1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hierro

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HIERRO, or Ferro, an island in the Atlantic Ocean, forming part of the Spanish archipelago of the Canary Islands (q.v.). Pop. (1900) 6508; area 107 sq. m. Hierro, the most westerly and the smallest island of the group, is somewhat crescent shaped. Its length is about 18 m., its greatest breadth about 15 m., and its circumference 50 m. It lies 92 m. W.S.W. of Teneriffe. Its coast is bound by high, steep rocks, which only admit of one harbour, but the interior is tolerably level. Its hill-tops in winter are sometimes wrapped in snow. Better and more abundant grass grows here than on any of the other islands. Hierro is exposed to westerly gales which frequently inflict great damage. Fresh water is scarce, but there is a sulphurous spring, with a temperature of 102° Fahr. The once celebrated and almost sacred Til tree, which was reputed to be always distilling water in great abundance from its leaves, no longer exists. Only a small part of the cultivable land is under tillage, the inhabitants being principally employed in pasturage. Valverde (pop. about 3000) is the principal town. Geographers were formerly in the habit of measuring all longitudes from Ferro, the most westerly land known to them. The longitude assigned at first has, however, turned out to be erroneous; and the so-called “Longitude of Ferro” does not coincide with the actual longitude of the island.