Granada, Spain (Province) - Encyclopedia

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GRANADA, a maritime province of southern Spain, formed in 1833 of districts belonging to Andalusia, and coinciding with the central parts of the ancient kingdom of Granada. Pop. (1900) 492,460; area, 4928 sq. M. Granada is bounded on the; N. by Cordova, Jaen and Albacete, E. by Murcia and Almeria, S. by the Mediterranean Sea, and W. by Malaga. It includes the western and loftier portion of the Sierra Nevada, a vast ridge rising parallel to the sea and attaining its greatest altitudes in the Cerro de Mulhacen (11,421 ft.) and Picacho de la Veleta (11,148), which overlook the city of Granada. Lesser ranges, such as the Sierras of Parapanda, Alhama, Almijara or Harana, adjoin the main ridge. From this central watershed the three principal rivers of the province take their rise, viz.: the Guadiana Menor, which, flowing past Guadix in a northerly direction, falls into the Guadalquivir in the neighbourhood of Ubeda; the Genil which, after traversing the Vega, or Plain of Granada, leaves the province a little to the westward of Loja and joins the Guadalquivir between Cordova and Seville; and the Rio Grande or Guadalfeo, which falls into the Mediterranean at Motril. The coast is little indented and none of its three harbours, Almunecar, Albunol and Motril, ranks high in commercial importance. The climate in the lower valleys and the narrow fringe along the coast is warm, but on the higher grounds of the interior is somewhat severe; and the vegetation varies accordingly from the subtropical to the alpine. The soil of the plains is very productive, and that of the Vega of Granada is considered the richest in the whole peninsula; from the days of the Moors it has been systematically irrigated, and it continues to yield in great abundance and in good quality wheat, barley, maize, wine, oil, sugar, flax, cotton, silk and almost every variety of fruit. In the mountains immediately surrounding the city of Granada occur many kinds of alabaster, some very fine; there are also quantities of jasper and other precious stones. Mineral waters chiefly chalybeate and sulphurous, are abundant, the most important springs being those of Alhama, which have a temperature of 112° F. There are valuable iron mines, and small quantities of zinc, lead and mercury are obtained. The cane and beet sugar industries, for which there are factories at Loja, at Motril, and in the Vega, developed rapidly after the loss of the Spanish West Indies and the Philippine Islands in 1898, with the consequent decrease in competition. There are also tanneries, foundries and manufactories of woollen, linen, cotton, and rough frieze stuffs, cards, soap, spirits, gunpowder and machinery. Apart from the great highways traversing the province, which are excellent, the roads are few and ill-kept. The railway from Madrid enters the province on the north and bifurcates north-west of Guadix; one branch going eastward to Almeria, the other westward to Loja, Malaga and Algeciras. Baza is the terminus of a railway from Lorca. The chief towns include Granada, the capital (pop. 1900, 75,900) with Alhama de Granada (7697), Baza (12,770), Guadix (12,652), Loja (19,143), Montefrio (10,725), and Motril (18,528). These are described in separate articles. Other towns with upwards of 7000 inhabitants are Albunol (8646), Almunecar (8022), Cullar de Baza (8007), Huescar (7763), Illora (9496) and Puebla de Don Fadrique (7420). The history of the ancient kingdom is inseparable from that of the city of Granada (q.v.).

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