Online Encyclopedia

ALMERIA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 714 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ALMERIA, the capital of the province of Almeria, and one of the principal seaports on the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain; in 36° 5' N. and 20 32' W.,,on the river Almeria, at its outflow into the Gulf of Almeria, and at the terminus of a railway from Madrid. Pop. (1900) 47,326. The city occupies part of a rich alluvial valley enclosed by hills. It is an episcopal see, and possesses a Gothic cathedral, dating from 1524, and constructed with massive embattled walls and belfry so as to resemble a fortress. A dismantled castle, the Castillo de San Cristobal, overlooks the city, which contains four Moorish towers rising conspicuously above its modern streets. Two long piers shelter the harbour, and vessels drawing 25 ft. can lie against the quays. About 1400 ships, of nearly 1,000,000 tons, enter the port every year, bringing fuel and timber, and taking cargoes of iron, lead, esparto and fruit. White grapes are exported in very large quantities. Under its ancient name of Urci, Almeria was one of the chief Spanish harbours after the final conquest of Spain by the Romans in 19 B.C. It reached the summit of its prosperity in the middle ages, as the foremost seaport of the Moorish kingdom of Granada. At this time its population numbered 150,000; its cruisers preyed upon the fleets of the neighbouring Christian states; and its merchant ships traded with countries as distant as Egypt and Syria. Almeria was captured in 1147 by King Alphonso VII. of Castile and his Genoese troops, but speedily retaken and held by the Moors until 1489, when it was finally secured by the Spaniards. See D. F. Margall, Almeria, (Barcelona, 1886).
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