at Bilbao is mainly Spanish, owing to the multitude of small vessels employed in the coasting trade; but from 1880 onwards the majority of foreign ships were British. In 1904, 3319 vessels of 2,267,957 tons were accommodated at Bilbao; more than 2000 were Spanish and nearly 700 British. In the same year new harbour works and lighting arrangements were undertaken on a large scale, and a movement was initiated for the revival of shipbuilding. Besides the mining and metallurgic industries, Bilbao has breweries, tanneries, flour mills, glass works, brandy distilleries, and paper, soap, cotton and mosaic factories.
Bilbao, or Belvao, as it was often called, was founded by Don Pedro Lopez de Haro about 1300, and soon rose into importance. It was occupied by the French in 1795, and from 1808 to 1813; and in 1835 and 1874 it was unavailingly besieged by the Carlists.
BILBEIS, or Belbes, a town of lower Egypt, on the eastern arm of the Nile, 36 m. N.N.E. of Cairo by rail. Pop. (1907) 13,485. The Coptic name, Phelbes, seems to have been derived from Egyptian, but nothing is known of the place before medieval times. Considered the bulwark of the kingdom on that side, Bilbeis was by the Moslems defended with strong fortifications. In 1163-1164 it was besieged for three months by the crusaders under Amalric, and in 1168 was captured and pillaged by another army of crusaders. Napoleon in 1798 ordered the restoration of the fortifications, but they have again fallen into decay. Bilbeis was the first halting-place of the English cavalry in their march on Cairo after the fight at Tel-el-Kebir on the 13th of September 1882.
BILBERRY, Blaeberry or Whortleberry, known botanically as Vaccinium myrtillus (natural order Ericaceae), a low-growing shrub, found in woods, copses and on heaths, chiefly in hilly districts. The stiff stems, from half a foot to two feet long, bear small ovate leaves with a serrate margin, and small, globose, rosy flowers tinged with green. The berries are dark blue, with a waxy bloom, and about one-third of an inch in diameter; they are used for tarts, preserves, &c. The plant is widely distributed throughout the north temperate and extends into the arctic zone. Cowberry is a closely allied species, V. Vitis-Idaea, growing in similar situations, but not found in the south-eastern portion of England, distinguished by its evergreen leaves and red acid berry.
BILBO (from the Spanish town Bilbao, formerly called in England “Bilboa,” and famous, like Toledo, for its sword-blades), in the earliest English use, a sword, especially one of superior temper. In the plural form (as in Shakespeare’s phrase “methought I lay worse than the mutines in the bilboes”) it meant the irons into which offenders were put on board ship.
BILDERDIJK, WILLEM (1756-1831), Dutch poet, the son of an Amsterdam physician, was born on the 7th of September 1756. When he was six years old an accident to his foot incapacitated him for ten years, and he developed habits of continuous and concentrated study. His parents were ardent partisans of the house of Orange, and Bilderdijk grew up with strong monarchical and Calvinistic convictions. He was, says Da Costa, “anti-revolutionary, anti-Barneveldtian, anti-Loevesteinish, anti-liberal.” After studying at Leiden University, he obtained his doctorate in law in 1782, and began to practise as an advocate at the Hague. Three years later he contracted an unhappy marriage with Rebecca Woesthoven. He refused in 1795 to take the oath to the new administration, and was consequently obliged to leave Holland. He went to Hamburg, and then to London, where his great learning procured him consideration. There he had as a pupil Katharina Wilhelmina Schweickhardt (1776-1830), the daughter of a Dutch painter and herself a poet. When he left London in June 1797 for Braunschweig, this lady followed him, and after he had formally divorced his first wife (1802) they were married. In 1806 he was persuaded by his friends to return to Holland. He was kindly received by Louis Napoleon, who made him his librarian, and a member and eventually president (1809-1811) of the Royal Institute. After the abdication of Louis Napoleon he suffered great poverty; on the accession of William of Orange in 1813 he hoped to be made a professor, but was disappointed and became a history tutor at Leiden. He continued his vigorous campaign against liberal ideas to his death, which took place at Haarlem on the 18th of December 1831.
