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Tbanslated by a. H. KEANE, M.A.I. 












•: ,• 

• ' - • - • • 


- • • • " • . ' 




• • 



This book, relating to Asia, forms part of a compendium 
of geography and travel for all quarters of the world. The 
compendium was originally based on Von Hellwald's com- 
prehensive work, Die Erde und ihre Volker. 

But when the task of adapting the foreign work, 
regarding Asia, to the requirements of English readers 
was undertaken, it was found necessary to enlarge the 
treatment of the whole subject, and to rearrange the 
topics comprised therein. This was found to involve the 
composing of a new book, recasting the contents of Hell- 
wald's work, for which due acknowledgment is made — 
but including also much additional matter as the result 
of recent research, and bringing the information up to the 
latest dates. 

The composition was, as wiU be seen from the title- 
page, entrusted to Mr. A. H. Eeane, who possesses special 
qualifications, having translated fix>m the German the 
whole of Hellwald's work, and having prepared ethnolo- 
gical appendices to several numbers of the series contained 
in this general compendium. Indeed Mr. Keane's ethno- 
logical acquirements, which are of the first rank, and in 
which he is equalled by few, mark him as singularly 
fitted for this task. His wide acquaintance with physical 
geography, and his literary aptitude generally, will be 
apparent from the book itself. 


As Author, then, he is responsible for the contents of 
the book, and for the verification of the facts. On the 
other hand, I have, as Editor, carefully revised the whole 
composition throughout all the chapters of the work 
itself, and to that extent I fully acknowledge my respon- 

But for the Ethnological Appendix Mr. Keane is solely 
responsible, and it will be found instructive as well as 
interesting. I regret that his alphabetical list of the races 
and languages of Asia has been unavoidably sacrificed to 
the exigencies of space. The list will be very full, con- 
taining 3000 entries with copious references. For the 
information of those who take a special interest in 
ethnography, however, it may be mentioned that this list, 
together with much additional matter, will probably soon 
be issued under a different form. 

In the general arrangement of the chapters and of 
the heads in each chapter, I have taken a more particular 
part. It is hoped that clearness and facility of reference 
will result fix>m the pains which have been bestowed on 
this arrangement As Asia contains many diverse nations 
and countries, simplicity and uniformity of arrangement 
become peculiarly important The aim has been to pre- 
sent the same kind of information for each of these many 
nations and countries, arranged imder the same heads. 
Hereby the student will find his studies easier than they 
would otherwise be, and will be enabled to compare readily 
the state of the several nations and countries under their 
different forms of civilisation. He will also have the 
means of immediately measuring the stage which the 
available information regarding them has reached imder 
their various types of administration. 

Thus Asia is divided, for the purposes of this work, 
into four main sections : — 


A. Western Asia : Muhammad an State& 

B. Southern Asia : British Political Ststem. 

C. Northern Asu : Russian Political System. 

D. Eastern Asu : Buddhist States. 

The chapters are numbered in one series consecutively 
ftom the beginning to the end of the book. Thus Chapter 
I., the introduction, presents a general survey of Asia, 
Chapters II. to YI. are comprised in Section A, Chapters 
VII. and VIII. in Section B, Chapters IX. to XI. in Sec- 
tion C, and Chapters XII. to XIY. in Section D. 

Then in each chapter there are the same heads as 
follows: — 1. Area — Extent — Boundaries; 2. Belief of 
the Land ; 3. Hydrography : Rivers and Lakes ; 4. Natural 
and Political Divisions ; 5. Climate ; 6. Fauna and Flora; 
7. Inhabitants ; 8. Topography : Chief Towns ; 9. High- 
ways of Communication; 10. Administration; 11. Sta- 

Thus, although the work deals with the utmost 
variety of conditions and of circumstances, there is sym- 
metry in its arrangement as a volume of reference. 

To the English reader a description of Asia may prove 
interesting by reason of the interests which England pos- 
sesses in that quarter of the globe. The Asiatic dominions 
or dependencies of the British Crown contain more than 
2^ millions of square miles. The people, under direct ad- 
ministration or political control of England, consists of 270 
millions of souls, speaking at least twenty languages. Her 
European troops in Asia are maintained at a strength of 
about 70,000 men, while her native troops are 140,000 
in number. Her ships of war stationed in Asiatic waters 
are about forty. She possesses 9000 miles of railway 
in Asia, and 20,000 miles of electric telegraph on land, 
besides 8000 miles of submarine cable. The capital 
invested by the British people in these dominions or 


dependencies^ either in State loans or in railways under 
State supervision, is not less than 250 millions sterling 
altogether. Besides this, there is a vast sum invested in 
private enterprises — agricultural, commercial, industrial — 
and amounting to scores of millions sterling, whereof the 
aggregate cannot be exactly computed. The foreign trade 
of these dominions or dependencies amounts to 150 mil- 
lions sterling in value annually, of which about half is 
with the United Kingdom. Apart from this, the trade of 
the United Kingdom with other Asiatic countries has a 
yearly value of 20 millions sterling. 

The Asiatic dominions or dependencies of Bussia are 
even more vast in area, containing 6|^ millions of square 
miles; but they have a small population, 18 millions of 
souls, and in other economic respects they are not com- 
parable to the British Empire in Asia, however interesting 
and important they may be. Still the progress of Russia 
from the Altai Mountains, "v^^ch form the southern 
boundary of Siberia, towards the Himalayas, which are 
the northern boundary of India, has been remarkable 
within the present generation. During the most recent 
years she has established a base of progress, starting from 
the east shore of the Caspian, towards Central Asia. 
With the Caspian she now possesses complete communi- 
cation by rail. As an inland sea the Caspian is now a 
Russian lake, the maritime share which Persia once owned 
in it having dwindled to insignificance. 

The Asiatic interests of France are growing fast, and 
her possessions in Cambodia or Camboja now contain 
56,000 square miles, with a population of 750,000 souls. 
Besides this, she has a protectorate over the neighbouring 
province of Annam, with an area of 200,000 square miles 
and a considerable population, the number of which is not 
exactly known. Her dominions in this quarter, though 
as yet undeveloped, are capable of indefinite expan- 


don — ^the soil is splendidly fertile, and the population 
may multiply under a civilised administration. This 
Fnoich juiiadiction is interposed between British India 
and China. 

Amoi^ the comparatively novel points elucidated by 
tins work, the following may be mentioned : — 

The circumstances of Central Arabia, the decay of the 

Wahhabi and the rise of the Shammar State ; 
The results of the late Bussian campaign in Turkestan, 

the new Busso-Persian frontier, and the present 

condition of Merv ; 
The orographic and lacustrine systems of Zungaria, 

with the lines of approach between the Chinese 

and Bussian empires in that direction ; 
The recent exploration in Palestine and beyond the 

Jordan ; 
The geographical results of the late Afghan war, the 

approaches to the Iranian tableland from the 

Indus valley and from Turkestan ; 
The investigations by Prejevalsky in the basins of the 

Lob-nor and the Kuku-nor ; 
The travels by Gill, Baber, and Desgodins, on the 

frontiers between Tibet, China, and Burma ; 
The determination of the farthest source of the 

The political and social changes in Japan. 

Although the information afforded by this book may 
be of general assistance in mastering or elucidating some 
among the political problems of the time, yet the utmost 
care has been taken to keep the matter free from contro- 
versial elements. 

It is hoped that the physical geography of Asia will 
be presented to the imagination of the reader more vividly 
than it ever has been before. The prominent features are 


drawn with as much precision as possible. Such is the 
great Central Plateau, containing the most elevated areas 
to be found anywhere, walled in by mountains some of 
which are the loftiest yet discovered, giving birth to all 
the greatest rivers which flow towards the Arctic, the 
Pacific, the Indian Oceans, and affording a home to 
the nomad tribes that once ravaged the gardens of 
Central Asia and overran parts of Europe. Such, also, 
is the wondrous drainage which finds no vent towards the 
ocean, and is collected in inland seas, as the Caspian, the 
Aral, and the Siberian Balkhash, or in the lakes of Yar- 
kand and Tibet, the swamps of Sfstan, the saline depres- 
sions of Persia, the inner waters of Asia Minor and of 

The climatic conditions are set forth and their causes 
indicated — the heat and moisture of the south, the pre- 
vailing drought of the west, the temperate zone in the 
east, the amazing rainfall, measured not by inches but by 
feet, on the uplands which confront the vapours surging 
from the Indian Ocean, the burning winds hot as the 
blast from a furnace, the alternations of temperature in 
the centre and the north ranging between the extremes 
of heat and cold. In fact, the main Asiatic continent 
presents remarkable instances of what has been termed 
the Continental climate, which, at one season, is marked 
by burning heat, at another by intense frost, and which 
is so strange to English experience. 

Some attempt is made to depict the scenery — ^the 
summits of Caucasus and Ararat, the brilliant colouring 
of Arabian rocks, the glittering snows and doud-piercing 
peaks of the Himalayas, the groves and woods of Southern 
India or Ceylon, the teak forests of Burma, the tropical 
vegetation of Siam and Malacca, the majestic rivers of 
China, the sylvan and architectural beauties of Japan, 
the countless boats in Indian estuaries and Chinese 


wateis, the steamers riding at anchor at Calcutta and 
Bombay, the fires in Mongolian prairies, the desolate lakes 
at alpine altitudes in mid-Asian ranges, the atmospheric 
gloom of some regions in Siberia, the frozen plains bor- 
deiing on the Arctic Ocean. 

Mention is made of the noble structures still preserved, 
as attesting the Asiatic genius of the past — the marble 
mausoleum at Agra, the Jama mosque of Delhi, the tomb 
of Tamerlane at Samarkand, the gilt pagodas of Burma 
and Siam, the Hindu temples in Southern India, the 
Lama monasteries of Tibet, the Buddhist fanes of China 
and Japan. 

Conspicuous in the Indian landscape are the works 
of British engineering in railways and in canals for irri- 
gation on the largest scale in the world. To these are 
now added the tall chimneys of the factories worked 
by European machinery and appliances in the manufac- 
turing centres of India. The steam-engine has crossed 
most of the classic Indian rivers, penetrated parts of the 
Himalayas, and invaded Baluclustan. 

N'or are the art-industries to be disregarded — the 
carpets of Persia, the shawls of Kashmir, the lacquer- 
work of Japan, the silks of China, the enamelling and 
embroidery of India. While the principles of European 
ait are freely communicated to Asiatics, we should take 
care that the fresh springs of native genius are not 
quenched. Though perhaps inferior to Europeans in 
accuracy of drawing, Asiatics have a strong perception 
respecting vigour in outline, and a fine feeling for 
hanuonised richness in colour. 

The brute creation also deserves notice — ^the elephant 
of Ceylon, the tiger of Bengal, the ibex and ovis ammon 
of the Himalayas, the deer of India, the goat of Angora, 
the wild ass of Persia, the powerful horse of Turkestan, 
the fleet and gentle steed of Kejd, the Bactrian camel, 


and the swift-footed dromedary — ^truly named the ships 
of the desert — ^in the basin of the Oxus and the heart of 

An account of Asia summons up the memory of the 
remotest past known to human history, and presents to 
the mind's eye the antiquities with which most parts of 
the Continent are bestrewn, the remnants of a bygone 
civilisation pertaining to ancient times or the monuments 
of mediseval greatness. Such are the remains of Iconium 
and Balbec, of Persepolis, of Susiana, and of Ctesiphon — 
the rocks forming the ancient gates of Syria, and bear- 
ing memorial tablets of invaders from the Pharaohs to 
Napoleon III. — the Scythian cromlechs — ^the colossal 
bas-reliefs on the scarped side of the pass over the Indian 
Caucasus, — the sculptured caves, the rock-cut temples, 
the monumental mounds,— the ruins of Isfahan, of old 
Delhi, of Ayuthia in Siam, — the vestiges of an otherwise 
unknown Hindu dynasty in the upper valley of the 
Cambodia, and of the national deities in Japan. Such, 
too, are the scarcely distinguishable sites of places which 
were once mighty cities — of Balkh, of Merv, of Ayodhya 
in Korthem India, and of a nameless capital near 

The various phases of civilisation are displayed — the 
Muhammadan, whether in Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, 
Persia, or Turkestan, withering the minds and energies of 
the people with a blight; the Arabian, fostering an 
isolated independence within the limits of an arid and 
inaccessible peninsula; the British, enriching a vast 
population materially, and striving to elevate the upper 
classes morally and intellectually by enlightened legisla- 
tion, by honest administration, and by national education ; 
the Eussian, enforcing among semi-barbarous tribes that 
degree of order which must ultimately soften rude 
violence ; the Chinese, compelling or encouraging the 


most exact and assiduous study, yet implacably hostile to 
real pn^ress ; the Japanese, sweeping away ancient in- 
stitutions, and imitating with sudden zeal the material 
impTOvements of Europe; the French, endeavouring by 
missionary e£fort and by scientific exploration to sow the 
seeds of improvement 

Then the present condition is described of many 
races whose social state hardly attains even a humble 
degree of civilisation — the Bedawin plundering the 
travellers in the desert; the squalid and inert Mongol, 
once the invader of fair domains, and stiU among the first 
of equestrians ; the aborigines dwelling amidst the mala- 
rious forests of India: the solitary hunter in Siberian wilds. 
The characteristics are sketched of the nations which 
make up the Asiatic population of 835 millions of souls — 
the modem Turk, patient, much-enduring, self-sacrificing, 
but stolid and incapable of mental effort ; the Armenian, 
quick-witted and skilful in business, heretofore wanting 
in the stamina which constitute national character, but 
now beginning to assert a claim to nationality; the Arab, 
devout, sedate, resolute, and independent in isolation; 
the Persian, gay, refined, fluent in speech, but unstable in 
action ; the Turkoman, ruthlessly dragging his victims into 
bondage ; the fanatical priesthood of Islam ; the high- 
caste Hindu, cherishing the traditions of centuries, and 
clinging to caste, despite the inroads of new learning ; the 
Indian, trained by the Western education, abandoning 
the ancestral faith and fairly facing the moral or spiritual 
problems of the age ; the Annamese, described as merry- 
hearted by sympathetic Frenchmen ; the Chinese, diligent 
and practical in trade and agriculture, assiduous in severe 
study, but still hating modem progress; the Japanese, 
eagerly opening the windows of his mind to the social 
ideas of Europe. 

The labours of some among the most distinguished of 


modem travellers should be gratefully remembered : the 
Englishmen, Bawlinson, Ney Elias^ Baber, Gill, Delmar 
Morgan, Freshfield, Bryce, Lansdell, Seebohm, Bumaby, 
Palgrave; the Bnssians, Prejevalsky, Kropotkin, Badde, 
Khamkoff; the Germans, Bichthofen, Schlagintweit, 
Hiiber, Wallin ; the Frenchmen, Hue, Gamier, Mouhot, 
Pallegoix, Desgodins ; the Swedish, Nordenskjold ; the 
Italian, Manzoni; the Dutchman, Siebold; the Hungarian, 
Vambery; the Americans, Schuyler, Collins, Kennan, 
Bush. In this difficult work, involving severe privations 
and distress, European ladies have borne an honourable 
part — Lady Anne Blunt, Miss Bird, Mrs. Atkinson, 
Madame Ujfalvy Bourdon. The pioneers of geographical 
discovery in Asia have to encounter not only the savagery 
of Nature but also the fierceness of Man, and need the 
sternest resolution besides the stiffest physical strength. 
Many of them have, in the service of geography, injured 
their health, and some of them have sacrificed their 
lives. But all have been supported imder their load of 
labour by a love of natural beauty and an enthusiasm in 
the cause of knowledge. 

Prominent among geographical explorers have been 
the Christian missionaries, in whom intellectual gifts and 
courageous resolution have been added to spiritual 

Geography has ofttimes proved to be a foster-mother 
to the physical sciences in Asia. She has also been the 
handmaid to those who conduct the trigonometrical 
surveys, the geological investigations, the antiquarian 
explorations, who make the botanical collections, who 
manage the meteorological observatories, who foUow the 
ethnological and philological studies. 

Notwithstanding the matchless interest attaching to 
it as "the birthplace of mankind" and "the cradle of 
civilisation," the Asia of to-day hardly presents a happy 


appearance. Her three widespread creeds — Buddhism, 
Biahmanism, Muhammadanism, by their effects as now 
prevailing — obscure the reason, damp the aspirations, 
and deaden the energies of the people. Weighed in the 
scales of modem civilisation she is found practically 
wanting ; viewed in the light of religion and reason she 
seems incapable of self-elevation. She is, in short, unable 
to attain moral or spiritual enlightenment by any striv- 
ings of her own, or to propel herself onward in the path 
of progress by spontaneous energy. Decrepitude has 
long been stealing over her, and old age has supervened 
without any future in hopeful prospect, unless she shall 
be rendered amenable to external influences. One-third 
of her population is already subject to one or other of the 
European powers, and of the remainder much is domi- 
nated by European influence in many essential respects. 
It almost seems to be decreed that Europe shall, in the 
immediate future, mould the destinies of Asia. Some 
Asiatic nations enjoy, indeed, a certain independence, but 
in practice it often degenerates into a liberty to wage 
internecine conflicts, to maintain an intellectual bondage, 
and to hold themselves aloof from foreign culture. In two 
of her recent expeditions, also, China has acted without 
deference either to England or to Bussia. Nevertheless 
Europe is gradually becoming the mistress of Asia — ^is 
connected with the Asiatic continent by growing interests, 
and is deriving material advantage from this connexion. 
It is only by the means of such a connexion that 
rejuvenescence seems possible for Asiatic races. One 
immediate consequence is that the Christian religion is 
unreservedly preached in many parts of the continent. 
The progress of Christianity at first sight seems slow 
because of the vastness of the field in which its operations 
are conducted Actually, however, it is considerable, and 
in some instances rapid. 


The advantages sprmging from European influence in 
Asia may be apdy illustrateKi by a summary comparison 
between India and China. Of the two countries China 
is not only the larger, but also the finer in respect to the 
conditions of its soil and climate, as weU as the qualities 
of its people. Yet it has neither a railway nor an electric 
telegraph, nor any enlightened system of legislation and 
education* Its grand canals are ill repaired and imper- 
fectly managed. Its mineral resources are undeveloped, 
and its foreign trade is relatively small Whereas India 
is permeated by the railway and the tel^raph, has 
scientifically framed laws, and a liberal system of State 
education. Its canals are magnificently managed, its coal- 
mines are worked, and its foreign trade is threefold that 
of China, though its population is less than that of the 
Chinese by one third. 

After all, Asiatic progress is supremely important 
to the interests of mankind at large, for Asia — despite 
all the devastation and depopulation to which she has 
been subjected — still contains more than half of the 
human race. Those regions of hers which, lying on her 
southern and eastern shores, have been the most readily 
approached by foreigners, are the most densely peopled 
parts of the earth. Though some Asiatic races are unim* 
pressionable, and others almost brutish, yet many possess 
a lively intellect, a studious disposition, an expansive 
imagination, a sensitive conscience. But none of them 
have the mental stamina and the moral fibre which are 
found in Europe. For the present they aU need guidance 
from without; with that guidance most of them are 
susceptible of such improvement and capable of such 
advancement as may give rise to boundless aspirations 
among all who feel the enthusiasm of humanity. They 
ought to receive from Europe the benefit of all that 
knowledge which has raised European civilisation to its 


present height In shorty Europe is incurring much 
responsibility in respect of Asia, and will doubtless dis* 
change the duties arising therefrom until the Asiatic 
races shall, under Providence, be able to dispense with 
guidance and to soar aloft with their own wings. 

R T. 

The Kash, Ksmfset, neab Worcester, 
Apnl 1882. 


Chapter I. —Genbbal Survey. 




Chaftsr XL — Asia Minor. 

Chapter III. — Armenia and Mesopotamia. 

Chapter IV.— Syria and Palestine. 

Chapter Y. — Arabia. 

Chapter YI. — Persia. 


Chapter YII. — AfohanistIn and Baluchistan. 
Chapter YIII.— Indian Empire. 


Chapter IX. — Caucasia. 
Chapter X. — TurkestXn. 
Chapter XI.^Siberia. 


Chapter XII. — Chiiobbe Empire. 

Chapter XIII.— Japan. 

Chapter XIY.— Indo-China and Malacca. 

APPENDIX : Ethnology and Philology of the Asiatic Races. 


General Sttevey. 


1. Bouudaries — Extent — Area — Southern Peninsulas — Northern 

and Eastern Seaboards ...... 1 

2. Belief of the land : Plateaux and Highlands . .7 
8. Hydrography : Rivers and Lakes — Inland and Seaward Drainage 9 

4. Main Political Diyinons . . . . . .12 

5. Climate : Diminished Moisture — Rainfall . .14 

6. Flora and Fauna . . . .17 

7. Inhabitants : Social Culture — Religion . ' . 19 

8. Topography: Chief Towns .24 

9. Highways of Communication . . .24 

10. Administration . . . . .26 

11. Statistics . . . . .28 



Asia Minos. 

1. Boundaries — Extent— Area . . . . .30 

2. Relief of the Land : Taurus, Anti-Taurus, and Amanus — Passes 

— Plains — Volcanic Agencies — Geological Formation . . 31 

3. Hydrography : Rivers, the Eizil-Irmak, Sakaria» Choruk, Khoja- 

chai, and others — Lake Tuz-gol . .35 

4. Natural and Political Divisions— Islands . . .36 

5. Climate . .89 



6. Flora and Fauna . .40 

7. InhaMtantB : Torks, Greelu, Kizil-Baahia .42 
S. Topognpliy : Smyraa^-Trebizond — CsMarea .48 
9. Highiraya of Commnnication .50 

The Evphratsb and Tiokis Basin. 

1. Bonndaiiea — Extent — ^Area . .52 

2. Relief of the Land : The Armenian and Kurdistdn Uplands — ^The 

Meeopotamian Lowlands .53 

Z. Hydrography : The Tigris and Euphrates— Lake Van 60 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : Turkish Armenia and Kur- 

distdn — Mesopotamia .64 

5. Climate . . .67 
1 Flora and Fauna . .68 

7. Inhabitants : The Armenians, Kurds, Nestorians, and Bedouins 68 

8. Topography : Erzerum — ^Yan — Nineveh — Bagdad — Eerbela — 

xSasra ......... 7o 

9. Highways of Communication .81 


Stbia and Palestine. 

1. Boundaries — ^Extent — ^Area .83 

2. Relief of the Land : Lebanon — Anti-Lebanon .84 

3. Hydrography : Jordan — Dead Sea .86 

4. Natural and Political Divisions: Gilead and Moab— Land of 

Bashan — Trachonitis — Ala District — Plateau of Aleppo — 
Canaan— The Plain of Sharon — Galilee— Samaria — Judaea 89 

5. Climate . . .93 

6. Flora and Fauna : The Cedars of Lebanon .94 

7. Inhabitants : The Syrian Christians — Missionary Work — The 

Maronites, Druses^ Nusarieh, and Fellahin .96 

8. Topography : Damascus — ^Aleppo — Emessa — Beynit — ^Nazareth — 

Jerusalem — ^Hebron — Jericho . .101 

9. Highways of Communication .107 



1. Boundaries — Extent— Area — Coast-line— Islands. . . 109 

2. Relief of the Land : Mountains — Plateaux — Lowlands — Deserts 

—Volcanic Tracts .... .111 



3. Hydrography: Wadies Sirhdn, Bawassir, and Er-Ramma — Coast 

Streams ........ 114 

4. Natural and Political Divisions: Peninsula of Sinai — West 

Coast (£1-Hejas, Yemen) — South Coast (Beled-Aden, Hadra- 
maut) — Nejd (Jebel-Shammar, Wahhabi Country) — East Coast 
(El-Hasa, Sultanate of Omin) . .115 

5. Climate : Rainless Zone ...... 125 

6. Flora and Fauna : The Horse and Camel . .128 

7. Inhabitants : Bedouin life ..... 130 

8. Topography: Mecca — Medina — Hafl — Muscat — Aden .134 

9. Highways of Communication . . . .140 

10. Administration : Turkish System in Asiatic Turkey generally — 

Social State — Taxation — Justice — Religion — The Ulema — Edu- 
cation ........ 142 

11. Statistics of Turkey in Asia and Arabia : Areas and Populations — 

Approximate Classification by Races and Religions — Vilayets 
and Separate Administrations — Towns with upwards of 4000 
Inhabitants ....... 148 


1. Boundaries — Extent — Area — Iranian Plateau — Coast-Une — 

Islands ........ 151 

2. ReUef of the Land : Highlands— Plains— Deserts— The Kavirs 164 

3. Hydrography: Inland and Seaward Drainage — ^The Atrak and 

Tajand Riyers ....... 158 

4. Natural and Political Dividons : Irak— Sistdn — Khorasin— The 

Caspian Provinces — Urmia ..... 161 

5. Climate: Rainfall — Prevailing Winds .... 166 

6. Flora and Fauna : The Camel ..... 167 

7. Inhabitants : The Modem Persian .... 169 

8. Topography: Tehran — Kum — Isfahan— Shiraz — Persepolis — 

Mashhad—Keldt— Tabriz— Seaports . . .173 

9. Highways of Communication ..... 180 

10. Administration : Social State — Army — Education . . 182 

11. Statistics: Areas and Populations — Approximate Classification 

by Races and Religions— Memlekets (Provinces) — ^Towns with 
upwards of 7000 Inhabitants— Miscellaneous . . .184 

CONTENTa xxiii 



Afghanistan and BaluohibtjLn (KAbul and KblAt). 


1. Bonndaries — Extent — Area . . .187 

2. Belief of the Land : Hinda-Ensli — Paropamisas — Sufed-k6h — 

Snliman Monntains— Hala and Coast Ranges — Deaerta . . 188 

3. Hydrography: Inland and Seaward Drainage — ^The Hari-nid — 

Helmand and K&bnl Basins ..... 196 
i Natural and Political Divisions : Wakhan — Badakhshan — 
Afghan Turkest&n— Afghanistdn Proper— Eafirist&n — Chitral 
— Swat— Baluchist&n--Eel&t— Makrdn .198 

5. Climate : Sand-storms ...... 206 

6. Flora and Fauna : The Karez Irrigation System — ^The Uromastiz 

Lizard ........ 207 

7. Inhabitants : The Afghans — ^The Brahuis, Balnchis, and Liiri . 210 

8. Topography : Kliolm — Mazari-i-Shenf— Balkh — Herat — Kanda- 

har— Eibol .216 

9. Highways of Communication : Passes .... 224 

10. Administration under the Afghans and the Baluchis . 227 

11. Statistics : Areas and Populations — Approximate Classification by 

Races and Religions — Chief Towns — ^Distances . . 228 

Thx Indian Eupibe. 

1. Boundaries — Extent — Area ..... 280 

2. Relief of the Land : The Himalayas — Plateau of the Deccan — 

The Mountains of the Yindhyas, the Satpura, the Ghats, the 
Nilgiiis, the Aravalli ...... 281 

8. Hydrography: The Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Godavari, 
Kistna, Nerbadda, and Tapti Rivers .... 289 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : Kashmir and Jammu — Nepal 

— Sikkim — Bhutan — The Panj Ab — Sind — R^jputana — Central 
India Agency — North-West Provinces — Behar — Bengal — 
Assam — British Burma — ^The Central Provinces — The Nizam's 
Dominions — Madras Presidency — Mysore — Kiiig — Travancore 
— Bombay Presidency — Gujarat — The Deccan and Konkan — The 
French and Portuguese Possessions — Ceylon, and other Islands . 249 

5. Climate : Rainfall . .279 



6. Flora and Fauna : Tea and C!offee Plantations . . .280 

7. Inhabitants: Hindus, Drayidians, Eolarians, and Tibeto-Bur- 

mans — Caste — Religious Sects — The Kashmiris — ^The Paig&bi 
Hindus and Sikhs — The Assamese — ^The Talaings and Karens — 
The Gonds and Bhfls— The Nilgiri Hill Tribes— The Parsis— 
The Indian Muhammadans — ^The English and Eurasians . 284 

8. Topography: Srinagar — Lahore — Delhi — Karachi — Agra — Cawn- 

pore — Lucknow — ^Allahabad — ^Benares — Patna — Murshedabad — 
Dacca — Calcutta — Jaganath — Rangun — Moulmaln — Prome — 
Nagpur — Jabalpur — Bhopal — Indore — Gwalior — Jyepur — 
Udeypur — ^Madras — Bellary — Trichinopoly — Ifadura — ^Taigore 
— Calicut — Mysore — Seringapatam — Bangalore — Hyderabad — 
Secanderabad — Bombay — Ahmadabad — Baroda — Surat — Poona 
— Sholapur — Bijapur— Satara — Ahmadnagar . . 308 

9. Highways of Communication : Canals— Roads— Railways . 829 

10. Administration : The Native States — Social Progress under British 

Rule— Education . . . .383 

11. Statistics: Areas and Populations — Chief Feudatory States — 

British Political System — Towns with upwards of 20,000 
Inhabitants — Population classed according to Races and Reli- 
gions — Chief River Basins — Canals — Railways — Finance — Army 
— Occupations — Education — Literature — Postal Service — Trade 
and Shipping — Miscellaneous ..... 339 





1. Boundaries — Extent — Area ..... 345 

2. Relief of the Land : The Great and Little Caucasus — Armenian 

Plateau — Ararat and Ala-goz ..... 347 

3. Hydrography : The Kalaus, Terek, Kuma, Ingur, Rion, Kura, 

and Aras Rivers — Lake Gok-cha .... 355 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : Cis-Caucasla — The Northern 

Steppes and Slopes of the Caucasus ; Trans-Caucasia — Colchis ; 
Georgia ; Russian Armenia ..... 860 

5. Climate : Rainfall ....... 366 

6. Flora and Fauna ....... 367 

7. Inhabitants: Varied Ethnical and Linguistic Elements — ^Tabulated 

Scheme of the Caucasian Aborigines — The Georgians, Mingre- 
Hans, Imerians, Circassians, Abkhasians, Chechenzes, Lesghians. 
Osses ; Non-Caucasian Intruding Races . . . . 370 



8. Topognphy: SUvropol — ^VladikAykaz — Derbent — Baku — Poti — 

Tlflis — Kan — Batdm — Eriyan — ^Alezandrapol — Shuaha — Na- 
khieheyan ....... 878 

9. Highways of Gommanication ..... 385 

10. Adminiatratioii : BMolts of Rnasian Rule — Armenian Politics — 

Administratiye Diyisions ..... 386 

11. Statistics : Areas and Populations — Chief Towns— Population 

dasBed according to Races and Religions — Miscellaneous . 888 


Russian TurkbstAn. 

1. Boimdaries — Extent — Areas— Nomenclatare . 891 

2L Relief of the Land : The Great Pamir— Hnmboldfs Bolor Range— 
The Kizil-art and Alai Ranges — The Tian-shan and Ala>tau 
Highlands — ^The Mngojar Hills — ^The Turkestdn Depression— 
The Dried-np Central Adatic Mediterranean — ^The Turkest&n 
Deserts . . . .898 

3. Hydrography : The Rivers Oxns, Zarafshan, Murgh-ab, and Sir- 

darya^The Aral Sea— Lakes Balkhash and Issik-kul . . 402 

4. Natural and Political Divisions: Uralsk — The D4man-i-k6h — 

E[hiva — Bokhara — Ferghana — The Kirghiz Steppes — Semire- 
chinsk ........ 410 

5. Climate: The "Fever Wind" . . .416 

6. Flora and Fauna: The Saxaul — Mosquitoes and Locusts — ^The 

Turkoman Horse ...... 418 

7. Inhabitants : T^ble of the Turkestan Races — The Usbegs — Kira- 

Kalpaks — Kara-Kirghiz — Kirghiz- Kazaks — Turkomans — Tajiks 
—Sarts—Galchas— Russians ..... 421 

8. Topography : Mikhailovsk — Kala Kaushid Khan (Merv) — Khiva 

— Urgeiy — Bokhara — Samarkand — Tashkent — Khokand — 
Namangan — Chaijui — Yemiy ..... 431 

9. Highways of Communication ..... 485 

10. Administration : Resources — ^Products — Trade . . 438 

11. Statistics : Areas and Populations — Inhabitants classed according 

to Races and Religions — Chief Towns — Agricultural Returns — 
Live Stock — Army — Revenue — Distances — Caravans . 440 


1. Boundaries — Extent — ^Area ..... 442 

2. Belief of the Land : The Altai, Sayan, Ergik-Targak, Yablonovoi, 

Stanovoi, Sikhota-alin, and Kamchatka Ranges .444 



8. Hydrography : The Oh, Yenisei, Lena, Yana, Indigirka, Anadir, 
and Amur Rivers — Lakes Baikal and Eenka . 449 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : West Siheria (Qovemments of 

Toholsk and Tomsk)— The Tundra — ^East Siheria (Qovemments 
of Yeniseisk, Irkutsk, Transhaikalia) — ^Amur — ^Maritime Pro- 
vince — Islands — Sakhalin ...... 462 

5. Climate : Region of Intensest Cold .... 468 

6. Flora and Fauna : The Ai^i, Marmot, and Lemming — ^Extinct 

Mammalia ....... 470 

7. Inhahitants : Tahle of Siherian Races — The Buriats and Mongo- 

lian Buddhism — ^The Tunguses, Yakuts, Eoriaks, Eamchadales, 
Ostiaks, and Shamanism — ^The Samoyedes and Yoguls . . 474 

8. Topography: Omsk — Toholsk — Yekaterinhurg — Tomsk — Bere- 

60V — Ohdorsk — Smeinogorsk — Barnaul — Semipalatinsk — ^Kras- 
noyarsk — Irkutsk — Eiakhta — Vladivostok . . 485 

9. Highways of Communication : The Trakt — Railway Projects . 491 

10. Administration: Education — Industries .... 498 

11. Statistics : Areas and Populations — ^Various Races — Chief Towns 

— Mineral Returns — Trade — Exiles — Puhlic Schools — Length 
of Principal Rivers ...... 495 



Chinese Empire. 

1. Boundaries — Extent — Area ..... 498 

2. Relief of the Land : The £uen-lun Mountain System — The Nan- 

shan, Ehingan, and Kan-ling Ranges — ^The Cross Ridges — 
Plateaux and Depressions ..... 500 

3. Hydrography : Inland Drainage, Loh-nor and Hi Basins — Sea- 

ward Drainage, The Hoang-ho, Yangtse-kiang, Pei-ho, Liao-ho, 
and Si-kiang Basins — Lakes Kuku, Dangra-yum, Tengri, Pang- 
kong, and Palti ....... 506 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : Tihet — ^The Tarini Basin (Kash- 

garia) — Mongolia — Zungaria and Ku^a — Manchuria — ^The Great 
Wall— The Gohi and West Mongolia— South-East Mongolia — 
Korea — China Proper — Islands: Hainan, Formosa, Macao, 
Hong-kong ....... 524 

5. Climate : Prevailing Dryness— Steppe Storms— Typhoons . 562 

6. Flora and Fauna : Rhuharh and Ginseng— The Yak, Wild Camel, 

Birds of Passage ...... 566 



7. Inhabitants : Table of Eacea in the Chinese Empire — ^The 

Chinese ; Jews, Mnhammadana, and Christians in China — The 
Tibetans — Buddhism — The Mongolians . . 670 

8. Topc^^phy : Lassa — Yarkand — Kaahgar — Hand — Urumchi — 

Knlja—Uiiga—Oirin— Peking— Shanghai--The Treaty Ports . 586 

9. Highways of Conununication ..... 594 

10. Administration : Patriarchal Gtovemment — Education — Cabinet 

— Maladministration — Aimy — Material Resources — Foreign 
Trade Belations . .598 

11. Statistics : Areas and Populations — Estimate of Population ac- 

cording to Baces — Chief Towns — ^Trade and Shipping Returns — 
Beyenue— Emigration — ^Army — Foreigners in China . 608 



1. Boundaries — Extent — ^Area — ^Name .... 608 

1 Relief of the Land : Highlands— Volcanoes, Fi\ji-yama, Aso-san, 
Asama-yama ....... 610 

3. Hydrography : Table of Rivers above 50 miles long — Lake Biwa 611 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : Yesso— Hon-do — Kiu-shiu — 

Shi-koku ....... 618 

5. Climate ........ 615 

6. Flora and Fauna : Tea Culture— The Crows of Yesso . . 617 

7. Inhabitants : Ainos and Japanese — The Shinto and Buddhist 

Beligions — Christianity ...... 620 

8. Topography: Hakodate — ^Tokio — Yokohamar— Niigata — Kioto- 

Osaka — ^Nagasaki ..... 687 

9. Highways of Communication : Railways .... 643 

10. Administration : The Mikado and Shogun — The Revolution — 

Army and Navy — ^Education — ^Art — ^The New Ideas .644 

11. Statistics: Areas and Populations — Chief Towns — Trade and 

Shipping Returns — Finance— Miscellaneous . 649 


Iin)o-CHiNA AND Malacca. 

1. Boundaries — Extent — Area ..... 652 

2. Relief of the Land : Mountain Systems — Cochin-Chinese Coast 

Range . . . . . . .658 

3. Hydrography : The Irawady, Salwin, Menam, Mekhong, and 

Song-ka Rivers — Lake Tonld-sap . ^55 




4. Natural and Political Divisions: Burma — Siam — Annam — 

Cambodia — French Cochin»China— Malacca and Straits Settle- 
ments ........ 660 

5. Climate ........ 668 

6. Flora and Fauna ....... 670 

7. Inhabitants: The Eakhyens and Burmese — The Shans, Laos, 

and Siamese — The Annamese and Oambodiuis . . . 670 

8. Topography : Mandalay — Bhamo—Bangkok — Aynthia — ^Luang- 

Prabang — Hu^ — Haiphong — Phnom-penh — Saigon — Singapore . 680 

9. Highways of Communication ..... 685 

10. Administration ....... 686 

11. Statistics: Areas and Populations — Races — Chief Towns — 

Miscellaneous ....... 689 



1. Two Fundamental Physical Types — Mongolic and Caucasic 

2. Diversely Intermingled . 

3. Their Distribution 

4. Their Salient Features contrajsted 

5. Numerous Fundamental Linguistic Types 

6. Interchange of Physical and Linguistic Types 

7. Classification of the Asiatic Races 

8. Ethnical and Linguistic Scheme . 

9. The Races of Isolating Speech 

10. The Races of Agglutinating Speech 

11. The Races of Inflecting Speech 

The Aryans . 
The Semites . 
The Caucasians 

12. Races and Languages of Doubtful Affinities 



Aoatoliftii Ploagh . 
Annenian Lady of Smyma 
A Greek of Smyma . 
MeBopotamiaii Desert 
Ko^boorhood of Bagdad 
Aimenian Entertainment 
Cefiee-hoiue, Bagdad 
Snms of Babylon . 
The Cedars of Lebanon 

Anb Draw-well 

Anb Sheikh 


Penian Lady at Home 

Pttslan Lady in Walking Dress 

Gateway, Tehran . 

^nidAsses . 

Afghan Chief 

Afghan Gentleman • 

BtBgram of AfgbanistAn 

Kandahar . 

The Himalayas 

Source of the Ganges 

Page 48 


f * 























To face page 2Z2 
Page 243 






Tiger-hunting — India 

A Hindu of Western India . 

Hindu Types— Travelling Coach 

A Native Lady 

A Fakir 

Cremation Scene^India 

A Himalayan Town •. 

^A Palace in Lahore . 

The Jaganath Procession 

South Side of Mount Elburz, and Asan Glacier 

Ararat • 




Crossing the Sir-Darya 

Usbeg Woman 


Turkoman Encampment 

Crossing the Yenisei 

Valley of the Amur . 

Sleighing in Siberia 


Scene on the Hoang-Ho 

Yang-tse-kiang Rapids 

The Golden Island, Yang-tse-kiang 

A Chinese Junk 

Camping -Ground, West Tibet— 

distance • • 

The Great Wall 
Korean Type 
Malay Village, Formosa 
Chinese Lady, Shanghai 
West Gate, Peking . 
Fuji-yama . 

Japanese Warrior in Feudal Times 
Japanese Tea-house . 
Japanese Girls 
The Jinrikisha 
Temple in Kamakura 

the Karakorum 

in the 

To face page 2S3 

Page 285 






,. 311 

To faee page ZIS 


To face page 853 









., 4€1 
To face page i69 







To face page 610 

To face page Q2B 
Pa^« 629 





Yakonin and Attendant 

A Canal in Toldo . 

Statoe of Baibots — Kamaknra 

Valley of the Irawady 

Siameae Landscape . 




Fniit-Seller, Singapore 




Page 686 
'o face page 662 

Page 674 





1. Index Map to ChApteis . . . . 

To face OonUnU. 

2. Asisk, Physical .... 

„ poffe 1 

8. Aaia, Political ... 

n » 


4. Asia Minor, Armenia, and Eordistdn 

t* f 


5. Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine 

)f f 

, 108 

6. Persian-Afghan-Torkoman Frontier 

>» 9 

. 160 

7. India ...... 

f ) 1 

, 844 

8. Gancasns . . . . . 

It t 

, 890 

9. Kuija, Russo-Chinese Frontier . 

If 1 

, 400 

10. China ...... 

t* t 

, 606 

11. Japan ...... 

»» » 

, 650 

12. Indo-Chlna and Malacca 

)l 1 

, 688 




1. JExterU — Area — Boundaries. 

Asul is not only the largest, but in many respects the 
grandest and most interesting among the main divisions 
of the globa In size it exceeds by perhaps one million 
square miles the New World, while falling to about the 
same extent short of Europe, Africa, and Australasia, 
tiiat is, of the remaining divisions of the Old World, 
taken collectively. Indeed, two of these — ^Europe and 
Africa — ^might be regarded geographically as appendages, 
or western peninsulas, of the Asiatic mainland, and 
geology has already determined beyond doubt the former 
oomiection of the austral-insular world with the south- 
eastern seaboard. Here the seas separating Trans-6an- 
getic India and China from Sumatra, Borneo, and the 
Philippines, rarely exceed 600 feet in depth, while the 
shallow waters are continued almost uninterruptedly from 
the Philippines south-eastwards to New Guinea and the 
north coast of Australia. 

The principal features of this vast region every- 
where present the same majestic proportions, or are drawn 
upon the same colossal scale. On three sides oceans 
form its natural boundaries, the Arctic on the north, the 
Pacific on the east, and the Indian on the soutL To* 



wards the west the frontier-line is extremely irregular, and 
at some points almost arbitrary, running in one place 
along the 60th, projecting in another westwards to the 
30th degree of the meridian, and elsewhere presenting no 
conspicuous landmarks. Nevertheless, even her^ exten- 
sive mountain ranges and inland seas form on the whole 
a natural frontier sufficiently well defined between 
Europe and Asia. Proceeding southwards we have the 
Ural Moimtains and the Ural Eiver forming the line of 
demarcation from the 70 th to the 50 th parallel, beyond 
which the separation is even more strongly marked by 
the great barrier of the Caucasus, the Black, Mediter- 
ranean, and Red Seas. In the Isthmus of Suez, Asia 
is cut off from its vast AMcan peninsula only by the 
narrow canal now connecting the Mediterranean with the 
Sed Sea, and offering a continuous water highway &om 
Great Britain to her remotest eastern possessions. From 
this point the mainland stretches in a compact body for 
about 6700 miles east and west to East Cape, where 
Bering Strait,^ here scarcely 36 miles wide, separates it 
from the New World. Its greatest breadth north and south 
lies between Cape Chelyuskin in the Arctic Ocean, and 
Cape Eomania, the southern extremity of Malacca ; and 
these two points, which are some 5300 miles apart, 
might almost be connected by a straight line passing 
along the 104'' east longitude, and dividing the conti- 
nent into two unequal parts. 

Within these limits Asia presents a compact mass of 
land, of a somewhat quadrangular shape, with its four 
sides facing towards the four points of the compass. 
But the line is broken on the south by three great pro- 
jections, the Arabian, Indian, and Indo-Chinese peninsulas, 

^ Usually written with an A, Behring^ according to German ortho- 
graphy. Bat the illastrions navigator was a Dane, and always spelled 
his name Bering, 


presenting many etrOcing points of analogy with Spain, 
Italy, and Greece, the three corresponding peninsulas of 
South Europe. Arabia, like Spain, forms a vast table- 
land nvith a monotonous coast-line, unvaried by any deep 
iiilet& Like Italy, India is sheltered from the north by 
a great alpine region, is traversed by a mountain range 
running north and south, and terminates at its southern 
extremity with a large and fertile island In the same 
way the Eastern Archipelago, continuing the Indo-Chinese 
peninsula towards Australasia, answers to that of the 
Jgean Sea, serving to connect the Hellenic peninsula with 
Asia Minor. Asia Minor, itself the westernmost project- 
ing peninsula of Asia, may be compared with Brittany, 
the westernmost promontory of Central Europe, and the 
analogy is completed by the peninsulas of Corea and the 
Crimea, both projecting into narrow inland seas, and by 
the great archipelagoes of Japan and the British Isles, 
nearly equal 'in extent and even in population, but with 
their positions towards the mainland necessarily reversed. 
Along the whole northern section of the continent 
there stretches a boundless lowland region, which, for 
hundreds of miles inland, is covered with the so-called 
iumdra — dreary and almost uninhabitable wastes, exposed 
to the full fury of the fierce Arctic gales, ice-bound for 
nine months in the year, and in many places permanently 
fix)zen to a considerable depth. Further south the land 
ascends gradually to the Sbuth Siberian highlands, whence 
flow the Ob, Yenisei, Lena, and other great streams, which 
during the short open season roll their sluggish waters 
northwards to the Arctic basin. This great polar sea 
wadies the whole of the flat and low-lying North Asiatic 
seaboard, the exploration of which has been but recently 
completed by the Swedish navigator, Nordenskjold, who 
for the first time made the north-east passage in 1878-9, 
and determined the northernmost point of the continent, 


at Cape Severo^ close to Cape Chelyuskin, in TS"* 20' N. 
lat and 104'' K long. These bleak Northern shores, 
feicing the neighbouring archipelago of New Siberia, and 
the recently-visited Wrangel Land, form a true Arctic 
region, lying entirely within the Arctic Circle, and 
sparsely inhabited by a few nomad Samoyede, Yakut, 
Yukaghir, and Chukchi tribes. Its low level and exposed 
northern aspect, combined with its high latitude and 
enormous extension southwards, are the chief reasons 
which cause the climate of this region to be the most 
'' coptinental " — as it is technically termed, that is, subject 
to the greatest extremes of cold and heat — of any other 
on the globe. " Siberian " winters have become proverb- 
ial, but the summers are almost equally intense; and 
while the mercury becomes frozen to a hard malleable 
mass during the clear Arctic nights in mid-winter, it will 
occasionally rise to above lOO"* F. at mid-day in Juna 
The most imfavourably situated tracts are undoubtedly 
those which stretch along the Frozen Ocean, from the 
Taimur peninsula to the Biver Kolima, which in many 
places are permanently frozen for some distance below the 
surface. But further east also, and generally speaking 
throughout the whole of the north-east, the aspect of the 
land L9 extremely dreary, especially in the Chukchi 
countiy, which reaches quite to Bering Strait Here is 
developed the great peninsula of Kamchatka, which 
stretches southwaxds, and is continued across the £urile 
archipelago as far as the northern extremity of the large 
Japanese island of Yesso. Igneous agencies, elsewhere 
all :but exhausted or long quiescent on the Asiatic main- 
land, are still active in Kamchatka, whose eastern sea- 
board is traversed by an imposing Une of burning moun- 
tains. These volcanoes are continued across the barren 
Kunle group, which, with the peninsula, encloses a deep 
injiet of the Pacific Ocean known as the Sea of Okhotsk, 


along whose desolate shores dwell a few scattered Lamnt 
and other tribes of Tungas stock. More inviting and 
more favourable for agricultural life becomes the region 
where the mighty Amur rolls its waters to the sea over 
against the long and narrow island of Sakhalin. This 
metalliferous island, which is at one point almost con- 
nected with the continent, marks the extreme eastern 
limit of the Czar's authority, but since its cession to 
Bnssia by Japan it has been chiefly used as a convict 
station for political offenders. 

Sakhalin is separated by the narrow Strait of La 
P^ose from the Japanese group of islands which stretch, 
in a slightly curved arch, southwards to the Korean penin- 
sok Thus is formed the almost land-locked Sea of 
Japan, which communicates, through the Gulf of Tartary 
northwards with the Sea of Okhotsk, and through the 
Stiait of Korea southwards, with the Yellow and Eastern 
Seas. East of these waters, and along the east coast of 
Japan, flows the Kuro Siwo, or " Black Stream," which is 
situated nearly under the same parallels of latitude as the 
Gulf Stream, and which plays almost a more important 
part in the Pacific than that remarkable current does in 
the Atlanticw Favoured by the boundless extent of the 
Pacific Ocean, which is here encumbered by but few 
island groups, the Kuro Siwo finds far fewer obstacles 
to its full development than its Western rival, and is thus 
enabled to pursue a more decided course, attended by 
correspondingly greater influences on the climate and 
vegetation of the lands lying in its course. Its effects 
aie especially visible in Japan itself, where everything 
reminds us that we have entered a mild, and, in some 
places, even a sub-tropical zone. Here a delightful climate, 
combined with a lavish display of grand natural scenery, 
unites all the conditions required for the development of 
that peculiar civilisation which cannot fail to .ezdt^ 


the admiration of the Western world, and create a deep 
sympathetic feeling for the Japanese people, with their 
varied industrial pursuits ; their populous cities lying at 
the foot of threatening volcanoes ; their well-tilled lands; 
their many ingenious social and political institutions. 

A southern continuation of the Japanese archipelago 
is formed hy the much smaller group of liu-kiu Islands, 
which have long constituted a subject of contention be- 
tween the governments of China and Japan. This group 
forms a link in the chain of islands, which are developed 
in a series of successive festoons, as it were, along the 
east Asiatic seaboard, between the Bering and China Seas. 
Another, and a still more important link, is formed by 
the extensive but little known island of Formosa, whence 
the transition is easily effected through the Batanes and 
Babuyan groui)S to the Philippines. Formosa occupies 
an important position, both physically and ethnically, for 
it is crossed, nearly in its centre, by the Tropic of Cancer. 
It thus stands on the verge of the torrid and temperate 
zones, marking the extreme northern extension of the 
Malay race, which here meets the Chinese on common 
ground. Beyond this point we pass with the Philippines 
into Australasia proper, and the great Archipelago of 
Malaysia, through which the south-eastern extremity of 
Asia merges imperceptibly with the continent of Australia. 

Notwithstanding the labours of Ney Elias, Mont- 
gomerie, Forsyth, Margery, Gill, Prejevalsky, Krapotkin, 
Kostenko, Richthofen, Vambery, Schlagintweit, Desgodins. 
and many other illustrious modem explorers, a vast 
amount of geographical work still remains to be done in 
almost every part of the continent British India, 
West Siberia, Palestine, and the Caucasus, alone can be 
said to have been thorouglily surveyed, and India espe- 
cially is certainly one of the best-known countries in the 
world* But with these exceptions, and although most 


of the great geographical proLlems have been solved, our 
knowledge of most of the mainland is still far from com- 
plete, and often extremely inadequate. 

2. Belief of the Zand : Flateatix and Highlands. 

The bold lines on which Asia has been framed are 
especially conspicuous, no less in its main political and 
social, than in its physical features. The heart of the 
continent consists of a vast tableland, by far the most 
devated and extensive on the globe, with a mean altitude 
of from 6000 to 15,000 feet, above which tower the 
mighty Himalayan, Kuen-lun, Tian-shan, and Altai ranges. 
This tableland broadens out eastwards, and converges west- 
wards in the nucleus of the Great Pamir, or " Eoof of the 
World." A western extension of the same tableland is 
formed by the Iranian plateau, which stretches from the 
Hindu-Eush and Suliman Mountains, across Afghanistan, 
Baluchistdn, and Persia, to the Persian Gulf and Mesopo- 
tamian lowlands. Culminating towards the north-west in 
the Kurdish and Armenian highlands, Irania merges west- 
wards in the tableland of Asia Minor and the snowy crests 
of Lebanon, but falls abruptly northwards to the valley 
of the Eur. Beyond this historic stream, the land again 
rises to the mighty barrier of the Caucasus, which is con- 
tinued north-westwards through the Taman peninsxda into 
the Crimea, and south-eastwards across the Caspian to the 
highlands separating Irania from the Turkestan lowlands. 

The vast central plateau itself is enclosed on the 
south by the mighty barrier of the Himalayas, sweeping 
round from Afghanistan to Burma in a graceful curve, 
which presents its convex side towards the Indian Ocean. 
On the north the tableland is hemmed in by the Altai, 
with its eastern projections, the Sayan, Yablonovoi, and 
other Siberian ranges; on the east by the less continuous 


Yung-Tang, Inshan, and other Chinese ranges; on the 
west the Himalayas and Altai, through the KarsLkorum, 
Hindu-Kush, Tian-shan, and Alai, close round the Great 
Pamir, here interlacing in the focus of the whole con- 
tinental mountain system. 

But within these stupendous rocky walls the central 
tableland, occupying an area of perhaps 3,000,000 square 
miles altogether, presents several clearly-defined divisions, 
differing greatly in their relief, and even in their physical 
aspect, one from the other. The great Tibetan plateau 
maintains, between the Himalayas and the Kuen-lun, a 
mean elevation of 18,000 to 20,000 feet. The Pamir 
steppe in the west, and the £oko-nor basin in the east, 
fall to 15,000 and 10,000 feet respectively. But beyond 
the Kuen-lun and its possible eastern extensions, there is 
almost an abrupt descent to the vast region of the Gobi 
desert, which is scarcely more than 4000, and which 
sinks westwards in the Tarim or Lob-nor depression as 
low as 2000 feet above sea-leveL Yet, notwithstanding 
these deviations, the enormous extent and great mean eleva- 
tion of the whole region are sufficient to give to the entire 
continent an average altitude of no less than 1600 feet, 
or about 600 feet more than Europe, and 500 more than 
the estimate made by Humboldt, on insufficient data, early 
in the present century. 

The mountain ranges intersecting the plateaux, mainly 
in the direction from the north-west to the south-east, but 
occasionally running nearly due west and east, consist 
chiefly of ciystaUine rocks, old schists, palaeozoic and 
other primitive formations, in the Siberian, Kuen-lun, and 
Karakorum sections. But the Himalayas, although rest- 
ing on granite masses, which crop out in many of the 
highest peaks, are, to a very large extent, of comparatively 
more recent formation, having been upheaved during the 
secondary and tertiary epochs, when the eocene strata 


inLadak were raised to an elevatioii of nearly 12,000 

Simultaneotusly with the tendency towards greater 
diyness in the interior of the continent, there is clear evi- 
dence to show that a process of slow upheaval has been 
going on, at least around most of the seaboard, throughout 
^e present geological epoch. On the north coast, islands, 
which a hundred years ago stood at some distance from 
the land, are now connected with it by rocky isthmuses. 
The upheaved coral reefs skirting the west coast of 
Arabia show that here also the land is rising, and similar 
tendencies have been observed in the Euxine and ^gean 
in the extreme west, about the Amur delta, Kamchatka, 
and China, in the extreme east ; along the shores of Bur- 
ma, Ceylon, Malabar, and Baluchistdn, in the extreme 
sonth. On the other hand, symptoms of subsidence have 
been detected at a few points on the coast of Syria, near 
the Indus delta, on the shores of Annam and Fo-kien 
o?er against Formosa, and especially in the Laccadive and 
Maldive islands, where the atolls or round coral reefs are 
disappearing, and where the Chagos bank has already 

3. Hydrography : Rivers and Lakes — Inland and 

Seaward Drainage, 

Several distinct systems of inland drainage are formed 
by deep depressions, partly within the tablelands them- 
selves, partly in the plains by which they are nearly 
everywhere surrounded. Such is the depression of Eastern 
Torkestan, 2000 feet above sea-level, through which the 
Tarim and its tributaries drain eastwards to Lake Lob, 
recently explored by Prejevalsky; that of Lake Sistan, 
which receives, through the Helmand and other streams. 


a great part of the Afghanistan drainage ; and the remark- 
able trough of the Dead Sea, the deepest on the sur- 
face of the earth, fed mainly by the Jordan from the 
north. But by far the most important system of inland 
drainage is that of the Aral Sea, which comprises the 
whole of the western Turkestan lowlands, and which was 
formerly even still more extensive. At present it drains the 
Great Pamir, Alai, and western Tian-shan highlands alone, 
through the twin rivers Oxus (Amu-darya) and Jaxartes 
(Sir-darya). But it seems to have at one time stretched 
eastwards to Lake Balkhash, westwards to the Caspian, 
southwards to the north Iranian highlands, and north- 
wards to the low range of hills forming the water-parting 
between the Ob and Aral basins. Altogether, the area of 
all the lands, which have no present outflow seawards, is 
estimated at about 4,000,000 square miles, or nearly one- 
fourth of the whole continent. The significance of this 
fact will be best realised when it is added that both 
Europe and America are almost destitute of an inland 
drainage, while that of Africa seems limited mainly to 
the Chad and Ngami basins. 

The seaward drainage of the continent is determined 
only to a very small extent by the lofty ranges enclosing 
the great central and western tablelands. These ranges 
form scarcely anywhere true water-partings ; for, except 
where they converge about the Pamir, they are every- 
where pierced by the great continental rivers, which rise, 
not in their outer flanks, but within the plateaux, and 
which have thus to force their rocky barriers to reach the 
surrounding oceans. Thus, of the three great Siberian 
rivers flowing north to the Arctic, both the Ob and 
Yenisei have their farthest head-streams south of the 
mountains fringing the Kobdo and Mongolian plateaux; 
and even the Lena, now rising on the outer slopes, seems 
to have formerly been connected with the Angara 


(Tenisei basin), in the neighbourhood of Irkutsk. So 
also the Amnr, Hoang-ho, and Yang-tse-kiang, the three 
main streams flowing each to the Pacific, rise all of them 
far beyond the encircling ranges of the Mongolian, Koko- 
nor, and Tibetan tablelands. The great southern rivers, 
Mekhong, Salwen, Irawady, Brahmaputra (San-po?), and 
Indus, have also their sources behind the Himalayas 
on the Tibetan steppe. Here a solitary but important 
exception is the (ranges system, of which both the head- 
streams, the Ganges and the Janma» rise on the outer or 
southern flanks of the Himalayas. The same remarkable 
phenomenon is presented in the extreme west of the conti- 
nent, where the Tigris and Euphrates flow to the Persian 
Golf and the Araxis to the Caspian, from the very heart 
of the Armenian and Kurdistan highlands. Here also 
the Eizil-Irmak has to force its way from the Anatolian 
tableland through the Anti-Taurus to the Euxine, while 
the Orontes reaches the Mediterranean from the Bekaa 
(Coele-Syria), behind the Lebanon and Nusarieh coast 
ranges. The list of great Asiatic rivers is almost com- 
pleted by those of Southern India, where the Nerbadda 
flows from the furthest extremity of the Vindhya hills 
westwards to the Arabian Sea, and where the Godavari 
and the Kistna, rising also on the plateau of the Deccan, 
find more easy access through the low and broken line of 
the Eastern Ghats to the Bay of Bengal 

Compared with the other divisions of the globe, Asia 
is singularly deficient in large fresh-water lakes. Apart 
from the intensely Salt Dead Sea and the salt or brackish 
Caspian, Aral, and Balkhash, — apparently remnants of a 
vast Asiatic Mediterranean communicating on the one 
hand with the Euxine, on the other through the Ob basin 
with the Arctic Ocean, — ^the only sheet of fresh water 
worthy of mention, by the side of the great inland seas 
of equatorial Africa and North America, is Lake Baikal, 


which discharges its overflow through the Eiver Angara 
to the Yenisei The so-called lakes of the West Siberian 
steppes are little better than swamps, and no large 
bodies of water occur in West Asia except (Jokchai, Van, 
Urumiah, and the marshy Ham\in or Sistan, none of 
which have any outflow seawards. In the whole of India 
and Indo-China the Tonl^-sap of Cambodia is the only 
lake of any size; in China, the Tong-ting and Po-yang 
alone deserve mention, and even on the Tibetan uplands, 
although lakes are very numerous in some places, none 
appear to be of large size except the Tengii, Koko, Buka, 
Palti, and Ike-Namur. The Kos-gol, Ubsa, and Kulon of 
North Mongolia, the Kenka of Manchuria, the Zaizan and 
Ulyungur of the Upper Irtish, the Issik-kul of the Tian- 
shan highlands, and the Lob-nor of Eastern Turkestan, 
almost complete the list of large Asiatic lakes. 

4. Main Political Divisions. 

While Europe may geographically be described as a 
dependency of Asia, yet politically Asia may almost be 
regarded as a dependency of Europe. Notwithstanding 
its vast extent and enormous population, this continent 
has comparatively few independent States, and of these 
not one can be said to be entirely independent of European 
influences. In fact all these States are grouped like so 
many satellites around a few central suns, forming alto- 
gether four great political systems, of which two are 
directly controlled and two indirectly affected by European 
powers. The whole of the northern division, comprising 
nearly one-third of the mainland, may be regarded as 
practically a mere extension of European Bussia east>- 
wards to the Pacific seaboard. In the south the British 
Queen and Empress of India (" Kaisar-i-Hind ") is either 
the absolute sovereign or the suzerain of the Indian penin- 


8a]a» together ^th a laige portion of Further India — ^that 
is, Burma, Siam, and Cochin -China, Ceylon, and most 
of the islands scattered over the Indian Ocean — ^besides 
poflsessing either treaty rights or a political status in 
Baluchistan and Afghanistan, which bring a latge portion 
of the Iranian tableland within the British political sys- 
tem. In the west, the Muhammadan world, embracing 
the rest of Lrania, Anatolia, Syria, and Arabia, is mainly 
ruled over by the Turkish Sultan and the Shah of Vet- 
m. The Sultan has, by the recent Anglo-Turldsh Con- 
vention, practically accepted the protectorate of England 
for his Asiatic possessions, while the Shah remains much 
imder the influence of England and of Bussia. Lastly, 
in the east the Buddhist world is divided between China, 
Japan, Siam, and Burma. But even here European influ- 
ences are in many respects predominant. The " Middle 
Kingdom" has opened its ports to the trade of the world 
in virtue of treaties concluded after the close of military 
operations. Japan also has adopted the culture of the 
west, perhaps with the view of preserving its political inde- 
pendenca Lastly, in Further India, Annam and Cambodia 
are rapidly becoming French territory ; while Siam, Burma, 
and the petty Moslem States of Malacca, naturally gravi- 
tate towards the power whose meteor flag sweeps the 
southern waters from Aden to Singapore and Hong-Kong, 
and whose beneficent voice is ever heard in the cause of 
freedom and humanity. 

Thus we behold the Asiatic world mapped out into 
four political regions, which roughly correspond to four 
main natural divisions, and even to the four religious 
systems predominant in this quarter of the globe. The 
Bnsaian possessions in the north, comprising Siberia, 
CSaucasia, Western Turkestan, and part of Manchuria, have 
oiainly an Arctic and inland drainage through the Ob, 
Yenisei, Lena, Jaxaxtes, and Oxus, and here is the original 


home of Shamanism. In the west, still held by the two 
great Moslem powers of Turkey and Persia, the drainage 
is chiefly through the Shat-el-Arab, the Orontes, the 
Kizil-Irmak, and other Anatolian streams, to the south- 
western land-locked basins of the Euxine, Mediterranean, 
and Persian Gulf. The southern, or British division, 
drains almost exclusively to the Indian Ocean through 
the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Nerbadda, Godavari, 
Kistna, and other streams of the Deccan, and here 
Brahmanism is the prevailing form of belief. Lastly, 
the Buddhist world, occupying the whole of the east, and 
comprising the Chinese £mpire, Japan, and most of 
Further India, drains partly through the Tarim to the 
inland basin of the Lob-nor, but mainly through tlie 
Hoang-ho, Yang-tse-kiang, Mekhong, and Menam, tci 
the Pacific Ocean. These remarks may suffice to render 
intelligible the tabulated scheme of the plan and subject 
matter of the present volume. 

5. Climate : Diminished Moisture — Rainfall. 

Although the great bulk of the land lies within the 
temperate zone, the climate is essentially continental, 
that is, characterised by the extremes of heat and cold, 
and by great dryness. Excluding the three southern penin- 
sulas, which are mainly tropical, and China proper and 
Japan in the east, and parts of Persia, Syria, and Aus- 
tralia in the west, which are mainly temperate, the general 
climatic conditions are remarkably uniform, notwith- 
standing the great differences in the relief of the land 
Thus, the Aral basin, which in many places is scarcely 200 
feet above sea-level, and the Tibetan tableland, which is 
nowhere less than 12,000 feet, and occasionally attains an 
altitude of 20,000 feet, are both subject to the same 
intense heat and long droughts in summer, followed in 


winter by almost equally intense cold. On the whole, 
the cUmate may be said to depend rather on the aspect, 
de?ation, and configuration of the land, than on its 
distance from the equator or the pola It is affected 
especially by the great elevation of the tablelands with 
their excessively rarefied atmosphere, and by the vast 
extent of the continent, which is thus far less exposed to 
ooeanic influences, and receives a correspondingly less 
amoant of moisture than Europe or even America. The 
central regions, mostly enclosed by lofty ranges^ which 
intercept the course of the humid sea-breezes, have neces* 
sarily a slighter annual rainfall than the surrounding 
lowlands. Yet, notwithstanding the difierent elevations 
and latitudes, great uniformity is produced in the central 
regions by the prevailing aridity of the soil, the sudden 
changes of temperature, and the dryness of the atmo- 
sphere. Even the abrupt transition from the uplands to 
the encircling plains is attended by far less change than 
is elsewhere caused by a slight difference of latitude. 
The elevated steppes of the great Famir^ 12,000 to 
15,000 feet above the sea> the Mongolian desert of Gobi, 
the bare and barren plateaux of Tibet, and the dried-up 
bed of the great inland sea, jointly covering a space of 
over 1200 mUes north and south, present almost every- 
where the same monotonous aspect, varied only with a 
few green oases in the more favoured spots. But even 
here the native vegetation is scanty, and the running 
waters are lined chiefly with the poplar and the willow. 

A careful survey of these regions seems to show that 
moisture was formerly far more abundant in Central Asia 
tluin at present, and that even within the historic period 
the climate has become much drier throughout most of the 
continent Formerly, the Tarim basin was flooded by the 
Si-hai, or *' Western Sea," a vast mediterranean comnmni- 
cating with the still more extensive Han-hai^ but now re- 


presented only hj the shallow and sedgy Lob-nor. The 
Han-hai itself covered an area in the great central depres- 
sion nearly as long as the present Mediterranean Sea> 
stretching eastwards, through an island-studded strait to 
the Shamo basin, and developing between the Tian-shan 
and the Altai a large inlet which occupied the whole of 
the present basin of Zungaria. Through the so-called 
'* Zungarian Strait " it seems to have even conununicated 
with the vast depression of Western Turkestan, so that 
there was probably a time when a great water highway 
extended from the Atlantic through the Mediterranean, 
Euxine, and Caspian, eastwards to the Gobi desert, and 
through the Ob basin northwards to the Frozen Ocean* 
And of all these inland waters little now remains except 
the Aral, Caspian, Balkhash, and some smaller saline 
lakes and marshes — 

" Mere sluggish leagues of peat and black morass, 
Without a shrub or tree or blade of grass/* 

In many places the waters were succeeded by fertile 
diluvial plains, which in their turn have been swallowed 
up by the sands of the desert. This process is still going 
on, not only in the Taxim basin, in Bokhara, and other 
parts of Turkestan, where flourishing States and many 
populous cities have already disappeared, but even on the 
Iranian plateau, where Colonel MacGregor recently saw the 
sands in the very act of surging up above the walls and 
overflowing into the streets of Y£izd and other Persian 
towns. These sandy wastes, formed by the weathering 
of crystalline, siliceous, and other old rocks, have already 
covered the greater part of Arabia, beyond which they 
stretch almost uninterruptedly across the Libyan Desert 
' nd the Sahara to the Atlantic seaboard. Eivers, which 
formerly had an outlet, if not seawards at least to the 
great land-locked basins, are now lost in the desert 
Thus it is that the Zarafshan, Murgh-ab, and Hari-nid 


no longer reach the Oxus or the Caspian, and the map of 
East Persia is scored with many watercourses which 
seem to ran nowhere, but which formerly combined to 
fertilise the now arid wastes of Kerman and Khorasan. 

