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Hillah, on the Euphrates, the site of the ancient Babylon. Scutari, on the Bosphorus, the Asiatic suburb of Constantinople.
Angora, in Asia Minor.
Famous for the hair obtained from
the Angora goat. This hair is made into beautiful shawls.
Jerusalem, in Syria. The principal scene of Jesus Christ's labours. Now a town of about 30,000 inhabitants. Its chief buildings are the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Mosque of Omar.
Tarsus, in Asia Minor.
Trebizond, a port in Armenia, on the Black Sea.
Bassorah, a port near the Persian Gulf.
Diarbekir, a large town in Algesira, with considerable inland trade.
Palmyra, or Tadmor; Baalbec. Both in Syria, famous for their splendid ruins.
Acre, on the Levant, celebrated for its defence against Napoleon under Sir Sidney Smith, 1799.
Antaki, in Syria, the ancient Antioch.
Latakia (Laodicea), Tripoli, Saida (Sidon), Tyre, Jaffa, ancient ports on the Levant, now in decay.
North, by Turkey in Asia.
West, by the Red Sea.
South, by the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
EXTENT. Arabia is a large peninsula in the south-west of
Length, 1,500 miles.
Breadth, 800 miles.
Area, 1,000,000 square miles.
COAST. Not much indented.
SURFACE. The peninsula of Arabia is not much known.
It consists chiefly of an immense, barren table-land, rising to about 9,000 feet in its highest part. There is a narrow border or fringe of lower land round the coast. The great mass of the country is desert and uninhabited by civilized races. There are no important rivers or lakes.
CLIMATE. Hot, sultry, unmitigated by protecting mountainchains, or by streams and vegetation. The simoom, or dry, pestilential wind, blows over the deserts during the summer. There is little rain, except in the west. The climate round the coast is more genial.
NATURAL PRODUCTIONS. Arabia has some mineral wealth, as iron, copper, lead, coal, and precious stones. It has few forests. Palm trees grow near the coast, and near springs in the fertile oases. Wild beasts, as the lion, panther, hyæna, and jackal, abound. Among birds may be mentioned the ostrich. Fish are abundant on the coasts. There is a celebrated pearl fishery, near the Bahrein Islands, in the Persian Gulf.
AGRICULTURE. The barrenness of the soil, the dry and sultry nature of the climate, and the absence of streams prevent the cultivation of the ground to any great extent. Coffee, the finest in the world, is grown in the south-west and exported from Mocha. The date, dourra (a kind of millet), tobacco, indigo, aloes, myrrh, frankincense, balsams, and other aromatic plants are grown. The nomadic tribes keep large flocks of sheep, oxen, and goats. The Arab horses are famous all over the world. They are treated with great kindness by the Arabs, who regard them with the greatest affection. The camel is the chief beast of burden.
MANUFACTURES. None of importance.
COMMERCE. Inland by means of caravans. commerce is mostly with India and Great Britain. Exports. Coffee; dates, figs, and other fruits; spices, gums, pearls.
Ports. Muscat, Mocha, Jiddah, Yembo. Aden belongs to England.
POPULATION. Estimated at 12,000,000. A great number of the Arabs are nomadic. These are called Bedouins. The others are engaged in agriculture and in trading on the coasts.
RELIGION. Mahometanism. This religion took its rise in Arabia. Mahomet, its founder, was born at Mecca about 570, and died at Medina about 631 A.D.
GOVERNMENT. There is no general government. Arabs are divided into a number of independent tribes, each with its own rulers. The Bedouin chiefs are called Emirs, or Sheiks. The Sultan of Turkey, as head of the Mahometan religion, has some undefined authority over the Arabs.
There are no regular divisions of Arabia. The following are the names of several districts having no fixed boundaries :
The Peninsula of Sinai (between the Gulfs of Akaba and Suez), Hedjaz (on the shore of the Red Sea), Yemen (in the south-west), Hadramaut (in the south), Oman (in the south-east), El Hassa, or Lahsa (on the shores of the Persian Gulf), Nedjid (in the interior).
