Sevilla


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sevilla

 

(Seville), a city in southern Spain, center of the province of Sevilla and the historical region of Andalusia. Population, 548,000 (1970 census). Sevilla is situated on the navigable Guadalquivir River, 87 km from the Atlantic Ocean, in the center of the Andalusian Plain. The city is an important commercial and industrial center, as well as a major railroad junction and port. The port is entered through a canal across the Salmed-ina sandbar; Tablada and Muelles de las Delicias are the main harbors. The freight turnover is nearly 2 million tons annually. There is a major airport just outside Sevilla, in San Pablo. The city has tobacco factories, wineries, flour mills, fat-products factories, and canneries, textile mills (including plants for processing imported jute), and machine building (including shipbuilding enterprises). Other manufactures include leather, glass, and paper. A major cultural center. Sevilla is the seat of a university which was founded in the early 16th century.

In antiquity Sevilla, then called Hispalis, was the center of the Iberian Turdetani tribe. Conquered by the Romans in the third century, it became an important trading and cultural center. During the period of Arab rule, from 712 to 1248, the city’s handicraft production of silk, jewelry, and ceramics developed intensively. In 1026, Sevilla became the center of the emirate of the same name. The city was eventually taken from the Arabs and became a part of the Kingdom of Castille and León. In the 14th and 15th centuries, military expeditions against the emirate of Granada were prepared in Sevilla.

In the 15th century, the city became an important center for shipbuilding, trade, and seafaring. Columbus’ first expedition set out from Sevilla’s harbor of Palos. After the discovery of America, the Castilian kings granted the city a monopoly on the colonial trade. The period from the 15th to 17th centuries marked the city’s zenith, with its turnover of goods surpassing that of any major European trading center. Between 1504 and 1650 approximately 18,000 ships were sent out from Sevilla’s harbors. The city’s population rose from 45,000 in 1530 to 300.000 at the end of the 17th century. In the early 18th century its trading monopoly was ended.

Sevilla was an important revolutionary center during the Spanish revolutions of the 19th century. At the end of that century it became a center of the workers’ movement. During the Spanish people’s national revolutionary war (1936–39), a center of the partisan movement arose outside the city, which itself was occupied by fascist rebels in July 1936.

Old Sevilla is a maze of narrow winding streets. A regular street plan extends toward the west and, especially, the southeast. The city’s architectural monuments include the Moorish Alcazar (begun late 12th century; with numerous additions from the 14th to 16th centuries), 13th-and 14th-century Gothic churches (for example, San Isidro and San Gil), the Late Gothic cathedral (1402–1506; dome, 1519; rich collection of Spanish art of the 16th to 18th centuries), the Casa de Pilatos (fusion of the Mudejar and flamboyant styles, end of the 15th century-1553), the Casa Lonja (1583–98, based on an altered plan of J. B. Herrera), and 17th- and 18th-century churches in the Churrigueresque style. Sevilla is the site of the Provincial Archaeological Museum (primitive, classical, and Visigothic art of Spain), the Museum of Painting and Sculpture (Spanish painting of the 16th to 20th centuries), and the home of B. E. Murillo (now a museum).

REFERENCES

Nikitiuk, O. D. Kordova, Granada, Sevil’ia—drevnie tsentry Andalusii. [Moscow, 1972.]
Ortiz Muñoz, L. Sevilla eterna. Barcelona, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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