But while the inland and south-western plateaux are 
amongst the driest, the great southern and south-eastern 
peninsulas are perhaps the wettest regions on the globe. 
Over one-half of the total annual rainfall is said to be 
absorbed by India, Indo-China, and the neighbouring archi- 
pelagoes of the Philippines and Malaysia. The coasts of 
Malabar and British Burma are deluged by the summer 
monsoons, which also discharge tremendous downpours 
on the advanced ramparts of the Himalayas. At the 
head of the Bay of Bengal the moisture-charged clouds 
from the Indian Ocean are almost completely arrested by 
the lofty ranges enclosing the lower Brahmaputra basin, 
and the annual rainfall, varying in the Indian peninsula 
from 240 to 480 inches, amounts on the Assam highlands 
in some years to no less than 600 inches. Hence arise 
the striking contrasts everywhere presented by the climate, 
flora, and fauna of the north Indian lowlands to those of 
the neighbouring Tibetan tablelands. On one side of the 
dividing range we have tropical heats, a magnificent south- 
em vegetation, varied animal life, flourishing cities, and 
teeming populations ; on the other Arctic winters, bleak 
and almost uninhabited steppes, stunted vegetable growths, 
a fauna restricted to a few hardy upland species. Such 
a contrast scarcely occurs elsewhere in regions separated 
from each other by forty or fifty degrees of latitude. 

6. Flora and Fauna, 

Within the vast limits of the Asiatic mainland, which 
touches the equator at Gape Bomania, and 
advances to within twelve degrees of the Iforth Pole at 



Cape Chelyuflkin, every variety of animal and vegetable 
life finds a congenial home. While the southern penin- 
sulas abound in tropical and aromatic products, the northern 
tundras are abnost destitute of vegetation. Cereals cease 
to be cultivated beyond the 6 2d parallel; but, on the 
other hand, a tropical and sub-tropical flora prevails, even 
in the temperate zone on the eastern seaboard. Here, as 
well as in India and Indo-China, rice forms the staple 
food of many hundred millions of human beings, whereas 
the nomad Elirghiz and Xalmuk tribes of the Mongolian 
and West Siberian steppes are limited almost exclusively to 
an animal diet. The tea plant flourishes in Japan, 
China, Annam, and has in recent years been successfully 
cultivated in Assam, and along the southern slopes of the 
Himalayas. Coffee, indigenous in Arabia, is now also 
successfully cultivated in Ceylon and the uplands of 
Southern India. Opium is largely grown in India, and 
the area of its cultivation is yearly increasing in China. 
Cotton, indigo, and sugar, flourish in the two eastern 
'peninsulas ; cinnamon in Annam and Ceylon ; aromatic 
plants in Arabia. Forest trees occupy, on the whole, a 
relatively limited area, being restricted mainly to the 
north coast of the Euxine, Caucasia, the southern shores 
of the Caspian, India, Indo-China, and the South Siberian 
uplands. The most useful species are the oak, walnut, 
pine, cedar, box, poplar, teak, bamboo, cocoa-nut, date, 
palm, apricot, peach, and other stone-fruit trees. 

Of the larger animals the elephant, tiger, buffalo, and 
bear, abound chiefly in India and Further India, the yak 
in Tibet, the horse, wild ass, camel, and dromedary in 
Turkestdn, the West Siberian steppes, Irania and Arabia, 
the reindeer in the extreme north and north-east But the 
tiger has penetrated north as far as the Altai highlands, and 
the buffalo is indigenous in China. Characteristic of the 
central tablelands and Mongolia, are the argali, ovis poll. 


and other laige-sized wild sheep and goats, and the hair 
of the Eashmir and Angora breeds is unequalled for its 
delicate textnre. The sable, civet, marten, blue and silver 
fox, and other valuable fur-bearing animals, are widely 
diffused throughout Siberia and Manchuria, but are almost 
eveiTwhere rapidly disappearing before the Bussian, 
Oatiak, Tungus, and other trappers. 

7. Inhabitants : Social Culture — Beligians. 

Asia, which is believed to be the cradle of the 
human race, is still the home of perhaps two-thirds 
of the inhabitants of the globe. But these teeming 
multitudes are far from being evenly distributed over its 
surface. While the bleak plateau of the Great Pamir, 
the frozen tundra stretching along the Arctic Ocean, the 
deserts of Gobi and Turkestdn, are almost uninhabited, and 
the greater part of Siberia, Tibet, Persia, and Arabia, 
occapied only by a scanty nomad population; the rich 
and well-watered alluvial plains of the Ganges, Yang-tse- 
Idang, and Hoang-ho, are amongst the most densely- 
peopled regions in the world. On the whole the 
d^isity of the population is in direct ratio to the abun- 
dance of the rainfall, and in the southern and eastern 
lands — ^India, Indo-China, China, and Japan — ^which are 
directly exposed to the moist winds from the Indian and 
Pacific Oceans, are concentrated over half of the human 
nee. The popular views long entertained regarding the 
enonnous masses of people occupying these countries had 
often been suspected of exaggeration, but they have been 
more than confirmed by the results of the official enumer- 
ataons which are now regularly taken in India and Japan. 
The estimates for China are still matter of conjecture ; but 
when the latest census for India reveals a total popula- 
tion of considerably over 252,000,000, strength is added 


to the generally received opinion that the inhabitants of 
the ''Floweiy Land" may number from 350,000,000 
to 400,000,000. 

Almost every variety of physical types, of speech, 
social coltnre, and religion, finds representatives amongst 
the Asiatic peoples. A few specimens of the dark, woolly- 
haired Negrito stock occur not only in the Andaman 
Islands, but in the interior of Malacca^ and possibly also 
amongst the low caste hill tribes of Southern India. In 
the extreme north-east certain afiKnities have been traced 
between the Chukchis and the Eskimo of the North 
American seaboard. The relations of the neighbouring 
Tukaghirs, Eamchadales, and Koriaks, as well as of the 
Ainos and GiUaks of Tesso, Sakhalin, and the Amur 
delta, have not yet been satisfactorily deteimined. But, 
with the exception of these few outlying communities, all 
the inhabitants of the continent belong to the two great 
fair and yellow stocks, conventionally known as the 
Caucasic and Mongolia The physical characteristics, 
main subdivisions, and linguistic families of these races 
wlQ be found comprehensively treated in the Appendix 
to this volume. Here it will suffice to observe that 
throughout the historic period the Caucasic peoples have 
been mainly confined to the south-western r^on of Cau- 
casia, which gives its name to the type, to Asia Minor, 
Sjnia, Arabia, Irania, and Northern India. They are 
roughly cut off by the Himalayas, the Hindu-Kush, and 
its western extensions to the Caspian, from the Mongolian, 
sometimes collectively grouped as the " Turanian " races, 
which occupy all the rest of the mainland. At the same 
time there have at all times been frequent crossings and 
overlappings, especially in Turkestdn, Persia, and Asia 
Minor, which have presented many complicated problems 
to the student of ethnology in this division of the globe. 
Mongol and Caucasic tribes seem to be intermingled in 


the Cochin-Chinese and Tun-nan highlands ; many of the 
low-caste tribes of the Deccan, if not all the Dravidian 
and Eolarian peoples, must be classed rather with the 
Moi^l than with the Caucasic races ; the Akkads, a 
people apparently of Turanian origin, were the founders 
of the earliest civilisation in Babylonia, and numerous 
members of the Mongol family have been so long settled 
in Irania and Anatolia that they have become almost 
entirdy assimilated in physique to the surrounding 
Cancasic peoples. On the other hand the Caucasic 
Tajiks have from the remotest times been settled amid 
the nomad Mongols of the Aral basin, and, according to 
Prejevalsky, have penetrated eastwards as far as the 
dreary shores of the Lob-nor. 

The various grades of human culture, broadly de- 
scribed as the hunting, pastoral, and agricultural states, 
depend in Asia rather on soil and climate than on 
iBoe. Thus the Mongoloid Chinese, and Japanese, have 
for ages been settled agricultural peoples, while the 
Gaocasic Arab tribes still remain mostly in the pastoral 
eondition« The Tunguses, a large north-eastern branch 
of the yellow stock, follow the chase, tend their herds, or 
till the land, according to their position on the shores of 
the Arctic, in the Siberian steppes, or along the fertile 
banks of the Amur. Some of the Tiirki races also, such 
as the Usbegs and OsmanU, have formed settled communi- 
ties in Bokhara, Khiva, and Asia Minor, while the kindred 
Cighiz and Kara-Eirghiz hordes of the West Siberian 
steppes and the Tian-shan still dwell in tents, and migrate 
with the seasons between the lowlands and the uplands of 
Central Asia. But, speaking generally, the hunting and 
fishing state is confined to a northern zone, reaching from 
the Frozen Ocean southwards to about the 60th parallel 
^6 nomad pastoral tribes occupy the heart of the con- 
tinent as far south as the 35th parallel, besides the arid 


plains of Irania and Arabia. Elsewhere, and especially 
in Japan, China, India, Indo-China, and Anatx)lia, the 
populations have long formed settled and more or less 
civilised communities on an agricultural basis. 

But if social culture is chiefly conditioned by the 
outward surroundings, religion, on the other hand, is still 
largely determined by race and nationality. Asia, the 
original home of monotheism, is also still the land of 
paganism in some of its crudest aspects, while the origin- 
ally pure doctrines of Brahma and Buddha alike have 
almost eveiywhere degenerated to the grossest polytheism 
and superstition. Judaism has almost vanished from 
Palestine, but there are scattered Jewish communities in 
many parts. Christianity is spreading very gradually 
through missionary effort, but is at present professed only 
by the Hellenes of Anatolia, the Maronites of Mount Leb- 
anon, the Armenians, the Georgians, and kindred peoples 
of Caucasia., the so-called " Nestorians " or " Chaldeans " 
of the Upper Tigris and Lake Urumiyah, the Eurasians 
md the more recently converted communities in Lidia, 
some 500,000 converts in China, Further Lidia, and 
Japan ; lastly, the Bussians of Siberia and Caucasia, more 
numerous than all the rest put together. Most of the 
hill tribes in India, in Eeifiristdn, on the Indo-Tibetan 
frontier, in Further India, and in the western and southern 
highlands of China, are still pagans. A few survivors of 
the old Iranian fire-worshippers still linger on in Persia; 
and the flourishing tribe of Parsis in India follow the reli- 
gion of Zoroaster. But, with these exceptions, the whole of 
the Asiatic population^ belong either to the Shamanist, the 
Buddhist, the Brahmanic, or the Muhammadan religious 
world. Shamanism, open or thinly disguised, is diffused 
throughout all the Finno-Tatar tribes of Siberia and Man- 
churia. Buddhism is the religion of fiilly one-fourth of 
mankind, nearly all of Mongol stock, and concentrated 



mainly in Japan, the Chinese Empire, Further India, and 
Ceylon. Hinduism, or, as it should be more exactly termed, 
Bnhmanism, is professed by 180 of the 250 millions of 
inliabitants of India. Muhanmiadanism, divided into the 
two great sects of the Sunnis and the Shiahs, prevails 
amongst the Tatar peoples of Turkestdn, and South-West 
Siberia, and West China, in Irania, Anatolia, Syria, and 
iiabia, and has 50,000,000 adherents in different parts 
of India. The tenacity with which the Asiatic peoples 
almost everywhere adhere to their particular forms 
of behef is curiously illustrated by the Kalmuk and 
Kirghiz nomad tribes settled side by side in the steppe 
lands of the Lower Volga. The Mongolian Kalmuks, like 
their remote kinsmen of Zungaria and Mongolia, are all 
still Buddhists. But the Kirghiz, like aU the other Kiighiz 
hordes of the Siberian steppes and uplands, are all Muham- 
madans. In the same way, all the Iranians of pure 
Persian blood belong to the Shiah sect, while the mixed 
Tajik communities of Western Turkestan and Afghanistdn 
are invariably Sunnis. An exception, however, to this 
rule is presented by the Aimaks and Hazarahs of the North 
A%han highlands, between Herat and Kabul, both of 
Mongol origin, but the former of whom, like those of 
Persia, are Sunnis, while the Hazarahs are of the Shiah 
aect Besides these two great divisions, Muhammadanism 
embraces some other communities which are addicted to 
mysterious rites, and are consequently looked on with 
suspicion by their neighbours. Some of these, such as 
the Eizil-Bashis of Anatolia, Persia, and Afghanistan, 
are doubtless recent developments. But others, like the 
Dnises and STusarieh of Syria, and the Yezides, or so- 
called "Devil-worshippers" of Kurdistan, seem to date 
hack from pre-Moslem and even pre-Christian times. 


8. Topography : Chief Tovms, 

In reference to the aggregate of its population, Asia 
is not remarkable for the number of its large towns. A 
consideration of the present statistics relating to many 
Asiatic cities of historic renown, within comparatively recent 
times — such as Bagdad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Samarkand, 
Pekin, Ormuz, Goa — ^would disclose a remarkable decline 
in population, affording melancholy instances of the in- 
stability of material greatness. On the other hand, 
within the last century an equally striking progress is 
perceptible in many seaport towns. But that has gener- 
ally arisen imder European auspices, or, as it might be 
more accurately said, under British influence. Bombay 
having in round numbers nearly three-quarters of a 
million of inhabitants ; Calcutta and Madras each having, 
roughly, half a million, may be reckoned in the second 
rank of the cities of the world — Calcutta, indeed, with 
its suburbs, has more than three-quarters of a million* 
The increase of Singapore, Penang, and Hong-Kong in 
populousness is rapid. The prosperity of Canton, Shang- 
hai, and Tokio — all towns of the second rank in the 
world — is largely due to British trada But of towns in 
the first rank — ^like London, Paris, New York, and others 
— there is not now any example in Asia. 

9. Highways of Communication, 

Except in India, where 10,000 miles of railway are 
open to traffic, there are no railways worth mentioning 
in Asia. The railway, however, which the Bussians have 
begun from the east shore of the Caspian towards Central 
Asia may have momentous effects hereafter. Some short 
lines are being constructed in Japan. China offers a vast 
field for railways, but the Chinese Government at present 


sets its face against this mode of commanication. India 
also can show several highways, each many hundred miles 
in length, which may bear comparison with the roads in 
Europe. Elsewhere in Asia there are no highways fit to 
be called such in the European sense of the teniL Irre- 
spective of highways, properly so termed, there are very 
few tracks easily passable in Asia ; except in Siberia, there 
is not one such track traversing the continent from end 
to end. There is no through road from the British to 
the Russian dominions in Asia ; no road from India to 
Cluna, or to Tibet, or to Central Asia. The great cen- 
tral plateau, already described, interposes extraordinary 
obstacles in the way of such communication. The only 
instance of this nature is in the soutL A horseman 
might, without meeting any real difficulty as regards 
ground, ride £rom any part of India through southern 
A^hanistdn to Persia, and thence to the shore of the 
Eoxine. Both China and India have magnificent rivers 
navigated by small craft. China also has navigable canals 
of great length. In Mesopoteonia the two rivers are 
the natural highways. But extensive regions in Asia are 
destitute of water traffic. 

Connected with communications is the subject of 
the electric telegraph. British India is the only Asiatic 
country which has telegraphic communication between all 
the principal towns. But some other countries in Asia 
have one or two through lines. From Constantinople 
there runs a telegraphic line across Asia Minor, then down 
Mesopotamia to the head of the Persian Gulf. From 
Mis, in Bussian territory, there runs a line to Tehran, 
then southwards across Persia to the head of the Gulf. 
Both these lines are joined to the Indian system by a line 
along the shore of the Persian Gulf and of Baluchistan. 
A long line passes firom European Bussia, near the Ural 
Mountains, across Siberia to the Pacific Ocean, near the 


mouth of the Amur. These are all land lines, but there 
are submarine lines also. One such line runs from Egypt 
down the Sed Sea to Aden, and thence across the Arabian 
Sea to India. Another line passes from Madras across 
the Gulf of Bengal to the Straits of Malacca, and thence 
turning northwards passes near the Chinese coast to join 
the Japanese and Russian systems. The introduction of 
telegraphs is entirely due to the British and Russian 
Governments, and, in some degree, to the French Govern- 
ment. Japan is the only Asiatic country that has adopted 
the electric telegraph ex praprio motu, 

10. Administration, 

In all Asia, British India and Ceylon alone have an 
administration completely organised, in the European 
sense of organisation. The administration in Siberia 
doubtless approaches this standard so far as may be 
possible in a country thinly peopled and wild in parts. 
In Central Asia — ^that is, Khokand, Bokhara, and Khiva 
— civilised principles are being gradually introduced 
under Russian auspices. The French are establishing 
their rule in the delta of the Cambodia. The Chinese 
management of affairs, while evincing an elaborate culture 
in some respects, is in other respects semi-barbaric. 
Japan has been remodelling all its institutions after 
the European example, but whether these multifarious 
reforms have really taken root is more than the best- 
informed authorities seem able to pronounce. Both Persia 
and Asiatic Turkey are unreformed, and have nothing com- 
mendable in their administration. Independent Arabia 
has scarcely an administration in the strict sense of the 
tenn ; its political organisation is for the most part tribal. 

Respecting geography, the administrative results are 
ill this wise : — 


" The greater part of Asia has not jet been touched 
by scientific operations on a complete scale. In the whole 
of Asia, only India, Ceylon, Cyprus, Western Palestine, 
Caucasia, the Caspian basin, part of Western Siberia, and 
part of Japan, also many points in the Asiatic coast-line, 
have been subjected to trigonometrical observation. The 
altitudes of mountaros have been determined only in the 
Himalayas, the Caucasus, and the Urals, by trigonometry. 
But in many ranges the heights have been approximately 
ascertained by the barometer. Professional surveys in 
detail have been completed only in India, Ceylon, Western 
Palestine, Caucasia, parts of Western and Eastern Siberia, 
the Tian-shan region, the greater part of Western Tur- 
kestan, Cambodia, parts of Cochin-China, parts of Afghan- 
istan, also on certain lines of Persia, Mesopotamia, and 
Asia Minor. Even in the professionally surveyed terri- 
tories many defects and imperfections are acknowledged 
to remain." 

"Non-professional surveys have been carried out in 
Japan, in China proper, in parts of Arabia, on the frontiers 
of Tibet, China, and Burma, and on certain lines in 
Afghanistan and Baluchistan. Explorations without any 
actual survey have been made in Mongolia, Siam, the 
interior of Arabia, most parts of Persia, the Turkoman 
country, the Ust Urt plateau between the Aral and the 
Caspian, Manchuria, and in some parts of Afghanistan 
and Baluchistdn." 

" Though the southern coasts of Asia have been sur- 
veyed in suflBcient detail for geographical purposes, yet 
according to the demands of a growing traffic and of 
maritime resort, these surveys need frequently to be 
amplified in detail The old surveys by the Indian Navy 
were good in their day, reflecting honour on Moresby, 
Boss, and others ; still the Government have ordered a 
new survey to be made for nautical purposes. A fire^ 



survey, like that made by Nares for the Gulf of Suez, 
have to be ordered one day for the whole of the Bed 
and the Persian Gulf. The British Admiralty are m; 
yearly additions to the surveys of the Chinese coas 
which the work done by St. John (B.K) is an exam 
Whether the Bussians will see fit to attempt a scien 
survey throughout the Arctic coast of Siberia remedn 
be seen." 

" Of geological surveys, the largest example is tha 
India, which, though far advanced, is far from, compi 
Very much remains to be done in this respect for 
Himalayas. Geological surveys have been made in 
Caucasus, the Urals, the Tian-shan and Altai ran 
Kamchatka, many parts of China and Japan, Cambo 
Ceylon, some parts of Arabia and Persia, much of 
Minor and Palestine." ^ 

11. Statistics. 

The size of Asia, in comparison with that of the oi 
main divisions of the globe, may be seen by the follow 
statement of the relative areas of the five continents > 

Square miles. 
Asia, inclnding Malaysia .... 17,300,000 

America 16,000,000 

Africa 11,800,000 

Europe 8,800,000 

Australasia 8,000,000 

Total 61,900,000 

The relative populousness of Asia will be seen tl 
The population of the world, according to Behm 
Wagner, was in 1880 : — 

^ Paper read before the British Association for the Adyancemeut 
Science, on 2d September 1881, by Sir Richard Temple. 






.7/VJeir If 

'. or 





' ' I Ld«^ I i I I i I I 



Stanfordj &tog}£*taibt 






Earope 316,929,000 

Africa 206,679,000 

America • 96,496,600 


Of the four great political systems, already described 
as in Asia, the approximate areas and populations 
are as under : — 

Area In aq. miles. PopnlAtion. 

I. Western Asia: Mohammadan States . 2.200,000 82,000,000 

IL Southern Asia : British Political System 2,700,000 270,000,000 

III. Eastern Asia : Buddhist Stotes . 6,600,000 600,000,000 

IT. Northern Asia : Russian Political System 6,730,000 18,000,000 

17,280.000 ^820,000,000 

The direct and indirect European possessions in Asia 
are: — 

Area In sq. miles. Population. 

British Political System . 2,700,000 270,000,000 

Asiatic Russia . . . 6,730,000 18,000,000 

French Territory . 66,000 2,760,000 

Portoguese „ . . . 7,000 760,000 

9,493,000 291,500,000 

^ This does not quite agree with Behm*s total given above ; but except 
in the British and Russian dominions, the figures are either approximate 
or estimated only. 





1. Boundaries — ExteTU — Area. 

The Asiatic portion of the Turkish Empire comprises with 
Arabia the whole of the south-western section of the 
continent west of the Tigris. It is thus contenninous 
eastwards with Persia and Bussia, the three empires con- 
verging about Mount Ararat, the culminating point of 
the Iranian plateau towards the north-west. Elsewhere 
Asiatic Turkey is, except towards Egypt, everywhere 
surrounded by water — Persian Gulf on the east, Arabian 
Sea on the south, Sed Sea, Mediterranean, and Mgesji on 
the west, Black Sea on the north. It comprises four 
well-marked natural and historical divisions — the two 
peninsulas of Arabia and Asia Minor, the basin of the 
Euphrates and Tigris, and the upland region of Syria and 
Palestine. These four main divisions will here be treated 
under fotir separate heads, a general survey of the empire 
being reserved for the end of the chapter. 

Asia Minor or the " Lesser Asia," is so named rela- 
tively to the Greater Asia of which it forms the western- 
most projection. But relatively to Europe it is the 
** Anatolia " of the Greeks, and the " Levant " of the* 


Italians — ^that is, the " Orient/' or " Land of the Sising 
Sim."^ Projecting far into the Mediterranean, it is washed 
on three sides by inland seas — ^the Euzine on the north, 
Marmora and .£gean with their connecting straits on the 
west, the eastennost section of the Mediterranean on the 
south. Eastwards it is limited by a somewhat arbitrary 
line ronning from Alexandretta Bay east to the great 
bend of the Euphrates, and thence follows the course 
of this river to its source, where it trends northwards to 
the Euxine, mainly along the valley of the Choruk-su. 
Anatolia thus lies between the 36" and 42° north latitude, 
consequently between the same parallels as the southern 
sections of the three European peninsulas and the northern- 
most portion of Barbary. Its greatest length from Cape 
Baba to the Euphrates, west and east, is about 700 mUes, 
and its extreme breadth from Cape Anamur opposite 
Cypros to Cape Ii^eh near Sinope in the Black Sea is 
la&er over 400 miles. Within these limits its area is 
roughly estimated at about 220,000 square nules, or 
nearly 20,000 more than France, but with scarcely one- 
fonrth of the population of that country. 

2. Belief of the Land : Taunts, Anti-Taurus, and Amanvs 
— Passes — Plains — Volcanic Agencies — Geological 

Geographically Asia Minor must be regarded as a 
western extension of the Armenian and Kurdistan high- 

^ Anatolia, from ajtariXKu ; Levant, from levare, both of which terms 
mean "to rise," hence are the exact equivalents of the "Orient," from 
oriri, the corresponding Latin word. But while Anatolia is by the Greeks 
■tnctly limited to Asia Minor, LevcmU is by the Italians extended to all 
the lands lying east of the Mediterranean, and OrieTii is applied to the East 
^ general. Anadoli, the Turkish form of Anatolia, is more usnally re- 
stricted to the western and northern provinces of Asia Minor, while the 
'^ of the country is known as Karamania. 


lands, from which it can nowhere be separated bj any 
hard-and-fast line. The plateau formation prevails 
throughout, the interior of the peninsula forming an 
extensive tableland at a mean elevation of from 3500 to 
4000 feet above sea-level, and stretching north-east and 
south-west for a distance of over 200 miles with an 
average breadth of about 140 miles. Above this table- 
land rise several loosely-connected mountain ranges, while 
over its surface are scattered a number of salt-lakes, 
morasses, and watercourses, without any visible outflow 
seawards, besides several streams which find their way 
mainly northwards to the Euxine and westwards to the 
JBgean. The plateau is skirted south and north by two 
broken mountain ranges, which radiate from the Armenian 
uplands, and to which the terms Taurus and Anti-Taurus 
were somewhat vaguely applied by the Ancients. The 
Taurus or southern branch, which forms a continuation of 
what Kiepert calls the "Armenian Taurus," rises close to 
the Euphrates, where one of its peaks attains an elevation of 
10,000 feet From this point it pursues a very irregular 
course under the more specific name of the Amanus 
down to Karamania, and thence along the Mediterranean 
coast to the .^ean, and with ramifications projecting 
northwards and southwards at various points. These 
branches, like the several sections of the main range 
itself, bear special names, such as the Ala-dagh, the 
Karmez-dagh, the Bulgar-dagh, the Sultan -dagh, the 
Jebel-kiim, and others, ranging from 7000 to 10,000 
and even 13,000 feet high The large island of Cyprus 
here lies, Hke a detached fragment of the mountain mass, 
opposite the angle formed by the AnatoHan and Syrian 
coast-lines, while the south-western extremity of the 
peninsula ia continued seawards by the lofty island of 
Bhodes, facing which the Massacitus spur terminates and 
culminates with Mount Takhtalu, 7820 feet high But 


elsewhere the escarpments of the tableland fall westwards 
down to the Mgesji, whose southern islands may be 
r^arded as their advanced terminal peaks. Between the 
hills and the coast space is left in many places for lower 
valleys, and even for alluvial plains, varying in width, 
but mostly of great fertility, and sloping gently in all 
directions seawards. 

The Anti-Taurus,^ now perhaps better known as the 
Agha-dagh, forms a western extension of the Lazistdn 
highlands, running in two and occasionally three nearly 
parallel chains from the neighbourhood of Batiim along 
the coast of the Euxine, and at no great distance from the 
sea, as far as the Bosphorus. Here it throws off a 
southern branch to the great western network, culminat- 
ing with the Keshish-dagh (Olympus), the Morad-dagh, 
and the Kas-dagh (Ida), which rises 6700 feet above the 
plains of Tioy at the head of the Gulf of Edremid. The 
Anti-Taurus forms a water-parting for the streams rising 
on the southern slopes of the Armenian uplands, and 
flowing some westwards and others towards the Euphrates, 
like the Taurus, it also throws off several side ridges sea- 
wards and to the interior. Here a number of smaller 
and more isolated chains run ia various directions^ and 
often attain considerable elevations, culminating with the 
volcanic Ergish-dagh (Argaios), which is 11,824 feet high, 
and apparently the culminating point of the peninsula. 
This cone, which is nearly isolated from the Taurus, forms 
a striking landmark on the plains of Kaisarieh (Gaesarea), 
which here attain an elevation of over 3000 feet. It 
consists altogether of igneous matter, and its summit 
terminates with two craters, through which in former 
times the underground forces found an outlet In its 
central section the Taurus itself varies in height from 

^ This term is by some geographers applied to the Amanus or north- 
eastern lectioQ of the Taurus between the Armenian highlands and Adana. 



2700 to 5500 feet, while the Asi-Kur (Niphates), one of 
its loftiest summits, rises above the snow-line. 

Both the Taurus and Anti-Taurus are crossed at 
various points by passes generally at low elevations and 
of moderately easy access. Of these the most important 
strategically and commercially is the Golek-Boghaz, or 
" Cilician Gates," a deep gorge, 3300 feet above sea-level, 
running about 30 miles north of Tarsus over the Taurus, 
and connecting Anatolia with North Syria and the 
Euphrates valley. This famous defile has been followed in 
all ages by migrating peoples, traders, and conquering hosts. 
,Through it Alexander marched to the overthrow of the 
Persian Empire, and through it Mehemet Ali in recent 
times twice penetrated into Anatolia on his march to 
Constantinople. About 100 miles west of this point the 
Taurus is crossed by a second pass leading from Karaman 
southwards to the Gok-su valley, and by a third, 150 
miles still farther west, connecting Isbarta southwards 
with AdaUa. The chief openings giving access from the 
Euxine through the Anti-Taurus to the central plateau 
are those leading from Ineboli to Kastamuni and Angora, 
from Sinope to Amasia, from Samsiin to the same 
place, and from Trebizond over the Kolat-dagh to 

In the higher regions of the peninsula the chief 
geological formations seem to be serpentines, granites, and 
schists, while limestones prevail lower down and almost 
everywhere in the western provinces. The trachytic 
formations, which abound in the east, are overlaid to- 
wards the centre of the plateau by black volcanic breccia, 
interspersed with blocks of trachyte. Altogether, igneous 
formations may be regarded as the dominant feature in 
the geology of Asia Minor. 


3. Hydrography : JBivera, The KizU-Irmak, Sakaria, 
ChoruJc, Khqfa-chai, and others — Lake Tuz-gol, 

The chief Anatolian Tiveis flow in a north-easterly 
direction to the Black Sea. Of these rivers, which have 
not all yet been thoroughly explored, the largest is the 
Kizil-Irmak (Halys), formed by the junction of two 
head-streams, one rising in the hills south-west of Tokat 
and flowing westwards, the other rising farther south on 
the slopes of Taurus and thence flowing first in a west- 
erly and then in a northerly direction. After pursuing a 
very winding course of about 800 miles, the £izil-Irmak 
dischaiges its waters through two principal channels into 
the Euxine below Bafra, and a little to the east of the 
Gulf of Sinope. Some 50 miles farther east the Yeshil- 
Innak (Iris) enters the Black Sea, about 16 miles to the 
east of Samsiin, after flowing by Tokat and Amasia during 
a tortuous course of nearly 240 miles. 

But next in importance to the Halys is the Sakaria 
(Sangarius), which rises near Angora on the tableland 
and reaches the Black Sea at a point some 80 miles east 
of the Bosphorus. The Choruk or Joruk (Bathys), the 
north-eastern frontier river, crosses Armenian territory and 
ialls into the Euxine just south of Batiim. The 
affluents of the .^ean Sea are important historically 
rather than geographically. While all are of small size, 
most of them are renowned in song and legend. Espe- 
cially famous are the Gediz-chai (Hermus), flowing to the 
Gulf of Smyrna, and formerly noted for its auriferous 
sands; the Bakir-chai (Caicus?), reaching the coast below 
Peigamus; the Khoja-chai (Granicus), flowing' from the 
slopes of Ida, and the scene of Alexander's first victory 
over Darius in 354 B.a; the Meinder-su, " called Xanthus 
by the gods and Scamander by men," which with its 
ttibutary, the equally famous Simois, traverses the Troas 


and joins the ^gean at the mouth of the Dardanelles; 
lastly, the Bnyuk Meinder (Maeander), which flows for 
250 miles through wild mountain gorges and rich alluvial 
plains to the coast near Miletus, and whose remarkable 
windings have given a familiar word to the English 
tongue. Most of these streams bring down much alluvial 
matter, which has during the historic period choked up 
many of the old harbours of the Ionian seaboard. Of 
less consequence are the rivers running south to the 
Mediterranean, two only of which, the Jihiin-chai (Pyra- 
mus) and Sihiin-chai (Cams), are of any considerable size. 
The "Silver Cydnus," associated with the names of 
Antony and Cleopatra, reaches this coast dose to the 
mouth of the Sihiin. 

A prominent feature of the plateau consists of its 
numerous fresh and salt water lakes, of which the largest 
is the Tuz-gol, or " Salt Lake " (Tatta Palus), lying about 
60 miles north of Konia (Iconium). It is nearly 50 
miles long by 10 to 12 wide; its waters are very braddsh, 
and the saline incrustations on its banks are rich enough 
to supply the surrounding districts with salt It is very 
shallow, and its area is much diminished by evaporation 
during the summer months. Of the fresh-water lakes 
the largest is the Egerdir, which lies 2800 feet above 
the sea, between the Sultan-dagh and the northern spurs 
of Taurus, and which is 30 miles long by 9 to 10 broad 
at its widest point In the north-west the Isnik-gol, 
near Brusa, is 50 miles round, and drains to the Sea of 

4. Natural and Political Dimsions — Islands, 

The Anatolian peninsula forms in reality as well as 
in name a miniature of the whole continent Both con- 


gist mainly of extensive central plateaux, with an inland 
and seaward drainage, and both are skirted by lofty 
ranges, behind which most of the streams have their 
soQice, which find their way to the coast But in Asia 
Minor the alluvial plains developed by these rivers can- 
not compare in relative extent with those of the greater 
Asia. The escarpments of the plateau approach every- 
where so near to the sea that no space is left for great 
lowland plains such as those of Siberia and China. 
There are a few low-lying and somewhat marshy tracts 
about tlie lower course of the Yeshil-Irmak, Elizil-Irmak, 
and Sakaria on the Black Sea, along the banks of the 
Meinder below Smyrna, and about AdaUa and Mersina 
on the south coast But with these and a few other un- 
important exceptions, the whole peninsula may be broadly 
divided into two main natural divisions — the central pla- 
teau, here and there intersected by transverse ridges, and 
the encircling rangea This disposition of the surface has 
largely determined the limits of the eight great vilayets 
or provinces into which Anatolia is divided for adminis- 
tative purposes. Two or three — Angora and Sivas — 
comprise the greater part of the tableland. Of the six 
others, Adana, Aydin, Kastamuni, and Trebizond coin- 
cide with so many distinct sections of the coast ranges, 
whfle Brusa and Konia alone include portions both of the 
plateau and of the seaboard. 

The old historical divisions, which fluctuated con- 
siderably with the many political and ethnical vicissi- 
tudes of this region, have been almost entirely effaced by 
the modem administrative changes of the Ottoman rule. 
Nevertheless the names of these ancient states have never 
quite died out of history, and such memorable geographi- 
cal terms as Phrygia, Lydia, Pamphylia, Paphlagonia, 
Cilicia, Cappadocia, are still familiar to the ordinary 
leader. How far all the old divisions correspond witli 



the present administrative departments may be seen in 
the subjoined comparative table : — 

Turkish Vilayets. 
Brosa (Khodavendikiar) 

Aydin (Smyrna) 


Eonia (Iconiam) . 

Sivas • 



Ancient DiTisiona. 


' Lycia. 


Part of Cappadoda. 

( Phrygia. 

< Qalatia. 

( Part of Cappadocia. 

Part of Pontus. 

( Paphlagonia. 
( Bithynia. 

All the islands of the ^gean Sea belonging to 
Turkey, and collectiyely known as the Sporades, are 
grouped together in a separate administrative division 
called the Vilayet Jezairi Bahr-i-Sefid — that is, the 
*' Vilayet of the White Sea Islands." ^ In this division 
was included the large island of Cyprus till the year 
1878, when its administration was transferred to Eng- 
land. Thasos also is attached to the Egyptian Govern- 
ment, while Samos forms since 1832 a semi-independent 
tributary Christian State, under the suzerainty of the 
Porte, by whom its prince is appointed. With these 
exceptions all the Sporades of the White Sea Vilayet are 
disposed in five Sanjaks, or '' Banners," as under : — 

^ The ^ean, for no apparent reaaon, is always called the "White 
Sea" by the Turka and Arabs. See Das VHayci dcr Inselen des fFeisMn 
Meertg, by A Bitter zur Helle. Vienna, 1878. 







Mytilene . Mytilene (Leslxw). 


Eofl . 



{EMos (Sakyss). 
Ipsaiia (Psara). 




Nicaria (Icaria). 

i Rhodes. 

26,916 houses, 

of which 
10,544 Gieek, 
10,308 Moslem. 

19,522 honsesy 

of which 
16,594 Greek, 
2,818 Moslem. 

( 10,428 hooses, 
( nearly all Greek. 

6,394 houses, 

of which 
6,085 Greek. 

16,762 honses, 

of which 
10,270 Greek, 
1,172 Moslem. 

Most of these islands enjoy a delightful climate, and 
are fertile in oil, wine, silk, honey, com, figs, oranges, and 
other firuits. Physically they may be regarded as a con- 
tinuation of the mainland, belonging mostly to the same 
geological formation as the opposite coast of Anatolia, 
and, like it, still subject to violent earthquakes. By one 
of these Khios (Scio) waa nearly ruined in the spring of 
the year 1881. In the Sporades the Greeks have always 
nwdntained a large numerical superiority, and the Turks, 
still numerous in Lemnos, Tenedos, and a few others, are 
^trograding like their fellow-countrymen on the main- 
land. The ownership of the land is rapidly passing from 
them into the hands of the Greeks, Armenians, and 

5. Climate, 

Owing to the great diversity in its relief, the climate 


of Anatolia is so varied that a general description becomes 
very difficult. In some places the transition from winter 
to summer may be effected by the traveller within the 
four-and -twenty hours. Along the west coast, at all 
times famous for its genial temperature, the thermo- 
meter varies in summer from 85* to 98** or 100** F., and 
here the heavy dews partly compensate for the slight 
rainfall On the central plateau the winters are often 
exceedingly severe, the snow lying deep on the ground 
for about four months. In Karamania these winters are 
followed by sultry sunmiers, and here also the rainy days 
are so few between April and November that the people 
depend nearly altogether on the tanks and reservoirs for 
their water. In the mountain passes of the Taurus the 
winters are excessively severe, and the summers corre- 
spondingly oppressive. More favourable is the climate of 
the north coast, thanks to its mild character and abun- 
dant rainfall But while the interior is generally healthy, 
malaria, produced by the great heat and moisture, prevails, 
especially in autumn, near Trebizond and at some other 
points along the shores of the Euxine. 

6. Flora and Fauna. 

The Anatolian flora forms a transition between those 
of Persia and Syria in the east, and of Southern Europe 
in the west. On the south coast we are even reminded 
of the Nile valley, while the western seaboard strongly 
resembles that of the Morea^ Owing to their abundant 
moisture the northern shores possess a magnificent forest 
vegetation, including the oak, beech, box, ash, plane, and 
other leafy trees. Here we meet with dense groves of 
the walnut, quince, mulberry, pomegranate, peach, apricot, 
plum, and cherry, while the valleys of the Eizil-Irmak, 
Sakaria, and other streams, afford excellent pasturage. 


Stoiax and other plants yielding valuable resins flourish 
on the Karamanian coast, whose flora resembles that of 
the shores of Syria. 

In the Taurus grow several forest trees, especially of 
the coniferous order. But thousands of stately pines are 
yearly destroyed by fire, which is recklessly applied to 
them in order to stimulate the yield of turpentine. In 
Adana the sugar-cane grows well, but does not ripen 
sufficiently to cause the sap to crystallise. Large quan- 
tities of excellent grapes, olives, and figs are produced in 
the southern valleys, while the flora in many parts of the 
west and south rivals that of Spain and Sicily in splen- 
dour and luxuriance. In these respects a striking contrast 
is presented by the bleak upland plateaux of the interior, 
which produce little more than a stunted growth of 
brushwood; some saline plants, wormwood, wild sage, a 
few species of fenis, and in some districts nothing but 
two kinds of bramble. Amongst the cereals there is a 
species of bearded wheat ; but oats are little cultivated, 
and barley is used as fodder for horses and other animals. 

like the flora, the fauna is akin to that of Southern 
Europe, but still more to those of Syria and Mesopotamia. 
Amongst the beasts of prey, nowhere numerous, are a 
few bears, wolves, hyenas, birds, several species of the 
cat^ and wild dog. Jackals are met in the more secluded 
districts, where the gazelle and other varieties of the deer 
also abound. Of domestic animals the buffalo is most 
conunonly employed in agriculture, and even its milk 
generally replaces that of the conmion cow, which is 
i&iely seen in the country. The camel is the chief beast 
of burden, although the horses axe strong and well built, 
And had once a high reputation. The asses also are 
active and above the average size. The famous long- 
hitei Angora or shawl goat, formerly peculiar to this 
legion, but now found also in Persia, thrives in Anatolia 


only in a tract abont 11,000 square miles in extent, 
stretching westwards from the Kizil-Irmak. Elsewhere 
the breed soon degenerates and loses the fine fleecy 
texture of its coating. The indigenous sheep belong 
mostly to the fat-tailed species, common throughout the 
east from Syria to the Kirghiz steppes. 

Amongst birds the most common are the eagle, falcon, 
bustard, stork, heron, quail, partridge, besides the ordinaiy 
European species. Of butterflies the varieties are endless, 
and many are noted for their rare and gorgeous colours. 
The coasts teem with all kinds of fish, amongst which axe 
the dye-produciDg cuttle-fishes. Land tortoises, lizards^ 
frogs, are common, while leeches are exported in consider- 
able quantities to France and Italy. 

7. InhoMtants : Turks, Greeks, XizU-Bashis. 

Ethnically speaking, Asia Minor is at present the 
true home of the Turks. It is one of the mainstays of 
the Ottoman Empire, from which thiB power continues to 
draw most of the resources that have hitherto enabled it 
to preserve its footing in the Balkan peninsula. Hence it 
is that the true character of this race can best be studied 
in Anatolia. All the western provinces are inhabited 
chiefly by Turks, who, however, even here are compelled 
to maintain the struggle for existence with other nation- 
alities, and especially with the Hellenes. Farther east 
other races, such as the Armenians, Kurds, and Lazis, 
take part in the rivalry. 

Yet, strange to say, the term " Turk " itself, at one 
time a proud title from the shores of the Adriatic to the 
remotest confines of Central Asia, is now carefully eschewed 
in Anatolia itself, where it has become a bjrword of 
reproach, answering somewhat to the English " boor,*' or 
" clod-hopper." And the people themselves have become 


all the more sensitiTe on the point, inoamncli as the 
° effendi," or refined " gentleman " from StambiU, regards 
the terms " Turk " and " Anatolian " aa practically eyn- 
onnnoTis with " uncouth " or " downiah." The stalwart 


80 that during the dry snmmer months the herds must 
still be driven to the uplands in quest of a sorry pasturage. 
The f]g» the vine, and the olive supply the Turkish peasant 
with his frugal fare, and enable him to meet his scanty 
wants. What need, therefore, to trouble himself with 
refined systems of husbandry ? 

The Turkish village presents a far from inviting 
appearance. The uncleanly hovels built of adobe, or sun- 
baked bricks, and pierced with one or two holes for win- 
dows, usually comprise two compartments, one for the 
family, the other for the storage of provisions. The 
fittings of the interior are extremely simple, the furniture 
consisting mainly of a straw mat on the floor, a trestle 
bed with woollen mattress and cotton coverlets in the 
comer, a rude chest for the linen and best clothes, a few 
copper vessels and stone water-jars. 

Dr. Carl Scherzer, a shrewd observer and a competent 
judge in Oriental matters, paints the present and the 
future of the Anatolian Turk in a few pregnant touches : 
— " The Turk, as a rule, understands his own language 
only, whereas all the other races in the country speak at 
least two from their infancy. This is due partly to his 
pride and contempt for all non-Muhammadan peoples, 
partly to the lack of enterprise and social rivalry. 
Earnest, reserved, and perhaps somewhat indolent, the 
Turk is still gifted with a fair share of intelligence. But 
though a keen observer of character, he lacks the business 
habits and the calculating spirit which have enabled the 
rival races to monopolise nearly all the trade of the 
country. In the rural districts the Turks are occupied 
mainly with agriculture and stock-breeding ; in the towns 
they either deal in the local products, or else ply such 
simple trades as suffice to supply the few wants of their 
existence. Under proper management they make good 
seamen, and are also well suited for thje caravan trade. 


They aie, generally speaking, honourable in all their 
dealings, firank, kind-hearted, and hospitable, ^vhile in 
leligioua matters they are, contrary to the general impres* 
sioD, the most tolerant of all Oriental races. They are 
deficient in the qualities of industry, perseverance in the 
acquisition of wealth and the upward tendency towards 
sodal improvement, and indolence may be regarded as 
one of their most salient national failings. The morrow 
troables them but little ; hence they will often pay an 
exorbitant interest for the means wherewith to tide over 
temporary embarrassments, and will freely sell their lands 
without giving a thought to the consequent decrease of 
fotore income. 

'' In the districts where they are surrounded by Greek 
and Armenian communities the Turks have fallen greatly 
behind ; but, thanks to the natural resources of the land 
and their own frugal lives, they are seldom reduced to 
absolute want. The recruiting system is a heavy burden, 
to which the Muhammadan populations alone have hitherto 
been subjected." 

The exclusion of the female element from the social 
life of the Turk helps but to intensify the eviL The con- 
tinoance of this practice is due mainly to the low state 
of education, which completely fails to meet the require- 
ments of modem ideas. 

It is not perhaps surprising that under such cir- 
cumstances the energetic, mercurial, and quick-witted 
Greek should threaten to usurp the inheritance of the 
Turk even during his lifetime. Occupied with thoujilits 
of gain, a shrewd calculating man of business, a skilful 
aeaijEuer, and intelligent husbandman, the Greek out- 
rivals his Moslem neighbour in every pursuit of life. 
The learned professions he almost entirely monopolises, 
and the doctor, lawyer, teacher, banker, are everywhere 
sure to be of Hellenic blood. The Greek is invariably 


the broker who n^otiates all husiness matters for ' hit 
Turkish friend," and he has secured the almost excImiTe 
control over the local and export trade. He is at the 
same time indefatigable in his efforts to promote scientific 
and literary vork, while also fostering a lively sense of 
Hellenic nationality. Thus Smyrna has already become 
a Greek city, and Athens has become the centre of an 

ably-directed movement aiming especially at the improve- 
ment of education amongst the Anatolian Hellenes. With 
his unflaggmg efforts to better his social and political 
status the descendant of the old Ionian stock is gradually 
resuming possession of the western provinces ; while close 
behind him presses the Armenian, intellectually scarcely 
his inferior, in restless energy fully his equal Both are 
alike hostile to the Turk. 

Other ethnical elements in Asia Minor are the Jews, 


nmneroas in the large towns, the Gipsies, the Circassians, 
Abkhasians, Lazis, and the Yuruks, a nomad Tdrki race 
occupying the uplands between Erzenun and the plains 
of North Syria. Mention should also be made of the 
Kizil-Bashis, or " Bed Heads," a remarkable race, also of 
Tirki stock, scattered over Anatolia, Persia, and Afghan- 
istan as far east as EabuL Outwardly devout Muham- 
madans, the Kizil-Bashis are none the less tenaciously 
attached to their own peculiar tenets and observances. 
These they never reveal to strangers, and Mordtmann, 
who frequently visited Asia Minor, never succeeded in 
obtainmg any trustworthy information regarding them. 
He, however, agrees with Van Lennep,^ in looking on 
ihem as the last survivois of the old pagan communities. 
But W. GifFord Palgrave, when British Consul at Trebi- 
zond in 1868, described them as "a sort of Eastern 
Monnonites, with a dash of Persian or Shiah supersti- 
tion.''^ He adds that they are as distinct from the 
Osmanli as the Saxons are from the Swedes. They call 
themselves "Eski-Tiirk" — ^that is, "Old Turks" — a term 
often applied to the Anatolian Turkoman tribes, to whom 
they seem to be closely akin in physique and speech. 
Although reputed Atheists, they are said to be believers 
in the doctrine of transmigration, are very hospitable, and 
entirely free from the absurd feelings of jealousy which 
degrade women to the level of the brute creation in most 
Mnhammadan countries. The fertile plains of Baz Ova 
and Aid Ova near Tokat, and the villages between Angora 
and Amasia, and between Kara-Hissar and Tokat, are the 
central quarters of the Anatolian Bed Heads. 

The Circassians and Abkhasians who have migrated 
to Turkey since the reduction of West Caucasia by the 
Bnssians have never found suitable homes in Asia 

' Travels tn IdUlc Known Parts of Asia Minor, Lond. 1870. 
' Official Beport on Dror. Trebizond, in Blue-book for 1868, part ii. 


Minor, where they have consequently become a serious 
disturbing element Mrs. Scott- Stevenson, and other 
recent travellers, represent them as a source of constant 
trouble, hopelessly indolent, given to plundering and 
hectoring over the people, levying blackmail right and 
left, and actually laying siege to the provincial towns. 

8. Topography : Chief Tovms, 

The interior of Asia Minor is rich in towns whose 
names have been famous since classic times, a circum- 
stance which is apt to give them far greater importance 
than they now really possess. Such are Eaisaiieh 
(Caesarea), at the north foot of Mount Aigaios, which, 
though much faUen from its former greatness, still derives 
some importance from its position at the junction of 
several highways of commerce; Sivas (Sebaste) on the 
Kizil-Irmak, and Tokat on the Teshil-lrmak, 60 miles 
north-west of it, both centres of a considerable inland 
trade. Farther west, Konia (Iconium), on the road 
between Brusa and Adana, gives its name to a large 
vilayet; formerly capital of the Seljuk empire, its 
numerous shrines of "saints" still attract devout 
Moslem pilgrims. Angora, or Engurieh (Ancyra), in the 
centre of the Angora plateau, is noted for its silky, long- 
haired animals — cats, dogs, rabbits, and goats, the wool of 
the last mentioned forming the staple of its trada Afiun- 
Karahissar, midway between Smyrna and Lake Tuz-gol, 
is the centre of a large opium trade, whence its name, 
which means " Black Castle of Opium." On the northern 
route leading thence to the Sea of Marmora stand Eiu- 
tayah, or Kutaieh (Cotyseum), near which are some inter- 
esting Phrygian remains, and Brusa at the foot of Mount 
Olympus, whence its classic name of Prusa ad Olympum. 
It was formerly the capital of Bithynia, and is at present 


U» chief town of the vilayet of Khodavendikiar. A few 
miles Dorth-east of it are the once famous towns of Isnik 
(NicfBa) at the east end of Lake Ascanius, and Ismid, now 
connected hy rail with Scutari, the Asiatic suburb of Con- 
Btantinopla On the coast of the Euiine are the small 
ports of Sinope, where the destruction of the Turkish fleet 

by the Bussians precipitated the Ciimeaa war of 1854, 
and Samsiin (Amisus), near the mouth of the Kizil-Irmak. 
East of it lies the flourishing port of Tarabiizun (Tre- 
bizond), the great emporium of the overland trade with 
Armenia and Peraia. Here the Greeks imder Xenophon, 
on their memorable retreat northwards from Cunaxa, first 



struck the coast and hailed the blue waters of the Euxine 
with shouts of Thalatta, Thalatta I 

But the true emporium of the Levantine trade and 
the real capital of Asia Minor is Ismir (Smyrna), which 
is conveniently situated at the head of the gulf of like 
name, a magnificent inlet of the .^ean, over 40 miles 
long, forming a vast and well-sheltered harbour with deep 
water right up to the quays of the city. In Smyrna there 
are three perfectly distinct populations — ^the Turks, Greeks, 
and Franks. The Turks, by far the most numerous ele- 
ment, reside chiefly in narrow, dirty slums, into which it 
is dangerous to penetrate alone, and which are cut off 
from easy access to the more open and safer quarters. 
The Greeks also occupy a district apart, where the brightly- 
painted wooden houses produce a very pleasant effect 
The Greeks take the leading part in all municipal affairs, 
and they have monopolised nearly all the retail trade of 
the place. 

Nothing gives us a better idea of the varied natural 
resources of Anatolia than a glance at the export trade of 
Smyrna. The tables include such diverse commodities 
as maize, rice, and other cereals, tobacco, silk, cocoons, 
opium, madder, valonea, gall nuts, yeUow berries, mohair, 
sponges, besides large quantities of dried figs and raisins 
of prime quality. 

9. Highways of Communication. 

One of the chief impediments to the development of 
the resources of Anatolia is the lack of good highways of 
communication. Eailways there are none, except three short 
coast-lines, one connecting Scutari with Ismid, one nmning 
from Smyrna along the valley of the Gediz to Ala-shehr, 
and the third running also from Smyrna southwards to 
Aidin. But these may be regarded as the first links of 


— Tl 

I. t 




that great Asiatic trunk-line, which perhaps may some 
day connect Constantinople and the West with the Indus 
valley. Meanwhile trade and intercourse are dependent 
on four main and a number of secondary highways, none 
of which except those connecting Trebizond with Erzerum 
and Samsiin with Amasia, would pass for roads in the 
West Of the four main routes the longest runs from 
Scutari through Ismid, Boli, Amasia, and Tokat, right 
across the northern section of the peninsula to Erzerum 
and the frontier Bussian fortress of Ears. The second 
starting from the Euxine at Samsiin strikes the former at 
Amasia^ and again leaves it at Tokat, running thence 
nearly due south to Sivas. Here it branches oflf in two 
directions, south-westwards to Kaisarieh and through the 
CiHcian Gates over the Taurus to the Mediterranean at 
Mersina, eastwards through Arabkir and Erzinghan to 
Erzerum. Another branch connects Kaisarieh with the 
Tigris at Diarbekr. The third main line runs from Tre- 
bizond southwards to Erzerum, where it trends eastwards 
to Bayazid on the Bussian frontier, and thence across the 
Persian border to Tabriz. This has from time immemorial 
fonned the great highway of communication for Persia 
with the Euxine and the West Lastly, the fourth main 
Toute runs from the Sea of Marmora south-eastwards 
through Brusa, Kiutayah, and Koniah, to Erekli, beyond 
which it crosses the Taurus also by the Cilician passes, 
wmding thence by Adana round Alexandretta Bay to 
Skandenin (Alexandretta), where it sends oflf branches 
eastwards to Aleppo, southwards to Antiochia. This 
fonnerly much-frequented route is now Kttle used for 
thiongh trafiSc 




1. Boundaries — Extent — Area, 

Nearly the whole of the eastern provinces, lying between 
Anatolia and Syria on the west, and the Bussian and 
Persian empires on the east, are drained through the 
Rivers Euphrates and Tigris to the Persian Gult They 
consist mainly of two great physical divisions — the 
Armenian and Kurdistan highlands in the north, the 
Mesopotamian lowlands in the south. But there are 
nowhere any sharply - defined natural frontiers. The 
somewhat arbitrary line marking the limits of Turkey 
in Asia towards Russia and Persia coincides nearly 
throughout its entire length with the eastern frontier of 
this basin, which thus stretches from Lazistan to the 
Persian Gulf. On the west the northern uplands merge 
almost imperceptibly in the Anatolian plateau, while the 
southern lowlands rise very gradually towards the Syrian 
highlands and the Arabian tableland. Even in the 
north Turkish Armenia is cut off from the Black Sea by 
the portion of Lazistan which is still left to the Porte, 
and which is administratively included in the AnatoUan 
vilayet of Trebizond. In the south alone the Persian 
GuK gives for some distance a decided natural limit. In 
most maps a graceful curve, described almost with the 
regularity of the compass, and stretching across the 
Syrian desert from near the Dead Sea to the head of the 


gulf, is supposed to mark off Turkish territory ftom inde- 
pendent Arabia. But this line has absolutely no signifi- 
cance at all. In official maps it disappears altogether, 
or is replaced by a straight line drawn much farther 
south from about the head of the Gulf of Akaba east- 
wards to the new vilayet of Basra, which now includes 
aU the Shat-el-Arab district and a laige slice of North- 
East Arabia. The extent of this r^on will therefore 
vaiy enormously according as it is made to include or 
exclude the Syrian desert and portion of the province of 
Basra. But taking the southern limit at the 30th 
parallel, which crosses the head of the Persian Gulf, and 
the northern at the Lazistan coast range under the 
4l8t parallel, the Mesopotamian basin will have a total 
length of about 770 miles, with an average breadth of 
300 from the Busso- Persian frontier to Anatolia and 
Syria, and an area of over 300,000 square miles. 

2. Belief of the Land : The Armenian and Kurdistdn 
Uplands — The Mesopotamian Lowlands. 

The northern section of this vast region embraces 
that portion of the Armenian highlands which still 
reioaiiis under the Ottoman rule. It consists mainly of 
a lofty plateau 4000 to 7000 feet above sea-level, and 
cnhninating with Mount Ararat just on the eastern 
frontier. Its surface is even more mountainous and 
irregular than that of Anatolia, for within its narrower 
limits it is crossed by four main ranges, with many 
secondary branches, forming connecting links between 
the Caucasian system on the north, the Anatolian on the 
west, and the Kurdish on the soutL But notwith- 
standing the great mean elevation of the land, only a few 
of the peaks rise above the line of perpetual snow, and 
the chains themselves, which are crossed in several direc- 


tions by accessible passes, are separated from each otlier 
by the deep valleys of the Aras, Chomk, and Euphrates, 
flowing in three opposite directions to the Caspian, 
Euxine, and Persian Gulf. The surface of the country 
between the mountain ranges consists of broad and 
mostly level steppe-like tablelands at various elevations, 
and forming a series of terraces one above the other. 
Deep and narrow valleys, gloomy and occasionally im- 
posing mountain masses, broad and bleak plateaux, a 
severe climate, with rigorous winters, followed by dry 
and sultry summers, a marked absence of forest trees, but 
in the valleys an abundant and even luxurious vegetation, 
such is the general physical aspect of the Armenian 

The Ears district, recently ceded to Kussia^ forms a 
rugged tableland, terminating south-westwards with the 
lofty Soghanli range, from 7000 to 8000 feet high, 
beyond which stretches the great valley of the upper 
Aras (Araxis). This valley, which crosses the district of 
Erzerum from west to east, is everywhere enclosed by 
high mountains — on the south by the Aghri-dagh (9400 
feet), the Bingol-dagh (12,000 feet), and others; on the 
north by the Shamar-dagh (9227 feet) ; on the west the 
Boyun and Palantukan-dagh (7300 feet), close to Erzerum. 
North of Erzerum the land falls towards the valley of 
the Choruk, beyond which it again rises to the Lazistan 
coast range, which attains an elevation of 11,000 feet, 
and forms the northern frontier of Armenia proper. 
Eastwards the range is pierced by the Choruk, which 
here trends northwards through a narrow gorge at Artvin, 
beyond which it flows through alluvial plains to the 
Euxine at Batum. Here the new Busso-Turkish frontier 
line has been shifted a few miles westwards to the coast 
village of Khopa, whence it runs southwards over the hills 
to the Choruk, thus leaving the eastern and richest divi- 


sion of Lazistan to Sussia. The rest of this region, as 
aheady stated, is included in the vilayet of Trebizond, 
which thus stretches between Armenia and the coast 
eastwards to the Enssian frontier. But the Choruk forms 
a geological and ethnical, as well as a political parting- 
line. While chalk and Jurassic formations prevail in the 
south, igneous rocks everywhere crop out in the north, 
where they fonn the higher ridges of the coast range. 
The range itself is also inhabited by the Lazis, a western 
branch of the Georgian race, and consequently quite dis- 
tinct from the Armenians, whose northernmost limit is 
marked by the middle course of the Choruk. 

The great central tableland of Erzerum, which 
stretches eastwards to Ararat, may be said to be limited 
southwards by the vaUey of the Murad, or eastern head- 
stream of the Euphrates. Here rise the Sunderlyk-dagh, 
the Ala-dagh, the snowy Sipan-dagh, and other mountains, 
attaining an elevation of from 10,000 to 12,000 feet, 
bejrond which the plateau maintains a mean altitude of 
5000 feet eastwards to the frontier town of Bayazid. 
But it falls southward to the land-loeked basin of Lake 
Van, which may be taken as the southern limit of 
Annenia proper. Since 1876 the Van district has been 
separated from the vilayet of Erzerum, and a line drawn 
fiom Miish through the lake eastwards to the frontier 
town of Kotdr, recently ceded to Persia, will roughly 
mark off the Armenian from the Kurdistan highlands. 
But the delimitation is in every sense arbitrary. The 
term Kurdistan — that is, " Country of the Kurds" — ^is so 
hr correct that it is mainly occupied by tribes of Kurdish 
stock. But, on the other hand, these tribes have spread 
in almost every direction far beyond its present limits, 
leaching eastwards to the Bakhtiari highlands in Persia, 
northwards in isolated communities to the parallels of 
Batiim and Tiflis. Physically, also, the long and rugged 


mountain range fonning the backbone of Kurdistan 
stretches beyond the frontier northwards between Lakes 
Van and Urmia to the foot of Ararat From this point 
a second chain branches off south-westwards, sweeping 
round Lake Van and rejoining the eastern range at the 
Erdosh-dagL The united chain runs thence with many 
ramifications south-eastwards to about the 34th parallel 
The main eastern axis thus forms a natural firontier line 
between Turkey and Persia from Bayazid to Karmanshah, 
and the whole system encloses an area of nearly 50,000 
square miles. 

Li the north the surface is very rugged and mountain- 
ous, but one extensive plateau, from 4000 to 7000 feet 
high, is developed between the Erdosh-dagh and Jebel- 
Judi,^ which, running nearly west and east from Jeziieh 
to Persia, rises &om about 2000 feet at its western 
extremity to upwards of 13,000 in the Jawar and Itow- 
andiz peaks near the Persian frontier. Beyond this 
range the coimtry is generally level, varied only with a 
few low ridges culminating with the Jebel-Hamrin, about 
midway between Mosul and Bagdad Here Kurdistan 
and Mesopotamia proper may be said to overlap, for, while 
the former at this point reaches southwards to the 34^ 
N. lat. beyond the Tigris, the latter stretches between 
the two rivers northwards to the 37'' N. lat. 

The prevailing geological formation in the north is 
limestone, with red sandstones and conglomerate. Here 
the hiUs generally present bare crests with rugged slopes 
partly overgrown with dwarf cedars, junipers, and valonea. 
Limestones and sandstones also prevail along the southem 
frontier range, but intermingled with schists, quartz, and 
granites. Here the bleak brown hills present jagged 
outlines and steep sides, often deeply scored by the action 
of the mountain torrents which lower down flow through 

^ Ikigh is the Tarkiah and Jebel the Arabic word for " Mountain." 


narrow winding valleys. Copper, lead, and iron ores are 
said to abound in the west, and in several places amongst 
the hills of the Euphrates ; but the only minerals avail- 
able for export are salt from Van, sulphur, alum, naphtha, 
and a little iron. 

South of the province of Erzerum and west of Lake 
Van, the Armenian and Xurdistdn highlands slope con- 
tinually southwards to the plains of Mesopotamia, and 
westwards to the Euphrates, which here marks the eastern 
limits of Anatolia. The tract between the Van district 
and the Euphrates, east and west, and between the Murad 
and Khabiir rivers, north and south, is often spoken 
of as "Kurdistan" in a more restricted sense, and on 
many maps figures as the Turkish province of Kurdis- 
tan; but this use of the word cannot be justified There 
is no Turkish province of the name, and the country 
as above limited is mostly comprised in the vilayet of 
Biarbekr. Most of this vilayet is watered both by 
the Tigris sjid the Euphrates, consequently nearly as far 
north as Diarbekr it belongs geographically to the region 
commonly designated as Mesopotamia — that is, the Inter- 
riyerain Country, or what in India would be spoken 
of as a " Doab," or " Land of Two Waters." It also 
belongs ethnically to two distinct domains, for the Kurdish 
and Arab nomad tribes, of Iranian and Semitic stock 
respectively, here meet on common ground. The term 
El-Jesireh, or " The Island," as Mesopotamia is always 
Galled by the Turks and Arabs, was formerly limited to 
the land strictly lying between the two rivers southwards 
to the old wall by which they were connected above 
Bagdad. The tract from this point to the Persian Gulf 
(that is, the ancient Babylonia) was and is still known as 
Iiak-Arabi (that is, Irak of the Arabs), to distinguish it 
firom the Irak of Persia. But the whole region from 
Biarbekr to the Gulf and from Syria to the Persian 


frontier is now commonly spoken of as Mesopotamia, tiie 
two divisions being sometimes distinguished as Upper 
and Lower Mesopotamia. It has a total area of perhaps 
180,000 square miles; but it everywhere presents re- 
markable uniformity in its physical and ethnical conditions. 
In the extreme north the land rises towards the 
Armenian and Kurdish highlands; but even here the 
mean elevation is little more than 1500 feet above the 
sea. The upland tract between Jesireh and Mardin is a 
stony waste, offering a scanty pasturage to the flocks and 
herds of the nomads in winter and spring. But the 
plains stretching farther west towards Urfa and Harran, 
and southwards to the low Sinjar hills, are well watered 
and very productive. These Sinjar hills form an isolated 
ridge, 7 miles wide and 40 miles long, midway between 
the Tigris and Euphrates, about the parallel of Mosul 
Farther south the land is nowhere more than 600 feet 
above sea-level. It may be regarded as a northern exten- 
sion of the Persian Gulf, which at one time probably reacKM 
to within 80 miles of the Mediterranean, but which has 
been gradually filled in by the alluvia of the great rivers, 
and by the advancing sands of the desert Indeed, before 
the formation of the Syrian coast ranges the Mediter- 
ranean and Persian Gulf were possibly connected, thus 
isolating Arabia from the rest of the continent, and 
offering a direct water highway from the Atlantic to 
the Indian Ocean. Owing to this geological origin of 
Mesopotamia, the soil is found to consist everywhere of 
a sandy clay, abounding in excellent agricultural proper- 
ties, and incapable of cultivation only where water fails. 
Its astounding fertility is suflSciently shown by the fact 
that it still remains unexhausted after having supported 
the teeming populations of the Akkadian, Assyrian, 
Babylonian, and Persian empires, from the dawn of 
history down to comparatively recent times. The num- 


ber and vastness of the rains scattered over this r^on 
from Babylon to Nineveh still bear witness to its former 
flourishing material condition; and since the cuneiform 
writings abounding in these rains have yielded up their 
secret to the ingenious labours of modem science^ we now 
know that the Mesopotamian plains have been the scene 
of successive cultures, rivalled in splendour and antiquity 
by those only of the Nile valley. 