Arabia was anciently divided into three parts:- -Arabia Petræa (Rocky or Stony Arabia), in the north-west; Arabia Felix (Happy Arabia; "Araby the Blest," as Milton calls it), in the south-west; Arabia Deserta (Desert Arabia), in the north and centre.
Mecca, in Hedjaz. Population, about 30,000. Birthplace of Mahomet and sacred city of the Mahometans. Visited by immense numbers of pilgrims, who arrive by the caravans through the desert. There is a great trade, which is mostly carried on by the pilgrims and merchants who come by the caravans.
Medina, in Hedjaz. Population, about 20,000. Burial-place of Mahomet and sacred city of the Mahometans.
Jiddah, on the Red Sea. Port of Mecca.
Yembo, on the Red Sea. Port of Medina.
Sana, the largest town in Yemen. Population, about 30,000. Mocha, a port on the Red Sea, famous for the export of coffee.
Muscat, a considerable port on the south-east coast.
Aden, on the south-west coast, belongs to England (see Colonies-Asia).
PERSIA, OR IRAN.
North, by Turkestan, the Caspian Sea, and Asiatic Russia. West, by Asiatic Turkey.
South, by the Persian Gulf.
East, by Beloochistan and Afghanistan.
Length, 900 miles.
Breadth, 500 miles.
Area, 640,000 square miles.
COAST. Not extensive; lying along the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. There are several islands in the Persian Gulf, of which the principal are Kishma, the largest, and Ormuz, formerly belonging to Portugal.
SURFACE. The interior of Persia is a table-land, mostly desert. The western and northern parts are mountainous. Part of the chain of Mount Ararat lies in Persia. To the south of the Caspian Sea are the Elburz Mountains, of which the highest peak, Demavend, rises to the height of about 20,000 feet. In the north-east is the Great Salt Desert. It has no rivers of importance. Its largest streams flow into the Tigris. In the north-west is the salt lake of Ouramia.
CLIMATE. On the table-land the summers are dry and hot, and the winters very cold. The climate is more temperate near the Caspian and the Persian Gulf.
NATURAL PRODUCTIONS. The minerals are copper, iron, salt, lead, sulphur, and precious stones. Tropical trees
and plants abound in the valleys. The table-lands are destitute of trees.
AGRICULTURE. There is much fertile land in the numerous valleys. Corn, rice, mulberry, date-palm, olive, the vine, poppy (for opium), melon, sugar-cane, hemp, flax, tobacco, cotton, are grown. The silk-worm is extensively reared. The domestic animals are the sheep, camel, horse.
MANUFACTURES. Somewhat important. Silk, carpets, swords and other weapons, shawls, leather, perfumery.
COMMERCE. Somewhat important. Carried on by caravans, which convey goods through the deserts to Russia and the neighbouring countries. There is also a trade with Russia by the Caspian Sea, with India by the Persian Gulf, and with Great Britain and the Mediterranean by the Red Sea. British manufactured goods are imported.
Exports. Silk goods, carpets, tropical fruits, shawls, rice, sulphur.
Ports. (On the Caspian) Balfroosh, Resht, Astrabad ; (on the Persian Gulf) Bushire, Gombroon.
POPULATION. About 8,000,000. Many of the Persians belong to nomadic tribes, living by cattle-rearing and plundering the caravans. RELIGION.
Mahometanism. Some of the Persians are Guebers, or fire-worshippers, followers of the ancient religion of Persia. There are many Jews and some Christians.
GOVERNMENT. A despotic monarchy. The sovereign is called the Shah. Many of the nomadic and predatory tribes are practically independent.
DIVISIONS. Ten provinces.
Teheran, in the province of Fars. Capital of Persia. Population, about 85,000. Situated on an elevated plain near the Elburz Mountains. It is so unhealthy in the summer that about half of its inhabitants leave it during that season of the year.