It embraces the whole of the basin of the Guadalquivir, together with some adjoining districts. It is bounded in the north by the Sierra Morena, which in the direction of Portugal becomes a rugged mountain district of crystalline formation intersected by tortuous ravines, and rising in the Sierra de Aracena, north of the mining region of the Rio Tinto, to a height of 5,500 feet. Farther cast the Sierra Morena ascends in terraces above the valley of the Guadalquivir, and on its reverse slope we meet with districts, such as that of Los Pedroches (1,650 feet), hardly less monotonous of aspect than the plains of La Mancha. The Punta de Almenara (5,920 feet), in the Sierra de Alcaraz, in the extreme east, may be looked upon as the culminating point of this sierra, which is indebted for its naine of ” Black Mountain ” to the sombre pines which clothe its slopes.
The line of water-parting does not pass through the highest summits of this range. Most of the rivers rise on the plateau, and take their course, by picturesque gorges, right through the heart of the mountains. The most famous of these gorges is that of Despeiiaperros (2,44-1 feet), leading from the dreary plains of La Mancha to the smiling valley of Andalusia. This pass has played a great part in ever) war. At its foot was fought in 1212 the fearful battle of Navas de Tolosa, in which more than 200,000 Mussulmans are said to have been slaughtered.
The mountains which shut in the basin of Andalusia on the east are cut up by deep river gorges into several distinct masses or chains, of which the Calar del Mundo (5,437 feet), Yelmo de Segura (5,925 feet), and Sierra Sagra (7,675 feet) are the principal. The southern mountain ranges uniformly extend from east to west. From north to south we cross in succession the Sierras de Maria (6,690 feet), de las Estancias, and de los Filabres (6,283 feet), so famous for its marbles. In the west the latter two ranges join the Sierra de Baza (6,236 feet), itself attached to the great culminating range of Iberia, the Sierra Nevada, by a saddle of inconsiderable height (2,950 feet).
The Sierra Nevada consists mainly of schists, through which eruptions of serpentine and porphyry have taken place. The area it occupies is small, but from whatever side we approach it rises precipitously, and the eye can trace the succeeding zones of vegetation up to that of perennial snows pierced by the peaks of Mulahacen (11,661 feet), Picacho de la Veleta (11,386 feet), and Alcazaba (7,590 feet). Vines and olive-trees clothe the foot-bills; to these succeed walnut-trees, then oaks, and finally a pale carpet of turf hidden beneath snow for six months. Masses of snow accumulate in sheltered hollows, and these ventisqueros, ventisvas, or snow-drifts, supply Granada with ice. In the Corral de la Veleta there even exists a true glacier, which gives birth to the river Genil, and is the most southerly in all Europe. The more extensive glaciers of a former age have disappeared long ago. To the purling streams fed by the snows of the sierra the Vega of Granada owes its rich verdure, its flowers, and its excellent fruits, and the delightful valley of Lecrin its epithet of “Paradise of the Alpujarras.”
No other district of Spain so forcibly reminds us of the dominion of the Moors. The principal summit is named after a Moorish prince. On the Picacho they lit a beacon on the approach of a Christian army, and in the Alpujarras, on the southern slope, they pastured their sheep. The Galician and Asturian peasants, who now occupy this district, are superior in no respect to the converted Moors who were permitted to remain at Ujijar, the capital of Alpujarras, when their compatriots were driven forth. The natural riches of the mountains remain undeveloped, and they are surrounded by a belt of depoblarlos.
From the Pass of Alhedin (3,300 feet), between Granada and Alpujarra, we look down upon one of the most charming panoramas of the world. It was here that Boabdil, the fugitive Moorish king, beheld for the last time the smiling plains of his kingdom, and hence the spot is known as the ” Last Sigh of the Moor,” or the “Hill of Tears.” From the highest summits of the sierra, however, the prospect is exceedingly grand. Standing upon the Picacho de la Veleta, we see Southern Spain spread out beneath our feet, with its fertile valleys, rugged rocks, and russet-coloured wilds. Looking south, across the blue waters of the Mediterranean, the mountains of Barbary loom out in the distance, and sometimes we are even able to hear the murmuring of the waves as they beat against the coast.
