A Province Of Spain, in Old Castile, bordering on the bay of Biscay and the provinces of Biscay, Burgos, Palencia, Leon, and Asturias; area, 2,112 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 241,581. The, Cantabrian mountains, on its S. limit, abound in forests and valuable timber, and are intersected by fertile valleys. It has productive fisheries, iron, lead, and copper mines, and limestone, marble, gypsum, and potter's clay. The trade is greatly hindered by the want of good roads.
A City (Anc. Portus Blendium), capital of the province, on the bay of Biscay, 215 m. N. of Madrid; pop. about 35,000. The houses are narrow and poor in the old quarter, but handsomely built in the new. It is the seat of a bishop, and has a commercial school, a school of navigation, an excellent institute for higher studies, and other literary and scientific institutions. There are a Gothic cathedral and an old convent, now an immense tobacco manufactory, tanneries, and sugar refineries. The harbor is of easy access, and has a lighthouse and excellent anchorage. There are regular steamship lines to Bayonne, Bilbao, Havana, Liverpool, London, and Hamburg. - The city was sacked by Soult in 1808, was stormed by the Spaniards but retaken by the French in 1809, and evacuated by them in 1812.