Page:EB1911 - Volume 01.djvu/639

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ALGARVE—ALGEBRA

work Neutonianismo per le dame, a work on optics. Voltaire called him his cher cygne de Padoue. Returning from a journey to Russia, he met Frederick the Great who made him a count of Prussia (1740) and court chamberlain (1747). Augustus III. of Poland honoured him with the title of councillor. In 1754, after seven years' residence partly in Berlin and partly in Dresden, he returned to Italy, living at Venice and then at Pisa, where he died on the 3rd of May 1764. Frederick the Great erected to his memory a monument on the Campo Santo at Pisa. He was a man of wide knowledge, a connoisseur in art and music, and the friend of most of the leading authors of his time. His chief work on art is the Saggi sopra le belle arti ("Essays on the Fine Arts"). Among his other works may be mentioned Poems, Travels in Russia, Essay on Painting, Correspondence. The best complete edition with biography was published by D. Michelessi (1791-1794).

ALGARVE, or Algarves, an ancient kingdom and province in the extreme S. of Portugal, corresponding with the modern administrative district of Faro, and bounded on the. N. by Alemtejo, E. by the Spanish province of Huelva, and S. and W. by the Atlantic Ocean. Pop. (1900) 255,191; area, 1937 sq. m. The greatest length of the province is about 85 m. from E. to W.; its average breadth is about 22 m. from N. to S. The Serra de Malhão and the Serra de Monchique extend in the form of a crescent across the northern part of the province, and, sweeping to the south-west, terminate in the lofty promontory of Cape St Vincent, the south-west extremity of Europe. This headland is famous as the scene of many sea-fights, notably the defeat inflicted on the Spanish fleet in February 1797 by the British under Admiral Jervis, afterwards Earl St Vincent. Between the mountainous tracts in the north and the southern coast stretches a narrow plain, watered by numerous rivers flowing southward from the hills. The coast is fringed for 30 m. from Quarteira to Tavira, with long sandy islands, through which there are six passages, the most important being the Barra Nova, between Faro and Olhão. The navigable estuary of the Guadiana divides Algarve from Huelva, and its tributaries water the western districts. From the Serra de Malhão flow two streams, the Silves and Odelouca, which unite and enter the Atlantic below the town of Silves. In the hilly districts the roads are bad, the soil unsuited for cultivation, and the inhabitants few. Flocks of goats are reared on the mountain-sides. The level country along the southern coast is more fertile, and produces in abundance grapes, figs, oranges, lemons, olives, almonds, aloes, and even plantains and dates. The land is, however, not well suited for the production of cereals, which are mostly imported from Spain. On the coast the people gain their living in great measure from the fisheries, tunny and sardines being caught in considerable quantities. Salt is also made from sea-water. There is no manufacturing or mining industry of any importance. The harbours are bad, and almost the whole foreign trade is carried on by ships of other nations, although the inhabitants of Algarve are reputed to be the best seamen and fishermen of Portugal. The chief exports are dried fruit, wine, salt, tunny, sardines and anchovies. The only railway is the Lisbon-Faro main line, which passes north-eastward from Faro, between the Monchique and Malhão ranges. Faro (11,789), Lagos (8291), Loulé (22,478), Monchique (7345), Olhão (10,009), Silves (9687) and Tavira, (12,175), the chief towns, are described in separate articles.

The name of Algarve is derived from the Arabic, and signifies a land lying to the west. The title "king of Algarve," held by the kings of Portugal, was first assumed by Alphonso III., who captured Algarve from the Moors in 1253.

ALGÄU, or Allgäu, the name now given to a comparatively small district forming the south-western corner of Bavaria, and belonging to the province of Swabia and Neuburg, but formerly applied to a much larger territory, which extended as far as the Danube on the N., the Inn on the S. and the Lech on the W. The Algäu Alps contain several lofty peaks, the highest of which is Mädelegabel (8681 ft.). The district is celebrated for its cattle, milk, butter and cheese.

ALGEBRA (from the Arab. al-jebr wa'l-muqābala, transposition and removal [of terms of an equation], the name of a treatise by Mahommed ben Musa al-Khwarizmi), a branch of mathematics which may be defined as the generalization and extension of arithmetic.

The subject-matter of algebra will be treated in the following article under three divisions:—A. Principles of ordinary algebra; B. Special kinds of algebra; C. History. Special phases of the subject are treated under their own headings, e.g. Algebraic Forms; Binomial; Combinatorial Analysis; Determinants; Equation; Continued Fraction; Function; Groups, Theory of; Logarithm; Number; Probability; Series.

A. Principles of Ordinary Algebra

1. The above definition gives only a partial view of the scope of algebra. It may be regarded as based on arithmetic, or as dealing in the first instance with formal results of the laws of arithmetical number; and in this sense Sir Isaac Newton gave the title Universal Arithmetic to a work on algebra. Any definition, however, must have reference to the state of development of the subject at the time when the definition is given.

2. The earliest algebra consists in the solution of equations. The distinction between algebraical and arithmetical reasoning then lies mainly in the fact that the former is in a more condensed form than the latter; an unknown quantity being represented by a special symbol, and other symbols being used as a kind of shorthand for verbal expressions. This form of algebra was extensively studied in ancient Egypt; but, in accordance with the practical tendency of the Egyptian mind, the study consisted largely in the treatment of particular cases, very few general rules being obtained.

3. For many centuries algebra was confined almost entirely to the solution of equations; one of the most important steps being the enunciation by Diophantus of Alexandria of the laws governing the use of the minus sign. The knowledge of these laws, however, does not imply the existence of a conception of negative quantities. The development of symbolic algebra by the use of general symbols to denote numbers is due to Franciscus Vieta (François Viète, 1540-1603). This led to the idea of algebra as generalized arithmetic.

4. The principal step in the modern development of algebra was the recognition of the meaning of negative quantities. This appears to have been due in the first instance to Albert Girard (1595-1632), who extended Vieta's results in various branches of mathematics. His work, however, was little known at the time, and later was overshadowed by the greater work of Descartes (1596-1650).

5. The main work of Descartes, so far as algebra was concerned, was the establishment of a relation between arithmetical and geometrical measurement. This involved not only the geometrical interpretation of negative quantities, but also the idea of continuity; this latter, which is the basis of modern analysis, leading to two separate but allied developments, viz. the theory of the function and the theory of limits.

6. The great development of all branches of mathematics in the two centuries following Descartes has led to the term algebra being used to cover a great variety of subjects, many of which are really only ramifications of arithmetic, dealt with by algebraical methods, while others, such as the theory of numbers and the general theory of series, are outgrowths of the application of algebra to arithmetic, which involve such special ideas that they must properly be regarded as distinct subjects. Some writers have attempted unification by treating algebra as concerned with functions, and Comte accordingly defined algebra as the calculus of functions, arithmetic being regarded as the calculus of values.

7. These attempts at the unification of algebra, and its separation from other branches of mathematics, have usually been accompanied by an attempt to base it, as a deductive science, on certain fundamental laws or general rules; and this has tended to increase its difficulty. In reality, the variety of algebra corresponds to the variety of phenomena. Neither