The mountains around these giants of Granada are very inferior to them in height. The country in the north, which is bounded by the valleys of the Genil, Guadiana Menor, and Guadalquivir, is occupied by an upland intersected by deep ravines, and rising now and then into distinct mountain chains, such as the Sierra Magina (7,047 feet) and Sierra de Jabalcuz, near Jaen (1,800 feet) ; the chain Alta Coloma, farther south, with its wild pass, Puerto de Arenas, between Jaen and Granada ; and the Sierra Susana, close to Granada, which extends westward to the mountain mass of the Parapanda, the great prophet of the husbandmen of the Vega :
The mountains extending along the coast are cut up by transverse valleys into several distinct masses. The Sierra de Gata, in the south-east, is a detached mountain mass, pierced by several extinct volcanoes. Farther west rises the Sierra Alhamilla, the torrents of which are so rich in garnets that the huntsmen use them instead of shot. Crossing a rivulet, we reach the superb Sierra de Gador (7,620 feet), consisting of schists.
The Contraviesa (6,218 feet), which separates the Alpujarras from the Mediterranean, rises so steeply from the coast that even sheep can hardly climb it. The Sierra de Almijara, beyond the narrow valley of the Guadalfeo, and its western continuation, the Sierra de Alhama (7,003 feet), present similar features. The mountains on the other side of the Pass of Alfarnate or de los Alazores (2,723 feet) constitute the exterior rampart of an ancient lake bed, bounded in the north by an irregular swelling of ground known as Sierra de Yeguas. The road from Malaga to Antequera crosses that rampart in the famous Pass of El Torcal (4,213 feet), the fantastically shaped rocks of which bear some resemblance to the ruins of an extensive city. Archeologists have discovered there some of the most curious prehistoric remains of Iberia.
To the west of the basin of Malaga, drained by the Guadalborce, the emissary of the ancient lake referred to above, the mountains again increase in height, and in the Sierra de Telex attain an elevation of 6,430 feet. Snows remain here throughout the winter. From the Tolox mountain chains ramify in all directions. The Sierra Bermeja (4,756 feet) extends to the south-west, its steep promontories being washed by the waves of the sea ; the wild ” Serrania ” de Ronda (5,085 feet) extends westward, and is continued in the mountain mass of San Cristobal (5,627 feet), which sends branches southward as far as the Capes of Trafalgar and Tarifa. The rock of Gibraltar (1,408 feet), which rises so proudly at the entrance of the Mediterranean, is a geological outlier attached to the mainland by a strip of sand thrown up by the waves of the ocean.
” Cuando Parapanda se pone la montera, Lines e, aunque Dios no to quisiera.”
(” When Parapanda puts on his cap it rains, though God may not wish it.”)
Erosion has powerfully affected the mountains occupying the country between the basin of the Guadalquivir and the coast. Amongst the numerous river gorges, that of the Gaytanos, through which the Guadalhorce flows from the plateau of Antequera to the orange groves of Alora, is one of the wildest and most magnificent in all Spain. Only torrents enter the Mediterranean, and even of the rivers discharging their waters into the Atlantic there is but one which is of some importance, on account of its great volume and the facilities it offers for navigation. This is the Guadalquivir, which rises in the Sierra Sagra, at an elevation of 5,900 feet above the sea-level. Having received the Guadalimar, its current becomes gentle, and it flows through a wide and open valley, thus differing essentially from the rivers of the Castiles, which, on their way to the sea, traverse narrow gorges. Its volume fairly entitles it to its Arab name of Wad-el-Kebir, or ” large river.” The geological work performed by this river and its tributaries has been enormous. Mountain ramparts have been broken through, lakes drained, and immense quantities of soil spread over the valley. Nowhere can this work be traced more advantageously than in the valley of the Genil of Granada, for the fertile district of La Vega was covered by a lake, the pent-up waters of which opened themselves a passage near Loja.
The estuary of the river has been gradually filled up by sediment. The tide ascends nearly as far as Seville, where the river is about 250 yards wide. Below that city it passes through an alluvial tract known as the marisnmas, ordinarily a dusty plain roamed over by half-wild cattle, but converted by the least rain into a quagmire. Neither villages nor homesteads are met with here, but the sands farther back are covered with dwarf palms, and lower down a few hills of tertiary formation approach close to the river, their vine-clad slopes affording a pleasing contrast to the surrounding solitude.
A contraction of the alluvial valley marks the exterior limit of the ancient estuary silted up by the Guadalquivir. Sanlucar de Barrameda, a town of oriental aspect, stands on the left bank, whilst a range of dunes intervenes between the sea and the flat country on the right bank. The mouth of the river is closed by a bar, so that only vessels of small draught can enter it. These Arenas Gordas, or “great sands,” are for the most part covered with pines, and, except on their exterior face, they have remained stable since the historical epoch.
