1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cadiz (Spanish city)

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CADIZ (in Lat. Gades, and formerly called Cales by the English), the capital and principal seaport of the Spanish province of Cadiz; on the Bay of Cadiz, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, in 36° 27′ N. and 6° 12′ W., 94 m. by rail S. of Seville. Pop. (1900) 69,382. Cadiz is built on the extremity of a tongue of land, projecting about 5 m. into the sea, in a north-westerly direction from the Isla de Leon. Its noble bay, more than 30 m. in circuit, and almost entirely land-locked by the isthmus and the headlands which lie to the north-east, has principally contributed to its commercial importance. The outer bay stretches from the promontory and town of Rota to the mouth of the river Guadalete; the inner bay, protected by the forts of Matagorda and Puntales, affords generally good anchorage, and contains a harbour formed by a projecting mole, where vessels of small burden may discharge. The entrance to the bays is rendered somewhat dangerous by the low shelving rocks (Cochinos and Las Puercas) which encumber the passage, and by the shifting banks of mud deposited by the Guadalete and the Rio Santi Petri, a broad channel separating the Isla de Leon from the mainland. At the mouth of this channel is the village of Caracca; close beside it is the important naval arsenal of San Fernando (q.v.); and on the isthmus are the defensive works known as the Cortadura, or Fort San Fernando, and the well-frequented sea-bathing establishments.

From its almost insular position Cadiz enjoys a mild and serene climate. The Medina, or land-wind, so-called because it blows from the direction of Medina Sidonia, prevails during the winter; the moisture-laden Virazón, a westerly sea-breeze, sets in with the spring. The mean annual temperature is about 64° F., while the mean summer and winter temperatures vary only about 10° above and below this point; but the damp atmosphere is very oppressive in summer, and its unhealthiness is enhanced by the inadequate drainage and the masses of rotting seaweed piled along the shore. The high death-rate, nearly 45 per thousand, is also due to the bad water-supply, the water being either collected in cisterns from the tops of the houses, or brought at great expense from Santa Maria on the opposite coast by an aqueduct nearly 30 m. long. An English company started a waterworks in Cadiz about 1875, but came to grief through the incapacity of the population to appreciate its necessity.

The city, which is 6 or 7 m. in circumference, is surrounded by a wall with five gates, one of which communicates with the isthmus. Seen from a distance off the coast, it presents a magnificent display of snow-white turrets rising majestically from the sea; and for the uniformity and elegance of its buildings, it must certainly be ranked as one of the finest cities of Spain, although, being hemmed in on all sides, its streets and squares are necessarily contracted. Every house annually receives a coating of whitewash, which, when it is new, produces a disagreeable glare. The city is distinguished by its somewhat deceptive air of cleanliness, its quiet streets, where no wheeled traffic passes, and its lavish use of white Italian marble. But the most characteristic feature of Cadiz is the marine promenades, fringing the city all round between the ramparts and the sea, especially that called the Alameda, on the eastern side, commanding a view of the shipping in the bay and the ports on the opposite shore. The houses are generally lofty and surmounted by turrets and flat roofs in the Moorish style.

Cadiz is the see of a bishop, who is suffragan to the archbishop of Seville, but its chief conventual and monastic institutions have been suppressed. Of its two cathedrals, one was originally erected by Alphonso X. of Castile (1252-1284), and rebuilt after 1596; the other, begun in 1722, was completed between 1832 and 1838. Under the high altar of the old cathedral rises the only freshwater spring in Cadiz. The chief secular buildings include the Hospicio, or Casa de Misericordia, adorned with a marble portico, and having an interior court with Doric colonnades; the bull-ring, with room for 12,000 spectators; the two theatres, the prison, the custom-house, and the lighthouse of San Sebastian on the western side rising 172 ft. from the rock on which it stands. Besides the Hospicio already mentioned, which sometimes contains 1000 inmates, there are numerous other charitable institutions, such as the women's hospital, the foundling institution, the admirable Hospicio de San Juan de Dios for men, and the lunatic asylum. Gratuitous instruction is given to a large number of children, and there are several mathematical and commercial academies, maintained by different commercial corporations, a nautical school, a school of design, a theological seminary and a flourishing medical school. The museum is filled for the most part with Roman and Carthaginian coins and other antiquities; the academy contains a valuable collection of pictures. In the church of Santa Catalina, which formerly belonged to the Capuchin convent, now secularized, there is an unfinished picture of the marriage of St Catherine, by Murillo, who met his death by falling from the scaffold on which he was painting it (3rd of April 1682).

Cadiz no longer ranks among the first marine cities of the world. Its harbour works are insufficient and antiquated, though a scheme for their improvement was adopted in 1903; its communications with the mainland consist of a road and a single line of railway; its inhabitants, apart from foreign residents and a few of the more enterprising merchants, rest contented with such prosperity as a fine natural harbour and an unsurpassed geographical situation cannot fail to confer. Several great shipping lines call here; shipbuilding yards and various factories exist on the mainland; and there is a considerable trade in the exportation of wine, principally sherry from Jerez, salt, olives, figs, canary-seed and ready-made corks; and in the importation of fuel, iron and machinery, building materials, American oak staves for casks, &c. In 1904, 2753 ships of 1,745,588 tons entered the port. But local trade, though still considerable, remains stationary if it does not actually recede. Its decline, originally due to the Napoleonic wars and the acquisition of independence by many Spanish colonies early in the 19th century, was already recognised, and an attempt made to check it in 1828, when the Spanish government declared Cadiz a free warehousing port; but this valuable privilege was withdrawn in 1832. Among the more modern causes of depression have been the rivalry of Gibraltar and Seville; the decreasing demand for sherry; and the disasters of the Spanish-American war of 1898, which almost ruined local commerce with Cuba and Porto Rico.

