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SANTANDER (ancient Portus Blendium or...

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 190 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SANTANDER (ancient Portus Blendium or Fanum S. Andreae), the capital of the Spanish province of Santander, the seat of a bishop and one of the chief seaports of Spain; 316 m. by rail N. of Madrid, in 43°:27' N. and 30 47' W., on the Bay of Santander, an inlet of the Bay of Biscay. Pop. (1900) 54,564. It is situated on the inside of a rocky peninsula, Cabo Mayor, which shelters a magnificent harbour from 2 to 3 M. wide and 4 M. long. The entrance is at the eastern extremity of the promontory, and is deep, broad, and illuminated by lighthouses on Cabo Mayor and the rocky islet of Mouro. Santander is the terminus of railways from Valladolid and Bilbao, of a branch line from Cabezona de la Sal, and of several mining railways. It is divided into an upper and a lower town. The cathedral, originally Gothic of the 13th century, has been so altered that little of the old work remains. In the crypt, or Capilla del Cristo de Abajo, is an interesting font of Moorish workmanship. The castle of San Felice contains a prison, which was one of the first examples of the radiating system of construction. The city is essentially modern; its principal buildings are the markets, barracks, theatre, bull-ring, clubs, civil and military governors' residences, custom house, hospitals, nautical school, ecclesiastical seminary, and training school for teachers. Many of the houses on the bay front and public buildings were restored after the catastrophe of the 3rd of November 1893, when the steamer " Cabo Machichaco," laden with 1700 cases of dynamite, blew up near the quay. The harbour was greatly improved during the second half of the 19th century. In the same period the population nearly trebled, and there was a corresponding development of commerce and manufactures. The port was in 1953 made one of the puertos habilitados, or ports privileged to trade with America, and in 1755 it received the title of city. Charles V. landed here in 1522 when he came to take possession of the Spanish crown, and from this port Charles I. of England embarked on his return from his visit in search of a wife (1623). The city was sacked by the French under Soult in 18o8.
End of Article: SANTANDER (ancient Portus Blendium or Fanum S. Andreae)
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