Alexandre Laborde.

A view of Spain; comprising a descriptive itinerary, of each province, and a general statistical account of the country (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryAlexandre LabordeA view of Spain; comprising a descriptive itinerary, of each province, and a general statistical account of the country (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 37)
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J. G. Barnard, Printer, Skiuner-street, Loudon.



. ALEXANDER DE LABORDE, the author of the
following work, is well known as an elegant scholar, and
erudite antiquary, possessed of a highly cultivated taste,
and extensive information on all literary and philosophical

For a publication of the nature of the present he was in many
respects eminently qualified, as well from his intimate ac-
quaintance with most of the subjects it would necessarily
embrace, as from his love of travel, and previous habits of
observation and research ; but for a work on the interesting
country which he has here chosen for his subject, he possessed
many peculiar and exclusive advantages of great value. He
was himself personally known to several Spanish families of
rank and influence, and, through their mean*, had every de-
sirable facility for obtaining introductions to such persons as
could be thought capable of aiding him in his pursuits, and
access to every object <>f curiosity, and every source of in-
f Tination, worthy the attention of the intelligent and philo-
:cal traveller. Of these :-<lv.tntages he appears as much
a* possible to have availed himself. His " Voyage Pittoresque
(1 l'Espagne/' one of the most splendid works that has ever ap-
peared, and the present publication, evince bow d< serving he
of everj patronage and assistance he received. Few
men, indeed, could have pro6ted by them to the - me i «ct< : t.
T>> travel as our author bas done, ■■">■ i with so much

minuteness, a country so e, so abundant in objects to

arrest the attentioi i loui it, and withal 10 destitute

latiom h<r journeying from place to



place, could not be cfH cted but at an expense which few have
either the ability or the disposition to meet. It is supposed»
and our information is derived from the most respectable
authority, that our author's travels in Spain, including the
various expences incurred with a view to his two works on .
that country, have not cost him less, upon a moderate calcu-
lation, than twenty thousand pounds sterling.

The" Itinéraire Descriptif de l'Espagne," &c. of which these
volumes arc a translation, has experienced a most favourable
reception in France, having in a short period passe\l through
several editions. To this success the immediate interest of the
subject could not indeed fail to contribute : but the work
itself possesses great intrinsic merit, and may perhaps be
considered as the most complete account we possess of any
country in the world.

In the translation few liberties have been taken with the
original text : some compliments to the reigning family of
France, and particularly to Joseph Buonaparte, in our au-
thor's estimation the destined, if not the reigning, monarch
of Spain, have been omitted, as too fulsome for an English
ear ; the chapter on the language of the country, wherein the
author entered into an elaborate comparison of the Spanish
with the French tongues, has been retrenched in such par-
ticulars as appeared of no value or interest to the English
reader ; the chapter on Natural History in the fifth volume
has received some necessary corrections in the scientific clas-
sification of the subjects; in other respects it remains in its
original state. All that it is deemed necessary to remark
farther is, that a few short notes have been occasionally in-
troduced, particularly in the fourth volume, where the text
appeared to recpaire illustration.






Observations on travelling in general, and on tra-
velling in Spain in particular .... cxxviii
Manner of travelling in Spain .... cxxxiv
Natural geography of Spain .... clvni
Observations on the face of the country and on

the climate of Spain clix

Historical geography of Spain . . . i clxxiv

Chronological table of the king's of Spain . . clxxvi

Division of Spain clxxviii


Road from Perpignan to the frontiers of Spain . . l

Observations on Catalonia 2

Road from Col-de-Pertus to Gironna .... 9

from Gironna to Barcelona IS

■ by the Sea-side if)

Baucelona. .... .27

Excursions from Barcelona 63

Environs of that town C7


Road from Barcelona to the frontiers of the kingdom of
Aragon , 69

— — trou» the Frontier? of the kingdom of Valencia to

Tarragona 85

from Tarragona to Barcelona ib.