3. Hydrography : The Tigris and Euphrates — Lake Van, 

With the exception of a small area in the extreme 
north, the whole of this region drains through the 
Euphrates and Tigris to the Persian Gulf. Since the 
recent rectification of the Eusso- Turkish frontier, the 
valley of the Kiir (Cyrus) belongs entirely to the Bufisian 
territory of Transcaucasia. But the Choruk and the 
Aras (Araxes) still flow for a considerable distance through 
Turkish Armenia before crossing the frontier on their 
course to the Euxine and the Caspian. The Choruk^ 
which rises in the uplands west of Erzerum, is joined 
below Baiburt by a tributary from Trebizond, after which 
it flows along the southern base of the Lazistan coast 
range eastwards to the Bussian frontier. Here it bends 
northwards altogether within Bussian territory, and 
reaches the sea close to Batiim, after a precipitous 
course of about 200 miles. The Aras rises at the north 
foot of the Bingol-dagh 30 miles south of Erzerum, and 
flows north-eastwards to the frontier, which it now soon 
reaches at a point considerably to the west of Kbxq and 
Ararat In Turkish Armenia, of which it drains a very 
small area, it is little more than a rapid mountain torrent. 

All the rest of the Armenian and nearly the whole 
of the Kurdish highlands belong to the basin of the twin 
rivers Euphrates and Tigris, which flow mainly in a 


south-easterly direction across the Mesopotamian plains. 
Sising on the Armenian terrace lands^ they pursue on the 
whole a parallel course, although often approaching and 
diverging from each other, until they at last mingle their 
waters at Kurnah, where the united stream takes the 
name of the Shat-el-Arab about 120 miles above its delta 
at the head of the Persian Gulf Above Kumah their 
channels approach nearest to each other at Bagdad, thus 
nearly separating Irak-Arabi from upper Mesopotamia. 

The upper r^on of the Euphrates resembles that of 
the Khine, while its middle course may be compared with 
that of the Danube, and its lower with the Nile. The 
Euphrates proper is formed by the junction of two great 
head -streams — the Kara-su or western branch, and the 
Murad or eastern branch, whose sources lie over 120 miles 
apart, in the very heart of the Armenian highlands. The 
Eara-su — that is, " Black Water " — rises some 20 miles to 
the north-east of Erzerum, and flows for 270 miles south- 
eastwards to Eeban-Maaden, a few miles west of Kharpiit. 
Here it is joined from the east by the Murad, which flows 
from the Ala-dagh south of Bayazid, and near the Bussian 
frontier, and has a total course through Armenia and 
Kurdistan of about 300 miles. Some 60 miles south of 
the junction the Euphrates pierces the Upper Taurus near 
Arghana, beyond which it trends southwards through the 
vilayet of Aleppo, here coming within 80 miles of the sea. 
But about the 36th parallel it turns somewhat abruptly 
to the south-east, and henceforth retains this direction to 
the Gulf It is navigable for over 1100 miles for small 
steamers to Bir (Blrejik), near Urfa, the point where it is 
crossed by the great caravan route from Syria to Bagdad. 
The Tigris is also formed by an eastern and a western 
head-stream, the former rising close to Bitlis, near the 
west side of Lake Van, the latter flowing from the neigh- 
bourhood of Kharpiit by Diarbekr to the confluence 


above Findiik. Beyond this point it pmsues a southerly 
course by Mosul to Bagdad, and between these points is 
joined on its left bank by the Great and Little Zab, and 
some other tributaries from the Kurdistan highlands. It 
is navigable for vessels of light draught to Nimrdd, 20 
miles below Mosul, and again for 300 miles by rafts 
from Mosul to Diarbekr. But owing to the rapidity of 
the current the traf&c is all down stream, and is still 
carried on mainly by a primitive style of craft, which is 
broken up at Bagdad, and transported by camels back to 
Mosul The journey between these points occupies three 
or four days during the floods, and from twelve to fourteen 
at other times. 

Below Bagdad the main streams are connected by 
several channels and intermittent watercourses, of which 
the chief are the Nahr Isa or Saklawiyah canal and the 
Shat-el-HaL Higher up the Euphrates is joined on its 
left bank by the Belik near Eakkah, and by the Khabiir 
at Kerkesia. The latter flows intermittently through the 
desert from the Karijah-dagh hills, 20 miles west of 
Mardin, round the western extremity of the Sinjar hills. 
During the floods it is joined by several streams, which 
at other times run dry in the sands. Below the junction 
of the Khabur there stretches a desolate desert tract be- 
tween the Euphrates and the Tigris, which is overgrown 
with wormwood, and still haunted, as in the time of 
Xenophon, by the wild ass, ostrich, and bustard. This 
region is visited by terrific whirlwinds, such as that 
which on May 21, 1836, nearly overwhelmed the English 
Euphrates Expedition under Colonel Chesney. 

Below Kumah the Shat-el-Arab traverses a flat and 
fertile plain, dotted over with villages, and covered with 
artificially irrigated meadow-lands and date groves. At 
Mohamra, 40 miles above its mouth, and 20 miles below 
Basra, it is joined by the Kanin from Persia, and here 


properly b^jiiiiB the delta, of which one arm only is 
navigable. For six months in the year this delta is 
converted into a swampy lacustrine district by the floods, 
caused by the melting of the snows about the head- 
streams in apring, and occasionally by the autumn rains. 
From its mouth to Bagdad the main stream b navigable 
throughout the year for steamers of considerable size. 
For some years past an English line plying between 
Basra and Bagdad has contributed much towards the 


with several lovely islets, and teem with fish, are veiy 
salt, and have no present outflow. 

4. NdturcU and Political Divisions : Turkish Armenia 
and Kurdistdn — Mesopotamia. 

The Mesopotamian basin comprises two natural divi- 
sions only — ^the Armenian and Kurdistdn uplands, where 
all the rivers have their sources, and the alluvial plains 
of Mesopotamia proper, which may be regarded as the 
creation of those rivers. To these two natural divisions 
correspond the five Turkish administrative divisions of 
Erzerum, Aziz, Van, Diarbekr, and Bagdad, together 
with a portion of Basra, distributed as under : — 

NaturlDivWon. ^g^ ^'Sill"'' ^P"^*""- 

Erzerum . . 27,000 676,000 

. 12,000 338,000 

19,000 1,015,000 
. 30,000 220,000 

„ . . T 1 J / Bagdad . . . 100,000 4,748,000 
Mesopotamian Lowlands . I p^^ ^^ 3^^^ ^^^^^^^ 300,0001 

The Armenian and Kurdistan highlands, which fonn 
a border-land between three empires, possess neither 
physical, ethnical, nor political imity. Thus their drain- 
age is partly to the Euxine through the Choruk-su, 
partly to the Caspian through the Kur and Aras, 
partly inland to the closed basins of Lakes Van and 
Urmia, but mainly through the Euphrates and Tigris 
to the Persian Gulf. Ethnically, also, they are occupied 
by peoples of four distinct stocks — ^the Lazis, a branch of 
the Georgian race ; the Armenians and Kurds, members 
of the Iranian family ; the Turks and Tatars, of Tiirki 
origin ; the Arabs, Jews, and so-called " Nestorians," of 

Aziz . 

Armenian Highlands . . < 
Kurdistin ffighlands . . { ^^^^ 



Semitic bloocL Lastly, these highlands, taken in their 
widest sense, are politically diBtributed between the 
empires of Bussia, Persia, and Turkey, which here con- 
veige round the base of Ararat, their culminating point. 
The recent changes that have taken place on the Busso- 
TurkiBh and Turko-Persian frontiers have even increased 
rather than diminished the difficulty of drawing any clear 
pardng-line between the three states, whose boimdaries 
are here almost everywhere purely conventional and even 
arbitraiy. In Aimenia the Rufiso-Turkish frontier-line is 
now deflected considerably westwards in the direction of 
Erzerum, thus leaving Ardahan, Olti, and Kars to Bussia, 
to which power the seaport of Batiim on the Black Sea 
has also been ceded by the Berlin Congress of 1878. 

Armenia is inhabited mainly by Christians, Kurdis- 
tan by Muhammadans. But both countries suffer alike 
from the effects of Turkish misrule. At the same time, 
the Christians are themselves largely to blame for the 
grievances of which they complain, nor can it be denied 
that the whole question of the much-needed local reforms 
has been complicated by questions of a political character. 
"Ample cause for discontent is afforded by the really 
wretched system of Turkish administration, the unequal 
imposition of taxes, persistent denial of justice, and prac- 
tical disavowal of the Christians' claim to be treated with 
the same consideration as their equals among Moslems. 
But the subordinate officers of the local government are 
aided and abetted in their disgraceful proceedings by the 
cnminal assistance of the Armenian Mejliss members, 
ostensibly elected by their co-religionists to guard 
their interests. As the evil thus lies as much with the 
Christians as the Turks, there is no remedy for it untU 
the local authorities see for themselves that the Porte's 
orders are really carried out." ^ 

^ Sitnct from Beport of Mr. TAylor, BritiBh Consul in Erzerum, 1878. 


ever water abounds. Such ia the fertile district stretch- 
ing from Urfa southwards to Harran, vhere splendid 
crops of maize, tobacco, and cotton are raised. Below 
Mosul the date-palin b^ins to make ita appearance, and 
this plant forms the prevailing feature in the landscape 
throughout the level alluvial plains of Irak from Bagdad 
to Basra. In the extreme south the numerous back- 
waters and channels of the two main streams merge 
imperceptibly in the lagoons and morasses of the SbaX- 


el -Arab delta. But these magnificent lands, so well 
suited for agriculture, are now little cultivated. The 
nomads and even the scantily-settled population rely 
mainly on the produce of their flocks and herds, and the 
country shows the same signs of misrule, ruin, and 
decay that are elsewhere visible in Asiatic Turkey. 
" Except around Bagdad the traveller now sees hardly a 
trace of the date-groves, the vineyards, and the gardens 
which excited the admiration of Xenophon " (JfCoan), 

5. Climate, 

The Armenian climate, pleasant enough in spring 
aad autumn, is excessively severe in winter and summer. 
Dazing the long winter months from October to May the 
gRmnd is mostly covered with snow, while the mid- 

ler heats are most oppressive. These conditions 

prevail in Kurdistan, where, however, the variations 
^ temperature are not so great as farther nortL Here, 
dso, the winter is of shorter duration, with correspondingly 
longer springs and autumns. In Mesopotamia the mild 
bat short winters become the pleasantest part of the 
year. But they are succeeded by sultry summers, during 
which the plains become scorched and bare. Here the 
Saxniel, or '' poison wind," prevails in the same season ; 
and the disease known as the " Aleppo button," or " Bag- 
dad date-mark," is seldom absent from the towns fringing 
tie desert 

Throughout the Mesc^tamian basin the annual rain- 
fall is below the averag^ Summer is everywhere very 
dry, but much snow falls on the uplands in winter ; and 
in Upper Mesopotamia abundant rains prevail from De- 
cember to March. Farther south vegetation and husbandry 
dep^d largely on artificial irrigation, which has been 
practised in this region from the remotest times. 


6. Flora and Fauna, 

In Armenia there is a marked absence of forest trees 
and so deficient is the supply of wood that in many 
places cattle-droppings form the staple of fuel The well- 
watered valleys abound in fruits and cereals; but the 
bleak plateaux are generally bare, or covered with a 
scanty vegetation of grass. Far more varied is the flora 
of Kurdistan, where the hills are often clothed with forests 
of oak, ash, walnut, and pine trees. Here also the lower 
grounds yield rich crops of maize, wheat, pulse, hemp, 
besides tobacco, cotton, mulberries, grapes, melons, and 
other Southern fruits. In Mesopotamia the vegetation 
becomes more decidedly tropical, and the Shat-el-Arab 
district produces some of the finest dates in the world. 

Wild animals have almost disappeared from this 
region. But the towns are infested by packs of pariah 
dogs, which, while doing the work of the scavenger, are 
occasionally dangerous to the people. M'Coan tells us 
that on one occasion he nearly fell a victim to the half- 
jackal breed of Erzerum. 

Their countless flocks of sheep form the chief wealth 
both of the Kurdish and Arab nomads, and the latter 
also possess many camels, and perhaps the purest breed 
of Arab horses in Asia. 

7. Inhaiitants : The Armenians, Kurds, Nestarians, 

and Bedouins. 

Although the seat of some of the earliest human 
cultures, the Mesopotamian basin is stUl largely occupied 
by a nomad population. Its inhabitants belong to four 
distinct stocks — ^the Iranian, represented in the northern 
highlands by the Armenians and Kurds; the Semitic, 
represented in the north by the so-called " Nestorians," 


or Chaldeans, in Qie plains by the Arab Bedouins ; the 
T&rki, which, besides some Tatar tribes, supplies the 
ruling element found chiefly in the towns; lastly, the 
Cavmsian, of which there are two branches — ^Lazis in the 
extreme north, and Circassians, many of whom have 
migrated in recent years from Bussian to Turldsh 

The centre of gravity of the Armenian nationality, 
which formerly lay about the basin of Lake Van, has 
been gradually shifted northwards to the neighbourhood 
of the Ala-goz and the famous monastery of Echmiadzin, 
both within the Bussian frontier. The race, like the 
countiy itself, has long lost its political unity, and is now 
distributed over the Bussian, Turkish, and Persian empires. 
Nevertheless, over one-third of the people still continue to 
leside under the Ottoman rule about the head streams of 
the Euphrates and Aras. They are distinguished as 
much by their features, dress, and social habits as by their 
distinct Christianity from the surrounding Kurdish and 
Turkish Muhammadans, with whom they cannot be said 
to enjoy much popularity. Their craft and acuteness 
baye b^3ome proverbial; and although there may be some 
exaggeration in the charges brought against them, it can- 
not be denied that their moral tone has been affected 
by the political servitude to which they have been 
bug subjected. like the Jews, the Armenians, after 
Ae loss of their independence, have turned to trade, 
which is now almost entirely in their hands. They 
accumulate all the capital of the country, so that the 
nioney market is ruled by them. The great influence 
thus ensured to them naturally causes mutual heart- 
bumings and rivalries amongst themselves, while against 
the common enemy they combine together and spare no 
saciifice for the general weaL Surpassing others in 
ibiewdness, the main object of the Armenian dealers is 


to purchase cheap wares of attractive appearance, and 
then retaQ them advantf^eoualy. Thoa they often 
succeed in amassii^ great wealth, which, however, they 

are alwaya careful to conceal Thus capital ia hoarded 
up, which they neither invest nor enjoy. 

Timid and taciturn, they display at least an outward 


obedience to their rulers, whom they inwardly despise. 
Naturally of a mild disposition, they have scarcely ever 
sought to recover their independence by force of arms. 
Satisfied when allowed to pursue the peaceful paths of 
commerce, they have ever shown themselves submissive 
to their fierce and warlike neighbours. They might even 
1)6 said, of all Christian people, to sympathise most with 
the Turks, whom they resemble in their earnest temper and 
frogal habits, and whose language they generally speak 
like a second mother-tongue. They also stand much on 
the same social leveL Among them the women are little 
better off than among the Moslems, being practically the 
drudges of the household. But while the sensual Turk 
often becomes the slave of his handmaiden, the Armenian 
man of business still remains the head of the family. All 
menial work is performed by the wife, who waits on her 
husband at his meals, which she never shares with him. 
Although unveiled indoors, she is never seen by strangers, 
even at entertainments withdrawing to a room set apart 
for the purpose. This is usually raised a few feet above 
&e level of the large central hall, and shut off by means 
of a wooden lattice, whence, without being seen, the 
women command a view of the banquet below. 

Betrothed from her childhood by parental arrange- 
ment, the bride seldom obtains a sight of her future lord 
before their union. 

The Armenian race, whose national name is Hai, Haak, 
or Haikan, formerly numbered some 8,000,000, but is now 
reduced to little over 2,000,000, distributed as under: — 

Cancaida and Russia in Europe . 
Turkifih Armenia 
Persian Armenia 
Turkey in Europe . 
EliBewhere .... 





While the settled and peaceful Armenians have been 
constantly losing ground, the nomad and lawless Kurds 
have long spread far beyond the limits of the region to 
which their progenitors, the Karduchi, seem to have been 
confined. In classic times Armenia included the whole 
of the Van district southwards to the 38th parallel, 
and Sachan ^ has recently determined the site of Tigrano- 
certa, one of its many capitals, at the village of Tel Ermen, 
or the "Armenian Hill/' a little to the south-west of 
Mardin, within the limits of Upper Mesopotamia. But 
all this region is now mainly occupied by the Kurds, some 
of whose tribes reach far southwards to the vilayet of 
Diarbekr, while others have encroached upon the Arme- 
nian district round about Ararat, and are found as far 
north as the 41st parallel about the head-waters of the 
Kur. Others are scattered over parts of Asia Minor, 
North Syria, West Persia, and the highlands between 
Khorasdn and the Turkoman country. Semi-independent 
Kurdish tribes still form a dreaded cordon round about 
the upland town of Van. Still more formidable is the 
Hormakli branch, occupying the snowy Bingol-dagh south 
of Erzerum, between the two forks of the Euphrates. 

Although not always so chivalrous as they have been 
described by the few travellers who have occasionally 
visited them, they still possess the proud and &ank 
address of independent highland tribes. Kor can it be 
denied that many of their lawless propensities and 
notorious indifference to the rights of property must be 
attributed to the maladministration of their Turkish and 
Persian rulers. Under some of their semi-independent 
chiefs, a general rising took place on the Turko-Persian 
frontier in 1880-81, during which the most deplorable 

^ Ueber die Luge von Tigranocerta, Berlin, 1881. This place was 
hitherto sapposed to lie much farther north, at or near Diarbekr, on tht 
Upper Tigris. 



excesses weie committed, and the Unnia district wasted 
with file and sword almost up to the veiy gates of Tabriz. 

Bat the worst qualities of the race have been 
developed in the Nestorian district of Hakhiari, about the 
head-waters of the Great Zab. This tract stretches from 
the Persian border-land westwards to the Jebel-Judi, 
between the Zab and Tigris. But the Nestorians are also 
found in the extreme north-west of Persia, about Lake 
Unnia, and in small communities scattered over Upper 
Mesopotamia. They may almost be regarded as the last 
surviving erratic boulders of a formerly powerful Christian 
sect, at one time widely diffused over the vast region 
stretching &om the Euphrates to Western China. But 
few travellers have succeeded in penetrating to their 
pesent home in the Kurdish highlands, a circumstance 
piobably due as much to the inaccessible nature of this 
alpine region as to the savage character of its Christian 
Nestorian and Moslem Kurdish inhabitants. The heart 
of the country can be reached only by the Zab valley, on 
either side of which lie the dangerous haunts of the fierce 
Leihon tribe, the name of whose dreaded chief, Bedr 
Khan, is still remembered after two generations by the 
SQiroonding Christian communities. Feuds and forays 
are still firequent enough, especially in the Tiyari district, 
where nestle the stone huts of the Nestorians under the 
shade of mighty walnut trees in the well-watered valleys, 
here everywhere encircled by snowy crests. 

The Nestorians, who number altogether about 200,00 0, 
reject both the name "Nestiiri" and the doctrine of 
Kestorius. The term is probably a corruption of " Kes- 
saiini," from Nazareth, commonly applied in the East to 
the Christians. But however this be, they call them- 
selves Kaldani, or Chaldeans, and claim to be the sur- 
vivors of the old Christian people of Mesopotamia, who 
were of Chaldean or Assyrian stock. Those of Mosul 



and others still speak a connpt form of Assyrian, 'which 
they call modem Chaldean, and which is certainly an 
Aramaic dialect closely allied to Syriac. 

Notwithstanding their lawless and predatory habits, 
the Kurds have developed a few simple industries. They 
breed a degenerate species of the Angora goat, from the 
hair of which are woven rugs and carpets, which have 
found their way to the European market They also 
produce coarse woollen, silken, and cotton stuffs, besides 
earthenware, hardware, and especially arms. The widely- 
scattered tribes of Kurdish stock number altogether prob- 
ably about 3,000,000, of whom 1,250,000 in Turkey. 

In Upper Mesopotamia the Kurdish and Arab nomads 
are intermingled But fEuHier south the bulk of the 
population beyond the walls of the towns consists of 
Bedouin tribes, whose subjection to the Porte is of a very 
loose character, and who may in some respects be r^arded 
as the true masters of the land. Besides, the Ottoman 
Government is quite incapable of introducing a practical 
system of culture even into the arable tracts of Irak- 
ArabL For many years past the governors, pressed by 
the Anazeh, Shammar, Montefik,^ Beni*Laam, and other 
powerful Bedouin tribes, have been able to do little more 
than keep things &om tumbling to pieces. Here, as else- 
where, the history of the last fifty years has been nothing 
more than a constant feud, in which the advantage has 
frequently been on the side of the foes of Ottoman rule. 
Could the Arab tribes be induced to combine their forces, 
the Government would find it no easy matter to hold in 
check the powerful hordes, which often number ficom 
10,000 to 20,000 mounted warriors. Along the Shat- 
el- Arab there is little more than an outward show of 

^ In Angnst 1881 the Montefiks, who stretch along the right hank of 
the Lower Euphrates and Shat-el-Arab, came into collision with the 
Turkish troops from Bagdad, but were defeated. 


authority, which is to some extent rather endured than 

8. Topography : Chuf Towns — Hrzerum, Van, 
Nineveh, Bagdad, Kerbela, Basra, 

The constant encroachments of Bussia have left to 
Turkish Armenia no towns of any note, except Erzerum, 
capital of the vilayet of like name. Even this place is 
important rather for its strategical position, and as the 
etUrq^dt of the caravan trade between Persia and the 
Eoxine, than for its size or population. It Ues in a fertile 
district some 30 miles north of the Bingol-dagh, and 100 
miles south -east of Trebizond on the great commercial 
highway leading from that town over the plateau to the 
Persian jBrontier. But, like most fortified towns, it is 
inegolarly built, its narrow dirty streets, flanked by mean 
bouses, being crowded together in the small space enclosed 
by its lofty walls. Here the Moslem largely prevails over 
the Christian element, although Erzerum is the metro- 
polis of the Armenian Church in union with Bome, as 
Echmiadzin is of the Orthodox or Independent Armenian 
Christians. Its mosques are very numerous, and it is 
a chief halting-place for Persian pilgrims on route for 

A more interesting place is Van, which, though the 
chief town in East Kurdistan, is inhabited mostly by 
Armenians. It is picturesquely situated on the east side 
of the lake, above which rises an isolated rock crowned 
with its citadel Van has sufiTered much both from earth- 
quakes and from the turbulent Kurdish nomads of the 
Burronnding district Some time back these marauders 
took advantage of a fire in the bazaar to plunder the 
Armenian shops and houses, and since then its trade has 
greatly declined. 



In Mesopotamia nearly all the large towns are situated, 
not on the Euphrates, but on the Tigria Of these the 
northernmost is Diarbekr, capital of a vilayet, and lying 
on the western head-stream of the Tigris in a debatable 
land, where the Kurdish, Armenian, Syrian, and Arab 
races meet on conmion ground. It is the seat of a 
Chaldean patriarch, and does a considerable trade by 
river and caravan. 

Lower down the river, and in the heart of the ancient 
Assyria, stands the town of Mosul, once noted for its 
fine cotton fabrics, which from this place are stUl known 
as muslins. Here the Tigris breaks through its southern 
mountain barrier, which forms a natural boundary between 
the Kurdistdn highlands and the Mesopotamian plains. 
Although a poverty-stricken and decaying place, Mosul 
must always remain a hallowed spot in the eyes of the 
antiquarian, thanks to the neighbouring ruins of Nineveh, 
which have of late years been so successfully explored. 
Eastwards there stretches an extensive cultivated tract, 
limited on the north by the steep walls of an irregular 
limestone range, and extending beyond the hori2on south- 
wards to the confluence of the Great Zab, where the 
right bank of the main stream is already fringed by the 
Mesopotamian steppe. The small plateau thus circum- 
scribed is broken only by low hUls crowned with numer- 
ous hamlets, generally associated witli those mysterious 
artificial mounds or barrows which are found scattered 
over Western Asia, the Balkan peninsula, Russia, and as 
far west as the Pomeranian and Mecklenburg marsh 
lands. Close to these countless tumuli stand the villages 
of the agricultural Kurds, while the whitewashed tombs 
of Moslem " saints " are dotted over the boundless grassy 
plains. On this plateau the ruins of Nineveh cover a 
space about 1 8 miles in length along the river, and extend- 
ing nearly 12 miles from its left bank, thus occupying an 


aiea of over 200 square miles, or rather more than that 
of London. The famoas mound of Kuyunjik, where the 
excavations were begun in 1841, faces Mosul, while 
those of Kimrud occupy the angle formed by the conflu- 
ence of the Tigris and Great Zab, 1 8 miles farther south. 
H^e Layard discovered the colossal winged bulls, lions 
with human heads, and winged sphinxes placed as guard- 
ians at the entrances of the royal palaces, and now pre- 
served in the British Museum. Since then all the 
European collections have been enriched by the artistic 
treasures brought to light in the intervening space. The 
anow-headed writings of the brick libraries, which are 
BOW deciphered, show that Nineveh was the centre of an 
Assyrian or Semitic civilisation of great antiquity, but 
still modem compared with that of the Akkads of 
Babylonia, whose ethnical affinities have not yet been 

Nearly midway between Mosul and the Persian 
Gulf is situated the famous city of Bagdad, in what was 
once one of the richest and most productive regions in the 
world. This city was formerly the most brilliant capital 
of the Moslem world. Arriving with the Persian caravan 
from Mandali, we enter the city by the gate of Sheikh 
Omer. The archway has long since fallen in, and the 
soft-hoofed camels struggle painfully over the breaches 
formed by time in the dilapidated bastions. In the first 
porlieus we meet with nothing but piles of rubbish, stag- 
nant waters, and cesspools, while a pack of pariah dogs 
is scattered in all directions by the shrill voice of the 
leader of the caravan. Over the city swoops the vulture 
of the wilderness, and at its very gates flocks of carrion 
crows settle unmolested on the putrid carcasses strewn 

East of the river is the district of New Bagdad, con- 
tainmg the Government offices and the chief commercial 


fanaticiam, their general bearing is preferable to that of 
most other Asiatic Mussuhnans, because of the very 
sincerity of their belief, combined with the natural 
dignity and frankness peculiar to the Moslem Arab. The 
population is of a veiy motley character, being composed, 
according to some authorities, of 150,000 Muhammadans 
of various races, some 18,000 Jews, 2000 " Nestorians," 
nearly the same number of Latin Christians, several bun- 
dled Armenians and Syrians, and scarcely more than 20 
Inopeans. But the estimate of the total population is 
lelaced to about 60,000 by Dr. Albert Socin, one of 
fhe best-informed writers on Eastern subjects. Bagdad, 
ftough shorn of the greatness for which it was once 
bmed, still possesses importance commercially and poli- 
tically, which it owes to its situation on the great water 
Ughway in a country nearly destitute of land routes. 

Up to this point the Tigris is navigable throughout 
the year for steamers of considerable size, while from the 
north there daily arrive the so-called " Kelleks," a sort of 
eaft made of inflated goat-skins, boarded over. On these 
ire floated down quantities of lumber from the Kurdistan 
viands, the boatmen returning with the empty skins in 
company with the caravans. But still more characteristic 
of Bagdad is the " quffe," or coracle, consisting of a round 
hcdl 6 to 8 feet broad, with sides curved inwards, con- 
structed mostly of strong reeds and well pitched on the 
outside. When the bridge of boats becomes broken, the 
communication is kept open by means of these frail craft. 
West of the Euphrates, though at no great distance 
from Bagdad, lies the village of Kerbela, a spot held in 
great veneration by the Shiah or Persian Muhanmiadans. 
Here is the tomb of Hosein, the Prophet's grandson and 
son of Ali, whom the Shiahs regard as his true successor 
in the Caliphate. They believe that by living or dying 
here they have nothing to fear in the next world, being 

pilgrimB, all who have perfonned this pilgiimsge hence- 
forth hearing the pioud title of " KerbelaL" 

A little south of Eerbela, and on the Euphrates, 
stands the town of Hillab, opposite which are the mias 
of Babylon, scattered over a wide tract of country. StiU 
farther south, on the Shat-el-Aiab, which affords excelleat 
nav^ation to ships of considerable draught, and near the 
head of the delta, lies the important port of Basra (Bas- 


som). Though Burrounded by a maishy and malarious dis- 
trict, Basra is favourably situated for trade. It was for- 
merly a very flourishing place, and is still the emporium 
of Asiatic Turkey for Eastern produce. Ships of 500 
tons burden reach this point, and since the establishment 
of the English line of steamers affording regular com- 
monication with Bagdad and the Gulf, its prosperity has 
considerably revived. 

9. Sighivays of Communieation. 

In the Mesopotamian basin there are scarcely any 
roads properly so called. The two great arteries of the 
Tigris and Euphrates still continue to be the chief 
highways of communication. But the desert is crossed 
m various directions by caravan tracks, and in the 
extreme north there is one good road, the already- 
mentioned route connecting Trebizond through Erzerum 
and Bayazid with Persia. Erzerum is also connected 
eastwards by a military road with Elars, and south-east- 
wards through Yangali with Van. From Van an im- 
portant route runs southwards through Mosul, and down 
the Tigris valley to Bagdad, and another westwards 
through Miish and Eharput to Anatolia. Of the caravan 
loutes across the desert, by far the most important is that 
which strikes the Euphrates at Bir (Birejik), here bifur- 
cating through Urfa northwards to Diarbekr, south-east- 
wards down the Mesopotamian lowlands to Bagdad. 
Another route runs from Diarbekr along the left bank of 
the Tigris through Findiik to Mosul, here crossing to 
die west bank, which it follows to Bagdad. Mosul is 
also reached from Diarbekr by an alternative route via 
Mardin and Nisibin (Nisibis). But the most direct route 
between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf runs 
&om Alexandretta through Aleppo to Kalaat- Jabar on the 




Euphrates, thence following the right bank of that river 
ma Annah and Hit to Kalat-Ambar. Here it crosses 
over and pursues a straight course south-eastwards to 
Bagdad. This route is not essentially difiEerent from the 
line which has been examined and parUy surveyed for the 
project of the Euphrates Valley Railway. The line is 
proposed to run &om Alexandretta to Bagdad, and thence 
south-eastwards to Basra. At Bagdad it would form a 
junction with the great South Asiatic trunk-line, which, 
starting from Scutari, is intended to connect the Bosphorus 
with the Persian Gulf through Anatolia and Mesopotamia. 
There has been speculation also regarding the possibihty 
of carrying a railway from Mesopotamia on to India, 
. through Persia and Afghanistan or Baluchistan.^ Mean- 
time there are no railways in the Mesopotamian basin, 
nor is it probable that the projected trunk-line will be 
undertaken at present 

1 See the publications on the Euphrates Valley Railway and India and 
Her NeigJibours, by Mr. W. P. Andrew, chairman of the Sind, Panj&b, and 
Delhi Railway Coiiipany. 




1. Botmdariea — Extent — Area. 

The Mesopotamian plains are separated by the great 
Sjiian desert from the Mediterranean coast region^ which 
beie stretches nearly in a straight line from the Sinai 
Peninsula northwards to Anatolia. The desert forms a 
chalk and limestone tableland gradually rising to an alti- 
tude of over 2000 feet above the sea, stretching away 
southwards into the peninsula of Arabia, but on the west 
sinking abruptly down to the long, deep, and narrow 
depression of El-6hor, which forms the eastern limit of 
the sonthem section of the coast region known as Pales- 
tine or the Holy Land. Farther north the desert merges 
imperceptibly in the plains of Damascus and Aleppo ; con- 
sequently Syria, or the northern section of this region, 
piesents no natural well-defined limits towards the east. 
Bsewhere the boundaries of the whole land are sufficiently 
dear — the sea on the west, the Amanus (eastern Taurus) 
on the north, the Euphrates on the north-east, the little 
river £1-Arish on the south-west, Arabia Petrsea on the 
sooth. This gives a total length north and south of about 
430 miles, with a mean breadth of 100, narrowing in the 
south to 50, expanding northwards to 150. The area is 
vaguely estimated at about 120,000 square miles, of 
vhich not more than 12,000 are comprised in Palestine, 
leaving 108,000 to Syria. The distinction between these 



terms has long ceased to be recognised in the East ; but is 
still retained in the West, by reason of the religious 
associations and historical reminiscences with which the 
southern division is inseparably associated. Palestine is 
cut off by the Lower Orontes and Mount Hermon from 
Syria proper, measuring from this point to the southern 
end of the Dead Sea about 160 miles, with an average 
breadth of 70. 

2. Relief of the Land : Lebanon and AntuLebanon. 

While this strip of coast land serves on the one hand 
to cut off the desert from the sea, it forms on the other 
a connecting link between the Anatolian and Arabian 
tablelands. It is everywhere too mountainous to allow 
the plateau formation to be clearly developed. But the 
mass of the land has a mean elevation of probably 3000 
feet, above which rise two parallel mountain ranges, 
clearly marked in the centre, less distinctly defined in 
the north, and southwards breaking into an irregular 
upland region, where the hUls and low ridges still form 
two systems west and east of the El-Ghor depression, 
round which they meet and become interlaced in the 
Arabian uplands. 

The coast line, running nearly due north and south, 
is varied by but few and unimportant headlands and 
inlets, the section south of Beynit forming almost a straight 
line, broken only by the bold promontory of Moimt Car- 
mel nearly midway between Beynit and Jaffa (Joppa). 
Throughout its entire length the coast is followed by the 
outer chain of mountains, leaving but a narrow strip of 
lowlands between their base and the sea. In Palestine 
this range is little more than the escarpment of the broad 
and hilly plateau of Judaea, beyond which the plain of 
Sharon stretches seawards from Csesarea southwards to 


Gaza. Seyond Carmel the hills still recede sufficiently 
to make room for the less extensive plain of Acre, after 
which they continue to rise in height and approach con- 
stantly nearer to the coast. North of the valley of the 
Lower Leontes (Nahr-el-Iitany) they culminate in the two 
parallel chains of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, which 
fonn the great physical feature of this region. The Anti- 
Lebanon, or inner range, falls gradually northwards down 
to the plains of Upper Mesopotamia But the Lebanon, 
or Jebel-el-Gharbi — that is, " Western Bange " — ^is con- 
tinued by the less elevated Jebel-Nusarieh as far as the 
plain of Antiochia, about the 36th parallel. North of 
this plain the Jebel-Nusarieh is continued by the Giaour- 
di^h and Alana-dagh to the Taurus above the Gulf of 

The Lebanon or central coast range runs for about 
90 miles south-west, at some points approaching to within 
8 or 10 miles of the Mediterranean. Seen from a vessel 
oat at sea it presents the appearance of bare, rocky walls, 
here and there surmounted by a few snow-clad peaks, of 
which the highest are the Dhor-el-Khodih (10,200 feet), 
and the Jebel-Makmel (10,000 feet). From these the 
lange takes the name of the Lebanon or '* White Moun- 
tains," a name which was already current in the time of 
Hoses (Deut i 7), and which has never since dropped 
out of history. Notwithstanding its rugged aspect sea- 
wards, the Lebanon, which is properly limited southwards 
by the valley of the Lower Leontes, really contains many 
fertile slopes and valleys, well cultivated and thickly 

Eastwards it is separated by the still more fertile 
valley of the Bekaa (Ccele-Syria) from the Anti-Lebanon 
or iQner range^ whose naked rocky walls present far more 
varied outlines and wilder gorges than the coast range. 
Although with a lower mean elevation, the southern 


extremity of the Anti-Lebanon riaes in the Jebel-es-Sheikh 
(Mount Hermon) to an altitude of 11,000 feet, the cul- 
minating point of the Syrian highlands, some 30 miles 
south-west of Damascus. Beyond this point it throws 
off two branches, towards the south-west and south-east, 
thus enclosing the upper sources of the Jordan, and meig- 
ing eastwards in the rocky uplands of Gilead and Moab. 

3. Hydrography : Jordan — Dead Sea, 

Syria and Palestine are still sometimes represented as 
being intersected in their entire length by a deep depres- 
sion called in the north £1-Bekda, in the south £l-Ghor. 
But more accurate recent surveys have shown that this 
view is entirely erroneous, and that El-Bekda and El- 
6hor are totally distinct formations. Although the term 
El-Bekaa means a " deep plain," the tract in question, 
answering to the ancient Code -Syria — ^that is, "HoUow 
Syria " — is only " deep " or " hollow " relatively to the two 
lofty ranges of the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, between 
which it lies. In itself the Bekaa is not a depression at 
aU, but a plateau at an average elevation of no less than 
2000 feet above the sea. On the other hand the Ghor 
is not only a true depression, but the very deepest in the 
earth's crust, falling in the basin of the Dead Sea to a 
depth of 1292 feet below the Mediterranean, or over 4000 
feet below the Bekaa. Nevertheless, these two features 
of the country are still to some extent connected by its 
hydrography, which they largely regulate. At the famous 
ruins of Baalbek, under the 34th parallel and about mi^r 
way between Antiochia and the Dead Sea, the Bekaa attains 
its greatest elevation of about 3000 feet above the sea, 
and here is consequently the chief water-parting of the 
whole region. Bound about Baalbek rise the four main 
streams — Jordan, Leontes, Orontes, and Abana — ^which 


flow in four opposite directions, south to the Dead Sea, 
south-west and north-west to the Mediterranean, east to 
the Bahr-el-Ateibeh beyond Damascus. At Lake Merom 
the Jordan reaches the trough of the Ohor, which it 
henceforth follows throughout its entire course to the 
Dead Sea. The Leontes and Orontes traverse the south- 
em and northern sections of the Bekaa respectively, while 
the Abana pierces through the deep gorges of Anti- 
Lebanon down to the smiling plaios of Damascua Of 
Ihe four rivers, the Jordan and Orontes will here claim a 
more detailed description. 

The Orontes (Nahr-el-Asy) rises with two head- 
streams on the western slopes of Anti-Lebanon, some 10 
miles north of Baalbek, flowing thence northwards to 
the neighbourhood of Homs (Emessa), where it expands 
into the lakelet of Eades, 6 miles long by 2 broad. 
Beyond this point it continues its northerly course by 
Hamah (Epiphania), and through narrow rocky gorges 
for about 50 miles to the northern extremity of the 
Kusarieh range, where it trends suddenly westwards and 
aoath-westwards through the plains of Antiochia to the 
coast, which it reaches near Suedia (Seleucia), after a 
winding course of about 150 miles. At its northern 
bend it receives on its right bank the Eara-su, its only 
important tributary, flowing from the Lake of Antioch 4 
miles offl 

The Jordan (Sheriat-el-Kebir) is formed by three 
small head -streams, the farthest of which rises between 
Baalbek and Mount Hermon. The united stream falls 
thence over seven low terraces southwards to the muddy 
litde Lake Merom (El-Huleh), which lies at the head 
of the 6hor in a fertile basin, Mnged on the north by 
an almost impenetrable reedy swamp, and enclosed on 
the south by a spacious elevated plain. This plain sinks 
soathwards sufficiently to afford an outlet for the Jordan, 


which now pursues its impetuous course through the 
deep rocky fissure of the Ghor for 10 iniles to the Sea 
of Galilee (Lake Gennesareth or Tiberias). The fall in 
this short space is nearly 700 feet, and at this point the 
trough of the Jordan has already descended to 682 feet 
below the Mediterranean. 

Lake Tiberias is a sheet of dear water, now as of old 
abounding in fish, and encircled on all sides by lofty 
mountain walls and hills, which in spring are covered 
with a soft grassy carpet, but which become parched up 
during the dry summer months. West of the lake 
stretches the fertile plain of Gennesareth (El-Ghuweir, or 
*' the Little Ghor **) ; but the Ghor itself continues still to 
fall for about 200 miles between the Gilead hills and the 
escarpment of the plateaux of (jalilee and Samaria, 
southwards to the Dead Sea. The total fall in this space 
amounts to 610 feet, so that at its lowest level the 
Jordan has descended to a depth of 1292 feet below the 
Mediterranean through a chasm, which is by £Eur the 
longest and deepest on the surfSetce of the eartL All 
further extension of the river southwards is thus sendered 
impossible, although it wiU be seen further on that the 
Ghor itself > continues its southerly course into the Arabian 

The Dead Sea (Asphaltites Lake, or Bahr-Ltit^ that 
is, " Sea of Lot '*) is enclosed within a basin fonned by 
naked limestone cliffs, 2500 feet high on its east and 
1500 on its west side. It is nearly 50 miles long north 
and south, with an average width of 8 miles and a mean 
depth of 1300 feet, but shoaling southwards to the ford 
between the Lisan promontory and the west shore, which 
is scarcely more than 3 feet deep. M'Coan tells us that 
its water is " nearly as dear and blue as that of the 
Mediterranean, but salt, slimy, and foetid beyond descrip- 
tion ; its taste like a mixture of brine and randd oil ; and 


itB bnoyancy so great that, as I can personally vouch, the 
hainan body will not sink in it, strive as the bather may. 
Bitumen bubbles up plentifully from the bottom, and with 
the sulphur, nitre, and rock-salt that abound along most 
I of the shore-line, sufficiently explains the density and the 
nauseous taste and smell of the water. The old traveller's 
tale that the water itself and the evaporation from it are 
alike fatal to animal life is less than half true. The 26 
per cent of saline matter precludes indeed the existence 
of fish ; but though its exhalations under a burning sun 
aie thick and fever-inducing, th^ are in no worse degree 
poisonous, and birds fly along its shores and over its 
nuface as lively as in the mountains on either side " 
(i 103). 

At the southern extremity of the lake lies the lofty 
rock-salt ridge of the Jebel-Usdum, beyond which extends 
tlie desolate salt marsh of £s-Sebkah, fed by the Wady- 
es-Safieh flowing from the Wady-el-Arabah. This now 
dried-up watercourse forms a southern continuation of 
the Ghor depression. But it does not extend, as was long 
soppcsed, to the Gulf of Akaba at the head of the Bed 
Sea, but only to a water-parting near the Bedouin camp- 
ing-ground of Arabah, some 500 or 600 feet above the 

4. natural and Political Divisions : Cfilead and Moab — 
Land of Bashan — Trachonitis — Ala District — 
Plateau of Aleppo — Canaan — The Plains of 
Sharon — Galilee — Samaria — Judasa, 

Till recently the uplands of Gilead and Moab, whose 
position beyond the Jordan is indicated by their ancient 
name of Persea, were a veritable terra inco^fnita. But 
notwithstanding the lawlessness of their Bedouin inha- 
bitants, their numerous cromlechs, ruins, and other in- 



teresting monuments, have of late years tempted several 
European explorers to penetrate into its most secluded 

Seen from the western shores of the Dead Sea» Moab 
looks like a mountain range, but is in reality merely the 
verge of a rocky upland plateau about 2500 feet above 
the sea, or 4000 feet above the level of the laka This 
plateau, which is furrowed by deep valleys, stretches 
eastwards for about 25 miles to a bare limestone range, 
conventionally regarded as the limit of the land towards 
Arabia. Moab was formerly a well-peopled region. But 
the eye everywhere lights on ruined villages. Even now, 
badly cultivated as it is, the land is rich and fertile, and 
large tracts of a fine red sandy loam, needing no manure, 
still produce heavy wheat crops. All the streams flow 
westwards through deep rocky beds to the Dead Sea. 

The Moabite country is continued northwards by the 
volcanic plateau of the Land of Bashan, which attains an 
elevation of from 4000 to 6000 feet eastwards in the 
Haurdn uplands. Including the three districts of the 
Leja (Western Trachonitis), Nukrah, and El-Jebel, this 
region runs 60 miles north and south, and nearly 40 
east and west. The Leja is mostly a stony plain ; but 
the Nukrah is a rich tract, containing many small towns 
and villages, unfortunately exposed to the frequent raids 
of the Anazeh Bedouins, while the Jebel, or "High- 
lands," marking the extreme eastern limits of Palestine 
towards the desert, abound in ruined towns still partly 
peopled by the Druses. 

Between the Hauran and the Oasis of Damascus 

^ The Palestine Exploration Fund, having completed the sarrej of 
Palestine proper, has now extended its laboars to the region beyond the 
Jordan, where a good beginning was made during the year 1881 by Lieu- 
tenants Conder and MantelL Over 500 square miles haye already been 
surveyed, and more than 200 ruins examined. 


there stretches a broad expanse of volcanic ** tell/' covered 
with recent tertiary and pliocene craters, which, although 
seemingly scattered about in wild confasion, really lie in 
three tolerably parallel lines, inclining slightly north and 
south. This is the Eastern Trachonitis (Tulul-el-Safa), 
towards the northern verge of which stand the stu- 
pendoTis ruins of Palmyra (Tadmor), under the 35th 
parallel, in SS"* K long, and 120 miles north-east of 
Damascus. The ruins cover a space of about 3 square 
miles, and conspicuous amongst them are the sixty columns 
stQl standing of the magnificent Temple of the Sun. 
This " City of the Palms," as both names mean, dates 
back to the time of Solomon, and is for ever associated 
with the sad fate of the hapless Queen Zenobia. 

Still more interesting to archaeologists is the Ala 
legion between the vilayets of Damascus and Aleppo. It 
bnna an extensive basaltic upland tract, stretching for 
many miles east of the Orontes valley. Here are the 
ruins of many cities, which have evidently been rebuilt 
oyer and over again, besides numbers of remarkable 
tombs and fortified camping-grounds. Few Europeans 
besides the English travellers Burton and Drake have 
visited this extraordinary land, within whose limits, 
though figuring on the maps as a blank space or portion 
of the Syrian Desert, the Arabs have indicated the sites 
of no less than 365 ruined cities. 

In the extreme north the extensive inland plateaux 
of Aleppo, Umk, and Aintab occupy all the space be- 
tween the great bend of the Euphrates and the coast range. 
Although intersected by several low ridges, they contain 
numy fine and fertile level tracts, thickly peopled by 
Turkoman and Armenian agriculturists. This region 
marks the extreme limits of both of these races towards 
the south-west. In the west of the Umk plateau lies 
the Bahr-el-Abiad, or Lake of Antioch, a fine sheet of 


water 8 miles hj 6, formed hj the junction of several 
steppe streams^ and draining to the Orontes. 

Setuming southwards and recrossing the Jordan from 
Moab, we enter the small territory of Canaan, the " Land 
of Promise/' or Palestine proper, ever venerable as the scene 
of the history of the " Chosen People/' and as the Holy 
Land of Christianity. This region consists of an irregular 
hilly plateau falling west of the Jordan down to the level 
coast lands. Tins narrow low-lying tract, comprising the 
ancient land of the Philistines, was at one time studded 
with large towns and thickly inhabited by a restless 
warlike population. But at present the only noteworthy 
places are Gaza, Jaffa, and Ascalon, along a coast stretch- 
ing in an almost imbroken monotonous line northwards 
to Cape Carmel. This headland, enclosing the Bay of Acre 
on the south, forms the northern extremity of the Jebel- 
Mar-Elias (1800 feet), which runs through the old lands 
of Manasseh and Asher north-westwards between the 
plains of Sharon and Acre. The rich plain of Sharon, 
of which only a small part is now under cultivation, 
stretches some 15 or 20 miles inland, and skirts the 
coast from above Caesarea to Gaza, beyond which its 
loamy soil gradually mingles with the sands of Arabia 

The tablelands rising immediately . behind Sharon 
comprise in the north the old land of Galilee lying mainly 
between the Leontes and Carmel, Samaria in the centre, 
and Judaea in the south. The regions which fall abruptly 
eastwards to the £l-Ghor depression are generally de- 
scribed as of Jurassic formation. But Dr. Oscar Fraas 
has lately shown that they consist rather of chalk deposits 
with hippurites and other fossil shells. The same forma- 
tion prevails throughout the land east of Jordcui, the 
Sinai Peninsula north of the zone of primitive rocks, 
and the Nile valley far beyond Kamak. 


Galilee, the northern diyision of Palestine, is a hilly 
district &om 2000 to 3000 feet above the sea, sinking 
eastwards abruptly to the Jordan and Lake Oennesareth, 
and sonthwards to the rich aUuvial plain of Esdraelon 
(Jezrfl). Here are many pleasant fertile valleys, varied 
with bold mountains and splendid woodlands stretching 
northwards to Mount Hermon. 

South of the plain of Esdraelon the plateau again 
lises to the central district of Samaria, where are also 
many well-watered and cultivated valleys, producing 
heavy crops and fruits in abundance. Here the pro- 
minent landmarks are the rocky Mounts Ebal (3076 feet) 
and Gerizim (2849 feet), rising dose together about 34 
miles due north of JerusaleuL 

The southern district of Judaea is traversed by a some- 
what ill-defined ridge of bare treeless hills, known coUect- 
ively as the Mountains of Judtih. These hills form a 
small water-parting between Kedron and other brooks 
Sowing east to the Dead Sea, west to the Mediterranean. 
But although rich beyond any other land in hallowed 
memories and stirring events, Judaea is on the whole a 
somewhat bleak, arid country, far less productive than 
any other part of Palestine 

5. Climate. 

In this region climate depends entirely not on latitude, 
but on the relief of the land. Even in small districts the 
greatest diversity prevails, according to the varying alti- 
tudes. Thus on the exposed upland plateau beyond the 
Jordan the glass falls at night to 22** F., or lO'' below 
freezii^ point, when it stands at 76'' F. on the shores of 
the ne^bouring Dead Sea. In general a cold tempera- 
ture prevails on the higher slopes of the Lebanon and 
other ranges rising above the snow-line. Here the 



winters, almost as severe as on the southern shores of the 
Baltic, axe foUowed by genial springs, summers scarcely 
warmer than in England, and fresh autumns. Along the 
west coast and the Jordan valley the sunmier heat is 
very oppressive, the winter mild, and rain falls in both 
seasons. Malaria is prevalent at certain marshy spots 
along the coast, especially near Tripoli and Alezandretta. 
Central and South Palestine and the vilayet of Damascus 
enjoy a warm, dry climate, with mild winters and slight 
rainfall. Here the hot desert winds prevail in summer, 
drying up the rivulets, and reducing the land to an and J 
waste. At Jerusalem the mercury rises to 79*" at suns^ '] 
in midflummer. sinking to 49' in January— hottest and 
coldest means. 

A remarkable feature of the Bekaa is the violent^ 
almost tornado-like wind which prevails especially in the 
central districts, where it blows regularly every day for 
some hours in the afternoon. 

6. Flora and Fatma : The Cedars of LebaTum, 

As a rule, vegetation is much more varied and luxuri- 
ant in the north than in the south. In Syria the slopes 
and many of the coasts are often densely wooded, whereas 
in Judsea ^^ the hill vegetation is everywhere scanty, and 
the general aspect of the country east and south of Sharon 
rugged, desolate, and barren" {MCoan), 

The turpentine tree and the ballvd, the species of oak 
which produces the gall-nut of commerce, are common 
features even beyond the Jordan. The vine, olive, orange, 
and other Southern fruits, besides the mulberry, cereals, 
and dates of splendid quality, abound in Sharon, the 
Damascus district, the sheltered Lebanon valleys, and 
generally throughout Gkdilee and Samaria. The tobacco 
especially of the Latakia district facing Cyprus is noted 


far and wide for iba delicate flaToor, and the rose of 
Sharon etill remains more than a reminiscence. 

On the other hand, the historic cedars of Lebanon 
have almost become a thing of the past At a solitaty 



the boughs of which " were like the goodly cedars" (Ps. 
Ixxx. 10). In 1875 Fraas counted altogether 377 plants 
of all sizes, but there remain five only of the gigantic 
trees, whose trunks measure upwards of 30 feet round 
Burton and Drake, who visited the place a few years ago, 
were also greatly disappointed at the appearance of these 
" Christmas trees on a large scale," which from a distance 
looked like a clump of enclosed pines, and on a closer 
inspection were found to consist of a few decayed old 

Of wild animals the chief are the Syrian bear, the 
hyaena, jackal, and buffalo. There is a small but hardy 
breed of horses, but the camel and mule are also employed 
as beasts of burden, especially for the transit trade be- 
tween the coast and the interior. Fat-tailed sheep are 
numerous, but the Angora breed soon degenerates. 

7. InhahUarUs : The Syrian Christians — Missumary 
Work — The Maroniies, Druses, Nusarieh, and 

With the exception of a few wandering Kuixiish and 
Turkoman tribes in the extreme north, and of the Turkish 
officials in the large towns, all the inhabitants of Syria 
and Palestine belong to the Semitic stock. The modem 
Syrian, who represents the Aramcean branch of that stock, 
is the result of a happy blending of races, in which the 
Semitic element largely predominates. The natural en- 
dowments of the people are displayed in the best light 
by the Christian section of the community. The Syrian 
Christians are a highly intelligent people, with a rare 
capacity for adopting European ideas. The admixture 
of Greek and Arab blood has evidently in no way im- 
paired the good qualities of their Phoenician and Aramaean 

^ Unexplored Syria. London, 1872. 


forefathers. And Phoenicians the inhabitants of the 
coast districts still remain in their enterprising spirit, 
oommercial skill, and love of travel In Marseilles, 
Liverpool, and Manchester, there are several Syrian mer- 
chants, fniihering the interests of their native land, and 
extending their trading relations even to Scandinavia 
and North America. The prosperous condition of the 
Beyrdt Christians is the natural result of their intelligent 
industiy. Here are found none of those proletariate 
daases, who cause so much anxiety in the large European 
cities. Everybody is either a merchant, or else engaged 
in some settled industry, while still preserving the fresh- 
ness of the simple patriarchal fieimily life. The women 
are comely, and although without much book-learning, 
good mothers, thrifty housewives, and devotedly attached 
to their husbands. They associate little with the outer 
wodd, passing their days in happy seclusion in the 
midst of their families. Their reading is limited to their 
Arabic prayer-books, and the harmless Beyr&t Heview, 
while novel-reading and piano-strumming are accomplish- 
ments which are still rare, e|:cept, perhaps, where the 
superficial French culture has been introduced. 

There is no lack of girls' schools, though instruction 
is here limited mainly to the study of English or ErencL 
The "Sisters of Charity," however, have an excellent 
tiaining school, where woman's work is taught, and where 
native teachers are trained. The rival houses of the 
" Sisters of Nazareth " and of " Prussian Deaconesses " are 
also highly spoken of. Mrs. Nott, a rich Englishwoman, 
bas recently contributed large sums to benevolent and 
leligious purposes. The American missionaries are also 
doing good work, aiming especially at practical objects. 
The native Protestant community already numbers 
several hundred families in Beyrdt, where the money 
flowing in from beyond the Atlantic has enabled them 



to build a handsome church, besides supporting several 
schools and a printing establishment. 

Even in the Lebanon, Protestant views are making 
rapid progress, notwithstanding the existence of some good 
Soman Catholic institutions. Of these, the most note- 
worthy is the college of the Melchite Greeks, which is 
admirably conducted, and already numbers several hundred 
pupils. The Jesuit College at Ghazir is also efficiently 
managed, and this is also true of the Lazarist College at 
Antura. Both are exclusively French establishments, 
and as most of the young men of Beyrdt have been 
educated at one or other of them, the French language 
has become very general amongst the upper classes. It 
has already almost entirely superseded Italian, which 
prevailed in the last generation. 

In the year 1862 the district of the Lebanon was 
detached from the vilayet of Damascus, and formed into 
a separate paslialik, administered by a Christian governor 
under the control of the European legations. But the 
limits of this new government depart considerably firom 
the natural limits of Mopit Lebanon, having been laid 
down solely in accordance with the religious interests of 
the people. Hence districts where the majority were 
Muhammadans continue to form part of the Syrian pro- 
vince, while all the Christian communities were included 
in that of the Lebanon. But Tripoli, Beynit, and Saida 
(Sidon), the three most important seaports, were also 
attached to Syria, so that the boundaries of the modem 
district of the Lebanon are extremely irregular. 

It comprises an area of rather over 1000 square 
miles, with a population of about 300,000, all Christians, 
except 70,000 Druses and Mussulmans. Hence it may 
fairly be regarded as a Christian land, where Christianity 
has held its ground almost from the apostolic times. 

The Lebanon Christians caU themselves Maronites, 


from the national saint, Maron, a famous recluse who 
flourished about the year 400. They are the direct 
descendants of the orthodox community as constituted in 
the seventh century, and although united with Some 
since the time of the first Crusades, they still retain many 
local privileges and peculiarities, such as a married clergy, 
administration of the sacrament under both species, cele- 
bration of mass in the Syriac language, but otherwise 
according to the Latin rite, together with their own 
hs^ology and national feasts. They are devotedly at- 
tached to their religion, and are in other respects a brave 
and energetic people. Their villages, and 200 monas- 
teiies, are perched like eyries on the spurs and slopes of 
the main range, and are often surrounded by cornfields 
waving over artificial terraces, so disposed as to prevent 
the rich loam from being washed away. 

Unfriendly neighbours of the Maronites are the 
mTsterious Druses, settied partly in the Acre district 
south of the Lebanon, partiy in the remote Hauran up- 
lands, on the verge of the desert The origin and 
peculiar tenets of this half-pagan people have not yet 
been satisfactorily explained. Though apparentiy having 
some affinity in faith to the Mussulmans, they jealously 
preserve a sort of secret doctrine, said to have been 
handed dovni from the ancient Egyptians. In fact, how- 
ever, they make no outward profession of any religion, 
although believing in a God. Physically they are a fine 
laoe, brave, with something of poetry and heroism, but also 
fierce, cruel, and treacherous. 

Druses and Maronites lived for ages amicably together 
untQ bitter feuds sprang up between them during the 
present century. Sudden raids have been followed by 
sangoiuary reprisals, and the restoration of order has 
frequentiy been attended with much bloodshed. Latterly 
the Druses seem to be gradually retiring altogether to 



the Hauran highlands, and in the Lebanon district they 
now number scarcely more than 40,000. The EngUsh 
missionaries claim to have made great progress amongst 

There are some 50,000 Christian Greeks in the 
Lebanon. Some " Ishmaelites " also dwell here, descended 
from the murderous sect of " Assassins," who have given 
a familiar word to most European languages. Here also 
are some 15,000 Mussulmans on the skirts of the range, 
and about the same number of MeteoUis or Shiah sec- 
taries, who are generally regarded with suspicion by their 

North of the Lebanon we enter the domain of the 
mysterious Nusarieh race, which gives its name to 
the northern coast range, and forms the majority of the 
population along the whole of these uplands, and even 
beyond the Amanus mountains, right into Gilicia, as Car as 
Adana and Tarsus. Here dwelt from the remotest times 
the Nazarini, of whom the ancients seem to have known 
as little as we do of their direct descendants, the 
Nusarieh. These highlanders live and die in their moun- 
tain homes, which they never willingly leave. Tillage 
and stock-breeding eifford them a sufficient livelihood, but 
while conducting themselves as true followers of the 
Prophet in the presence of their Moslem neighbours, they 
maintain profound secrecy on the subject of their peculiar 
worship. Their speech is the Arabic dialect elsewhere 
current in the Syrian highlands. Throughout Syria, 
where they are called Fellahin, and are said to number 
from 120,000 to 180,000, they have the reputation of 
being irreclaimable and desperate highwaymen. 

The great bulk of the present population of Palestine, 
which scarcely exceeds 700,000 altogether, consists of 
Arabs, partly Bedouin nomads, partly Fellahin, or settled 
agriculturists. They dwell mostly in wretched mud 


hovels, or amidst the ruins of old buildings. They all 
speak Arabic, and are mainly followers of Muhammad. 
A few Christian communities are found in Nazareth and 
ekewhere. But the Jews have almost completely van- 
ished from the land of their foreCEithers. Except in 
Jerusalem, they are scarcely anywhere to be found within 
the limits of Palestine proper. In recent times a few 
men, inspired with religious enthusiasm, mostly from 
Wnrtemberg, have settled about Mount Carmel, in Jaffa, 
and a few other places. But they do not exceed 750 
altogether, so that it is somewhat premature to speak, 
as some already do, of the German colonisation of the 
Holy Land. 

8. Topography: Damascus — Alqfpo — Emessa — BeyrAt — 
Nazareth — Jerusalem — Hebron — Jericho. 

In Anatolia and Mesopotamia most of the old cities 
bave either disappeared or sunk to the position of obscure 
hamlets, whose sites have with difficulty been identified. 
In Syria, on the contrary, although Tyre, Tadmor, Baal- 
bek, and some other famous places, have shared the same 
fiite, many of the most venerable cities in the world, such 
as Damascus, Aleppo, Emessa, Beyrdt, Jerusalem, not only 
continue to flourish but retain their ancient names in 
more or less modified forms. This, however, is true only 
of the r^on west of the El-Ghor and Bekaa depressions, 
beyond which hundreds of formerly prosperous towns 
bave been swallowed up in the sands continually advancing 
westwards from the desert. 

Here an almost solitary exception is Damascus, which 
claims to be the oldest city in the world, and which, 
owing to the favourable conditions of the soil and climate, 
still continues to maintain its political and conmiercial 
supremacy almost on the verge of the wilderness. It lies 

aelves in raptures about " the breath of heaven," " the 
mole on the cheek of the eartii" " the plumage of the 
peacock," " the necklace of beauty," and suchlike Oriental 
imagery. For them it is one of the four Edens, although 
the city proper encloaed within its crumbling walla and 

H0M8 LATAKIA. 103 

projecting towers is far from corresponding with the 
&y(miable impression produced by a more distant prospect 
The iir^nlar and narrow streets wind along between high 
dead walls, broken at long intervals by small grated 
windows, but nowhere relieved by any touches of art 
The monotonous piles of dull stone are varied only by a 
few ancient gateways, which alone make any attempt at 
architectural display. 

Of great historic interest is the former Church of 
St John, now the largest mosque in Islam. But more 
attractive are the numerous bazaars, in extent and rich* 
neas surpassing most of those elsewhere met in Eastern 
cities. Amongst their motley throngs nearly all the 

(peoples of the East are represented. 
Nearly due north of Damascus are Homs (Emessa), 
Hamah (Epiphania), and Aleppo. Homs is still a con* 
aideiable place on the right bank of the Orontes. Hamah, 
<m the same river and a little farther north, is an almost 
exclusively Moslem town, in the neighbourhood of which 
is the interesting Ala district described farther back. 
StQl fEurther north, and about midway between the 
.tes and the coast, is Aleppo, second only to 
in size and importance. Capital of a vilayet, 
ft does a considerable local and transit trade, and is 
occupied with some long-established industries. An old 
aqueduct still supplies it with water from some perennial 
springs 8 miles ofT. Aleppo was wasted by a terrific 
earthquake in 1822, since which time it has never quite 
lecoveied its former prosperity. 

All the chief seaports of Syria are still found on the 
coast of what was foimerly the land of the Phoenicians, 
the most famous navigators of antiquity. Amongst them 
are Latakia (Laodicea), with a sheltered but shallow 
harbour ; Taiabulus (Tripoli), at the foot of a spur of the 
l^banon, nearly destroyed by the explosion of a powder- 


magazine in 1864; ; Beynit (Berytue), 50 miles brthei 
down, next to Smyrna the largest and moat flomishiiig 
ieaport in the Levant. It stands on a noble bay extend- 
ing in creacent-shape between the spurs of the Lebanon 
and the sea, and boasts of some fine new quarteis and 
splendid villas, intersperaed with shady groves and gardens. 
Of the population about two-Uiirds are Syrian Christians. 

All the southern ports — Sidon, Tyre, Acre, Ctesarea, 
Jaffa, and Ascalon — ^have gradually lost most of tlieir 
trade since the stirring days of the Crusades, and are now 
little more than fishing villages with a small local traffia 

Ob the other hand, Alexandretta (IskandnSn), in the 
extreme north, has of late years acquired some impottauce 
as the outpost of Aleppo. Here is by far the finest 
harbour on the whole coast, and, notwithstanding ito | 
unhealthy climate, Alexandretta cannot fail to become a J 
flourishing place should the projected railway line ever! 
be executed which is to run from the coast at this point I 
through Aleppo to the main tnmk-line in the Euphrates 1 

Id Galilee still the most important place is Nazaredi 
(En-Nasirah), west of Mount Tabor, and 1100 feet above 
the sea. It has now a Christian population of about 
7000, The chief place in Samaria is the busy little 
town of Nablus (Neapolis or Shechem), lying in a fertile 
and well - watered valley between Moitnta Ebal and 
Gerizim, and on the route from Damascus to the coast. 
Here still survives a small community of about 300 
Samaritans, who, like their fore&thers, continue to 
worship on Holy Gerizim. Amoi^t them is jealouBl; 
preserved the precious codex of the Pentateuch in the old 
Samaritan dialect and in the archaic Hebrew character. 
Samaria, which gave its name to the land, has dwindled 
to a hamlet now called Sebaatieh, a little to the north- 
west of Nablus. 


From the snminit of Gerizun, looking southwards, the 
ere ligbte on a limestone plateau, rising 2600 feet above 
the HediterraneaQ and uearly 4000 above the Dead Sea, 
connected noithwaids with tiie great tableland of Judaea, 
and on the three other sides enclosed by rugged gorges. 
Here stands Jerusalem, to the Christian the most 
hallowed of all places. It is even by the worshippers 
of Allah regarded as El-Kuds, or " The Holy Place." 

Ko writer has more vividly described the outward 
aspect of Jemsalem than Chateaubriand. " In the heart 
of a mountain range lies a desert basin, enclosed on all 
tides by yellow, rocky heights. These heights are open 
nily towards the east, thus affording a prospect of the 
depressioD of the Dead Sea and the distant hills of 
Anbia. In the middle of this stony landscape, on an 
nneven and inclined plain, encircled by walls that once 
cnintbled l3eneath the blows of the battering-ram, and are 
now propped by tottering towers, we behold some scat- 
tered heaps of mins, rains overgrown with a few solitary 
cypreases, aloes, and prickly pears, and overbuilt by Arab 



hute resembling whitewashed sepulchres: and such is the 
moumfiQ picture now presented by Jerusalem. At the 
first sight of this forsaken spot, the heart is overcome by 
an overwhelming sense of despondency. But this feeling 
disappears as we gradually pass from desolation to deso- 
lation, and at last reach the boundless open space, which 
so far from oppressing, rather inspires us with a eertain 
sense of cheerfulness and buoyancy. Unwonted sights 
everywhere reveal a land crowded with hallowed 
memories. The sultry sim, the fierce eagle, the modest 
hyssop, the stately cedar, the barren fig-tree — ^here are 
concentrated all the poetry and all the imagery of Holy 
Writ In every name lurks a mystery, every cavern 
lifts a comer of the veil shrouding the future, every hill- 
top echoes with the song of the prophet. By these 
rushing waters God Himself has spoken to man, and their 
dried-up beds, the rocks rent asunder, the yawning graves, 
still bear witness to His voice. Still hushed seems the 
wilderness, awe-stricken, and as if afraid to break the 
silence ; for it has heard the voice of the Everlasting." 

The present generation has undertaken with thought- 
ful piety again to rescue the ancient sites of the Holy 
Land from the accumulated cUbris of ages, and to deter- 
mine their identity with the actual spots traditionally 
bearing their name. Attention has naturally been centred 
in Jerusalem, and great results have already been achieved, 
especially by the English " Palestine Exploration Fund,** 
which has been at work since 1875. 

Of the 30,000 inhabitants of Jerusalem, 10,000 are 
Jews, and 5000 Christians of all sects. Here are made 
the crucifixes and rosaries of mother-of-pearl and olive 
wood, and eagerly purchased by the 6000 or 8000 pil- 
grims who annually visit the Holy Places. Solomon's 
tank and the old aqueduct have lately been restored, and 
the city is now supplied with water from these sources. 