The Guadalquivir is the only river of Spain which is navigable for a consider-able distance above its mouth. Vessels of 200 tons ascend it as far as Seville, a distance of sixty miles. Sanlucar was formerly the great port of Spain, and its coasting trade is still considerable. None of the other rivers of Andalusia are navigable. The Guadalete, which enters the Bay of Cadiz, is a shallow, sluggish stream ; the Odiel and the Rio Tinto are rapid torrents, and their estuary, below Huelva, has been choked up by the sediment brought down by them ; while Palos, so famous as the port from which Columbus started upon his great voyage of discovery, has dwindled down to a poor fishing village.
But what are these changes compared with the great revolution which joined the Mediterranean to the Atlantic ? There can be no doubt that a barrier of mountains separated the two seas. The destructive action of the Atlantic appears to have been facilitated not only by the cavernous nature of the rocks on both sides of the strait, but also by the fact of the level of the Mediterranean having been much lower at that time than that of the Atlantic. Even now the waters of the latter sometimes rush through the strait with astounding velocity (see Fig. 6, p. 26). We cannot tell whether the strait has increased in width during historical times, for ancient geographers are not very precise in their measurements. Thus much, however, is certain, that the general features of the strait have not changed, and the two pillars of Hercules, Calpe and Abyla, may still be recognised in modern Gibraltar and Ceuta.
The rock of Gibraltar does not form the southernmost promontory of Iberia, but, being the most striking object along the strait, it has given its name to it. Mariners look upon it as the true boundary between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, and it has been likened, not inaptly, to a crouching lion guarding the gateway between the two seas. It rises almost perpendicularly on the east, and the town, with most of the batteries, has been constructed on the western slope, which is more accessible. The famous rock, though a natural dependency of Spain, has become, by right of conquest, one of the great strongholds of England, and its importance as a fortress as well as a place of commerce is indisputable. In its caverns have been discovered stone implements and the skeletons of dolichocephalous men.
The frequent intercourse between Andalusia and the Berber countries on the other side of the strait is explained by vicinity as well as by similarity of climate. Algarve, Huelva, and the lower valley of the Guadalquivir, as far as Seville and Ecija, that stewing-pan ” or ” furnace ” of Spain, form one of the hottest districts of Europe. and the coast. from Algeciras and Gibraltar to Cartagena. Alicante, and the Cabo de la Nat), is hardly inferior to it. The country around the Bay of Câdiz and the hilly districts in the extreme south, which are freely exposed to the virazon, or sea breeze, enjoy a more temperate climate. In the two torrid coast regions delineated above frosts are hardly known, and the mean temperature of the coolest month reaches 54° F. The heat is greatest around the bays exposed to the full influence of the hot African winds, and least on the Atlantic seaboard, where westerly breezes moderate it. Contrary atmospheric currents naturally meet in the Strait of Gibraltar, where the wind is generally high, and tempests are frequent in winter. Westerly winds prevail during winter, easterly winds in summer. The two promontories of Europe and Africa are looked upon by mariners as trustworthy signallers of the weather : when they are wrapped in clouds or mists rain and easterly winds may be looked for, but when their profiles stand out clearly against the blue sky it is a sure sign of fine weather and a westerly winds.
The dry and semi-tropical climate of Lower Andalusia frequently exercises a most depressing influence upon Northern Europeans. In the plain and along the coast it hardly ever rains during summer, and the heat is sometimes stifling, for the trade winds of the tropics are unkuown. At Cadiz the laud wind blowing from the direction of Medina Sidonia, and hence known as median, is suffocating, and quarrels and even murders are said to occur most frequently whilst it lasts. But the most dreaded wind is the solano or female, which is how as the blast from a furnace. A curious vapour, known as calina, then appears on the southern horizon, the air is filled with dust, leaves wither, and sometimes birds drop in their flight as if suffocated.
