« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
ceeded by death. After the purple meteor has vanished a light ar suill blows, of a heat to threaien suffocation.
Dongola is a town on the E. bank of the Nile, in lat. 19 30 N. and lon. 32° E. It is the capital of the kingdom of Dongola; which lies on both sides of the Nile, and is considerably extensive.
Of SENNAAR, the southern kingdom of Nubia, Bruce has given an interesting description. It may be considered as comprising the country between the Red sea and the Nile, as far S. as the N. W. limits of Abyssinia; as comprehending all the country between the Nile and the Balar el Abiad, as far S. as the cataracts of the Nile; and also as including the provinces of Shillouk and Kordofan on the W.of ile latter river. The kingdom of Darfur is its S. W. boundary.
The Shillooks, a black nation, who conquered this country in 1504, were pagans. Soon after they were converted to Mabommedism; when they took the name of Funge, or, conquerors. It is a fundamental law of the monarchy, that the king may lawfully be put io death, when a council of the great officers decrees, that it is not for the advantage of the state that he should reign any longer. The king ascends the throne under ab admission of the force of this law; and there is always one officer of his own family, the site el coon, or master of the household, to whom the death of the king is on such occasions, by law, entrusted. This officer has no vote in deposing him. The only weapon he may lawfully use for this purpose is a sword. The eldest son of the king succeeds by right
, and, immediately afterwards, puts to death as many of his brothers as he can apprehend. A female cannot succeed to the throne. The crown, since 1304, has always been in the family of Amrou. The king is styled the Mek of Sennaar. The forces at Senpaar, around the capital, consist of about 14,000 Nuba, who fight naked, having 30 armor but a short javelin, and a round shield; and about 1800 cavalry, all blacks, mounted on black horses, armed with coats of anail, and broad Slavonian swords. These last are remarkably brave and well disciplinecl.
The revenue derived from the province of Kordofan consists chiefly of slaves procured from Dyre and Tegia. That of Fezcucdo is in gold; as is that from Atbara and the country E-of the river of ibat name. The Welled Ageeb collects all the revenue from the Arabs. It amounts to a very large sum in gold, exceedug that of all the other provinces. He pays it to the Mek. His own revenues from the Arabs are said to be six times as large.
The dress of Schnaar is very simple. It consists of a long shirt of blue Surat cloth, called Marowty, which covers them from the lower part of the neck to the feet. That of the women covers the neck also. The men have sometimes a sash about the middle. Boub sexes go barefoot in the house. Their floors are covered with Persian carpeis. In fair weather they wear sandals without, and sorerimes a kind of wooden palten, ornamented with shells. Both sexes aopint themseives at least once a day with camel's grease, mixed with circt, and sleep in shirts similarly treated. Their beds are merely tanner bull's hides much softened by this constant
greasing. The principal diet of the poorer sort is millet, made into four and bread. The rich make a pudding of millet, and also eat beef partly roasted and partly raw. Their horned calic are remarkably fine; but the common meat sold in the marker i» camel's flesh.
The town of Senpaar is in lat. 13. 34 36, N. and in lon. 35 50 30, E. It is built on the west side of the Nile, close to its bank, on ground just high enough to save it from inundations. The site of the town is extensive. The king's palace covers a great deal of ground. It is all of one story, built of clay, and the doors of carth.
El-Aice, or Alleis, is the capital of the Shillook.country: It is on the Bahar el Abiad, in about lat. 13 30, N. The river dividing forms a great nunber of islands. On these and the neigliboring banks the town is situated. The inhabitants are chicly fisherinen, and sail in their canoes with incredible rapidity.
Herbagi stands on the W. bank of the Nile, in lat. 14 39, N. It is a large and pleasant village, but thinly inhabited, on a dry, gravelly soil
. The Welled Ageeb, the hereditary prince of the Arabs resides here, and is subject to the king of Sennaar and his lieutena ant, according to treaty. He collects a tribute from all the Arabs, not only of Atbara, but even to the Red sea. The tribes living cast of the Nile and of the Albara, subject to him, are numerous, rich, and powerful.
Suakem is a port on the Red sea. It is the place of rendezvous. for the caravans, which cross the desert on their way to Jidda.
Formerly Indian goods were brought in large quantities from Jidda to Sennaar ; and the articles returned were gold, civet, rhinoceros's horns, ivory, ostrich feathers, slaves, and glass. A caravan also once came from Timbuctoo. At present a small caravangoes yearly from Goos to Suakem, and the Daveina Arabs carry the ivory to Abyssinia.
