I. A N. E. Province Of Spain, in Catalonia, bounded N. by the Pyrenees, and bordering on France, the republic of Andorra, and the provinces of Gerona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Saragossa, and Huesca; area, 4,774 sq. m.; pop. in 1870, 330,348. The surf ace is mountainous in the N. part, being covered with spurs of the great range which separates it from France, but in the S. there are extensive plains. The principal river is the Segre, an affluent of the Ebro; it traverses the province in a S. S. E. direction, and receives a number of tributaries. A large part of the soil is fertile, producing grain, fruit, and many kinds of garden vegetables. Much attention is paid to the raising of bees and silkworms. Iron, copper, lead, zinc, coal, granite, marble, jasper, lime, and gypsum are the chief minerals.
II. A City (Anc. Ilerda), capital of the province, on the right bank of the Segre, which is here crossed by a stone bridge of seven arches, 235 m. E. N. E. of Madrid, and 80 m. W. by N. of Barcelona; pop. about 20,000. It is built partly on a hill and partly on the plain at its foot, and is strongly defended by walls, batteries, and a castle. It is an important military post, being regarded as the key of Aragon and Catalonia. The streets are narrow, crooked, and ill paved. The principal buildings are the old and new cathedrals, one or two ancient churches, the bishop's palace, diocesan seminary, town house, theatre, hospitals, etc. The university of Lerida, once an institution of some repute, was suppressed by Philip V. The town has an export trade in silk, hemp, wine, oil, and other produce of the surrounding territory. The chief manufactures are linen, woollen, silk, and cotton fabrics, leather, paper, soap, and brandy. In ancient times it was the capital of the Ilergetes. It witnessed a victory by Cn. Scipio over the Carthaginian general Ilanno in 216 B. C, and the defeat of Pompey's lieutenants Afranius and Petreius by Caesar in 49 B. C. It was long in possession of the Moors, and was conquered from them by Raymond Berenger of Aragon, who made it the capital.
It was taken by the French in 1707 and 1810.