In the temperate regions of Europe summer is the season of flowers and foliage, bat in Andalusia it is that of aridity and death. Except in gardens and irrigated fields all vegetation shrivels up and assumes a greyish tint like that of the soil. But when the equinoctial autumn rains fall in the lowlands, and snows in the mountains, the plants recover rapidly, and a second spring begins. In February vegetation is most luxuriant, but after March heat and dryness again become the order of the day. Indeed, Andalusia suffers from a want of moisture. There are steppes without water, trees, or human habitations, the most extensive being on the Lower Genil, where the depressions are occupied by salt lakes, as in Algeria or Persia, and cultivation is impossible. Another steppe of some extent stretches to the east of Jaen, and is known as that of Mancha Real. The barren tracts on the Mediterranean slopes are relatively even of greater extent than those in the basin of the Guadalquivir. The volcanic region of the Sierra de Gata is a complete desert, where castles and towers erected for purposes of defence are the only buildings. Elsewhere the coast is occupied by saline plains, which support a vegetation mainly consisting of salsolacete, plumbaginem, and cruciferae five per cent. of the species of which are African. Barilla, the ashes of which are used in the manufacture of soda, grows plentifully there.
In the popular mind, however, Andalusia has at all times been associated with fertility. Its naine recalls the oranges of Seville, the luxuriant vegetation of the Vega of Granada, the ” Elysian Fields,” and the Garden of the Hesperides,” which the ancients identified with the valley of the Baetis. The indigenous flora entitles Andalusia to its epithet of the ” Indies of Spain,” and, in addition to the tropical plants from Asia and Africa which grow there spun taneously, we meet with others which have been successfully acclimatized. Dates, bananas, and bamboos grow side by side with caoatchouc-trees, dragon’s-blood trees, magnolias, chirimoyas, erythrinas, azedarachs ; ricinus and stramonium shoot up into veritable trees ; the cochineal cactus of the Canaries and the ground-nut of the Senegal do well ; sweet potatoes, cotton, and coffee are cultivated with success; and the sugar-cane succeeds in sheltered places. The coast between Motril and Malaga is supposed to yield annually £20,000 worth of sugar.
The fauna of Andalusia presents, also, some African features. The molluscs met with in Morocco exist likewise in Andalusia; the ichneumon may be seen on the right bank of the Lower Guadalquivir and elsewhere ; the chameleon is plentiful; and a species of wild goat is said to be common to the mountains of Morocco and the Sierra Nevada. Nor should we forget to state that an African monkey (Inuus sylvanus) still lives on the rock of Gibraltar, but whether he has been imported has not yet been determined.
In the dam n of European history Andalusia was probably inhabited by an Iberian race akin to that of the Basques. The Bastulae, Bastarnae, and Bastesae, in the hills facing the Mediterranean, and the Turdetani and Turduli of the valley of the Baetis, bore Euskarian names, as did many of their towns. But even thus early they must have been a mixed race. Celtic tribes held the hills extending to the north-west of the Baetis, in the direction of Lusitania ; the Turdetani, who were relatively civilised, for they possessed written laws, permitted Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Greeks to settle amongst them, and in the end became thoroughly Latinised. Municipal charters discovered at Malaga, and more recently at Osuna (Colonia Julia Genitira), prove that the cities of this province enjoyed a considerable degree of self-government.
When the Boman world broke down, Southern Spain was invaded by Vandals, Byzantines, and Visigoths, to whom succeeded Arabs, Berbers, and Jews. The influence exercised upon the country by the Moorsthat is, by a mixed race of Arabs and Berbershas been more abiding than that of their Teutonic predecessors. They maintained themselves for more than seven centuries, were numerous in the towns, and cultivated the fields conjointly with the ancient inhabitants of the country. When the order of exile went forth against their whole race, Moorish blood circulated in the veins of those who were charged with the execution of this harsh measure. In certain portions of Andalusia, and more especially in the Alpujarras, where the Moors maintained their independence until the end of the sixteenth century, the mixture between the two races had made such progress that religious profession, and not the colour of the skin, decided nationality. Numerous Arabic words and phrases have found their way into the Andalusian dialect, and the geographical nomenclature of many districts is Arabic rather than Iberian or Latin. Most of the large buildings in the towns are aleazars, or mosques, and even the style of modern structures is Arabic, modified to some extent by Roman influences. The houses, instead of looking upon the street, face an interior court, or patio, where the members of the family meet by the side of a cool fountain. No further ethnical element has been added to the population since the epoch of the Arabs, for the few German colonists who settled at Carolina, Carlota, and elsewhere did not prosper, and either returned to their native country or became merged in the general population.
The Andalusians have frequently been called the Gascons of Spain. They are generally of graceful and supple build, of seductive manners, and full of eloquence, but the latter is too frequently wasted upon trifles. Though not devoid of bravery, the Andalusian is a great boaster, and his vanity often causes him to pass the bounds of truth. At the same time he is of a contented mind, and does not allow poverty to affect his spirit. The mountaineers differ in some respects from the dwellers in the plains. They are more reserved in their manners, and the Jaetanos, or mountaineers of Jaen, are known as the Galicians of Andalusia. The beauty of the highland women is of a more severe type, and, compared with the charming Gaditanes and the fascinating majas of Seville, the women of Granada, Guadix, and Baza are remarkable for an air of haughty nobleness.
