1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tarragona (province)

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19418611911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 26 — Tarragona (province)

TARRAGONA, a maritime province in the north-east of Spain, formed in 1833 from the southern part of the province of Catalonia, and bounded on the S.E. by the Mediterranean, N.E. by Barcelona, N. by Lerida, W. by Saragossa and Teruel, and S.W. by Castellon de la Plana. Pop. (1000) 337,964; area, 2505 sq. m. The Ebro flows through the southern portion of the province, and the other chief streams are the Gaya and the Francoli. These three rivers flow south into the Mediterranean. Below Tortosa, the Ebro forms a conspicuous marshy delta jutting out into the sea, but elsewhere the even south-westward curve of the coast-line is unbroken by any noteworthy headland or indentation. The province, although mountainous, is naturally fertile. The hills are clothed with vineyards, which produce excellent wines, arid in the valleys are cultivated all kinds of grain, vegetables, rice, hemp, flax and silk. Olive, orange, filbert and almond trees reach great perfection, and the mountains yield rich pastures and timber trees of various kinds. The climate is temperate on the coast and in the centre, cold in the highlands, very warm and damp in the valleys and on the banks of the rivers as they near the sea. Manufactures are well advanced, and comprise silk, cotton, linen and woollen fabrics, velvet, felt, soap, leather and spirits. There are also many potteries and cooperages, and flour, paper and oil mills. Silver, copper, lead and other minerals have been found, and quarries of marble and jasper are worked in the hills. The fisheries produce more than £20,000 yearly. There are upwards of 250 m. of railways, which link together all the large towns, and include the important main lines along the coast and up the Ebro valley. The cities of Tarragona (pop., 1900, 23,423) and Tortosa (24,452), which are the principal seaports, and the towns of Reus (26,681) and Vails (12,625) are described in separate articles. Montblanch (5243) is the only other town with a population exceeding 5000. The people of Tarragona are, like almost all the inhabitants of Catalonia (q.v.), hardy, enterprising and industrious. Although the birth-rate considerably exceeds the death-rate, the population tends to decrease slightly, as many families emigrate.