1902 Encyclopedia > Spain > Spain - Shipping and Navigation. Roads. Railways. Post Office. Telegraphs.

(Part 12)


Spain - Shipping and Navigation. Roads. Railways. Post Office. Telegraphs.

Shipping and Navigation.—Relatively to the extent of its coast-line and the number and excellence of its seaports (of which there are sixty on the Mediterranean coast, fifty-six on the Atlantic), the amount of shipping belonging to Spain is small. In 1884 the total register tonnage was 524,000 tons, not much more than that of Sweden at the same date, and only about half that of Italy. The number of vessels was 1803, including 301 steamers. Nearly half the transmarine imports (reckoned by value) and 58 per cent, of the transmarine exports were carried under a foreign flag. The following table (IX.) gives further particulars as to the shipping of 1884 :—

== TABLE ==

The following table (X.) gives the number, &c, of ships entered and cleared with cargo at Spanish ports in 1884 :—

== TABLE ==

The total number of vessels entered with cargo under the national and foreign flags in 1884 was thus 11,122, and the total quantity of cargo discharged by them at Spanish ports 2,760,378 metric tons, the total number of vessels cleared with cargo 13,110, and the total quantity of cargo taken on board by them at Spanish ports 5,880,385 metric tons. Of the total number of vessels entered with cargo 6768 were steamers, which discharged 2,052,937 tons of cargo, and 4354 were sailing vessels, which discharged 707,441 tons of cargo. Of the number of vessels cleared with cargo 9506 were steamers, which took on board at Spanish ports 5,300,366 metric tons of cargo, and 3604 were sailing vessels, which took on board 580,019 metric tons of cargo.

Communication. Roads.The communications in Spain have been greatly improved since the beginning of the present century. In 1808 there were little more than 500 miles of carriage roads, but now there are over 28,000. At the end of 1882 14,600 miles were state roads, all well built and well maintained, and 3027 miles of state roads were in course of construction. The aggregate length of the provincial roads then completed was 2714 miles, and that of the communal roads 10,760 miles. In the mountainous districts, where there are only narrow paths, frequently rather steep, it is still not uncommon to meet long trains of mules.

Railways. Railways have made great advance since the middle of the century. The oldest line is that from Barcelona to Mataro, 17| miles, which was opened on the 28th of October 1848. Of late years railway construction has been going on pretty rapidly. In 1880 the number of miles open for traffic was 4645, and in the four succeeding years it was 4800, 4867, 5118, and 5386. All the Spanish railways belong to private companies, but most of them have obtained subventions from the Government, to which most of the Spanish railways will revert at the end of a term of ninety-nine years. In granting a concession for a new railway the regular practice is to give it to whatever company offers to construct it with the lowest subvention. The total amount of the subventions for railway construction up to the end of 1884 was £25,676,690. For strategical reasons the Spanish gauge was made different from that of France.

Post Office and Telegraphs. The postal and telegraphic systems have been placed on the office. same footing as in other civilized countries. The total number of letters, post-cards, and samples (including official and international letters, &c.) that passed through the post office in 1882-83 was 111 millions. The length of state telegraphic lines on January 1, 1883 was 10,664 miles, and of wires 25,989 miles. The number of messages in 1883 was 3,020,000, nearly 80,000 being transit messages and 654,000 from or to foreign countries. Army.

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