1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Álava
ÁLAVA, one of the Basque Provinces of northern Spain; bounded on the N. by Biscay and Guipuzcoa, E. by Navarre, S. by Logrono, and W. by Burgos. Pop. (1900) 96,385; area 1175 sq. m. The countship of Trevino (190 sq. m.) in the centre of Alava belongs to the province of Burgos. The surface of Alava is very mountainous, especially on the north, where a part of the Pyrenees forms its natural boundary. It is separated from Logrono by the river Ebro, and its other rivers are the Zadorra and the Ayuda. The climate is mild in summer, fitful in autumn and spring, and very cold in winter, as even the plains are high and shut in on three sides by mountains snow-clad during several months. The soil in the valleys is fertile, yielding wheat, barley, maize, flax, hemp and fruits. Oil and a poor kind of wine called chacoli are also produced. Many of the mountains are clothed with forests of oak, chestnuts, beeches and other trees, and contain iron, copper, lead and marble. Salt is also found in large quantities; but mining and quarrying are not practised on a large scale; only lead, lignite and asphalt being worked. There are mineral waters in many places. Other local industries of some importance include smelting, and manufactures of beds, furniture, railway carriages, matches, paper, sweets and woollen and cotton goods. Bread-stuffs. colonial products and machinery are largely imported. Few provinces in Spain are inhabited by so laborious, active and well-to-do a population. The primary schools are numerously attended, and there are very good normal schools for teachers of both sexes, and a model agricultural farm: The public roads and other works of the province are excellent, and, like those of the rest of the Basque provinces, entirely kept up by local initiative and taxes. Railways from Madrid to the French frontier, and from Saragossa to Bilbao, cross the province. The capital is Vitoria (pop. 1900, 30,701), which is the only town with more than 3500 inhabitants.
For a fuller account of the history, people and customs of Alava, see Basques and Basque Provinces, with the works there cited. A very elaborate bibliograohy is given in the Catalogo de las obras referentes a las provincias de Alava y Navarra, by A. A. Salazar (Madrid, 1887.) The following books by J. J. Landazuri y Romarate contain much material for a provincial history:—Historia ecclesiastica, &c. (Pamplona, 1797); Historia civil, &c. (Vitodes, 1798); Compendios historicos de la ciudad y villas de . . . Alava, &c. (Pamplona, 1798); Suplemento á los cuatro libros de la historia de . . . Alava (Vitoria, 1799); and Los varones illustres Alavenses Vitoria, 1798). See also M. Risco in vol. 33 of Hispania Sagiada, by H. Florez, &c. (Madrid, 1754–1879).