Six miles south of Jenusaleiii is Bethlehem, where tihe 
great Church of St Mary marks the traditional site of the 
birthplace of the Saviour. Ten nules still fiarther south 
18 Hebron, one of the oldest places in the world, and 
traditionally associated with the life and death of Abraham. 
The wretched village of Eriha (Biha), 18 miles north-east 
of Jerusalem, and near the north end of the Dead Sea, 
is supposed to occupy the site of the equally ancient town 
of Jericho. Beyond the Jordan there appear to be no 
inhabited places deserving the name of town. But this 
legion, a survey of which has been begun by the Palestine 
Exploration Fund, is very little known, and rendered 
afaoost inaccessible by the lawless character of its Bedouin 
inhabitants. When M'Coan visited the Dead Sea a few 
years ago he was plundered by some Moab Arabs at the 
ford of the Jordan, near Jericho. But the marauders 
seldom extend their raids quite so far west 

9. Highways of Commv/ndcation. 

In the north a much-frequented caravan route runs 
bm Alexandretta, the natural port of Aleppo, through 
that city eastwards to the Euphrates at Bir, here ramifying 
westwards to Diarbekr and Kurdistdn, southwards to Bag- 
dad. From Aleppo the great caravan and pilgrims* route 
to Medina and Mecca follows the Orontes valley by 
Hamah and Homs to Damascus, running thence through 
the Haurdn southwards to the Arabian peninsula. Damas- 
cus itseK is connected with the coast at Beyrut by a 
splendid specimen of French engineering, which is carried 
right over the Anti-Lebanon and Lebanon, and across the 
fiekaa and the plains of Phoenicia, for a total distance of 
65 miles. This fine highway gives easy access to the 
niagnificent ruins of Baalbek (Heliopolis), formerly the 
chief centre of the worship of the Sun God, whose temple 




is still justly regarded as one of the wonders of the world. 
Baalbek is also connected with Damascus by another road 
through the rocky valley of the Wady Yafu'ah (a tributary 
of the Leontes), near which it passes the village of Surg- 
hay a, 4500 feet above the sea, and the highest inhabited 
point of the Anti-Lebanon. The way lies thence across 
a stony upland plain to the village of Dumar, where it 
strikes the French main highway. Another well-known 
route runs from Damascus across the Upper Jordan valley 
and through Nablus south-westwards to the coast at 
Jafifa, where it converges on the main road from the coast 
to Jerusalem. But the highways are not kept in good 
repair, and most of the other routes across the country 
are mere caravan tracks or bridle paths. 





• '. V 

. 1^ ^ :. 

ARABU. 109 



1. Boundaries^^Sxtent — Area — Coast-line — Islands. 

Although with no very dear limits towards the north, 
Arabia is on the whole one of the best-defined regions in 
Asia. In the north it falls, on the one hand, gradually 
towaidB the Mesopotamian plains, while on the other 
merging almost imperceptibly in the uplands of East 
Palestine and Syria. Here the so-called " Syrian Desert/' 
Teaching to about the 35 th parallel, might with more 
propriety be regarded as the " Arabian Desert ; " for in 
its physical and ethnical features it bears a much greater 
lesemblance to the southern peninsula than to the sur- 
rounding regions of Syria and Mesopotamia. like Arabia 
proper, its watercourses are mere " wadies ;" its soil sandy, 
and in parts destitute of vegetation ; its climate dry and 
almost torrid ; and from time immemorial it has been ex- 
clusively occupied by nomad tribes of pure Arab stock.^ 
Hence many geographers look upon it as merely a north- 
em extension of the peninsula wedged in between the 
Euphrates and the Syrian highlands, and only in a con- 
Tentional sense separated from Arabia proper. A con- 
venient line, however, may be drawn from El-Arish on 
the Mediterranean to the Euphrates delta at the head of 

^ The Sebaa Bedouins, a branch of the great Anazeh fiunily, reach 
north'wirds beyond the rains of Tadmor, and are met even in the neigh- 
bourhood of Aleppo. 


the Persian Gulf, leaving the vilayets of Damascus and 
Bagdad on the north, and including on the south all tihat 
has at all times and indisputably formed part of Arabia 
in the strictest sense. Elsewhere the peninsula is sur- 
rounded by water — the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman 
on the east, the Arabian Sea on the south, the Sed Sea 
and Suez Canal on the west. Its great axis, running 
north-west and south-east, measures, as the bird flies, 
nearly 26 degrees of latitude, or about 1800 miles 
between the head of the Gulf of Suez (29** 58' K. 32** 
3 0' E) and the Eas-el-Had (2 T 2 3' K, 6 0** R) The mean 
breadth between the Bed Sea and Persian Gulf is about 
600 miles, with a total area estimated at rather over one 
million square miles, and a population of probably not 
more than five millions. 

The shores of Arabia, which stretch from Suez to the 
Euphrates delta for a total length of nearly 4000 miles, 
present on the whole a somewhat uniform aspect, and, 
except in the Persian Gulf, are diversified by few islands 
or inlets. In the Eed Sea the coast is fringed by ex- 
tensive coral reefs, forming here and there groups of 
sunken rocks and islets, which render the navigation very 
dangerous. Between the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb and 
Oman, separating the peninsula from Africa and Persia, 
the coast is generally elevated and rocky, but low and flat 
thence to the head of the Persian Gulf. The whole coast- 
line has been admirably surveyed by Moresby, Haines, 
Elwon, Saunders, Carless, Wellsted, Cruttenden, and other 
officers of the Anglo -Indian navy, mainly between the 
years 1819 and 1860. 

Of the islands the chief are the smaU group marking 
the entrance of the Gulf of Akabah; Farsan, ofiF the 
Tehama coast; Perim, in the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, 
where the English batteries completely conmiand the 
approaches of the Bed Sea; the Kuna-Muria (Kurian 


Muiian) group and Moseirah, in the Arabian Sea ; lastly, 
in the Persian Gulf the Bahrein Archipelago, centre of an 
important pearl fishery. The large island of Socotra, al- 
though occupied by an Arab population, and politically 
attached to tiie peninsula, belongs geographically to Africa, 
and has accordingly been described in the volume of this 
series devoted to that continent 

2. Belief of the Land: Mountains — Plateaux — Lowlands — 

Deserts — Volcanic Tracts, 

Arabia is with good reason regarded as one of the 
least inviting regions on the face of the globe. The large 
Uank spaces which still meet the eye as it lights on a 
map of this peninsula bear silent witness to our scanty 
knowledge of the interior. The glowing and shifting 
sands of the great southern desert have scarcely ever been 
visited, and never yet traversed by any European traveller, 
and fully one-half of this enormous region still remains 
entiiely unexplored. In its general physical aspect, its 
climatic conditions, fauna and flora, it so closely resembles 
the adjacent African mainland that it seems almost more 
like an eastern extension of this continent than an integral 
part of Asia. 

There are volcanic islands in the Eed Sea, and one of 
them, the Jebel-Tlr, is still activa The rocks of Aden 
are also volcanic. 

The bulk of the land consists of a quadrangular mass 
broadening southwards, and largely covered with arid 
plains, sandy in the south, gravelly or stony in the north, 
the whole constituting a vast plateau at a mean elevation 
of probably 3000 feet above the sea. The gravelly plain 
of El-Eamdd in the extreme north falls to 2500 ; but 
the red sand desert of Nefiid between El-Hamad and the 
Jebel-Shammar rises to 3000 and 3200, while the land 


contiiiues to rise thence southwards to 4000 and 5000 
feet in the Wahhabi country. Blunt recently ascertained 
that from Meshed Ali near the Euphrates in Irak-Arabi 
(32^ K) there is a regular ascent of 10 feet in the mile to 
Hail in the Shammar highlands (27^ N.) ; and the whole 
peninsula may be said to culminate towards the extreme 
south-west comer, where the Yemen uplands attain an 
elevation of from 6000 to 7000 feet Thus we see that 
the tableland is tilted somewhat uniformly towards the 
north-east and east, so that in a developed water system 
the drainage would mainly be to the Lower Euphrates 
and Persian Gulf. 

As itL the Sahara, the arid tracts are broken by hilly 
districts and even ranges, where the valleys are watered 
by short streams or rivulets, and occupied by settle 
populations residing in small towns and villages. Thus a 
large portion of the central plateau, comprising the so- 
called Nejd — that is, "High Land" — consists of fertile hilly 
tracts everywhere surrounded by uninhabitable wastes and 
intersected by several ridges running in various directions. 
The term Nejd is applied to several tracts of this character, 
hence a certain vagueness inseparable from its use. But 
the Nejd proper includes, according to Blunt, all the high- 
lying land enclosed by the Nefiidg, or deserts proper. It 
thus comprises the three provinces of Jebel-Shammar 
in the north, Kasim in the centre, and Aared or the 
Wahhabi coimtry in the south, and lies mainly between 
24''-28^ N. latitude. It is in no sense a political, but 
purely a geographical expression, by which may be under- 
stood the whole of the interior, bounded on the north by 
the red sand Nefdd, on the south by the great unexplored 
Dakhna, or sandy desert, eastwards by desert tracts sepa- 
rating it from the Turkish province of El-Hasa, westwards 
by the Turkish province of El-Hejas. The arable districts 
in Nejd, the Hejas, Yemen, and elsewhere, are so extensive 


as to nuse the more or less productive lands to about 
two-thirds of the whole area, leaving not more than one- 
third of ahsolutelj desert and iminhabitable wastes, lying 
chiefly in the south. These wastes are variously termed 
Dakhna (Dahna), Ahkdf, Nefiid, or Hamad, according to 
the greater or less depth or shifting nature of the sands, or 
the more or less compact character of the soiL The sands, 
which rest on basalt, limestone, but mainly granitic, beds, 
have, according to Palgrave, a mean depth of 400 feet, 
attaining in some places as much as 6 feet. They prevail 
ui the vast unexplored r^on comprising most of the south, 
between Nejd and the Hadramaut coast range north and 
south, and between Yemen and Oman west and east. Here 
ahnost absolute sterility is the dominant feature, whereas 
in the northern Nefdd, between El-Hamdd and the Jebel- 
Shammar, not only the hollows but all parts of the plain 
are well clothed with shrubs. " After a rainy winter I 
have little doubt that the whole of this Nefdd is covered 
with grass and flowers. Indeed the Nefiid explains tj 
me the existence of horses and sheep in Nejd" {W. 8. 

The most clearly developed and best-known mountain 
system is the extensive range skirting the Bed Sea at a 
distance of one to three days' journey from the coast. In 
the Asir district, south of Mecca, this range attains an 
altitude of about 8500 feet, and between this point and 
ihe Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb it broadens out in the Yemen 
highlands, where every condition combines to render the 
soudi-west comer of the peninsula deserving of the name 
of Arabia Felix, applied to it by the ancients. These 
highlands are continued along the south coast by a series 
of disconnected ridges, which again rise in the extreme 
south-east to the Jebel-Akhdar, running at an elevation 
of 6000 to 7000 feet along the Gulf of Oman from the 
Bas Hadd to the Bas Mussendum. From this point to 



the head c^ the Persian Gulf the coast is generally low 
and fiat. 

In the interior the Nejd is crossed by several ridges, 
of which the largest and best known is the Jebel-Sham- 
mar, running neariy east and west under the 27th 
parallel at an altitude of about 6000 feet Farther 
south the Jebel-Toweyk attains probably an equal eleva- 
tion in Aared, on the northern skirts of the Great DeserL 

Lowland plains occur chiefly in £1-Hasa on the Per- 
sian Gulf, and along the shores of the Bed Sea. Here 
the long narrow strip of the Tehama — that is, Low or Hot 
Land — stretches from Mecca to Mokha, between the coast 
and the Jebel-Hejas, or '' Separating Bange," as the term 
is commonly interpreted. 

A conspicuous feature of the peninsula are the 
so-called JTarra, or volcanic tracts, strewn with basalt 
and other igneous rocks. The northern harra south of 
the land of Bashan is described by Blunt as "a vast 
plain strewn with volcanic boulders — a black, gloomy 

3. Hydrography : Wddies SirhAn, Davxtssir^ and 
Er-B/wmma — Goad Streams. 

Arabia is almost a riverless region, in which the nahr^ 
or perennial stream, is mostly replaced by the vxidy, or 
intermittent and dried -up watercourse. These water- 
courses, generally dry for nine or ten months in the year, 
occur everywhere, — in the highlands, on the plateaux, in 
the lowlands, and even in the deserts, and especially in 
the northern Hamdd. Here the great Wady Sirhan runs 
at an elevation of 1850 feet in a south-easterly direction 
from the Hauran highlands to the Jof district on tiie 
skirts of the Nefdd. It is fed by the Wady-er-Eajel in the 
extreme north-west, and for over 200 miles between Kaf 


and Jof the wells are plentifal along its whole course. 
Hence it is much frequented during the summer by 
marauding tribes, who claim the right of plundering all 
comers, and acknowledge no authority except that of the 
tribal chief. Less known is the Wady Dawassir, which 
receives the Nejran, Bisheh, and other streams on its left 
bank, and drains all the Asir and Southern Hejas high- 
lands northwards to the Bahr-Saliimeh, the only known 
lake in the whole peninsula. The Aftdn, another large 
wady, runs from the borders of Nejd and the. southern 
desert eastwards to the Persian GuK. But the most 
important watercourse, in Arabia seems to be the un* 
explored Wady-er-Eumma, which flows between the 
Sirhan and the Dawassir from the Hejas coast range 
right across the peninsula in a north-easterly direction 
towards the Lower Euphrates, for a total length of nearly 
800 miles. With a more abundant rainfall, this would 
augment Uie Shat-el-Arab, and give unity to the now dis- 
jointed water systems of south-west Asia. As it is, the 
Wady-er-Eumma, our knowledge of which is mainly due 
to Wetzstein's studies,^ receives during the rains a vast 
quantity of water through countless afiSuents, some rising 
apparently in the far south. 

Perennial coast-streams occur chiefly in Yemen, where 
their short courses have recently been accurately determined 
by ManzonL 

4, Natural and Political Divisions : Peninsula of Sinai — 
West Coast (El-Hejas, Yemen) — South Coast {Belad- 
Aden, Hadramaut) — Nejd (Jebel'Shammar, WahJidbi 
Cawniry) — East Coast {El-Hasa, Sultanate of Omdn), 

If physically and ethnically one, Arabia is politically 

^ Wetzstein's views receive fresh confirmation from M. Huber, who in 
December 1880 penetrated to Kheibar. 


a difljointed land. The bulk of the inhabitants being 
fitill in the tribal state, there can be no question of a 
common national sentiment as developed in the west 
Hence nearly all the coast lands have fallen to the 
stranger, while even in the interior Nejd is distracted 
between the waning Walihabi and rising Shammar rolers, 
the only two that here claim sovereign power. 

By the ancients the whole peninsula was broadly 
divided into three great sections, Arabia PeiroM, Deserfa^ 
and Felix. The first and last of these answer roughly to 
the modem divisions of the Peninsula of Sinai in the north- 
west, and Yemen in the south-west But Arabia Petrasa, 
which confounded the great central tableland with the 
surrounding wastes, highlands, and lowlands, must neces- 
sarily disappear as the collective name of a region whick 
we now know to be composed of several sections difTerii^ 
widely in their physical features. Such are — ^in the centM^ 
the plateau of Nejd, the northern Nefdd, and the 
Southern Desert ; on the west coast £1-Hejas ; on the soul 
and south-east coasts Hadramaut and Omdn ; on the 
coast El-Hasa or Bahrein. There are no doubt max^ 
other geographical expressions of a more or less local 
character ; but these may be taken as the great natmal 
divisions of the land, and they have the convenience of 
also corresponding on the whole with its political distri- 
bution. Thus the coast lands of El-Hasa, Yemen^ and 
Hejas answer to so many Turkish vilayets; Sinai is 
administered by Egypt; Hadramaut is controlled by 
England, firmly entrenched on the rock of Aden. Oman 
and Nejd are under more or less independent native rule ; 
all the rest is a prey to the Bedouin or the sands. 

A line drawn from the Dead Sea through the Wady- 
el-Arabah to the Gulf of Akaba will mark the natural 
limits of the Sinai Peninsula on the east From its base 
on the Mediterranean this triangular section projects 


witli its southern apex far into the Bed Sea, thus develop- 
ing east and west the Gul£i of Akaba and Suez. The 
triangle will be almost mathematicaUy perfect, if ve take 
the Suez Canal as its north-western limit But here the 
coDventiocal Irontier between Egypt and Arabia is drawn 
from Suez through the sands north-esstwarda to El-Ariah, 


to the alpine region of Sinai proper. This desert wlifite 
covers an area of some 10,000 square miles, where a 
sparse population of perhaps 4000 nomad Bedouins finds 
a difficulty in procuring sustenance from the arid soil. 

Here the land derives its grandeur and peculiar 
charm from the very nakedness of its rocky heights. In 
some of the wadies the hillsides are scored by countless 
seams of the brightest hues, their fantastic designs pro- 
ducing an indescribable pictorial effect What ia seem- 
ingly the mere outline of a distant landscape reflects 
a charming and almost phantasmagoric vista, as if the 
bare rocks were clothed with woods or vineyards, or their 
summits capped with eternal snows. 

It is remarkable that the scriptural name of Sinai given 
to the mountain where Moses communed with Jehovah 
and received the tables of the law f]X)m above, is now 
unknown in the land. When asked for Mount Sinai, the 
Bedouin will shake his head or point to the Jebel-Musa 
(Moses' Mount), one of the highest in the peninsula, where 
a shrine has been erected to the Jewish lawgiver. A 
Muhammadan mosque has also been erected there. But 
we do not know for certain that this is the Sinai of Holy 
Writ, which many have identified rather with the Jebd- 
Serbal (6734 feet), lying a two days' journey farther 
north, while Beke thinks it was the Barghir, or Jebel-en- 
Niir (Mountain of Light), a peak 5000 feet high in the 
range bounding the Arabah valley on the east The view 
from the granite crest of the Jebel-Musa shows that it is 
eclipsed by several surrounding peaks, such as the Jebel- 
Katharine (8536 feet), the more southerly Um-Shaumer 
(8449 feet), and the Jebel-Gosh (8300 feet), none of which 
have yet been visited by modern explorers. In fact, this 
alpine region, whose geological formation corresponds witli 
that of the European Alps, and which still bears traces 
of former glaciers, is still largely an unknown land. 


The west coast of Arabia is comprised in the Turkish 
vilayets of Hejas aiid Yemen, which have no well-defined 
limits towards the interior. Theoretically £1 - Hejas 
stretches in the north half across the peninsula, where it 
is supposed to meet the eastern vilayet of £1-Hasa, in 
the official maps now called Basra. But between these 
two provinces lies the powerful state of the Emir of the 
Shammar, which cannot properly be regarded as forming 
part of the Ottoman dominions. El- Hejas, however, 
extends beyond the coast range inland far enough to 
include the cities of Medina and Mecca and the whole of 
the £1-Asir diBtrict bordering southwards on Yemen, 
which comprises the rest of the south-west coast down to 
the neighbourhood of Aden. The two vilayets have thus 
a total length of about 1300 miles, varying in breadth 
from 60 to 150 between the sea and the western limits of 
Nejd. El-Hejas consists mainly of the sandy, barren, and 
torrid plain of the Tehama, varying from 30 to 80 miles 
in width along the coast, and of the mountain range or 
highlands with a mean elevation of 3000 feet, separating 
it from Nejd The Tehama, which term is by some 
writers applied to the whole seaboard from above Mecca 
to Mokha, but by others restricted to the southern section 
between Yemen and the coast, seems to have formerly 
formed part of the bed of the sea, from which it has been 
slowly upheaved. It abounds in marine fossils and 
saline deposits, and appears to be advancing according 
as the sea continues to recede. Although everywhere 
extremely hot and generally very unhealthy, it contains 
especially in 'the south many well- watered and fertile 
tracts, affording good pasturage and yielding heavy crops. 

But the chief value of Hejas is rather of a political 
than an economical character, giving to the master of 
the ''holy cities" a grekt prestige, and perhaps his best 
title to the GaUphate, or headship of Islam. Yemen 



is, on the contrary, valuable for its own sake, — a land of 
fertile and weU-watered vallejs, rich pastures, and per- 
ennial streams, and dotted over with numerous flourishii^ 
towns and villages. Fully one-fifth of the entire popu- 
lation is concentrated in this narrow comer of the 
peninsula^ where settled and agricultural communitdefl^ 
elsewhere extremely rare, have existed from the dawn of 
history. This exceptional position is partly due to the 
greater mean elevation of the land, partly to its ricli soil 
and happy configuration, calculated to receive from the 
Indian Ocean and retain in its sheltered valleys an 
abundance of moisture. Here the sovereignty of the 
Porte exists almost more in theory than in reality. 
Vigorous efforts have been made since 1868 to revive 
its old claim to absolute sovereignty, and at one time the 
Turkish and English forces had almost come into collision 
in the neighbourhood of Aden. Nevertheless the Imim 
of Sana is still the chief potentate in Yemen, which also 
acknowledges the sway of several other petty rulers, some 
tributary to the Turk, others allied by treaty with the 
British. "The native chiefs, locally called ^Sultans,' 
still exercise their old patriarchal sovereignty, and the 
writ of the Petdishah runs little beyond the range of his 
cannon" {M'Coan). 

The extreme south-west comer from the Strait of 
Bab-el-Mandeb to Cape Seilan, east of Aden, and reaching 
inland to the Jaffa range, comprises the so-called Belad- 
Aden, or Country of Aden, and besides Aden itself 
includes the Sultanate of Lahaj, imder British protection. 

East of the Belad-Aden the little-known r^on of 
Hadramaut stretches between the great desert aud the 
sea eastwards to Omdn. The interior of this vast but 
sparsely-peopled tract was almost a perfect blank until 
some light was thrown upon it by the travels of A von 
Wrede a few years ago. This explorer assures us that 


the teim Hadramaut applied by geographers to the entire 
south coast is by the natives restricted to its inland or 
northern section. It is in any case a very old name, for 
Ptolemy places the Adramitfle in this very region between 
the Homeritse of Yemen and the Omanitse of Omdn. The 
land here rises from the coast in a succession of terraces 
to the Jebel-Hamra (6284 feet), which is connected 
north-eastwards with the Jebel-Dahura, probably 8000 
feet high. This is the highest of the terraces, and be- 
yond it the land slopes gently northwards. Here Wrede 
descended by very difficult and dangerous tracks down 
to the "Wady Doan, which flows through the land of the 
Tssa tribe (Belad-beni-Yssa) northwards, apparently to 
the verge of the desert This district is bordered on the 
west by Belad-el-Hasdn, on the east by Belad-Hamiim, 
all three being bounded on the north by Hadramaut 
proper. But how far this region extends northwards, 
and whether the sandy desert of El-Akk&f (Bahr-es-Saffi) 
really begins with the Wady Bakhiya, a branch of the 
Doan, are points on which "Wrede throws no light 

The southern coast lands are on the whole level, and 
are succeeded by a hilly tract of moderate height, beyond 
which the upland plains or ranges begin to fall north- 
wards to a depression between the highlands and the 
vast inland plain of El-Jauf (Qof).^ A bold attempt to 
penetrate into the interior from the west coast was 
made by the French Jew Joseph Hal^vy in 1870. 

Of all the main divisions of the peninsula the great 
central tableland of Kejd or Kegd is certainly one of the 
most interesting. It has been fairly well explored by Sad- 
leir, Wallin, Beinaud, Palgrave, Pelly, Guarmani, and most 
recently by Mr. and Lady Anne Blunt During the early 
portion of the century the whole of this region belonged 

^ There are several Janfs or Jofs in Arabia, because tbe word simply 
means "low land,'* in opposition to Nejd, or «higli land." 



to the powerful and fanatical Wahhabi State, whose capital, 
originally at Derayeh, is now at Biad. But of late yean 
Muhammad Ibn Bashid, Emir of the Shammar nation in 
the extreme north, has not only asserted his independ- 
ence, but is at present by far the most powerful potentate 
in Nejd. His territory is bordered southwards hy the 
Kaslm country, separating it from the Wahhabi State 
Northwards his influence extends beyond the Nefiid right 
away to the oases of Kslf and Itteiy in the Wady Sirhan 
in 38° E, long., 31° K lat, east from the Dead Sea. 
The inhabitants of these oases acknowledge Ibn Bashid 
as their suzerain, " paying him a yearly tribute of £4 for 
each village" {Blunt). The people of the intervening 
district of Jauf on the northern verge of the Nefiid also 
acknowledge his authority, which reaches westwards to 
Teyma (27° 30' N. lat, 37° E, long.), some 80 miles from 
the Bed Sea. He further commands the new pilgrim road 
from Persia, which formerly passed southwards through 
Biad, but now runs through Hail, capital of his dominions 
This alone brings him in a revenue of £20,000, besides 
giving him enormous influence throughout the whole of 
the north from Mecca and Medina to the Lower Euphrates 
valley. Ibn Bashid's green and purple banner has thus 
become the symbol of authority in all the land enclosed 
by Hejas and Palestine on the west, the Syrian Desert 
on the north, Irak-Arabi and El-Hasa on the east Tet 
he himself, although at present by far the most power- 
ful personage in the peninsula^ is content to pay a small 
annual tribute to the Sherif of Mecca in recognition of 
the Sultan's suzerainty, such is still the potent influence 
of the acknowledged head of Islam. 

*" Although this Bichard of the Kejd reached the thione 
over the murdered body of his yoxmg nephew Bender, 
and by the massacre of sixteen possible future pretenders, 
he governs his subjects wisely and firmly. His rule is 


described as mild and just, and the mejliss or public court 
of justice is still daily held in the palace-yard, where the 
Emir appears, just as Mr. Palgrave describes his pre- 
decessors, surrounded by officers of state, and a body- 
guard of 800 soldieis. . . . He is on terms of alliance 
with all the Bedouins south of the Nefiid, and every year 
brings him in &esh tributaries from among the former 
dependants of Ibn Saoud [the Wahhabi ruler]. Taxation 
is light, service in the army voluntary, and Ibn Bashid's 
government eminently popular. Nowhere in Asia can be 
found a more prosperous, contented, and peaceable com- 
munity than in Jebel-Shammar " {Blunt). 

And thus has statesmanship succeeded where fana- 
ticism failed. For the once formidable but now almost 
extmct Wahhabi State had its rise in what was in its 
origin essentially a religious movement. It aimed at the 
leform of Isldm, but it soon degenerated into a purely 
political system, upheld by terror and blind fanaticism. 
It was foimded in the middle of the last century by Abd- 
el-Wahhdb,^ but owed its subsequent expansion to his suc- 
cessor Ibn Saiid, in whose family the office of Im&m, or 
spiritual and temporal head, has since remained. By the 
beginning of the present century the Wahhabi empire had 
spread over most of the peninsula, and even aimed at 
creating a imited Arabia by the expulsion of the Turks. 
But it never quite recovered the blow it received in 1819, 
when the Egyptian troops destroyed Derayeh, and dissi- 
pated the Wahhabite dream of universal empke. Their 
power is now virtually limited to the highland territory 
of Aared, bounded north-westwards by the independent dis- 
trict of Easim, and encircled elsewhere mostly by the sands. 

In their religious views the Wahhabi are the most 
rigorous of monotheists, setting their face against all 
undue veneration of the Prophet, saints, relics, or aught 

^ The Kh represents the strong Arabic guttural '9^= Hebrew n* 


else in the least sayouring of idolatiy. Their eeiemonial 
is extremely simple, and they carry to a heroic degree 
the Eastern virtues of hospitality and almsgiving. Their 
political system is based substantially on the cultivation of 
the land, and thus was developed a powerful and industri- 
ous peasantry, said at one time to have numbered nearly 
2,000,000, and capable of raising an army of 60,000 
disciplined warriors. But in Central Arabia the seat of 
power has passed from Eiad to Hail ; nor can the result 
be regarded otherwise than as satisfactory. The collapse 
of the Wahhabite movement, whose influence was at one 
time felt even in India, lessens the fear of the peace of 
the world being again threatened by a revival of Moslem 
fanaticism. The apprehension, however, of disturbance 
being produced by this cause, from time to time, is not 

The east coast of Arabia, which is washed by the 
Persian Gulf, projects almost to a sharp point at the Eas 
Mussendiim, where the Strait of Ormuz separates it from 
the Persian mainland, and connects the Persian Gulf with 
that of Oman. The northern section of this coast is 
ofiicially included in the Turkish vilayet of Basra (El- 
Hasa), the southern and western frontiers of which are 
arbitrarily drawn according to the caprice of the Ottoman 
functionaries. But El-Hasa is naturally limited south- 
wards by the projecting headland of Eas Bekkan, which 
encloses the group of the Bahrein Archipelago, claimed 
by Turkey, and valuable for its pearl fishery. Bahrein, 
as the strip of coast between Capes Bekkan and Mussendiim 
is sometimes called, forms a sort of neutral land between 
the vilayet of El-Hasa on the north and the independent 
native State of Oman, which comprises all the rest of the 
east coast and the whole of the south-east comer of the 

The Sultan of Omkn, formerly more popularly known 

OMAN. 125 

88 tbe Im&m of Maakat,^ at one time ruled over an 
extensive territory on the East Coast of Africa. But this 
was assigned in 1856 to a brother of the reigning 
Sultan, and now constitutes the independent State of 
Zanzibar. He, however, still claims jurisdiction over 
Germansiry a strip o^ the opposite Persian coast, stretch* 
ing firom about the 28th parallel to the west frontier of 
Persian Mekrin, and includiDg the port of Bundar Abbas 
((jombrdn) and the large island of Kishm. 

On the Arabian mainland the north-east coast is 
rocky, but well supplied with good natural harbours, while 
the south coast west of Cape Hadd is flat, and sheltered 
only by the island of Moseirah. At a distance of 50 or 
60 nules from the sea there runs a mountain range, the 
Jebel-Akhdar, parallel with the crescent-shaped east coast, 
beyond which the surface is dotted with a number of 
true oases, abounding in water, incredibly fertile, and 
covered with an exceedingly dense growth of vegetation. 
The Sultan of Om&n maintedns a small navy to keep 
down piracy in these waters. He has also long enjoyed 
the benefit of a close alliance with England, which, while 
adding to his prestige amongst his own subjects, guaran- 
tees him from any overt acts on the part of Turkey or 
Peisia. His States are fairly well governed, justice is 
efficiently administered, and peace secured within his 
borders, which verge everywhere inland with the desert. 

5. Climate : Itainless Zone, 

The prevailing climatic conditions are intense heat 
and dryness. The zone of maximum heat on the sur- 
face of the globe in July embraces the whole of the Persian 
Gulf, the greater part of the Bed Sea, and of the inter- 

^ His proper title is Sayid, or "Sovereign.** He never assumed the 
religions dignity of Im&m commonly attributed to him. 


veiling Aialuao 
peninsula. This 

one of the rain- 
less regions, 
where rain falls 
only at intervals 
of tnm one to 
three or four 
years. Evea 
the periodical 
wet seasons, to 
which Yemen 
and some otha 
&vonred tracts 
are exposed, 
are occasionally 
interrupted by 
counts - atmo- 
spheric currents 
then whole pro- 
vinces have to 
depend for two 
or three years 
at a time on 
their wells, 
tanks, and oUier 
reservoirs. It 
ia the vicimty 
of the A&icaQ 
Sahara that 
prevents Arabia 
&om enjoying, 
as India does, 


the full benefit of the moist winds from the Indian 
Ocean. Hence in Bununer, when India is often deluged 
by tropical downpours, the south coast of Arabia swelters 
under the vertical rays of a fierce sun, and the parched- 
up land finds no shelter either in an overcast sky or 
a leafy vegetation. Thus has been developed in the 
course of ages the great Southern Desert, surpassing 
the Sahara itself in absolute aridity and barrenness. 
But as the land rises towards the Yemen highlands, 
the glass naturally falls, the nights become pleasantly 
cool, and the tcmks here freeze in winter. At elevations 
of 6000 feet storms become frequent, and are at times 
accompanied by heavy showers. The heat probably 
reaches its maximum in the low-lying coast district of 
the Tehama on the Eed Sea, and along the west coast of 
the Persian Gulf. From the bare rocky walls skirting 
both sides of these land-locked basins the sunbeams are 
reflected with redoubled strength on the glowing waters, 
thus producing an enormous evaporation, which converts 
the surrounding atmosphere into a vapour-bath. For 
Europeans a trip across the Persian Gulf is considered at 
these times extremely perilous, and the unhealthy climate 
of the Tehama has become proverbial On the other 
hand, the high central plateau of Nejd enjoys a climate 
described by Palgrave as one of the most salubrious in 
the world. Here the pure air, dry atmosphere, and 
moderate temperature have proved highly favourable to 
the development of animal life, although the lack of 
moisture has prevented a corresponding vegetable growth. 
Altogether, the most favoured region in this respect is 
Yemen, where the glass, even in July, seldom rises above 
90* F. At Sana, Niebuhr found that it did not exceed 
85°, while in the neighbouring Tehama it stood at 98** F. 
iu the shade. Here also snow falls occasionally, and it 
freezes during the three winter months, while at Loheia 


(Tehama coast), the glass never falls much below 80*" 
January. Such is the astounding difference in temperatuie 
produced by the relief of the land in the same district 

Sand-storms prevail very generally, but are not 
dangerous to travellers, except, perhaps, in the great 
Southern Desert On the other hand, the extent of the 
range of the simooms, or poisonous winds, seems to have 
been exaggerated. 

6. Flora and Fauna : The Rorse and Caind, 

The most valuable plants are the date-palm, of which 
over 130 varieties are reckoned growing in all the oases, 
and supplying the chief staple of food ; coffee, indigenous 
in Yemen, and largely exported from Mocha, whence the 
''Mocha coffee" of commerce; aromatic and medicinal 
plants chiefly along the south and west coast, producing 
frankincense, mjrrrh, gum-arabic, balsam, senna^ which 
have supplied the markets of the world for ages. The 
vine is cultivated for its fruit ; the peach, apricot, almond, 
fig, and other fruits of excellent quality, are produced in 
Yemen, and cotton is cultivated in Omdn. Of the few 
forest trees the chief are the sycamore, the rusbek or 
thorny lotus, the cassia, and the manna-yielding ash. 
Yemen, and some other parts, also yield maize, nullet, 
wheat, barley, durra, lentils, tobacco, madder, indigo. 
Characteristic of Nejd is the ghatha, which grows to 12 
or IS feet high, and yields the purest charcoal in the 
world. It abounds in the northern half of the Kefiid, 
and is foimd as far north as Kaf in the Hamad. 

Amongst the wild animals are the lion, panther, 
leopard, wolf, wild boar, jackal, gazelle, fox, monkey, 
wild cow, or white antelope (Beatrix antelope, genus 
Omyx f)t ibex, webber (marmot ?), horned viper, cobra, 
bustard, buzzard, hawk. The locust abounds in Arabia, 


but IB here rather preyed upon than the spoiler. ** It is not 
generally known how excellent locusts are as food. . . . 
The red locust, which is, I believe, the female, is the best 
eating, and should be plain boiled. In taste it resembles 
green wheat, having a veiy delicate v^table flavour. 
Hoises thrive on them, and nearly every animal in the 
desert devours them. Our dogs caught and ate them 
greedily. A camel will occasionally munch them in with 
their pasture, and a hyaena I shot was found to be full of 
them. Locusts should be gathered in the morning while 
the dew is still on their wings " (Blunt), 

The chief domestic animals are the ass, mule, fat- 
tailed sheep, and above all the camel and horse. Of the 
latter there are two classes : the kadtshi, of unknown pedi- 
gree, used for rough work ; and the kokhl&ni, or koheileh, 
whose genealogies have been recorded for over 2000 
years, and which spring traditionally from Solomon's studs. 
They are mostly of small size, between 13 and 14 hands 
high, but symmetrical, hardy, and endowed with ex- 
traordbary staying power. The best breed, formerly in 
the Nejd, is now said to be found amongst the Anazeh 
and other Bedouin tribes of Mesopotamia. But opinions 
differ on the point, and while Blunt holds that " the tale 
of a distinct Nejd breed is entirely fabulous," Bawlinson 
still considers that the Anazeh is " of much inferior 
blood to a real Nejd horse." Nejd is supposed to abound 
in horses, but this would seem to be a mistaka Burck- 
hardt long ago remarked that here they are comparatively 
rare, and that the Bedouins of the rich Mesopotamian 
plains own the largest stock. This view is now con- 
finned by Blunt, who asserts that '' horses of any kind are 
exceedingly rare in Nejd." Here "the camel is the 
universal means of locomotion with the Bedouina The 
townsmen go on foot." 

But for the camel the desert would be absolutely 


uninhabitable. Of this animal there are several species, 
or rather varieties, abounding especially in Nejd, hence 
termed Omm-el-Bd, or " Mother of Camels." The Hejd 
'' Ship of the Desert " will pass four and even five days in 
the summer heats without a drop of water; but those 
most suited for riding are said to come &om Om&n, 

7. Inhabitants : Bedouin Life. 

Few Asiatic lands can boast of a more homogeneous 
population than Arabia. The whole peninsula belongs 
from prehistoric times to the great branch of the Semitic 
family, who have always called themselves Arabs, a term 
probably meaning nothing more than '* people of the 
plains." Within this branch there are doubtless many 
divisions and subdivisions, which will be found else- 
where specified; but all are essentially one in origin, 
physique, speech, and religion. The only true distinction 
that can now be recognised is rather of a social than 
an ethnical character — that is to say, the distinction 
between the settled agricultural element residing in towns 
and villages and the nomad Bedouins of the wildem^s. 
The former are met everywhere in more or less numerous 
communities, wherever the land is fit for cultivation — 
in El-Hejas (Mecca, Medina, Taif) ; in Nejd (Hail, Derayel^ 
Siad) ; in Oman (Maskat) ; but especially in Yemen, 
where the settled political status preponderates over the 
tribal organisation of camp-life. 

Some readers may possibly be surprised at the tenn 
" organisation " applied to the social condition of the free 
children of the desert ; but the popular ideas regarding 
the habits, customs, and usages of the tented Arab are in 
many respects erroneous. He is usually represented as 
ceaselessly roaming with his tents and flocks from place 
to place, whereas diere is perhaps no people less given to 


mmdeiitig, or more attached to their homes, than the true 
BedouinB.* Hence Arabic is ahnost the only language 
that has a perfect equivalent in the term waian ( J,,) 

to the English word home. They have their allotted 
winter and summer camping-grounde, seldom changing 
their settlements except when removing from one to the 
other vith the seasons. While en route they never pitch 


their tents, sleeping in the open, wrapped in their flowing 
garments. Their encampments resemble those of the 
gipsies, only the occupants are perhaps somewhat wilder 
and more picturesque in appearance. Women in dark- 
brown cloaks grinding the com with primitive hand- 
mills, or weaving doth for the tents ; children, goats, and 
dogs, all playing together in happy harmony ; the men 
lounging about smoking, or drinking coffee, form on the 
whole a not unpleasant scene of homely Ufa 

The Bedouins are often represented as highwaymen 
and robbers from their birth. Their ideas regarding the 
rights of property differ seriously from those prevalent 
in the West; but these very ideas of theirs are based 
on a keen sense of right, and grow out of the proud 
spirit which resents the intrusion of strangers or hostile 
tribes on their domain. It must be allowed that among 
them there are what may be called marauding tribes by 
profession ; but even these have a certain traditional 
code of law and honour, strange as the word may 
sound in such an association, a code which all alike 
accept and implicitly obey. A curious illustration of 
this spirit is afforded by the circumstances attending the 
attack on Mr. Blunt's party in the Wady Sirhan in the 
year 1878. "Lady Anne and I/* he writes, ''happened 
to be separated from the rest of our party, and were 
sitting under a ghatha bush eating our midday meal of 
dates, when we suddenly heard the galloping of horse- 
hoofs in the sand. Looking up, we saw a dozen Bedouins 
bearing down on us with their lances. . . . Our thick 
cloaks saved us from the points of the lances, and 
my Bedouin head-rope saved my head ; and when we 
had cried 'Dahil,' 'I yield,' and given up our mares, 
they left off knocking us about. It then turned out that 
our captors were a party of Boala, fiiends of our own and 
of Muhammad's, though they knew nothing of us per- 


sonally ; and after we had sworn to our identity, they 
brought ns back our mares and everything that had been 
dropped in the scufSe." 

Jonas Hanway also vindicates the Bedouins firom the 
animadversions of some writers in the last century. '' Their 
skill in horsemanship, and their capacity of bearing the 
heat of their burning plains, give them a superiority over 
their enemies. Hence every petty chief considers him- 
«elf as a eoverdgn prince, and as such exacts custonm 
from all passengers. When they plunder caravans travel- 
ling through their territories they consider it as reprisals 
on the Turks and Persians, who often make inroads into 
their country and carry away their com and their 

Amongst themselves and towards all placed under 
their protection their sense of honour and trustworthi- 
ness are beyond suspicion. Owing to the fearful severity 
of the custom of blood-revenge, murder is of much rarer 
occurrence in the wilderness than in more civilised lands. 
The character of the country and their social habits 
develop a sort of clannish confederacy amongst the several 
tribes, as well as a certain common sympathy with all 
belonging to the Arab race. The Turi or the Maghrabi 
tribes have now a salutary dread of " the Consul." 

In other respects the contrast between the social 
relations of the Bedouin and those of the " more civilised " 
inhabitants of the towns and villages is very much to 
the advantage of the former. Their simple diet and the 
pure untainted atmosphere which they breathe, render 
them healthy in mind and body. They are cheerful and 
even possessed of a fund of humour, and will often endure 
the greatest hardships without a murmur. Their demean- 
our is courteous and even refined. 

As with most Eastern peoples, parents are treated 

* The Uevolutums of Persia, part y. pp. 221-2. 

134 GOMPEin)inM of geographt and travel. 

with the greatest respect bj their children while under 
age. But as soon as the young Bedouin is old and strong 
enough to set up an independent establishment, he con- 
siders himself released from this duty, henceforth regard- 
ing himself in the light of an equaL 

On the men naturally falls the care of supporting the 
tribe, the means of doing which are often scanty enough 
Their chief source of wealth is derived fix)m the cameL 
The escorting of travellers, pilgrims, and goods, is a pro- 
fitable branch of industry, but restricted to the few tnhes 
recognised as the duly authorised ghufara, or " protectors." 

A limited trade is also carried on with Suez and 
Cairo, the Arabs supplying charcoal, millstones, ibex 
horns, gum Arabic, and the like, in exchange for com 
and tobacco. A few inhabiting such fertile districts as the 
Feiran own a little land, on which they cultivate tobacco, 
bartering or selling it to the neighbouring tribes. Owners 
of sheep and goats turn the hair and wool of these 
animals to account, and use the milk in spring, but 
seldom kill them except in sacrifices. Another article of 
trade is the " munn," or manna, a glutinous saccharine 
substance exuding from the tamarisk tree for about two 
months, " while the apricot is in bloom." 

8. Topography: Mecca — Medina — EaU — MaskxU — Aden. 

In a land of which probably not more than one-tenth 
is arable, towns cannot be numerous. fTor are there more 
than two or three places in the peninsula with a fixed 
population of 50,000. The largest are Sana and Maskat, 
capitals of Yemen and Omdn respectively, both of which 
may have 45,000 inhabitants. But by far the most im- 
portant are the two '' holy cities " of Hejas, Mecca and 
Medina, towards which the eyes of one hundred millions 
of Muhammadans are constantly turned, &om the shores 

MECCA. 135 

of Marocoo to the distant islands of the Eastern Archi- 

Mecca» the Borne of Islam, is an nnwalled cify 
sitaated in a narrow sandy valley enclosed by rocky 
eminences from 200 to 500 feet high, and about 65 
miles from Jidda, its port on the Bed Sea. The valley 
is scarcely 600 yards broad, narrowing southwards to 
about 300, where it is almost blocked by the Beit-XJUah 
(God's house), the great mosque enshrining the famous 
Kddba. The whole building forms a rectangle 250 paces 
long by 200 broad, of which the north side is formed by 
four rows of pillars, the other three of three rows each, 
arched over, and so disposed that each group of four 
supports a little cupola, making altogether 152 of these 
structures. Along its entire length suspended from the 
arches are glass lamps, all of which are kept burning 
during the Bamaddn, or fasting season. The oldest pillars 
are hewn out of the neighbouring rock ; the others, con- 
sisting of marble, granite, and porphyry, are mostly offer- 
ings of the Faithful, and include some antiques from the 
old temples of Syria and Egypt. 

Within the mosque is the Kizaba, or " Holy House," 
a small, massive building about 40 feet high. Tradition 
associates this unpretending and curious little structure 
with a multitude of marvels and legends, one more pre- 
posterous than another. On the north side is a doorway 
leading through steps inlaid with gold and sUver to the 
inner sanctuary. In a comer lies the famous ''black 
stone," supposed to have been given by God to Abraham, 
but now known to be a meteoric block descended, if not 
£rom heaven, at least from the interplanetary spaces. 
West of the Kaaba is the "golden channel," carrying 
off from the flat roof the rain-water, which is reputed 
to be endowed with miraculous properties. 

Access to Mecca is rendered extremely difficult i^ 


consequence of the ceremonies imposed on all wishing to 
visit the birthplace of the Prophet, and expressly designed 
to exclude imbelievers. Yet the feat has been accom- 
plished during the present centuiy by Burckhardt, 
Wallin, Palgrave, Burton, Keane(?), and perhaps by 
others, mostly disguised as pilgrims. 

In Mecca resides the great Sherif of Mecca and 
Medina, a far more important dignitary than the Turkish 
Vali or Governor of Hejas. As guardian of the holy 
shrine of Islam he receives a heavy annual stipend from 
the Porte, in return acknowledging the suzerainty and 
caliphate of the Sultan. 

About seventy miles south-east of Mecca is the small 
but pleasant town of Taif, to which the pashas con- 
demned for the murder of Sultan Abdul- Aziz have been 
banished. It is one of the most interesting places in 
Arabia, surrounded by gardens and vineyards, from which 
Mecca has been supplied with fruits for ages. 

Nearly under the same meridian as Mecca» and 
240 miles farther north, lies the almost equally 
venerated city of Medina. Hither fled the Prophet 
when his obdurate fellow-citizens were deaf to his voice, 
and from this flight dates the Muhammadan er&^ Here 
also is his tomb, a shrine second only in sanctity to the 
Kaaba itself. Medina lies at an elevation of 3000 feet 
above the sea, close to a range of hills running north and 
south between Hejas and Nejd. It is built of solid stone, 
but the streets are very narrow, and everywhere lined ¥rith 
lodging-houses for the convenience of pilgrims. The great 
mosque containing the Prophet's tomb is approached by 
the main street from the gate of Cairo. It is smaller 
than that of Mecca, and is supposed to have been really 
built by Muhammad himself. His coffin is encased in 
silver, and covered with a heavy marble slab. 

^ That is, the i/ym, or ** Flight." 

SANA — ^haIl. 137 

By far the most important place in the south-west is 
Sana, capital of Yemen, and seat of an Imdm, who enjoys 
a widespread jurisdiction in this region. Sana, which is 
perhaps the finest and hest- built city in the whole of 
Aiahia, has been visited of late years by Wrede, Hal^vy, 
Manzoni, and several Englishmen. It lies in a fine, well- 
cultivated upland valley, over 4000 feet above sea- 
level, and about 110 mUes north-east of Hodeida, its 
port on the Eed Sea. Its walls, about six miles in 
dicumference, are mounted with cannon, and they enclose 
two stone palaces of the Imdm, besides a great number of 
highly-ornamental mosques, baths, and caravansarais. 

In the interior the only noteworthy places are 
HolI and Biad, capitals of Jebel-Shammar and Aared 

Hail lies 3500 feet above the sea, not to the south, 
as is usually stated, but to the east of the Jebel-Aja, a 
granite range 6000 feet high, which ends abruptly at this 
point In this neighbourhood is the Emir's castle, a 
fonnidable stronghold occupying a position of immense 
natural strength in the Jebel-Aja. Blunt visited this 
place in 1878, but does not give its exact site, lest the 
information might be utilised by the Turks under possible 
fiituie contingencies. 

Biad, which has succeeded Dereyah as capital of the 
Wahhabi State, lies in the heart of the Aared country, 
oiclosed north and south by the Jebel-Toweyk, and 
about 280 miles south-east of Hail. It is a large place, 
mth a population of probably 30,000; but nothing is* 
known of its present state, as no European has visited it 
since the time of Palgrave. 

On the east coast the only large place is Maskat, 
capital of Oman, which, although extremely hot and un- 
healthy, is the centre of nearly all the import and export 
trade in these waters. For this position it is indebted 


more to its well-sheltered and convenient harbour than to 
the fact that it is the seat of government and residence of 
the Sultan. It is built in a series of terraces rising one 
above the other on the side of the frowning precipices 
enclosing its picturesque bay. But though presenting a 
pleasant prospect from a distance, a nearer view reveals 
the usual features of large Oriental towns — ^narrow, dirty, 
and gloomy streets, tasteless buildings, and masses of dead 
walls, beyond which stretches a swampy suburb occupied 
by nomad Arabs and African slaves. The townspeople 
themselves are a motley mixture of Arabs, Persians^ 
Syrians, Indians, and even Kurds and Afghans, who 
have either taken refuge here from oppression at homiyj 
or else have been attracted to the place by its 
facilities for trade. 

Politically by far the most important place in 
southern section of the peninsula is Aden, occupied 
1838 by the English, who from this stronghold and 
neighbouring island of Perim command the whole 
the Bed and Arabian Seas, and keep open the wateH 
highway to British India and the far East. But besidcr] 
forming one of the most important links in the chain 
that girdles the eastern hemisphere from London to Hong- 
Kong, this Gibraltar of the Indian Ocean is also a free 
port, doing a considerable trade with the interior, and with 
a present population (including Perim) of 34,860. Yet 
it lies perched on a bare rock in an indescribably barren 
and desolate coast district, a hotbed of the most deadly 
diseases, altogether one of the most uninviting and un- 
healthy spots on the surface of the globe, and in summer 
sultry almost beyond endurance. The old town lies in 
the very crater of an extinct volcano, 1775 feet high, 
whose sides, which have partly fallen in, are crowned with 
formidable works bristling with cannon. 

Aden lies well within the rainless zone, where no 

ADEV. 139 

rain falls st times for isteryals of two or even three fears. 
Hence for its water-supply it is dependent on wells, 
tanks, condensers, and the magnificent old reservoirs in 
the neighbourhood, which have been recently restored. 
Here are two good harbours, formed partly by the adjacent 
island of SIrah, and, thanks to ita convenient and com- 
manding position near the entrance of the Bed Sea, Aden 
has become one of the chief coaling depots and calling 

stations for steamers in the Indian waters. It is also an 
important political centre, barring the further advance of 
the Turk in this direction, and guaranteeing the independ- , 
ence and good government of Lahej and the other petty 
States aloi^ the south-west coast 

The settlement, which includes the rocky peninsala, 
15 miles in circumference, and extends to the Khoi 
Maksar Creek, two miles north of the defences, is politi- 


cally subject to the Government of Bombay, and admink- 
tered by a Besident with two assistants. Since the 
opening of the Suez Canal the shipping has steadily 
increased, and a vessel of war is usually stationed at the 
port, which is in charge of a Conservator and regulated 
by the Indicm Ports Act 

9. Highways of Communication. 

In Arabia there are scarcely any roads properly so 
called. But the peninsula is crossed everywhere except 
in the south by well-trodden caravan routes, whose direc- 
tion is mainly determined by the greater or less abundance 
of wells and other reservoirs along their course. There 
IB so little local trade and so much visiting of the holy 
places from all quarters of Islam, that these routes natu- 
rally converge on Mecca and Medina. The two main 
highways are what might be called the Sunnite and the 
Shiah haj} the former from the north for the convenience 
of the orthodox Turk, the latter from the east for the 
heretical Persian. 

The northern pilgrim road starts from Damascus and 
runs nearly due south through the Hauran highlands and 
the Boala, Sherarat and Harb Bedouin territories between 
El-Hejas and the Nefud to Medina and Mecca. The 
chief intermediate stations are Kalaat Belka, east of the 
Dead Sea ; Maan, east of the Wady-el-Arabah, Tebuk ; 
and Medain Salah, east of the Bed Sea. The journey to 
Medina takes thirty days, and the pilgrim caravan is 
usually escorted by the governor of Damascus. But this 
route is not now so much frequented as formerly, the 
pilgrims from AnatoUa and Syria preferring the less 

' ffaj means "pilgrimage," whence the "Haji," or pilgrim par 
txeellence, who has visited the holy places, a personage who holds his head 
voxy high in the East. 



&t%amg and more expeditious journey by steamer through 
the Suez Canal and Bed Sea to Jidda, whence tbey 
reach Mecca by easy stages in three or four days. Since 
the opening of the canal the pilgrim trafiBic of Jidda by 
sea has increased to firom 45,000 to 50,000 yearly. 
Many also still reach Jidda by land from the Barbary 
States, Sudan, and Egypt, by a route from Cairo across the 
Sinai Peninsula and down the coast of Hejas. But this 
Une is also being gradually abandoned in favour of the 
sea voyage from Suez. 

The eastern or rather north-eastern road from Persia 
runs from Bagdad through Kerbela and Meshed Ali, 
nearly due south, to the wells of Shaibeh (27** 10' N., 
44° R), here turning west to Hail and thence south-west 
to Medina. This line traverses the domain of the Mon- 
tefikand Daffir Bedouins in the north, the Jebel-Shammar 
State, and the Harb Bedouin country in the west In lat. 
2 8*- 2 9® and long. 44** 20' it touches the famous reser- 
voirs built by Zobeyde, wife of Hanin-el-Bashid, for the 
special use of the pilgrims. A caravan route from the 
Haoian through the Wady Sirhan, the Jauf Oasis, and the 
Nefiid, strikes this line at HaH, and is continued thence 
south-eastwards through Bereydah and the ruins of 
Deieyah to Biad. A track from Riad through Yemamah 
reaches the Persian Gulf at £1-Katif above the Bahrein 
islands. But no certain lines are known to run from this 
direction southwards. Biad, however, seems to be con- 
nected westwards through Taif with Mecca, and this route, 
if it exists, nearly completes the main lines crossing the 
peninsula. Blunt denies the existence of a Bonian road 
said to have formerly run from Melakh on the Syrian 
frontier across the Hamad to Basra on the Shat-el- 

In the foregoing chapters — II. Asia Minor; III. 


Euphrates and Tigris Basin ; lY. Syria and Palestine — 
the headings 10, or Administration, and 11, or Statistics^ 
have not been included ; and these headings have yet to 
be given for the present chapter. They will now be 
given for all these chapters together. It is thought best 
to combine Arabia with Turkey in Asia for this purpose, 
because some part of Arabia belongs to, and still mars is 
claimed by, Turkey, while other parts are independent 

10. Administration: Turkish System in Asiatic Turke^f 
generaUy — Social Staie — Taaaiion — Justice — Bdi- 
ffion — The Ulema — Educaiion. 

In theory the government of Asiatic Turkey is an 
absolute despotism, limited in practice by many social 
and religious checks. The Sultan's personal action is 
now largely controlled by that of the Grand Vizier and 
Divan (Prime Minister and Cabinet). But he still 
nominates not only all the members of the Divan but all 
the provincial governors and lieutenant-governors, whose 
tenure of office being precarious, the incentive to rapacity 
often becomes irresistible 

Since 1867 Asiatic Turkey is divided for adminis- 
trative purposes into vilayets or provinces, sanjaks 
C' banners "), answering to the French arrondissem^its, 
kazas or districts, and nahi^s or communes. The vila- 
yets, mostly named from the chief town, are governed by 
valis, ranking as mushirs or pashas of the highest order ; 
the sanjaks by caimacans or lieutenant-governors, ranking 
as mutessarifs or second-class pashas; the kazas by 
mudirs, elected in theory by the inhabitants, but in 
reality by the valis ; the nahi^s by muktars or mayors, 
ostensibly elected for a year, but really named by the 
mudir. There are a great number of other ofScials, of 
whom it may be affirmed that " not one owes his post to 



peisonal merit or qualification, but all to bribery or in- 
trigue. The vali himself buys his api>ointment from some 
palace favourite or other patron at the Porte. . . . The 
same may be said of the cadis (magistrates), of the com- 
mandant of the police, and of the directors of the customs" 

Taxation is largely based on the old tithe system, and 
as the tithes themselves are farmed out, ample scope is 
given to extortion, the sum raised always far exceeding 
that imposed by the Treasuiy. Justice also, although the 
ciyil and criminal codes are based on sound principles of 
equity, is dispensed by servile ministers in such a manner 
as to become an additional instrument of oppression. In 
aU the courts bribery is a recognised factor, and although 
the Turk is personally honest and upright, the Turkish 
official has under this system become the incarnation of 
servility and corruption. Even the Christian assessors 
associated with their Moslem rulers would seem to be 
deeply tainted by the prevailing laxity. M'Coan men- 
tions the case of a Christian member of a civil court 
waiting on the advocate of some parties in a pending 
case, and arranging for a bribe of £100 to secure judg- 
ment in their favour. This judge is now " president of 
one of the Stambul courts, a rich and respected func- 

The real grievance of the Christians is that their 
testinK)ny carries but little weight, even when not abso- 
lutely rejected, in all the courts of the empire. " What 
we require," said one of them to Captain Sumaby in 
Smyrna, '' is similar treatment for all sects, and that the 
word of a Christian when given in a court of law should 
be looked upon as evidence and in the same light as a 
Muhammadan's statement. If the Caimacans and Cadis 
were only compelled to do us justice in this respect, we 
should not have much cause to grumble." 


Edigion — The Ulema. 

The Sultan is primarily not so mach a temporal 
sovereign as the accepted Caliph, or spiritual head of 
Islam. Hence the organic laws of the empire are all 
based on the Koran, to which the last appeal must be 
made in all emergencies. 

The cardinal doctrine of the Muhammadan religion is 
pure theism, formulated in the words, " There is but oue 
God ; " and besides the Prophet, it accepts the divine 
mission both of Moses and Christ. " The Son of Mary " 
especially is acknowledged as the Word proceeding from 
Grod, as the Messiah of the Jews, Mediator with Grod in 
heaven, and the appointed Judge of all A final judg- 
ment, an after state, a heaven and a hell, good and bad 
spirits, and guardian angels, are amongst the tenets of 
this religion. Most of its rites, such as punctilious and 
ceremonious prayer, ablutions, circumcision, pilgrimage, 
abstinence from alcoholic drinks, are either positively 
good or at the least harmless ; while some parts of its 
morality, inculcating the virtues of almsgiving, truth, 
sobriety, mercy to the brute creation, are to be com- 

" Islam," or the Muhammadan faith (literally " sub- 
mission to God ''), differs, in Asiatic Turkey, from most 
other religions in the absence of a true priesthood. For 
the Ulema ^ — that is, the "wise" or "learned" — ^were 
originally nothing more than a body of interpreters, insti- 
tuted to study and expound the text of the Koran. But 
as the Koran contains the secular as well as the religious 
code, this body could not fail gradually to usurp a pre- 
ponderating influence in the councils of the Stata This 


^ From the Arabio root J^^ Um, knowledge, sdence^ comet the ad- 
jectiye dlim, learned, wiae, of which the plonJ is uletruk 

ISLAM. 145 

influence it still enjoys and exerts in a spirit hostile not 
only to Christianity but to all true progress not in accord- 
ance with the " letter of the law." At present the head 
of this college is the Sheikh-ul-Islam, or " Head of the 
Faith'' — that is, next afber the Caliph, but in purely 
spiritual matters enjoying a power almost paramount even 
to that of the Sultan himself. 

Education is stUl in an eitremdy backward state, 
and must continue so until emancipated from the control 
of the Ulema, whose interest it is to restrict its range to 
the reading and expounding of the Koran. Attempts at 
refonn were made so far back as 1 845, when the principle 
of secularisation was adopted and a new university 
founded in Constantinople. Primary instruction was soon 
afterwards made compulsory, but through the influence 
of the niema it was restricted to reading, writing, ele- 
mentary arithmetic, and the study of the Koran. Even 
in the mekteib or secondary schools, and to a large extent 
in the medresseh or colleges, the teachers are all members 
of the Ulema, with the inevitable result that education 
stQl resolves itself into a training calculated more to 
fill the mosques and uphold the old system than to pro- 
doee enlightened and liberal-minded citizens. So much, 
however, has been secured that the bulk of the people, 
67en in Asiatic Turkey, can now at least read and write. 
The above description is applicable to Asiatic Turkey. 
But Arabia, which is included in this chapter, gave birth 
to a religion that has extended to several other countries 
besides tiie Turkish dominions. The Muhammadans are 
divided into two sects, the Sunnis and the Shiahs. The 
Sonnis are usually regarded as the orthodox party. 
They acknowledge the succession of the four Caliphs who 
inherited the spiritual and temporal supremacy bequeathed 
by the Prophet Muhammad himself. Their name indi- 
cates those who follow the true tradition. The Shiahs are 




usually regarded as sectaries, as their name implies. 
They are considered as heretics by the Simnis, who 
formed the dominant i>arty for many generations. In 
this age, however, they contribute an influential minority. 
Originally they followed Hasan and Hosen, the grandsons 
of the Prophet by his daughter Fatima and her husband 
AIL The grandsons took up arms against the Caliphs, 
successors of the Prophet, and were slain in battle. 
Their memory is revered as that of martyrs. The two 
religious centres of the sect are Mashhad in the north-east 
comer of Persia, and Kerbela on the border of Arabia 
and Mesopotamia. In all the world there is no place 
more heartily venerated by millions of people than 
Kerbela. In the main the Shiah coimtry is Persia; 
but Bokhara, Constantinople, Bagdad, Cairo, Delhi, 
Kdbul, are Sunm. The Mogul emperors of India were 
Sunni, though, as will be seen hereafter, there are many 
Shiah sectaries in India. The Sunnis and the Shiahs in 
India have their respective watch-cries. The Sunnis say 
** Dam-i-chah9x yfir ;" or. Hail to the four disciples of the 
Prophet (that is, the Caliphs). The Shiahs say " Dam-i- 
panj-tan ;'' or. Hail to the five relations of the Prophet ; 
meaning that the descendants have a prior claim over 
those who were the disciples only. The Sunnis mean 
that the disciples were nominated as lawful successors, 
and that allegiance is therefore due to them. 

In Asiatic Turkey the Muhammadan practice at least 
is understood to be becoming more and more tolerant 

Outside Asiatic Turkey, however, the Muhammadan 
faith maintains its hold upon the hearts and minds of the 
influential classes among its adherents. It has priestly 
classes bearing the names of Mufti, Molavi, MuUah. 
They are hearty and sincere zealots. Their religious 
sentiments, originally pure and lofty, often d^enerate 
into bigotry and fanaticism. From time to time, as for 

ISLAM. 147 

instance the Wahhabi movement in Central Arabia^ efforts 
are made to reinvigorate the austere strictness of the 
Prophet and the Caliphs, his immediate successors. But 
veneration for the Prophet, his Koran, and his Tradition, 
never causes the people to forget the attributes of God 
(Allah), which ever have been, and still are, defined and 
formulated with extraordinary accuracy and fidelity. 
The mmts of such tenets still infuse potent life into the 
religion. Though the name of ''the most merciful" is 
constantly invoked, yet something the reverse of mercy and 
charity^ as understood by Christians, is really presented. 
Ahosgiving is indeed proclaimed to be a duty in the 
loftiest terms. But kindness is really reserved for those 
Trithin the pale. For all outside the pale, fierce intoler- 
ance and an almost sanguinary animosity is declared. 
These are charged with " imbelief ," and the term £&fir, 
or unbeliever, is still regarded as a severe inculpation. 
For all that, in countries such as British India, where 
Muhanmiadans are brought into contact with Europeans, 
the common humanity asserts itself, and there many good, 
faithful, and frigidly Muhanmiadans are to be found. 

The Muhammadan nations are retrograding, and the 
retEogresaion is in part attributable to their religion. 
The following sentences are taken from the Bede Lecture 
delivered at Cambridge in 1881 by Sir William Muir, one 
of the first Uving authorities :— 

''Some, indeed, dream of an Islam in the future, 
rationalised and regenerate. All this has been tried 
already, and has miserably failed. The Coran has so 
encrosted the religion in a hard unyielding casement of 
ordinances and social laws, that if the shell be broken the 
life is gone. A rationalistic IsMm would be Islam no 
longer. The contrast between our own faith and Isldm 
iB most lemarkable. . . . There are in our Scriptures 
living germs of truth which consist with civil and reli- 



gious liberty, and will expand with advancing civilisation. 
In Islam it is just the reverse. The Goran has no such 
teaching as with us has abolished polygamy, slavery, and 
arbitrary divorce, and has elevated woman to her proper 
place. As a Beformer, Mahomet did advance his people 
to a certain point, but as a Prophet he left them fixed 
immovably at that point for all time to come. . . . The 
tree is of artificial planting ; instead of containing within 
itself the germ of growth and adaptation to the various 
requirements of time and clime and circumstance, expand- 
ing with the genial sunshine and rain firom heaven, it 
remains the same forced and stunted thing as when first 
planted some twelve centuries ago." 

11. Statistics of AsicUic Turkey and Arabia^ 
Abbas akd Populations. 


I Armenia 
Syria . . . . 
Turkish Arabia . 
Independent Arabia , 

Area in sq. miles. 


















1,440,000 27,055,846 

Appboximate Classitioation bt Races and Religions. 

Moslem ' 

' Turks : Anatolia, Armenia, Syria, eta 
Arabs : Arabia, Mesopotamia, Syria . 

S^ans : Syria 

Kurds : Eurdistdn, Armenia, Anatolia 
Circassians and Abkhasians : Anatolia 
Yuruk Turkomans : Anatolia, Syria . 
Lazis : Lazistdn, Anatolia . 

^MeteolUs : Syria .... 










1 Based on a careftd estimate prepared in 1878 by Mr. RedhooM for the Britiali 
OovemmeBt, but never published. Mr. Redhonse, one of the first authoritica on 
the subject, shows that the population of Asiatic Turkey, usually given at about 
17,000,000, has been greatly underrated. There can be little doubt that it amounts 
to at least 33,000,000, which, with that of Independent Arabia, gives about 27,000,000 
altogether, as above. 

s All Sunnis, except the HeteolUs, who are of the Shiah saot, but with pecnllar : 

















Vilayets ' and Skparats Adm inistbations. 

No. of Saqjaks. Pop. 

Greeks : Anatolia, Syria 

Syrians : Syria 

.Armenians : Armenia, Anatolia . 

Maronites: Syria .... 
^Nestorians: Mesopotamia, Knrdistdn 
rDnises: Syria, Hanr^n 

Jews : Anatolia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia 
J Knsairieh : Syria, Anatolia 
] Kizil-Baahis : Anatolia 
I Yezides : Anatolia, Mesopotamia 
tishmaelites: Syria .... 

Asia Minor 

Scutari . . ... 

Ismid . ^ 

Khodavendikiar .... 

Bi«a • 




Konia 5 

Janik 1 

Siyas 8 

Trebizond 8 

.Adana ....... i 

t Archipelago 5 
Samoa (Prmcipality) 

Erzemm 5 

rAxiz 2 

i Van 2 

iDiarbekr i 

Bagdad 6 

Irak JiE. Arabia Basra and £1-Hasa 

r Aleppo 

i Damascus 

L Lebanon (Christian Protectorate) . 

Yemen ..*... 

iigean . 




West Arabia 


. _i 

Deduct, ceded 1878, to Russia, 415,178 (Batiim, etc) 

to England, 186,100 (Cyprus) 
to Persia 6,000 (Kotur) 

Independent Arabia 

Gkakd Total, Asiatic Turkey and Arabia . 















