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Las Palmas

LAS PALMAS, the capital of the Spanish island of Grand Canary, in the Canary archipelago, and of an administrative district which also comprises the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura; on the east coast, in 28 7' N. and 5 24' W. Pop. (1900) 44,517. Las Palmas is the largest city in the Canary Islands, of which it was the capital until 1833. It is the seat of a court of appeal, of a brigadier, who commands the military forces in the district, of a civil lieutenant-governor, who is independent of the governor-general except in connexion with elections and municipal administration, and of, a bishop, who is subordinate to the archbishop of Seville. The palms from which the city derives its name are still characteristic of the fertile valley which it occupies. Las Palmas is built on both banks of a small river, and although parts of it date from the 16th century, it is on the whole a clean and modern city, well drained, and supplied with pure water, conveyed by an aqueduct from the highlands of the interior. Its principal buildings include a handsome cathedral, founded in the 16th century but only completed in the igth, a theatre, a museum, an academy of art, and several hospitals and good schools. The modern development of Las Palmas is largely due to the foreign merchants, and especially to the British who control the greater portion of the local commerce. La Luz, the port, is connected with Las Palmas by a railway 4 m. long; it is a free port and harbour of refuge, officially considered the third in importance of Spanish ports, but actually the first in the matter of tonnage. It is strongly fortified. The harbour, protected by the promontory of La Isleta, which is connected with the mainland by a narrow bar of sand, can accommodate the largest ships, and affords secure anchorage in all weathers. Ships can discharge at the breakwater (1257 yds. long) or at the Santa Catalina mole, constructed in 1883-1902. The minimum depth of water alongside the quays is 45 ft. There are floating water-tanks, numerous lighters, titan and other cranes, repairing workshops, and very large supplies of coal afloat and ashore. La Luz is one of the principal Atlantic coaling stations, and the coaltrade is entirely in British hands. Other important industries are shipbuilding, fishing, and the manufacture of glass, leather and hats. The chief exports are fruit, vegetables, sugar, wine and cochineal; coal, iron, cement, timber, petroleum, manure, textiles and provisions are the chief imports. (See also CANARY ISLANDS.)

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

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