Statistical Abstract relative to Catalonia 104

View of the Natural Hi-tory of Catalonia 123

Character, manners, customs, 6iC. of the Catalans . . 129


General observations on the kingdom H6

Road from the frontiers of the New Castile to Valencia 140

from the frontiers of the kingdom of Murcia to

Valencia 143

— - from the same frontiers near Almanza to Valencia 167

Valencia 175

Excursions in the environs of Valencia 251

Road from Valencia to Segorbe 257

- to San-Felipe 266

2d to the same ib.

— — 3d to the same ib.

Road from Valencia to the frontiers of Catalonia . .271
Statistical abstract relative to the kingdom of Valencia 293
Table of the productions of the kingdom ..... 306
Commercial Tables 314


General observations on this province .... 337
Road from the frontiers of New Castile to the frontiers

of Portugal 339

Truxillo 34-3

Merida 349

Road from Merida to Badajoz 353

2d to the same 355

Badajoz ... 356


Road from Almaraz to Talavera-la- Vieja : . . 359

from Almaraz to Plasencia, Coria, Alcantara, and

Caceres, and thence to Merida 361

Plasencia 363

Coria , 369

Alcantara 371

Caceres 374-

Cross-road from Caceres to Merida . . . .375

Statistical abstract relative to Estremadura . . . ib.

Manufactures and commerce 379

Roads, carriage, and inns 380

Natural History 381

Arts and Sciences 383

Character, Manners, &c. . . . . , • 381




Contained in the 1st, 2d, and 3d Volumes.


ALAVA (from the frontiers of) to Burgos, Valladolid,
and the frontiers of New Castile on the port of
Guadarrama, G I leagues. III. 10

Albacete (from) to the frontiers of the kingdom of Va-
lencia, 14leagues. (PI. 15.) II 209

Almaraz (from) toPlasencia, Coria, Alcantara, and Ca-
cerez, from thence to Merida, 57 leagues. (PI 25.)
I. 3G1

Aranjuez (from) to Reqnina and the frontiers of Va-
lencia, 42 leagues. (PI. 5 cS: I .'{.) III. 176

N.B. The ancient road ran only he travelled on



Aragon (from the frontiers of) by Daroca and Urzes to
Madrid, 35 leagues and a quarter. (PI. 5, 10& n.)
III. 07

iY 1'.. Head from the frontiers of France through
P< rpignan, Barcelona, and Saragossa to Ma-
Aragon (from the frontiers of) by Calataynd and Si-

samon lo Madrid, 31 leagues. (PI. 5, 10 & 11.) III. G9
N. B. Road from the frontiers of France by
Perpignan, Barcelona, and Saragossa to Ma-
Astorga (from), in the kingdom of Leon, to Lu<n> in Ga-
licia, and St. Ja^o or St. James of Compo.-,tella, 49

leagues. (PI. 26&27.) II. 4-27

Astorga (front) to Zamora and Toro by Benevente, 28

leagues. II. >. 484

BARCELONA (from) to the frontiers of the kingdom of

Aragon, 34 leagues and a quarter. (PI. 8.) I. 69

Bedazoa (from) to St. Sebastian, Bilbao, and Orduna,

25 leagues. II 347

CADIZ (from) to the fiontiers of the kingdom of Gra-
nada, 19 leagues. (PI. 21.) II 83

N. B. Road from Cadiz and Xercd de la Fron-
tera to Ronda and Malaga.

Carmona (fruin) toCadiz, 26 leagues. (PI. 23.) II 62

Catalonia (from the frontiers of) to Saragossa, 22

leagues. (PI. 9.) II. _ 245

N. B. Su ih. road through Perpignan and Bar-
celona to Saragossa and Madrid.
Ceuta, Spanish possessions on the coast of Africa (from)
to Penon de Veltz, Penon de Alhuzemas, Marzal-
cjuivir, and Oram III. 403


