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Portugal's traditional provinces

Beira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈbɐjɾɐ]) was one of the six traditional provinces or "comarcas" of Portugal.

Administrative history

In the early 19th century Beira was divided into three provinces:

sometimes collectively referred to as "the Beiras".

Some Portuguese geographers referred to the part of Trás-os-Montes that lies south of the Douro River as "Beira Transmontana", but that name was never used officially. An administrative reform in 1976 abolished these provinces.

The current Centro Region of Portugal covers roughly the same area, and among its twelve subregions are

The name also survives in the name of many small towns and villages in the area, e.g. Moimenta da Beira, Celorico da Beira, Aguiar da Beira, etc.

Geography

The most important cities within the borders of the traditional province are: Coimbra, Aveiro, Leiria, Viseu, Castelo Branco, Guarda, Figueira da Foz, Covilhã and Pinhel.

The main river is the Mondego; other rivers include the Vouga, Dão, Côa, Zêzere and Paiva. The largest mountain range is Serra da Estrela – Portugal's highest – other ranges being the Caramulo, Marofa, Gardunha, and Bussaco.

See also


Beira (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈbɐjɾɐ]) was one of the six traditional provinces or "comarcas" of Portugal.

Administrative history

In the early 19th century Beira was divided into three provinces: Beira Alta, Beira Baixa, and Beira Litoral, sometimes collectively referred to as "the Beiras". Some Portuguese geographers referred to the part of Trás-os-Montes that lies south of the Douro River as "Beira Transmontana", but that name was never used officially. An administrative reform in 1976 abolished these provinces.

The current Centro region of Portugal covers roughly the same area, and among its twelve subregions are Beira Interior Norte, Beira Interior Sul and Cova da Beira. The name also survives in the name of many small towns and villages in the area, e.g. Moimenta da Beira, Celorico da Beira, Aguiar da Beira, etc.

Geography

The most important cities within the borders of the traditional province are: Coimbra, Aveiro, Leiria, Viseu, Castelo Branco, Guarda, Figueira da Foz, Covilhã and Pinhel.

The main river is the Mondego; other rivers include the Vouga, Dão, Côa, Zêzere and Paiva. The largest mountain range is Serra da Estrela – Portugal's highest – other ranges being the Caramulo, Marofa, Gardunha, and Bussaco.

See also

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BEIRA, an ancient principality and province of northern and central Portugal; bounded on the N. by Entre Minho e Douro and by Traz os Montes, E. by the Spanish provinces of Leon and Estremadura, S. by Alemtejo and Portuguese Estremadura, and W. by the Atlantic Ocean. Pop. (1900) 1,515,834; area, 9208 sq. m. Beira is administratively divided into the districts of Aveiro, Coimbra, Vizeu, Guarda and Castello Branco, while it is popularly regarded as consisting of the three sections - Beira Alta or Upper Beira (Vizeu), north and west of the Serra da Estrella; Beira Baixa or Lower Beira (Guarda and Castello Branco), south and east of that range; and Beira Mar or Maritime Beira (Aveiro and Coimbra), coinciding with the former coastal province of Douro. The coast line, about 72 m. long, is uniformly flat, with long stretches of sandy pine forest, heath or marshland bordered by a wide and fertile plain. Its most conspicuous features are the lagoon of Aveiro and the bold headland of Cape Mondego; in the south Aveiro, Murtosa, Ovar and Figueira da Foz are small seaports. Except along the coast, the surface is for the most part mountainous, - the highest point in the Serra da Estrella, which extends from north-east to south-west through the centre of the province, being 6532 ft. The northern and south-eastern frontiers are respectively marked by the two great rivers Douro and Tagus, which rise in Spain and flow to the Atlantic. The Agueda and Coa, tributaries of the Douro, drain the eastern plateaus of Beira; the Vouga rises in the Serra da Lapa, and forms the lagoon of Aveiro at its mouth; the Mondego springs from the Serra da Estrella, passes through Coimbra, and enters the sea at Figueira da Foz; and the Zezere, a tributary of the Tagus, rises north-north-east of Covilha and flows south-west and south.

Beira has a warm and equable climate, except in the mountains, where the snowfall is often heavy. The soil, except in the valleys, is dry and rocky, and large stretches are covered with heath. The principal agricultural products are maize, wheat, garden vegetables and fruit. The olive is largely cultivated, the oil forming one of the chief articles of export; good wine is also produced. In the fiat country between Coimbra and Aveiro the marshy land is laid out in rice-fields or in pastures for herds of cattle and horses. Sheep farming is an important industry in the highlands of Upper Beira; while near Lamego swine are reared in considerable numbers, and furnish the well-known Lisbon hams. Iron, lead, copper, coal and marble are worked to a small extent, and millstones are quarried in some places. Salt is obtained in considerable quantities from the lagoons along the coast. There are few manufactures except the production of woollen cloth, which occupies a large part of the population in the district of Castello Branco. Three important lines of railway, the Salamanca-Oporto, Salamanca-Lisbon and LisbonOporto, traverse parts of Beira; the two last named .are also connected by the Guarda-Figueira da Foz railway, which has a short branch line going northwards to Vizeu. The chief towns, Aveiro (pop. 1900, 9979), Castello Branco (7288), Coimbra (18,144), Covilha (15,469), Figueira da Foz (6221), Guarda (6124), Ilhavo (12,617), Lamego (9471), Murtosa (9737), Ovar (10,462) and Vizeu (8057), with the frontier fortress of Almeida (2330), are described in separate articles. There is a striking difference of character between the inhabitants of the highlands, who are grave and reserved, hardy and industrious, and those of the lowlands, who are more sociable and courteous, but less energetic. The heir-apparent to the throne of Portugal has the title of prince of Beira.


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