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Bilbao Seaport on the estuary of the River Nervión, near the Bay of Biscay; capital of the Basque Country province of Vizcaya. Founded in c.1300, it grew prosperous through the export of wool and later by trade with Spain's American colonies. Lying at the centre of an industrial region, it is now Spain's major port. Industries: iron and steel, fishing, shipbuilding, oil refining, chemicals. Pop. (1998 est.) 358,467.