No doubt there are men in Baetica who work, but as a rule love of labour is not amongst the virtues of the Andalusian. The country might become the great tropical storehouse of Europe, but its immense resources remain undeveloped. To some extent this is explained by the fact that nearly the whole country is owned by great landlords. Many estates, which formerly were carefully cultivated, have been converted into sheep-walks, and for miles we meet neither houses nor human beings. The highlands, too, belong to large proprietors, but are leased to small farmers, who pay one-third of their product in lieu of rent.
The magnificent orange groves of Seville, Sanlucar, and other towns, the olive groves, vineyards, and orchards of Malaga, supply the world with vast quantities of fruit ; its productive corn-fields have made Andalusia one of the great granaries of the world ; but it is mainly its wines which enable it to take a share in international commerce. Immense quantities of the wine known as sherry are grown in the vineyards of Jerez, to the east of Cadiz. Many of the vineyards belong to Englishmen, and merchants of that nation are busily occupied in blending and other operations peculiar to their trade. Several wines, however, maintain their superior character to the present time. Such are the sweet tintilla of Rota, manzanilla, and pajarate, made from dried grapes. In spite of many malpractices, this branch of industry has exercised a most beneficial influence upon the character of the population. Santa Maria, on the Bay of Câdiz, is one of the great wine ports of the world, and Spain has become a formidable rival of its northern neighbour.
The ancient manufacturing industry of the country can hardly be said to exist any longer, but mining is still carried on. Strabo exaggerates the mineral wealth of the country, which is nevertheless very great. Nearly all the productive mining districts of Southern Spain are in the hills. The Sierra de Gâdor ris said to contain ” more metal than rock.” Hundreds of argentiferous lead, copper, and iron mines have been opened there, and in the sierras of Guadix, Baza, and Almeria. Near Linares, on the Upper Guadalquivir, there are lead mines yielding about 210,000 tons annually. The silver mines of Constantina and Guadalcanal, in the Sierra Morena, are being worked only at intervals. The coal basins of Belmez and Espiel, to the north of Cordova, promise to become of great importance, although the output at present hardly exceeds 200,000 tons a 3 ear. Deposits of iron and copper exist near them.
But of all the mines of Spain those situated in the province of Huelva are the most productive. The Silurian rocks there are wonderfully rich in pyrites of copper. The mines of Rio Tinto strike the beholder by their stupendous extent ; and the existence of ancient galleries, buildings, and inscriptions proves that they have been worked since the most remote time. The invasion of the Vandals temporarily put a stop to the work, which was only resumed in 1730. The two principal deposits have been computed to contain no less than 300,000,000 tons of ore. The deposits at Tharsis are much less extensive, but within easier reach of Huelva. They contain 14,000,000 tons of iron and copper pyrites, and are worked like an open quarry. The deposit is no less than 450 feet in thickness, and some of the ores yield twenty per cent. of copper. Immense heaps of scoriae have accumulated near the mine, where they are bedded in regular strata dating back to the time of the Carthaginians. The sulphurous vapours rising from hundreds of furnaces poison the air and destroy the vegetation. The rivers Odiel and Rio Tinto run with ferruginous water which kills the fish ; yellow ochre is thrown up along their banks ; and in their estuary is precipitated a blackish mud consisting of the metal mixed with the sulphur of decomposed marine animals.
Andalusia, though a desert in comparison with what it might be, rivals Italy in the fame and beauty of its cities. The names of Granada, Cordova, Seville, and Câdiz awaken in our mind the most pleasing memories, for these old Moorish towns have become identified with a great advance in arts and science.
Their advantageous geographical position accounts for their prosperity, past and present. Ccirdova and Seville command the fertile plain of the Guadalquivir, and the roads crossing the gaps of the neighbouring mountains converge upon them ; Granada has its plentiful supply of water and rich fields ; Huelva, Câdiz, Malaga, and Almeria are considerable seaports ; and Gibraltar occupies a commanding position between two seas. There are other towns less populous, but of great strategical importance, as they command the roads joining the valleys of the Genii and Guadalquivir to the sea.
