1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Salamanca (province)

SALAMANCA, a frontier province of eastern Spain, formed in 1833 out of the southern part of the ancient kingdom of Leon, and bounded on the N. by Zamora and Valladolid, E. by Avila, S. by Caceres and W. by Portugal. Pop. (1900) 320,765; area, 4829 sq. m. Salamanca belongs almost entirely to the basin of the Duero (Portuguese Douro, q.v.), its principal rivers being the Tormes, which follows the general slope of the province towards the north-west, and after a course of 135 m. flows into the Duero, which forms part of the north-west boundary; the Yeltes and the Agueda, also tributaries of the Duero; and the Alagon, an affluent of the Tagus. The northern part of the province is flat, and at its lowest point (on the Duero) is 488 ft. above sealevel. The southern border is partly defined along the crests of the Grédos and Gata ranges, but the highest point is La Alberca (5692 ft.) in the Sierra de Peña Francia, which rises a little farther north. The rainfall is irregular; but where it is plentiful the soil is productive and there are good harvests of wine, oil, hemp, and cereals of all kinds. Forests of oak, pine, beech and chestnut cover a wide area. in the south and south-west; and timber is sent in large quantities to other parts of Spain. Sheep and cattle also find good pasturage, and out of the forty-nine Spanish provinces only Badajoz, Cáceres and Teruel have a larger number of live stock. Gold is found in the streams, and iron, lead, copper, zinc, coal and rock crystal in the hills, but the mines are only partially developed, and it is doubtful if the deposits would repay exploitation on a larger scale. The manufactures of the province are few and mostly of a low class, intended for home consumption, such as frieze, coarse cloth, hats and pottery. The capital, Salamanca (pop. 1900, 25,690), and the town of Ciudad Rodrigo (8930) are described in separate articles. Béjar (9488) is the only other town of more than 5000 inhabitants. The railways from Zamora, Medina, Plasencia and Peñaranda converge upon the capital, whence two lines go westward into Portugal—one via Barca d’Alva to Oporto, the other via Villar Formoso to Guarda. Few Spanish provinces lose so small a number of emigrants, and the population tends gradually to increase. See also Leon.