• 45,000 
















1 Of these about 800,000 are " Unlates**— that Is, in union with the Church of Rome. 

* Both the number and names of Uie vilayets and sanjaka have been sul^ect to con- 
lidexable ehangei firom time to time. The arrangement here adopted is substantially 

* Befom the earthquake of 1881. Present population about 40,000. 


p 4000 iNHlBITAKTa.' 











Oua . 




Homa . 







Biad . 







Ismid . 




Bitlii . 




Saida . 






Sana . 




Mosul . 






Jaffa . 




Han . 


Urfa . 








Tokat . 






Tuf . 






Aidin . 




Jidda . 




Aden . 

30,000 : Baat> . 



80,000 ; Arabkir 



80,000 Bethlehem 


28,000 , Hebron 


SivM . 


Acre . 






Kouia . 





PEfiSIA. 151 



1. Boundaries — Extent — Area — Iranian Plateau — 

C(xist'line — Islands. 

East of the Persian Gulf and of the Mesopotamian basin, 
which may be regarded as its northern extension, the 
land rises abruptly to a vast upland r^on, occupying the 
whole space between the Tigris and Indus valleys. 
From its earliest known inhabitants, the Iranian branch 
of the Aryan race, this region has received the name of 
the Xranian plateau. In relation to the general highland 
system of the eastern hemisphere, it must be regarded as 
f(»ming the connecting link between the great central 
and western tablelands. For it is united through the 
Paropamisus and Hindu-Kush eastwards with the Great 
Pamir, the focus of the Asiatic system, and through the 
Armenian highlands westwards with the Anatolian table- 
land, whence the uplands are continued across the JEgeaji 
to the Balkan ranges and the Alps, the focus of the 
Eoiopean system. 

This vast tableland, which has a total area of about 
one million square miles, presents the form of a trapeze, 
enclosed on the south by the Arabian Sea, on the north 
by the Aralo-Gaspian depression^ eastwards by the Indus 
valley, westwards by the Persian Gulf and Mesopotamian 
basin. It is encircled on all sides by distinct mountain 
ranges, which descend everywhere abruptly to the sur- 


rounding waters and depressions, except in the north-wcet, 
where the? merge in the still more elevated EuTdiatan 
and Armenian highlands. Through these the plateau is 
supposed to be connected with the Caucasus range 
traveling the Fonto-Caspian isthmus. But here there 
is a deep intervening depression throi^h which the Ei^r 
(Cyms) flows east to the Caspian, while farther west the 
vfJley of the Bioa (Phasis), draining to the Enxine, 
forms a less marked line of separation between the two 

The Iranian plateau thus forms a clear geographical 
unit. But ethnically and politically it is a divided land. 
Although the or^nal home of Aryan peoples, it has for 
ages been tiie battlefield of " Iran" and " Turan" — tliat is, 
of the rival Caucasic and Mongolo-Tatar races. This 
struggle, combined with the spread of Isl&m in the 
seventh century, has brought about a final rupture of the 
old Persian Empire, which formerly gave political unity 
to the land. The eastern section of the plateau is thus 
at present occupied by the independent States of Afgban- 
istdn and EeUt (Baluchistan), the western by all that nov 
remains of the ancient Persian monarchy, which at one 
time stretched from the Bosphorus to the Indus. And 
even here the sceptre of the " king of kings " has passed 
from the old native Persian dynasties to a house of the 
intruding Turanian race. The usurper Nadir Shah vat 
khan of the Afshar Tdrki tribe, and the present ruling 
family belongs to the rival QajfLr Tiirki clan.^ 

Within its present limits, as laid down by various 
treaties with Bussia and Turkey, and by the Siataa and 
Afghan Boundary Commissions of 1870-2, Persia is 
bounded on the north — let, by the Russian territory of 

• Hence the title of the present Shih — 


Transcaacasia, the frontier line here following the Bivei 
Aias (Aiaxes) for the greater part of its course to the 
plain of Mogan and the Lenkoran district on the 
Caspian, which are included in Transcaucasia ; 2d9 by 
the south coast of the Caspian ; 3d, by the new Russian 
Transcaspian territory, formerly the Tekke Turkoman 
coimtry. Here the frontier has not yet been determined 
by the Russo-Persian Boundary Commission of 1881; 
but it will probably run from the south-east end of the 
Caspian, along the Atrak Biver and Kopet-dagh, through 
Aakabad to Sarakhs on the Tajand Elver. Westwards, 
Peisia borders on Asiatic Turkey, the limits here foUow- 
mg a hue already laid down at p. 31. On the south- 
west and south, the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea form 
the natural limits, which again become arbitrary, and in 
some places quite uncertain, on the east towards Baluchis- 
t&n and Afghanistdn. The line has been drawn in the 
south from Gwatar on the coast to the Maskid River, 
between which and Lake Sistdn it is somewhat vague. 
Farther north it runs nearly imder the 61st meridian 
to Ghnrian, beyond which it follows the Hari-rdd to 
Saiakhs. It will thus be seen that in the south the 
frontier line should be drawn much farther to the east 
than is the case in most English maps, so as to include a 
laige slice of Makian (South Baluchistan) and most of 
Sbtan proper, which has always been claimed and is now 
held by the Shah's government. 

With this rectification of the east frontier consider- 
ably more than one-half of the Iranian plateau belongs 
to Persia. The Wazir of Karman has even lately re- 
ceived the title of Sardar of Baluchistan, and attached 
to his government are the two large districts of Bampiir 
and West Makrdn, which are practically Persian territory. 
Indnding these outlying tracts, the monarchy forms an 
irregolar triangular mass with a base running from below 


Mount Ararat for about 1000 miles south-east to the Gulf 
of Oman, and with ne&rlj equal sides of 700 miles norUi 
and east from Ararat to Sarakha, and thence to the south 
coast at Gwatar in 61° 30' K long. Its contour has 
been compared to Uiai of a cat on a footetool, and as 
Persia is specially famous for its cats, the fitness of the 
resemblance cannot be denied. The total area is about 
610,000 square miles, with a population variously esti- 
mated at from five to ten millions, or from eight to sis- 
teen to the square mila 

Notwithstanding its extensive oceanic coast-line of 
over 900 miles from Fao to Gwatar, Peraia is almost 
destitute of islands. In the Arabian Sea scarcely a leef 
exists, and in the Persian Gulf, besides a few rocks aud 
the small but important island of Karak, nothing but the 
Kishm group of islands claimed by the Sultan of 
Oman. Off the Caspian coast also there is a total 
absence of islands, and even here the little rock of 
Ashurada in the south-east comer has been ceded to 
Russia. The importance of Ashnrada as a Eussian 
station is considerable. 

2. Selief of the land : Sighlarids — J^aijts — Deserts — 
The Kavirs. 

Since the surveys of KhaaikofF, Lovett, St. John, 
and others, between the years 1658 and 1876, our 
notions r^arding the extent, direction, and elevation of 
the Persian mountain systems have been fundamentally 
modified, Tet the old ideas still hold their ground in 
popular treatises, which continue to represent the connby 
as mainly a vast sandy plain fringed on the north and 
west by continuoiis escarpmenta The truth is that the 
land is almost everywhere traversed by lofty ranges to 
such an extent that the strictly highland would seem tc 


preTail greatly over the plateau formation. These ranges, 
which, with few exceptions, run with surprising regularity 
in the direction from north-west to south-east,^ are far 
higher than was supposed, and so perfect is the parallelism 
that it actually influences the direction of the atmo- 
spheric currents in all the central and western provinces. 
Ihe disposition of the ranges, especially in the interior, 
is still fiEir from being perfectly understood ; but we now 
know that some of the ridges run for over 100 miles at 
mean altitudes of from 8000 to 10,000, rising in some 
places to 16,000 or 17,000 feet. The most extensive 
and loftiest seems to be the KiUi-Dindr,^ traversing the 
western province of Pars, in the normal direction, at an 
elevation of perhaps 17,000 or 18,000 feet Although 
still unexplored it is perfectly visible from the Persian 
Kolf at a distance of 130 miles over intervening coast 
nuigea known to be 10,000 feet high. Yet this is about 
the height given on many old maps to a doubtful Mount 
Baena, assumed to be the culminating point of the Kiih- 
Dindr. So also the volcanic Damdvand, highest peak of 
the Elburz chain fringing the south coast of the Caspian, 
usually marked 14,700 feet on the maps, has been fixed 
hythe Sussian Caspian Survey at 18,600, and Mount 
Savalin, between Tabriz and the Caspian, has been raised 
hy the same authority fix)m 11,000 to 14,000 feet. 
The Kurw-Kiih range, running south-eastwards to Yazd, 
inaintains for a long way a height of 10,000 feet, and is 

^ It is ewAoQS to note that the same direction was followed by the re- 
puted ahoeks of earthquake felt in September 1881 in the Khoi district, 
Azairb^j^ The name Azairb^dn (corresponding with the ancient Media) 

Utttts "place of fire," from the old Persian word .jT (Azur), "fire," like 
Terra del Fa^o. 
* K^ or K6h (gS)^ the Persian term for mountain, as in Kdh^i-NUr, 

"Hoantain of Light" Like the Arabic JOel and Tdrki Dagh, it is 
^ also for a continuous chain. 


continued towards the volcanic EiUi-i-Basman (10,000 
to 12,000 feet), by the snowy Kiih-Banan, and other 
lofty ridges, culminating with the Eiih-Hazar (14,550 
feet). South-east of this point the Eiih-i-Nauahada 
volcano in Sarhad rises to 12,000 or 15,000 feet 

In the Bampiir or south-eastern comer of Persia the 
normal north-westerly direction is broken by the coast 
ranges, which run either south-west or west and east, 
parallel vdth the sea. The only other important excep- 
tion to the general parallelism occurs in the north, where 
the eastern section of the Elburz sweeps round the 
Caspian in a north-easterly direction from Mount Dama- 
vand to the valley of the Eiver Gurgan. 

In the north-west the separate ranges merge in the 
general highland systems of Luristan, Kurdistan, and 
Armenia, where several snowy peaks fall little short of 
15,000 feet In the north-east the Ehorasan frontier is 
usually supposed to be separated from the Turkestan 
depression by a continuous range running between 
Afghanistan and the Caspian, and connecting the 
Hindu-Kush through the Paropamisus and Ghor moun- 
tains with the Elburz range. But here also the main 
direction is south-east and north-west from the Hari- 
nid valley to the Great and Little Balkans near £rasno- 
vodsk on the Caspian. Thus the Kuren-dagh,^ the Kopet- 
dagh, and the other unsurveyed sections of the nordi 
Khorasan highlands, run, not in a continuous line, but 
rather at an obtuse angle with the north Afghan system, 
and the break of continuity is well marked by the valley 
of the Hari-nid and Tajand, giving easy access from 
Turkestin to Herat It follows that the northern scarp 
of Khorasan forms an eastern continuation, not of the 

^ Although from 8000 to 11,000 feet high, the Euren-dagh was 
scarcely known till its rediscovery by V. Baker in 1873 (see Clouds w 
tJu East, p. 289). 


Elbnrz, but of the Caucasus^ a fact which has only 
lecently been determined beyond doubt 

The F^sian or western section of the Iranian plateau 
has thus a mean altitude of probably not less than 5000 
feet, with a general tendency to rise towards all the sea- 
boards and the western and northern frontiers. Between 
the coast ranges and the sea there are scarcely any low- 
land or alluvial plains except those of Khuzistdn at the 
head of the Persian Gulf, and a few strips north of 
Boahahr and east of Bandar- Abbas. On the Caspian also 
the only alluvial tract of importance is the delta of the 
Safid-rdd, noted for its great fertility. But in the in- 
terior, besides the rich plain of the Urmia basin in the 
extreme north-west, extensive level tracts everywhere 
occur between the parallel ridges. Those of Isfahdn and 
Shirazm the west maintain an altitude of about 5000 feet,, 
rising south-eastwards to perhaps 6000 feet But east- 
wards and north-eastwards the land falls continuously to 
^ two great depressions of Sfstdn and Ehorasan, prob- 
ably not more than 1300 or 1400 feet above sea-leveL 
Here the plains become more extensive, but also more 
arid, the grassy valleys gradually yielding to sandy and 
saline swamps and wastes. Eastwards a perpetual struggle 
for the mastery seems to be going on between the arable 
tracts and the shifting sands, which have already absorbed 
even some towns and villages, such as Ehages south-east 
of Tehr&n, and which are now threatening to swallow up 
Tazd in the very heart of the country. 

Still farther east the sands themselves yield to those 
dreary saline marshy tracts so characteristic of East 
Persia, and which are termed Kwoir in the north emd 
Kdfth in the soutL Here all the water from the sur- 
rounding streams and from the slight rainfall is collected 
in the depressions, where it forms a saline efflorescence 
with a thin whitish crust, beneath which the moisture is 


retained for a considerable time. Thus are produced 
those dangerous and impassable slimy quagmires, which 
in winter are covered with brine, in summer by a thick 
incrustation of salt 

By far the most extensive of these saUne wastes is 
the Dasht-i-Kavir, or Great Salt Desert of Khorasan, 
which, with its southern continuation the Desert of Ltit 
in Earman, occupies probably the greater part of East 
Persia. The northern desert, which is much more salt than 
the southern, and apparently separated &om it by a dis- 
tinct water-parting, is divided into two great and several 
minor sections, drained by the Shurdb, Karasu, and other 
streams, which unite to form the Great Kavir. There are 
some other large formations of a similar character, north 
of Kiim, west of Yazd, and south of Khaf, while " the 
ordinary kavlrs are innumerable" (St. John). Their mean 
elevation above the sea seems to be little over 500 or 
600 feet, and some authorities have even asserted that 
the Great Eavir is actually at a lower level than the 

3. Hydrography : Inland and Seaward Areas of 
Drainage — The Atrak and Tajand Rivers. 

In any case it cannot be doubted that the greater 
part of the interior has a distinct inland drainage like 
that of so many other Asiatic tablelands. For while the 
average elevation of the plateau is about 5000 feet, it 
rises to 8000 towards the Tigris valley and all the snr- 
roimding seas. In fact, the true basin-like character not 
only of Persia but of the whole Iranian plateau is foUj 
established by a comparison of the inland and outer areas 
of drainage. Of this plateau about 230,000 square 
miles draiu to the Indian Ocean, and 250,000 to the 
AnJo-Gaspian depression, leaving no less than 550,000 


to the inland drainage. Of this area over 200,000 
belong to the Helmand or Sistdn basin (160,000 in 
AfghanisUn and Baluchistan, 40,000 in East Persia), 
and the total inland drainage of Persia proper has been 
eatimated at somewhat less than two-thirds of its whole 
area, as thus : — 

Square Miles. 

To the Indian Ocean . . . 130,000 

Aral and Caspian . . . 100,000 

ri ( Lake Sistdn .... 40,000 

J < Lake Urmia . 20,000 

»S ( Eavirs and other depreasionB . 320,000 

Total Area . . 610,000 

The rivers draining the western and south-western 
uplands to the Indian Ocean diminish in size firom north- 
west to south-east Thus by far the largest are the 
Earkhah, Kanin, and Jarahi, flowing from the Kurdistan 
andLuristan highlands through Khuzistto and Arabistan 
to the Shat-el-Arab at the head of the Persian GulL 
The Earun, which with the Diz forms a stream navi- 
gable to the first range of lulls, formerly flowed direct to 
the sea, but now sends most of its waters through an 
artificial channel to the Shat-el-Arab at Mohamrah, 
close to the mouth of the Jarahi Farther south the 
Tab has helped to form the Arabistdn delta, one of the 
most extensive and fertile alluvial plains in Persieu But 
from this point to the Indus not a single navigable stream 
Teaches the coast. !N'oteworthy is the Minab, which, 
though scarcely marked on the maps, drains all the 
extensive plains across the hills to the north-east of 

Of those flowing to the Caspian by far the laigest is 
the Kizil - XJzdn (Saffd-nid, or " white river "), which 
dndoB an area of 25,000 square miles east and south of 
lAe Urmia. The opposite or south-western coast of 


the Caspian is reached by the Gurgan and Atrak, the 
latter of which possesses great political importance, as 
marking the possible future Busso-Persian frontier line 
in this direction. In the absence, perhaps, of actual 
information, its course has been variously laid down, 
appskrently according to the political proclivities of the 
cartographers. But it is now known to be identical 
with the Germeh-rAd (Germe Ehaneh), which rises 
near Kabushdn (Kushau) on the southern slope of the 
Kuren-dagh, 6000 feet above the sea, about SS"* 50' 
E. long., and 37° 30' K lat. It flows thence mainly 
north-west through Shirvan and Biijniird along the 
southern base of the Kuren-dagh and through the Goklan 
Turkoman country to the Caspian at Hasan Kuli Bay. 
Although over 300 miles long, the Atrak is scarcely 
more than 30 feet broad at its mouth, except during 
the spring floods, when it overflows its banks to a width 
of 7000 or 8000 feet. At other times it is nearly 
exhausted by irrigation canals and evaporation before 
reaching the Caspian. Near Kabushdn (Kushan) 
also rises the Kashaf-nid, which, however, flows south- 
east past Mashhad to the left bank of the Hari-rdd, 
their junction forming the Tajand. This river, which 
offers the most accessible approach from Turkestan to 
Herat, does not end in the sands near Sarakhs, as is 
generally supposed, but expands into a swamp in the 
Attok country about 58** E. long. With a suffi- 
ciency of moisture it would doubtless reach the Cas- 
pian either directly or through the XJsboi, or old bed 
of the Oxus, between the Little Balkan and Kopet- 

The inland drainage, notwithstanding its vast extent, 
receives no rivers of any size, and most of them become 
brackish before losing themselves in the lakes or the 
desert. The largest are the Aji-chai and Jaghatu, flowing 

' ^ I 



J ^ 


to the salt lake Uimia ; the already-mentioned Kara-su 
(Hamadan-nid) and Shuiab disappearing in the Great 
Eavlr, the Zainda-nid watering the Isfahdn district, and 
numing diy in the unexplored salt marsh of Gavkhana ; 
the Etir (Bendamir), chief feeder of the salt lake Bakh- 
tegan, whose true name is Kfris ; lastly, the Mashkid, 
which filters rather than flows along the Baluchistan 
frontier northwards to the Hamun-i-Mashkel in the 
Earan desert, which is separated by a range of hills 
from Lake Slstan. 

4. Naiural and PolUical Divisions : Irak — Ststdn — 
Khorasdn — ITie Caspian Provinces — Urmia. 

From the foregoing account of its physical constitu- 
tion, it is evident that the western section of the Iranian 
plateau presents two well-marked natural divisions only 
— ^the central and lowland plains, and the highlands, by 
which they are enclosed on every side except towards the 
Hekoand basin. But while the plains are mainly com- 
prised in the two great provinces of Khorasan and 
Eami^n, the uplands with the narrow intervening coast 
strips are, for administrative purposes, subdivided into nine 
other governments, as shown in the statistical tables at 
the end of this chapter. 

These "Memleket," as they are called, are grouped 
round Irak-Ajemi, which forms the political centre of the 
State. Here are situated both Isfahan and Tehrdn, the old 
and new capital. Irak slopes from the Kurdistan highlands 
eastwards down to the Khorasan wastes, and rises north- 
wards to the Elburz range, separating it &om the Caspian. 
Southwards it reaches to the Kiih-Dinar range, thus in- 
cluding in its general administration the subordinate 
divisions of Ardalan, Luristan, and Kashan. Here are 
some rich grassy plains and fertile valleys, which when 




well watered yield excellent crops of cereals and froita 
But in .the east most of the land is waste, and already 
invaded bj the sands continuallj advancing westwards. 

North and south of Irak-Ajemi lie the provinces of 
Azairbijan, Luristan, and Ehuzistdn, the latter indudii^ 
the rich alluvial plain of Arabistan at the head of the 
Persian Gulf. Along the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea 
stretch the extensive governments of Parsistan, Karman, 
and that portion of Makran assigned by the Baluclustaii 
Boundary Commission to Persia. These coast regions 
consist of lofty highlands rising in terraces rapidly in- 
land, and with their main axes running north-west and 
south-east everywhere except in Makran, where they run 
partly south-west and north-east, partly west and east 
parallel with the coast. 

North of Makran, and almost in the very centre of 
the Iranian plateau, lies the deep depression of Sistan, 
now partly included in Persian territory, but geographic- 
ally belonging mainly to the Afghan drainage system. 
It is an extensive level and low-lying tract on the borders 
of Afghanistan, Persia, and Baluchistdn, partly filled by 
the Hamdn (Sfstan) Lake or swamp, which receives the 
Helmand, Farah, and other large rivers from the east, 
but only a few insignificant streams from Persia. The 
basin does not, however, form a single expanse of water, 
but is divided into the three depressions, fed by the 
Farah, Helmand, and Zirreh.^ The so-called plain 
of Hamiin is generally dry, and the presence of a large 
lake at this spot, as marked on most maps, can be 
explained only by supposing that in spring a few pools 
or tarns are formed in the channels about the river 
mouths, and occasionally united by floods in a continuous 
sheet of water some 70 miles long by 25 broad, but 

^ The Zirreh, formerly supposed to drain south to the Arabian Sea, 
^oold seem, on the contrary, to flow north to the Hamun-i-Mashkel basm. 

khorasAk. 163 

acarcdy ever more than three or four feet deep. Its 
margin is covered with a dense growth of reeds, tenanted 
by nmneroos herds of wild hogs. The water is fresh 
about the river mouths, but elsewhere brackish, while its 
bed seems to be gradually rising, owing to the mass of 
detritus and mud brought down by its influents. Al- 
though fish are scarce, it is much frequented by geese, 
duck, and other water-fowl. 

Sir Frederic Goldsmid of the English Boundary 
Commission distinguishes two districts in this r^on — 
Slstan proper and Outer Slstan. The former, with an 
area of perhaps 980 square miles, has a settled popula- 
tion of 35,000, besides 10,000 nomads, — one-third 
Persians, Baluchis, and Afghans, the rest " Slstanis." 
The country is generally flat, with a sandy alluvial soil, 
growing shrubs, but no trees. There is no lack of irriga- 
tion by means of riUs and rivulets, and the land is fertile, 
yielding melons in profusion, besides the staple products, 
wheat and barley, and excellent pasturage. 

Outer Sistan comprises the country stretching along 
the right bank of the Heknand some 120 miles farther 
up, and properly forming part of Afghanistan. 

The whole of the north-east is comprised in the vast 
province of Ehorasan, which was carefully explored by a 
Eussian expedition conducted by Khanikoff in 1858, and 
since then visited by Baker, Napier, MacGregor, and several 
other travellers. Its eastern section, contrary to the 
general impression, has been found to be very hilly, and 
the southern portion even bears the name of Kuhistan,^ 

^ From Kuh, mountain, and the ending stdn or istdn^ so universal in 
Persian geographical nomenclatore. This ending has the general meaning 
of eountryj as in Farsistan, Afghanistan, Tnrkestdn, etc It comes from 
Ui6 Aryan root tan, as in the Latin tendo, with the primary idea of exten- 
noQ, whence a large open space, a plain, and land in general. In this 
Koae it has travelled with the spread of the Aryan race eastwards to 
SindnirUdnf westwards to Aqui-Umia, and Bri-tania. 


or " Highlands." But between the ranges there extend 
broad tracts of waste lands eastwards to Afghanistan* 
westwards to Irak-AjemL 

In this region traces are still everywhere met of the 
recent famine as well as of the abject fear hitherto inspired 
by the neighbouring Turkoman hordes, whose predatory 
raids the feeble Persian Government was powerless to 
resist But this source of trouble has been lessened since 
the Bussian occupation of the Attak in 1881. But so 
great was the distress from hunger that it got the better 
of the intense fear with which the people regarded their 
hereditary foe. Bellew tells us that the inhabitants of 
Mashhad crowded out of the gates of the city in the hope 
of being seized and carried into captivity by the Turko- 
man marauders, prefering a crust of bread in exile and 
slavery to a lingering death by starvation at home. The 
Turkomans spared none but the Arabs, paid no respect 
to sex or age, and all unable to pay a sufficient ransom 
were carried off and publicly sold in the slave-market of 
Khiva before its suppression by the Russians in 1874. 
But since the Perso-Turkoman has become a Perso-Rnssian 
border-land, something has been, and will yet further be, 
done towards the suppression of slavery and of predatory 
raids within Turkestan. And the establishment of order 
there must sooner or later lessen, if not stop, the practice 
whereby the Turkomans carry off Persians into slavery. 

The open country visited by BeUew was found to be i 
dotted over with a peculiar kind of tower, formed by a 
round mud wall 14 feet high enclosing an empty space 
open to the sky, and with a low entrance accessible only 
on all fours. The moment the Turkoman horsemen were 
detected, the people took refuge with their flocks in these 
buildings, which offered them a safe if temporary refuge 

The provinces of Ghilan and Mazandardn comprise 
the wooded northern slopes of the Elburz, besides a moie 

azaibbijAk. 165 

or less extensive strip of flat alluvial coast-land between 
that range and the Caspian* This tract, often swampy 
and exposed to deadly fevers, and producing chiefly rice, 
cotton, silk, and some sugar-cane, is mostly covered with 
dense forests, like the neighbouring mountains themselves. 
Hereiii it presents a striking contrast to the bare, desert 
or arid regions to the south of the Elburz — ^that is to say, 
to the rest of Persia, which has been caustically described 
as a land divided into two sections — a salt waste and a 
saldess waste. 

The extreme north-west between the Caspian and 
Turkey — ^ihat is, the "cat's head" in the general contour — 
is comprised in the province of Azairbijdn. It is partly 
cut ofiT from the Caspian by the Bussian district of Len- 
koran, and the Busso-Persian frontier is here traced by 
the River Aras almost from the foot of Mount Ararat 
nearly to its junction with the Kiir. In this upland 
r^on, where Mount Savaldn attains an altitude of 
14,000 feet, the great feature is the remarkable closed 
hasin of Lake Urmia, alike interesting in a geological, 
ethnical, and economic sense. In this comparatively 
narrow tract several streams rise almost in close proximity, 
which nevertheless flow in four opposite directions — the 
SaC(d-rdd east to the Caspian, the Kara Bud north to the 
Aras, the Aji-chai west to Lake Urmia, the Zab south- 
west to the Tigris. Here also, after a lapse of thousands 
of years, the surrounding antagonistic ethnical elements 
have hitherto failed to establish an equilibrium — Turko- 
man, Kiud, Nestorian, Armenian, and Persian still strug- 
gling for the supremacy, and apparently unconscious that 
the shadow of the nortliem colossus has already fallen on 
the lani The recent ravages of the Kurdish marauders 
in this district have already been referred to. 

The lake, which although 4750 feet above the sea is 
a completely closed basin some 80 miles long by 20 



broad, is extremely salt and very shallow. The average 
depth scarcely exceeds 6 feet, and is nowhere more than 
24. It lies in a district of aUnost unrivalled fertility, 
covered with vineyards, orchards, gardens, rice grounds, 
and thickly studded with towns and villages. Urmia, 
the largest of these, whence the lake and district take 
their names, is the centre of an American mission, v^hich 
has for many years worked earnestly and successfully in 
the cause of true progress and enlightenment. 

5. Climate : Rainfall — Prevailing Winds. 

The climate of Persia is on the whole continental, 
great dryness being combined with excessive heat, and in 
many of the uplands with extreme cold. On the 
northern ranges snow falls as early as November, and it 
sometimes freezes in Tehran as late as the middle of 
March. Between these ranges and the Caspian the heat 
is almost tropical, with an abundance of rain, resulting ia 
the rich and varied vegetation of Ghilan and Mazandaian. 
The sultry and unhealthy climate of the Persian Gulf 
seaboard has already been noted (p. 127). That of Sistan 
in the extreme east is also very unhealthy, and subject 
to great extremes of temperature. 

North-west and south-east winds prevail thronghout 
the year with great uniformity, their direction being 
largely determined by the Black and Arabian Seas at 
these two quarters, and by the remarkable parallelisni of the 
intervening mountain ranges. The atmosphere of the 
central plateau being rarefied by the great heat of the 
sun, the cooler currents from the Euxine and Tnri^^^ 
Oceans set in to fill up the vacuum ; and as the former 
are the colder of the two, the north-west naturally pre- 
vail over the south-west winds. On the south-west 
coast these two currents often meet, so that a gale trom 


the noith-west is often raging at Bushahr in the Persian 
GuK when Bandar-Abbas on the Strait of Hormuz is 
expoeed to the fiiry of a south-easter. As most of the 
moistiire is also brought bom the latter quarter, it follows 
that the prevailing winds are dry, especially as the rain- 
douds from the Black Sea and Caspian are mostly 
arrested by the Armenian and Elburz highlands, while 
much of the moisture from the Indian Ocean itself is 
precipitated on the southern and western coast ranges. 
Hence, excluding the Caspian basin and a few other more 
fttvonred tracts, the average annual rainfall on the Persian 
plateau is probably less than ten inches, and in the 
eastern Kavlr region and Sistin, not more than half that 
quantity. " Were it not that the lofty hiUs store the 
moisture in the shape of snow, nine-tenths of Persia 
would be the arid desert that half of it now is. As it is, 
cultivation over the greater part of the countiy is possible 
only by artificial irrigation, either by canals or by the 
system of wells connected by underground channels 
caUed Kandt or Kariz, and peculiar to the Iranian 
plateau " (St. John), 

6. Flora and Fauna : The Camel. 

The results of this deficient rainfall are seen, not 
only in the undeveloped water system, but also in the 
vegetation, which is characterised by the absence of trees 
and even large shrubs almost everywhere except on the 
outer slopes of the coast ranges. The date-palm 
flourishes along the sandy shores of the Persian Gulf, but 
the oaks and other trees of the Bakhtiari and other inner 
ranges are mostly stunted, and true forests are found 
only on the northern slopes of the Elburz. Here large 
tracts are covered with dense plantations of magnificent 
timber, especially cedars, elms, oaks, the walnut, beech, 


and the valuable box tree. Wheat and barley are Iiere 
cultivated to a height of several thousand feet, while tlie 
lowlands yield cotton, sugar, silk, grapes, figs, cherries, 
peaches, plums, and other fruits, in great profusion. 
Indigo, rice, tobacco, and madder are also cultivated in 
this region, as well as in the Urmia basin, and on the 
Isfahdn and Shiraz plains, which are almost the only 
other recdly fertile tracts in the whole kingdom. Paslnire 
lands are much more extensive, occupying most of the 
elevated longitudinal valleys and slopes of the parallel 
ranges in the west and north-east Hence the Kurdish, 
Ltir, Farsistdn, and North Ehorasdn highlands have been 
held for ages by nomad pastoral tribes both of Iranian 
and Turanian stock. The eastern low-lying plains of 
Khorasan and Karman are almost destitute of v^etation, 
producing little beyond sands and salt In Sfstan, 
tamarisks and dwarf mimosas are a prevailing feature. 

Farsistan is still haunted by the Uon, while the tiger, 
leopard, chitah (used for hunting), hysena, wolf, lynx, 
jackal, and some smaller beasts of prey, infest the northern 
provinces skirting the Caspian seaboard. The Copra 
wgagrvSy the supposed ancestor of the domestic goat, is 
spread over the whole Iranian plateau, and the bustard 
{Otis houbara), here indigenous, is hawked or followed 
with the gun« Here also the pheasant is iadigenous, and 
the woodlands are enlivened by the song of blackbird, 
thrush, and bulbul or Eastern nightingale. Fish abound 
in the Persian Gulf and Caspian, and the sturgeon 
fisheries of the rivers flowing to the latter sea are very 
productive. But fresh-water fish are rare, and Urmia 
and the other lakes are almost destitute of animal life. 

With the exception of the Mazandardn black cattle 
and the familiar " Persian Cat^" the domestic animals are 
mostly of inferior stock. The goats, however, of Karman 
yield a hair equal almost to that of Kashmir, while the 


fat-tailed sheep supplies the chief staple of animal food. 
Its wool, also, is of good quality, and either woven into 
fabrics of various sorts or else left on the skins, which are 
then cut into garments much afiTected especially by the 
nomad Iliat tribes. The chief beast of burden is the 
mule — a strpng, hardy, and sure-footed animal, well 
adapted to the rude tracks in the highland districts. The 
camel is also employed for the caravan trade across the 
sandy plains, and there is a useful breed of small horses, 
crossed with Arab blood and noted for their speed and 
shapely forms. The hair of the camel forms the woof 
and cotton the warp of the cameFs hair cloth for which 
Persia is famous. It is woven very closely so as to be 
quite waterproof. The camel is not only a very un- 
manageable beast, but also extremely timid and scared by 
the least unwonted sound or sight. The jambaz, or riding 
camel, is, however, an exception, and this breed is also 
noted for its speed and endurance. 

7. InhaMtants : The Modem Persian. 

In its ethnical constituents Persia presents a most 
striking contrast to the Arabian peninsula. Here all the 
inhabitants belong to one primeval stock, with scarcely 
any intrusion of foreign elements. But in Persia not 
only are the two fundamental Asiatic types fully repre- 
sented, but several distinct branches of each divide the 
land into a number of ethnical groups presenting almost 
as great a variety of races as is found in any other part 
of the contiuent. This will be at once evident from the 
subjoined table of the inhabitants of Persia classed accord- 
ing to their several racial aflSnities: — ^ 

1 The justification of these and subsequent groupings will be found in 
the Ethnological Appendix to this volume. 


T«jiki (Peniuui}. 





r ArsbB. 

I ChaldMni ("Neatoriaiu"]. 

/ MoNOOL I Arm&ka. 
HONOOLOTATAH I Brahoe. ) Huinhg. 
"^f^ 1 TiJhki ) TurkomMii. 

1 Eizil-Buhia. 

I TiJbki 

Neverthelesa the bulk of the people still belong b) 
the old indigenous Iranian stock. These western Inmiaoa, 


or Pendaiis ptoper, are eveiTwhere throogfaont Central 
Asia known exclosively as Tajiks, and in West Irania as 
Tats, possibly a contracted form of the same word. In 
the north and east Toran has largely encroached on Iran ; 
but elsewhere the old race has held its ground, hemmed 
in betw^een the Arabs on the west, the ArmenianB on the 
north, and the Turkoman tribes on the north-east and 

In religi(Hi the Persians belong almost ezclnaively to 
tlie Sbiah sect, and often harbonr feelings of ranconr 


towards their western neighbours the Sonnite Turks. The 
Persians, often called Qajar/ from the tribal name of the 
reigning dynasty, and usually recognised by the kidah, or 
characteristic black lambskin head-dress, are very extra- 
vagant in their dress, the jvbe, or outer garment^ often 
costing from £40 to £50. On the other hand, they seem 
to be economical in respect to under linen. In fact^ 
when judged by the Persian standard, the Turk himself 
appears to be a model of cleanliness. 

The domestic garb of the women is unattractive, the 
smock reaching only to the hips, from which hangs a 
short and very wide akirt. 

The Persians, especially of pure blood, have readiness 
of wit and persuasiveness of manner. More nervous in 
action, more animated in conversation, and of quicker 
apprehension, yet in their moral and mental tempera- 
ment they stand on a lower level than the descendants 
of the Tatars and "White Hordes." The Turk is a 
man of few words and serious speech, the Persian is at 
once a fluent rhetorician and a skilful sophist. He pos- 
sesses more taste and a greater natural sense of beauty 
than the Osmanli; in th^e respects often belying I 
strong likeness both to the Greek and the Jew. And 
though he is apparently more fanatical than the Sunnite 
Muhammadan, yet European ideas ought to find moie 
acceptance with him than imder the sway of the Crescent 
The splendour and the power of the state seem with 
the Turk to be bound up with his religion, for "the 
glory of Islam is the glory of the OsmanlL" But not 
so with the Persian, whose forefathers were Persians 
before the appearance of Isldm, and whose nationality 
had already acquired a recognised political status ages 
before the days of the Prophet. The Ottoman, again, 
is a stock-breeder, a husbandman, and a soldier; the 

^ PronoTinced in some districts ** like our word cudgel ** (St, John), 


Persian, above all, a trader and an artist And that the 
natives of Irania descend from an ancient and long- 
civilised race is agreeably evident to the stranger in the 
politeness, courteous and even refined demeanour of the 
people, whether they belong to the urban or rural classes. 
But from the old despotic systems they have inherited 
the taint of cruelty. The savage sentences imposed, 
especially for murder, theft, and political offences, are 
carried out in a cold-blooded manner, which implies 
that some feelings at least have long been deadened to 
all sentiments of humanity. A frightful story is told 
of a slave in Shiraz, twelve years old, who had acci- 
dentally shot his master's son, and who was sentenced 
by the governor to be crucified. Here also Bower wit- 
nessed the execution of eleven robbers in one morning. 
The criminals being arranged all in a row and smoking a 
hdidn, the executioner walked up, slipped their heads 
under his left arm, and cut their throats one after the 
other in the most matter-of-fact way. 

8. Topoffraphy : Tehrdn — K'Am — Isfahdn — Shiraz — 
Persqpolis — Mashhad — Keldt — Tabriz — Seaports. 

From the outward conditions of soil and climate it 
naturally follows that nearly all the settled population 
and large towns are found concentrated in the western 
provinces, where the land contracts between the Caspian 
and Mesopotamian basin. The desert region east of the 
53d meridian, comprising about two-thirds of the king- 
dom, contains scarcely any noteworthy places except 
Mashhad, Tabbas, Yazd, and Karman, forming so many 
stepping stones across the saline and sandy wastes from 
north to south. But west of that Une are situated not 
only the mediaeval and modem capitals, but also the ruins 
of the ancient Persepolis, besides Shiraz, Sasht, Kasvin, 


TaWz, Boshahr, Sbustar, Karmanshah, Hamadan, KashAn, 
and several other towns, which either still are or have 
beea important centres of trade and cnltore during the 
long annals of the Persian Empire. 

Tehran, the present capital, lies far to the north, 
almost at the foot of the EShurz mountains, where the; 
culminate in the majestic Damavand. From the summit 
of this qniescent volcano the city is perfectly visible. 

TEHRiN. 175 

lying in the midst of an arid steppe, apparently one of 
Uie most unlikely spots to fonn the political centre of a 
large monarchy. Although it has been the capital since 
the year 1788, Tehran has scarcely a respectable build- 
ing to show except the quadrangular palace of the Shah, 
absorbing nearly one-fourth of the enclosed space, and the 
mansions occupied by some of the nobles and the Euro- 
pean l^ations. The streets are mostly narrow, crooked, 
and badly paved, and lined Mdth mean houses, whose 
uninviting exterior corresponds with their miserable 
internal appearance and fittings. The bazaars, however, 
contain a good show of the various artistic objects for 
which Persia has at all times been famous. Thanks to 
its political importance, Tehran has considerably increased 
in size of late years. The old walls, four miles in cir- 
cumference, have everywhere been encroached upon, and 
the new quarters have now been enclosed by an outer 
wall and ditch enclosing a space much larger than the 
whole of the old town. In summer, when the heat is 
almost intolerable, the Court, embassies, and wealthy 
citizens retire to Gulahak and other pleasant retreats 
on the neighbouring hills. The road to these places 
passes the Kasr-i-Qajar, or " Palace of the Qajar," which, 
thon^ now seldom occupied by the Shah, stands on an 
imposing site in the midst of beautiful grounds, that have 
been compared by Oriental fancy with those of Versailles. 
About 85 miles on the road from Tehrdn to Isfahan lies 
the town of Kiim, which is held next in sanctity to 
Maahhad " the Holy." Here is the famous shrine of 
Masiiona Fatima, the sister of the Imam Biza, the gilded 
dome of which has been completed by the present Shah, 
and which ako contains the remains of ten kings and 444 
" saints." It is usual to visit this shrine before proceeding 
to Mashhad or Kerbela, and Kiim has become a favourite 
spot for the interment of the Faithful, whose bodies are 



brought hither from great distances. But the town itself is 
mostly in ruins, of its 20,000 houses not more than 4000 
being at present occupied. '' Its streets and bazaars are 
deserted, and dangerous from the innumerable holes and 
pitfalls with which they abound ; and its general condition 
provides an impressive commentary on the state of 
absolute stagnation, which seems to be one of the chief 
characteristics of the Muhammadan religion " (Major E. 

On the western border of Irak-Ajemi lies Hamadan, 
the ancient Ecbatana, where the Jews still show the 
tombs of Esther and Mordecal Farther south, the 
apex of an isosceles triangle, whose base connects 
Hamadan with Tehran, marks the site of Isfahdn, the 
mediaeval capital of the kingdom, and the centre of Mu- 
hammadan culture in Persia. Isfahan, which was at one 
time probably larger than any of the old or more recent 
capitals, lies in a pleasant, well-cultivated plain, almost 
midway between the Caspian and Persian Gulf, and be- 
tween Karman and the Turkish frontier south-east and 
north-west, about 300 miles from aU these points, con- 
sequently in the most central habitable part of the State. 
Notwithstanding the many calamities it has suffered and 
the loss of prestige following the removal of the seat of 
government northwards, it is still a large place and the 
centre of many flourishing industries. It is still adorned 
by several magnificent edifices, dating mostly from its 
former periods of prosperity, conspicuous amongst which 
are the large royal palace, the Chhar Bagh, the royal 
mosque (Masjid-i-Shah), said to be the most sumptuous 
in the whole Muhammadan worid, and the great bazaar 
of Shah-Abbas. Under Shah-Abbas (1587-1628), who 
made it his capital, Isfahan reached its greatest splendour, 
and had at that time no less than 1800 caiavansarais, 
270 public baths, over 100 large mosques, and a popu- 

SHIBAZ. 177 

ktion estimated at 760,000.^ Even still it ranks with 
the foremoet cities of the East^ and, according to the local 
saying, bat for Lahore it would be equal to half the 
world. It suffered severely during the famine of 1871, 
but has since then sufficiently revived to give the general 
impression that it must have fitly represented the regal 
state and grandeur of modem Persia. 

Shiraz, capital of Farsistan, occupies one of the most 
favoured sites in Persia, at an elevation of 4500 feet 
above the sea, about 220 miles south of Isfahan, and 120 
east of Bushahr, its port on the Persian Gulf. Nestling 
amid rose gardens, vineyards, and cypress groves, Shiraz, 
although like Isfahdn a mere shadow of its former great- 
ness, still retains a certain importance, due largely to its ex- 
ceDent wine, in flavour like the royal Hungarian Tokai, and 
to its rosewater and attar of roses industries. Its delight- 
ful situation has been the everlasting theme of the Persian 
poets, and the first sight of its soft dark-green vegetation 
above which towers the lofty dome of the Shah-Cherak 
mosque, is naturally calculated to produce some enthusiasm 
after the traveller's eye has lighted for weeks together on 
nothing but arid sandy wastes. The abundance of water 
here produces a flora of tropical luxuriance, and to the 
chanDB of a magnificent and varied vegetation are added 
those of a limpid blue sky and a perennially mild atmo- 
sphere. Unfortunately a soft climate, a fertile soU, and 
an easy life, have had an enervating effect on the inha- 

South and east of Shiraz are the two salt lakes 
Hahalu and Bakhtegan (Kiris), and 25 miles to the 
Borth-east lie the extensive ruins of Persepolis. Con- 
spicuous amongst them is the so-called palace of Darius, 

^ ETen when captured by the Afglians under Mir MahmM in 1722, 
"it ma esteemed the largest and most magnificent city in AsiSf witii 
600,000 inhabitants " (Jonas Hanway,. iiL 1%%). 




said to have been destroyed by Alexander, and occupying 
a terrace 1430 by 800 feet, approached by steps cut in 
the rock. Vast portals and sphinxes, with many still 
standing pillars and walls covered with sculptures and 
cuneiform inscriptions, still attest the former magnificence 
of the royal palace of the Achsemenides. 

In the north-east the only noteworthy place is '' Mash- 
had-i-mukaddas," or " Mashhad the Holy," capital of 
Khorasan, and the religious and trading centre of East 
Persia. Next to Mecca and Kerbela^ this is the most 
hallowed spot in the Moslem world, for here reposes under 
a gorgeous gilded dome their most revered saint, the 
Im&m Biza. His shrine, to which no ^^ infidel" is 
allowed access, is yearly visited by over 100,000 votaries 
from all parts. Although slumbering in his sumptuous 
tomb for centuries, Biza is still treated as if he were 
actually living. " His shrine is enormously rich, possessing 
land and property in all parts of Persia, and attached to 
it is a large establishment of officials and servants" 
{Major E, Smith). This traveller adds: ''Holy as 
Mashhad is said to be, we were struck with the great 
amount of drunkenness prevalent there amongst the 
followers of the Prophet" 

About 50 miles north of Mashhad, and 60 west of 
Sarakhs, in S?"* N. lat. and QO"" E. long., lies the extra- 
ordinary natural fortress of Kelat, about 3400 feet above 
the sea, and close to the new Russo-Persian trontiet. 
Very little was known of this marvellous place until it 
was recently visited by Colonel MacGregor and Valentine 
Baker, the latter of whom calls it '^ one of the wonders of 
the world," describing it as a gigantic stronghold formed 
by Nature herself, with very little aid from man. *' The 
walls are mountains of from 800 to 1200 feet high, and 
with a sheer perpendicular scarp between 300 and 600 
feet. It is an irregular oblong about 21 miles long by 

TABRIZ. 179 

5 to 7 broad. There are only five entrances, through 

narrow natural scarps, and these are fortified The 

ground enclosed within is very rich, and it might be a 

perfect garden, and self-supplying. A stream runs right 

through the place, in at the southern entrance and out at 

the northern. There are also several springs within the 

fortress, and an ample supply of good water could thus 

be obtained for the cultivation of the whole interior. 

But everything about it now betokens utter ruin and 

n^lecf {CUmds in the East, p. 201). Owing to this 

n^ect, the fortress, where a battalion of troops with 

cavaby and some guns are maintabed, has become so 

unhealthy that the garrison is often decimated by typhus, 

and constantly deserting its post. 

Near the north-west fix)ntier lies Tabriz (Taurus), the 
larg^ city and principal commercial emporium of the 
IdngdonL It stands at the base of the high and rocky 
Mount Sahend, about 5000 feet above the sea, and on 
the Aji-chai, 36 miles above its entrance into Lake 
Urmia. Tabriz, which contains no remarkable build- 
ings except the citadel, originaUy a mosque, over 600 
years old, at one time possessed a large number of 
khans, splendid mosques, public baths, and a popula- 
tion of 550,000, now reduced to one -fifth of that 
number. The neighbourhood is extremely fertile, pro- 
ducing large quantities of magnificent grapes and other 

Of the seaports, the most noteworthy are Basht 
and Baifrush on the Caspian ; Bushahr and Bandar- 
Abbas on the Persian Gulf. Basht, capital of Ghilan, 
stands at the head of the shallow lagoon or back- 
water of Enzeli, where all the shipping stops. It is a 
thoroughly Persian town, with dirty, close streets, and 
very unhealthy, as is most of this low-lying, swampy 
coast. Its importance is due chiefly to its large export 



silk trade, all the silk of the province being shipped 

Barfrush lies at the mouth of a large sluggish stream 
300 feet broad, here crossed by a solid brick bridge. It 
is surrounded by dense forests, is noted for its numerous 
schools and colleges, and does a considerable trade in silk 
and cotton. The population, said at one time to have 
amounted to 200,000, has now fallen to less than one- 
fourth of that number. 

Bushahr, the chief port on the Persian Gulf, lies 150 
miles from the Euphrates delta. It is the great em- 
porium of the British and Indian trade with the southern 
provinces; but although presenting a pleasant appear- 
ance from a distance, a nearer approach reveals the usual 
uninviting features of Persian towns. From this point 
to the Indus the only port of the least importance is 
Bandar- Abbas, a small place facing the island of Eashm 
in Hormuz Strait It is inhabited chiefly by Arabs, who 
carry on a considerable coasting trade in fish, salt, and 
fruits ; but the heat is so intense that the place is almost 
deserted in summer. The Sultan of Oman has long 
claimed jurisdiction over Bandar-Abbas and the neighbour- 
ing strip of coast and adjacent island of Eashm. 

9. Highways of Communication. 

In Persia there are one or two good roads of short 
length — as, for instance, that which runs from Tehran for 
a few miles to the villas and villages on the southern 
slope of the Elburz. But all the rest are mere caravan 
tracks or bridle-paths, whose character depends more oo 
the nature of the land than on the hand of man. The 
wretched state of these routes is the universal theme of 
travellers, who are more surprised to find any attempts 



at repairs than disappointed at the nniversal neglect 
" The absence of roads is the curse of the country. 
The whole traffic is carried on bj mules on the moun- 
tains, and camels on the plains, no wheeled carriages 
existing " (Baker's Clouds in the East), 

The main highways, such as they are, run in all 
diiectioDS, and even across most of the kavirs between 
all the large towns and the Kusso-Turkish frontiers. To- 
wards Afghanistan and Baluchistdn there seem to be 
flcaicely any recognised tracks, and those that formerly 
existed have been mostly closed and lost through political 
jealousies. A Persian army could no doubt again find 
its way from Mashhad to Herat; but for much of the way 
the route for baggage and artillery would have to be 
lebmlt The "Rnglifth Boundary Commission, coming up 
from the coast to Sistin, was guided in many places more 
by compass and the stars than by any perceptible paths, 
and it would probably be impossible to get from Yazd or 
Eannan direct to the Hehnand basin. Here the best 
tracks, starting from the Hamiin swamp, seem to run 
throng Birjand and Kaian, or more to the west through Tiin 
noithwaids to Mashhad, south-westwards across the Sarhad 
country to Bam, where it strikes the path running from 
Bampnr north-westwards to Karmdn, and so on through 
Yazd, Agda, and Nain to Isfahan, and thence through 
Eashan and Kiim northwards to Tehr&n. Here it would 
meet the northern route continued from Mashhad through 
Sabzawar, Shahrdd, Damghan, and Sanman, thus com- 
pleting the circuit of East Persia. A pilgrims' route 
from Mashhad to Yazd and Isfahdn follows the watershed 
between the northern and southern deserts, the chief 
stations being Tiin, Tabas, and Gustdn, with a branch at 
Tabas, passing direct either through Ardakan or Nain 
to Isfahan. The two capitals are connected by trade 
routes, with Bushahr and Bandar- Abbas on the Persian 



Gulf, with Basht and Enzeli on the Caspian, and throngli 
Tabriz and Erzerum, with Tiebizond on the Euxine. 

After the present Shah's return from Europe in 1875 
an extensive railway scheme was projected, which begtn 
and ended with a small line of a few miles, opened in 
1876 at Basht. But a tolerably complete tel^raphic 
system has been developed under the direction of Sir 
F. Goldsmid, by which Persia is brought into direct com- 
munication with the rest of the world. The lines aie 
laid down in duplicate, one ashore and one submarine, 
from Karachi, Indus delta, along the coast to Jashak, 
whence both are submarine to Bushahr. Here they 
bifurcate, one branch running through Shiraz, Isfahan, 
Tehran, and Tabriz, to the Bussian system at Tiflis, the 
other crossing the Gulf to Eao, and thence runniiig 
through Bagdad, Diarbekr, and Constantinople, to the 
various Western systems. 

10. Administration: Social State — Army — 


The Government of Persia has ever been an absolute 
despotism in the strictest sense, the head of which bears 
the title of Shah-in-Shah, or "King of Kings." A 
revenue is raised of about £2,000,000, a sum probably 
equal to £8,000,000 or £10,000,000 in EnglancL But 
it proves often insufficient to meet the requirements (tf 
the State. The country suffers from defects in the ad- 
ministration, the administration from faults in its subjects^ 
the subjects from disadvantages of soil and dimate, — t 
vicious circle, from which there seems no escape. 

Among the physical disadvantages, the drifting of 
the sands is prominent. " The sands are in many places 
visibly gaining on the arable land, and even on the 
walled towns themselves. It is, in fact, in the process 


of changing from a series of rocky ridges to one of undu- 
klang sandy wastes. . . • Yon see the sand blowing 
against the wall, gradually getting higher and higher 
till it blows over, and then forms a monnd in the field 
beyond, which gradually increases its height till all trace 
of wall and field is lost, and you have before you a sand- 
heap. I can quite believe now the story of towns being 
boned, having m}rself seen the thing on a small scale " 
(CoL MacGregar). 

To these physical causes of decay must be added the 
foreign wars and internecine feuds, by which the monarchy 
was wasted throughout the whole of the last, and for many 
years during the present century. On the death of Nadir 
Shah in 1747 it was distracted by a series of fierce 
dynastic struggles between the rival Afshdr and Qajar 
TiiiM houses, attended by excesses of every kind, which 
caused Jonas Hanway almost to despair of its future. 
^ These intestine broils," he exclaims,. " have extinguished 
the gloiy of Persia. What the fate of that wretched 
country will be Heaven only knows. But this is evident, 
that the splendour of their monarchy, all their monu- 
ments of art and labour, with aU the industry of past 
ages, are swallowed up by the ravages of war. What 
numbers of their towns, their cities, their firuitful plains 
and delicious mountains, are become a dreary waste, and 
the habitation of wolves ! " (iv. 301). 

The nominal strength of the army is 100,000 men, 
of whom perhaps not more than one-third are ever under 
arms at a tima The rest form a sort of reserve, which, 
though mostly unarmed and engaged in husbandry, are 
^ble to be called out at any moment Their arms con- 
sist of old English or French muskets, supplemented by 
s few thousands of home make, and perhaps a hundred 
available guns of smaU calibre, with a few Uchatius rifled 
cannon introduced in 1881. The officers are mostly 


ignorant and untiained, while the men, with their shabhjr 
and tattered nniforms, look more like half-starved mendi- 
cants or highwaymen than guardians of the peace. They 
are drilled after the English fashion, but in a very lax 
way, and are seldom regidarly paid. But their physique, 
being drawn almost exclusively from the hardy Turko- 
man, Kurd, and Liiri tribes of Azairbijan, Kurdistan, and 
the Bakhtiari highlands, is magnificent. " It is the con- 
current testimony of all who have been connected with 
the Persian army, that no people in the world present 
better rough material for soldiers than the Persians" 
(Times Correspondent, Sept. 8, 1881). 

Public instruction, which had hitherto been mainly 
confined to religious teaching, is at present being tho- 
roughly revised and improved. The nucleus of a univer- 
sity was formed in 1881 in Isfahan, where colleges are 
in course of erection for the teaching of the Oriental and 
European languages, besides various branches of art and 
science, mostly under European supervision. 

11. Statistics — Areas and PapiUations. 
Various Estimatbb.^ 

Polak . 
Kolb . 
Ritter . 

Almanac de Gotha 
St. John 

Aiea in sq. mil«& 


















1 The prevailing ignorance regarding even the main featarev of Feraia is well iDot- 
trated by these wioely-diverging eRtimates. The area (610,000 sq. miles) as given }a 
St. John, and the population (7,000,000) based by the Almanac de Gatka on speciu 
information Anom Tehran, seem to come nearest the truth, and are accordxDgly hen 
provisionally adopted. 





Appbozixatb Classification bt Racks and Religions. 

f Iranians. 

Tajiks and Tats (Persians), all the Towns and 
Affricaltnral Districts .... 
Knras proper, Persian Kordist^ . 
Mikri Kards, Azairbijin .... 
Shadilu and other Kurds, N. Khorasdn ranges 

Liiri proper, Luristin 

Bakhtian Ldri, Pish-i-EiUi .... 
Laks or Leks^^ Pars, Irak, Mazandardn . 


Ti&rki Hiats, Irak, Khoras^, etc . 
Torkomans (GokUbs, etc.), Mazandadm, Astra- 


Taemnri Aymaks,' South and East Ehoras^ 
Hazarahs,' towards Herat frontier . 


(.Arabs,' Arabistin, Pars, Larist^ etc. 

! Armenians^ Isfabdn, Tehran, Urmia 
Chaldeans ("Nestorians"), Urmia 
I Jews, the Isrse towns . 
Eizil-Bashis, Khorasdn, Earm4n . 
Qhebrs,^ chiefly Yazd . 
Gipsies and Jats, Karmdn, Irak, etc 

Total . . 6 ,998,00d 
Atpboximatb Absab and Populations of thb Memlbket (Provinces). 












9 20,000 




( Azairbipdn 
( Irak-Ajemi 
j Ardeldn . 
. -{ EJiazist&n . 
1 Lnristdn 
l^Fandstin . 
. i Karmdn. with Kohistdn, 
L Makran, and Sistdn 
Khorasan .... 

Total . 

Area in aq. milea. 














1 Many of the Laka, known ai ''Nasari" and "Ali-nihi," reject tbe Prophet, 
hcnee are not regaided as tme ** Belleyera^' 

> All Snnnia, although the Haxirahs of AffehantatAn are Shiaha. 

s Many of theae Arabe have become Bhiahs, and are In other respecta also asalmi- 
lated to the Peralana. 

* Deaoendanta of the old Persian fire-worshippers. Their numbers have been 
greatly ov«r-eatlmated. Blaokle gives 40,000 ; but In the town and diatrict of Yazd, 
where fliey are chiefly concentrated, Major E. Smith found they had dwindled to SSOO 
in 1871. They are easily reeogniaed by a uniform turban of a drab or dust colour. 



Towns with ufwabbs of 7000 iNHABiTAirro. 



Tabriz . 


Rasht .... 25,000 











Ehoi . 






Yazd . 















Shiraz . 


Sari . 


Dizfol . 


Lar . . . 












Ezpenditnn. Debt. 


£2,000,000 NiL 


Importo.! BxpoTtB.> 

£2,500,000 £1,500,000 

Postal Se&yioe, 1880. 

Post Offices 


Telegraph Offices . 66 

Letters forwarded 

. 880,000 

Lines . 8120 miles 

Receipts . 

. £4000 

Wires . . . 5500 „ 
Despatches . . 500,000 

Distances in English Miles. 

TebrtLn to Ktim . 

87 1 Rasht to Tebrin . . 180 

Kdm to Isfahin . 


Tabriz to Tehrdn 


Isfab^ to Yazd . 


Masbhad to Tehran . 


Yazd to Earman . 


Masbhad to Sistdn . 


Karmin to Bam . 


Sistdn to Earmdn 


Bam to Bampiir . 


Sfst^ (Nasirabad) to Bam . 


Bampiir to Owada 



Bam to Bandar- Abbas 


Bnsbahr to Shiraz 

9 1 


Shiraz to Isfahdn 


1 Chief imporU— Cottons and other woven goods, hardware, ghwe, paper, metafa^ 
tea, sngar. 

* Chief exports— SUk, tobacco, skins, carpets, rags, oplom, gams, wooL Tiade 
mainly with England, India, and Russia. 






1. Boundaries — Extent — Area, 

Although we now enter a new political world, the 
coiintries forming the subject of this chapter still belong 
geographically to the previous section* They were even 
for many centuries comprised within the Persian mon- 
archy, from which they are now separated by little more 
than conventional frontiers. Nevertheless the valley of 
the Hari-rdd, the Sfstdn depression, and the change of 
direction in the mountain system of West Makran, offer 
a sufficiently defined physical parting line between the 
western and eastern divisions of the Iranian plateau. 
The eastern section, stretching thence to the Indus valley 
and bounded on the south by the Arabian Sea, northwards 
by the Hindu-Kush and its little-known western exten- 
sions to the Hari-nid, forms a quadrangular mass about 
600 nules long north and south, and 550 broad east and 
west, with an area of some 400,000 square miles. 

Of this area about 170,000 square miles are com- 
prised in the southern division forming the Khanate of 
Kelat, and 230,000 in the northern division forming 


the Amirate of Kdbul, States more commonly known as 
BaluchistdjQL and Afghanistan respectively. But since 
1873 a large tracts about 70,000 square miles in extent, 
lying beyond the natural limits of the Iranian plateau, 
has been recognised as politically belonging to the Amir 
of KabuL This tract, known as Afghan Turkestan, lies 
mainly between the northern scarp of the plateau and 
the Upper Oxus, the boundary here following the left 
bank of the river from its source on the Pamir to Ehojah 
Saleh. The northern frontier line runs thence across the 
Dasht-i-Chul desert through Bobat Abdula Elian on the 
MuTgh-ab Biver to SareJ^hs on the Persian frontier. 
Afghanistan has thus a total area of 300,000 square miles, 
with a population variously estimated to from 5,000,000 
to 6,000,000. The boundary between Kabul and KeUt 
is scarcely anywhere clearly determined, but may be said 
to follow the 30th parallel firom Persia to within 30 
miles of Quetta, whence it runs north-east to an unde- 
termined point on the frontier of British India. The 
boundary of both States towards British India is more 
carefully laid down, and generally follows the course of 
the Indus at a mean distance of 50 miles from its right 
bank along the foot of the hills from above Peshawar to 
Cape Monze a little west of Karachi Within these 
limits the two States have probably a total joint area of 
470,000 square miles,anda population of about 6,500,000. 

2. Belief of the I/md : Highlands — Hindv/^Kush — Paixh 
pamisus — Sufed-Mh — Svliman Mountains — Hda 
and Coast Bjanges — Desert, 

The eastern section of the Iranian plateau rises from 
the central Hamiin depression towards the highlands, 
by which it is enclosed on the south, east, and north, and 
which in the north-east gather to a head in the Hindu- 


Kush, connecting the whole system and the tableland 
itself with the Pamir and great central Asiatic plateau. 

The recent surveys of the Afghan highlands, covering 
an area of nearly 30,000 square miles, have shown that 
while the southern ranges are more elevated, the Hindu- 
Kush, at least in its western section, is a far less formidable 
barrier between India and Central Asia than had been 
supposed. " Throughout the whole length of it visible 
£nom the Kabul plain, it is by no means an imposing 
range. No part of it is snow-covered, except for a few 
months in winter ; there are no grand peaks, no magnifi- 
cent altitudes. Previous estimates of its general altitude 
must be reduced by from 1000 to 2000 feet at least. 
... It is crossed by mountain paths at intervals along 
its whole length, from the Irak Pass leading to Bamian to 
the Khawak Pass, east of which the Hindu-Kush rises 
into a really formidable mountain chain, increasing grad- 
ually eastwards till we arrive at peaks of truly Himalayan 
proportions. The Tirieh Mir, at the Nuksan Pass, is 
fixed now at 25,000 feet, and others have been seen not 
far west which cannot differ by many thousand feet. 
Still, so far as the K6h-i-Daman or the plains of E[abul 
are concerned, the line of the Hindu-Kush is hardly a 
defensible, and is certainly a most imdesirable, military 
frontier" (Capt T. K ffoldich). 

At its north-east end the Hindu-Kush is crossed by 
the Baroghfl Pass, leading from India, Chitral, and Kash- 
mir, to the Upper Oxus vaUey, Kashgar, and Yarkand. 
To the south-west of the Tirieh Mir stretches the still 
unexplored Kafiristan section of the system, where, how- 
ever, at least one pass, the Apaluk mentioned by Major 
Baverty, leads to the Oxus basin. 

From the south-west comer of the Pamir the Hindu- 
Kush runs mainly south-west to about the 68th meridian^ 
whence it is continued for over 100 miles westwards by 


the K6h-i-Baba. This range, apparently the Paiopamisos 
of the ancients, still remains one of the least -known 
highland r^ons on the globe. Its three western ramifi- 
cations — ^the Tirband-i-Turkestdn, Sufed-k6h, and Siah- 
k6h — ^have never yet been explored. But they seem to 
run nearly parallel through the Hazarajat and Zamindawar 
to Herat and the Hari-nid valley, whence they are con- 
tinued by the Ddman-i-k6h system north-westwards 
through the Little and Great Balkans to Krasnovodsk 
on the Caspian. Between the K6h-i-Baba and Herat 
they throw off numerous spurs running almost uniformly 
north-east and south-west, and forming longitudinal 
valleys, which drain through the Helmand and other 
rivers to the Hamiin depression. 

The orography of the extreme north-east is still 
imperfectly Imown, but its leading features can be fairly 
traced. From the angle formed by the converging 
Hindu-Kush and Muz-dagh ranges spring a number of 
lofty spurs separating the head-streams of the Gilgit 
River. One of these, with many peaks over 20,000 feet 
high, forms the water-parting between the Chitral and 
Gilgit basins, and is crossed by the Darkot and Moshabar 
Passes. Just south of the 36th parallel a remarkable 
transverse range runs fLX)m the Indus at Bunji nearly to 
Chitral, throwing off a succession of spurs between the 
Kandia^ Swat, Panjkora and Chitral (Eunar) river valleys. 
Here the -peaks diminish from nearly 20,000 feet to 
between 4000 and 7000 as we proceed southwards to 
the Kabul Biver. This transverse range, supposed by 
Major Tanner to be the Hindu Boj of the Afghans, is an 
important feature in the physical geography of the Hindu- 
Kush, as it separates the comparatively rainless tracts of 
Gilgit, Hunza, and Yasin, from the well-watered southern 
valleys of Panjkora, Bashkar, and Swat. 

From the junction of the Hindu-Kush and K6h-i- 


Baba an impoTtant spur, running eastwards between the 
Helmand and Ghorband basins, sweeps round the head- 
vateis of the Arghand-ab to the north of Ghazni, and 
thence trending north-east follows the 34th parallel as 
the Sufed-k6h (" White Mountains ") between the Kdbul 
and Kuram river basins, eastwards to the plains of Pesh- 
awar. From this range, which culminates with Mount 
Sikaram^ (15,620 feet), the whole system of the Suliman 
Monntains projects southwards between the Iranian 
plateau and the valley of the Indus. The main range 
of this complicate system runs from near the Shutar- 
gaidan Pass (10,900 feet) southwards to the great Kund 
Peak, where it branches ofif into a number of minor spurs, 
ultimately merging in the east Baluchistan highlands, 
which continue to skirt the Indus valley to the coast 
Besides the main chain fonning the watershed between 
the Helmand and Indus, it is now ascertained that a con- 
tinuous system of parallel ranges runs from the gorge of 
the (romul to about the 30th paralleL 

South of the Gomul Pass run two main ranges nearly 
12,000 feet high, which include several remarkably 
parallel ranges, increasing in number southwards, till no 
less than twelve distinct ridges are observed where the 
Nari Biver pierces the whole system. Many other streams 
or torrents rising on the eastern slopes of the Inner 
Sulimans, when swollen with the rains or melting snows, 
penetrate across the intervening ridges down to the Indus. 
These daraJu, or river gorges, afford easy access at many 
points from India to the Afghan uplands, so that the 
whole frontier from Peshawar to Jacobabad is now found 
to be traversed by a large number of '' excellent natural 
roads and passes " (Soldich). 

^ At right angles with this peak runs the Peiwar range, a well-wooded 
spur croswd by the Peiwar Pass, the scene of General Roberts's signal 
Tietory over the Afghans on December 2, 1878. 


Between the Gomul and Kuram (Kuimah) vaUeys 
lie the Waziri highlands, and the Sufed-k6h skirting the 
Kuram Eiver on the north maintains a uniform level of 
12,500, culminating eastwards in a double-peaked moun- 
tain 14,680 feet higL North of the Sufed-k6h project 
three important spurs, one east of the Logar Eiver 
traversed by the ill-omened Khurd Kabul defile, another 
(the Karkacha ridge) washed by the Tezin and Surkh-ab 
Rivers, and a third springing from the intersection of the 
meridian of 70^ 45' with the main range, and dividing 
the Elhaibar from the Bazar valley. 

