafe. The district was in great part occupied by Syrian Arabs from Emesa, part of the troops that entered Spain with Balj in 741 at the time of the revolt of the Berbers. It was a scion of one of these Emesan families, Abú '1-Kásim Mohammed, cadi of Seville, who on the fall of the Spanish caliphate headed the revolt of his townsmen against their Berber masters (1023) and became the founder of the Abbádid dynasty, of which Seville was capital, and which lasted under his son Mo'tadid (1042-1069) and grandson Mo'tamid (1069-1091) tin the city was taken by the
Almoravids. The later years of the Almoravid rule were very oppressive to the Moslems of Spain; in 1133 the people of Seville were prepared to welcome the victorious arms of Alphonso VIL, and eleven years later Andalusia broke out in general rebellion. Almohade troops now passed over into Spain and took Seville in 1147. Under the Almohades Seville was the seat of government and enjoyed great prosperity; the great mosque was com-menced by Yúsuf I. and completed by his son the famous Almanzor. In the decline of the dynasty between 1228 and 1248 Seville underwent various revolutions, and ulti-mately acknowledged the Hafsite prince, who, however, was unable to save the city from Ferdinand III., who restored it to Christendom in 1248. The aspect of the town even now is essentially Moorish, with its narrow tortu-ous streets and fine inner court-yards to the houses. Many of these date from before the Christian conquest, and the walls and towers which until recently encircled the city for a length of 5 miles have a similar origin. The victory of Ferdinand brought temporary ruin on the city, for it is said that 400,000 of the inhabitants went into volun-tary exile, and some time elapsed before Seville recovered from the loss. But its position was too favourable for trade for it to fall into permanent decay, and by the 15th century it was again in a position to derive full benefit from the discovery of America. After the reign of Philip II. its prosperity gradually waned with that of the rest of the Peninsula ; yet even in 1700 its silk factories gave employment to thousands of work-people; their numbers, however, by the end of the 18th century had fallen to four hundred. In 1800 an out-break of yellow fever carried off 30,000 of the inhabitants, and in 1810 the city suffered severely from the French under Soult, who plundered to the extent of six millions sterling. Since that time it has gradually recovered prosperity, and is now one of the most busy and active centres of trade in the peninsula. Politically Seville has always had the reputation of peculiar loyalty to the throne from the time when, on the death of Ferdinand III., it was the only city which remained faithful to his son Alphonso the Wise. It was consequently much favoured by the monarchs, and frequently a seat of the court. In 1729 the treaty between England, France, and Spain was signed in the city; in 1808 the central junta was formed here and removed in 1810 to Cadiz; in 1823 the cortes brought the king with them from Madrid; and in 1848 Seville combined with Malaga and Granada against Espartero, who bombarded the city but fled on the return of Queen Maria Christina to Madrid.