The climate of this country is neither plcasant nor healtlıy. At Sennaar, from 70° to 789 of Fahrenheit, is cool; from 7.9°10 92° temperate. The mercury often rises to 120%. The soil and climate of the capital are very unfavorable to longevity, both in man and beast. “No horse, mule, ass; or any boast of burden), will breed, or even live at Sennaar, or many miles around it. Poultry does not live there. Neither dog.nor cat, sheep nor bullock, can be preserved a season. Neither rose nor any species of jessamine grow therc; no tree but the lemon flowers near the city.'
To the W. of Shaddly and Aboud, the country is full of trees, which make it a favorite station for camels. The Arabs have immense numbers of these animals. The tribe of Refaa, in 1770, bad about 200,000. The tribute of that tribe to the Mek was 250,000 pounds sterling, in gold. There were then 10 such tribes, whicis owed this species of subjection.
Exteni. ABYSSINIA extends from lat. 7° to 16° N. and from lon. 33° to 44' E. Its length from E. to W.is about 580 miles and its greatest breadth about 560. It reaches, on the Red seay from Masuah to the straits of Babelmandel, 420 miles.
Boundaries. The Red sea lies on the N. E.; the kingdom of Adel, on the E. and S. E.; Gingiso and Alaba on the S.; the Nile on the W.; Sennaar on the N. W.; and the country of the Jahaleerl, or wild Arabs, and of the Shankala, or descendants of the ancient Ethiopians on the N.
The Gallas, a wild and marauding nation, have encroached on the limits of Abyssinia, and now occupy various provinces on the S. W. S. and S. E.
Divisions. This country, according to Mr. Bruce, is divided in-
11. Kuara 4. Begemder 8. Damot
12. Nara Names. Bruce tells us, that the Chronicle of Arum, the most ancient Abyssinian history, declares that the Sheba, or Saba of the scriptures, whose queen visited Solomon, was Abyssinia.
Religion. The Jewish religion is said, by Bruce, to have been prevalent in Abyssinia, till near the middle of the 4th century. Frumentius, a disciple of St. Athanasius, at Alexandria, and the first Christian bishop of Abyssinia, was ordained about A. D. 333 This was about the iime of their conversion ; and the primitive faith of the Abyssinians having been received through this channel, must have accorded with the peculiar tenets of the Greek church. The first aliempt to spread the Romish faith was made about the year 1450, in the reign of Zara Jacob. In 1632 their hierarchy was abolished. They were allowed bowever to remain in the country, till 1714, when their clergy were executed. Since that time there have been few or no Catholics in the country.
The patriarch of the Abyssinian church, is styled the Abunc. By an ancient canon, he must not be a native of the country, and is always sent from Egypt. The priests bave their maintenance assigncd iu them in kind, and do not fabor. The direction and distribution of the church revenues, is wholly in the hands of officers, appointed by the king. All the clergy are deplorably ignorant, licretical in their tenets, and licentious in their lives. There is no country in the world, in which there are so many churches as in Abyssinia. It is seldom that less than 5 or 6 are in sight, in any part of the country; and, on a commanding ground, one may see 5 rimes as many. They are usually planted near running water, for the purposes of purifications and ablutions, in which they strictly observe the Levitical law. They are all round, with thatched 100fs ; and their summits are perfect cones. The inside is cover
ed with wretched daubings of their various saints. Among these, are St. Pontius Pilate, and his wife; St. Balaam, and his ass.
Government. The government is an absolute monarchy. The crown is hereditary in one particular family, supposed by the Abyssinians to be that of Solomon, by the queen of Sheba. The royal council is composed of the great officers of state. When Bruce left the country, the power of the king was insignificant; the Ras, or governor of Tigre, having almost the whole direction of the government. The different capital punishments are crucifixion, tiaying alive, lapidation, and plucking out the eyes.
Population. We have no data on which to form a correct judgement of the population of this country. It has been estimated at 3,000,000. Hassel reckons only 1,800,000.
Army. Bruce says, that the largest armies cver collected in the country, were at the baltle of Serbraxos. The rebels had then 60,000 men, and the king 40,000. The usual amount of the army does not exceed 20,000. Hassel, however, reckons the number at 40,000. The cavalry is good. The king's houschold troops consist of 8000 infantry. They are armed with matchlocks. Most of the other troops have only lances and shields.
