Badajoz. I. A province of Spain, in Estre-madura, bordering on Portugal; area, 8,6871 sq. m.; pop. in 1867, 430,049. It has a diver-; sified surface, broken by several mountain! ranges, is well wooded, and includes many alluvial lands of remarkable fertility, though agriculture is backward. The Guadiana traverses the province from E. to W. The climate is hot and unhealthy. There are mines of lead, copper, silver, and quicksilver, and one of gold. Linen, leather, and soap are the principal manufactures. Among the most noted towns, besides the capital, are Merida, Za-fra, and the fortresses Albuquerque and Oli-venca, near the Portuguese frontier. II. A fortified town (anc. Pax Augusta, corrupted by the Moors to Paxagousa, whence Badajoz), capital of the preceding province, and of Estremadura, on the left bank of the Guadiana, 5 m. from the frontier of Portugal, and 203 m. S. W. of Madrid; pop. in 1867, 22,895. It is built on a hill nearly 300 ft. high, crowned with the ruins of a Moorish castle. On the land side the city is protected by a wall flanked with bastions, around which are a moat and outworks, and on the heights beyond several forts. The river is here crossed by a magnificent stone bridge of 28 arches, originally built in the 15th century.
There are many Moorish remains, including a mosque. The cathedral was begun by Alfonso the "Wise, and contains several paintings by Morales, There were formerly eight monasteries and convents, but the buildings are now occupied for other purposes. Badajoz has manufactories of soap and coarse cloth, and carries on an active trade with Portugal. The frontier position of the town and its strong defences have made it a conspicuous object of attack in the numerous wars in Spain. It was taken from the Moors by Alfonso IX., king of Leon, in 1230. It was besieged by the Portuguese without success in 1600, and again during the war of the succession in 1705. During the French invasion it was besieged by Kellerraann and Victor in 1808 and 1809, and was surrendered to Marshal Soult March 11, 1811, by the treachery of Iraaz, commander of the garrison. Beresford made an unsuccessful attempt to recover it, and it was afterward besieged by Wellington, and carried by assault with fearful loss on the night of April 6, 1812. The city was sacked for two days and nights by the British soldiers.
Wellington's loss during the 20 days' siege was 5,000, of whom 3,500 fell in the final assault.