1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alicante (capital)

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ALICANTE, the capital of the Spanish province described above, and one of the principal seaports of the country. Pop. (1900) 50,142. It is situated in 38° 21′ N. and 0° 26′ W., on the Bay of Alicante, an inlet of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the termini of railways from Madrid and Murcia. From its harbour, the town presents a striking picture. Along the shore extends the Paseo de los Martires, a double avenue of palms; behind this, the white flat-roofed houses rise in the form of a crescent towards the low hills which surround the city, and terminate, on the right, in a bare rock, 400 ft. high, surmounted by an ancient citadel. Its dry and equable climate renders Alicante a popular health-resort. The city is an episcopal see, and contains a modern cathedral.

The bay affords good anchorage, but only small vessels can come up to the two moles. The harbour is fortified, and there is a small lighthouse on the eastern mole; important engineering works, subsidized by the state, were undertaken in 1902 to provide better accomodation. In the same year 1737 vessels of 939,789 tons entered the port. The trade of Alicante consists chiefly in the manufacture of cotton, linen and woollen goods, cigars and confectionery; the importation of coal, iron, machinery, manures, timber, oak staves and fish; and the exportation of lead, fruit, farm produce and red wines, which are sent to France for blending with better vintages. Fine marble is procured in the island of Plana near the coast.

Alicante was the Roman Lucentum; but, despite its antiquity, it has few Roman or Moorish remains. In 718, it was occupied by the Moors, who were only expelled in 1304, and made an unsuccessful attempt to recapture the city in 1331. Alicante was besieged by the French in 1709, and by the Federalists of Cartagena in 1873. For an account of the events which led up to these two sieges, see Spain.

For further details of the local history, see J. Pastor de la Roca, Historia general de la ciudad y castillo de Alicante, &c. (Alicante, 1854); and the Ensayo biográfico bibliográfico de escritores de Alicante y de su provincia, by M. R. Garcia and A. Montero y Perez (Alicante, 1890).