Col de Pertus (from) the frontier of France, to Gironna,

11 leagues. (PI. 6.) I 9

N. B. '1 his road leads from Perpignan to Bar-
celona, Saragossa, Valencia, and Madrid.

Cordova (from) to Seville, 21 leagues. (PI. 20.) II. 38

Corunna and Ferrol (from the coast of) to Biscay and

the Asturias. II. 453

Corunna (from) to Ferrol, 9 leagues. (PI. 26.) II. 438

ECIJA (from) to the frontiers of the kingdom of Gra-
nada, 6 leagues. (PI. 20.) II mm 85

Estremadura Spanish, and the kingdom of Leon (from

the fronti; rs of) to Salamanca, 19 leagues. II 488

Estremadura (from) to Cordova, by the Sierra Morena,

84 leagues. II , j

FRANCE (from the frontiers of), by Bayonne, to Pam-

peluna, 7 leagues. II __ 3]g

>,'. B. The distance from Bayonne to Pampe-
luna is reckoned at 17 geographical leagues.
France (from the frontiers of) over the mountain of
Atienza to Madrid, 19 leagues and three quarters.

in. - - go

France (from the frontiers of) by Bayonne, to St. Se-
bastian, Bilbao, and Orduna. II. 34g

France £from the frontiers of) from Rayonne to the
frontiers of Old Castile, by Guipuzcoa and Alava,

22 leagues and a half. II. 300

N. B. Tiie road from the frontiers of France to
Burgos, Yahadohd, and Madrid.



GIRONNA (from) to Barcelona, through the interior,

16 leagues. (PI. (>.) 1. - IS

N. B. FSrel road. This is the road for the post and

ad road. By the sea-side road 17

leagues and a quarter. I „«,,..• 19

Granja and St. [ldefonso (from) to Segovia, and further

en to Cuella and Tudela, 19 leagues and a half. III. 33

LEON (from) to Astorga, 7 leagues. (PI. 28.) II. 4-78

Leon (from the frontier of the Kingdom of) to Oviedo,

13 leagues. (PI. 28.) II. 405

Llerena (from) to Seville, 17 leagues. (PI. 23.) II. 2

Lugo (from) to Mondonedo, 9 leagues. (PI. 26.) II. *5l

Lugo to Corunna, 14- leagues. (PL 26.) II 433

MADRID (from) to Rcqucna and the frontiers of the

kingdom of Valencia, 4 t leagues. (PI. 5 & 13.) III. 176
N. B. Old Post-road from Madrid to Valencia,
it can only be travelled an horseback.
Madrid (from) to Requcna and the frontiers of the king-
dom of Valencia, passing through Cuenca in the

Sierra of that name, 55 leagues. HI 184

Madrid (from) to the frontiers of Estremadura, 27

leagues. (P1.5&25.) III. 204

N. B. Road from Madrid to Portugal through

Madrid (from) to Toledo, 12 leagues. (PI. 5.) Ill 173

Madrid (from) to Aranjuez, and the frontiers of La

Mancha, 9 leagues. (PI. 5.) III. 168

Y B. The road from Madrid to Murcia, Cartha-
gena, and Valencia.
Madrid (from) to the 1'scurial and San Lorenzo, 7
leagues. (PI. 5.) III. - 143


Mahon, island of Minorca, (from) to Cuidadella. (PI. 29.)

III. - 453

Malaga (from) to Gibraltar by the sea coast, 20 leagues.

(PI. 21.) III.„ 364

Mancha (from the frontiers of) to Cordova, 12 leagues.

(PI. 20.) II. 22

Mancha (from the frontiers of) to Murcia, 25 leagues.

(PI. 16.) II. 158

N. B. The road from Madrid and Aranjuez to
Murcia and Carthagena.
Medina del Rio Seco (from) to Tordesellas, 7 leagues.

II. 431

Merida (from) to Badajoz, by La Puebla de la Calzada,

9 leagues. (PI. 24.) 1 353

Merida (from) to Badajoz, by Lobon, 9 leagues.

