Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/450

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

known as durra is now cultivated over the entire continent, and has become the most important cereal; the natives also chew the stem, which contains sugar. In Europe it is raised less for bread than for mechanical purposes; the panicles are made into the so-called rice-brooms and into brushes. In Germany it is occasionally raised for green fodder. From the fruit the Kaffirs make an alcoholic drink, Tialva, and the negroes one known as Merisa. Allied species are S. tricolor, much valued in India as a forage-plant, and S. saccharatum, commonly called sorghum or Chinese sugar-cane, which is extensively cultivated in China, North India and Africa. The latter species is grown in America chiefly for the manufacture of molasses from its juice, and in France as a source of alcohol.

A full account of the cultivation and use of the species in India will be found in Sir G. Watt's Dictionary of the Economic Products of India (1893).

SORIA, a province of Spain, formed in 1833 of districts belonging to Old Castile, and bounded on the N. by Logrofio, E. by Saragossa, S. by Guadalajara and W. by Segovia and Burgos. Pop. (1900), 150,462; area, 3983 sq. m. Soria is a bleak and lofty region, bounded on three sides by mountains. A range of sierras culminating in the peaks of Urbion (7389 ft.) and Cebollera (7139 ft.) on the north, and the great Sierra del Moncayo (7707 ft.) on the east, separate the valley of the Duero (Douro) from that of the Ebro, while on the south it is divided from the valley of the Tagus by a continuation of the Sierra Guadarrama. Almost the whole of the province belongs to the region watered by the Duero and its affluents. This river rises among the southern slopes of Urbion and traverses the province in a circuitous course, first to the south and then to the west. The other rivers are mostly affluents of the Duero, but a few of the tributaries of the Ebro have their sources within the limits of the province. The soil is not remarkable for fertility; a large proportion of the area being occupied with barren mountains, which are covered with snow for a great part of the year. There are, however, in some places extensive forests of pine, oak and beech; while in others there are large tracts of pasture land, on which numbers of cattle, sheep and swine are reared. Grain and vegetables are raised, but neither of very good quality nor in sufficient quantities to supply the wants of the population. The climate is cold and dry, and the scenery grand, but austere. Most of the people are employed in farming and rearing cattle; but the cutting and sawing of timber and the preparation of charcoal also occupy a considerable number. There is a great want of roads; and, although three railways traverse the pro- vince, commerce is consequently very limited. Fine wool was formerly produced; but the only important articles of trade at present are timber, salt, asphalt, leather and cheese, which are sent to Madrid and Aragon. Salt and asphalt are the only minerals worked, though others are known to exist. The capital, Soria, is described below. The only other town with more than 3500 inhabitants is El Burgo de Osma (3509), an episcopal see. Between 1887 and 1900 the population decreased by nearly 7000; its density in the last-named year was 37.7 per sq. m., or lower than that of any other Spanish province except Cuenca (37.6). The gradual depopulation of many districts is due to the stagnation of industry, and the attraction of emigrants to large towns outside the province.

SORIA, the capital of the Spanish province of Soria; on the right bank of the river Duero (Douro), 155 m. N.E. of Madrid by the Madrid-Alcuneza-Soria railway. Pop. (1900), 7151. Soria has a provincial institute, schools for teachers of both sexes, many primary schools, savings banks, two hospitals, barracks, a theatre and a bull-ring. The churches of Santo Domingo and San Nicolas, the cloisters of the convent of San Juan, and several other ecclesiastical buildings are fine specimens of Romanesque work of the 12th and 13th centuries. Near the Duero are the ruins of the old citadel, and in many places the remains of the 13th century walls of the city are yet standing. The more modern streets are clean and well paved. The bridge across the Duero is a massive structure which formerly had a tower in the centre. The population is chiefly agricultural; but there are also flour mills, tanneries, potteries, &c. ; and some trade in timber, wool and fruit is carried on. The Iberian and Carthaginian city of Numantia, captured in 133 B.C. by the Romans, after a long and heroic resistance, was situated 3 m. N., on a hill overlooking the confluence of the small river Tera with the Duero.

SOROKI, a town of south Russia, in the government of Bessarabia, 81 m. N.N.W. of Kishinev, in a narrow ravine on the right bank of the Dnieper. Pop. (1900), 25,523, Jialf of whom were Jews. It is an important river port for the export of corn, wool, fruit, wine and cattle. Formerly it was the old Genoese colony of Olchionia, and has still the ruins of a 13th-century Genoese castle. In the 1 5th century the Moldavians erected here a fort, which the Poles took in the 1 7th century. Peter the Great captured the place in 1711, but it was returned to the Turks, and was only definitely annexed to Russia in 181 2. (M. H. S.)

SOROLLA Y BASTIDA, JOAQUIN (1863–), Spanish painter, was born in Valencia, and received his art education first in his native town and under F. Pradilla, and then in Italy and Paris. His first striking success he achieved with " Another Margaret," which was awarded a gold medal in Madrid and was bought for the St Louis Gallery. He soon rose to general fame and became the acknowledged head of the modern Spanish school of painting. His picture of the " Fishermen's Return " was much admired at the Paris Salon and was acquired by the state for the Luxembourg Museum. His exhibit at the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900 won him a medal of honour and his nomination as Knight of the Legion of Honour. A special exhibition of his works—figure subjects, landscapes and portraits—at the Georges Petit Gallery in Paris in 1906 eclipsed all his earlier successes and led to his appointment as Officer of the Legion of Honour. He is represented at the Berlin National Gallery, at the Venice and Madrid Museums, and in many private collections in Europe and America, especially in Buenos Aires. He painted portraits of King Alphonso and Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, and a magnificent portrait group of the family of Don Aureliano de Beruete. Three of his works were shown in London at the Spanish Exhibition, Guildhall, 1901.

SORREL, Rumex Acetone, a member of the natural order Polygonaceae, a hardy perennial, native to Britain and found throughout the north temperate zone. The leaves are used in soups, salads and sauces. Sorrel grows freely in any good garden soil, and is increased by dividing the roots during the early part of spring. They should be planted in rows 15 to 18 in. apart. The leaves, when fully grown, are gathered singly. The common garden sorrel is much superior to the wild plant; but the Belleville, which is the kind generally cultivated near Paris, is still better, its leaves being larger and not so acid. The Blistered-leaved, which has large leaves with a blistered surface, has the advantage of being slow in running to seed. French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus) is a hardy perennial, distributed through Europe but not native in Britain, with densely-branched trailing stems. The leaves are roundish, heart-shaped and glaucous; they are more acid than those of the common sorrel.

SORRENTO (anc. Surrentum, q.v.), a city of Campania, Italy, in the province of Naples, ro m. by electric tramway (along the highroad) S.W. from Castellammare di Stabia, and served also by steamer from Naples (16 m.). Pop. (1901), 6849 (town); 8832 (commune). It stands on cliffs about 160 ft. above sea-level on the north side of the peninsula that separates the Bay of Naples from the Bay of Salerno. Sorrento contains only a few ancient remains, and its present prosperity depends mainly on its reputation as a place of resort both in winter and in summer, its northerly aspect rendering it comparatively cool. Its climate is delightful and healthy, and it is situated amid picturesque coast scenery. The chief local industries are the inlaying of wood, silk and lace-making and straw-plaiting, and the growing of oranges and lemons. In ancient times the Surrentine wines had a great repute.

In 1558 the corsair Pialy attacked the town and carried off two thousand prisoners. It was at Sorrento that Bernardo Tasso wrote his Amadigi; and Torquato Tasso, to whom a marble