Towards Baluchistan the most prominent and im- 
portant range is the Khoja Amran, running nearly north 
and south between the Pishin valley and the Kandahar 
country, and forming in this direction the present political 
frontier of Afghanistdn. It culminates with the Khoja 
Amrdn Peak, and is crossed in the north by the Psha 
Pass, in the centre by the Khojak (8000 feet), in the 
south by the less known but easier Gwaja, through which 
it is proposed ultimately to cany the Indo- Afghan rail- 
way, at present arrested at the Nari gorge close to 

North of the Shdl district the Khoja Amran ramifies 
northwards into the Toba and Surkh-ab ridges, the latter 
enclosing the Pishin valley on the north-east and slopiog 
gently towards Shal (Quetta). Eastwards the hills faU 
more abruptly, and here the chief approaches from 
India are through the famous Bolan and Mula river 

The Suliman system, which culminates with the 
Takht-i-Suliman (11,298 feet), and which has many other 
peaks, such as the Takatu between Pishin and Quetta, 
Chapar and Kalipat farther east, and several others 
ranging from 10,000 to 12,000 feet, has a mean width of 
about 150 miles between the Indus and the desert. The 


whole distance from Sukkur on the Indus to Kandahar 
through the Bolan and Khojak Passes is 410 miles, of 
which 140 are comprised in the alluvial riverain tract and 
the Kachi desert as far as Sibi, which is still only 700 
feet above sea-leveL Beyond the Khojak Pass, which is 
90 miles from Kandahar, the land again falls rapidly 
towards the central desert, so that the true highlands 
between the southern end of the Bolan Pass and the 
SSioja Amran range ^ between the Pishin valley and the 
Kandahar district are about 180 miles wide. 

The southern section between Baluchistan and the 
Lower Indus has no general native name, but is variously 
known to Europeans as the Brahui or Hala range.' This 
highland r^on, which is politically included in the 
tenitoiy of the Khan of Kelat, is approached from the 
Indus valley through short steep watercourses to a 
height of 1200 feet The main ridge, running north and 
soQth, throws off various branches east and west. Eleven 
snch ofishoots occur between Keldt (6700 feet) and 
Khozdar (3800) at the foot of the Mula Pass, forming in 
a tract scarcely 100 miles long as many as thirteen up- 
land plains at various elevations. From Khozdar the 
Toate surveyed by Bellew in 1872 descends towards the 
coast through the Purali valley, and towards India through 
the dangerous Mula Pass. 

The Baluchistan southern highlands run mainly east 
and west parallel with the coast from the Indus delta to 
the Persian frontier, where they change abruptly to the 
south-west The intervening valleys ascend successively 

' The Khoja Amrdn has no general native name, and the tenn Ehoja 
(propeiiy Khwaja) is merely the name of a peak in the Gwaja Pass at its 
soQtheni end. Khojak also is rather the name of the river, the hed of 
vliieh forms the pass, than the pass itself. 

* The Hala seems to he properly only a small ridge running from 
Eelit sonthwards to the Baghwana River, lat 28* to 29* N. lat, and 66*" 



inland to a height of 2500 feet, and are often of great 
length. One of them runs from the Khelat hills unin- 
terruptedly westwards nearly to Bampiir in Persia^ and 
70 miles south of it is another stapetching for 250 miles 
westwards to Kasr-Kand also within the Persian frontieT, 
where all these ysdleys are closed in by the intricate 
highland system of West Makrdn. " No difficulty exists 
for wheeled traffic from one end to the other of these two 
valleys " {Major Lovett). Farther inland a third parallel 
range, the Wushuti or Mue Mountains, stretches along 
the border-land of the two states at a distance of about 
280 miles from the coast 

Most of the inner space enclosed between the nortihem, 
eastern, and southern highlands consists of an exten- 
sive sandy plateau, at a mean elevation of perhaps 3000 
feet above the sea, and sinking everywhere towards the 
central Hamiin depression. Except along the river banks, 
this region may be regarded as waste ; and south of the 
Helmand, where there seem to be no more rivers, the 
desert formation is complete. It begins at the foot of 
the Elhoja Amrdn range, and stretches thence almost un- 
interruptedly along the Afghan and Baluch border-lands 
eastwards to Sfstan and Persia. No European has yet 
ventured across this almost impassable wilderness, which 
still remains nearly a blank on our maps. Seen from the 
neighbourhood of Kandahar, it presents the appearance 
of endless undulating sand-hills rolling up from the far 

Similar desert tracts are found within the uplands 
themselves — as, for instance, the Kachi desert below Sibi, 
90 miles long, and now traversed by a railway, and the 
Dasht-i-Be-daulat ('' Desolate Plain," or, more exactly. 
"the plain without wealth") in the very heart of the 
highlands above the Bolan Pass and south of Quetta^ 
200 square miles in extent 

THE habi-r6d biveb. 195 

3. Hydrography : 'Inland and Seataard Drainage — 
The Hari-^r&d — Selmand and Kdhul Basins, 

The East Iranian drainage system is threefold — two 
inland to the Hamtin Aralo-Caspian and some smaller 
depressions, one to the Indian Ocean either directly or 
through the Indus. Afghanistan belongs to all three, 
but mainly to the Hamtin basin, while Baluchistdn drains 
almost exclusively seawards. 

Afghan Turkestan is comprised entirely within the 
Aialo-Caspian basin, all its rivers flowing from the 
northern slopes of the Hindu-Kush and Paropamisus to or 
tovards the Oxus and Aral or Caspian. Here we again 
meet with the same undeveloped or partially dried-up 
water system which was found prevailing in Arabia and 
Persia, and which forms such a striking feature of the 
great central Asiatic tableland. In the east the Kokcha 
and Enndiiz still reach the Upper Oxus, but as we pro- 
ceed westwards we find that all the rivers flowing north 
fail to reach either the main stream or either of the great 
inland seas. Thus the Dehas-nid (Balkh), rising in the 
E6h-i-Baba, gets no farther than Mazar-i-Sherif, where it 
takes the name of Band-i-Barbari, and runs dry in the Siya- 
gird district after a course of over 180 miles ; the Sir-i-pul 
is lost in the sands beyond Shabirkhan ; the Murgh-ab, 
after irrigating the Merv oasis, disappears in the Karakum 
desert, and the same fate overtakes the Hari-nid (Tajand) 
after skirting the Daman-i-k6h on its way to the Caspian. 

The Hari-rdd, or river of Herat, has its source in a 
deep valley 9500 feet above the sea at a point where the 
E6h-i-Baba ramifies into the Siah-k6h and Sufed-k6h. 
It flows thence rapidly through an unexplored region 
down to the town of Obeh, where its waters are largely 
diverted into irrigating rills. Its course lies thence west- 
wards to Herat and Ghorian, where it turns abruptly 



northwards along the Persian frontier to its junction with 
the Keshef-nid above Sarakhs. The united streams now 
take the name of the Tajand, whose course has been 
described at p. 160. 

The southern slopes of the Hindu-Kush all drain to 
the Indus through the Kabul Siver, which also receives 
on its right bank several streams froni the Sufed-kdh. 
Thus the north-eastern portion of Afghanistan ia com- 
prised in the Indus basin, to which also belongs the 
eastern slope of the great watershed of the Suliman, as 
well as all the intervening outer parallel ridges. But 
nearly all the land west of this parting line, and south of 
the northern scarp of the plateau, an area of about 200,000 
square miles altogether, drains to the great Hamiin de- 
pression. Of this vast basin the chief stream is the 
Helmand, which flows from the west side of the Pughman 
range through a deep channel in the Hazarajat south- 
westwards to within 40 miles of Girishk, where it enters 
the plains which merge southwards with the Baluchistan 
desert. Here it is largely utilised for irrigation purposes, 
and at Girishk is crossed by the great caravan route from 
Kandahar to Herat It then sweeps southwards through 
the fertile Garmsel country, beyond which it turns 
north-west to the Hamiin or Sfstan swamp. The Hel- 
mand> which has a course of about 700 miles, is never 
without an abundant supply of waj:er, but in winter after 
the floods it comes down with great rapidity, sometimes 
overflowing its banks in consequence of the neglected 
state of the old embankments. Its chief tributaries are 
the Aighand-ab, Tamak, and Dori, whose united stream 
joins it from Kandahar a few miles below Girishk. l^Test 
of the Helmand the Eash-riid, Farrah-nid, and !Hanit» 
all flow from the Ghor highlands in nearly parallel beds 
southwards to the Hamiin swamp. 

To the same system belongs the lagoon Abistada, the 

THE kAbul riyer. 197 

only other body of water in East Irania deserving the 
name of lake. It lies over 7000 feet above the sea 
some 60 miles sonth-west of Ohazni, and is fed by the 
river of that nama It is about 17 miles by 15 in 
extent^ and, although hitherto supposed to be a closed 
basin, there is little doubt that during the floods it over- 
flows to the Arghasan, a tributary of the Arghand-ab. Its 
water is brackish and very shallow, nowhere exceeding 5 
or 6 feet in depth. 

The crest of the water-parting between the Helmand 
and Eibui basins is marked by the Sher-i-Dahan ("Lion's 
Mouth") Pass, crossed by the road going south to Ghazni 
Ksing at a height of about 8400 feet above the sea, the 
Kabul flows mainly east by Edbul, Jelalabad, to the 
Indus at Attok. During its rapid course of about 250 
miles it receives from the Hindu-Kush the Swat, Eunar 
(Chitral), Alingar, Tagao, Panjshir, and Ghorband ; from 
the Sufed-k6h the Logar, Surkh-ab, Bara, and Tira. Of 
the northern affluents the most important is the Kunar, 
which flows from the Baroghil Pass through the Chitral 
valley for nearly 300 miles down to the main stream, a 
few miles below Jelalabad. 

South of the Edbul Biver are the important Oomul 
and Euram basins, the former of which covers an area 
of perhaps 13,000 square miles between the western and 
eastern Suliman ranges, along which the great trade route 
from Central Asia to India passed for centuries. The 
Kuram, which rises on the eastern slopes of the great 
water-parting between the Indus and Helmand basins, is 
joined on its course to the former river by numerous 
affluents from the Sufed-k6h on the north, and from the 
hilly country of the Mangal tribes on the west and south. 
The Lower Indus receives no important stream from 
Baluchistdn, which seems to be almost as riverless a 
country as Arabia itself. To its inland drainage belongs 



the Lora, which rises with several head-streams on the 
east slope of the Ehoja Amran, and after watering the 
Pishin valley, escapes through the Tang gorge in the 
Tang range south-westwards to the Ham^ Lora morass 
in 29** 30' N. lat, 65° E. long. Its lower course, like 
those of Bale and other streams flowing in the same 
direction^ still remains to be traced On the MsJoan 
coast the only noteworthy river is the Dasht or Bhingwnr, 
which is supposed to rise far inland, and to make its way 
through all the iatervening ranges and valleys to the sea 
at Gwattar Bay in 61° 40' E. long. But here scarcely 
any perennial streams seem to exist, and few of them 
flow through regular or well-defined beds. 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : WaJclian — Badakhr- 
shan — Afghan TurhestAn, AfgJvanistdn Proper — 
Kafiristdn — Ghitral — Swat — Baluchistdn — Keldt 
— Makrdn. 

Afghanistan as at present constituted comprises three 
physically distinct regions — the northern slopes of the 
escarpment forming geographically a part of Western 
Turkestan, the basin of the Helmand embracing most of 
the central plateau, and the eastern highlands mostly 
included in the Indus basin. But to these natural regions 
the political divisions correspond in part only. Since the 
foundation of the modem Afghan State by Ahmad Shah 
in 1747, comparatively little progress has been made 
towards moulding it into one political system. So hetero- 
geneous are its ethnical components, so inaccessible many 
of the highland tracts, and so persistently upheld is the 
old tribal organisation of the dominant Afghan race itself, 
that in many places the Amir's authority is merely nominal, 
in others openly defied, in some never yet recognised 
Protracted internecine feuds between the rival branches of 

WAKHAN. 199 

the loyal Durani (including the Baiakzye) tribes, com* 
hined with several disastrous foreign wars, first with the 
Sikhs of the Panjdb and then with the British (rovem- 
ment of India, have added to the confusion to such an 
extent that disintegration rather than consolidation of 
empire has lately seemed imminent As it is, the Amir 
has been fain to sacrifice external independence, and to 
accept a somewhat indefinite position of subordinate 
lelationship to the Suzerain of India. 

In the north, Afghan Turkestdn, comprising that 
portion of the land included in the Aralo-Caspian basin, 
possesses a certain ethnical as well as physical unity, for 
here the bulk of the people belong to the Usbeg branch 
of the Tiirki stock. It is administratively divided into a 
number of provinces corresponding with the old Usbeg 
khanates, all of which have completely lost their auto* 

In the extreme north-east is the alpine territory of 
Wakhan, which consists of two upland valleys traversed 
by the Sarhad (Panja), the chief southern head-stream of 
the Oxus. On either side the valleys are hemmed in by 
loffy mountains, those to the south forming the northern 
section of the Hindu-Kush, here crossed by some diificult 
passes, the easiest of which is the Baroghil (12,000 feet) 
leading to Chitral and Gilgit The chief resources of 
the people are derived from their flocks, mainly sheep and 
the Tibetan yak. The land is too elevated and sterile 
for tillage, but yields a pasturage like that of the Pamir, 
possessed of peculiar fattening qualities. In this alpine 
i^on the lowest hamlet is 8000, and Sarhad, the highest, 
no less than 11,000 feet above the sea, or higher than 
the loftiest peaks of the Pyrenees. Yet a little pulse 
and barley are grown in a few sheltered glens. When 
lieutenant John Wood, discoverer of the source of the 
Oxus, visited Wakhan in 1838, he estimated the popu- 


lation at about 1000 ; but Forsyth, thirty-five years ktet 
on, raised the number to 3000, which agrees with tlie 
Bussian estimate. The mir or chief, who, like so many 
others in this region, claims descent from Alexander the 
Great, resides in Kila-Panja (" Five Forts ") on the Oxus, 
and close to the Pamir. In Wood's time he was almost 
independent; but since then has become tributary through 
Badakhshan indirectly to E&buL 

Badakhshan, adjoining Wakhan on the west, oom- 
prises the valley of the Kokcha and the little-known 
tracts enclosed on one side in the great northern bend of 
the Oxus, and stretching on the other to Kafiristan. 
Besides the Eokcha, it is watered by the Wardoj, and 
both streams unite a few miles above Faizabad, the 
capital, before joining the Oxus. In the upper parts the 
crops are often nipped by summer frosts. But lower 
down the more favoured sites yield wheat, barley, mul- 
berries, walnuts, pistachios, and pulse. The country is 
exposed to earthquakes, one of which in 1832 was 
very destructive to life, and was felt as far south as 
Lahore. Badakhshan is noted for its mineral wealth, 
salt, sulphur, iron, and especially the ruby^ and lapis 
lazuli,^ prominently mentioned by Marco Polo. The lapis 
lazuli mines, which lie dose under the crest of the Hindu- 
Eush, have been fully described by Wood. 

West of Faizabad the road diverging to the right 
through Bustak crosses the Oxus to Eulab, KsiaJbeghin, 
and other Trans-Oxian districts. The gold-washings in a 
small stream between Rustak and the Oxus yielded a 
revenue of about £100 in 1874. The main road beyond 
this point still runs westwards over the Lattaband Pass, 

^ These rubies, which are of a delicate rose colour, were foixaerly known 
as balais or halcuhy a oorrapt form of Badakhshan, which Marco Polo ca2Ji 
Balacian. The lapis lazuli takes its name from the district of Lajurd or 
Laziird, whence both the words lazuli and aeure* 


Aiongh Talikhan down to Kundiiz. Here the descent 
from the Badakhshan highlands to the marshy plains of 
Turkestan, herp scarcely 500 feet above sea-level, is 
attended by a marked change of climate, that of Knndtiz 
being excessively hot and unhealthy especially in summer. 

Eondiiz is watered by the river of like name, which 
rifles with several head-streams in the K6h-i-Baba. Below 
the town of Kundiiz it joins the Oxus below Hazrat- 
Imam. Here are extensive undulating plains yielding 
good pasturage, and tenanted by nomad Usbegs and 
Hiizaras. From Talikhan and Kundiiz there diverge to 
the left routes which lead over the Sir-alang and Khawak 
Passes to KdbuL But here the chief highway is the 
historical route which passes through Bamian and Heibak, 
joining the Badakhshan road at Khidm or Tashkurgan. 
This route was traversed for some distance by the British 
troops with horse artillery in 1839. Near Bamian are 
two gigantic idols, one of which is said to be 100 feet 
high, cut in bold relief in the face of the clifP skirting 
the road. They stand in deep niches, and are clothed in 
flowing drapery. These idols and caves are generally 
supposed to be of Buddhist origin, but all memory of the 
time and hands by which they were executed has long 
perished. Here also are the stupendous ruins of 6hul- 
golch destroyed by Chingiz Khan, besides many other 
remains, which have been fully described by Masson. 

Adjoining Kundtiz is the smaller but not less popu- 
lous khanate of Khulm. It occupies a vital position in 
the heart of the ancient Baktriana, the converging point 
of aU the natural highways from India, Persia, and 
Central Asia. Here are the ruins of Baktra and of its 
successor Balkh, now supplanted by the modem towns of 
Siyagird, Mazar-i-Sherif, and Khulm. The country has 
l^een largely encroached on by the desert, and the Khulm 
Biver, flowing from the S[ara-k6h hills, now no longer 


reaches the Oxus. In the plains the river of Balkh, 
here called the " Band-i-Barbari/' or " Dyke of the Bar- 
barians/' is soon absorbed in irrigation works in the 
gardens interspersed amidst the vast ruins and flouiishing 
towns of this historic land. 

West of Balkh are the four petty Usbeg States of 
Akcha, Shabirkhan, Sar-i-pul with Andkhui, and Maimana, 
lying mostly between the outer spurs of the ParopamiBus 
and the sands by which they are now cut off from the 
Oxus. This tract is veiy fertile and well watered by 
the streams from the mountains, but it is also proverbially 
unhealthy. Nevertheless here are the populous towns 
of Shabirkhan and Andkhui, lying on the very skirt of 
the Turkoman domain. 

Of these khanates Andkhui alone has retained a 
certain measure of independence. All the rest are 
absolutely controlled, and even administered, by Kabul, 
though the old geographical and political divisions are 
still preserved. The village of Gurzivan and the Darzat 
valley in the hills south of Sar-i-pul have also lost their 
autonomy, though still retaining the empty titles of 

The Usbeg inhabitants of these districts are not 
called upon to render military service; but, according 
to the authority of Grodekov, which, however, is not 
above suspicion, they are so heavily taxed that they are 
impatiently awaiting the arrival of the emancipating 

On the southern slopes of the Hindu-Kush, bortkf- 
ing eastwards on Kashmir, south-eastwards on the Panjab, 
are the territories of Kafiristan, Gilgit, Chitral, and Swat, 
conventionally supposed to belong to Afghanistan, but 
de facto not only independent but still to a great extent 
imexplored regions. 

The Kafiristan highlands lie north of Lamghan, and 


occupy the watershed between the Khawak Pass and 
ChitraL The upper slopes are snow -clad, but lower 
down they are covered with dense forests of magnificent 
conifers and other trees. Tillage is but scantily practised, 
owing to the absence of level ground ; but the orchards 
yield fruits in great abundance. The inhabitcuite, who 
have recently been visited by Major Tennant, are com- 
pletely independent of Kabul, and claim to have enjoyed 
this freedom for centuries. They have reminiscences of 
the Grraeco-Baktrian empire, and the chiefs, like those of 
the surrounding districts, trace their descent from Alex- 
ander the Great. They are strictly honourable in their 
dealings, extremely hospitable, and cordial haters of their 
Muhammadan neighbours. 

A southern branch of the Siah*Posh Kafirs, or 
" Black-Clad Infidels " as they are called by the surround- 
ing Muhammadans, are the Safis and Ghagnans, whose 
domain reaches down to the Kabul Biver. Masson de- 
scribes them as a straightforward manly race : but very 
little is known of them or their country. 

East of the Panjkora valley lies the Swat country, 
unexplored till 1878, when one of the Indian native 
surveyors mapped it out from the source of the Swat 
Biver in the great transverse range between Bunj on the 
Indus and the Chitral valley to its jimction with the 
Panjkora. Swat formed at one time a powerful state 
under a venerable chief of great repute for sanctity, 
called the Akhund, who exercised considerable influence 
over the unruly tribes of the district. 

The Chitral country comprises the upper course of 
the Kunar Biver, which is here called the Chitral, or 
Elashkar. It produces orpiment, or yellow arsenic, in 
great quantities, and the natives manufacture coarse 
carpets, chogas or cloaks, daggers, and sword hilts. They 
are on good terms with their Kafir neighbours, who 



acknowledge a sort of allegiance to Aman-ul-Mnlk, 
" King of ChitraL" 

East of Upper Chitral lie Yassim and Gilgit, the 
latter of which during the last few years has been the 
site of a British residency under Major Biddulph. This 
officer was here stationed on the Kashmir frontier with a 
view to control the tribes occupjring a district of some 
strategic and political importance. The £iver Gilgit 
drains eastwards to the Indus near the Nanga Parbat 
peak, which marks the north-western extremity of the 
central Himalayan chain. This region, where the Dard 
and Afghan races meet about half-way up the valley^ has 
at all times proved most inaccessible to external influencea 

In Afghanistan proper the political divisions are often 
far less distinctly defined than in its outlying Turkestan 
possessions. Some regions in the Hindu-Kush, such as 
Kafiristan and Swat, as well as nearly the whole of Uie 
northern highlands between Bamian and Herat, besides 
many tracts in the Suliman Mountains, have never 
acknowledged the Amir's authority, and must be re- 
garded as de facto independent territory. Elsewhere, as 
in the districts of Herat and Kandahar, and even in 
Kabulistdn itself, the tribal organisation still largely 
prevails, so that the limits of the provinces are scarcely 
anywhere carefully laid down, and it becomes impossible 
to speak of provincial administration in the ordinary 
sense of the term. Hence, instead of taking the various 
provinces separately, it wiU be more convenient to deal 
with them in connection with the chief towns round 
which they are grouped. 

In Baluchistan, although more order has recently 
been introduced, a similar state of things stilL largely 
prevails. The Khan of Kelat, who may be said to have 
frankly accepted the suzerainty of the Kaisar-i-Hind 
{Empress of India), is nominal ruler of the whole land. 

balughistIn. 205 

But his anthoritj has often been confined to the KeUt 
district itself, and is still challenged by many of the 
tribal chiefe, especially towards the Persian frontier. The 
natoral divisions of the country, the eastern and southern 
highlands merging inland with the desert, are grouped in 
seyen recognised provinces : Sarawan and Katch-Gandava, 
induding the Mari and Bugti country on the north-east ; 
Eelat, between these two; Jhalawan on the east: Lus 
OIL the south-east : Makran, comprising the southern coast 
region ; Kohistan, or the '' highlands " of the west. 

Most of the land is still practically unknowiL The 
north-eastern section lying between the Indus and the 
Pishin valley, along the Afghan border, and thence 
southwards to Kelat, has been thoroughly surveyed, 
and a military station has even been established by 
the British at Quetta, above the Bolan Pass, and over- 
looking the Pishin valley. The south coast has also 
been carefully surveyed by the Admiralty, and somewhat 
&rther inland by the EngUsh Telegraph StafiT; while the 
country has been crossed, chiefly from east to west, by 
Grant, Pottinger, Terrier, Goldsmid, Bellew, Lovett, and 
a few other explorers during the present century. Still, 
most of the interior has never been visited, and the sandy 
plains stretching beyond the hills towards the Hamiin 
depression remain a blank on our maps. Elsewhere 
the highland formation ever}rwhere predominates, al- 
though in the south the parallel ridges are separated 
by long and almost level valleys reaching from the 
Persian frontier to the eastern uplands. This southern 
^on, from the sea to the desert, is usually spoken of 
collectively as Makran ; but the term should properly be 
itttricted to the strip of land between sea and the first 
pai&llel ranges. Here the geographers of Alexander 
placed the Ichthyophagi, or " Fish-eaters," apparently a 
mere translation of the local name. 


The country is almost entirely occapied by pastoral 
tribes under semi-independent sirdars and chiefs. Henoe 
the so-called provinces are not administrative divisions in 
the ordinary sense, and should be more properly called 
territories. Besides those above mentioned there are 
several others current amongst the natives as applicable 
to particular cantons, especially in Makran and Kohistan. 
Here there are several semi-independent chiefs, of whom 
the most powerful was, till recently, the Khan of Kej, 
in central Makran. But the native ruler was, some ten 
years ago, replaced by a direct nominee of the Khan of 
Kelat, and although the change was at first followed by 
disturbances, it has had the effect of somewhat consoli- 
dating the Khan's authority, and thus barring the farther 
progress of Persia in this direction. 

The Khan or Mir of Kelat, who belongs, not to the 
Baluch, but to the Brahui stock, concluded a treaty in 
1877 with England, in virtue of which he has become a 
feudatory of the Empress of India. The right had already 
been secured of occupying at pleasure the mountain 
passes between Kelat and Afghanistan. But the new 
treaty places the whole country at the disposal of the 
British Government for aU military and strategical pur-- 
poses. In return the Khan has acquired a certain 
prestige amongst the tribal chiefs and sirdars, who no 
longer seriously question his supremacy, and his subject 
have begun to enjoy the blessings of peace. 

5. Climate : Sand-storms, 

In Afghanistan the prevailing climatic conditions are 
dryness combined with great extremes of temperature. 
Snow lies on the ground for three months in the Kabul and 
Ghazni districts, and many of the peaks from the Hindu- 
Kush to Kelat rise above the snow-line. But so much 


depends on elevation that Jelalabad, 2000 feet above the sea, 
is scarcely colder than India, while the winters are ahnost 
as severe as those of Bussia on the neighbouring Kohistan 
uplands. The summer heats, on the other hand, are 
everywhere intense, more so, in some places, even than 
in BengaL At Kabul (6500 feet) the glass rises to OO"" 
and 100^ and in Kandahar even higher. Yet the 
country is on the whole decidedly salubrious, in this 
respect presenting a marked contrast to the fever-stricken 
lowland districts of Afghan Turkestdn. 

In Baluchistan also intense heats are followed by al- 
most equally intense colds, the snow lying for two months 
on the ground even in the Shal and other valleys. The 
Eej district and some other parts of Makran are said to be 
the hottest places in the whole of Asia. Even in March 
Major Lovett registered '* 125® F. in the shade in the 
neighbourhood of Kej." On the other hand, Pottinger 
found it so cold in February at Kelit that water poured 
on the ground froze instantaneously. Owing to its 
proximity to the ocean, Baluchistan receives on the whole 
more moisture than Afghanistan. The dry season lasts 
from March till September, but rain or snow faUs inter- 
mittently throughout the winter, and often heavily in 
Febmary and March. Unfortimately most of it is preci- 
pitated on the outer ranges, leaving little for the deserts 
of the interior, where the sultry heats are intensified by 
fierce sand-storms. 

6. flora and Fauna : The Xarez Irrigation System — 

The Uromastix Lizard, 

Bare, treeless mountains, sandy and absolutely unpro- 
ductive plains, fertile valleys and riverain tracts, pro* 
dncmg enormous quantities of magnificent fruits and 
vegetables, besides cereals of various kinds, are the 


prevailing features almost everywhere from the Upper 
Oxus to the Indian Ocean, and from Persia to the Indus 
valley. In the north, however, the southern slopes are 
often clothed with forests of walnut, birch, oak, and 
conifers, the latter growing to a height of 10,000 feet^ 
In Afghanistan the asafcetida coveis extensive tracts, and 
here the most productive districts are those of Herat^ 
Kandahar, the Lower Helmand, the valleys of the Elabul 
and Logar Eivers, and the K6h-i>Ddman. Wheat, maize, 
and rice are the staples of food ; the vine and many 
other fruits are indigenous; cotton, sugar, and tobacco 
thrive in the well-watered low-lying tracts, and the melon 
and many other vegetables arrive at astonishing perfection. 
The apples, the grapes, the pomegranates of Afghanistan 
are cdebrated throughout India. 

In Baluchistan wheat, barley, rice, cotton, pnla^^ 
madder, indigo, and tobacco, are cultivated; the dat&^j 
palm prevails in Makran ; magnificent fruits and vege-; 
tables are grown in the valleys. Asafoetida abound 
and of forest trees the chief are the plantain, walni 
sycamore, wild fig and olive, mulberry, tamarisk, 

The ^'karez," or underground system of inigatiott'^ 
peculiar to the Iranian plateau, is well suited to tids! 
region, and extensively practised. '' The soil being 
naturally open and porous, composed of water-worn 
stones embedded in a sandy soil, which, however, having 
a large admixture of lime, hardens at a short distance 
below the surface into an impermeable conglomerate, it 
is easy to understand how flowing water may in many 
places be found 20 or 30 feet from the surface, while on 
the surface itself for miles round there is nothing but an 
arid plain. The water thus found is led ^radnally 
towards the surface through the karez. A series of wells 
are dug at intervals of 16 to 25 yards, and coimected 


l)elcnr 1:^ an nndergrouitd passage, through which the 
water nms till at last it teaches the surface and is 
utilised for irrigatiDg the fields " (Capl. E. Btavan). ■ 

In East Irania wild animals are comparatively scarce, 
lions and leopards of a small type haunt the upper 

vallqrB of the Hiodu-Kush, where are also met the wolf, 

and two species of bear. The so-called Angora cat is 

indigenoos in Eahnlistdn, and in the plains the dromedary 

one-humped camel is the chief beast of burden. Here 


the hoise is far inferior to the Turkoman breed. The asB 
exists in the wild and domestic state, but sheep and 
goats form everywhere the chief resources of the pastoral 

In Baluchistdn the lion, tiger, leopard, and wolf aie 
occasionally met, the jackal, wild dog, fox, wild goat^ and 
ass more frequently. There ia a distinct species of 
gazelle (Oazelia fumfrons), and both species of camel 
occur, the Baktrian or two-humped on the uplands, the 
dromedary on the plains, where it is highly valued for 
its speed by the marauding tribes. Serviceable horses 
are bred in the north and west, but those of Makran are 
small, weak, and spiritless. In Baluchistan is found the 
curious Uromastix lizard, one of the most remarkable 
animals in the world. It looks at a distance somewhat 
like a rabbit in appearance and size, but is really a soit 
of diminutive saurian, called by the Persians btiz-miji, or 
goat-sucker, from its peculiar habit of bleatiag like a 
kid to attract the goats, whose teats it then sucks. The 
Makran coast abounds in fish, where it still forms tiie 
staple food of its ichthyophagous inhabitants. 

7. InhabUaifUs : The A/gTians — The Brahuis, Baluehis, 

and lAirL 

East Lrania presents a greater complexity of races 
even than Persia itself. For to nearly all the elements 
contained in the west must here be added at least 
others — ^the Galcha of the Hindu-Kush, the Hindu 
the large towns, and the Brahui of Kelat; this 
being distinct in speech, not only from all the others, 
from all other known linguistic groups. The subjoins 
table comprises all the races in the region classed accoi 
ing to their most probable ethnical affinities : — 





r Wakhis 
Badakhshis . 

Siah-Poah Kafirs 
Safis . 
Eohistams . 




^ Kurds 
Indie J Laasis . 
Bnmch, 1 Jats . 
LLiiris . 
I Mbnffol { Hazarahs 
I Branch. \ Aimaks 

M0K««^ I T^ki (^^^ 



I Hi]idii-Kiish(northfini slopes). 

^ Hindn-Eush (southern slopes). 

Hills north of Kibul. 
{ K4bul ; Snliman Monntains^ 
i Kandahar, Helmand baedn; 
(^ Herat 

\ Herat; most towns and settled 
( districts. 

Baluchistdn lowlands; Makrdn. 

Lower Helmand; Hamilin. 

Balnch Kohistin. 

Most large towns. 

ProY. Lu, So. BaluchisUn. 

Makrdn chiefly. 

N. highlands between Bamian 
and Herat. 

Afghan Turkestdn. 

Herat, Maimana^ and Andkhni. 

Kdbul chiefly. 
( Mainly East Baluchistdn high- 
( lands. 

Of these various peoples four only possess a decided 
political or social preponderance in their respective areas 
— ^the Usbegs in Afghan Turkestan, the Afghans in 
Afghanistan, the Brahuis and Baluchis in Baluchistdn. 
The Usbegs, here represented by the Kateghdn family, 
differ in no material respect &om their kinsmen of the 
adjoining khanates of Bokhara and Khiva, and will there- 
fore be more conveniently dealt with in the chapter 
devoted to that region. 

The Afghans, commonly known in India as Pathans, 
are all Sunnis in religion, but are socially still in the 
tribal state, a fact that is not sufficiently taken into ac- 
count in estimating the political situation of the coimtry. 
There is an Afghan race, one in physical type, speech, 
religion, and culture ; but there is, strictly speaking, no 
Afghan nation possessing a distinct sense of its unity as a 
whole, with common political sentiments and aspirations. 


Such common aentimeDts are scarcely felt bejond the 
several great sectiona into which the race continues to be 
divided. The Duranis, the G-hiljia, the Waziiia, t^e 
Afridis, the Mangala, Momands, Juaafzais, and others, 
form 80 many States, as it were, within the State, each 
with its own separate interests, and each capable of com- 
bining rapidly for some common tribal object, bnt all in- 

capable of combinu:^ together and acting in conceit for s 
common national object When Ayub Ehan of Heist 
moved in 1881 f^;ainat Abdur-Bahman of Kabul, the 
people of the intervening Kandahar district refused to 
pay revenue, not through any love of the Amir, 
but through indifference to the claims of the rivals 
for aupreme authority. For both Abdur-Bahman and 
Ayub are chiefs rattier of the Duiani tribe than of 


tn Afghw Tt nation. And the Duianis tlieinaelTea aze 
reg&ided by other almost eqoftlly pcnreifiil sections merely 
■s nstupen of the sovereignty, their nsuipation dating 
only &om the death of Nadir Shah in 1747, when their 
dd^, AhTWftH Khan, t«ok advsjitage of the disorden in 
Petsia to raise the royal standard in Kandahar. Ahmad 

endesTcmred to give a national importance to his tribe, 
not only by changing its name £c(nn Abdali to Dorani,^ 
but also by associating vith it some other sections, such 
aa His Jnsafzaia, Momands, Afridis, Shinwaris, Orakzais, 

' D«riTed not, u U often staled, fhim the nipposed otutom of w«&ritig 
1 peut (dttrr) in their right e«r«, but from the title of Dnrr-i-Dilraii 
("Ptari of tLft AgB"), adopted by Ahmad when be usomed the roTal 


and Tarkolanis, under the common designation of Ba^ 
Duranis. But the attempt failed, these sections still 
retaining their tribal int^rity, and refusing to be fused 
into a common Ai^han nationality. 

In the Durani tribe there are several sections, among 
which are included the two royal branches — the Sud* 
dozais and the Barakzais. It was to the Suddozais that 
Shah Siija belonged, who was placed on the throne hjih& 
British in 1839, after the first Afghan war. It is to the 
Barakzais that the equally well-known Dost Muhammad 
and his successors on the throne of Kabul belong. 

The sections themselves are divided into a multi- 
plicity of minor branches, septs, and clans,^ ofiering still 
further obstacles to a general amalgamation of the whole 
lace. And the race itself is everywhere opposed to other 
races speaking different languages, such as the Tajiks, 
Hindkis, Usbegs, Siah-Posh Kafirs, Hazaras, and Aimaks, 
which, although numerically inferior, possess greater 
national cohesion, and which in some cases have been 
able to maintain their independence. 

But for these untoward circumstances the A^^uui 
race, by its warlike spirit and remarkable physical vitality, 
might seem destined to subdue the suJuiing peopll 
But their national resources continue to be Mttered 
away in internecine broils and struggles for the local 
independence of individual chiefs and tribes. 

Yet it would be a mistake to suppose that the 
Afghans are absolutely incapable, under proper conditioiis, 
of turning from turbulent to peaceful ways. Although 
surrounded by hostile and marauding tribes, the Fovin- 
dahs of the Suliman loner ranges have for ages occupied 
themselves with tillage, stock-breeding, and trade. These 
itinerant and warlike dealers, who claim descent finom a 

^ UsuaUy termed zais or khels, as in Barakzai, Abdnr-Rahmfani, Ali 
Khel, Utmaoi Ehel, etc. 



goatherd of Ghor in the days of the Ghazneidd Mahmud, 

follow their industrious pursuits in the face of eztraordi- 

naiy difficulties. In the summer they pitch their tents 

on the plains near Kalat-i-Ghilzai and Ghazni, where 

they pay £60 to the Amir's government for grazing 

rights, and where the women and children remain under 

a sufficient guard, while the men are away trading at 

Samarkand, Bokhaia, Herat^ or KabuL In the autumn 

they rejmir to the Indian plains through the Gh>mul route, 

fighting their hereditary foes, the Waziris, on the way, 

and encampiDg on the Derajat plaina From this point 

the men again disperse towards Multan, Lahore, Benares, 

retailing their raw silk, druggets, clothes, saddlery, horses, 

saffion, dried fruits, and other wares. In April the 

Povindahs reassemble for the return journey, and ascend 

the pass towards Kandahar and Ghazni 

Many other promising elements of future progress 
exist in the land, such as the Kakar and Tajik agricul- 
toiists, the Hindki traders, met with in every large town, 
and even the despised Kizil-Bashis of KdbuL 

In Baluchistan the ruling race are not the Baluchis, 
bat the Brahuis, who are moreover both the aboriginal 
and the most numerous element. Hence the term 
Baluchistan, unknown in the country itself, is altogether 
inappropriate, though it may now be too late to substi- 
tute the expression Brahuistdn, as some geographers have 
proposed The Brahuis, whose racial and linguistio 
affinities still remain an unsolved problem, are pre* 
dominant in all the eastern highlands ; the reigning 
Khan and most of the chiefis and nobles are of Brahui 
stock, and this race still continues to control the destinies 
of the land The Baluchis still dwell mainly in the low- 
lands, and form the rural population both in the direction 
of India and Persia. Both races are Muhanmiadans, the 
Brahuis like the Afghans being Sunnis, the Baluchis 

216 coMP£2!n)nJM of geogeapht and travel. 

like their Persian kinsmen Shiahs.^ There can be little 
doubt that the latter penetrated eastwards originally from 
Karmdn, and they are still predominant in the adjoining 
districts of Makrin and Sistan. Bellew describes them 
all in two words — needy and hungry. They are true 
nomads, migrating like many Afghan tribes with their 
families and flocks from the uplands to the lowlands. 
But some few are settled in villages. 

Distinct both from the Brahuis and Baluchis are the 
Liiri, a sort of gipsies of Indian origin scattered in 
single feonilies all over the country. They are generally 
met with as strolling minstrels, potters, tinkers, rope- 
makers, weavers of mats, and pedlars. They own no 
lands, never cultivate the soil, and are regarded as out- 
casts by the rest of the people. Each troop has a " king," 
and Pottinger noticed their " marked affinity to the gipsies 
of Europe." 

8. Topogrwphy : Khvlm — Mazar-i-Sherif — BoJM, — 
Herat — KaTtdahar — KdJml. 

In Afghan Turkestdn the chief places are — 1. Khnlm, 
at the junction of the Bamian and Badakhshan routes^ 
where the Khulm Eiver emerges firom the mountains. It 
is three miles in circumference, and its houses are built 
of clay or adobe. The inhabitants are chiefly Tajiks, 
Kdbulis and Hindkis, trading in live-stock, cottons, 
leather ware, firuits, and melons. Four nules south of 
Tashkurgan, as this place is now called, is Old Khulm, 
formerly noted for its excellent fruits. 2. Mazar-i-Sher(f» 
5 miles west of Tashkurgan, capital of Afghan Turkestan 
and residence of the Grovernor-GleneraL It is surrounded 
by fields and orchards, and in 1878, when Grodekov 
passed through it, the population amounted to 25,000 

^ Some writers class the Baluchis as Smmis. 

TOWNS OF afghanistIn. 217 

Usb^, Afghans, and Tajiks. Two miles off is the fort 
of Takhta-pnl, with gun factories, cannon foundries, and 
manufactories of swords, knives, and felt helmets. But 
Mazar is chiefly noted for its mosque, held in great 
Yeneration for a tomb supposed to be that of Ali ; and 
for the shrine of Hazrat Shah, a famous Moslem '' saint." 
3. Baktra and Balkh, both now ruins on the Dehas or 
Belkh Biver, a few miles west of Mazar. Baktra, capital 
of the Grseco-Baktrian monarchy, was one of the oldest 
dtioB in Central Asia, and its successor Balkh still bears 
the title of ** Mother of Cities.'' It was the chief town in 
Afghan Turkestdn till 1872, when a terrible outbreak of 
cholera caused the seat of govenmient to be removed to 
Hazar, and in 1878 Balkh was an insignificant village, 
whose former greatness was attested only by numerous 
canals and miles of ruins. Here are buried the travellers 
Mooicroft and Guthrie. 4. Andkhui, on the verge of 
the desert due west of Balkh, a large but proverbially 
unhealthy place, of which the Persians say that with its 
salt water, its scorching sands, venomous flies and scor- 
pions, " it is a real hell on earth." 5. Maimana, on a 
plain near the foot of the K6h-i-Baba, noted for its 
ezcelleDt horses and textiles woven of wool and camel's 
hair. Previous to 1874 Maimana was a very large place, 
^rith a population estimated at 60,000. But in that 
year it was besieged and nearly destroyed by the Afghans, 
who massacred 18,000 of its inhabitants. Since then 
it has somewhat revived, and must always enjoy a certain 
importance from its position at the junction of the routes 
fiom Herat and KabuL 

In AfghanistAn the three cities of Herat, Kandahar, 
and Edbul stand out conspicuously as at once the chief 
centres of power and popidation, as well as the most 
nnportant strategical points in the country. They occupy 
the three angles of a triangle, whose base crosses tiie 


northern scaip of the plateau, and whose apex lies 
nearly in the centre of the State. Thus Herat and Kabul 
at the west and east ends of the base respectivelj aie 
separated by intervening impassable highlands occupied 
by the hostile and independent Mongolo-Tatar Hazaras 
and Aimaks. Hence the route from one to the other is 
deflected southweirds to the apex, where Kandahar thus 
occupies the key of the whole position. North of the 
scarp is the Turkoman country, now mostly absorbed in 
the recently oigamsed Russian Trans-Caspian tenitoiy. 
From this direction the plateau can be approached in the 
east only by the difficult '' Gate of Bamian/' in the west 
by the comparatively easy Tajand valley. Here, there- 
fore, the importance of Herat becomes obvious. And 
this circumstance itself enhances the importance of 
Kandahar, which bars the direct and only route from 
Herat to India, and which lies on the flank of the not 
impossible route through Bamian and Kabul to India 
It is satisfactory to know that under these circumstances 
the railway is already completed from the Indus to Sibi 
at the foot of the hills, and that the giound thence to the 
Gwaja Pass on the way to Kandahar has been surveyed 
(see diagram), more or less completely. 

The city of Herat lies in the well-watered valley of 
the Hari-rdd, or Upper Tajand, which is extremely fertile, 
and capable of furnishing supplies for an army of occu- 
pation of 150,000 men. This, coupled with its loft]r 
ramparts and fortifications, and its central position as the 
converging point of routes from the Caspian, Mashhad, 
Merv, Bokhara, and India through Kandahar, has invested 
it with a strategic importance which has earned for it 
the title of the " key of India." In Pottinger^s time 
it was the great emporium of trade in Central Asia, and 
though its many vicissitudes of fortune and innumerable 
sieges have caused its population to fluctuate exces- 


mdj, it atill contained 50,000 inhabitants in 1878, 
a motley gatheiii^ of Afghans, Indians, Tatars, Torko- 
mans, Jews, Tajiks, and others. Carpets of soft texttue 
and biilliaiit colour are here produced, and the district 
is noted for its excellent horses, wheat, water, and 

grapes, of vhich there are no less than seventeen 

The road from Herat to Kandahar lies through the 
iertile bob little cultivated Zamindawar country, peopled 
by the Duranis as far as the fort of Giriahk, near the 
fords of the Helioand. Although its fortifications are 


slight, the strong position of Girishk on the main route 
and in the vicinity of supplies has at all times invested 
it with strategic importance. About mid-way between 
it and Kandahar is £lhushk-i-Nakhud, mournfully signal- 
ised in 1880 by the defeat of General Burrows at the 
hands of Ayub Khan. 

Kandahar, the chief city of the south, lies in a level 
cultivated plain about 7 miles wide, bounded by low hills 
between the Arghand-ab and Tamak Bivers. It forms an 
irregular oblong of about 3 miles circuit, enclosed by a 
substantial baked-mud wall 27 feet high. Towards the 
north end is the citadel, shut ofT by a massive mud wall, 
and to the west the tomb of Ahmad Shah, within an 
octogonal structure surmounted by a golden dome. The 
population is variously estimated at from 50,000 to 
80,000, of whom the Hindkis are the wealthiest cLajsa 
During the British occupation they have always developed 
a profitable trade with Bombay through Shikarpur and 
Karachi, but at other times are subject to heavy imposta '\ 
They import British produce, such as silks, calicoes^ 
muslins, chintzes, merinoes, woollen and broad cloths, 
cutlery, needles, paper, besides indigo, spice, sugar, drags, 
and other Indian produce. Their exports consist of 
madder, asafoetida, wool, dried fruits, tobacco, raw silk, 
besides such Persian goods as carpets, copper utensils, 
arms, turquoises, gold and silver braid, horses and 
"yabus," or baggage ponies. Whenever the railway is 
completed to this place Kandahar must become the great 
emporium of British and Indian produce for Central 
Asia. Its chief manufactures are silks, felts, and rosaries 
of a soft crystallised silicate of magnesia. The melons, 
grapes, and other fruits of the district are abundant^ and 
of excellent quality. 

The old citadel, of which many ruins are still standing, 
is situated a few miles outside the walls of the present 

city. This citadel has been tJie aceno of remarkable sieges 
and defences. 

The Btrategical value of Kandahar is increased by 
tJie fact that it is the first place where an army advanc- 
ing from Herat towards the Indus would naturaUy rest 
to recrnit its strength. It also gives access to the 
Ghazni and Kibul road throogh the Tamak valley. 

Its proximity to the desert on the Bouth renders one at 
least of its flanks safe &om being turned. As it is fur- 
ther accessible f^m Persia and India west and east, it 
has incessantly changed bands during the period of its 
history — Persians, Usbegs, Afghans, and in recent times 
the English, having more than once occupied and lelin- 



On the great militaiy and trade zonte between 
Kandahar and Kdbul the chief stations are £aMt-i- 
Ghilzai and Ghazni, the former of which is a strong foit 
standing on a commanding platean on the right bank of 
the Tamak. The fortified town of Ghazni, abont as far 
south-west of Kabul as Kaldt-i-Ghilzai is north-east of 
Kandahar, lies on the left bank of the Ghazni Biver near 
a spur of the Gilkoh range, and 7730 feet above the sea. 
It is surrounded by a lofty stone and brick wall on the 
top of a mound, and contains a citadel erected on an 
abrupt knoll at its north end. Besides Afghans it is 
inhabited by Hazaras and a few Hindki traders, dealing 
chiefly in com, Ixuits, madder, sheep's wool, and camel's 
hair cloth from the Hazara country. Ghazni is memo^ 
able for its brilliant capture by Sir John Keane in the 
first Afghan war. Three miles to the north-east are the 
ruins of the old city, destroyed in the 12th centuiy by 
the Prince of Ghor, who, however, spared the tomb of the 
renowned Mahmud of Ghazni The entrance to this 
mausoleum, which is still preserved with careful venera- 
tion, was formerly closed by the famous sandal-wood 
gates brought by Mahmud from Somnath in Guzerat^ but 
sent back to India in 1842. 

Crossing the watershed north of Ghazni, between the 
Helmand and Indus basins, we enter the territoiy of 
Kdbulistan, which takes its name from the ancient city 
of Kdbul, the present capital of the State. Kabul lies 
seven mUes above the confluence of the Logar and Kabul 
rivers, at the western extremity of a spacious plain in an 
angle formed by two converging ridges. It is now an 
open town, though formerly encircled by brick and mad 
waUs. There are no noteworthy public buildings, and 
its interest, apart from its being the seat of government 
for nearly a hundred years, arises chiefly from its position 
at the junction of routes from Turkestan, Herat^ Ghazni, 

KABUL. 223 

the Euram valley, and the Fanjdb by way of Jelalabad. 
This happy situation has made it an emporium of Central 
Asiatic trade, notwithstanding the difficulty of the passes 
connecting it with the Oxus valley. To the south-east 
stands the Bala Hissar, or citadel, on a commanding knoll 
at the extremity of the spur overlooking the city. 
Kabul imports from India calicoes, indigo, spices, drugs, 
and all kinds of British goods ; from Bussia broadcloth, 
silks, velvets, gold and silver lace, paper, and hardware, 
mostly by the long and toilsome route through Bokhara 
and Bamian. The province yields wheat, barley, and 
fruits, in considerable qusuitity and of good quality. 

Of the alternative routes between Edbul and Jelala- 
l)ad, the northern and more frequented leads over the 
lattaband Pass, while the southern follows the narrow 
Khuid Kabul defile, where about 3000 men, women, and 
children perished on the occasion of Elphinstone's ill- 
fated retreat in January 1842. East of the Earkacha 
hills lies the equally ill-omened Jagdalak Pass, where the 
niassacre of the retreating troops was continued, a few 
officers and men alone escaping to Gandamak. At this 
place, where the last treaty with the British was signed 
ii 1880, a rapid descent leads down to the well-watered 
plain of Jelalabad, about midway between Kdbul and 
I^eshawar. This town forms an irregular quadrilateral 
smromided by walls at the junction of roads from India, 
Kabul, and over the Hindu-Kush from Yarkand. It is 
^oted for the brave and successful defence by Sir Eobert 
^e in 1841-2 against overwhelming numbers of 
A%hans. Hither it was that Dr. Bryden, sole survivor 
of the Kdbul disaster, foimd his way in January 1842. 

Between Jelalabad and Peshawar are the towns of 
I^ptira and the fort of Ali-Musjid. The latter was 
stormed by the British at the beginning of the war with 
the late Amir Shir Ali. 


KeMt, the capital of Baluchistdn, is almost the only 
town in the country. It is a small fortified place in the 
centre of the province of Keldt, 6000 feet above the 
sea, badly built, and presenting an appearance of extreme 
squalor and decay. Its 12,000 inhabitants include 
representatives of nearly aU the surrounding races — 
Brahuis, Baluchis, Afghans, Tajiks (here called Dehwars), 
Jats, and Hindus. Here resides the Elhan, surrounded by 
a bodyguard of troopers, described by BeUew as tatter- 

A far more important place strategically is Quetta 
(Shal), the capital of a district near the head of the 
Bolan Pass and close to the Pishin valley, from which it 
is separated by Mount Takatu, 10,504 feet high. By 
treaty with the Khan, Quetta has become an advanced 
British military station at a vital point on the southern- 
most route from India to Afghanistan, smd about midway 
between Shikarpiir and Kandahar. Its occupation secures 
the Pishin valley, holds all the unruly Marri, Bugti, and 
other border tribes in check, keeps open the roads of the 
Khojak and Gwaja passes over the Khoja Amran range, 
and thus facilitates a rapid advsmce on Ejmdahar. The 
vedley of Quetta lying 5500 feet above the sea, and 
enclosed by mountain ranges which rise from 5000 to 
6000 feet higher, is an extremdy romantic spot, sur- 
rounded by rocky mountains. 

In Makran, Kej and the other so-called " towns '' are 
mere clusters of hamlets, or insignificant fishing villagies 
on the coast. 

9. Highways of Communication : Passes. 

One of the chief results of the recent hostilities in 
Afghanistdn was the revelation that not two or three, as 
had been supposed, but at least a score of practicable 


routes give access from the plains of India to the Iranian 
platean. From above Peshawar nearly to Karachi the 
intervening highlands are almost everywhere pierced by 
rivers and mountain torrents flowing down to the Indus, 
many of which run through gorges and ravines affording 
good passes to the interior. "What we have learnt 
chiefly in connection with them is this — ^that most ex- 
cellent roads are easily constructed along even the worst 
of them" {Captain Holdich), 

Still more surprising was it to find that the Hindu- 
Knsh itself is crossed throughout its whole length by 
mountain tracks more or less practicable during the 
summer months from the E[hawak westwards to the Irak 
Pass leading to Bamian. The Paghman range also, 
parallel and equal to it in height, is crossed by " durras " 
or paths leading from nearly all the large villages north 
of Kabul over the intervening Ghorband valley and 
Hindu-Kush down to Afghan Turkestan. 

At the western extremity of the Paropamisus the 
Tajand valley also affords ready access from what is now 
Siissiau Turkmenia to the Herat district. Merv, which 
alone retains a semblance of independence in the whole 
of Turkestdn, thus loses all strategical importance ; for it 
stands not so much on the route as between the routes 
leading bom. Central Asia to the Iranian plateau. 

From Peshawar, north-western terminus of the 
Indian railway system, the great historic route to Kabul 
enters the Afridi hills near AU-Musjid, thence following 
the Khaibar River over the Khurd Khaibar Pass (3370 
feet) north-westwards and south of the Kabul Eiver to 
Jelalabad. Here, crossing the Nangnahar plains, it 
ascends through the narrow Jagdalak defile to the Kar- 
kacha hills and dangerous Khurd Kabul Pass, with an 
alternative northern route over the Lataband Pass and 
the hiUs near Butkhak down to KdbuL 




Farther down, the scarcely leas important Kniam 
route to the capital runs by Thai and the Kniam £iva 
to near Fort Knram, north-westwards, over the Paiwar 
range and Pass to Ali-Khel at jnnction of Bivers S^araia 
and Hazardarakht Thence it follows the latter river 
over the Sorkai Kotal between the Kuram and Kabul 
basins to the Shutaigardan Pass (10,800 feet), and so on 
by Dobandi, Khushi, and the Logar valley, north to 

Between these two the ancient Gomul route ascends 
from the Derajat plains over the Kotal-i-Sarwandi 
water-parting to the Gomul or Gwalari Pass and thenoe 
to Ghazni. 

The southernmost route to Afghanistan follows the 
new Une of railway, now completed, from Sakkar on 
the Indus across the plains and Each! desert to Dadar, 
near Sibi, at the foot of the Bolan Pas& Here there 
are alternative routes through the Bolan to Quetta, and 
through the Nari Biver valley to the Lora Biver and 
Pishin valley, and thence over the Khoja Amran range, 
by the Ehojak and Gwaja Passes, and across the Dori and 
other streams to Kandahar. The latter, though the 
longer, is the easier of the two, and will probably be fol- 
lowed by the railway from Dadar over the Gwaja Ptos 
to Ksuidahar. 

The usual routes from Herat to ICabul are the 
northern, round by Maimana and Bamian, and the 
southern round by Kandahar and GhaznL Bat the 
direct route across the Aimak and Hazara highlands up 
the Hari-rdd and east of Obeh is also occasionally used by 
the natives, and has been frequently traversed in eight 
days on horseback. The southern crosses the Zamin- 
dawar Durani domain by Farah, Girishk, and Khushk-i- 
Nakhud, to Kandahar. Here it follows the Tkmak 
valley to Kalat-i-Ghilzai, Ghazni, and over the Sher-i- 


Dahar Pass between the Helinand and Kabul basins, and 
down the Shiniz Biver valley to its junction with the 
Logar, where it bifurcates through the Wardak and 
Logar valleys to EabuL 

Beyond those from the Indus through the Bolan and 
Mula Passes to Quetta and Keldt, no regular routes are 
yet laid down in Baluchistan ; but the longitudinal valleys 
TumuDg east and west parallel with the coast are often 
trayersed^ and give easy access from the eastern highlands 
to Persia. 

10. Afghan and Baluchi Administration 

During the last twenty years, since the death of the 
Amir Dost Muhammad (Barakzai), Afghanistan has been 
so tom by internal and dynastic feuds that no civil 
sulministration can be said to exist beyond the collection 
of the revenue. life and property are protected by the 
strong ri^t arm ; there is no other protection. In so far 
as the late Amir Shir Ali had consolidated his adminis- 
tration, it is understood to have been unpopular. The 
tendency of Afghan society is towards minute tribal 
organisation, or to what might be termed a loose demo- 
oratic federation — and all this militates against anything 
^A a centralised administration. 

In Baluchistdn, the Khan is suzerain over a nimiber 
of feudal chiefis, retaining a part of the territory under 
lumself direct The relations between him and them 
were so bad as to threaten the disruption of the State. 
But during recent years these arrangements have be- 
come much improved, and the satisfactory condition of 
internal afiGsLirs was evident during the Afghan war of 



Ana in tq. miles. PopnbtiGB. 

11. Statistics, 
Aebas and Populations of East Irania and Afghan TuBKEsrix. 





Balkh . 

. . ^ . , Andkhni 
Aralo-Caspian J ghabirkhan 

^^^ Akcha . 




^ Darzab . 

Total Afghan Turkestan 
Hindu- Kush fKafiristdn 
(Southern \ Chitral ) 
Slopes). I Swat { 

Afghanistan Proper 
Biuuchistdn . 
Grand total 

























Approximate Classification by Races asd Reliqiok^ 

Fire- Worshippers 

Muhammadans . 


Mnhammadans . 

Wakhis . 


Swatis . 
wSiah-Posh Kafirs 
'- Satis and Chagnans 



Afghans . 

Taiiks (Dehwars) 

Baluchis . 

Sistanis . 

^Hindkis . 
r Lassis 
. i Liiris 
I Aimaks . 
j Usbegs . 
• ] Turkomans 

[ Brahuis . 
Pagans :iiid Fire-worshippers 
Munamuiadans, mostly Sunnis 



Galcha Stock, j 

I Iranic Stock. 





Indic Stock. 




{ Mongol Stock. 500.000 

I Tatar Stock. 

Mongoloids ? 







1 Grodekov'a estimate. 

Ukl . 
Kandahar . 
Herat . . 


Aadkhoi . 

IfaiiH^H ll 

Kibd to Herat . 
ivOBdutoBalkh . 
Kaodahar to Herat 
B^ to Bokhara 
^^ to Andkhui 
JiboltoGhazni . 


Chief Towns 



Khnlm . . . . 1 


Ghazni .... 


KeUt .... 




Kundnz .... 







. 600 

Kdbul to Peshawar 

. 200 

Sukkur to Sibi, by rail . 
Sibi by projected railway to 
Kandahar .... 

. 410 

. 105 

. 835 

Kandahar to Khoja AmrtLn . 

. 290 

Kohat to Ghazni . 

. 260 

Dera Ismail Khan to Ghazni^ 

. 100 

via Gomul 


Dera Ismail Khan to Kanda- 

. 75 

har, via Sakhi Sarwar 













1. Boundaries — Extent — Area. 

With a few comparatively unimportant exceptions^ 
British India forms a vast geographical and political 
system, which, if it cannot everywhere yet boast of 
strictly "scientific frontiers," enjoys none the less at 
many points the advantage of the grandest natural 
boundaries of any region on the globe. For it consists 
mainly of a vast peninsular mass shut off from the 
Asiatic mainland by the lofty Brahui and Suliman Tanges 
towards the north-west, and on the north by the still 
loftier Hindu-Kush and Himalaya, while it is elsewhere 
washed by the Arabian Sea and Bay of BengaL In 
outUne it presents the form of a somewhat irregular 
equilateral triangle with its base rooted in the Hima- 
layas, whence it tapers across 28 degrees of latdtade 
southwards to its apex in the Indian Ocean. Of this 
triangle the three sides fall about 100 miles short of 
2000 miles each, the distance between the extreme 
frontiers of the Fanjdb and Assam west and east^ and 
from these points to Cape Comorin, at the apex, being as 
nearly as possible 1900 miles. The coast-Une, although 
broken on the east side only by the small Chilka lagoon 
near Jaganath, and on the west by the more important 
inlets of the Katch and Cambay Gulf, has a total length 
of nearly 9000 miles. The land fix)ntier is conterminous 

hi;ghlands and plains of india. 231 

for no less than 5600 miles with the surrounding States 
of Baluchistan, Afghanistan, China^ Burma (or Ava, as 
contradistinguished from British Burma), and Siam. 
Within these borders there is an area estimated at 
1,490,000 square miles, with a population, according to 
the census of 1881, of 262,000,000, or about one-sixth 
of mankind 

2. Belief of the Land : The Himalayas — Plateau of the 
Deccan — The Mountains of the Vindhya, the Satpura, 
the Ghats, the NUgiris, the Aravalli. 

A good idea of the general relief of the land will be 
had by supposing it to subside about 500 or 600 feet 
below its present level Such a slight subsidence, alto- 
g^er imperceptible in the northern highlands, would 
haye the effect of flooding all the plains at their base and 
conyerting the rest of the triangular mass into an island, 
shorn of a narrow strip along the east coast, but else- 
wheie almost intact. In other words, the Himalayas in 
the north would continue to present much the same out- 
lines that they now do. The southern region of the 
Deocan also, forming an elevated plateau 2000 to 3000 
feet above the sea, fringed on the north by the Vindhya 
range, and on the west by the Western Ghats, would be 
materially affected only on the east side, where a strip of 
low-lying and partly alluvial coast-lands intervenes between 
the low and interrupted range of the Eastern Ghats. 
But the space occupied by the Indus and Ganges valleys^ 
known emphatically as the " Plains of India," and lying 
nudnly between the Himalayas and the northern scarp of 
the Deccan, would disappear altogether, their place being 
occupied by a broad strait or channel connecting the 
Aiabian Sea with the Bay of BengaL 

That such was the actual condition of things has 


until recently been the generally accepted conclusion of 
geologists, who hold that the Indus and Ganges valleys 
are mainly the alluvia brought down by those great 
rivers and their numerous tributaries from the Himalayas 
and Vindhyas. And although this view is now com- 
bated by Mr. W. T. Blandford, its mere expreasion 
serves to give us a clear conception of the physical geo- 
graphy of India. For we thus see that this r^on con- 
sists of four highland systems — the Himalayas, Vindhyas, 
West and East Ghats ; one vast plain, that of the Indus 
and Ganges valleys ; and one vast plateau, the Deccan. 

From the Great Pamir, focus of the continental 
highland systems, the Himalayas seem to break away 
south-eastwards in three main parallel lines — ^the £lara* 
korum and Eailas or Gangri ranges, enclosing between 
them the valley of the Shayok, and the Himalayas prop^ 
enclosing with the Gangri the Upper Indus valley. The 
Earakorum or northernmost range is known as the Tsung- 
Hng, or Muz<dagh (" Ice Mountains "), to the natives, -who 
reserve the term Karakorum to the pass of that name 
Beginning at the knot of Piisht-Khar in 74** 30' E. long., 
it forms an eastern continuation of the Hindu-Kush, sweep- 
ing round the northern frontier of Kashmir, and stretching 
thence in a south-easterly direction to the neighbourhood 
of the sources of the Indus in Tibet Of its eastern con- 
tinuation beyond the Chang-Chenmo Pass nothing definite 
is known, and it is still uncertain whether it forms a 
connection with the Eailas range about the sources of the 
Indus and San-po, or merges gradually with the Tibetan 
plateau. The highest elevations occur in the section 
between the Karakorum Pass and the Gilgit vaUey, where 
the Dapsang, near the pass (28,000 feet), and the ciest 
marked K^ on the Indian Survey maps (28,278), are, 
next to Moimt Everest, the highest peaks on the globe. 
The northern extremity is broken by long transverse 


'W , 


valleys, while the southern presents much more abrupt 
escarpments towards the Indus valley. 

The general direction of the Muz-dagh from north- 
west to south-east is maintained at a mean elevation of 
18,000 to 19,000 feet for some distance beyond the 
Eaiakorum Pass, after which it trends southwards, and 
again rises to imposing heights along the southern edge 
of the Tibetan plateau. The snow-line seems to rise on 
the north side to 18,000, on the south to 18,600 feet, 
and the E^arakorum Pass leading from the Shayok valley 
to Yarkand is no less than 18,200 feet above sea-levd. 
The Karakorum, rather than the more northern Kuen-lun, 
forms the true water-parting between the inland Asiatic 
and southern drainage. All the streams flowing from 
its southern slopes make their way through the Indus to 
the Indian Ocean, while those rising on its north side 
bdoi^ to the closed basins of Tibet or Eastern Turkestan. 

Noteworthy in tlus alpine region are the numerous 
glaciers, the largest of which is the Baltoro, 33 miles 
long, and flanked on either side by two giant peaks over 
27,000 feet high. Yet, vast as they are, these glaciers 
are mere renmants of the enormous ice and snow fields, 
which formerly covered the whole region of the Western 
Himalayas. These highlands are also exposed to sudden 
floodings, avalanches, and landslips, often causing wide- 
spread ruin in the upland valleys. 

The Himalayas proper — that is, the " Abode of Snow,"^ 
as they have been named by the Aryan inhabitants of the 
plains^ — constitute, if not the largest, by far the most 
elevated highland system on the globe. With a breadth 
varying from 180 to 220 miles, they stretch in a con- 
tinaoos curve of about 1500 miles along the Indo-Tibetan 
frontier between 72'' to 96"* E, long, from the western 

^ Prom the primitiye Aryan root hi, hu, preserved in thQ Greek x^^f^ 
• Latin hiem-^ = winter , storm. 


limits of Kashmir to the eastern extremity of Assam. 
The main direction for nearly two-thirds of the distance 
to Mount Everest (29,002 feet), cidminating point of 
the globe, is north-west and south-east, and thenoe 
nearly due east to the Indo-Chinese fix)ntier. Through- 
out this vast distance a mean elevation is maintained of 
from 17,000 to 19,000 feet, while as many as forty 
peaks are known to exceed 24,000 feet — ^that is, a height 
greater than the loftiest summits of the Andes, or prob- 
ably any other range beyond the Asiatic continent The 
Himalayas, which do not form a single chain, but a 
number of more or leas paraUel ridges, with spurs often 
projecting in various directions, may be r^arded as form- 
ing the southern scarp of the great Central Asiatic table- 
land, towards which they slope gently, while faUing 
abruptly down to the Indian lowlands. Far inland lie 
the inmost ridges, which from the coast cannot be dis- 
tinguished from the more advanced chains and transverse 
sections, often projecting far into the plains, above which 
they rise in a succession of steep rocky barriers to tbe 
Tibetan tableland. The southern foot of the main ridge 
is skirted by the marshy " Tarai," forming a watery hollow 
trough of great depth, extremely favourable to the growth 
of a luxuriant and even rank vegetation, but also perpetu- 
ally shrouded in noxious exhalations rising from the dank 
ground. The Tarai, which traverses the British and Nepal 
frontier for nearly 500 miles east and west, lies at a lower 
depth than the plains from which it is separated by the 
outer and lowest ridges of the system. 