(PI. 24.) I. ^ 353

Murcia (from) to the frontiers of the kingdom of Valen-
cia, 3 leagues. (PI. 16'.) II - 206

Murcia (from) to Lorca, 13 leagues. (PI. 16.) II. 192

Murcia (from the frontiers of) above Orihuela to Valen-
cia, 32 leagues and a half. (PI. 14&16.) 1 143

Murcia (from the frontiers of the kingdom of) near Al-
manza to Valencia, 15 leagues and three quarters.

(PL 14.) 1 167

N. B. Tiie road from Madrid and Aranjuez to

NAVARRE (from the frontiers of) below Valtierra, to
those of New Castile on Mount Atienza, 23 leagues
and a half. III. 7

New Castile (from the frontiers of) through Aranjuez
and Ocana t>. the Sierra Morena, the frontiers of
Andalu,ia, 27 leagues. (PI. I HI 34]

TA 15 LE OF Till: HO ADS.

New Castile (from the fronti irt of) ah ive Aranjuez to

the frontiers of Murcia, 23 leagues. (PI. 15.) HI - 327
New Castile (from the frontiers of) to Valencia, 7

leagues. (Pi. 13.) 1 - 140

New Castile (from the frontiers of ) through Talavera

delà Reyna, to the frontiers of Portugal, 38 leagues

and three quarters. (PI. 25.) 1 339

OLD Castile (from the frontiers of) on the Puerto de

Guadarrama to Madrid, 9 leagues. (PI. 5.) III. ._ 65
Note. — Road from the Frontiers of France, by
Bayonne, Burg «, and Valladolid to Madrid.

Orense (from) to Requejo, frontier of the kingdoms of
Galicia and Leon, 24 leagues. (PL 27.) II 450

Oviedo (from") to Santillana, through Onis, La Fuente de

Nansa, and Cabezon. II 413

Oviedo (from) to Aviles, 4 leagues. (PL 28.) II. 410

Oviedo (from) to Gijon, 4 leagues. II. 409

PALEXCIA (from) to Leon. (PI. 28.) II 468

Palencia (from) to Medina del Rio Seco, 8 leagues. II. 480

Palma, in the Isle of Majorca, (from) to Alcudia and

Pollenza. (PI. 29.) Ill — 424

Pampeluna (from) to St. Jean Pie de Port, capital of

French Navarre, by Roncevaux, is leagues and a

half. II - 321

Pampeluna (from) to the frontiers of Old Castile, 19

leagues. II. _ 323

Ponte Vedra (from) to Orense, 1 t leagues. (PI. 26.) II. 443

\M \NCA (from) to Cuidad Rodrigo, 16 leagues.

II - 504

Salamanca (from) to Medina del Rio Seco, 14 leagues.

II. 502


Salamanca (from) to Avila, on the frontiers of New Cas-
tile, 21 leagues. II. -. 4-99

Sant Jago (from) to Corunna, 10 leagues. II 438

Sant Jago (from) to Tuy,, by Vigo, 17 leagues and a

half. (PL 20.) II. 442

Saint Jago (from) to Orense, 14 leagues and a half.

(PI. 26.) II 449

Saragossa (from to the frontiers of New Castile, by Da-

roca, 14 leagues. (PI. 10.) II 272

Saragossa (from) to the confines of New Castile, by Ca-

latayud, 20 leagues and a half. (PI. 10.) II 276

Seville (from the frontiers of the kingdom of) below
Grazalema, as far as Malaga, 14 leagues. (PI. 21.)

II _ 85

Seville (from the frontiers of the kingdom of) below
Alameda, as far as Granada, 10 leagues. (PI. 20.)

II 83

Sierra Morena (first passage in the) 19 leagues. (PI. 19.)

II. 4

(Second passage) 12 leagues. (PI. 19.)

II. 8

Sierra Morena (from the) to Jaen, by Linares, 14 leagues

andahalf. (PI. 19.) II. - 112

Sierra Morena (from the) to the frontiers of La Mancha
as far as Alcala Real and the limits of the kingdom

of Granada. (PI. 19.) II 108

Sierra Morena (from the) as far as Jaen, by Anduxar,

9 leagues. (PI. 19.) II Ill

TALAVERA de la Reyna (from) to Toledo, 11 leagues.

