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Bilbao(bēlbä`ō), city (1990 pop. 383,798), capital of Vizcaya prov., N Spain, in the Basque Country, on both banks of the Nervión River, near the Bay of Biscay. A leading Spanish port and commercial center since the 19th cent., it is at the heart of an important industrial area with iron mines nearby. Its banks make it a financial center. Steel, chemicals, and ships are the chief manufactures, though they have declined. Bilbao is also a center for high technology firms. It has a subway, an opera house, and several museums, including the Museum of Fine Art; the Basque Archaeological, Ethnographical, and Historical Museum; and the spectacular Guggenheim MuseumGuggenheim Museum,
officially Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, major museum of modern art in New York City. Founded in 1939 as the Museum of Non-objective Art, the Guggenheim is known for its remarkable circular building (1959) with curving interior ramp designed by Frank Lloyd
..... Click the link for more information. (1997). Founded c.1300 on the site of an ancient settlement, Bilbao flourished because of a wool export trade in the 15th and 16th cent. In the 19th cent. it was besieged by the CarlistsCarlists,
partisans of Don Carlos (1788–1855) and his successors, who claimed the Spanish throne under the Salic law of succession, introduced (1713) by Philip V. The law (forced on Philip by the War of the Spanish Succession to avoid a union of the French and Spanish
..... Click the link for more information. three times. In the Spanish civil warSpanish civil war,
1936–39, conflict in which the conservative and traditionalist forces in Spain rose against and finally overthrew the second Spanish republic. The Second Republic
..... Click the link for more information. , Bilbao was the seat of the Basque autonomous government from 1936 until its capture (1937) by the Nationalists.
(originally Belvao, in Basque, beautiful ford), city in northern Spain, on the lower Nervión River, on the Bay of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean. Center of the historical region of the Basque country and of the province of Vizcaya. Population, 360,400 (1968). Population of greater Bilbao, about 600,000. It is a transportation junction; the port’s freight turnover reaches almost 8 million tons a year. Bilbao is one of the country’s most important centers of heavy industry, the development of which began in the second half of the 19th century. More than 128,000 people are employed in the industry of greater Bilbao (1960), more than half of the economically active population. The major branches are ferrous metallurgy, based on nearby iron ore deposits (plants are in the suburbs of Sestao, Basauri, and Baracaldo) and construction of heavy machinery (especially the production of railroad equipment and shipbuilding). In the production of industrial equipment foreign firms, especially English, occupy important positions. The chemical industry is being developed (the production of nitric fertilizers, plastics, and so forth). There are glass and textile enterprises and other branches of industry. In the city there is a university, a higher technical school, and a museum of fine arts. The old city is on the right bank of the Nervión River; the new city was built in the late 19th and in the 20th centuries.
Bilbao was founded in 1300. During the National Revolutionary War of 1936–39, Bilbao was the capital of the autonomous Basque region and a stronghold of the republican north; it was seized by the fascists on June 20, 1937. Bilbao is a center in the struggle against the regime of Franco.