Revenue. The royal revenue is paid parily in ounces of gold ; and partly in honey, cattle, horses, cloths, and various other articles.
Manners and Customs. The principal part of the dress of the natives is a large cotton cloth, 24 cubits long, and is broad, with & blue and yellow stripe round the bottom. They are very beautiful and light. When they ride they hold the stirrup between the great and second toes. Even the king rides bare-footed. Almost all the houses are built of clay, with thatched conical rools. The chief arricles of food are cakes of unleavened bread, and raw flesh, which as far as possible they cut from the animal while living, that it may be the more tender. The ordinary marriage is contracted by mutual consent without any ceremony, and is dissolved by the dissent of cither party. As soon as this takes place, both parties niarry again. They also divide the children, the eldest son falling to the mother and ibe eldest daughter to the father. Tbe country has for many years been the scene of civil wars, which have called into exercise all the ferocious passions, and exhibited a constant succession of treachery, murde and assassination,
Citier. GONDAR, the capital, is in lat. 12 34 30 N. and in lon. S7 33 E. It is situated on a bill of considerable height, surrounded by a deep valley. The river Kaha flows N. of the town, and the Angrab skirische bill on the S. They ingether almost encircle the town, and unite a quarter of a mile from ii, at the foot of the hill. The top of the hill is a plain of very considerable extent. The length of the town is 3 uilcs froin E. N. E. to W. S. W. and its breadth 1 mile. It contains about 10,000 houses, and about 50,000 inhabitants. Immcdiately on the bank, opposite Gondar, is a large Mahomeian village, of about 1000 houses. The royal palace is at the W. end of the town, in the middle of a square court, which is a mile in circunference. A substantial double stone wall surrounds
the square. It is 30 feet high. There are battlements on the outer wall, and a parapet roof between the outer and inner. The tom contains numerous churches.
Axum, the ancient capital, is in lat. 14 6 36 N. and lon. 38 40 E. It stands in a plain, 140 miles N. E. from Gondar, and 120 from the Red sea. It is now a heap of ruins. The present town, at a little distance from the ruins, contains about 600 houses.
Masuah is on a small island, three quarters of a mile long, and of half that width. Not more than a third of its surface is covered with houses. The island is in the large bay of plasuah, in lat. 15 35 5 N. and lon. 39 36 30 E. About 20 of the houses are of stone, 6 or 8 of which are of two stories. The other houses are composed of poles and bent grass.
ARKEEKO is on the bay of Masuah. There is water enough for large vessels close to the town; but the bay being open to the N. E. makes it uneasy riding in blowing weather. The town contains about 400 houses, built principally of coarse grass, like reeds.
Commerce. Before the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, the commerce of this country was valuable. It was carried on chiefly with Arabia and India, and Masuah was a harbor of great resort. Gold, ivory, elephants, and buffaloes' hides, were the chief exports ; and they are now exported to some extent. Slaves also are exported to India and Arabia. The imports from Arabia are blue cotton, Surat cloths, cotton in bales, Venetian beads, drinking and looking glasses, and crude antimony. A small caravan goes yearly to Cairo, laden with gold dust. Climate. The rainy season commences in April
, and ends about the 8th of September. An unpleasant sickly season follows, till about the 20th of October, when the rains recommence. Bruce kept a register of the weather at Gondar upwards of 15 months. The greatest elevation of the mercury was 91°, in April, the leasl, 54°, in July. The hills are generally healthy, and great numbers of the towns and villages are built on them.
Face of the Country. The surface in the middle and S. is gen. erally rugged and mountainous, and abounds with forests and morasses. It is also interspersed with inany fertile valleys and plains, In the V. it is chiefly a flat country.
Soil and Agritulture. The soil, though thin is rendered rery productive by the rains, and the overflowing of the river's. Where. ever it can be tilled and well watered, it yields abundant crops. At a medium a harvest is only about 20 for i. All their harvests are not equal to one in Egypt.
kivers. The eastern branch of the Nile rises in Abyssinia, and is for some distance its eastern boundary. It has been described.
The Athara pursues a N. W. course of about 800 miles, and joins the Nije, in lat. 17 50 N.
The Ralad, or Dender, is a considerable river that joins the Nile from the E. 40 miles below Senpaar.
Lake. The lake of Tzapa, or Dembea, lies 24 miles S. S. W. of Gondar. It is 49 miles in length, and 55 in breadth. It contains 10 or 12 islands, some of considerable size.