(PI. 5.) Ill 242

Toledo (from) to Aranjuez, 7 leagues. (PI. 5.) III. _^._ 279
Torre d<- Si Has (from) to Medina del Campo, 4 leagues.

II. 483


Tuy (from) to Orensé, 13 leagues. (PI. 26.) II. 447

VALENCIA (from) to San-Felijie, <) leagues andahalf.

(PI. II) 1 266

Valencia (from) to the frontiers of Catalonia, 21 leagues

and thitee quarters. (PI. 12.) I. __ 271

Valencia (from) lo Liria, Xerica, and Segorbe, 21

leagues and a quarter. (PI. 12.) I. 257

Valencia (from the frontiers of the kingdom of) to Tar-
ragona, and from Tarragona to Barcelona, 34
leagues. (PI. 7.) 1 85

Vigo (from) to Orensé, It leagues. (PI. 26.) II.-.. 447



JlN the existence of nations, as in the life

of men, there are certain events, which,
as it were, bring their history to a point,
and indicate tue time for describing them.
The historian, acquainted with their past
and contemplating their present situation,
may compare the latter with the former,
and observe their relations and distinctions,
without feeling himself called upon to dive
into the unknown ocean of futurity.

Such is the present state of Spain, now
terminating an important period of her
history, and taking a new form. This
noble country, which has always been go-
verned by some foreign House, though



never conquered by any, always swayed
but never debased, seems to rise with
greater vigour, and to derive fresh lustre
from changes which usually cause the de-
cline of empires. Fortunate would be the
writer who was prepared at this moment
to trace the events, which, through every
period, have contributed their influence in
the fate of this monarchy. We might
hope to receive from him a history, not
the stale one of its kings, but of its pro-
vinces, of their customs, of the progress
of their industry, of their civilization;
above all of their prosperit} r , that true,
that important era in the annals of nations.
He would not, like his predecessors, lose
his time in detailing all the campaigns in
the Milanese, from Charles V. to Maille-
bois. He would spare us those never-fail-
ing rebellions of the Low Countries against
the princes of the house of Austria, those
long sieges of small towns, those great
battles of little armies, which generally led
to negotiations, no less tiresome and insig-

Unconnected as these events are with


Spain, they compose three-fourths of the
works written on that country, while its
philosophical and political history, perhaps
the only important one, is the only one
neglected. Though too much engaged to
attempt this task myself, I hope that I
have contributed to render the execution of
it easier to those who may be inclined to
undertake it, by communicating to them
the enquiries I have been able to make,
and the information I have obtained.
All the materials I have collected I here
present to the public in a form which ap-
peared to me the most convenient for the
different classes of readers, particularly
for those whom a taste for travelling, or
other motives, may induce to visit Spain.
The three first volumes contain a descriptive
Itinerary, and a statistical account of each
province : the two last are devoted to a
general view of the country in whatever
relates to the different branches of the go-
vernment and of political economy. These
delineations are not digested wifh all the
pains I might have taken with them, had
I been less eager for their appearance ;


,but I have preferred publishing them such
as they are at a moment when they may
be of the greatest utility, and throwing my-
self upon the indulgence of the public for
the faults they contain. The work, indeed,
is of that kind in which, perhaps, elegance
is not so requisite in the style as accuracy is
necessary in the facts ; and in this, at least,
it has been my strenuous endeavour to de-
serve no blame.

Spain, long neglected in our political
interests, in our commercial views, and
scarcely an object even of our curiosity,
is becoming interesting in all these respects,
and will completely fix our attention, when
she makes a part of the same system, and
adopts the same European habits, and
when travelling is rendered less difficult:
but to judge of what she may then be, we
ought to know what she is at present, and
what she was formerly. The social organi»
Nation of Spain is still less known than her
monuments, though her historians are more
numerous than her travellers, and one is
astonished to find the received opinions on
her present state, and her situation in the


diiïcrent periods of history, contrary to
real facts and authentic documents.

