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Huesca, Spain

HUESCA, SPAIN (anc. Osca), the capital of the Spanish province of Huesca, 35 m. N.N.E. of Saragossa, on the Tardienta- HuescaJaca railway. Pop. (1900), 12,626. Huesca occupies a height near the right bank of the river Isuela, overlooking a broad and fertile plain. It is a very ancient city and bears many traces of its antiquity. The streets in the older part are narrow and crooked, though clean, and many of the houses witness by their size and style to its former magnificence. It is an episcopal see and has an imposing Gothic cathedral, begun in 1400, finished in 1515, and enriched with fine carving. In the same plaza is the old palace of the kings of Aragon, formerly given up for the use of the now closed Sertoria (the university), so named in memory of a school for the sons of native chiefs, founded at Huesca by Sertorius in 77 B.C. (Plut. Sert. 15). Among the other prominent buildings are the interesting parish churches (San Pedro, San Martin and San Juan), the episcopal palace, and various benevolent and religious foundations. Considerable attention is paid to public education, and there are not only several good primary schools, but schools for teachers, an institute, an ecclesiastical seminary, an artistic and archaeological museum, and an economic society. Huesca manufactures cloth, pottery, bricks and leather; but its chief trade is in wine and agricultural produce. The development of these industries caused an increase in the population which, owing to emigration to France, had declined by nearly 2000 between 1887 and 1897.

Strabo (iii. 161, where some editors read Ileosca) describes Osca as a town of the Ilergetes, and the scene of Sertorius's death in 72 B.C.; while Pliny places the Oscenses in regio Vescitania. Plutarch (loc. cit.) calls it a large city. Julius Caesar names it Vencedora; and the name by which Augustus knew it, Urbs victrix Osca, was stamped on its coins, and is still preserved on its arms. In the 8th century A.D. it was captured by the Moors; but in 1096 Pedro I. of Aragon regained it, after winning the decisive battle of Alcoraz.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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