Amongst the smaller towns which have played a part in history are several to the east of Granada, such as Velez Rubio and Velez Blanco, on the Mediterranean slope ; Cullar de Baza; with its subterranean houses excavated in the gypsum, on the western slope of the Vertientes, or ” the water-shed ; ” Huescar, the heir of an old Carthaginian city ; and Baza, ens ironed by a fertile plain known as Hoya, or ” the hollow.”
Granada, though it celebrates the anniversary of the entrance of Ferdinand and Isabella, is a very inferior place to what it was as the capital of a Moorish kingdom, when it had 60,000 houses and 400,000 inhabitants, and was the busiest and wealthiest town of the peninsula. It is still the sixth city of Spain, but thousands of its ragged inhabitants live in hideous dens, and close to the picturesque suburb of Albaicin a mob largely composed of gipsies has settled down in nauseous caverns. Remains of Moorish buildings are met with only in the suburb named, but at some distance from the city there still exist edifices which bear witness to the glorious reign of its ancient masters. The Torres vermejas, or ” red towers,” occupy a hill to the south; the Generalife, with its delightful gardens, crowns another hill farther east ; and between them rise the bastions and towers of the Alhambra, or “red palace,” even in its present dilapidated condition one of the masterpieces of architecture, which has sers ed as a pattern to generations of artists. From the towers of this magnificent building we enjoy a prospect which indelibly impresses itself upon the memory. Granada, with its towers, parks, and villas, lies beneath. The course of the two rivers, Genii and Darro, can be traced amidst the foliage, whilst naked hills bound the verdant plain of La Vega, which has been likened to an ” emerald enchased in a sapphire.” The contrast between these savage mountains and the fertile plain, between the beautiful city and precipitous rocks, struck the Moors with admiration, for they saw reflected in them their own naturean outward impassiveness and a hidden fire. Granada, to them, was the ” Queen of Cities,” the ” Damascus of the R est.” Nor are the modern Spaniards behind them in their admiration of Granada and its vicinity.
There are other beautiful towns in the basin of the Genil, but none can compare with Granada, not even Loja, a ” flower in the midst of thorns,” an oasis surrounded by rugged rocks and savage defiles. Jaen, how ever, almost rivals Granada. It, too, was the seat of a powerful Moorish king, the hills surrounding it are still crowned with the ruins of fortifications buried beneath luxuriant foliage, and the aspect of the town remains oriental to this day.
The upper valley of the Guadalquivir abounds in cities. Baeza had more than 150,000 inhabitants in the time of the Moors, but wars depopulated it, many of the people removing to Granada. Close by is Ubeda, another Moorish town. Higher up in the hills is the mining town of Linares, hardly large enough to shelter 8,000 residents, but actually inhabited by 40,000. In descending the river we pass Andiijar, famous on account of its alearazas, and about twenty miles below the town of Montoro we reach the marble bridge of Alcolea, celebrated for the many battles which have been fought for its possession.
Cordova dates back to the dawn of civilisation. It has been famous and powerful at all times, and the Spanish noblemen are proud of tracing their origin back to this fountain-head of the ” blue blood ” (sangre azul) which is sup-posed to flow in the veins of Spanish nobles. It was under the Moors that Cordova reached the apogee of its grandeur ; from the ninth century to the close of the twelfth it had nearly a million of’ inhabitants; and its twenty-four suburbs spread far and wide over the plain and along the lateral valleys. The wealth of its mosques, palaces, and private houses was prodigious; but, more glorious still, Cordova could boast of being the “nursery of science,” for it was the greatest university of the world, abounding in schools and libraries. Civil wars, foreign invasions, and religious fanaticism led to the dispersion of its libraries, and Cordova can no longer boast of being the first city of Andalusia. Most of the old monuments have perished, but there still exists the marvellous mezquita, or mosque, built at the close of the eighth century by Abderrahman and his son. The interior was fitted up in the most lavish manner, the floors being paved with silver, and the walls covered with gold, precious stones, ivory, and ebony, but a considerable portion of the building has been pulled down to make room for a Spanish cathedral.
The more fertile districts of the province of Cordova are at some distance from the Guadalquivir, in the hills to the south. Montilla, one of the towns there, is noted for its wines, as are Aguilar, Baena, Cabra, and Lucena, the latter boasting likewise of some manufactures. Between Cordova and Seville, a distance of over ninety miles, following the sinuosities of the river, we do not meet with a single town of note, for even Palma del Rio, at the mouth cif the Genil, is only a small place, though of some importance as the outlet of Ecija, a large town higher up the Genii.
