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CORUNNA (Span. La Coruna; Fr. La Coro...

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 210 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CORUNNA (Span. La Coruna; Fr. La Corogne; Eng. formerly often The Groyne), the capital of the province described above; in 430 22' N., and 8° 22' W.; on the bay of Corunna, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. Pop. (1900) 43,971. The principal railways of north-western Spain converge on Corunna, and afford direct communication with Madrid and Oporto. Corunna consists of an upper and a lower town, built respectively on the eastern side of a small peninsula, and on the isthmus connecting the peninsula with the mainland. The upper town is the more ancient, and is still surrounded by walls and bastions, and defended by a citadel; but it has been gradually outgrown by the lower, which, though at first a mere fishing village, as its name of Pescaderia implies, is now comparatively well built, and has many broad and hand-some streets. There is little remarkable in the public buildings, although the churches of Santiago and the Colegiata date respectively from the 12th and 13th centuries, and there are several convents, two hospitals, a palace for the captain-general of Galicia, a theatre, a school of navigation, an arsenal and barracks. The harbour is on the east. Though difficult to approach in stormy weather, it is completely sheltered, and accommodates vessels drawing 22 ft. It is defended by several forts, of which the most important are San Diego, on the east, and San Antonio, on the west. These fortifications are of little practical value on the landward side, as they are commanded by a hill which over-looks the town. The so-called Tower of Hercules, on the north, has been increased by modern additions to a height of nearly 400 ft., and is surmounted by a fine revolving light. Many foreign steamers call here, for emigrants or mails, on their way to South America. Upwards of 1200 merchant ships, mostly British, entered the port in 1905. The exports are chiefly agricultural produce, wine and fish; the imports are coal, colonial products, and manufactured goods. Chief among the industrial establishments is a state tobacco factory; the sardine and herring fisheries also employ alarge number of the inhabitants. Corunna, possibly at first a Phoenician settlement, is usually identified with the ancient Ardobrica, a seaport mentioned by the 1st-century historian, Pomponius Mela, as in the country of the Artabri, from whom the name of Portus Artabrorum was given to the bay on which the city is situated. In the middle ages, and probably at an earlier period, it was called Caronium; and this name is much more probably the origin of the present designation than the Latin Columna which is sometimes put forward. The harbour has always been of considerable importance, but it is only in comparatively modern times that it has made a figure in history. In 1588 it gave shelter to the Invincible Armada; in 1598 the town was captured and burned by the British under Drake and Norris. In 1747, and again in 18o5, the bay was the scene of a naval victory of the British over the French; and on the 16th of January 1809 a battle took place in the neighbourhood, which is celebrated in British military annals (see PENINSULAR WAR). The French under Marshal Soult attempted to prevent the embarcation of the English under Sir John Moore, but were successfully repulsed in spite of their superior numbers. Moore was mortally wounded and died shortly afterwards. He was hastily buried in the ramparts near the sea; a monument in the Jardin de San Carlos raised by the British government commemorates his death. The town joined the revolutionary movement of 182o, but in 1823 it was forced to capitulate by French troops. In 1836 it was captured by the Carlists. Corunna suffered heavily when Spain was deprived of Cuba and Porto Rico by the Spanish-American War of 1898, for it had hitherto had a thriving trade with these colonies. CORV$E, in feudal law, the term used to designate the unpaid labour due from tenants, whether free or unfree, to their lord; hence any forced labour, especially that exacted by the state, the word being applied both to each particular service and to the system generally. Though the corvee formed a characteristic feature of the feudal system, it was, as an institution, much older than feudalism, and was already developed in its main features under the Roman Empire. Thus, under the Roman system, personal services (operae) were due from certain classes of the population not only to the state but to private proprietors. Apart from the obligations (operae officiales) imposed on freed-men as a condition of their enfranchisement, which in the country usually took the form of unpaid work on the landlord's domain, the semi-servile coloni were bound, besides paying rent in money or