I bad occasion, in another work on this
country *, to scrutinize sonic historical tra-
ditions which did not appear to me found-
ed on truth ; I shall do the same in the
following volumes, in all that relates to
industry and government, whenever it ap-
pears to me that the public is misinformed.
I am, nevertheless, sensible of the difficulty
of combating ideas generally received ;
but these ideas are not so rooted in Spain,
and as lam supported in my opinion by se-
veral enlightened men of that kingdom, I
cannot but hope some indulgence from

It will, no doubt, appear strange to
assert, that Spain was never more flourish-

j, better cultivated, or perhaps, more
populous than at present :

That it has never experienced any de-
cline, never having attained any eminent
degree of prosperity :

That the splendour of the boasted reigns

* Picturesque Travels in Spain



of Ferdinand V., Charles V., and Philip
II., were owing only to military glory and
foreign politics, without the welfare of the
country being a step advanced :

That the fifteenth and sixteenth centu-
ries, which are considered as the most
brilliant ages of Spain, were less prosper-
ous than the eighteenth, which constitutes
a part of its supposed decline :

That the discovery of America was never
injurious either to its population or indus-
try, and that it is at present eminently
advantageous to both:

That the inquisition, atrocious and san-
guinary as it was in the fifteenth and six-
teenth centuries, did not in those times
prevent the increase of population, or the
progress of knowledge, while its influence,
which seemed to be null, has, for sixty
years past, been prejudicial to every kind
of improvement:

And lastly, that if Spain were governed
by an enlightened prince, it would, from its
present state in the two worlds, be able in
a very short time to rise to the highest de*


grée of wealth and splendour, and rival
the great powers of Europe.

A brief examination of the state of this
kingdom in its different revolutions will
illustrate these assertions, and serve as a
connecting chain to the different parts of
this work.

The philosophical history of Spain may
be divided into four great epochs*: the
first under the Carthaginians and Romans,
till the invasion of the northern nations ;
the second under the government of the
Goths and Arabs till the reign of Charles
V.; the third under the princes of the

* I have likewise divided the History of Spain relative
to its monuments into four epochs, but in a different way :
the first epocha comprehends the Romans and Goths toge-
ther, the arts of the latter having been only the continu-
ation and decline of those of the Romans ; the second is
confined to the Arabs; the third to the Gothic style hi
use among the Christians from the eleventh century,
gradually introduced as the monarchy was forming anew ;
trie fourth comprehends all the modern monuments from
the revival of the arts under Ferdinand and Isabella to
our days. Voyage, pittonsyuc d'Espagne, Vol, I.

a 4

vm ixTiionrcTinK,

house of Austria ; the fourth under+those
of the house of Bourbon.

In the first epoclui, the Spaniards made
part of the grand system which governed
the world; but, lather allies than subjects
of the Romans, becoming like them civi-
lized, but not. civilized by them ; they
equalled them in almost all useful know-
ledge, and were at once, the prop and
wealth of their empire. In the second
epocha they began to compose an inde-
pendent state, subject to new laws,
and under sovereigns of their own nation :
bttt, soon reduced by the conquests of the
Moors to a small territory, they were oblig-
ed to form their monarchy anew, and the
improvement of their laws, commerce, and
agriculture, was necessarily slow. Divid-
ed into several kingdoms which had not
even a feder.: .; ad like other states of

Europe, they long languished under an im-
perfect order of things, till at length the
crowns of all the provinces united on the
bead of Ferdinand V., one of their most
. ringuished sovereigns. That monarch,
no longer having enemies to combat at


home, and desiring no conquests abroad,
devoted his whole attention to the welfare
of his subjects.

This period, regarded by historians as
that of the splendour and felicity of Spain,
was, however, only remarkable for a false
gleam of prosperity, no sooner seen than
vanished. Spain, escaping from the dis-

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