/bah'dhah hawth"/, n.
a city in SW Spain. 101,710.

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      city, capital of Badajoz provincia (province), in the Extremadura comunidad autónoma (autonomous community), southwestern Spain. Situated on the south bank of the Guadiana River near the Portuguese frontier, it occupies a low range of hills crowned by a ruined Moorish castle. It originated as Pax Augusta (Pacensis Colonia), a small Roman town, and later flourished as the Baṭalyaws of the Moors. Freed from Moorish control by Alfonso IX of León in 1229, Badajoz—the ancient capital of Extremadura—was known as the key to Portugal, and it played strategic roles in both the Peninsular (Peninsular War) (1808–14) and Spanish Civil (1936–39) wars. Badajoz was the birthplace of the painter Luis de Morales (Morales, Luis de) (“The Divine”) and the New World conquistador Pedro de Alvarado (Alvarado, Pedro de).

      A bastioned wall with moat and outworks and forts on the surrounding heights give the city an appearance of great strength. The river, which flows between the castle hill and the fort of San Cristóbal, is crossed by a granite bridge built in 1596 and rebuilt in 1833. With its massive walls, the cathedral of San Juan (1234–84) resembles a fortress.

      Badajoz has a considerable transit trade with Portugal and has influence on the Portuguese region near the border (Elvas). More than half of Spain's total exports to Portugal pass through Badajoz on the main route to Elvas. The city's principal industries are food processing and the production of alcoholic and other drinks, furniture, chemicals, basketwork, textiles, blankets, and wax. The service industry dominates Badajoz's economy. Pop. (2006 est.) 126,489.

      provincia (province) in the Extremadura comunidad autónoma (autonomous community), extreme western Spain. Badajoz is bordered by Portugal to the west. Along with the province of Cáceres, Badajoz makes up the autonomous and historic region of Extremadura. The climate is characterized by long, hot, dry summers. The terrain is almost entirely flat but rises in the south and southwest near the Sierra Morena, and in the northeast it joins the foothills of the mountains of Toledo province. It is crossed from east to west by the Guadiana River, the most important tributary of which is the Zújar. Typifying the wider central plain is the Barros Plain, the largest cereal-, wine-, and oil-producing region of Extremadura; its main centre is Almendralejo. Other regions in the province produce wool, and livestock raising is important. Industry, primarily agricultural processing (tomatoes), is concentrated in Badajoz city, Mérida, Almendralejo, and Villanueva de la Serena. Most services and administrative offices are concentrated in Badajoz (the provincial capital) and Mérida (the regional capital). The province's extensive forests are only minimally exploited.

      In 1952 the Spanish government promoted a project known as the Plan Badajoz, which raised the standard of living, productivity, and agriculture and intensified development and industrialization in the area. Irrigation was undertaken, using the waters of the Guadiana and Zújar, controlled by six dams. The plan provided for new agriculturally based industries, chiefly the production of flour, cotton, and olive oil, and for vegetable preserving. Electrification was also increased, and communications were improved. The National Institute of Colonization created new towns and resettled thousands of people to whom land grants were made. In spite of these undertakings, emigration to other parts of Spain continued into the early 21st century. Area 8,404 square miles (21,766 square km). Pop. (2007 est.) 678,459.

Vicente Rodriguez

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Universalium. 2010.

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