kind, to do a certain number of days' unremunerated labour on that part of the estate reserved by the landed proprietor. The state also exacted personal labour (operae publicae), in lieu of taxes, from certain classes for such purposes as the upkeep of roads, bridges and dykes; while the inhabitants of the various regions were responsible for the maintenance of the posting system (cursus publicus), for which horses, carts or labour would be requisitioned. Under the Frankish kings, who in their administration followed the Roman tradition, this system was preserved. Thus for the repair of roads, or other public works, within their jurisdiction the counts were empowered to requisition the labour of the inhabitants of the pagus, while the missi and other public functionaries on their travels were entitled to demand from the population en route entertainment and the means of transport for themselves and their belongings. It was, however, the economic revolution which between the 6th and loth centuries converted the Gallo-Roman estates into the feudal model, and the political conditions under which the officials of the Frankish empire developed into hereditary feudal nobles, that evolved the system of the corvee as it existed throughout the middle ages and, in some countries, survived far into the 19th century. The Roman estate had been cultivated by free farmers, by coloni, and by slave labour. Under Frankish rule the farmers became coloni or hospites, the slaves, serfs. The estate was now habitually divided into the lord's domain (terra indominicata, dominicum) and a series of allotments (mansi), parcels of land distributed by lot to the cultivators of the domain, who held them, partly by payment of rent in money or kind, partly by personal service and labour on the domain, these obligations both as to their nature and amount being very rigorously defined and permanently fixed in the case of each mansus and passing with the land to each new tenant. They varied, of course, very greatly according to the size of the holding and the needs of the particular estate, but they possessed certain common characteristics which are everywhere found. Luchaire (Manuel, p. 346) divides all corvees into two broad categories, (1) corvees properly so called, (2) military services. The second of these, so far as the obligation to serve in the host (Hostis et equitatus) is concerned, was common to all classes of feudal society; though the obligation of villeins to keep watch and ward (gueta, warda) and to labour at the building or strengthening of fortifications (muragium, munitio castri) are special corvees. We are, however, mainly concerned with the first category; which may again be subdivided209 into two main groups, (1) personal service of men and women (manoperae, manuum operae, Fr. manoeuvres, manual labour), (2) carriage (carroperae, carragia, carrata, &c., Fr. charrois), i.e. service rendered by means of carts, barrows or draught animals. These again were divided into fixed services (operae rigae) and exceptional services, demanded when the others proved in-sufficient. To these latter was given in the 8th century the name of operae corrogatae (i.e. requisitioned works, from rogare, to request. From this term (corrupted into corvatae, curvadae, corveiae, &c.) is derived the word corvee, which was gradually applied as a general term for all the various services. As to the nature of these corvees it must be noted that in the middle ages the feudal lords had replaced the centralized state for all administrative purposes, and the services due to them by their tenants and serfs, were partly in the nature of rent in the form of labour, partly those which under the Roman and Frankish monarchs had been exacted in lieu of taxes, and which the feudal lords continued to impose as sovereigns of their domains. To the former class belonged the service of personal labour in the fields, of repairing buildings, felling trees, threshing corn, and the like, as well as the hauling of corn, wine or wood; to the latter belonged that of labouring on the roads, of building and repairing bridges, castles and churches, and of carrying letters and despatches. Corvees were further distinguished as real, i.e. attached to certain parcels of land, and personal, i.e. due from certain persons. In spite of the fact that the corvees were usually strictly defined by local custom and by the contracts of tenancy, and that, in an age when currency was rare, payment in personal labour was a convenience to the poor, the system was open to obvious abuses. With the growth of communal life in the towns the townsmen early managed to rid themselves of these burdensome obligations either by purchase, or by exchanging the obligation of personal work for that of supplying carts, draught animals and the like. In the country, however, the system survived all but intact; and, so far as it was modified, was modified for the worse. Whatever