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Madrid, Province Of

MADRID, PROVINCE OF, a province of central Spain, formed in 1833 of districts previously included in New Castile, and bounded on the W. and N. by Avila and Segovia, E. by Guadalajara, S.E. by Cuenca and S. by Toledo. Pop. (1900), 775,34, of whom 539,835 inhabit the city of Madrid; area, 3084 sq. m. Madrid belongs to the basin of the Tagus, being separated from th it of the Douro by the Sierra de Guadarrama on the N.W. and N., and by the Sierra de Credos on the S.W. The Tagus is the southern boundary for some distance, its chief tributary being the Jarama, which rises in the Somosierra in the north and terminates at Aranjuez. The Jarama, in turn, is joined by the Henares and Tajuna on the left, and by the Lozoya and Manzanares on the right. The Guadarrama, another tributary of the Tagus, has its upper course within the province. Like the rest of Castile, Madrid is chiefly of Tertiary formation; the soil is mostly clayey, but there are tracts of sandy soil. Agriculture is somewhat backward; the rainfall is deficient, and the rivers are not utilized as they might be for irrigation. The south-eastern districts are the best watered, and produce in abundance fruit, vegetables, wheat, olives, esparto grass and excellent wine. Gardening and viticulture are carried on to some extent near the capital, though the markets of Madrid receive their most liberal supply of fruits and vegetables from Valencia. Sheep, goats and horned cattle are reared, and fish are found in the Jarama and other rivers. Much timber is extracted from the forests of the northern and north-eastern parts of the province for building purposes and for firewood and charcoal. The royal domains of the Escorial, Aranjuez and El Pardo, and the preserves of the nobility, are all well wooded and contain much game. Efforts have also been made by the local authorities to cover the large stretches of waste ground and commons with pines and other trees.

The Sierra de Guadarrama has quarries of granite, lime and gypsum, and is known to contain iron, copper and argentiferous lead; but these resources are undeveloped. Other industries are chiefly confined to the capital; but cloth, leather, paper, earthenware, porcelain, glass, bricks and tiles, ironware, soap, candles, chocolate and lace are also manufactured on a small scale beyond its boundaries. There is very little commerce except for the supply of the capital with necessaries.

Besides the local lines, all the great railways in the kingdom converge in this province, and it contains in all 221 m. of line. Besides Madrid, the towns of Aranjuez (12,670) and Alcala de Henares (11,206) and the Escorial are described in separate articles. The other towns with more than 5000 inhabitants are Vallecas (10,128), Colmenar de Oreja (6182), Colmenar Viejo (5255) and Carabanchel Bajo (5862).

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

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