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Saghalian, south of the Sea of Okhotsk.
(Between Asia and Australia lies the great system of the East Indian Archipelago, or East Indies. This will be treated of with the geography for fourth year.)
SURFACE. The immense area of Asia presents every variety of surface, the highest mountain-chains in the world, vast table-lands, immense plains, great deserts, and narrow valleys. The great mountain-chains run generally from east to west through the central regions of the continent, enclosing table-lands of large extent and great elevation.
MOUNTAINS. The chief mountain-ranges are
The Himalayas, forming the northern boundary of India (see Colonies—India).
Belur Tagh, 20,000 feet, to the west of Chinese Tartary. Altai Mountains, 10,000 feet, between Siberia and Mongolia.
Khing-Khan, In-Shan, Yun-ling, three chains, forming a continuous range running through the Chinese Empire from north-east to south-west.
(The ranges given above enclose the great central table-land of Asia. See below.)
Yablonoi Mountains, Stanovoi Mountains, forming a continuation of the Altai Mts., to the extreme north-east of Asia.
Thian-Shan, Kwan-Lun, crossing the western part of the great central table-land.
Hindoo-Koosh, 23,000 feet, a continuation of the Himalayas to the west, forming the northern boundary of Afghanistan.
Elburz Mountains, 14,000 feet, in Persia, south of the Caspian Sea.
Mountains of Armenia, with Mt. Ararat, 17,000 feet.
Lebanon, with Djebel-es-Sheikh, 10,000 feet, in Syria (Asiatic Turkey).
Ural Mountains, between Europe and Asia (Siberia).
Soliman Mountains, Vindhya Mountains, Eastern and Western Ghauts, in India (see Colonies-India).
TABLE-LANDS (or Plateaus).
The Central Table-Land, the largest in the world. It is bounded by the Himalayas on the south, by Belur Tagh on the west, by the Altai Mountains on the north, and by KhingKhan, In-Shan, and Yun-Ling on the east. It decreases in height from south to north. Its average elevation is about
The Table-Land of Persia.
The Deccan and The Table-Land of Mysore, in India (see
The Plain of Siberia, the largest in the world, extending from the Ural Mountains (which separate it from the Great Plain of Europe) to Behring's Straits, and from the Arctic Ocean to the Altai Mountains. A large part of this plain is very barren, consisting of sandy tracts and morasses. The part bordering on the Arctic Ocean is very cold, being frozen during a great part of the year.
The Plain of Turkestan, or Tartary, between the plain of Siberia, the Caspian Sea, and the Hindoo Koosh.
The Plain of China, in the north-east of China, consisting of land for the most part fertile and well cultivated.
The Great Plain of Hindostan (see Colonies-India).
The Desert of Gobi, or Shamo, occupying the north-east portion of the central table-land.
The Great Indian Desert (see Colonies-India).
RIVERS. The rivers of Asia are large and numerous. The great watershed of Asia is the central table-land, from which rivers run north, east, south, and west. The principal rivers are
(1) Flowing into the Arctic Ocean :
Obi, 2,600 miles, rising in the Altai Mountains, and flowing north-west through Siberia into the Arctic Ocean. Its chief tributary is the Irtish.
Yenisei, 2,900 miles, rising in the Altai Mountains, and flowing north through Siberia into the Arctic Ocean. Its chief tributary is the Angara.
Lena, 2,500 miles, rising in the northern slope of the Altai Mountains, and flowing north-east and then north through Siberia into the Arctic Ocean. Its chief tributary is the Aldan.
(2) Flowing into the Pacific Ocean :
Amour, or Saghalian, 2,000 miles, rising in the Yablonoi Mountains, and flowing south-east and then north-east through China into the Gulf of Tartary.
Pei-Ho, draining the north of China, and flowing into the Petchili Gulf.
Hoang-Ho, 2,600 miles, rising in the central table-land, and flowing generally east through China into the Yellow Sea.
Yang-tse-Kiang, 3,200 miles, the longest river in Asia, rising in the central table-land, and flowing east through China into the Yellow Sea. On its banks are Hankow and Nankin.
Si-Kiang, Choo-Kiang, or Canton River, rising in the central table-land, and flowing east through China into the Chinese Sea, near the island of Hong-Kong. Not far from its mouth is Canton.
May-Kiang, or Cambodia, rising in the central table-land, and flowing south-east through Thibet and Further India into the Chinese Sea.
Meinam, rising in the central table-land, and flowing south through Further India into the Gulf of Siam. At its mouth is Bangkok, the capital of Siam.
(3) Flowing into the Indian Ocean :
Saluen, rising in the central table-land, and flowing south through Further India into the Gulf of Martaban.
Irrawady, rising in the central table-land, and flowing south through Burmah into the Gulf of Martaban. On its banks is Ava, the chief town of Burmah.
Brahmapootra, 1,700 miles.
Tigris, 1,000 miles, and Euphrates, 1,700 miles. These rivers rise in the Mountains of Armenia, and flow south-east through Turkey in Asia. They inclose a tract of country called Mesopotamia (between the rivers). At a distance of about 100 miles from the sea they unite into one stream, which Aows into the Persian Gulf. On the banks of the Tigris is Mosul (the ancient Nineveh), Bagdad, and on the Euphrates are the ruins of Babylon. On the united stream is Bassorah.
(4) Flowing into the Black Sea :
Kizil-Irmak, rising in Taurus, and flowing through Asia Minor by a winding course into the Black Sea.
(5) Flowing into lakes :
Jordan, rising in Lebanon, and flowing through Syria into the Dead Sea. This river is small, but important as connected with sacred history.
Yarkand, flowing into Lake Lob, in the central table-land.
Caspian Sea, 120,000 square miles. If considered as a lake, it is the largest in the world. It partly forms the boundary between Europe and Asia. Its water is salt, but less so than that of the sea generally. Its surface is about 100 feet lower than that of the ocean. It abounds in fish.
Sea of Aral, in Turkestan. Area, 26,000 square miles. Its water is salt, like that of the Caspian.
Lake Baikal, in Asiatic Russia.
This lake contains salt water. It is important as connected with sacred history.
Lake Van, in Armenia.
CLIMATE. Every variety of climate is found in Asia. The southern parts of Asia are very hot, owing to their being protected from the cold winds of the north by the great central mountains and table-land. Similarly, the northern parts of Asia, being exposed to the Arctic winds, and cut off from the hot winds of the south by the mountains, are intensely cold. The central portions of Asia are cold, on account of their elevation, and dry. The southern regions have monsoons, or regular winds, which blow from the south-west during the summer months, and from the north-east during the other months. The winters of the north are very long and severe.
SOIL. Of every kind. Very barren in the deserts and tablelands. Fertile in the plains of Hindostan and China.
MINERALS. Abundant in many parts.
Diamonds (in Hindostan), precious stones (in Hindostan), gold (in Siberia and India), silver (in Siberia and China), coal (in India and China), iron, lead, copper, tin, platinum (in Siberia), quicksilver.
ANIMALS. The animal life of Asia is very varied. Most of the finest species of quadrupeds are found in their most perfect forms.
(1) Wild beasts. Elephant, tiger, lion, leopard, rhinoceros hyæna, jackal, fox, antelope, ape, wolf, goat, etc.
(2) Domestic animals. Camel, elephant, reindeer, dog, sheep, goat, ox, horse, ass, etc.
(3) Birds. These are remarkable for their plumage. Song