safeguards the free cultivators may have possessed, the serfs were almost everywhere—especially in the loth and 11th centuries—actually as well as nominally in this respect at the mercy of their lords (corveables a merci) , there being no limit to the amount of money or work that could be demanded of them. The system was oppressive even when the nobles to whom these services were paid gave something in return, namely, protection to the cultivator, his family and his land; they became intolerable when the development of the modern state deprived the land-owners of their duties, but not of their rights. In the case of France, in the 17th century the so-called corvee royale was added to the burden of the peasants, i.e. the obligation to do unpaid labour on the public roads, an obligation made general in 1738; and this, together with the natural resentment of men at the fact that the land which their ancestors had bought was still subject to burdensome personal obligations in favour of people whom they rarely saw and from whom they derived no benefit, was one of the most potent causes of the Revolution. By the Constituent Assembly personal corvees were abolished altogether, while owners of land were allowed the choice of continuing real corvees or commuting them for money. The corvee as an incident of land tenure has thus disappeared in France. The corvee royale of repairing the roads, however, abolished in 1789, was revived, under the name of prestation, under the Consulate, by the law of 4 Thermidor an X., modified by subsequent legislation in 1824, 1836 and 1871. Under these laws the duty of keeping the roads in repair is still vested in the local communities, and all able-bodied men are called upon either to give three days' work or its equivalent in money to this purpose. It is precisely the same system as that in force under the Roman Empire, and if it differ from the corvee it is mainly in the fact that the burden is equitably distributed, and that the work done is of actual value to those who do it. As regards other countries, the corvee was everywhere, sooner or later, abolished with the serfdom of which it was the principal incident (see SERFDOM). Though so early as 1772 Maria Theresa had endeavoured to mitigate its hardships in her dominions (in Hungary unpaid labour was only to be demanded of the serfs on 52 days in the year!) it survived longest in the Austrian empire, being finally abolished by the revolution of 1848. The duty of personal labour on the public roads is, however, still maintained in other countries besides France. This was formerly the case in England also, where the occupiers of each parish who, by the common law, had access to the roads were responsible also for their upkeep. An act of 555 imposed four days of forced labour for the repair of roads, and an act of Elizabeth (5 Eliz. c. 13) raised the number of days to six, or the payment of a composition instead. Ths system of turnpikes, dating from 1663, which gradually extended over the whole of England, lessened the burden of this system of taxation, so far as main roads were concerned, but the greater number of the local roads were subject to repair by statutory labour until the Highways Act 1835, by which highways were put under the direction of a parish surveyor, and the necessary expenses met by a rate levied on the occupiers of land. In Scotland, statutory labour on highways was created by an act of 1719, and abolished in 1883. In Egypt, the corvee has been employed from time immemorial, more especially for the purpose of cleaning out the irrigation canals. In the days when only one harvest a year was reaped, this forced labour was not a very great burden, but the introduction of cotton and the sugar-cane under Mehemet Ali changed the conditions. These latter are crops which require watering at various seasons of the year, and very often the fellah was called away for work in the canals at times when his own crops required the utmost attention. Moreover, the inequality of the corvee added to the evil. In some districts it was possible to purchase exemption, and the more wealthy paid no more for the privilege than the humblest fellah, consequently the corvee fell with undue hardship on the poorer classes. Under the premiership of Riaz Pasha the corvee was gradually abolished in Egypt between the years 1888 and 1891, and a small rate on the land substituted to provide the labour necessary for cleaning the canals. The corvee is now employed only to a limited extent to guard the banks of the Nile during flood. See Du Cange, Glossarium inf. et med. Lat. s.v. " Corvatae "; A Luchaire, Manuel des institutions francaiscs (Paris, 1892), pp. 346-349 ; La Grande Encyclopedie, s. v., with bibliography. For further works see the bibliography to the article SERFDOM.
End of Article: CORUNNA (Span. La Coruna; Fr. La Corogne; Eng. formerly often The Groyne)
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