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Seville

SEVILLE

SEVILLE. The Andalusian city of Seville, located fifty-four miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, was the hub of the Spanish empire for much of the early modern era. In 1503, Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragón established the Casa de Contratación (House of Trade) in Seville and thereby launched the ascent of this provincial capital. The number of households doubled between the censuses of 1534 and 1565, and the local population was amplified by droves of foreign traders, sailors, and slaves. The population peaked at over 100,000 at the end of the sixteenth century, making Seville one of the three largest metropolises of Europe and the single most populous city in Spain. A catastrophic plague in 1649 reduced that population by almost half, and it would not recover until the early 1800s. Seville's preeminent position within the empire formally ended in 1680 when the monarchy named the coastal city of Cádiz as the official port for the Indies trade. In its imperial heyday, Seville was notorious for its ostentatious public displays and for the active underworld described so vividly in Golden Age classics by Mateo Alemán (Guzmán de Alfarache, 1599), Miguel de Cervantes (Rinconete and Cortadillo, 1613), and Tirso de Molina (El burlador de Sevilla, 1630).

Seville lies along the east bank of the southwesterly flowing Guadalquivir River, which empties into the Gulf of Cádiz. A countryside rich in natural resources produced high-quality olive oils, wines, and citrus fruits for export to Europe and the Americas, while pine trees provided raw materials for local shipbuilding. The main industries of early modern Sevillesoap and ceramicswere located in Triana, a neighborhood across the river, connected to the city center by a single wooden bridge laid atop a string of boats. Triana also housed the castle of the Inquisition, which was founded in Seville in 1480. In the eighteenth century, tobacco production flourished at Seville's Royal Tobacco Factory (1757), the setting for Bizet's Carmen (18731874) and the current site of the University of Seville.

Royal interests were represented in Seville by an official called the Asistente and by a royal tribunal (Real Audiencia). Honored by four royal visits in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Seville was transformed into the court for five years under the first Bourbon, King Philip V (ruled 17001746). Local government was led by an aristocratic ayuntamiento ('city council') comprising thirty-six veinticuatros and fifty-six lesser-ranked jurados. The council's jurisdiction extended over many neighboring towns and villages, although Seville's territory shrank considerably as the Habsburg kings sold independent status to many of those towns and villages for much-needed cash. The most serious challenge to local authority took place in 1652, when a popular uprising began with bread riots and ended in a bloody crackdown. Seville was the seat of a wealthy archbishopric and a powerful cathedral chapter, and perpetual tension existed among the city's religious, municipal, and royal authorities.

Seville's enormous Gothic cathedral (completed 1506) dominated urban life, and its Giraldaa minaret redesigned as a bell towersymbolized the city. Until the 1500s, Seville had retained its medieval Islamic character, but the urban fabric changed dramatically as the imperial metropolis burst the seams of the old medieval city. New neighborhoods developed outside the old walls, city gates were expanded, and wide, straight avenues replaced narrow, twisting lanes. In 1572 the Casa Lonja (House of Trade, the present-day Archive of the Indies) was built to store New World goods. The Lonja joined the cathedral, Alcázar ('royal palace'), and archbishop's palace as the physical center of power. The Plaza de San Francisco was another important urban nucleus, as the site of the main Franciscan monastery (now destroyed), the Royal Audiencia, the city jail, and the town hall begun in 1527 in the elaborately decorative Plateresque style. Seville's sixteenth-century humanists found inspiration in the Roman ruins of nearby Itálica, and grand urban projects (notably the Casa de Pilatos and the Alameda de Hércules) completed Seville's conversion from an Islamic to a Renaissance city.

Urban development was predominantly religious in the 1600s, a century marked by the founding of dozens of new religious institutions, by the growing popularity of Holy Week and Corpus Christi, and by wide popular support promoting the cause of the Immaculate Conception. The baroque church of San Salvador was begun in 1674, and the 1670s also saw the construction of two spectacular hospitals for the poor, the Hospital de los Venerables and the Hospital de la Santa Caridad, both founded by noble patrons with fortunes from New World trade. The new architecture of Counter-Reformation Seville was filled with masterworks by the local painters Francisco de Zurbarán (15981664), Bartolomé Murillo (16171682), and Juan de Valdés Leal (16221690) and the sculptors Juan Martínez Montañés (15681649) and Pedro Roldán (16241700).