A picture of the Bilderdijk household is given in the letters (vol. v., 1850) of Robert Southey, who stayed some time with Bilderdijk in 1825. Madame Bilderdijk had translated Roderick into Dutch (1823-1824). For his work as a poet see Dutch Literature. His many-sided activity showed itself also in historical criticism—Geschiedenis des Vaderlands (1832-1851, 13 vols.), a conservative commentary on Wagenaar’s Vaderlandsche Historie; in translations from Sophocles (1779 and 1789), of part of the Iliad, of the hymns and epigrams of Callimachus, and from the Latin poets; in philology—Taal en Dichtkundige Verscheidenheden (1820-1825, 4 vols.); and in drama—the tragedies, Floris de Vijfde (1808), Willem I. van Holland (1808), and others. His most important poetical works are the didactic poem, De Ziekte der geleerden (“The Disease of the Learned”), 2 vols., 1807; a descriptive poem in the manner of Delille in Het Buitenleven (1803); and his fragmentary epic, De Ondergang der eerste wereld (1820). Other volumes were Mijne Verlustigung (Leiden, 1781), Bloemtjens (1785), Mengel-poezij (1799, 2 vols.), Poezij (1803-1807, 4 vols.), Mengelingen (1804-1808, 4 vols.), Nieuwe Mengelingen (1806, 2 vols.), Hollands Verlossing (1813-1814, 2 vols.), Vaderlandsche Uitboezemingen (Leiden, 1815), Winterbloemen (1811, 2 vols.), &c., in some of which his wife collaborated.
His poetical works were collected by I. da Costa (Haarlem, 1856-1859, 16 vols.), with a biography of the poet. See also “Mijne Levensbeschrijving” in Mengelingen en Fragmenten ... (1834); his Brieven (ed. 1836-1837) by I. da Costa and W. Messchert; Dr R. A. Kollewijn, Bilderdijk, Zijn Leven en werken ... (2 vols., 1891).
BILEJIK (Byzantine Belocome), chief town of the Ertoghrul sanjak of the Brusa vilayet in Asia Minor, altitude 1900 ft., situated on a hill 2½ m. from its station on the Ismid-Angora railway. Pop. 10,500 (Moslems, 7200; Christians, 3300). It is an important centre of the silk industry, and has several silk-spinning factories.
BILFINGER (Bülffinger), GEORG BERNHARD (1693-1750), German philosopher, mathematician and statesman, son of a Lutheran minister, was born on the 23rd of January 1693, at Kanstatt in Württemberg. As a boy he showed great aptitude for study, and at first devoted himself to theology, but under the influence of Wolff’s writings he took up mathematics and philosophy on the lines of Wolff and Leibnitz. Returning to theology, he attempted to connect it with philosophy in a treatise, Dilucidationes philosophicae, de deo, anima humana, mundo (Tübingen, 1725, 1746, 1768). This work, containing nothing original, but giving a clear representation of Wolff’s philosophy, met with great success, and the author was appointed to the office of preacher at the castle of Tübingen and of reader in the school of theology. In 1721, after two years’ study under Wolff, he became professor of philosophy at Halle, and in 1724 professor of mathematics. His friends at Tübingen disapproved his new views, and in 1725, on Wolff’s recommendation, he was invited by Peter the Great to lecture in St Petersburg, where he was well received. His success in winning the prize of a thousand crowns offered for a dissertation on the cause of gravity by the Academy of Sciences of Paris secured his return to his native land in 1731. In 1735, largely on account of his knowledge of military engineering, Duke Charles Alexander (1733-1737) made him a privy councillor, but his hands were tied owing to the frivolous atmosphere of the court. On the death of the duke, however, he became a member of the Regency Council, and devoted himself with energy and success to the reorganization of the state. In the departments of education, state-religion, agriculture and commerce, his administration was uniformly successful, and he became in a real sense the head of the state. He died at Stuttgart on the 18th of February 1750. After his return from Russia, he won the highest respect at home and abroad, and Frederick the Great is recorded to have said of him, “He was a great man whom I shall ever remember with admiration.”