Sodbury. See Chipping Sodbury.


Soderhamn, a Swedish seaport, on the Gulf of Bothnia, 13 miles N. of Gefle. Pop. 11,500.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah, two ancient cities, forming with Admah, Zeboiim, and other towns the * cities of the plain.' See Dead Sea.

Sodor and Man

Sodor and Man. See Man.


Soest (nearly Sust), a town of Westphalia, 37 miles SE. of Munster, was once a Hanse town, with a pop. of 30,000; now it has only 17,500. The Gothic 'Meadow Church' was built in 1314; and there is also a R. C. cathedral.


Sofala (Sofah'la), the name given to that portion of the south-east coast of Africa which extends from the Zambesi as far south as Delagoa Bay. Sofala was described by the old geographers as a gold-producing country, the Ophir, perhaps, of Solomon. Manicaland and Mashonaland (q.v.) inland are certainly auriferous. The Portuguese established themselves here in 1505. Their headquarters, Sofala, once a large commercial town, is now a wretched place of 1000 inhabitants.


Sofia (Sofee'a), the capital since 1878 of Bulgaria, stands in a broad valley of the Balkans, on the railway from Constantinople to Belgrade and Vienna. The city since 1891 has undergone reconstruction, most of the crooked dirty streets, with their tumble-down houses and ruinous mosques, being demolished to make way for broad tree-planted streets, with paved side-walks and electric-light posts, new French-looking houses, shops and hotels, and large public buildings (baths, national library, banks, post-office, &c). For centuries the place has been renowned for its hot mineral springs (117° F.). Sofia is the seat of a Greek metropolitan, and of the national university. It trades in hides, spirits, maize, and wheat. Pop. (1870) 19,000; (1900) 67,920. Sofia is the Serdica of the Romans, and was the seat of a famous church council in 343. Attila plundered it; and it was captured by the Turks in 1382.


Sogdiana, anciently a province of Persia, corresponded to the modern territories of Samarcand and Bokhara and the valley of the Zerafshan.


Sognefjord. See Norway.


Soham, a small market-town of Cambridgeshire, with a fine church, 5 miles SE. of Ely. Pop. of parish, 4000.


Sohar, a seaport of Oman in Arabia, stands on the Gulf of Oman, 130 miles NW. of Muscat. The Portuguese occupied it in 1508-1650. Pop. 5000.


Soignies (Sivan-yee'), a Belgian town, 22 miles by rail S. by W. of Brussels. Pop. 9683.


Soissons (Swassong), a fortified town of France, dep. Aisne, on the river Aisne, 65 miles NE. of Paris by rail, the key of Paris for an army invading France from the Netherlands. The cathedral dates from the 12th century; and there are remains of the great castellated abbey (1076), where Becket found refuge. Near Soissons is a deaf-mute institute, on the site of the famous abbey (560) of St Medard. Pop. 11,352. Augusta Suessionum was long the most important Roman town in northern Gaul. Near it Clovis overthrew Syagrius, the Roman commander, in 486. The same prince made Soissons the seat of the Frankish monarchy of Neustria. It has been repeatedly captured - e.g. six times during the Hundred Years' War, by the Armagnac party in 1414, by Charles V. (1544), the Huguenots (1565), three times in 1814, and by the Germans in 1870.