History.—Cadiz represents the Sem. Agadir, Gadir, or Gaddir ("stronghold") of the Carthaginians, the Gr. Gadeira, and the Lat. Gades. Tradition ascribes its foundation to Phoenician merchants from Tyre, as early as 1100 B.C.; and in the 7th century it had already become the great mart of the west for amber and tin from the Cassiterides (q.v.). About 501 B.C. it was occupied by the Carthaginians, who made it their base for the conquest of southern Iberia, and in the 3rd century for the equipment of the armaments with which Hannibal undertook to destroy the power of Rome. But the loyalty of Gades, already weakened by trade rivalry with Carthage, gave way after the second Punic War. Its citizens welcomed the victorious Romans, and assisted them in turn to fit out an expedition against Carthage. Thenceforward, its rapidly-growing trade in dried fish and meat, and in all the produce of the fertile Baetis (Guadalquivir) valley, attracted many Greek settlers; while men of learning, such as Pytheas in the 4th century B.C., Polybius and Artemidorus of Ephesus in the 2nd, and Posidonius in the 1st, came to study the ebb and flow of its tides, unparalleled in the Mediterranean. C. Julius Caesar conferred the civitas of Rome on all its citizens in 49 B.C.; and, not long after L. Cornelius Balbus Minor built what was called the "New City," constructed the harbour which is now known as Puerto Real, and spanned the strait of Santi Petri with the bridge which unites the Isla de Leon with the mainland, and is now known as the Puente de Zuazo, after Juan Sanchez de Zuazo, who restored it in the 15th century. Under Augustus, when it was the residence of no fewer than 500 equites, a total only surpassed in Rome and Padua, Gades was made a municipium with the name of Augusta Urbs Gaditana, and its citizens ranked next to those of Rome. In the 1st century A.D. it was the birthplace or home of several famous authors, including Lucius Columella, poet and writer on husbandry; but it was more renowned for gaiety and luxury than for learning. Juvenal and Martial write of Jocosae Gades, "Cadiz the Joyous," as naturally as the modern Andalusian speaks of Cadiz la Joyosa; and throughout the Roman world its cookery and its dancing-girls were famous. In the 5th century, however, the overthrow of Roman dominion in Spain by the Visigoths involved Cadiz in destruction. A few fragments of masonry, submerged under the sea, are almost all that remains of the original city. Moorish rule over the port, which was renamed Jezirat-Kadis, lasted from 711 until 1262, when Cadiz was captured, rebuilt and repeopled by Alphonso X. of Castile. Its renewed prosperity dates from the discovery of America in 1492. As the headquarters of the Spanish treasure fleets, it soon recovered its position as the wealthiest port of western Europe, and consequently it was a favourite point of attack for the enemies of Spain. During the 16th century it repelled a series of raids by the Barbary corsairs; in 1587 all the shipping in its harbour was burned by the English squadron under Sir Francis Drake; in 1596 the fleet of the earl of Essex and Lord Charles Howard sacked the city, and destroyed forty merchant vessels and thirteen warships. This disaster necessitated the rebuilding of Cadiz on a new plan. Its recovered wealth tempted the duke of Buckingham to promote the fruitless expedition to Cadiz of 1626; thirty years later Admiral Blake blockaded the harbour in an endeavour to intercept the treasure fleet; and in 1702 another attack was made by the British under Sir George Rooke and the duke of Ormonde. During the 18th century the wealth of Cadiz became greater than ever; from 1720 to 1765, when it enjoyed a monopoly of the trade with Spanish America, the city annually imported gold and silver to the value of about £5,000,000. With the closing years of the century, however, it entered upon a period of misfortune. From February 1797 to April 1798 it was blockaded by the British fleet, after the battle of Cape St Vincent; and in 1800 it was bombarded by Nelson. In 1808 the citizens captured a French squadron which was imprisoned by the British fleet in the inner bay. From February 1810 until the duke of Wellington raised the siege in August 1812, Cadiz resisted the French forces sent to capture it; and during these two years it served as the capital of all Spain which could escape annexation by Napoleon. Here, too, the Cortes met and promulgated the famous Liberal constitution of March 1812. To secure a renewal of this constitution, the citizens revolted in 1820; the revolution spread throughout Spain; the king, Ferdinand VII., was imprisoned at Cadiz, which again became the seat of the Cortes; and foreign intervention alone checked the movement towards reform. A French army, under the duc d'Angoulême, seized Cadiz in 1823, secured the release of Ferdinand and suppressed Liberalism. In 1868 the city was the centre of the revolution which effected the dethronement of Queen Isabella.

See[edit]

  • Sevilla y Cadiz, sus monumentos y artes, su naturaleza é historia, an illustrated volume in the series "España," by P. de Madrazo (Barcelona, 1884).
  • Recuerdos Gaditanos, a very full history of local affairs, by J.M. León y Dominguez (Cadiz, 1897).
  • Historia de Cadiz y de su provincia desde los remotos tiempos hasta 1824, by A. de Castro (Cadiz, 1858).
  • Descripcion historico-artistica de la catedral de Cadiz, by J. de Urrutia (Cadiz, 1843).