Basilicata

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Basilicata

(bäzēlēkä`tä), region (1991 pop. 610,528), 3,856 sq mi (9,987 sq km), S Italy, bordering on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the southwest and on the Gulf of Taranto in the southeast. It forms the instep of the Italian "boot." PotenzaPotenza
, city (1990 pop. 65,714), capital of Basilicata and of Potenza prov., S Italy, in the Apennines. It is an agricultural, commercial, and light industrial center. Founded in the 2d cent. B.C.
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 is the capital of Basilicata, which is divided into Potenza and Matera provs. (named for their capitals). The region is crossed by the Lucanian Apennines; its main river is the Bradano. Because of a dry climate and a scarcity of groundwater, farming is difficult, although it is the occupation of most inhabitants of the generally poor region. Olives, plums, and cereals are grown, and sheep and goats are raised. There is also some fishing. The transportation network is very limited, and commerce and industry are minimal, except in the Pisticci zone where a chemical plant is located. Natural gas also has been discovered near Matera. Basilicata corresponds to most of ancient LucaniaLucania
, ancient region of S Italy. It was bounded on the east by the Gulf of Tarentum (now Taranto) and by Apulia, on the north by Samnium and Campania, on the west by the Tyrrhenian Sea, and on the south by Bruttium.
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 and to part of ancient SamniumSamnium
, ancient country of central and S Italy, mostly in the S Apennines. It was E of Campania and Latium and NE of Apulia.
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. Rome took the region in 272 B.C.; it later passed in turn to the Lombards, to the Byzantines, and (11th cent.) to the Norman duchy of Apulia, of which MelfiMelfi
, town (1991 pop. 15,757), in Basilicata, S Italy. It is an agricultural and tourist center noted for its wine. In 1041 it was made the first capital of the Norman county of Apulia. At Melfi Emperor Frederick II promulgated (c.
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 (now in Basilicata) was the capital. Although later a part of the kingdom of Naples, Basilicata was controlled by virtually independent feudal lords. Malaria, still a scourge on the coasts, caused the flourishing coastal towns to be abandoned in the early Middle Ages. In the 20th cent. there have been reclamation works and social and land reforms in Basilicata, but many of the inhabitants have emigrated to foreign countries (especially the United States) or have taken jobs in the industrial cities of N Italy. The region has suffered numerous earthquakes.

Basilicata

 

(Lucania), a region of Italy in the southern part of the Apennine Peninsula. The territory of Basilicata is divided between the provinces of Matera and Potenza. Area, 9,990 sq km; population, 633,400 (1968). The main cities are Matera and Potenza. Basilicata is bounded on the southeast by the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea and on the southwest by the Gulf of Policastro- in the Tyrrhenian Sea. The western, southern, and northern parts are occupied by the Lucanian Apennines (maximum elevation, 2,007 m); the east, by the periphery of the Le Murge plateau; and the southeast, by a coastal depression. The climate is a dry Mediterranean one. There are sparse xerophyte forests and shrubs.

Economically, Basilicata is one of the most backward areas of the country. Its economy is based on agriculture, which employed 56.5 percent of the economically active population in 1961. Land resources are divided as follows: arable land, 46.7 percent; meadows and pastures, 27.7 percent; orchards, vineyards, and olive groves, 5 percent; and forests, 17 percent (1966). The basic agricultural crops are wheat and oats. Leguminous crops, cabbage, peppers, and early vegetables are also grown. There is livestock raising on mountain pastures (548,000 sheep and 130,000 goats in 1968).

Industry, which employs 26 percent of the economically active population, is represented chiefly by small-scale food-processing, woodworking, and garment-enterprises and by handicraft workshops. Lignite used for thermal electric power plants is mined in Mercura. Electricity (210 gigawatt-hours in 1967) is generated mainly by hydroelectric power stations. A petrochemical industry has grown up in the cities of Bari, Monopoli, and Ferrandina on the basis of the natural gas deposits in the Pisticci-Ferrandina region (discovered in 1959), from which the gas is brought by pipelines. There is a rolling mill in Potenza, a transport-machinery enterprise in Matera, and a paper mill in Venosa.

T. A. GALKINA

Basilicata

a region of S Italy, between the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Gulf of Taranto. Capital: Potenza. Pop.: 596 821 (2003 est.). Area: 9985 sq. km (3855 sq. miles)