Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Andalusia

ANDALUSIA, or Andalucia, an extensive region in

the south of Spain, bounded on the N. by New Castile and Estremadura, on the W. by Portugal, on the S. by the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and on the E. by the Mediterranean and Murcia. Although no longer officially recognised, yet, like the other ancient divisions of Spain, it is probably better known and oftener referred to, at least in popular language, than the modern provinces which have been formed out of it. These are eight in number Seville, Huelva, Cadiz, Jaen, Cordova, Granada, Almeria, Malaga. It also corresponds to the "four kingdoms" Seville, Jaen, Cordova, and Granada into which the Moors divided the south of Spain, to the still older Roman province of Btztica, and probably, in part at all events, to the Tarshish of the Bible, a famous trading emporium and district belonging to the Phoenicians, who were the earliest known inhabitants of the country. The name Andalusia is said to be a corruption of Vandalusia, from the Vandals, who overran this part of Spain after the downfall of the Roman Empire; other authorities, however, consider that the Moors, who occupied the country after the Vandals, gave it its present name from their term Andalosh, " land of the West." Andalusia has an area of about 33,000 square miles, and in 1867 had a population of 3,200,944. The principal river of Andalusia is the Guadalquivir, the Roman Bcetis, which rises in the mountains of Jaen, and flows in a south-westerly direction to the Mediterranean at San Lucar. Its chief affluents are the Jandula, the Guadiata, and the Huebla on the right, and the Xenil on the left. Among the other rivers of the province are the Tinto, the Guadalete, and the. Guadaljorce. The country is very mountainous; the chief ranges are the Sierras Morena and de Arsohe in the north, the Sierra Susana in the centre, and the Sierras Nevada, de Gador, and Bermeja in the south. There are several peaks of great elevation; among the highest are Mulahacen (11,781 feet) and Picacho de la Veleta (11,597 feet), both in the Sierra Nevada. Many of the mountains abound with metals, as silver, lead, copper, iron, and with coal; while marble and quartz are also found, the former in large quantities, and of a fine quality. Though its soil and climate vary with the elevation of the land, Andalusia must be considered the finest and most delight ful of all the divisions of the peninsula. Some of the higher mountains are covered with perpetual snow, a luxury which is highly prized by the inhabitants of the valleys, where the summer is usually extremely hot, and in winter the snow falls only to melt when it reaches the ground. Here the more common European plants and trees give place to the wild olive, the caper bush, the aloe, the cactus, the evergreen oak, the orange, the lemon, the palm, and other productions of a tropical climate. On the coasts of the Mediterranean, about Marbella and Malaga, the sugar-cane is successfully cultivated; and no inconsiderable quantity of silk is produced in the same region. Agriculture is in a very backward state, and the implements used are of the most primitive description ; nevertheless, owing to the natural richness of the soil, large crops of wheat and other cereals are grown. There are, however, considerable tracts of land which, from want of water, are neither cultivated nor inhabited; these occur chiefly in the west of the province. The horses and bulls of Andalusia are celebrated all over Spain; sheep and swine are extensively bred, and game is abundant. The inhabitants are a lively, good-humoured, and ready-witted people, fond of pleasure, lazy, and extremely superstitious, great boasters, and, like most boasters, very cowardly and unwarlike. The men are tall, handsome, and well-made, and the women are among the most beautiful in Spain; while the dark complexion and hair of both sexes, and their peculiar dialect of Spanish, so distasteful to pure Castilians, are as evident traces of the long rule of the Moors, as are the magnificent architectural remains

which adorn many of the Andalusian towns.