See also Cádiz ; Cervantes, Miguel de ; Ferdinand of Aragón ; Inquisition ; Isabella of Castile ; Murillo, Bartolomé Esteban ; Zurbarán, Francisco de .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Primary Sources

Caro, Rodrigo. Antigüedades, y principado, de la ilustríssima ciudad de Sevilla. Seville, 1998. Facsimile of the 1634 edition.

Ortiz de Zúñiga, Diego. Anales eclesiásticos y seculares de la muy noble y muy leal ciudad de Sevilla, metrópoli de la Andalucía. 5 vols. Seville, 1988. Facsimile of the 17951796 edition.

Secondary Sources

Clarke, Michael, ed. Velázquez in Seville. Edinburgh, 1996.

Dominguez Ortiz, Antonio, and Francisco Aguilar Piñal. El barroco y la ilustración. Vol. 4 of Historia de Sevilla. Seville, 1976.

Morales Padrón, Francisco. La ciudad del Quinientos. Vol. 3 of Historia de Sevilla. 3rd rev. ed. Seville, 1989.

Pike, Ruth. Aristocrats and Traders: Sevillian Society in the Sixteenth Century. Ithaca, N.Y., 1972.

Amanda Wunder

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Seville

Seville (səvĬl´, sĕ´–), Span. Sevilla, city (1990 pop. 678,218), capital of Seville prov. and leading city of Andalusia, SW Spain, on the Guadalquivir River. Connected with the Atlantic by the river and by a canal accessible to oceangoing vessels, Seville is a major port as well as an important industrial, cultural, and tourist center. Wines, fruit, olives, cork, and minerals are exported. Its industries include the manufacture of tobacco, armaments, explosives, perfume, porcelain, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textiles, and machinery. It has a university (founded 1502).

Points of Interest

Seville has kept much of its Moorish aspect. The Gothic cathedral (1401–1519), one of the world's largest, occupies the site of a former mosque, of which two parts remain—the Court of Oranges and the beautiful Giralda tower. The interior of the cathedral is extraordinarily rich and contains invaluable works of art and the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Adjoining the cathedral is the alcazar, built (14th cent.) in Moorish style by Moorish artisans on the order of Peter I (Peter the Cruel) and rivaling the Alhambra in its exquisite decorations and splendid halls. Among the many other notable buildings of Seville are the city hall (16th cent.); the former lonja, or exchange, which contains the archives of Spanish America; the university buildings, which were formerly a large tobacco factory (scene of part of the action of Mérimée's and Bizet's Carmen); and numerous churches and private palaces. Seville is the capital of bullfighting in Spain and a center of the Andalusian Romani (Gypsies), famed for their songs and dances.

History

The ancient Hispalis, Seville was important in Phoenician times. It was favored by the Romans, who made it a judicial center of Baetica prov. and who built the nearby city of Italica (where the emperors Trajan and Hadrian were born), of which some ruins remain. Seville continued as the chief city of S Spain under the Vandals and the Visigoths. In the 6th cent. Seville was a center of learning. Falling to the Moors in 712, it was (c.1023–1091) the seat of an independent emirate under the Abbadids and a flourishing commercial and cultural center under the Almoravids and the Almohads. In 1248, Ferdinand III of Castile conquered it after a long siege and made it his residence. It is said that 300,000 Moors, the majority of its population, left Seville at that time. With the discovery of the New World, Seville entered its greatest period of prosperity. It was the chief port of trade with the new colonies. In addition to its economic prosperity, it was the seat of a flourishing school of painting to which Velázquez, Murillo (both natives), and Pacheco belonged. In 1718, Seville was superseded as a port by Cádiz. Its economic recovery from the subsequent decline is only recent. In 1810 the French sacked the city. Seville was held by the Nationalists throughout the civil war (1936–39). The 1992 World Exposition was held at Seville.

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Seville

Seville River port on the River Guadalquivir, capital of Seville province, sw Spain. Ruled by the Romans from the 2nd century bc to the 5th century ad, it was taken by the Moors in 712, and conquered by Ferdinand III in 1248. The port exports fruit (notably oranges) and wine from the fertile area. Industries: agricultural machinery, shipbuilding, chemicals, textiles, spirits, porcelain, shipping, tourism. Pop. (2001) 702,520.

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Seville

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