A prominent feature of the Himalayas consists of the 
narrow gorge-like valleys of the advanced spurs, entirely 
destitute of waterfalls, and seldom presenting favourable 
sites for human abodes. But a few of the more gendy 
slopiQg valleys, at elevations of from 6000 to 7000 feet> 
have been chosen for the summer retreats and sanitaria 



of the English officials, and even these are occasionally 
subject to sudden and destructive landslips.^ 

The Himalayas may be divided into a western, a 
central, and an eastern section The first begins at 
Mount Nanga-Parbat (26,629 feet), where the Indus 
saddenly trends southwards between Kashmir and Gilgit. 
Although there are here no well-defined ridges, there are 
several longitudinal valleys between which the Indus and 
otiier livers flow for himdreds of miles before they can 
find an outlet southwards. Here also several peaks, 
besides the Kanga-Parbat, rise above 23,000 feet, the 
Kanda-Devi attaining an elevation of 25,661 feet 

The central section, forming the so-caUed Nepal high- 
lands, and stretching from the source of the Indus to the 
Tista, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, is intersected by 
ntunerous transverse valleys running north and south, 
&nd contains the highest summits on the globe. The 
most conspicuous peaks are the Dhawalagiri (26,826 feet) 
in the west, Gauri-sankar or Mount Everest (29,002) in 
the east, and Kanchinjinga (28,156) north of Darjiling on 
the Sikkim frontier. In the extreme north tower the 
glittering summits of the main chain, forming, as it were, 
the topmost foamy crests of these billow-like formations, 
vhich, after sinking twice to a depth of 10,000 feet, 
again suddenly fall to little over 1000 feet above the 
level of the plains. But before reaching the lowlands 
there is another abrupt rise to from 3000 and 4000 feet, 
fonned by a long sandstone ridge rolling away towards 
the so-called " Bhaver," a dry wooded tract, which in its 
tnm sinks through a succession of long undulations down 
to the TaraL 

The eastern section of the Himalayas, running west 

^ In the year 1880 the station of Naini Tal waa partly destroyed by 

one of these landslips, which partly filled in a lake at the foot of the 



and east through Sikkim, Bhutan, and North Assam, while 
maintainmg a mean elevation of 16,000 feet, presents no 
peaks comparable to the giants of the central and western 
sections. The highest known summit is Chumalazbi 
(23,650 feet). But much of this region still remains 
tmexplored, and the eastern uplands, where the San-po 
suddenly disappears in a profoimd abyss, have never yet 
been visited by European or native surveyors. 

South of the northern plains rises the triangular 
plateau of the Deccan, which has a mean elevation of 
&om 2000 to 3000 feet, with a general incline eastwards 
to the Bay of Bengal The northern scarp of this ex- 
tensive tableland is formed by the Amarkantale Vin- 
dhya range, whose secondary sandstone formations are 
continued north-eastwards beyond Panna and Rewah 
nearly to the Ganges below Benares. Here is the vaster- 
parting between the streams flowing north to the Granges 
basin and west to the Arabian Sea. The left bank of the 
Sone, which joins the Ganges above Patna, is skirted by 
the Khaimur range, separated by a broken plateau from 
the Panna ridge, which traverses Bundelkhand, and is 
noted for the deep gorges and isolated crags on its nortih- 
westem slopes. 

The steep southern slopes of the Vindhyas present 
the aspect of a weather-beaten coast-line, as if the valley 
of the Kerbadda now flowing at their base had once 
formed a deep inlet of the sea. This valley is separated 
southwards from that of the Tapti Biver by the parallel 
Satpura range, which runs east — from the classic Amar- 
kantak, the source of the Nerbadda — westwards for 
nearly 600 miles at a mean elevation of 3000 feet, and 
culminates with the Pachmarhi hills (4500 feet), rising 
abruptly from the Nerbadda valley at Dhupgarh, east of 

This culminating point of Central India is one of the 

THE 6HAT3. 237 

most hallowed regions in the Hindn world. Here is the 
renowned shrine of Siva, the Mahadeo, or *" Great God/' a 
tenn sometimes applied to the whole range. The road 
from Jilpa^ the last village on the plains, lies throagh a 
romantic region that has been vividly described by J. 
Foisyth. After crossing the jungle it surmounts the 
scotp of the Pachmarhi plateau, which presents the aspect 
of a beautiful English landscape ; and here, through breaks 
in the dense woodlands, a first glimpse is had of three 
isolated peaks all aglow in the fiery sunset, and standing 
out from the purple clouds banked up in the background. 
East of the plateau the rocky heights descend from an 
altitude of 2000 feet down to the vast level forest of 
Sal, while the scarps of the plateau are furrowed with 
mysterious abysses, one of which, the sacred and almost 
inaccessible Jambo-Dwip, forms an awe-inspiring natural 
marvel on the path of the pious pilgrim. These wood- 
lands are the home of the bison and " sanbar," prince 
of red deer. 

East of Asirgarh the Bombay- Allahabad Bail way, and 
the main highway to Central India, cross this chain at a 
depression 1240 feet above the sea. But west of this 
point the system is continued to the Western Ghats by a 
highland tract 40 to 60 miles broad, with a mean height 
of 2000 feet, and several peaks from 3000 to 4000 feet 

The Western Ghats begin inmiediately south of the 
Kandeish valley, which separates them from the Satpura 
Mountains. From this point the Ghats — that is '' Passes'' 
— nm close to the coast along the western edge of the 
Beccan southwards to the Nilgiri hills, where they meet 
the Eastern Ghats. The prevailing formation is trap, 
&nd indurated lava in the northern and central parts, 
cnhninating with the Mahabaleshwar Peak (4800 feet), 
and succeeded by sandstones and granites in the southern 
part Like most coast ranges, the Ghats slope gently 



inland towards the central tableland, but fall abnipdj 
down to the narrow strip of lowlands separating them 
from the sea. Here they are scored by the beds of deep 
watercourses, which in the rainy season are flooded hj 
foaming torrents rushing over precipices and romantic 
waterfalls down to the coast From the Tapti valley to 
the Nilgiris the Ghats maintain a mean elevation of 
about 4000 feet at a uniform distance of 30 to 40 miles 
from the sea. 

The Nilgiris, or ** Blue Hills," which culminate with 
the Dodabetta (8760 feet), form the converging point of 
the Western and Eastern Ghats, by which the plateau of 
the Deccan is enclosed. They cover an area of 700 
square miles, and are noted especially for their genial 
and healthy climate, rendering them a favourite resort of 
Europeans enfeebled by the enervating heats of the plains. 

The Eastern difTer from the Western Ghats chiefly in 
three respects. They are much less elevated, with a 
mean height of scarcely more than 1500 feet; they do 
not form a continuous chain, being broken up into dis- 
tinct sections by the valleys of the Godavari, Kistna> and 
other streams flowing to tiiie Bay of Bengal ; lastly, thej 
run at a much greater distance from the coast, the inter- 
vening lowlands averaging from 50 to 80 miles. They 
stretch from the Mahanaddy Biver valley near Kattak 
for about 500 miles south-eastwards to the nucleus of tbe 
Nilgiris, beyond which they fall abruptly southwards to 
the so-called '' Gap," a narrow, deep, transverse fissuie} 
scarcely 400 feet above sea-leveL North of the Grodavaii 
the Eastern Ghats attain an elevation of over 6000 feet 

South of the Nilgiris the Palni hills to the west of 
Madura are crowned by peaks 6500 and 7100 feet 
These hills, like the Western Ghats, are extremely salu- 
brious, and form a sanitarium for Europeans. 

Beyond the above-mentioned ""Gap," the extrmty 


of the peninsula is occupied by the independent system 
of the Cardamum Mountains from about the 8th parallel 
to Cape Comorin. In these highlands, which culminate 
in the lofty Anamalli hills (9700 feet), are found the 
highest elevations south of the Himalayas. They seem to 
be connected with the mountain system of Ceylon by 
''Adam's Bridge/' a chain of locky islets stretching 
between the Gulf of Manaar and Pidk Strait from the 
mainland to the northern extremity of the island. 

There remains to be noticed the somewhat isolated 
Aiavaili range, running north-east and south-west across 
the £ajputana country, which they separate into two 
liatoial divisions — desert plains in the north-west, fertile 
and well-watered rolling lands in the south-east At 
their southern extremity is the somewhat detached Mount 
Abu (5653 feet), highest point of the system, which has 
a mean elevation of about 2000 feet Between Meywar 
and Marwar, where they rise to 4330 feet near the 
village of Jargo, the hills are crossed by the Dasuri Pass, 
which is alone practicable for wheeled traffic. The 
isolated character of the Aravalli range would be made 
evident by the already suggested subsidence of 600 feet, 
when they would appear as a long narrow rocky island 
ftbont midway between the Baluch and Yindhya hills at 
the western entrance of the strait connecting the Arabian 
Sea and Bay of BengaL 

3. Hydrography : The Indus, Ganges, Brahmapvira, 
Godavari, Kistna, Nerbadda, and Tapti Rivers. 

In its water system, as in many other respects, India 
Presents a most striking contrast to the Iranian tableland. 
While this arid upland region is characterised chiefly by 
au inland drainage, and by a deficiency of large rivers, 
the Indian peninsula has absolutely no inland drainage 


at all, and possesses, in proportion to its size, a greater 
number of streams, all flowing seawards, than perhaps 
any other country in Asia. In the north nearly all 
these streams are collected into three vast systems, flow- 
ing either through the Indus to the Arabian Sea, or 
through the Ganges to the Bay of Bengal, or through the 
Brahmaputra and its affluent the Megna to the same bay. 
Even the Brahmaputra forms no exception to this general 
disposition, for its numerous channels are mingled with 
those of the Ganges delta before reaching the coast But 
in the southern plateau of the Deccan there are ahnost 
as many river mouths as there are rivers, most of the 
large streams here forming separate systems, and finding 
their way in independent channels to the sea. This is 
true not only of the Mahanadi, Godavari, Kistna, Pemiar, 
Kavari, and others, draining eastwards to the Bay of 
Bengal, but also of the Nerbadda, the Tapti, and the 
innumerable little mountain torrents rushing from the 
Western Ghats to the Arabian Sea. Thus it happens 
that, whereas the coast north of the Yindhya hills is 
broken only by the Indus and Ganges-Brahmaputra deltas, 
the southern seaboard is scored by at least fifty wate^ 
courses from the mouth of the Nerbadda to that of the 
Mahanadi At the same time the volume of water sent 
seawards through the two great northern deltas is vastlj 
greater than that of all the southern estuaries combinei 
The Indus, like nearly all the great Asiatic rivers, 
has its farthest sources, not on the seaward slopes of the 
outer range, but behind the Himalayan escarpment of 
the Tibetan tableland itself. It rises on the north side 
of the Kailas range in 31** 20', 82° R, near the sources 
of the Satlaj and San-po, and within 60 miles of the 
Kamali, £EUthest head -stream of the Ganges. The 
Indus flows first north-west through Ladak between 
the Kailas and main Himalayan range nearly to Gil- 

THE INDU& 241 

git, in 36** N., 76° R Here it txrends sharply south- 
wards, maintaining this direction for the rest of its 
course through the Panjab and Sind to its delta in the 
Arabian Sea between Eatch and Karachi. In its upper 
coarse it receives no important tributary except the 
Shayok joining its right bank firom the Earakorum 
ranga But on emerging from the Himalayas it 
collects all the southern drainage of the Hindu-Kush 
dirough the Kabul Biver, which joins its right bank at 
Attock, almost on the frontier of British India. Lower 
down it receives the waters of the Suliman uplands 
mainly through the Kuram and Gomul Bivers. But the 
chief accession to its volume is from the united waters of 
the Jhelum, Chenab, Bavi, and Satlaj, all flowing from 
the western Himalayas and through the Panjnad joining 
the left bank of the main stream at Mithun-Kot in the 
Derajat^ towards the Sind frontier. These four great 
triimtaries, with the Indus itself, give their name to the 
Panjab — that is, the "Five Waters" — beyond which 
province the united stream receives no further affluents. 

It is remarkable that throughout its entire course of 
1800 miles the Indus flows by no important towns, the 
only places of any consequence on its banks being Sakkar 
on its right bank, with the opposite town of Bori on the 
left bank, and Hyderabad near the head of its delta. 
Multan, Lahore, Amritsar, Wazirabad, and all the other 
^ge cities in its basin, which has a total area of 
373,000 square miles, lie not on the main stream, but 
on or near the Chenab or other great tributaries. This 
fact may seem remarkable, inasmuch as the Indus was 
tbe first great stream occupied by the Aryans during their 
migrations from the north-west into the peninsula. The 
leal cause is the shifting character of the banks below 
Ealabagh. During the rainy season the Indus is sub- 
ject to sudden inundations which spread for miles along 



both banks, often causing great devastation, and pie- 
venting the foundation even of villages in its immediate 

From its source to the sea the Indus has a total M 
of about 18,000 feet — ^that is, 8000 to Leh in Ladak, 
9000 between that place and Attock, 1000 thence to 
the coast, a distance of nearly 950 miles. Hence thej 
current in the upper reaches is extremely rapid, and eve 
below Attock it runs at the rate of 6 miles an hoi 
mostly between high clififs as far as Kalabagh. Here ftj 
enters the plains, suddenly widening to an avi 
breadth of from a half to over one mile, with a meaa] 
velocity of rather less than 3 miles cm hour. At low^j 
water the tides are felt for nearly 80 miles from 
mouth, and the Indus, like most of its great tnl 
is navigable to the foot of the hills for li^t 
The delta is very extensive, reaching inland to Hy< 
and from Karachi to the Bann of Katch, or about 
miles both ways. The mean annual discharge 
the mouths or through irrigating canals is estimi 
over 150 billion tons, being about 41,000 cubic feofci 
second in December, and fully ten times that qi 
during the August floods. 

Although taking their name &om the Indus, 
Hindus still regard the Ganges as pre-eminently the 
river of India. And in this they are so far justified 
although of shorter length than the Indus, it has a 
area of drainage, comprised entirely within the limits oT 
the peninsula. For the Granges differs in this respect 
from the other great Asiatic streams, that it rises, not 
behind the scarp of the plateau, but on the seaward face 
of the higher Himalayan range. Its two chief head- 
streams, the Bhagirati and Alaknanda, flow from an 
immense m£tss of snow 14,000 feet above the sea in the 
native Garwhal district, 31** N., 79" R After a southeriy 


conne of about 80 miles the two stteamii unite a little 
above Haidwar, 30° S., where thsy boist throngb the 
outer baiher of the Himalayas, thenceforth flowing in a 
aonth-eaaterlj direction through the rich alluvial plain of 
Northern India to the head of the Bay of Bengal 

In the same district of Garwhal rises its great tribu- 
tary, the Jamno, which pursues a nearly parallel course 
south of it to their junction at Allahabad. The Jamna 
carries to the commoa artery the drainage of Eajputana, 
Sindhia, and Bandelkand, collected by the Chambal, 



Betwa, and Ken, all of which join its right bank below 
Agra. Below the junction the united stream still oon- 
tinues to receive several large affluents, of which the 
chief are the S6n from the south, the Gumti, Gogn, 
Gandak, and Kiisi, from the Himalayas. At Hardwar 
the Ganges has a discharge of 7000 cubic feet per 
second, in the cold season, when the water is at its 
lowest, which at Benares has increased to 19,000, ^tli 
a breadth in the rainy season of 3000 feet and a m 
of 43. 

For about 500 miles from its mouth it maintains a 
nearly uniform depth of about 30 feet, and a width of over 
one mile, while the fall from Hardwar to the sea scaicdj 
exceeds 1000 feet Hence the Ganges would afford one 
of tlie finest water highways to be found in any countey 
but for the troublesome and even sometimes dangerous 
navigation of its shallow tortuous channel and numeious 
mouths. Of these the southernmost and most frequented 
is the Hugli, which gives access to large vessels for 100 
miles as far as Calcutta. Beyond this point large boats 
ascend for upwards of 1000 miles along the main streflm, 
and for perhaps five times that distance along its numerous 
tributaries, northwards to the Himalayas, southwards to 
the Vindhyas. " The navigation of the Brahmaputra and 
its affluents, of the Lower Ganges and its many brandiesy 
is quite magnificent, and offers probably one of the finest 
spectacles of its kind to be seen in the world. Not 
only every trader and landholder keeps many vessels, 
but every cultivator or peasant has his boats, and 
almost every labourer his canoe; thus the craft maj 
be reckoned by hundreds of thousands. At several 
points on the great rivers the vessels congregate for 
several months consecutively, and form floating citaei 
and marts, where many thousands temporarily dwell 
where much barter takes place, where monetary trans- 



actions are arranged, and banking business is done " {Sir 
R Tmple)} 

The united Ganges -Brahmaputra delta is of vast 
extent^ probably the largest in the world, and of most 
complicate character, witii the annual inundations con- 
stantly shifting its channels, and continually advancing 
towards the sea, which it discolours for a distance of 60 
miles with over 235,000,000 cubic yards of matter 
yearly brought down to the coast The delta extends 
for over eighty miles along the Bay of Bengal, and 
reach^ for 200 miles inland, discharging through its in- 
numerable channels 100,000 cubic feet per second during 
the dry and 500,000 during the wet season from April 
to August At this time there is a rise of 32 feet above 
its ordinary level, which is sufScient to flood the whole 
country for 100 miles about the junction of the Ganges 
and Brahmaputra, leaving nothing visible except the tree- 
tops and the villages built on mounds raised above the 
bighest level of the floods. Besides these inundations 
the delta is exposed to cyclones and to the phenomenon 
known as the ** Bore," when a tidal wave five to ten feet 
high rushes up the Hugli with a roar at the rate of 18 
miles an hour, often causing a rise of several feet as far 
up as Calcutta, or even 20 miles above it 

The upper course of the Brahmaputra still remains 
one of the most interesting geographical problems await- 
ing solution. The recent explorations of the natives 
employed by the Indian Survey Ofl&ce have certainly gone 
&r to confirm the generally accepted view that the San-po 
of Tibet, the Dihong of Assam, and the Brahmaputra, 
form a continuous water highway, which has been traced 
throughout its whole course with the exception of a small 
gap, where the San-po plunges into a ravine and traverses 
a still unexplored region of the Himalayas. 

^ India in 1880, p. 319. 


Although belonging properly to Tibetan geography h 
will be convenient here to deal with the San-po/ as 
forming in all probability the tnie upper course of the 
Brahmaputra. Its source has not been visited, but &om 
information obtained by the Pundit's journey in 1865, it 
may be fixed with tolerable certainty in 82"* K, SO"" 35' 
N., at a height of nearly 16,000 feet above sea-level, a 
little east of Lake Mansaraur, source of the Satlaj. Hub 
lake with the £akus-tal partly fills the depression between 
Mounts Gurla and Kailas sources of the Ganges and 
Indus. Between the lake and the San-po the wate^ 
parting is very low ; yet it suffices to send the Satlaj on 
a journey of 1000 miles to join the Indus on its wajto 
the Arabian Sea, and the San-po for 1800 miles in the 
opposite direction to the Ganges delta. 

Flowing first eastwards along the northern base d 
the inner Himalayan range, the San-po receives seveni 
tributaries on both banks, and near Shigatze it tren^ 
north-east with a huge bend, the apex of which lies above 
the intersection of the 94th meridian with the 30th 
parallel It then turns south-east, passes through the 
above-described gorge in the Himalayas, and apparently 
reappears about 100 miles lower down as the Dihocgof 
Assam. The unexplored gap is occupied by fierce and 
lawless tribes, whose hostile spirit, combined with the 
rugged character of the land, has hitherto defeated ev&j 
effort to penetrate into this region, and clear up the 
mystery by actual observation. 

Near the Buddhist monastery of Tadum (13,000 feet 
above the sea), where the Mariam-la route enters its 
valley, tiie San-po is already navigable for light craft; 
but lower down the navigation is obstructed at several 

^ The word, which in Tibetan means " holy watar/' ocean ifl * 
great yariety of forms, such as Tsangbo, Tsamho, TsanpOy Dzangbo^ SunpOi 
Sambo, Sampu, Sanpo, Sanpo, etc. 


points by shoals and rapids. It is also crossed by ferries 
and by light suspension bridges at many places where 
the stream is narrowed by projecting bluffs. At Chetang, 
a httle below the junction of the Elichu from Lassa and 
600 miles from its source, it is as large as the Khine, and 
in the dry season 1400 feet wide, with a discharge of 
about 30,000 cubic feet per second, which during the 
summer rains is probably increased to over 700,000. Yet 
it is still uncertain what becomes of this vast body of 
water. For even accepting without reserve the theory, 
HoA it is the true upper course, not of the Irawady or 
Salwen, but of the Brahmaputra, a mystery still hangs 
over the true connecting link by which the junction is 
effected in Assam. The balance of opinion, however, 
inclines in favour of the Dihong or western branch, 
although the claims of the Dubong, Subansiri, or Lohit, 
are still advocated by some well-known names. Hence 
it will be wise to suspend opinion in the hope of some 
dedsive information being obtained. For instance, it 
remains to be seen whether the logs and stems of trees 
numbered by order of the Indian Survey Office and 
thrown into the San-po in Tibet, will ultimately reach 
the Assam valley or the Irawady.^ 

But even independently of the San-po, the Brahma- 
putra proper represents a vast river system, filling the 
whole of the Assam valley, where it collects the waters 
of the Eastern Himalayas from the north, and those of 
the Naga, Ehassia, and Garo hills, firom the south and 
east Here its chief affluents are the Dubong, Subansiri, 
I^bit, or Brahmakunda, the latter of which was long re- 
garded as its true upper source. The main stream flows 
through the centre of Assam, nearly due west, to the 90th 
meridian, where it turns sharply to the south to the 

' Unfortaiuitely the attempt made by a natiye gorveyor in 1881 to 
■oWt the problem from the Irawady side seems to hsTe failed* 



already described Ganges delta. Including the San-po, 
it has a total course of 1800 miles, an estimated aiea of 
drainage of rather over 360,000 square miles, and a mesn 
discharge of 146,000 cubic feet per second in the diy 
season. But this discharge is vastly increased during the 
summer months, when the incessant rains of this wateiy 
region convert the river into a great inland sea, flooding 
the whole of the Assam lowlands, and cutting off all 
communication except by boats and causeways raised 10 
or 12 feet above the level of the roads. 

In the Deccan six considerable rivers find their way 
in independent channels to the coast — the Nerbadda and 
Tapti westwards to the Arabian Sea; the Mahanaddy, Goda- 
vari, Eistna (Krishna), and Eavari, eastwards to the Bay 
of Bengal. Of these by far the largest are the Godavari 
and Eistna, which are 900 and 800 miles respectively, 
and jointly drain the greater part of the region between 
the 14th and 2 2d parallels, representing a total area of 
over 206,000 square miles. They both have their 
farthest head-streams on the slopes of the Western Ghats, 
whence they follow nearly parallel winding comses 
through the Bombay Presidency and the Nizam's Do- 
minions. As they approach the Eastern Ghats, the main 
streams gradually converge, and after traversing the 
narrowest part of the Madras Presidency, they enter the 
sea through two large deltas, which, during the floods, 
overflow into the intervening Lake Colair. This lake, or 
lagoon, which is the largest in India, is 47 miles long by 
14 broad, and is entirely formed by the overflow of the 
Godavari and Eistna^ whose lower courses between the 
Ghats and the coast are dammed by enormous dykes and 
connected by an extensive system of canalisation avail- 
able both for irri^tion and navigation purposes. 

A somewhat similar parallelism is observed by the 
Nerbadda and Tapti, whose valleys are separated by the 


Satpara range. The two streams rise £rom the Satpuia 
range in the very heart of the peninsula, and gradually 
conveige towards their respective estuaries near BanSch 
and at Suiat in the Gulf of Cambay. Tlie Nerbadda pre- 
sents scenes of enchanting beauty, especially in its upper 
leaches about Jabalpur. Here it winds for a short dis- 
tance with a narrow transparent stream of greenish-blue 
waters, between two glittering walls of snow-white marble, 
with here and there a vein of dark-green or black basaltic 
lock considerably heightening the effect of the marble. 
Near its mouth a fine prospect is also commanded from 
the noble railway bridge which crosses the estuary at 
BaiocL Although much obstructed by rapids, it is navi- 
gable by boats for 250 miles to the falls of DarL It has 
a length of 800 miles, or about double that of the Tapti, 
and the united drainage of these two rivers is somewhat 
over 63,000 square miles. 

4. Main Natwral and Political DvoisfUms, 

To the three main physical divisions of the peninsula 
correspond, on the whole, its three great political admi- 
nistrations. Thus the northern highlands and lowland 
plains are mostly comprised in the Presidency of Bengal 
with its dependent feudatory States, while the southern 
plateau of the Deccan is divided between the Presidencies 
of Bombay and Madras, the former embracing the Western 
Ghats and Malabar coast-lands, the latter including the 
Eastern Ghats and Goromandel coast -lands. Through 
the nniyersal acceptance of British rule the whole region 
^ also in recent times acquired a general political unity, 
answering to such general physical unity as is derived 
. &om its peninsular form and tropical climate. But 
heneath this broad uniformity we are everywhere con- 
fronted with a dualism, betrayed especially in the social, 



religioTis, and political worlds. Thus we find a society 
based on caste intermingled with communities which 
ignore all class distinctions — Brahmanism invaded evai 
in its most hallowed precincts by Islam ; territoiy adminis- 
tered directly by the paramount power everywhere in 
contact with tributary and even with semi-independent 

In the northern highlands, besides the independent 
States of Bhutan and Nepal, we have the semi-inde- 
pendent feudatory States of Sikkim, Garwhal (Tu*hi), and 
Kashmir, collectively occupying most of the southern 
slopes of the inner Himalayan ranges. These States are 
attached to the Presidency of Bengal, an expression the 
original meaning of which has become considerably 
modified. Bengal is still understood to comprise aU the 
British territory not included in either of the other two 
Presidencies of Bombay and Madras. But as a matter 
of fact the Bengal Presidency is itself now subdivided 
into nine distinct administrations (including the three 
lieutenant-Grovemorships), which, with those of the two 
southern Presidencies and attached Native States, will be 
found fully tabulated at the end of this chapter. 

KashTnir and Jo/ttvniu, 

In the extreme north-west the basin of the Upper 
Indus, probably the grandest alpine region in the world, 
is almost entirely comprised in the territory of the feuda- 
tory prince Golab Singh, Maharajah of Janunu and Kash- 
mir. This State, which by the treaty of Amritsar, March 
16, 1846, accepted the paramount sovereignty of England, 
embraces within its borders a great variety of climatic, 
physical, and ethnical conditions, stretching as it does 
from the hot plains of the Panjab for 280 miles to the 
eternal snows and glaciers of the Western Himalayan and 


frontier Karakorum ranges, and from the Hindu -Kush 
for 400 miles east to Tibet. It is essentially a highland 
region, almost everywhere mountainous, but having one 
splendid valley (Kashmir), broad, long, and populous. 
Moreover, there are many broad upland valleys, extremely 
fertile, well sheltered by the towering Himalayan crests 
from the northern blasts, and watered by copious streams 
all draining to the Indus or to its tributaries. 

Physically speaking, the whole coimtry may be divided 
into three zones, rising in successive terraces from the 
Panjab lowlands to the Karakorum range. The lowest 
and southernmost of these zones comprises the more 
advanced hilly districts with a mean elevation of 2250 
feet above sea-leveL This is succeeded by the central 
zone between the Himalayas proper and the Kailas 
range, from 7000 to 9000 feet high, beyond which 
follows the truly alpine region of Baltistan, or " Little 
Tibet," between the Kailas and Karakorum, with a mean 
elevation of 11,000 feet, and culminating with the 
nameless peak K', 28,278 feet, next to Everest the 
highest point on the globe. Here also are the Baltoro 
and many other glaciers, which, vast as they are, seem to 
be but the poor remains of the prodigious icefields which 
mnst have formerly covered the whole region of the 
Himalayas. The melting of the snows in the fierce 
summer sun, combined with the precipitous slopes and 
the silent action of tmderground waters, exposes all 
these upland valleys to sudden floodings, avalanches, and 
landsUps, often causing widespread ruin. 

In the central zone lies the lovely vale of Kashmir, 
4500 square miles in extent, hemmed in on all sides by 
snow-dad peaks and watered by the Jhelum, which in its 
placid ¥rinding course flows through the Wular and 
several other beautiful lakes. Thus pent up, and witih 
an elevation of over 5000 feet above the sea, this 



romantic valley presents somewhat the appearance of a 
vast cirque with a narrow southern outlet, through which 
the Jhdum escapes towards the Indus. Kashmir has 
ever been the theme of Eastern song, an earthly Eden, 
where prevails a perennial spring, and of which the 
Mogul emperor, Shah Jahan, was wont to say that he 
would prefer to sacrifice all his vast Indian dominions 
rather than be deprived of this delightful retreat Here 
the picturesque elements are . the snowy peaks, the 
romantic gorges, the numerous lakes, streams, and water- 
falls, the magnificent woodlands, and rich flowery meads, 
— a combination of natural beauties scarcely to be found 
elsewhere concentrated in an equal area. 

Of the numerous passes leading into the Kashmir 
valley, and practicable for pack animals, the chief are the 
Banihal (9700 feet) from the south, the Punch (8500) 
from the west, and the Pir Panjal (11,500) from Gujarat 
in the Panjab. The present Maharajah seems no doubt 
busy with reforms of all sorts, and holds open weekly 
courts accessible to the humblest of his subjects. But 
the land tax and other parts of the fiscal administration 
are not thought to be successful on the whole, and the 
valley has suffered from fearful visitations of famine and 
pestilence. The famous fabrics and other indigenous 
products of the valley are maintained in all or nearly all 
their beauty, but the trade as a whole is hardly increasing. 
The shawl- weavers receive very low wages, and are pro- 
hibited either from leaving the country or changing their 
occupation. The finest goats' hair used in the manufac- 
ture of these shawls comes, not from the country itself^ 
but from Turfan in Tarkand. 

About one-third of the whole population, or 500,000 
souls, are concentrated in the vale of Kashmir, which 
might easily support a much larger number. Female 
infanticide probably exists in the sub-Himalayan tracts, 

NEPAL. 263 

and till recently " suttee," or widow-burning, was still 
practised in Jammu, where it was more fanatically en- 
forced than elsewhere in India. 


South-east of Kashmir follow the Native States of 
Garwhal (Tihri), Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan, occupying 
most of the southern slopes of the Himalayas nearly to 
the great southern bend of the San-po, where it disappears 
in the North Assam highlands. The central section is 
almost exclusively comprised in the nominally independent 
kingdom of Nepal bordering east on Sikkim and Darjiling, 
west and south on British territory. Nepal thus consists 
of a comparatively narrow strip 550 miles long and 160 
bioad, limited northwaids by the crests of the inner 
Himalayan range (here culminating with Gkturisankar, 
the highest peak on the globe), and falling in a series of 
five continuously diminishing terraces and deep interven- 
ing troughs down to the Indian plains. One of these 
troughs is the already described Tarai, which sinks even 
to a lower level than the open plains, and forms the chief 
physical feature along its southern border. In some places 
it is overgrown with a low jungle, very sparsely inhabited, 
while it consists elsewhere of uninhabitable wastes covered 
with a coarse growth of grass. Some parts of the Tarai 
frontier, however, are very fertile. The heart of the 
country comprises a delightfully well-watered and pro- 
ductive caldron-shaped valley, in which is situated Kat- 
mandu, capital of the State. 

Nepal, which is despotically ruled by a hereditary 
minifiter of the warlike Ghurka tribe, under a titular 
Maharaja, abounds in mineral wealth, including copper, 
iron, lead, arsenic, and sulphur. The principal valley of 
Katmandu is well known ; it is a sort of second Kashmir. 


Beyond that, the interior is veiy little kno¥m, and sadi 
is the jealousy of the Groyeniment that no Englishman is 
allowed to pass beyond the Katmandu valley imder any 
pretext Hence no surveys have here been yet carried 
out, and the British Government is still without exact 
information regarding the relations between Nepal and 
China. A mission bearing presents of a prescribed value 
is said to proceed every five years from Katmandu to 
Pekin, although Nepal, while independent in internal 
administration, is in the position of a feudatory State to 


A somewhat similar position is held by the adjoining 
petty State of Sikkim, stretching for 52 miles between 
Nepal and Bhutan, and for 66 between Tibet and India. 
Physically, Sikkim forms an eastern continuation of 
Nepal, from which, however, it is separated by a lofty 
transverse ridge of the Himalayas, 11,000 to 12,000 
feet high, and culminating northwards with Mount Kubra 
(24,015 feet). The crest of this ridge is so sharply 
defined that it may be traversed for 40 or 50 miles at a 
uniform level almost without a break. But politically, 
Sikkim owes allegiance both to Tibet and India The 
Bajah, who resides at Tamlang (Tumlong), on the Indian 
side of the Chola range, in winter, and in summer in the 
Chumbi valley on the Tibetan side, accepts allowances 
from both countries, about £200 from Lhassa, and £1200 
from Calcutta, the latter grant being made on the condi- 
tion of his affording every facility for the trade between 
the two countries. He is, however, absolutely a feudatory 
of the British Empire. The Chumbi valley, traversed by 
the Am-mo-chu, a head-stream of the Brahmaputra, is a 
south-eastern corner of Tibet, wedged in between Sikkim 
and Bhutan, near a lovely lacustrine district in east 


BHUTAN. 255 

Sikkim. The lakelets^ which lie at elevations of 10,000 
to 16,000 feet at both sides of the border range, are mostly 
tarns or closed basins, evidently due to glacier action. 


StQl less known than Nepal is the State of Bhutan, 
lying mainly between Tibet and Assam, east, north, and 
south, and stretching from Sikkim for 400 miles east- 
wards to the unexplored region separating the San-po 
bom the Dihong. The surface is intersected by two 
parallel ranges intervening between the inner Himalayas 
and Assam, the first enclosing a bleak and almost unin- 
habitable tableland ; the second skirting the '' Buars," a 
fertile tract ceded in 1866 to the British in return for a 
yeailj subvention. 

In the north the country is extremely wild, but else- 
where Bhutan affords some of the grandest and most 
lonuintic scenery in the world. 

In the more sheltered districts Bhutan produces 
nuUet, wheat, and rice in abundance. But it is mostly 
uninhabited, with a population of scarcely more than 
300,0 (?) altogether. It is nominally ruled by the Dharm 
Baja, a sort of incarnate Buddha. But the real head of 
the State is the Deb Raja, elected every three years by 
the Penlows or chiefs from their own body. Commercial 
lelations are confined mainly to Tibet and Assam, to 
which countries musk, madder, coarse cloth, and horses, 
^ exported in exchange for cottons, woollens, tea, gold, 
silver, and embroidered work. The capital, Punakha or 
Bosen, occupies a position of great natural strength on 
the Bugni Kiver, 96 miles north-east of Darjiling. But 
a better-known place is Tasichozong (Tassisudon), on the 
Gadada Biver, centre of the peculiar form of Lamaism 
picvalent in the country. 



India Proper — The Panjdh. 

From the foregoing account of the highland northeni 
States, it appears that the Himalayas still belong to some 
extent politically, as they mostly do physically and 
ethnically, rather to Central Asia than to India proper. 
They form, in fact, the outer and southernmost barrier of 
the great Central Asiatic tableland, and although Indian 
influences and elements of race are here everywhere more 
or less perceptible, the bulk of the Himalayan aborigines 
belong not to the Aryan, but to the Tibetan Mongoloid 
stock. Hence the Indian peninsula may be said properlj 
to begin with the plains, which stretch along the base of 
the great northern barrier from the eastern scarp of the 
Iranian plateau to the Bay of Bengal 

These plains are wholly comprised in the Indus and 
Ganges basins, and lie nearly altogether in the Presidency 
of Bengal In the extreme west, however, the lower 
portion of the Indus valley, embracing the province of 
Sind, is exceptionally included in the Bombay Presidency. 
But higher up the whole of the Indus valley, as far as the 
Hindu-Kush and Kashmir uplands,is included in the Panjab 
Province, one of the separate administrations of the Bengal 
Presidency. In the north this province is very hilly, com- 
prising several ranges separating the upper courses of the 
large rivers between the Janma and the Indua In the 
extreme north-west the hills beyond the Indus form a sort 
of connecting link, broken by the Kabul River valley, 
between the Himalayas and the Suliman range, which 
skirts the province along its western border for 
nearly 400 miles. Farther south the open plains 
fall very gradually from an elevation of about 1600 to 
200 feet above tlie sea at the confluence of the Indus, 
with its united tributaries. Here the riverain tracts are 
generally extremely productive, whereas the so-called 


" doabs," or " two-waters *' — that is, the spaces enclosed 
between the great rivers, which give their name to the 
province — often consist of mere wildernesses of scrub 
and jungle, but generally a£ford extensive pasture for 
cattle, camels, sheep, and goats. The country between the 
Indus and Jhelum is generally rugged, cultivated in parts 
only, and thinly inhabited, intersected by the Salt ranges 
with a mean elevation of 3000 feet, and culminating 
with the Sakesar peak, 5010 feet On these heights the 
salt frequently crops out, and there are several large salt 
deposits. West of the Indus the range is continued 
under the name of the Kalabagh hills as far as the Suli- 
man highlands, and the long narrow alluvial strip between 
these highlands and the river is known as the Upper and 
Lower Derajat. 

Besides Kashmir there are over thirty Native States 
attached to the Panjab. Among the most important of 
these is Bahawalpur, occupying a strip about 17,000 
square miles in extent between Bajputana on the south- 
east, and the Satlaj, Panjnad, and Indus on the north- 
west Practically the most important are the so-called 
Phulkhian States (Patiala, Jhind,, and Nabha), with a 
joint area of 7500 square miles in the hilly and plain 
tracts between Delhi and Lahore. ITorth of these are the 
" Simla Hill States," traversed by the Upper Satlaj, and 
leaching eastwards to the Tibetan frontier. ITone of 
&ese are of any size except Basfthar (Sampur), which 
baa an area of over 3000 square miles. 


The southern province of Sind, although, as stated, 
included administratively in the Bombay Presidency, 
cannot be separated physically from the Panjab. They 
both merge eastwards in the Eajputana wastes, and the 



western parts of the Sind lowlands still consist of water- 
less steppes yielding little beyond a scanty pastnie for 
herds of buffaloes^ asses, and camels. Even in the more 
productive Indus delta barren and swampy tracts m 
everywhere intermingled with the cultivated fields. 

With but few exceptions, the cultivation in this po- 
vince depends on a large series of canals drawn from tk 
Indus, which river is to Sind what the Nile is to Egypt 
and has caused the province to be called "the lesser 
Egypt" These channels are filled when the river liss 
in the summer and are dry when it subsides in tk 

The whole of this low-lying delta region is for a long 
way up stream exposed to the inundations of the Indus, 
which reach east to the "Thar" or great Eajputani 
desert, and west to the foot of the Baluchistan hilh 
East of the delta the Gulf of Katch penetrates far in- 
land, skirting the north side of the Gujarat or Eattywar 
peninsula, and gradually merging in the so-called "Banss' 
of Katch. These remarkable formations, consisting of two 
portions, the Great and Little Bann, with a total area d 
9000 square miles, become sandy, saline swamps, and 
inland lagoons or arms of the sea, according to the aeasoa 
of the year. When flooded they connect the Gulfs of 
Eatch and Cambay, thus converting the Native States d 
Gujarat into an island. Northwards they are confined 
by the Allahband — ^that is, the dam or mound of AUali. 
and both dam and lake owe their existence to an earth- 
quake which occurred in the year 1819. 


In most coloured maps of the peninsula a large spaos 
towards the north-west will be noticed marked off fron 
British territory proper, as belonging to Native States. 



In the veiy centre of this region is the small British 
enclave of Ajmir-Merawa, about 2700 square miles in 
extent, which is administered by a British officer. It 
consists partly of an elevated plateau, partly of a pic- 
taresqae hilly district at the northern extremity of the 
Aiavalli range, and is politically distinct from the sur- 
rounding plains ; for with the exception of this endave 
ihe whole of the region in question is divided amongst a 
laige nnmber of feudatory Native States attached to the 
Bengal Presidency. These States are disposed in two 
distinct geographical and political groups, under the 
contiol of the Bajputana and Central Indian Agencies 

The Bajputana Agency has a total area of no less than 
129,000 square nules, and is bounded north-west by the 
Panjab and Sind, north-east by the North-West Provinces, 
Bonth-west by Sind and Gujarat, south-east by the Central 
Indian Agency. Bajputana is divided by the Aravalli 
range into two unequal parts, of which the north-western 
or laTger consists to a great extent of sandy, arid, and un- 
productive wastes, with some arable and even fertile tracts 
towards the north and north-east Here is the Tha/Ty or 
great sandy desert of Northern India, intersected every- 
where by long parallel dunes 50 to 100 feet high, with 
few streams or wells, and a scant vegetation of tufty grass 
and scrub. 

Considerably more elevated and fertile is the south- 
eastern division of Bajputana, which is diversified by 
wooded rocky hills, and watered by the Chambal, Banas, 
and some other large rivers flowing north to the Ganges 
Iwsia The country between the Chambal and Patar con- 
sists of a rich black loam, highly productive and well 
Boltivated. But even in this division most of the surface 
is stony, rugged, under jungle, and unfertile, except close 
b) the river banka 


Of the twenty Sajputana States the largest are JJisf- 
pore (Meywar), Jeypore, Jodhpore (Marwar), and Jeysul- 
mir. But all except Shahpura and Lawa belong to the 
first rank in the empire, being under treaty with the 
Imperial Government. Of the Bhil tracts between 
Sirohi and Dungarpur some are directly administeied bf 
British Commissioners, while others are either tributaiy 
to Udeypore or under the control of Bajput princes. 

The Marwar and Bikanir tracts are essentiaDj 
pastoral, abounding in cattle, sheep, and a superior breed 
of camels. But elsewhere Bajputana is mainly agricul- 
tural, yielding grain, cotton, and opium in considerable 

Central India Political Agency, 

The Central India Agency comprises all the region 
lying between Bajputana and the British Central pro- 
vinces, and stretches from Gujarat eastwards to Chota- 
Nagpore and the North-West Provinces. It is divided h 
British territory into two sections — native Bundelkhand 
and Baghekhand lying to the east, and the Central Iiidi^ j 
portion to the west of the Jhansi and Lalatpur distiicifl 
of the North -West Provinces. The eastern sectiol 
forms a part of the Deccan plateau, here intersected bf 
the Khaimur and Panna ranges, and watered by the i&k 
Betwa, and Son, flowing to the Jamna and Ganges. 

The western section consists of a broken ap 
tract stretching from the Vindhyas northwards to 
Jamna^ mostly fertile, and well watered by the Cham 
Parbatti, Sind, and Betwa. Wheat, rice, cotton, 
and especially opium, are the staple products, and i 
copper, and coal, besides diamonds, exist in many pi 
The diamantiferous district, yielding several tho 
pounds' worth yearly, lies some 14 miles north-east 


Panna^ and the stones here found are of four di£ferent 
tints, all, however, inferior to those of the Kistna 

The Central India Agency has a total area of 86,000 
square miles, and comprises nearly sixty feudatory States^ 
of which the largest and most important are Gwalior 
(Sindhia's), Indore (Holkar's), Bhopal, and Rewah. Most 
of the numerous petty States have feudal relations with 
one or other of the larger ones, while their autonomy is 
guaranteed by the paramount power. 

North' West Provinces — Behar — Bengal, 

The Ganges valley forms a well-defined natural region, 
occupying the whole space between the Himalayas and 
the Deccan, and comprising the separate governments of 
the North -West Provinces, Oudh and Bengal, including 
Behar, in the Bengal Presidency. These vast alluvial plains, 
watered by the Ganges, Jamna, and their numerous tribu- 
taries, form the very heart of British India, in which 
nearly one-half of its entire population is concentrated. 
The fertility of the soil and the thrifty habits of the 
people have here produced the same resiQts as in the 
rich alluvial valleys of the Yang-tze and Hbang-ho. In 
both of these regions the density of the population is 
estimated by several hundreds to the square mile, amount- 
ing in the North-West Provinces to 380, in Oudh to 470, 
and in Bengal to 484. These proportions are consider- 
ably more than treble those of France and other European 
States, which are regarded as fairly well peopled, and the 
census returns for 1881 showed a total of no less than 
114,000,000 for the three above-mentioned provinces 
Alone. Tet many parts are covered with dense jungle, 
tenanted only by wild animals, while others are either 
t^anen wastes, uninhabitable swampy tracts, or ru^ed 



uplands, necessarily but very thinly peopled Hence the 
density in the more populous alluvial and cultiyated 
districts is much higher than might be supposed even 
from these astonishing figures. Such teeming multitudes, 
which the official returns show to be steadily increasing, 
especially in Bengal (including Behar), could not possiUj 
be supported even in these exuberant lands except on tihe 
most frugal diet, and as a matter of fact rice»,the cheapest 
of all grains, forms the staple, in many cases almost the 
exclusive, article of food for the great majority through- 
out the Ganges basin. 

In this basin are comprised, besides the lowland 
plains, extensive highland tracts, consisting in the north 
chiefly of the outer Himalayan ridges, and in the south of 
the more advanced spurs and offshoots of the Yindhyas, 
which near Benares and other points approach to within 
a few miles of the Ganges. About Darjiling in British 
Sikkim the hills rise to elevations of from 6000 to 8000 
feet, commanding a view of Kanchanjanga (28,156 feet), 
lying 45 miles due north on the frontier of Tibet and 
independent Sikkim. These Darjiling hills are extremely 
interesting, not only for their magnificent scenery and 
glorious vegetation, but also as forming the ''divide" 
between the Ganges and Brahmaputra basins and between 
the Hindu and Buddhist religious worlds. 

It would be difficult to conceive a greater contrast 
than that which exists between these cool or cold moon- 
tains and the watery plains of the Lower Ganges, whence 
we pass by a natural transition to the still more watexy 
region of the Lower Brahmaputra valley. All this low-lyii^ 
tract, as far east as the Garo hills and British Burma, is 
included in the Bengal Provinces, which thus consist 
altogether of four different sections — Behar, enclosed west 
and north by the North- West Provinces and Nepal ; Chota- 
Nagpore, stretching from Behar southwards to the Central 

BENGAL. 263 

Provinces ; Orissa, lying between Chota-Nagpore and the 
coast ; and Bengal proper, comprising the united Ganges- 
Brahmaputra delta, and stretching north to SUddm, west 
to Behar, east to Assam, the independent Lushai hill 
tribes, Burma, and Arracan, but overlapping or enclosmg 
the independent Hill Tipperah country on the south-west 
frontier of Assam. 

Below the Himalayas Behar is mainly alluvial and 
level, bat rises westwards to the Bajmahal hills in the 
Santhal Parganas. Chota-Kagpore, on the contrary, is 
an upland rugged country, embracing the eastern spurs of 
the Vindhyas, vnth elevations of from 2000 to 4400 
feet ; while Orissa consists of a flat diluvial tract between 
Uiese hills and the coast, and an extensive hilly district 
in the interior occupied by petty tributary States. These 
hills also form a continuation of the Vindhyan system, 
which here culminates in the Parasnath (4480 feet), close 
to the East Indian Bailway, about midway between 
Benares and Calcutta. Far higher are the elevations on 
the east frontier of Lower Bengal, where the Tipperah 
highlands, forming a continuation of the Lushai and 
Uanipnr ranges, attain an altitude of from 11,000 to 
12,000 feet. West of these hills stretches ^he great 
delta with its '' thousand mouths," its intricate network 
of conntless channels and backwaters, its highly-cultivated 
and densely-peopled inland Backergange tract, its almost 
Hnpenetrable coast region of the Sundarbans, covered 
^h dense jungle, and still a prey to wild beasts, terrific 
cydones, and deadly exhalations. Here land and water 
still struggle for the mastery, while unbridled nature 
langhs at the feeble efforts of man to tame the jarring 
elements. The work of the day is swept away by the 
waging night storm, and the patient labour of years often 
suddenly disappears in a chaos of widespread ruin. 
Nevertheless, the Saugor Light, firmly established at the 



entrance of the Hugli, shines like a beacon of futoie 
promise, that one day even this wild region will be 
brought under the control of man. 


Beyond the Brahmaputra section of the delta lies the 
province of Assam, occupying the north-eastern extr^nity 
of the empire between Bhutan and Tibet on the nord), 
Burma on the east and south-east, the Manipur Lushai 
and Manipur hill States on the south. The administrative 
province embraces the Brahmaputra and Surma (Barak) 
river valleys, with the intervening Naga, Jaintia, Ehasi, 
and Garo hiU tracts. 

But Assam proper is confined to the Brahmapntra 
valley, an extensive alluvial plain 450 miles long by 
about 50 broad, everywhere enclosed by lofty ranges, 
except towards the west, where the Brahmaputra escapes 
towards the Ganges. This plain, however, is diversified 
by innumerable rivers, boundless woodlands, extensive 
prairies, and even by isolated ridges at some points 
approaching close to the Brahmaputra. The number of 
watercourses is probably greater than in any other country 
of equal extent, no less than sixty considerable streams 
having been enumerated in this narrow tract, all con- 
nected together by a labyrinth of channels and branches. 
Thanks to this superabundance of water, Assam is one of 
the most fertile regions in India. But owing to tJie 
dense forests and lofty enclosing ranges impeding the free 
circulation of the air, the moist climate is oppressively 
hot, and all the more unhealthy because the rainy season 
continues here longer than in any other part of the empire 
except British Burma. It lasts from March to November, 
when the low-lying riverain tracts are often completely 
flooded. The slow evaporation of these liquid masses 


daiges the atmosphere with dank vaponrs, generating 
ague, dysentery, and other malarious disorders. Even 
dnring the cold season dense fogs usually prevail in the 
plains from midnight to noon, enveloping everything in 
an impenetrable misty veil Assam, however, is beyond 
the leach of the hot winds, which in May and June con- 
vert many parts of the peninsula into a glowing furnace. 
It abounds in coal, iron of excellent quality, sulphur, salt» 
and petroleum, and after the rainy season the natives 
search the streams for the gold-dust brought down with 
Ae alluvia from the hills. 

British Burma, 

From the Ghittagong district forming the south- 
eastern limit of Bengal proper there stretches a terri- 
toiy for about 1000 miles between the east side of 
the Bay of Bengal and the independent States of Bui-ma 
and Siam southwards to about the 10 th parallel This 
^on forms the present province of British Burma, and 
consists entirely of Burmese territory at various dates 
daring this century ceded to the EnglisL It comprises 
three divisions, Arakan, Pegu, and Tenasserim, which 
completely shut off independent Burma from the sea, 
and about the 12th parallel nearly reach across to the 
Gnlf of Siam, between Siam proper and its lower pro- 
ves at the neck of the peninsula of Malacca. In 
Malacca itself the Straits Settlements, terminating at 
Singapore at its southern extremity, continue the British 
domain almost uninterruptedly round the Bay of Bengal 
to the Eastern Archipelago. 

Arakan, the northernmost division of British Burma, 
presents from the coast a fine appearance. The moun- 
tains forming a southern continuation of the Lushai hills, 
&nd clothed to their summits with a rich forest vegeta- 



tion, rise in a succession of parallel ridges from the 
plains to a height of from 5000 to 6000 feet The 
plains themselves are of small extent, being mostlj 
either limited by offshoots of the lower coast ranges, or 
else hemmed in by wooded tracts, which on the coast 
consist exclusively of mangrove trees. The lowlands are 
intersected by countless streams from the hills, while the 
spring-tides flood extensive low-lying districts, fonning a 
labyrinth of channels and backwaters. These watercouises 
take the place of highways, serving as a means of lapd 
intercourse between the towns and villages. Mud vol- 
canoes occur both along the coast and on the neigh- 
bouring islands, and coal, iron, and petroleum are found 
in many places, while salt of a fine quality is obtained 
by evaporation in the numerous tidal estuaries. 

Pegu comprises the region of the Lower Irawady and 
Sittang Eivers, which here form a common wide-branching 
delta, in its main features resembling that of the Brahma- 
putra-Ganges. The land is mostly low, sandy, or muddy, 
and in the wet season exposed to destructive floods. 
But it is well suited for the cultivation of rice, which is 
here produced in superabundance. Its trade and indus- 
tries are also furthered by the railway, 163 miles long, 
between the capital, Bangoon, near the coast, and Prome, 
higher up the Irawady, towards the Burma frontier. 
This is the only line that has yet been permanently 
opened in any part of the Asiatic mainland east of 
Cis-Gangetic India. 

The mountain system throughout the whole of this 
coast region is of a very simple character, consisting of 
regular and parallel ridges running uniformly noith and 
south, and forming water-partings between ail the large 
rivers, which thus find their way independently to the 
Bay of Bengal 

For a portion of its lower course the Salwin fonns the 


border line between Siam and Tenasserim, the southern- 
most of the three great divisions of British Burma. This 
division, whose southern extremity approaches the insular 
T^on of Malaysia, is itself fringed along its entire length 
by a vast number of islands forming in the north the 
Moecos, in the south the much larger Mergui Archipelago. 
A few only of these little-known islands are inhabited, 
chiefly by Burmese and Karens from the opposite main- 
land. Thdy are all hilly, with peaks 2000 to 3000 feet 
bigh, and. are often densely wooded with the caoutchouc 
and othet valuable trees. They are said to abound in 
minerals, and are tenanted by the tiger, rhinoceros, deer, 
and a great variety of reptiles. 

The eastern frontier of Tenasserim is formed by a 
monntain range 5000 feet high, which again acts as a 
water-parting between the Tenasserim and the Siamese 
river systems. On the British side the chief river is the 
Tenasserim, named from the capital, and flowing between 
the bills and the coast, mainly south, for over 230 miles, 
of which about 100 are navigable. 

The Central Provinces. 

The Deccan, in the largest sense of the term geogra- 
phically, is distributed politically between the Central 
Provinces, forming a portion of the Bengal Presidency, 
and the two southern Presidencies of Madras and Bombay, 
together with the Native States, of which by far the most 
iiaportant are the Nizam's Dominions and Mysore. 

The Central Provinces form a British enclave almost 
everywhere cut off from British territory proper by inter- 
vening feudatory States. But the broad political bound- 
aries are the Chota-Nagpore States of Bengal on the north, 
the tributary Native States (of which some belong to the 
Orissa province and others to the Madras Presidency) on 



the east, the Nizam's territoiy on the south, the Cental 
Indian Agency on the west and north-west They torn 
an irregular square (almost a triangle) about 600 mfles 
long east and west, by 500 north and south, with a total 
area, including the Berars, of over 130,000 square miles. 
They constitute the northern portion of the Deccan pla- 
teau, here divided into two sections by the Satpura range» 
with a mean elevation of 1500 to 2000 feet, and a 
general eastward tilt But the surface is eveiywheie 
diversified with hilly plains and river valleys, and on tie 
south it is enclosed by the upland Bastar tract reaching 
from the coast to the Godavari, and stretching thenoe, 
under different names, westwards to the Khandeisb 

This extensive region is traversed by the Nerbadda, 
Mahanadi, Wainganga, and Wardha, flowing generally in 
deep beds, and navigable for long distances during tlie 
rainy season. Large tracts are still covered with dense 
virgin forests, but others are well adapted for the cultiva- 
tion of cereals, and cotton of the best quality is grawn, 
especially along the right bank of the Wardha. 

The NizarrCs Dominions. 

In the Nizam's Dominions are included East and 
West Berar, forming the Hyderabad Assigned Districts. 
These were, under the treaties of 1853 and 1861, assigned 
by the Nizam to the British Government^ which, on ite 
part, undertook to maintain a body of troops, to be styled 
the Hyderabad Contingent ; but the sovereignty is stiU 
retained by the Nizam. 

The Nizam's Dominions still form by far the largest 
and most important of all the Native States in the empire. 
They comprise the very heart of the Deccan, lying mainly 
between the two great rivers Godavari and Kistna nortii 


and south, and between the Presidencies of Bombay and 
Madras west and east, and stretching about 475 miles 
both ways, with an area of close on 100,000 square miles. 
It consists of an elevated plateau, sloping from 2500 down 
to about 1000 feet towards the Eastern Ghats which skirt 
its south-eastern frontier. Much of the surface is still 
waste and covered with low brushwood, but the soil is 
naturally fertile, and where irrigated produces heavy crops 
of cotton, cereals, oleaginous plants, and even dates. 

In the Eistna valley within the Nizam's territory 
are the famous Partial and Kollur diamond-fields, where 
the "Great Mogul," the "Koh-i-ntLr/' the "Pitt" or 
"Regent," the "Orloflf," and many other magnificent 
gems were found. The rough stones yielded by these 
niines were formerly cut and polished in the town of 
GQlconda^ about 100 miles farther north, and from this 
ciicamstance the diamonds were popularly supposed to 
be produced at or near Golconda, which is not a dia- 
inantiferous district. 

The Madras Presidency. 

This Presidency comprises roughly the whole of the 
Eastern and a considerable section of the Western Ghats, 
the ooast-lands stretching thence to the Bay of Bengal, 
^d all the southern portion of the peninsula from the 
Nizam's territory to Cape Comorin. It is thus bounded 
hy the sea on two sides, and landwards by Orissa, the 
Central Provinces, the Nizam's Dominions, and the Presi- 
dency of Bombay. Besides Mysore, Kiirg, Travancore, 
and some other smaller Native States, the chief historic 
divisiaQs are the Northern Sircars and the Garnatic on the 
Coromandel coast. South Kanara and Malabar on the west 
<X)a8t, the Balaghat or uplands near the junction of the 
Eastern and Western Ghats, the Nilgiri highlands con- 



necting the Eastern and Western Ghats south of MyaoieL 
The Presidency stretches across 12 degrees of latitude 
(8** to 20*" N.) on the east side, and across 6 (8* to 14"* N.) 
on the west side, with an extreme length of 1000 miles, 
breadth 380 miles at the parallel of the capital, and total 
area 148,000 square miles. It is traversed on both sides 
by the Ghats, and is generally mountainous towards tlie 
south, where the Nilgiris, Palni, Shevaroy, and other hills, 
occupy most of the apex. 

The Malabar or West Coast is a narrow but Yeiy 
fertile and highly- cultivated tract intervening between 
the shore and the Ghat Mountains. Several shallow 
inlets, called "backwaters," run sometimes for 150 or 
280 miles parallel with the coast For 170 miles from 
Cape Gomorin the east coast is also low, but rocky and 
fringed with reefs. Navigation is here further obstructed 
by the so-called *' Adam's Bridge," a sandbank stretching 
f]X)m the mainland to the northern extremity of Ceylon, 
with two open channels only. But even these are too 
shallow for laige vessels, so that all the deep-sea naviga- 
tion is diverted roimd the island from the Gulf of Manar 
and Palk Strait The Coromandel coast, running from 
Point Calymere nearly due north to the Kistna delta, 
retains the character of a low sandy seaboard, the beach 
shoaling very gently, and preventing large vessels from 
approaching the land. Beyond the Kistna delta the 
Golconda coast, as it used to be called, trends north-east- 
wards for nearly 300 miles to Yizagapatam, and althongli 
the Ghats here approach somewhat nearer to the sea the 
intervening strip is deltaic, being so low and flat that it 
is sometimes subject to inundation. But on the northern 
coast, stretching for 230 miles from Yizagapatam to the 
Chilka Lake or Lagoon on the frontier of the Bengal 
Presidency, the hills approach nearer to the shore^ whidi 
is unbroken by any inlets or large river mouths. 


Mysore and KUbrg, 

A laige portion of the interior is occupied by the 
Native State of Mysore and the province of Kiirg, which 
are enclosed by the Madras Presidency on all sides except 
towards the north-west, where Mysore impinges on the 
Bombay Presidency. It consists of an extensive table- 
land 290 miles by 230, with an area of over 27,000 
square miles, filling the angle where the Western and 
Eastern Ghats merge in the Nilgiris. The surface is 
veiy undulating, and diversified in many places by the 
remarkable rocky formations known as Drvgs, huge piles 
rising either isolatedly or in clusters from 1000 to 
1500 feet above the plateau. Many of these have 
perennial springs on their summits, which have often 
been converted into almost impregnable strongholds. 

The plateau culminates at Bangalore, which lies due 
east of Madras, over 3000 feet above sea-leveL But the 
highest peaks are found more to the west, where the 
Knduremukha, 6215 feet, forms a $triking landmark 
visible from the sea. Here also two peaks in the Baba- 
Budan Mountains rise to elevations of 6214 and 6317 
feet, and on the former is the tomb of Baba-Budan, a 
Mnhammadan saint, from whom the range takes its name. 

The chief rivers of Mysore are the KAvari, Penner, 
Paler, and Pennair. None of the streams are here 
navigable, and many are utilised to form artificial reser- 
voirs, of which there are no less than 38,000 in the 
Stata Some of these are of considerable size, the Suli- 
kere tank, which is the largest, having a circumference of 
40 miles. 

The Native State of Mysore forms no part of the 
Madras Presidency, but is separately administered on the 
model of the Panjab by a Chief Commissioner, directly 
responsible to the Supreme Government. 


A similar arrangement has been adopted for the 
adjoining territory of Eiiig, a hilly tract 2000 square 
miles in extent, occupying the crests and eastern slopes of 
the Western Ghats between 1 2"* and 1 3* K latitude. The 
term Kiirg, generally written Cooig, is a corrupt foim of 
Kvdagu or Kodumale, meaning '' steep mountains/' which 
is a sufficiently accurate description of the land. It con- 
sists of a series of steep ridges and deep gorges, densely 
wooded in the east on the Mysore frontier, more open 
towards the west Nearly the whole surface is drained 
by the head-streams of the Kavari, which here rises in 
the Brahmagiri range at Tale Kavari, a place of great 
repute among the Hindus. Here are some temples 
yearly visited by thousands of pilgrims, who regard the 
Kavari as a holier river than even the Ganges itself. In 
their course to the main stream all the mountain tonents 
form romantic waterfalls, conspicuous among which is 
that of the Jessy near Merkara, the capital of the territory. 

Sespecting sanctity, however, opinions differ; some 
Hindus claim it for one river, others for another. But 
the Ganges still maintains its supremacy among the 
majority of Hindus. 

The cardamom plant is indigenous in Kiiig, where it 
is extensively cultivated at elevations of from 2500 to 
5000 feet above the sea. 


The two Native States of Cochin and Travancore, 
occupying the south-western extremity of the peninsula, 
are under the direct control of the Madras Government 
They have a joint area of 8000 square miles, of which 
about five-sixths are comprised in Travancore, which 
embraces the western slopes of the hills and the low-lying 
coast-lands from Cochin to Cape Comorin. The lowlands 


are very fertile, and watered by numeroiis small streams 
flowing from the hills, which have here a mean elevation 
of 4000 to 5000 feet, culminating with the Augustier 
Peak 7000 feet high. Here the sovereignty as well as 
the inheritance of property passes in the female line, a 
custom probably due to the practice of polyandria, formerly 
nmyersal along the Malabar coast, and still surviving 
ain<mg many of the low-caste hill-tribes in this r^on« 

Presidency of Bombay, 

Including the already described northern province of 
Sindjthe Bombay Presidency, occupying the north-western 
section of the peninsida, stretches from the Panjab and 
Baiuchistan for 1100 miles southwards to Mysore, with 
an average breadth of about 200 miles between the 
Arabian Sea (or Indian Ocean) and Central India. But 
towards the interior the frontier line is extremely irre- 
gular, being determined in this direction by the limits of 
the Panjab, Sajputana, the Central Indian Agency, Berar, 
the Nizam's Dominions, the Madras Presidency, and 
Mysore. It has a total area of nearly 200,000 square 
Mies, and, exclusive of Sind, comprises three distinct 
natural divisions — Gujarat, the western portion of the 
l^eccan, including Khandesh, and the Konkans. 


Politically, Gujarat comprises mainly the feudatory 
States of Kathiawar and Katch, and Baroda, besides a 
portion of British territory proper about the mouth of the 
Nerbadda — some of the richest lands of the empire — ^and 
the Gulf of Cambay. Physically, it includes the Katch 
and Kathiawar peninsulas, which consist mostly of rich 
and highly-cultivated alluvial plains, varied by a few low 




ridges -and isolated eminences. Towards Central India it 
is skirted by a chain of hills mnning from Mount Aba 
at the southern extremity of the Aravallis southwaids to 
the western extremity of the Vindhyaa. 

Tlie Deccan and Konkan^ 

The Deccan, including the plains of Ehandosii, 
stretches thence over the vast upland between the East- 
em and the Western Ghats, southwards to Mysore and 
Madras, including the Nizam's Dominions, and a part of 
the Bombay Presidency. Geographically, too, it includes 
the Balaghat districts of the Madras Presidency. This 
region is watered in the north by the Tapti, in the south 
by the head-streams of the Godavari and Kistna, whidi 
drain the whole of the plateau eastwards to the Bay d 
Bengal The hilly district of the Bangs in the noilii 
and the Kanara district in the south are mostly covereil 
with dense forests, and the Western Ghat mountains are 
mostly wooded ; but elsewhere the country is open, gener- 
ally well cultivated, and very fertile along the banks of 
the rivers. 

The Konkan comprises the narrow strip of coast-lands 
extending from Bombay between the Western Ghats vsA 
the sea southwards to the Portuguese territory of Go^ 
These coast-lands are everywhere intersected by creeb 
and short rapid streams or torrents, flowing from the 
Ghats in separate channels to the sea, and in some places 
form tolerably sheltered harbours. Hence this rockbound 
coast is mostly of difficult access, and along the whole 
seaboard of the Presidency the ports of Karachi, Bombay, 
and Karwar, alone afford a complete refuge to shipping 
during the prevalence of the south-west monsoon. The 
lesser harbours are, however, being improved, and at 
several seasons are already useful 



FreTuh and Portuguese Posseasians, 

The only remaimng political divisions on the main- 
land are the fragments of territory still remaining to 
France and Portugal Here the French possessions con- 
sist of five isolated portions, with a joint area of 178 
square miles, all subordinate to a Governor, residing at 
Pondicherry. The several settlements are : in Bengal — 
Chandemagore, on the right bank of the Hughli, 17 
miles north of Calcutta ; in Madras — Pondicherry, con- 
siderably larger than all the rest put together, on the 
Coromandel coasts 12"* K lat. ; Karakal, next in size, in 
the Kavari delta on the same coast ; Yanaon, or Yanan, on 
the old Golconda coast at the northern extremity of the 
Godavari delta ; lastly, Mah^, on the Malabar coast, nearly 
under the same parallel as Pondicherry. 

The Portuguese settlements consist of (70a, Daman, 
and Diu, all on the west coast, and within the Bombay 
Presidency, with a total area of 1096 square miles. Goa 
comprises a small territory, 64 miles long north and south, 
by 20 brc»d, on the Malabar coast near the southern 
limits of the Presidency. It is a fertile, well-watered, 
and cultivated tract, divided into the two districts oi 
Salsette and Bardes, with a small sheltered harbour, five 
miles firom the now deserted town of Old Goa. The new 
town of Panjim, or Villa Nova de Goa, lies at the 
entrance of the harbour, which ia defended by several 
forts. Daman is situated on the Gujarat coast, at the 
entrance of the GuK of Cambay, over against Diu, which 
is a small island on the Kathiawar coast, 170 miles north- 
west of Bombay. 


With the exception of Diu, aU the islands in the 
Indian waters are either British territory or subject to the 



Supreme GoveTnment. They consist of one laige island, 
Ceylon, at the apex of the peninsula ; the four groups d 
the Andamans, Nicobars, Mergui, and Moscos, in the Bay 
of Bengal; and the two groups of the Laccadives and 
Maldives in the Indian Ocean. 