Seville contains treasures of art and architecture which make it one of the most interesting cities in Europe. The cathedral, dedi-cated to Santa Maria de la Sede, ranks in size only after St Peter's at Rome, being 415 feet long, 298 feet wide, and 150 feet high to the roof of the nave. The west front is approached by a high flight of steps, and the platform on which the cathedral stands is surrounded by a hundred shafts of columns from the mosque which formerly occupied the site. The work of building began in 1403 and was finished in 1519, so that the one style of Spanish Pointed Gothic is fairly preserved throughout the interior, however much the exterior is spoiled by later additions. Unfortunately the west front remained unfinished until 1827, when the central doorway was completed in a very inferior manner ; but this has now been renewed in a purer style. At the east end are two fine Gothic doorways with good sculpture in the tympana; and on the north side the Puerta del Perdón, as it is called, has some vcy exquisite detail over the horse-shoe arch, and a pair of fine bronze doors. The exterior of the cathedral may be disappointing, but the interior leaves little to be desired. It forms a parallelogram containing a nave and four aisles with surrounding chapels, a central dome 171 feet high inside, and at the east end a royal sepulchral chapel, which was an addition of the 16th century. The thirty-two immense clustered columns, the ninety-three windows, mostly filled with the finest glass by Flemish artists of the 16th century, and the profusion of art work of various kinds displayed on all sides produce an unsurpassed effect of magnificence and grandeur. The reredos is an enormous Gothic work containing forty-four panels of gilt and coloured wood carvings by Dancart, dating from 1482, and a silver statue of the Virgin by Francisco Alfaro of 1596. The archbishop's throne and the choir-stalls (1475-1548) are fine pieces of carving, and amongst the notable metal-work are the rail-ings (1519) by Sancho Nuñoz, and the lectern by Bartolomé Morel of the same period. The bronze candelabrum for tenebrie, 25 feet in height, is a splendid work by Morel. In the Sacristía Alta is a silver repousse reliquary presented by Alphonso the Wise in the 13th century ; and in the Sacristía Mayor, which is a good plateresquo addition by Diego de Riaño in 1530, is a magnificent collection of church plate and vestments. At the west end of the nave is the grave of Ferdinand, the son of Columbus, and at the east end, in the royal chapel, lies the body of St Ferdinand, which is exposed three times in the year. This chapel also contains a curious life-size image of the Virgin, which was presented to the royal saint by St Louis of France in the 13th century. It is in carved wood with movable arms, seated on a silver throne and with hair of spun gold. The chief pictures in the cathedral are the Guardian Angel and the St Anthony of Murillo, the Holy Family of Tobar, the Nativity and La Genera-ción of Luis de Vargas, Valdés Leal's Marriage of the Virgin, and Guadalupe's Descent from the Cross. In the Sacristía Alta are three fine paintings by Alexo Fernandez, and in the Sala Capitular are a Conception by Murillo and a St Ferdinand by Pacheco. The organ is one of the largest in the world ; it contains over 5300 pipes. A curious and unique ritual is observed by the choir boys on the festivals of Corpus Christi and the Immaculate Conception, —a solemn dance with castanets being performed by them before the altar ; the custom is an old one but its origin is obscure. The Sagrario on the north of the cathedral is a Renaissance addition by Miguel de Zumarraga, which serves as the parish church. At the north-east corner of the cathedral stands the Giralda, a bell tower of Moorish origin, 275 feet in height. The lower part of the tower, or about 185 feet, was built in the latter half of the 12th century by Abu Yusuf Yakub ; the upper part and the belfry, which is surmounted by a vane formed of a bronze figure 14 feet high representing The Faith, were added by Fernando Euiz in 1568. The ascent is made by a scries of inclined planes. The exterior is encrusted with delicate Moorish detail, and the tower is altogether the finest specimen of its kind in Europe. At the base lies the Court of Oranges, of which only two sides now remain; the original Moorish fountain, however, is still preserved. But the chief relic of the Arab dominion in Seville is the Alcazar, a palace excelled in interest and beauty only by the Alhambra of Granada. It was begun in 1181 by Jalubi during the best period of the Almohades, and was surrounded by walls and towers of which the Torre del Oro, a decagonal tower on the river side, is now the principal survival. Pedro the Cruel made considerable alterations and additions in the 14th century, and worse havoc was afterwards wrought by Charles V. Restorations have been effected as far as possible, and the palace is now an extremely beautiful example of Moorish work. The facade, the hall of ambassadors, and the Patio de las Muñecas are the most striking portions, after which may bo ranked the Patio de las Doncellas and the chapel of Isabella. Among other Moorish remains in Seville may be mentioned the Casa O'Shea, which is somewhat spoiled by whitewash, and the Casa de las Dueñas, with eleven court-yards and nine fountains. The Casa de Pilatos is in a pseudo-Moorish style of the 15th century, and, in addition to its elegant court-yard surrounded by a marble colonnade, contains some fine decorative work. The Casa de los Abades is in the Sevillian plateresque style, which is strongly tinged with Moorish feeling. The following are the most notable churches in Seville:—Santa Maria la Blanca, an old Jewish synagogue ; San Marcos, badly restored, but with a remarkable mudejar portal; Omnium Sanctorum, erected upon the ruins of a Roman temple; San Juan de la Palma; San Julian; Santa Catalina; San Miguel; San Clemente el Real; the church of La Sangre Hospital; the Gothic Parroquia of Santa Ana, in the Triana suburb; and La Caridad. The last-named belongs to a well-conducted almshouse founded by the Sevillian Don Juan, Miguel de Manara. It possesses six masterpieces by Murillo, and two by Valdés Leal. The other churches, though generally deficient in architectural interest, are enriched by the products of the brush or chisel of Pacheco, Montañés, Alonso Cano, Valdés Leal, Roelas, Campaña, Morales, Vargas, and Zurbaran. The museum was formerly the church and convent of La Merced. It now contains priceless examples of the Seville school of painting, which flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries. Among the masters represented are Velazquez and Murillo (both natives of Seville), Zurbaran, Roelas, Herrera the Elder, Pacheco, Juan de Castillo, Alonso Cano, Céspedes, Boca-negra, Valdés Leal, Goya, and Martin de Vos. The university was founded in 1502, and its present buildings were originally a convent built in 1567 from designs by Herrera, but devoted to its present use in 1767 on the expulsion of the Jesuits. The Casa del Ayuntamiento, in the cinquecento style, was begun in 1545, and has a fine staircase and hall and handsome carved doors. The Lonja, or exchange, was built by Herrera in 1585 in his severe Doric and Ionic style ; the brown and red marble staircase which leads to the Archivo de Indias is the best part of the design. The archives contain 30,000 volumes relating to the voyages of Spanish discoverers, many of which are still unexamined. The archbishop's palace dates from 1697 ; the most notable features are the Churri-gueresque doorway and staircase. The royal cigar factory is an im-mense building 662 feet long by 524 feet wide, and contains twenty-eight court-yards. Employment is given in it to 4500 hands, who work up 2,000,000 pounds of tobacco yearly. The palace of San Telmo, now occupied by the duke of Montpensier, was formerly the seat of a naval college originally founded by the son of Columbus. The immense doorway is the principal architectural feature. The picture gallery is interesting and important. The chief squares in Seville are the Plaza Nueva, the Plaza de la Constitución, the Plaza del Duque, and the Plaza del Triunfo. The bull-ring accommodates 18,000 spectators, and is the next in size to that at Madrid. There are several beautiful promenades, the principal being Las Delicias, along the river bank below the town. The city also contains several i theatres. Across the river, and connected with the city by a bridge, is the Gipsy quarter of the Triana. The navigation of the river has been improved of late years so that vessels of large draught can now ascend the stream. The results are shown in a larger trade, and in 1883 the aggregate burthen of vessels cleared amounted to 358,541 tons (65,324 British). The imports were valued at £1,879,522, and the exports at £1,190,625. In tha latter were included 3110 tuns of olive oil shipped to the United Kingdom, and 1610 tons of quick- silver from the Almaden mines, which had formerly sent their produce via Lisbon. In addition to strictly local industries the chief factories of the city are the tobacco factor}', the cannon foundry, and the small-arms factory. There are also a petroleum refinery, some soap works, iron foundries, artificial ice and marmalade factories, and several potteries. The ancient sources of water supply having proved insufficient, anew system of waterworks was designed, and was brought to a successful completion in 1883 by a firm of English engineers. (H. B. B. )

The above article was written by: H. B. Briggs.

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