Seville, the reigning queen of Andalusia, boasts of a few remarkable buildings, including the aleazar, a gorgeous cathedral, and the palace known as ” Pilate’s House,” in which the Renaissance is admirably wedded with the Moorish style. But more famous than either of these is Giralda’s Tower, with the saint’s revolving statue on the top, like a weathercock. But neither these buildings nor Murillo’s fine paintings have won Seville its epithet of “Enchantress.” For this it is indebted to its gaiety and to a succession of fêtes, amongst which bull-fights figure prominently. Seville became Spanish about the middle of the thirteenth century. Its citizens valiantly defended their municipal liberties against the King of Castile, but they were defeated, and most of its inhabitants then fled to Barbary. The town was repeopled by Christian emigrants. Triana, however, a suburb with which an iron bridge connects it, is inhabited by gipsies, whose secret tribunal has its seat there. A short distance to the north of Triana are the ruins of the amphitheatre of Italica, the old rival of Seville, and the native town of Silius Italicus, and of the Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius. Coria, another Roman city, which had its own mint during the Middle Ages, lies below Seville.
Seville has numerous potteries, but its silks and stuffs interwoven with gold and silver have ceased to command the markets of the world. The largest manufactory of the place, that of tobacco and cigars, is carried on by Government, and employs several thousand workmen.
Alcala de Guadaira, to the south-east of Seville, supplies the latter with bread, and its delicious springs feed the aqueduct known as Arcos de Carmona, thus called because it runs parallel with the old Roman road leading to Carmona (Carmo).
The towns to the south of Seville are no longer of importance. Utrera, the most considerable amongst them, is a great railway centre, where the line to the marble quarries of Moron, and that passing through the fertile districts of Marehena and Osuna, branch off from the Andalusian main line. The town is well known to aficionados, or sportsmen, on account of the wild bulls which pasture in the neighbouring marismas. Lebrija, with its fine tower imitated from that of Giralda, is still nearer to these marshes, which extend almost to the mouth of the Guadalquivir.
Sanlucar de Barrameda, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, with its white and pink houses shaded by palms, is not now the great port it was in the time of the Arabs. It may justly boast of having sent forth, in 1519, the first vessel which circumnavigated the globe, but it is now rather a pleasure resort than a place of commerce. Jerez de la Frontera, in the basin of the Guadalete, is the busiest town between Seville and Câdiz. It is a neat and showy place, surrounded by immense bodegas, or wine vaults, in which are stored the wines grown in the fertile valley of Guadalete, and known as sherry. Near Arcos de la Frontera, in the upper part of the valley, is pointed out the site upon which was fought the famous battle which delivered Spain to the Mussulmans.
The Bay of Câdiz, so well sheltered against winds and waves by the tongue of land which begins at the island of Leon, is surrounded by numerous towns, forming, as it were, but a single city. Rota, on the northern coast of the bay, is encircled by walls of cyclopean aspect. It is the resort of fishermen, and its vintners, though reputed Boeotians, produce one of the best wines of Spain. Farther south, at the mouth of the Guadalete, is the Puerto de Santa Maria, with its wine stores, at all times a bustling place. Puerto Real, the Portus Gaditanus, lies in a labyrinth of brackish channels, and is now merely a landing-place. The neighbouring dockyard, known as Troeadro, and the arsenal of Carraca, are frequently inhabited only by galley-slaves and their gaolers. The salt-pans near that place are most productive.
San Fernando is the most important town on the island of Leon, to the south of Câdiz. The initial meridian of Spanish mariners is drawn through its observatory. Looking across the navigable channel of San Pedro, which separates the island from the main, we perceive the villas of Chiclana, famous as the training-place of the toreros, or bull-fighters, of Andalusia. Turning to the north, we reach the narrow ridge of the Arrecife, which may be likened to a stalk with Câdiz as its expanded flower. Boatmen point out the supposed ruins of a temple of Hercules, now covered by the sea ; and thus much is certain, that the land is at present subsiding, though this subsidence must have been preceded by an upheaval, as the peninsula upon which Câdiz has been built rests upon a foundation of shells, oysters, and molluscs.