Ceylon, " Pearl of the Eastern Seas/' is almost ooo- 
nected with the mainland by Adam's Bridge, a chain d 
low coral reefs and sandbanks, 62 miles long, numing 
between the 6uK of Manar and Palk Strait But from 
the northernmost extremity to Point Calimir on tlic 
Coroinandel coast the distance is only about 40 miles. 
The island has the form of a pear, tapering northwards 
with a total length of 270 milej^ an extreme width of 
146, and an area of over 24,000 square miles. The 
surface rises gradually from the northern plains to the 
central highlands, which consist of a series of ridges and 
intervening upland valleys, culminating with the Fedith 
tallagalla Peak, 8260 feet, which overlooks the elevated 
plateau of Nuwara Eliya, itself 6000 feet above the set. 
The other chief summits are Tolapella (7720 feet), Kini 
galpota (7810), and Adam's Peak (7420), an isolated 
mass on the south-western edge of the central highlands^ 
long supposed to have been the highest point in tie 

The central highlands form a complete water-paitio^ 
whence a large nimiber of rivers flow in every directioB 
seawards, thus rendering Ceylon one of the best-watered 
countries in the world. The largest of these streams are 
the Mahavila-Ganga, running from the Nuwara Mjt 
plateau northwards to the east coast near Trincomali; tk 
Ealani-Ganga, Eala-Ganga, and Maha Oya, draining to 
the west coast 

The soil is extremely fertile, even in the upland dis- 
tricts, and is almost everywhere clothed with a rich and 
varied vegetation. The chief souroes of wealth are tb 


CKYLON. 277 

coco-nut, cinnamon, and coffee plantations, besides tobacco 
in the northern lowland& The cinnamon groves are 
restricted chiefly to the south -western districts about 
Colombo, and the coffee plantations to the upland valleys 
and mountain slopes, which yield about 50,000 tons of 
berries for exportation chiefly to the European market 
In the forests, satin-wood, ebony, calamander, and other 
Talnable trees, arrive at great perfection. Ceylon also 
abounds in minerals, such as plumbago, iron, manganese, 
nitre, alum, and salt, besides a great variety of precious 
stones — rubies, sapphires, amethysts, garnets, and the 

Ceylon is a Crown colony, entirely separated from 
India, and administered by a Governor appointed by the 
Queen, an Executive Council of five, and a Legislative 
Council of fifteen. It is divided into six provinces under 
GoYemment agents, with a supreme civil and criminal 
court in the capital, Colombo. This city is connected 
^th the old highland capital, Kandy, by a railway, which 
bas recently been extended to the coffee plantations of 
the central province. On the south-west coast is the 
important harbour of Point de Galle, a port of call for all 
the large lines of steamers plying in the Eastern waters. 

Maldives and Laccadives. 

Nearly 500 miles due west of Ceylon is the group of 
the Maldives — ^that is, Malediva, or '' Thousand Islands." 
It forms a chain of coral islets, comprising 17 atols, 
each enclosing deep lagoons fringed with reefs, and are 
richly clothed with coco -nut palms. They also yield 
millet, fruits, and edible roots. The group is governed 
b7 a hereditary Sultan, who resides in the island of Male 
(M61), and pays a yearly tribute to the Ceylon Grovem- 



Some 200 miles north of the Maldives are the Lac- 
cadives, also of coral formation, comprising 20 atok, 
besides numerous islets and reefe, mostly banen, or pro- 
ducing nothing but coco-nuts. They form five separate 
groups, which, with Minicoy, midway between the Laoca- 
dives and Maldives, are now attached to the South 
Kanara district of the Madras Presidency on the opposite 
Malabar coast 

The inhabitants of the Maldives are Muhammadans 
of Malay stock; those of the Laccadives, a half-caste 
Indo-Arab race, also Muhammadans. All alike are ex- 
tremely inofifensive, hospitable, and friendly to Europeans. 
The Maldivians especially are noted for their kind treat- 
ment of shipwrecked sailors, seldom accepting any peca* 
niary return for the care bestowed on them. 

The Andamans and Jficobars, 

The Andamans, with the little Cocos group at thdr 
northern extremity, and the Nicobars farther south, form 
the scattered links of a chain suggesting a former con- 
nection of Pegu with Sumatra. The Andamans consist 
of four large and several smaller volcanic islands, some 
200 miles west of the Tenasserim coast, with a total 
length of 200 miles, and an area of 2700 square nules. 
They are surrounded by dangerous coral reefs, generaDy 
mountainous, culminating with Saddle Peak, 2400 feet, 
in North Andaman, and mostly clothed down to tbe 
water's edge with a dense tropical vegetation. In Soutli 
Andaman is the well-sheltered harbour of Port Blaii, 
chosen as a penal settlement for all India in 1868, when 
this archipelago was annexed and placed under a '* Chief 
Commissioner of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands," 
responsible to the head Government At the foot of 
Mount Harriet (1200 feet), in North ATidaman, Lord 


Mayo, Govemor-GeDeral of India, was assassinated while 
on a tonr of inspection, by one of the convicts in 1872. 
East of Middle Andaman, the largest of the group, is 
Barren Island, a remarkable active volcano, 7 miles in 
drcnmference and 1700 feet high. 

The Nicobars, lying nearer to Sumatra than to the 
Andamans, form two groups, separated by Sombrero 
Channel — Great and Little Nicobar in the south ; Nan- 
cowry, Eachal, Camorta, Car Mcobar, and a few others, in 
the north. Nancowry, about the centre of the archi- 
pelago, is 225 miles from Port Blair and 550 from 
Baogoon. The hills in the south are generally covered 
with forests to their summits, and in the north with grass. 
The whole group is under the Commissioner resident in 
Port Blair, while the Mergui Archipelago, as already 
stated, is attached to British Burma. 

5. Climate of India. 

The general features of the climate of India are 
DMunly determined by four conditions — latitude, the 
northern highlands, the elevation of the Deccan plateau, 
the neighbourhood of the western desert, and proximity 
to the Indian Ocean. The latitude produces tropical 
heats, tempered on the southern plateau by the general 
elevation of the land, intensified on the northern plains by 
^e Himalayas, which refract the vertical summer solar 
lays, while in winter intercepting the cold atmospheric 
cwients fix)m the bleak central Asiatic tablelands. The 
g^^ desert intervening between the upper basin of 
the Ganges and the lower basin of the Indus helps to 
cause the hot blasts to blow over the North-West Pro- 
^ces. The Indian Ocean, surrounding the peninsula on 
two sides, supplies a superabundance of moisture during 
the prevalence of the southern monsoons. None of the 



Ghats or southern highlands axe sufficiently elevated to 
arrest any large portion of the rain-bearing clouds, Trhicli 
at this time roU up continuously firom the seething sur- 
face of the surrounding seas, sweeping over the Deccan 
plateau, penetrating far northwards through the head of 
the Bay of Bengal, and precipitating all their remaining 
humidity on the southern slopes of the Himalayas. From 
these conditions it results that, while great heats pievai] 
everywhere, the provinces south of the Satpura naige 
are, on the whole, cooler than the Indus and Gang@ 
basins, and that an unusual quantity of moisture is pretty 
evenly distributed throughout the peninsula. At certain 
points the amount of this moisture surpasses the recorcb 
taken on any other part of the earth's surface, varying on 
the Malabar coast from thirty to forty feet, and in the 
caldron-like Assam vaUey exceeding fifty. 

But in such a vast region, stretching across thirty 
degrees of latitude, in Ceylon approaching to within six 
degrees of the equator, in Kashmir impinging upon the 
Pamir, in Nepal rising to the highest summits on the 
globe, there is necessarily much diversity amidst this 
general imiformity. 

6. Flora and Fauna. 

Although less than half of the peninsula lies within 
the tropics, the average temperature of the land is every- 
where so high that the organic world of the torrid zone 
naturally predominates greatly over that of the temperate. 
Owing to their low elevation the eastern part of the great 
northern plains are in this respect quite as tropical as the 
southern plateau of the Deccan. In the north-western 
part of these great plains and in the upper part of the 
Peccan, wheat, barley, miUets, pulses, European v^etables, 
and other plants characteristic of the temperate zone are 


cultivated successfully. The development of the wheat cul- 
ture within the last few years has been remarkable. But 
the great staples of food and commerce are rice, jute, indigo, 
oilseeds, poppy, betel, aU distinctly tropical growths. It 
is noteworthy that, with a few signal exceptions, the 
vegetable products of India are on the whole inferior 
in quality to those of other countries. Thus the cotton, 
tobacco, sugar, and rice here grown are all surpassed by 
those of America, while the maize, wheat, wine, fruits, 
and vegetables cannot be compared with those of Europe, 
and the betel-nut, cinnamon, spices, and dates are excelled 
bj the corresponding products in the Eastern Archipelago 
and other parts of Asia. The most notable exceptions 
aie the Malabar coco-nuts, the Bengal indigo, jute, and 
opium, the cofTee and tea of Ceylon, the Nilgiris, Western 
Ghats, Assam, and Himalayas, all of whidi are unsur- 
passed, in some cases unapproached, in flavour. The 
indigenous uncultivated plants also, such as the cedars, 
pines, teak, ebony, india-rubber, rhododendrons of the 
Himalayas are fully equal, if not superior, to those of 
other regions. 

Amongst the useful plants whose cultivation has been 
more recently developed, coffee, tea, cinchona, and the 
Austiahan Eucalyptus glolulosa take a conspicuous part. 
The eucalyptus has already been naturalised in the Nil- 
giris, and according to the of&cial report for 1881 there 
are now over 4,500,000 cinchona trees in Southern India, 
yielding a suf&cient supply of bark for the medical depots 
of all the Presidencies, with a surplus of 3000 lbs. for 
«ale to the public.^ The cultivation of coffee has become 
one of the staple industries of Ceylon and Southern India. 
The plantations now extend almost continuously along the 

^ In connection with this indoBtry it may be mentioned that Dr. King, 
held of the Goyeniment cinchona factory in Daijiling, succeeded in 18 SI 
in piodudng snlphate of quinine from cinchona bark. 



slopes and crests of the Western Ghats from North Mysore 
to Cape Gomorin, and occupy in the Nilgiris alone no less 
than 12,000 acres, yielding an annual crop valued ai 

Here in the south about 7000 acres are devoted to tea. 
But the culture has acquired its greatest development espe- 
cially in Assam and along the lower slopes of the Himalayas. 
Assam now yields over 20,000,000 lbs. yearly, and nearly 
half as much again is produced in the Darjiling and other 
districts of British Sikkim, where the plantations cover 
about 38,000 acres. The Indian teas are on the whole 
superior to those of Ghina imported into England, where 
they are now largely used for flavouring the Ghinese 
varieties. Hence the future of this rapidly-increasing 
industry seems to be ensured. " In thirty years it has 
risen from nothing up to 34,000,000 lbs. annually, 
valued at £3,000,000. Many of the earUer European 
planters struggled towards the goal of this great success 
through a maze of difficulties, errors, and disappointments. 
They thus lost much capital, which has been replaced by 
capital generally yielding good returns. Their more 
fortunate successors form a regular profession of specially- 
trained and qualified men. The tea-gardens are now 
scientifically managed, improved processes are adopted in 
the factories for the preparation of the leaf, and steam 
machinery is beginning to be used." ^ 

Notwithstanding the reckless destruction of timber 
that has been going on for ages, large well- wooded tracts 
are still found, especially on the slopes of the hiUs in 
every part of the country. Measures have of late years 
been taken for the preservation and increase of the 
forests, which cover an area of about 70,000 square 
miles altogether. The chief species are the conifers 
(cedar, pine, fir), the oak, elm, maple, plane, ash, ebony, 

1 India in 18S0, by Sir Richard Temple. 

' i 'i 'J » 


:, banyan, sandal-wood, mango, bamboo, s&l, and palms, 

lading the date, palmyra, and betel-nut, and other 


These forests, with the jangle of the plains, are still 

ited by vast numbers of wild animals, birds, and 

Lally reptiles. So destructive are many of these, 

about 20,000 human beings and 50,000 head of 

are yearly destroyed by wild beasts and venomous 

:e& Man suffers mostly from the cobra and other' 

Les, while the herds are ravaged chiefly by the tiger, 

ler, and other large beasts of prey. India is prob- 

the indigenous home of the tiger, which is found in 

part of the country, and which, in the Soyal Bengal 

^ipedes, attains his highest development. He preys chiefly 

cm deer, flocks, and herds, but will sometimes turn upon 

Bian, and once he has tasted ^uman flesh prefers it 

to any other. The "man-eater," as he is then called, 

me of the greatest scourges of the villages lying on 

skirt of the jxmgle. At present special measures are 

by the authorities to secure the speedy destruction 

these animalH. 

Scarcely less formidable ia the gray panther, or rather 

I, which also occasionally becomes a man-eater. But 

dieeta, a somewhat smaller tawny-coloured species, is 

Jbpt by native princes and trained for hunting. He is 

IfQQveyed blindfolded in a cart to within a short distance 

[tf a berd of deer, when the hood is suddenly removed. 

!b a few wonderful boimds he has seized the quarry, or, 

mksing it, abandons the pursuit, having spent aU his 

mergj on a single effort. 

Other large wild animals are the bear and wild boar, 
very generally the rhinoceros, chiefly in the woods at the 
foot of the Eastern Himalayas, the bison, gayal (Bibos 
frorUalis) in the Ghats and North Assam hills; the 
elephant still met in large herds in Nepal, the hilly 



districts of Eastern Bengal, the Nilgiris, and some oUier 
parts ; two species of the alligator, the harmless " shaip- 
nosed," and dangerous " snub-nosed," frequenting not only 
most of the large rivers, but many of the numerous tanb 
scattered over the country. Deer and antelopes abound 
in immense variety, while the ibex, ovis ammon, and fine- 
fleece-bearing goat and sheep are numerous, espedallj in 
the Western Himalayas. 

As a rule, the domestic animals, like the cultivated 
plants, are inferior to those of most other countries. The 
sheep, oxen, camels, and especially the horses, are gen^ 
ally of indifferent stock, although some hardy breeds of 
ponies occur in the Himalayas, and the camel of Bikanir 
in Bajputana is noted for its great size, strength, and 
swiftness. Large herds of oxen, camels, sheep, and goats 
occur chiefly in the Panjab and Bajputana, but India is 
on the whole more an agricultural than a grazing land. 
Hence, although there are a vast number of wild tribes 
in the more inaccessible hilly districts, there are, strictly 
speaking, no pastoral nomads, except, perhaps, the LadakM 
Champas and a few others of Mongoloid stock, who 
according to the seasons migrate between the southern 
and Tibetan slopes of the inner Himalayas in search of a 
scanty pasturage for their flocks. 

7. InhahitaTVts : Hindus, DravidiaTis, Kolarians, and 

Tibeto -Burmese. 

It is not to be supposed that the inhabitants of India 
belong to one homogeneous type. There is scarcely a 
country in the world containing a greater diversity d 
tribes and races in every stage of civilisation, from the 
cultured European and philosophic Hindu down to \he 
most degraded savages. A certain outward physical uni- 
formity, noticeable especially in the prevailing brown, 


(dtfo-brown, and dark-brown complexiona, has no donbt 
been bron^t about during the coarse of ages by the 
climatic oooditioDa. It is also tme that the great bulk 
of the population is ultimately reducible to two distinct 
stocks — the Hindu,^ chieBy in the northern plains ; and 
the Dravidian, in the Deccan. But besides these at 
kast two others are also lai^ly represented — the Eola- 

lian, chiefly in the Vindhyan and Satpura ranges be- 
tween the Aryans and Dravidians, north and south ; and 

' To aTcdd ccmfasiaii it Ii neceasuy ctrefoUy to note th* twofold 
mmiing whidt thii term Hindu hu kcqulred. In it» original sthaical 
Him it meuis, u here, the Arjan u oppond to the non-Aiysn people* of 
India. Boice the word Smdtialait, or "Countiy of the Hindas," U pro- 
perif raatricted by uativi writer* to the lodn* and Oange* hano*, the trtM 
homeof thelodiaiiArTRaB. But in a religious seute Hiodn is aynoDfinoii* 
«ith the Brahmanical colt, and i* opposed, not to the Don-Ary uis, but to 
Hm Hahanuaadui and othai form* of belief preTalant in the peninnla. 


the Mongoloid, inhabitants of the Himalayas, the Assam 
highlaads, oad British Burma. 

Whether the absolute aborigines or not^ the Kolarians 
are at all events the first arrivals in the peninsula, where 
they have scarcely anywhere risen above the lowest 
grades of human culture. Next came the Dravidians, 
some of whom, if true Dravidians, still remain at the 
same low level as the lowest Kolarians, while the great 
majority became in course of time susceptible to the 
civilising influences of the Hindus, who were the last 
arrivals from the north-west The land was now full 
except on the remote northern and. north-eastern frontiers, 
which were gradually occupied by Mongoloid Tibeto- 
Burman tribes from Central and South-Eastem Asia. 

The subdivisions of the Kolarians and Tibeto-Burmans 
are chiefly of a tribal — ^that is, social — character, while 
those of most Dravidians and all the Hindus are based 
essentially on linguistic considerations. The Kolarians 
and Tibeto-Burmans themselves speak a great variety of 
different dialects, but their classification depends even 
more on the tribal organisation than on the diversity of 
those dialects. This is also true of many low-caste 
Dravidian tribes, especially in the Nilgiris and Malabar 
highlands. But the vast majority of the Dravidians and 
all the Hindus are grouped in different branches bearing 
much the same relation to each other that, for instance^ 
the great branches of the Latin family bear to each other 
in Southern Europe. All have long been fused together 
in one common ethnical, social, and religious system, 
while still separated one from the other mainly by their 
different languages, all derived in Europe from the com- 
mon Latin stock, in India either from a common Sans- 
kritic, or from a common but now extinct Dravidian 
mother-tongue. These points should be borne in mind 
in estimating the value of the subjoined general grouping 



of all the Indian races. It is also to be noted that in a 
oomprehensive classification of the human family the 
Hindus and Tibeto - Bunnans would appear as mere 
branches of the Caucasic and Mongol stocks respectively, 
whereas both the Dra vidians and Kolarians would stand 
quite apart, their possible affinities to the other great 
famihes of mankind being still imdetermined (see Ap- 
pendix): — 

Padan; Doda 

(Sikhs . 
P^M ] Jats 

( ChoDgazB 

Siadi . . . 
GtgirBti and KacM . 

Iftnthi and Eonkani 

rUrdu . 
Hindi . 4 Marwari 

V^Gwalior, etc. 

f riya 

Assamese . 
KepaU (Parbhatia) 

I. Hindus. 
(Aryan Stock.) 


i Pai^j&b 

Sind . 

{ Bombay 
4 Central Provinces 
\^Berar . 

N.W. Pioyinces 

Rajputana . 

Upper Bengal 

Lower Bengal 

iOrissa ; Ganjam 
Assam Lowlands 
Nepal . 







- 100,000,000 




II. Dbayidians. 

Taoiii . \ Eamatic,Trayancore ) 

I Mysore, N. Cejion { 

Telngu i Sirkars, Nizam's . 

I Berar, Mysore 

Kanarese \^' Kanara, Mysore, 

} Eurg 

JWayalim .... Malabar Coast 

l^^ Eanara, Malabar Hills 

^wiHni Euig . 

Tirki ... 

W : : Kl^ota-Nagpore 








Bigmahal .... 




Sinhalese f 


Rijmahdl HiUs, N. ) 
of Chota-Kagpore ( 

Orissa . 


Dhcr ; Gottur ; Eoi ; \ p*, -„ -Kr^^r^r. i 

Wardha, etc 



S. and W. Ceylon 

l^yancora and E. Ceylon 












Korwa • 
Knrka • 

( Kiaku 
Ho; Larka 

I Bumu . 




. X Ujvala 



Baghalpnr . 

I South of the Santhals . 

/ Singbhnm district 
Chota-Nagpore . 

• Orissa,N.ofEattak 

j Bnstar Hills, left 
\ bank lower Godavari 

{About source of the 
N. Sirkars . 

Yindhyas . 
Malva, Bond! 







Ladakhi . . . . 


Champa VLadakh 



Balti Baltistdn 

(Rongbo . . \ 
EohTi . . . li"i V 1 
Eakka. . . K^whal 

Kanawari ) 




















Tovang ; Mechi 




Uiri; Lntnkotia 

Andta . 


Bafla; Deori 

Abor; Mijhu 


rHojai; Garo 
I Mech ; Koch 


1 Rabha; Chutia 

{New and old Kuki 
Manipuri ; Looe 
Lnahai; Sokte 
Shindu ; Kabul 
Chera; Maring 

Mikir . . . . 

Khaai .... 

r 2 I HatigorTUi • 
^-jSema; Lhota ; Banpar 
§ VBengma; Primi, etc. 

i [Tablung; Sangloi; Tengsa 
I -I Banfera ; Mntonia 
H VMohongia; Kamsang 

I rAngami ; Liyans 

I -[ Anmg ; Mao ; Mnram 

> ^Lohnpa ; Maring 

EUkhaingtha (" Mngs ") . 
Sgan ; Pwo . 

Caren 4 S^"V '^'^ 


Nepal . 



North Assam High- 

I Goalpara and Garo 
V districts, 

I S.W. Assam 


S. Assam Highlands, ^ 
between the Ehasi >- 
and Naga Hills j 

/ Nowgong district, \ 
\ CSentral Assam . j 

Ehasia Hills, S. Assam 

Naga Hills, S. and 
S.E. Assam 

Arakan Plains 

3. Arakan Hills, 




1 80, 000 

? 760,000 

? 50,000 


? 60,000 


? 200, 000 


? 260,000 



Khayeng . - 


rMni . 
Kyau . 
. Sak 

/ Awa Kiimi 
• \ Aphya Eunii 
Talaing (Mou) . 

Burmeee .... 

HillB N. of the Emkm 

? 50,000 

KoladingBiver.N.Ankaii ?iO,M 



Pega . 
/ Tenaaserim . . \ 
\ Pegu, Arakan . J 

y. Sundries. 

^^"^ • { KhZpti 


Neffritofl . 
" Moormen " (Arabs) . 


Persians . 


Eurasians . 

Afndis . 
^Yusafzais, etc 



: } 

/ Maldives 
\ Nieobars ? . 

Andaman Islands 

Laccadives . 

Malabar, Ceylon, etc 

iSind and Dengat j 
Dengat and Peeha- |' 
war . 

Sind . 

' Gnjarat, Surat, 
Bombay . 

India generally 

! 100,001 








The religious and social system of the Hindus is ev&Jt 
where in India based on the institution of caste, whiduHR 
originally introduced to uphold the political supremacy of 
the fair Aryan intruders over the dark aborigines. But 
before its introduction a considerable intermixture bad 
already taken place, except perhaps amongst the vay 
highest classes of the Aryan conquerors. The indigencwi 
elements being by far the most numerous, the Allans were 
thus threatened with ultimate absorption, and in hd hai 
in many places become largely assimilated to the natives 
They could be saved from extinction only by checkii^ 
farther alliances. Marriage with the dark laces wis 


CASTE. 291 

ftccordingly forbidden,^ and a definite rank assigned to 
each shade of colour, which had already been developed, 
while the prohibition itaelf was referred to divine pre- 
scriptioiL Hence caste originally meant colour, and had 
therefore an ethnical valu& Sut once established, the 
institution graduallj acquired an indefinite development, 
and the four original castes of Brahmans (priestly order), 



These, however, probably include the Pariahs, or out' 
castes, a term which originally simply meant " hillmen," 
and which thus throws considerable light on the instdtation. 
It shcfws that while the three highest orders were reserved 
for the ruling Aryans, the Sudra mainly comprised the 
aborigines who had been reduced to a state of thraldom 
or Helotism; whereas the Pariah embraced the inde- 
pendent highlanders who were excluded from all the 
social privileges of the Hindu system. Befusing to sub- 
mit to the conquering race, and successfully maintaining 
their independence in the inaccessible mountain fastnesses 
of the Vindhyas, the Satpuras, and the Ghats, both Eastern 
and Western, where so many of them are still found, they 
were declared to be outlaws; and the term pariah, or high- 
lander, thus came to be synonymous with outcaste. Hence 
the outcastes must, to some extent at least, be regarded a? 
the last remnants of the aboriginal elements, and the surviv- 
ing representatives of a pre- Aryan or prehistoric culture. 

Although still flourishing, the institution of caste has 
been somewhat though not largely affected, first by the 
settlement and spread of Muhammadans in the land, and 
then by the establishment of British rule. Hinduism, 
as a religious system, has always met with the utmost 
possible toleration both from the Moslem and Christian 
governments. Hence the Brahmanical or Sacerdotal 
caste has survived all the political changes by which the 
land has been convulsed during the past twelve hundred 
years ; but the Kshatrya, or military caste, naturally lost 
its vitality under Muhammadan princes, and under the 
present political system, except in the feudatory Hindu 
States of Eajputana and the Deccan.* On the other hand, 

^ Some of the Kshatxyas, such as the Khatri of the Paigah, hare erea 
turned to trade. Some of the Khatris hold the same social nnk in tk 
north that the Baniyas (Banians) do in the Central ProTinces and 
Soutliem Presidencies, while others stiU possess an important stats 
civilly and politically. 



CASTE. 298 

sacerdotalism and secular tradition have been strong enough 
to maintain the class distinctions of the Vaishya, and 
especially of the Sudra order, which last, with the Pariah, 
oomprises most of the Dravidians and Kolarians of the 
DeccaiL Its main subdivisions at present are: — 1. 
Husbandmen ; 2. Graziers ; 3. Artisans ; 4. Writers : 5. 
Weavers; 6. Field labourers; 7. Potters; 8. Mixed, or 
broken, mainly sects who have discarded caste and attend 
to the service of the temples ; 9. Fishers and hunters ; 
10. Barbers ; 11. Washermen ; 12. Low castes of various 
d^rees merging in the outcastes. 

Redemption from this social yoke will ultimately be 
foimd in the spread of education, in such internal up- 
beavals as are foreshadowed by the Brahmo Samaj and other 
monotheistic movements, in the silent influences of the 
higher European culture, quickened by the development 
of the railway system and other levelling institutions. 

The Brahmo sect is described by Professor Monier 
Williams in a paper read before the Koyal Asiatic Society, 
in November 1880, regarding Hindu religious reformers. 

Many of the castes still preserve clear indications of 
the physical distinctions on which they were originally 
based. This is especially true of the Brahmans, who are 
everywhere in the peninsula conspicuous for their intelli- 
gence, retaining much of the common Aryan inheritance, 
and displaying the noble cast of countenance which is 
characteristic of that race. 

Seligiaus Sects, 

The religious system of the Hindus retains little of 
the primitive belief of the Aryan race, a few Vedic hymns 
and formulas recited without being understood by the 
priests being nearly all that survives of the old cult. In 
modem Brahmanism there are many sects, some of which 



have sunk to the lowest depths of the grossest supenti- 
tion. Such are the Aghoris (Aghor-Pants), many of 
whom belong to the Brahman order. Bat the two most 
widespread sects are the worshippers of Siva and Yishnn, 
who typify the opposite poles of religions tlioiight, Uie 
Vaishnava appealing to the deity he worships as the 
author of all good, while the followers of Siva seek in 
man alone and his efforts the attainment of supreme 
happiness. But apart from this fundamental difference, 
the two sects often meet on common ground. By Hindus 
generally Brahm is regarded as the creator, Vishnu the 
preserver, and Siva the destroyer. 

All the civilised Dravidian races — ^Telugus, Tamils, 
Kanarese, Malayalims — have long conformed to the Hindu 
religious system. But nature-worship of a very crude 
type still prevails among the wild tribes — ^Tudas, Kolas, 
Kudagus, Gonds, Khonds — as well as among most of the 
Kolarians. All these rude hiUmen still retain their 
primitive usages, practise sorcery, and believe in evil spiritai 
English and German missionaries, however, have been for 
some time at work amongst them, and have already suc- 
ceeded in forming a large number of Christian communities^ 
especially in the Santhal and other Eolarian districts. 

Within the last twenty years, some judicial triab 
have disclosed practices of the worst social tendency 
among a sect in Western India called the Maharajas. 

The Kashmiinans and Nqpalese. 

On the other hand, many of the Hindus, especially in 
the north, have accepted Islam. The Kashmirians, 
among the finest of the Hindu races, became Muham- 
madans some centuries ago, and are mostly Sunnis. 
They are described as almost European in appearance, 
and in Kashmir we miss the slender frames, prominent 



dieek bones, and otiier unpleasant features so prevalent in 
other parts of India. The men are of a square, herculean 
build, well proportioned, and witii a &ank expression, 
while the women are fresh-looking and often decidedly 
beautiful, with an almost Jewish cast of countenance. 
Those of the better classes are scarcely darker than the 
average natives of Italy. 

The Eashmirians are a shrewd, witty, and cheerful 
people, but superstitious and somewhat sensnons. They 

aie E^ilfnl artisans and traders, but over-shrewd perhaps 
in bargains ; and although crime in the ordinary sense is 
almost unknown in the country, Wilson, in his Abode of 
Snow, draws a far from flattering picture of their present 
social state. 

Still there are some Kashmiri Brahmans remarkable 
for their intellectual ability. 

The non-Aryan or Tibetan inhabitants of Kashmir 



are found chiefly in Ladakh and Baltistan. Fiedend 
Drew, who has carefully studied this region, attributes to 
the prevalence of polyandry the sparse population of 
these upland tracts. Here the partly Hinduised Gaddi 
tribe produces a startling effect by probably the mo6t 
astonishing of all head-gears, while the Khampaa are 
noted chiefly for their remarkable lung-power. Living 
in alpine valleys towards the Tibetan frontier, they find 
respiration difficult at any lower elevation than 11,000 
feet above sea-leveL Their favourite camping-grounds 
are the shores of an extensive salt lake in a secluded 
valley over 13,000 feet above the sea, where they live in 
tents and practise polyandry. But the kindred Bdti 
race, having adopted the Muhammadan faith, have be- 
come polygamists, and are consequently now so numerous 
that many are compelled yearly to migrate southwards. 

In Nepal there is a mixture of races, languages, and 
religions. The ruling people are the warlike Ghurkw 
of mixed Tibetan stock, but assunilated in speech and 
religion to the Hindus. The rest of the population aie 
partly a mixed Indo-Tibetan race; like the Buddhistic 
Newaris, partly Bhutiyas — that is, pure Tibetans — who aw 
mostly nomad shepherds, speaking ten or twelve distinct 

The Panjdbi Hindus and Sikhs. 

In the Central Panjab the chief ethnical element con- 
sists of the Jats, a tall, hardy, and robust race, with genuine 
Caucasic features. These Jats of the Indus valley have 
never adopted the institution of caste in its int^rity, and 
are regarded by the rest of the Hindus with a feeling which 
is embodied in the expression " Baheka"^ or " aliens." The 

^ Baheka co]Tes][>onds exactly to the tenn " Oyeni," applied in a like 
sense by the natives of the Isle of Wight to intruders from the En^ 


Hindus themselves are of a superstitious type, addicted to 
many peculiar observances. At the birth of a son the 
priest is summoned to cast his horoscope (yaman-putri), 
and after forty days to give him a name. During the 
five first years his hair remains uncut, after which he is 
usoally taken to Ivalamuki, where flames are often seen 
bursting from the ground, and here his hair is cut with 
much ceremony by a Brahman. Before his twelfth year 
his head is shaven, and he is instructed by the family 
priest in the " sandhya " and " gayatri," or sacred texts 
ftom the Vedas, and then receives the sacred thread. He 
is now considered to have reached his majority, and has 
to observe the six duties incumbent on all Hindus. He 
wears a solitary tuft of hair on the crown of his head 
and assumes the "dhoti," or loin -doth, with the holy 
inarks in red or white on his forehead. 

On attaining his fourteenth year his parents cast about 
to find him a suitable wife of equal rank with the family. 
The father of the girl sends the family barber with six dates 
and a rupee to the boy's house in token of his willingness to 
accept the alliance. The inmates welcome the messenger 
by smearing the entrance with oil, after which the friends 
meet, the barber throws the dates and rupee into the 
bridegroom's lap and makes the sacred marks on his fore- 

The usages of the Sikhs difiTer greatly from those of 
the orthodox Hindus. They never employ the services 
of Brahmans, nor do they pay any attention to the Vedas 
or other sacred Hindu writings, replacing them by a so- 
called " granth " or " book " of their own, which contains 
their religious code. They marry somewhat later in life 
than the Hindus, and are a far more vigorous race. The 
wedding is conducted by the " granthi," who simply reads 
some appropriate text from the granth. The Sikhs, who 
never cut the hair or beard, wear close-fitting trousers and 


a high turban, invariably containing a bit of steel which 
must never be laid aside. 

Amongst the Muhamniadaiis, Hindus and SiMis tiiere 
are a great number of men called by the name of bHai, 
and many other namea, who lead a life of pious indo- 
lence and contemplation at the expense of the pooitr 
classes. These ascetics wander about over long d 

or pass their days under the trees, amid the tomhe, or at 
the burning-places, or else herd together like roonla in a 
monastery, under a " mahant " or abbot Most of them 
prefer be^ng under a religious cloak to honest wo^ 
In times of political danger or excitement they are mi^ 
chievous in canying news, &lse or eza^etated, from 
place to place. 


Assam presents even ft greater variety of lacee, re- 
ligiotu, and languagGs, than Nepal The bulk of the 

inttaHtants consists of Hindus, Muhammadana, immi- 
grants from Bengal, and numerous Tibeto-Burman tribes 
on the highlands enclosing the Bralmiaputra basin on 
three sides. The Mubammadans generally understand 



Hindustani, which serves as the common medium of in- 
tercourse throughout most of the peninsula ; and since 
the Government schools have heen opened the educated 
classes have become fiamiliar with EnglisL But the 
language of the great majority is the Assamese, a Prakrit 
dialect closely allied to Bengali Assam takes its name 
from the Ahoms,* the former rulers of the country, who 
were originally of Shan (Siamese) stock, but who have 
become nearly everywhere assimilated in speech and 
religion to the Hindus. They are a very fine, strong-buili 
race, of rather fair complexion, extremely intelligent, and 
capable of a high degree of culture. The Ahom dynasty 
was overthrown in 1810 by the Burmese, who were in 
their turn ejected by the English in 1827. Since flien 
the Ahoms have become some of the most loyal sub- 
jects of the Queen. 

The surrounding hills are still peopled by numer- 
ous semi -independent wild tribes, such as the Garo, 
Khasi, Naga, Mishmi, Abor, Kuki, and others, mostly, if 
not altogether, of Tibeto-Burman stock, whose habits and 
customs are still but little known. Much valuable infor- 
mation, however, has lately been supplied regarding the 
Nagas by G. H. Damant and some of the oiS&cers engaged 
in suppressing the unruly Angami taibes in 1879-80. 

The Talaings avd Karens, 

In British Burma the leading races are the Burmese, 
who are found everywhere in the open country, the Bakh- 
aingtha, popularly known as "Mugs" in the Arakan plains, 
the Talaings or Mons of the Irawady delta, and the Karens 
of the coast ranges in Pegu and Tenasserim. Bengali 
immigrants and Muhammadan Hindus are numerous in 

^ Ahom is the same word as Assam or Assom, h interchanging withi 
in Burmese phonetics. 



Aiakan, where, however, the indigenous Mugs still con- 
stitute more than half of the population. They have a 
strong family likeness to the Bunnese, but are of smaller 
stature and darker complexion. They speak a mono- 
syllabic language accompanied with great emphasis and 
much gesticulation. Closely akin to them are the Kayans 
(Khayengs), a rude but inoffensive hill tribe, who live 
mostly on game killed with poisoned arrows, and resemble 
the Chinese in their partiality for dog's flesL 

The Talaings or Mons, if not the aborigines, are at 
least the earliest known immigrants into Pegu, where 
they form an isolated linguistic group, now restricted 
to the east and south of the Irawady delta in Martaban 
and North Tenasserim. Wearing the same dress, they 
differ little from the Burmese in appearance, but are 
generaDy of lighter complexion, with more delicate 
features and a slight growth of beard. But the two 
laoes Uve so intermingled, and alliances are becoming so 
frequent between them, that the time is perhaps not dis- 
tant when the Talaings will have become absorbed in the 
dominant Burmese race. The two languages differ funda- 
mentally, and affinities have been sought for the Talaing 
as &r east as Cambodia and westwards amongst the 
Kolarians of Central India.^ 

The Tenasserim highlands are occupied exclusively by 
the aboriginal Karen, who still continue to live in the 
greatest seclusion. Having been formerly subjected to 
much harsh treatment and oppression by the Burmese 
conquerors of the land, they now avoid, as far as possible, 
all intercourse with them. They, however, occasionally 
visit the towns in the lowlands for the purpose of pro- 
curing by barter the indispensable articles of domestic 
iwe. Settling in small communities of twelve or fourteen 

^ Captain C. J. F. S. Forbes* Comparative OramTnar of the Languages of 
^rther India, London, 1881. 


families neax some stream in the higher woodlands, ihej 
clear the ground with fire, and cultivate rice, bananas, 
betel-nut, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables, on the 
reclaimed space. These products, with some poultry and 
game, suffice to supply all their daily wants. They are 
of a less robust build, with less prominent cheek-bones, 
less oblique eyes, and a fairer complexion, than Urn 
neighbours, thus approaching iu some respects to the south 
European type. The high colour of the cheeks, often 
suffiised in the young women by a slight blush, is very 
striking in a region inhabited mostly by yellow or olive- 
brown races. Possessing no writing system for their nide 
uncultivated speech, and being destitute of all instnidion, 
they lack all the higher religious conceptions. In the 
natural phenomena surrounding them, recognising agencies 
inexplicable to their untutored minds, they attribute Uiem 
to the noUs, or good and evil spirits. 

The Gonds ani BhiU, 

Few races present matter of greater interest to the 
student of himian culture than the uncivilised Dravidias 
and Kolarian tribes of Central India. Many of the Gronds, 
whose domain in the highlands north of the Deccan is 
from them called Gondwana, were formerly employed in 
the coal-pits of the Nerbadda valley and its tributaiiea 
From their infancy they are accustomed to look on ererj 
rock, every river, gorge, and cavern, as the abode of a 
special spirit, who may be propitiated and rendered hann- 
less by some simple rite. 

Amongst the Bhils of the Yindhyas there are many 
superstitions showing a striking analogy to those of the 
West When a Bhfl goes out to fight or rob, if the byru 
bird is on his right hand he will prosper ; if on his left, 
nothing will induce him to go. The belief is very stioQg 


in witchcraft, and in the powers of the Burwa, or witch- 
finder, who is consulted in all important cases. Should 
any person die without apparent cause, the Mends inquire 
of the burwa, who selects the ugliest old woman in the 
village, and oracularly attributes the death to her speUs. 
She is tiiereupon seized and tried, much in the same way 
as in Europe two centuries ago {CoL Kincaid). 

The Nilgiri mil Tribes. 

Many of the dark aborigines of the Nilgiris and 
other parts of the south, although classed with the Dra- 
vidians, seem to bear a much greater resemblance to the 
Kolaiians. Such are the KaUar, or " Eobbers," on the 
Tanjore fix>ntier, who "by no means disown their pro- 
fession or consider it discreditable. Indeed the caste 
ranks high among the Sudras, and they have a king, the 
Tondiman Baja, who has always been a fetithful ally of 
the British. The present well-educated and enlightened 
I^ja receives a salute of twelve guns when visiting 
Madias. Unscrupulous as thieves, they are men of their 
word, and to this day are employed by the English 
residents of Trichinopoly to watch their houses — a 
trust they faithfully fiilfil, and keep off all other thieves. 
Their sklQ in tracking equalled that of any savages. 
Their ordeals and marriage customs agree generally with 
thoee of the Bhfls, and like them they live in continual 
dread of witchcraft, being often driven to cruel deeds in 
revenge for supposed injuries. They are now fast becom- 
ing peaceable cultivators " (if. J, Wcdhmse). 

In the Nilgiris dwell the Tudas, Kotas, and one or 
two other remarkable tribes, Dravidian in speech, but 
otherwise quite distinct both from the Dravidians of the 
plains and in some respects even from each other. The 
practice of polyandry would seem to point at the Bhutyas 



of Tibet as their remote ancestry, but for the fact tbal 
this custom is not confined to that race. Some of &m, 
although not leading a nomad life, present in many ^ 
ticulars a great resemblance to iinB European gypsies. 
They betray no trace of a religion beyond what may be 
implied in a firm belief in witchcraft. They are all very 
peaceful and inofifensive, occupied either with agriculture | 
or stock-breeding, but these hill tribes seem to be dyii^ 
out The Kotas number little over a thousand, while the 
Tudas have been reduced to about 700 or 800. 

The Parsis, 

Amongst the minor heterogeneous ethnical elements of 
the peninsula, one of the most interesting are the Paisis 
of Bombay, the direct descendants of the Ghebrs, or Old 
Persian fire -worshippers, who fled to India when the , 
Muhammadan invasion burst with all its fiiry over the 
Iranian tableland in the seventh century. Since then 
they have kept entirely aloof from the sunonndiug 
peoples, preserving their race and religion alike intact 
from all extraneous influences. They are remarkable for 
their general intelligence, business habits, and commercial 
ability ; and they sympathise with the English far mm 
than with any of the native races. In proportion to thdr 
numbers, they are the wealthiest and most influeDti&i 
section of society in Bombay, as well as the most lo}'al 
and devoted subjects of the Queen in India. 

The Indian Muhammadans. I 

In this respect they present a striking contrast to 
the Muhammadans, who must always be regarded as 
a dangerous . element in the peninsula. The Indian 
Muhammadans, who are chiefly Sunnis, with an in- 


flaential Shiah minority, are concentrated chiefly in 
Bengal, the North -West Provinces, and the Panjdb, and 
mnnber altogether nearly 45,000,000, so that the Em- 
press of India roles over far more Mussuhnan subjects 
than any other sovereign in the East The lieutenant- 
Governor of Bengal alone ''has in his jurisdiction as 
many millions of Moslems as the Sultan of Turkey, and 
tiuioe as many as the Shah of Persia. The Indian 
Muhammadans are met with on all the coasts, and are 
emphatically the sailors of the Indian seas. In the 
interior they are urban rather than rural, employed in 
some blanches of commerce, in retail dealiag, in skilled 
and refined industries, in the army, in public and private 
service, but seldom connected with agriculture, save in 
the capacity of landlords. In Sind, however, the agri- 
eultnral population is Muhammadan, both landlords and 
cultivators. In eastern and northern Bengal, in the 
region comprising the Brahmaputra basin, and in the 
united delta of the Ganges and Brahmaputra, the tenants 
and cultivators are also Muhammadan, while the land- 
brds are Hindu, with the exception of some promiaent 
ftnd meritorious gentlemen of the Muhammadan faith." 

''Elsewhere in India the Muhammadans, being scat- 
tered, do much to leaven the mass of native opinion. 
Besides the discontent engendered among them by historic 
memories, there is one special circumstance afTecting their 
contentment. Under native rule they enjoyed a large 
portion, perhaps the lion's share, of the state patronage, 
and at the outset of British rule were found in the front 
everywhere. But nowadays they are beaten by Hindus 
in Qie open competition of mind with mind. It is to this 
I^at the Muhammadans themselves attribute the fact that 
they are falling in wealth and status while the Hindus are 

" The temper and disposition, politically, of the Muham- 



Tnailans form one of the many sources of anxiety in India. 
Some years ago the religious revival concunenced by the 
Wahhabis in Arabia, the breeze of fanaticism wfaid 
ruffled the surface of the Muhammadan world, and okher 
causes difficult to define, excited the Indian Muham- 
madans considerably. Plots were discovered and state 
trials instituted ; some grave and melancholy events ' 
occurred which need not here be recounted Within ^ 
most recent years, however, the Indian Muhammadais 
have become comparatively well affected Be the reaaooi 
what they may, the symptoms of disaffection among then 
have of late abated" {India in 1880, by Sir Sichaid 

An offshoot of the Muhammadan community are the 
Elhojahs, the real descendants of the famous assasm'nfl d 
the Middle Ages. 


The English and JEurasiana. 

The dominant English race are still almost alieDS ii 
the land They have nowhere formed any agricoltnnl ' 
settlements or permanent trading communities, nor is i 
likely that any serious attempt will ever be made by tkm 
to colonise even the more healthy and temperate upland ' 
districts in the Himalayas or highlands of the Deocaa 
Numerous sanitaria have almost everywhere been eBtab- '■ 
lished in the more favourable sites in these dLstzicu | 
But such places are merely visited periodically by the ! 
officials and military, who escape during the summer | 
season from the almost intolerable heats of the plaioi 
It may be questioned whether three generations of Eng- 
lishmen are anywhere to be found in Simla, Darjilis^ 
Mussurie, Utacamand, or any of the many other healtlt- 
resorts dotted over the uplands of the peninsula. 

Nor has any advance been made towards a fusion d 



the ruling and subject races. The Anglo-Saxon holds 
his head even higher than the haughtiest Sajput chiefs 
claiming descent from the gods and demigods of Hindu 
mythology. In former times alliances and other con- 
nections used to be formed between Europeans and Native 
females, but the result has not been such as to encourage 
a general spread of the practice. The offspring of Euro- 
pean fiithers and native mothers, called East Indians or 
Eurasians,^ hold much the same position in relation to 
English society that the quadroons or octoroons do to the 
white classes in the United States. They do not exhibit 
any marked idiosyncrasy of race. Although both parents 
may belong to the Aryan stock, and although the English 
&thers are often distinguished by their physical qualities, 
and their Indian motiiers by personal attractions, the 
Eurasians themselves do not generally display a striking 
appearance. They possess many intellectual endowments ; 
but though quick of apprehension, they seldom acquire 
solid knowledge so wdl as Europeans, nor have they 
equal perseverance. From their mothers they seem to 
inherit gentleness and amiability. Among them individuals 
are foimd eminent in character and ability. 

It fiares still worse with the pure-blood European 
children who are constitutionally unable to struggle 
against the enervating effects of the climate, especially in 
the Granges valley. Till their sixth year they retain the 
high complexion of the race and seem healthy enough, 
but on entering their teens they begin to lose their fresh 
colour, their features grow pale and wan, the weariness 
of premature decay, or some unaccountable secret blight, 
steals over them. Without any decided outward symp- 
toms of disease, they droop and pine away Uke hothouse 
plants deprived of light and air. This light and air must 
be sought in the home of their forefatiiers before they 

1 That is, JSktropean-jltians, 


attain their sixth year, for nothing but a speedy lemonl 
to the fickle but invigorating climate of England will now 
save them from an early grave or &om physical deteriora- 
tion. Of the Anglo-Indian children thus brought up ii 
Europe, many of the young men return to India befan 
their twentieth year in order to make a career for th^ 
selves in the civil and military services, or else to fill 
positions secured for them in conmiercial houses or other 

8. Topography: Srinagar — Lahore — Delhi — JdraAt— 
Agra — Cavmpore — Lacknow — Allahahad — Benam 
— Patna — Murshedabad — Dacca — Calcutta — Jagor 
nath — Bangun-'— Movlmain — Promt — Nagfut— 
Jabalpur — Bhopal — Indore — Owaiior — Jyeput-^ 
. Udeypwr — Madras — Bellary — Trichinopoly — ifr 
dura — Tanjore — Calicut — Mysore — Seringapat^ 
— Bangalore — Hyderabad — Secanderabad — Bawix^ 
— Ahmadabad — Baroda — SaraJt — Poowi — jSfofc* 
par — Bijapur — Satara — Ahmadnagar. 

Although consisting mostly of agricultural and rool 
elements, the population of India is so enonnous ^ 
enough still remains to overflow into many cities of tte 
first magnitude. The number of large towns la also in* 
creased by the many admioistrative divisions and iiatii9 
feudtaory States, each with its special capital, the o^ti^ 
of the government of the civil and criminal courts, and rf 
other iudependent local iuterests. Thus it happens tM 
besides nearly half a million rural villages there are ii| 
less than forty cities with populations of 50,000 and i?^ 
wards. Many of these are mere aggregates of houses 
of dried earth, with roofs of tile or thatch. But oti 
not a few, are of vast antiquity, the changeless capitals 


ftlii ftiTig empires, reflecting in their monuments the varied 
tastes of many successive cultures, abounding in anti- 
quarian and art treasures of every sort. 


In the upland regions of the Himalayas one of the 
most interesting places is Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, 
which stands on the banks of the Jhelum in the midst 
of some of the loveliest scenery in the world. like 
Venice, Srinagar is a city wherein the streets consist of 
numerous canals, or rather branches of the river, which 
traverse the place and connect it with the neighbouring 
Lake Dal The canals are flooded by means of sluices 
firom the lake when the Jhelum is low. But when the 
river rises above the level of the lake, the sluices are 
closed by the pressure of the bsick flow. There are shady 
poplar avenues in the neighbourhood. The lake is 
enlivened by the presence of water-fowl with brilliant 
plumage, while above its lotus-&inged banks majestic 
trees stand out against the azure sky. On the Dal itself, 
which is 5 miles long by 2 broad, the fantastic floating 
gardens recall the chinapas or swimming islands of Lake 
Tezcuco, near Mexico. Amongst the varied vegetable 
growths that here delight the eye, conspicuous is the 
thorny water-nut {TraJba hispinosa), yielding a delicious 
flour and bread. About 60,000 tons of this substance 
are yearly produced at the larger Lake Wular in the 
same district The Jhelum is spanned by several pictur- 
esque wooden bridges. Near the capital is the Takht-i- 
Suleman hill (Solomon's throne), from the top of which is 
seen the panorama of Kashmir, the finest landscape in the 
Indian Empire. 

The only other large town in the Himalayan States 



is Katmandu, the present capital of Ifepal, incloding Um 
old capital of Pfttan cloee by, lying in a productive and 
well-watered valley in the heart of thfi country. The 

two capitals together make a very interesting localitT, 
with good streets, pleasant houses, many temples of 
unit^ue style and beauty, in its appearance betzaying t 
certain mixture of Indian and Chinese elements. 

Ldkore — Delhi. 
In the FanjfLb, tie moet ooofiiderable . places are 

Peshawar on the Afghan frontier, the present tenninus of 
tile Indian railway aystem towards northern Afghamsl^ ; 
lahore, capital of the province, on the Itavi, neady due 
■oath of Srinf^;ar ; Amritsar, the old religions capital of 


the Sikhs, a few miles fieuiher east ; Multan, near tihe 
united Chenab and Jhelum, a few miles above the junction 
of the Satlaj; Delhi on the border of the North-Westi 
Provinces in the Jamna valley. Lahore, which is a giestl 
railway centre, has in its neighbourhood many ruins of 
former brilliant epochs, and is still adorned with Bam\ 
fine palaces, mosques, mausoleums, and bazaars. 

But none of these places can compare in interest 
with Delhi, which was for centuries the proud capital 
of the Mogul Empire, and the centre of the Modem 
world in India. The present city occupies a c* it 
of Uttle over 7 miles, in the midst of vast vians, 
covering an area of 20 square miles. Yet its fonner 
greatness is still attested by several magnificent buildings, 
conspicuous amongst which are the Jama-Masjid, the 
largest and finest mosque in India, and the palace of the 
emperor Shah Jehan. The canal, 120 miles long, con- 
veying water from the Jamna where it enters uie plains, 
has been restored by the English. But Delhi neTer 
really recovered from the blow inflicted on it in 1739 by 
Nadir Shah, who carried off vast treasures in gold and 
precious stones, estimated at from eighty to over a hon* 
dred millions sterling. Amongst the prizes of conqniest 
was the famous Koh-i-nfbr diamond, the most higUy 
esteemed heirloom in the £Eunily of the Mogul dynastf . 
After a series of almost fabulous accidents, this gem 
ultimately became an appanage of the Queen of England, 
who, as Empress of India, ioherits all the possessions of 
that dynasty. 

The Jamna is here spanned by a railway viaduct in 
front of the old palace of the Moguls. 

Hyderabad at the head, and Karachi at the western 

AGRA. 313 

eztanemitj, of the Indus delta, are the chief places in the 
piovince of Sind. Karachi, which lies dose to the Bal- 
uch frontier, is the terminus on the Arabian Sea of the 
Indus Valley State Bailway. Defensive works have here 
been undertaken, and much has lately been done to im- 
prove the harbour, which is somewhat obstructed by a 
bar, and affords room only for a limited number of large 



% — Cavmpore — Zucknow — AUaJiabad — Benares. 

few r^ons in the world present such an array of 
splendid cities as those which line the banks of the main 
streams along the Ganges- Janma valley for a distance of 
considerably over 800 miles. Between Delhi, capital of 
the old ampire, now arbitrarily included in the Panjdb 
piovince, aud Calcutta, capital of the new Imperial India 
at the opposite extremity of this vast river basin, there 
follow in majestic procession such memorable places as 
Agra, Cavmpore, Lucknow, Allahabad, Benares, Mirzapur, 
Patna, Murshedabad, and Dacca. 

At Agra, which, like Delhi, stands not on the Ganges 
bat on its great tributary the Janma, artistic interest 
must ever be centred in the Moti-Masjid and Taj-Mahal, 
two buildings of surpassing loveliness, in which Muham- 
madan architecture reached its acme under the Mogul 
emperor Shah Jehan. The Moti-Masjid, or "Pearl 
Mosque,** stands within the enclosure of the old imperial 
palace, and though inferior in size, is perhaps superior 
^ design and harmony of proportions to Its rival, the 
Jama-Masjid of Delhi It is built entirely of white 
nuurble, and^ vnth its glorious cupolas, arcades, and lovely 
sanoondings, presents a picture of enchanting beauty, 
Bixn^assed only, if surpassed, by the peerless Taj-MahaL 



This mauBolemn, raised by Shah Jehan at a cost of three 
millions sterling over the grave of his beloved empieES 
Mumtaz-i-Mahal, combines within itself more varied ele- 
ments of beauty than almost any other bnilding in tk 
world. Site, size, general design, synmietiy of partBt 
exquisite finish of details, choice materials, play of oolooi, 
and all the delightful surroundings, afford a vision of 
supreme loveliness, which, seen especially when bathed 
in the liquid atmosphere of a clear moonlight night, 
leaves an undying impression on the memoiy of the 

The Jamna is here spanned by a railway viaduct 
right opposite the Mogul fortress and city. 

Cawnpore and Lucknow are names inseparably asso- 
ciated with the most thrilling events of the Indian 
Mutiny. The most sacred sight in India for men of 
English blood still must be the monument raised over 
the well at Cawnpore to the memory of the slaughtered 
innocents, whose piteous fate inspired their avenging 
fellow-countrymen with the heroism displayed in the 
defence and relief of Lucknow. Both places present in 
other respects many points of interest^ although the am- 
bitious palatial structures of Lucknow plainly mark a 
period of decadence in the Muhammadan architecture in 

Standing at the confluence of the Ganges and Janm, 
and nearly mid-way between Bombay and Calcutta on 
the Qreat Indian Peninsular Bailway, Allahabad occu- 
pies perhaps the most central point of the empire. The 
Janma is here spanned by a very fine railway viadnct, 
commanding a view of the tongue of land at the oanfln- 
ence of the two rivers, which is held by a strong fortress 
containing an arsenaL The native city of Allahabad 
is not handsome, and has no buildings of note except 
the Muhammadan tombs in the £husrii garden& But 


the European quarter has of late years become very fine, 
with its railway station, its military barracks, and its civil 

The first great city on the united (ranges and Jamna 
below Allahabad is Benares, which holds the same posi- 
tion in the Brahmanical that Delhi does in the Moslem 
world. It is crowded with palaces and Hiudu temples, 
and, although none of these are of great size, the numer- 
ous towers, cones, spires, minarets and porticoes, and 
ffi^ts of steps, present an almost unrivalled river-front- 
age, nearly three miles in extent The river view of 
Benares is one of the most characteristic in the em- 

But the interior of this city is far from inviting, with 
its dose, dirty, and irregular streets, rickety houses, nau- 
seona smeUs, repulsive mendicants, and stifling atmosphere. 
The great number of palaces is due to the fact that the 
Hindu chiefs and princes in every part of the empire endea- 
vour to secure a residence in this sacred city, which during 
the festivals is crowded by pilgrims from all quarters. The 
innumerable little temples are compared by Bishop Heber 
to so many shrines " stuck in the angles of the streets 
and under the shadow of the lofty houses. Their forms 
however, are not ungraceful, and many of them are 
covered over with beautiful and elaborate carvings of 
flowers, animals, and palm-branches, equalling in minute- 
Besa and richness the best specimens of Grothic or Grecian 
architecture." This description, though written many 
years ago, is applicable to this day. 

Benares has always been a chief centre of Hindu 
learning, and the Sanskrit College founded here in 
1792 is still the principal seat of native instruction in 

Muhammadanism is also largely represented in 
Benares, where there are said to be as many as 300 


mosques, including a structure with lofty minarets, erected 
by Aurengzeb on the site of a demolished Hindu 

PatTia — Murshedahad — Daoctu 

Lower down the river is the great trading city of 
Fatna, capital of Berar, where the produce of the poppy 
is collected in order to be prepared as opium, to be sent 
to Calcutta for exportation to China. The city proper, 
within the crumbling old fortifications, occupies a conh 
paratively small speu^e ; but the handsome suburbs, with 
their numerous mosques, temples, streets, and gardens* 
stretch nearly 10 miles along the river-bank. Patna is 
much more a Moslem than a Hindu town, and its Mussul- 
man inhabitants have the reputation of being amongst 
the most fanatical in India. It is also a large industrial 
centre, and many of its linens, lacquered and other wares, 
find a ready sale at the great annual fair held at Hajipur 
on the opposite side of the river. 

Near Patna is the railway viaduct over the Sons 
river, an affluent of the Ganges, one of the longest to be 
found in any country. 

Between Patna and Calcutta the most important to^m 
is Murshedabad, on the Bagarathy near the head of the 
delta. It is a very large place, extending some 8 or 9 
miles along both sides of the river. But though it has a 
large trade, and is in some respects flourishing, those parts 
which depended on the former court and camp of the 
Muhammadans present an appearance of decay. The 
Nawab's palace, however, is a fine structure, built in the 
European style. 

Dacca has always been the centre of the Mnham- 
madan world of Eastern Bengal It has a flourishing 
trade, though some of its fine and delicate manu£ax;ture8 


have decayed. Its climate is unfavourable. It presents 
a handsome frontage towards the river. 


On the Htigli, westernmost and largest branch of the 
Ganges delta, and about 100 miles from its mouth, stands 
Oalcutta, the modem capital of the Indian Empire, It is 
divided into a European and native city, jointly cover- 
ing an area of some 15 square miles. The European 
quarter, which is inhabited not only by the English, has 
a Western aspect, being laid out with fine spacious 
tboroughfares, which in the Chowringhee or aristocratic 
quarter are lined with many fine public buildings and 
large private residences. It is the frontage of Chowring- 
hee which has caused Calcutta to be called " The City of 
Palaces." The houses are built in an architectural 
style peculiar to Bengal and suitable to the dimate. 
This style is handsome as well as commodious, and may 
he r^arded as an iostance of originality on the part 
of the English. The native city also, in which the 
native population is collected, has broad straight streets, 
well laid out^ and in that respect di£fers from the aspect 
of an ordinary Eastern town. It is interspersed with 
fine public buildings and some native houses bmlt in 
the English style ; otherwise the native houses are poorly 
hoilt, quite inferior to those of the other capitals in 
India, the climate of Bengal being unfavourable to native 

But all alike have easy access to the pleasant Eden 
gardens, which with their tropical vegetation and 
refreshing ornamental waters form a charming fore- 
ground to the surrounding government buildings. Here 
the winding waters, the varied foliage, the amphitheatre 
of handsome edifices, the forest of masts from the ship- 


ping in the near distance, the guns of Fort William over- 
looking the animated scene, produce a very pleasing 

Calcutta is fairly well supplied with water pumped 
from the Hiigli into filtering beds, whence it is conveyed 
through pipes for a distance of 14 miles to the city. 
Above the harbour the river is crossed by a pontoon 
bridge, which is one of the best works of its kind existiiig 
in any country, and gives easy access to the large and 
rapidly-increasing suburb of Howra on the opposite bank 
Below this bridge the ships are moored together with strong 
chain cables along the quays and jetties, an arrangement 
adopted as a precaution against the tremendous cyclones 
to which the delta is exposed The intricate navigation 
of the Hi!igli, with its treacherous sands and constantlj- 
shifting shoals, is conducted by a pilot service admiraUj 
organised by Government^ and composed exclusively of 
Europeans with their headquarters in Calcutta. Hence 
this great capital may be regarded as tolerably safe firom 
the attacks of hostile fleets, which would be wrecked were 
they to venture into the river without competent pilotage 


Jaganath (Juggemauth), the most celebrated shrine 
in India, lies on the Orissa coast not far from the Madras 
frontier, and about 50 miles south of Kattak. Twdve 
great festivals, attended by over a million pilgrims, att 
here annually held in honour of Vishnu. Here is to ¥| 
seen the huge car which, according to tradition, was BOf^ 
posed to be dragged over the bodies of devotee-victims^ 
great temple, which was finished at enormous cost in 
twelfth century, stands at the head of the main thoroughfiuft^ 

Near here, on the sea-shore, stands the grand EQnda 
ruin known as " The Black Pagoda." 

"' S^ 4.\ 

RAKGUN. 319 

Bangun — Mindmain — Prome. 

In British Burma the only large places are Bangun 
ind Moulmain, the two great seaports of Pegu ahnost 
Euiing each other across the Gulf of Martaban. The 
Shway Dagohn pagoda at Bangun is one of the most 
lemarkable structures of the kind in the Buddhist 
world. It stands on a wooded eminence, above which 
its gilded " htee " or lunbrella shoots up to a height of 
300 feet From a distance it seems to flash in the sun- 
light above the dark foliage like a fiery meteor. The 
lulls about Moulmain are also crowned with Buddhist 
pagodas, whence an extensive and varied prospect is com- 
manded of the city, and the plains watered by three 
conyetging streams and enclosed eastwards by the dis- 
tant Siamese frontier range. There is some literary 
activity in Bangun, which is gradually becoming the 
centre of intellectual life for the Buddhist world in Indo- 
CSuna. Here are four vernacular presses, which have 
*li«ady issued a good many theological, literary, and 
scientific works, including dramas chiefly adapted from 
the Sanskrit, Buddhist tracts, often of a very polemical 
<^^aiacter between the rival Mahagandi and Sulagandi 
86ctB, an encyclopaedia of Burmese Imowledge (the Kawi 
I^khana Dlpani), many translations from English works, 
and some periodical literature. Thus while British 
Burma is attracting aU the material wealth and enter- 
prise from the misgoverned kingdom of Burma, Eangun 
^ in the same way draining it of all its intellectual 

In the middle vaUey of the Irawady stands the old 
Burmese city of Prome, with gilded pagodas and wooden 
pinnacles on the summits of a cluster of hills near the 
river's bank. 


Nagpwr — Jabaipu/r — Ehopal — Indore — Qwalior — 

Jyepwr — Udeypar, 

In the Central Provinces the only places wiUi popnla- 
tions exceeding 50,000 are Nagpur and Jabalpni. Both 
are connected with Bombay by north-eastern eztensioDs 
of the Great Indian Peninsular railway system, one 
branch of which has its present terminns at NagpuL 
Not far from the northern frontier of these Provinces are 
the important towns of Indore and Bhopal, in the political 
system which is termed the Central Indian Agencj. 
Near Bhopal are the Buddhist remains known as the 
Bhilsa Topes. Indore is the capital of Holkar's poeses- 
sions, with one of the finest British Besidencies in the 

Due north of Bhopal and about 70 miles south of 
Agra stands the famous fortress of Gwalior, one of the 
largest and strongest in the empire. It occupies the le?el 
summit of a steep rocky hill 350 feet high, rising abmptl; 
from the surrounding plain, and completely commaudiBg 
the city of Gwalior, capital of Sindhia's dominions, which 
lies at its base. Perennial springs, reservoirs, and culti- 
vated grounds, are enclosed within the walls of the strong- 
hold, which is accessible only by steps hewn in the per- 
pendicular side of the rock on which it stands. Yet this 
apparently impr^nable fastness was twice stormed by 
the British — ^in 1780 by Major Bruce with a handful d 
native troops, and again in 1858 by Sir H. Bose, when 
held by a strong body of mutinous sepoys. 

Jyepur is the principal town in Bajputana. It is 
quite modem and well laid out. In respect to arrange- 
ment of streets, it is superior to any native city in the 
empire. It is the seat of much wealth and commerce. 

Udeypur is the very focus of heroic and chivalric 
traditions. Its palace-crowned hills, its tombs, its lakes 

MADRAS. 321 

and islets, make it the most picturesque city in the 

Madras — Bdlary. 

In the Madras Presidency there are few cities of large 
size, but many of great historic and antiquarian interest 
None have a population of more than 60,000 except the 
capital and Trichinopoly. There are many disadvantages 
in the site occupied by the city of Madras on the open, 
surf-beaten shores of the Goromandel coast, exposed for 
months together to the full fury of the north-eastern 
monsoona Nor is the climate much more favourable, 
being intensely hot in summer and not entirely free from 
the malaria so prevalent along the eastern seaboard. Yet 
in spite of these adverse outward conditions, Madras has 
under British rule expanded into a flourishing dty of 
nearly half a million inhabitants, with many stately 
public buildings, literary and scientific institutions, 
educational and charitable foundations. Something has 
even been done to improve the harbour, or rather to 
create one by the construction of a large pier of great 
strength and size, which is capable of further extension. 
But with nothing but an open and shelving roadstead 
Madras can never become a great seaport, and must 
depend for its future expansion almost entirely on the 
system of railways by which it is already connected 
across the peninsula with Bombay, northwards with the 
Nizam's Dominions and Central Provinces, southwards 
with Pondicherry, Mysore, Trichinopoly, Madura, and 
Tuticorin. Madras is protected by Fort St. George, one 
of the earliest strongholds of the East India Company, 
and at present one of the arsenals of the empire. In its 
vicinity, on the sea-shore, are the rock -cut temples of 
MahabaJihuram, celebrated by Southey's poetry. 



Near the main line from Madras to Bombay aie 
native rock -fortress and the European cantomnent of 
Bellary. Near Bellary, again^ are the wonderful erten- 
sive ruins of the Hindu city of Bijayanagar. 

Trichinopoly — Madura — Tanjore. 

Trichinopoly, the next largest place in the Presidency, 
lies in the fertile Kavari valley, a few miles west d 
Tanjore, and close to the famous temple of SriianguiL 
These Hindu buildings, which are amongst the most i«* 
markable of their kind in India, occupy the westen 
extremity of a large island in the Kavari, where tbe chief 
pagoda stands in the centre of seven separate squaie 
enclosures, with a total circuit of nearly four miles. It 
is a vast structure, surmounted by a gilded dome, bene&ti 
which is the statue of the presiding deity, one of whose 
glittering eyes, abstracted in the last century by t 
French deserter, proved to be a diamond of almoi 
matchless purity. This gem, known as the Orlof 
diamond, now figures as the chief ornament in the iio- 
perial sceptre of Kussia. Trichinopoly is commanded bf 
a strong fort, perched on a steep granite peak, 500 fe^ 
high. It is noted for its peculiar style of gold work. 
In the Protestant Church of St John repose the remains 
of Bishop Heber, interred here in the year 1826. 

South of Trichinopoly, and connected with it by rafl, 
lies the ancient city of Madura, with its truly magnificent 
temples, and other monuments of Hindu art The pal&oe, 
bmlt by Tirumal Naik, a former ruler, the finest structme 
of its kind in India, never fails to excite the astonish- 
ment of visitors, who stand amidst its vast arcades; 
courtyards, vestibules, reception chambers, and haUs, with 
their vaulted roofs and arches. Tanjore, at the head of 
the Kavari delta, also possesses some feunous Hindu mono- 


nents, indudiiig a sacred bull 20 feet high, hewn out of 
i smgle granite block. It stands in one of the palace 
sonrfyardsy but even modem engineers still marvel how 
i was carved and transported to its present site. 

Calicut — Mysore — SeringapcUam — