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BIRSK — BISKRA and Nashville, the Queen and Crescent, and the Southern. carbonate, of which 300,000 tons were extracted in 1896> It is the most important point south of Pennsylvania for 454,300 in 1897, and 477,700 in 1898. It is estimated iron smelting and manufacturing. For this it has un- that there are only from 40,000,000 to 50,000,000 tons, equalled facilities, since in its immediate neighbourhood, at of iron ore still to be mined, so that at the present rate Eed Mountain, are great deposits of iron ore, with lime- of extraction the output would cease in about ten years. stone and coal for smelting. The city contains many Nearly all the iron ores are sent abroad. Bilbao is the blast furnaces, foundries, and other ironworks. Birming- only port of any importance. The mining and industrial ham has had a very rapid growth owing to this develop- interests of Biscay have been very materially assisted by ment of the iron industry. In 1880 the population was the quick and important development of means of comonly 3086, but in 1890 it had jumped to 26,178, and in munication of every kind. The provincial and parish 1900 to 38,415, of whom 1776 were foreign-born and roads, kept up by the local government, are excellent. 16,575 were negroes. The assessed valuation of real and No province in Spain had at the close of the 19th century personal property in 1900, on a basis of about 60 per cent, such a complete network of railways, and they have all (a. e. h.) of the full value, was $16,387,226, the tax rate $22 per been built since 1870. $1000, and the net debt $2,127,262. Biscegiie, a fortified seaport town and episcopal see province of Bari, Apulia, Italy, 21 miles by rail N.W. Birsk, a district town of S.E. Kussia, government of of theBari. In 1897 the port was cleared by 499 vessels and 69 miles N.W. of Ufa, on Byelaya river. It is an from of 151,568 tons. The population (1901) was 30,885. important centre for trade with the Bashkirs. Population, Bischofswerda, a town of Germany, on the 8603. Wesenitz, which empties into the Elbe 12 miles W.S.W. Biscay, a maritime province—one of the Basque Provinces—in the north of Spain, with 52 miles of coast, and of the town, and in the circle of Bautzen, kingdom of an area of 849 square miles, divided into 5 administrative Saxony. It has a branch railway line to Zittau. There districts and 120 parishes. Its population was 235,659 in are a commercial and a technical school, cloth and artificial 1887, and 290,222 in 1897. The increase of population has flower factories, glass-works, potteries, and in the neighbeen chiefly in Bilbao, Abando, Baracaldo, Portugalete, bourhood large granite quarries. It is famous as the scene Santurce, and Sestao, owing to the growth of the mining of a battle in 1813 between the French and the Allies on and metallurgic industries. The birth-rate per 1000 was Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. It was the residence of 38-5, the death-rate 30’9, and the marriage - rate 7'3. Bishop Benno in the 11th century, and the “Bishop’s Only a few hundred emigrate annually. The climate is Road” still runs from here to Meissen. Population rather inclement and variable. The thermometer seldom (1890), 5612; (1900), 6610. drops below freezing-point, however, nor does snow fall Bischweiler, a town of Germany, in the imperial frequently in winter except on the highest heights. The territory of Alsace-Lorraine, district of Lower Alsace, 23. rainfall is on an average greater than in any province miles by rail N. by E. from Strasburg. It has manufacexcept those of the extreme north-west. The mountainous tures of jute and machinery, brewing, and iron-founding. slopes of the province are studded with the traditional Hops are extensively grown. Population (1885), 6815 y Basque “ Caserio,” or farmhouse, in which the hardy (1900), 7875. peasantry live on the vietayer system, dividing the profits Bishop Auckland, a market town and railway of the soil with absentee landlords. The soil is not very fertile except in some valleys and sheltered hillsides. station in the Bishop Auckland parliamentary division Only 10,567 acres are devoted to the culture of wheat, of Durham, England, on the Wear and Gaunless, 11 miles 13,437 to maize, 6005 to pod fruit, 1742 to vines. There S.S.W. of Durham city. Recent buildings are a temperare, in all, 143,214 head of live stock, including 5259 ance hall, church institute, memorial hall, fever hospital, horses, 825 mules, 2003 asses, 49,587 cattle, 61,642 accident hospital, and theatre (rebuilt). Area of urban sheep, 6848 goats, and 17,050 pigs. _ Except iron and district, 950 acres; population (1881), 10,097; (1901), zinc mining and calcination of ores, the industries of Biscay 11,966. are declining, through peninsular and foreign competition, Bishop Stortfdrd, a market town and railway especially those connected with wool, petroleum, tanneries, station in the Hertford parliamentary division of Hertfordand the export of fish, in particular “sardinas.” The shire, England, on the Stort, 14 miles E.N.E. of Hertford. fishing fleet, however, still consists of several hundred The old church of St Michael’s has been restored and a boats, manned by nearly 5000 men and boys. Another hospital opened. There are also grammar schools and other very important industry is the manufacture of dynamite first-class educational establishments, including the Roman and other explosives at Galdacano, closely connected with Catholic convent of St Mary. The church of St Joseph the mining interests. There are also potteries, paper, has also been established. There are important cattle and soap, and shoe factories, flour mills and breweries, and the horse markets. Area of civil parish (an urban district), many springs and spas are frequented by people from all 3285 acres; population (1881), 6704; (1891), 6595; parts of Spain. The chief source of the province’s pro- (1901), 7143. sperity lies in its mines; there were, in 1898, 2 sulphur, Bishop Wearmouth. See Sunderland. 12 zinc, 2 lead, and 204 iron ore productive mines, and Biskra, a town in Algeria, capital of a canton in the 1037 unproductive. In some concessions the veins produce less and less every year. 11,105 persons were department of Constantine, 150 miles by rail. S. by M . engaged in the iron ore mines, all but 76 in outside em- of Constantine. It is in communication with Philippeville ployment, and the total production of iron ore in 1898— by a railway which is to be extended as far as Tugguit 5,073,338 tons—was 181,111 tons less than in 1897. The and Wargla. Since 1894-95 Biskra has grown into great principal classes of ore are the limonite, or rubio, of all repute as a winter residence, laying itself out rapidly in kinds of which from 4,000,000 to 4,250,000 tons, on an hotels, villas, and casinos. The climate is uncommonly average, were extracted in 1896, 1897, and 1898 ; the red healthy, the sky serene, and there is very seldom any rain. haematite or campanil, the output of which dwindled from In spite of its proximity to the Sahara desert, the French 440,000 tons in 1896 to 275,800 tons in 1898, and will enjoy excellent sanitary conditions. Only 700 in 1890, soon become nil; and the spathic or siderite, calcined the French population in 1900 numbered 1500, and the