We pass several forts, cross the ramparts of the Cortadura, erected in 1511, and at length find ourselves in the famous city of Câdiz, the heir of the Gadir of the Phoenicians, called Gadira by the Greeks, and Gades by the Romans. Câdiz was the leading city of Iberia when that country first became known. Like other cities, it has known periods of decay, but its great geographical advantages have always enabled it to recover quickly. It is the natural outlet of an extensive and fertile region, and its position near the extremity of the continent enables it successfully to compete with Lisbon for the trade of the New World. Palos may boast of having sent forth the caravelas which discovered the West Indies, but it was Câdiz which reaped all the advantages of this discovery, more especially since the Tribunal of the Indies was transferred to it from Seville (1720). In 1792 Câdiz exported merchandise valued at £2,500,000 sterling to America, and received precious metals and other articles of a value of £7,000,000 in return. Soon afterwards Spain paid for a commercial monopoly maintained during three centuries by the sudden loss of her colonies, and Cadiz found itself dependent upon its fisheries and salt-pans. But recently fortune has again smiled upon the city, and its harbours are crowded with merchantmen.* Cadiz, with the towns surrounding its bay, has a population of 200,000 souls. The site of the city proper is limited by nature, and its houses have been built to a height of five and six stories. The inhabitants are fond of pleasure, vivacious, and quick at repartee. They have at all times shown themselves to be good patriots, and it was on the island of Leon that the Cortes met to protest against the occupation of the country by the French.
Almeria, on the Mediterranean coast of Andalusia, rivalled Cadiz in importance as long as it remained in the possession of the Moors, but prosperity fled the place immediately the Spaniards occupied it. Subsequently the town suffered greatly from the pirates of Barbary, as is proved by the fortress-like cathedral built in the sixteenth century. The aspect of the place, with its narrow streets and old kasba, is quite oriental.
The towns to the west of Almeria have a tropical climate and tropical productions. Dallas, said to be the first permanent settlement of the Arabs, is famous for its raisins; to it succeed Adra, at the mouth of the Rio Grande of Alpujarra, Motril, Vélez Malaga, and Malaga, embosomed in gardens watered by the Guadalmedina.
Malaga, like most of the ports on that coast, is of Phoenician origin, and the most populous town of Andalusia. Less rich than Granada, Cordova, and Seville in Moorish monuments, or than Cadiz in historical traditions, it is indebted to its port and to the fertile country surrounding it for its commercial pre-eminence. Its exports, consisting of raisins (pasas), almonds, figs, lemons, oranges, wine, olive oil, &c., are the product of the immediate vicinity. There are foundries, sugar refineries, and factories. Seen from the sea, the cathedral appears to be almost as large as the rest of the town, but in the latter must be included not only the houses standing at the foot of the citadel of Gibralfaro, but also the numerous villas dotting the surrounding hills. Nay, even the picturesque towns and watering-places in the neighbouring mountains, such as Alora, Alhaurin, Carratraca, and Alhama, may be looked upon as dependencies of the city, for scarcely any but Malaguenos resort to them.
Antequera and Ronda, in the interior of the country, belong to the basin of the Mediterranean, for the one stands on the Guadalhorce, which enters the sea near Malaga, whilst the other occupies a position in the upper basin of the Guadiaro, which washes the foot of the hills of San Roque, to the north of Gibraltar. Antequera is one of the most ancient towns of Spain, and acts as an intermediary between Malaga and the valley of the Guadalquivir. On a hill near it stands a curious dolmen, twenty feet in height, known as Cueva del Mengal.
The picturesque Moorish town of Ronda is surrounded on three sides by a gorge 600 feet in depth, 120 to MO feet wide, and spanned by three bridges, one Roman, one Arab, and the last (built 174088) Spanish. Ronda still possesses some strategical importance, for it defends the road leading from the valley of the Genil to that of the Guadiaro. The Rondonos are noted for the skill with which they train horses for mountain travel. They are notorious smugglers, as are also many of the inhabitants of the small seaport towns of Marbella, Estepona, and Algeciras, near Gibraltar.
The rock of Gibraltar, of which the English obtained possession in 1704, has not only ‘been converted into a first-rate fortress, but is likewise a busy place of commerce. Gibraltar produces nothing except a little fruit, and most of its provisions, including meat and corn, are imported from Tangiers, in Morocco. The inhabit-ants of the town are dependent for their support upon passing vessels, the English garrison, and a brisk contraband trade with Spain. Gibraltar affords very indifferent shelter, and only one-fourth of the vessels passing through the strait call there, and even these generally confine themselves to replenishing their stock of coal. Nor is a residence on this picturesque rock very pleasurable, for fevers prevail, and the military character of the place entails numerous restrictions. During the heat of summer many of the English residents–facetiously called ” lizards of the rock “seek refuge at San Roque, a village to the north of the bay, the neighbourhood of which affords excellent sport.