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Soria Province

SORIA PROVINCE, a province of Spain, formed in 1833 of districts belonging to Old Castile, and bounded on the N. by Logrono, 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 province, 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.

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

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