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Malaga Province

MALAGA PROVINCE, a maritime province of southern Spain, one of the eight modern subdivisions of Andalusia; bounded on the W. by Cadiz, N. by Seville and Cordova, E. by Granada, and S. by the Mediterranean Sea. Pop. (1000), 511,989; area, 2812 sq. m. The northern half of Malaga belongs to the great Andalusian plain watered by the Guadalquivir, the southern is mountainous, and rises steeply from the coast. Of the numerous sierras may be mentioned that of Alhama, separating the province from Granada, and at one point rising above 7000 ft. ; its westward continuation in the Sierra de Abdalajis and the Axarquia between Antequera and Malaga; and not far from the Cadiz boundary the Sierras de Ronda, de Mijas, de Tolox and Bermeja, converging and culminating in a summit of nearly 6500 ft. The rivers which rise in the watershed formed by all these ranges reach the sea after a short and precipitous descent, and in rainy seasons are very liable to overflow their banks. In 1907 great loss of life and destruction of property were caused in this manner. The principal river is the Guadalhorce, which rises in the Sierra de Alhama, and, after a westerly course past the vicinity of Antequera, bends southward through the wild defile of Penarrubia and the beautiful vega or vale of Malaga, falling into the sea near that city. The only other considerable stream is the Guadiaro, which has the greater part of its course within the province and flows past Ronda. There is an extensive salt lagoon near the northern boundary. The mountains are rich in minerals, lead, and (in the neighbourhood of Marbella) iron, being obtained in large quantities. There are warm sulphurous springs and baths at Carratraca. Though the methods of agriculture are for the most part rude, the yield of wheat in good seasons is considerably in excess of the local demand; and large quantities of grapes and raisins, oranges and lemons, figs and almonds, are annually exported. The oil and wines of Malaga are also highly esteemed, and after 1870 the manufacture of beet and cane sugar developed into an important industry. In 1905 there were about 500 flour mills and 230 oil factories beside 95 stills and 100 wine-presses in the province. Malaga has suffered severely from the agricultural depression prevalent throughout southern Spain, but its manufacturing industries tend to expand. The fisheries are important; a fleet of about 300 boats brings in 1 8,000,000 Ib annually, of which 2 5 % is exported. The internal communications are in many parts defective, owing to the broken nature of the surface; but the province is traversed from north to south by the Cordova-Malaga railway, which sends off branches from Bobadilla to Granada and Algeciras. A branch line along the coast from Malaga to Velez Malaga was opened in 1908.

Malaga, the capital (pop. 130,109), Antequera (31,609), Vdlez Malaga (23,586), Ronda (20,995), Coin (12,326), and Alora (10,325), are described in separate articles. Other towns with more than 7000 inhabitants are Marbella (9629), Estepona (9310), Archidona (8880) and Nerja (7112). The population of the province tends gradually to decrease, as many families emigrate to South America, Algeria and Hawaii.

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

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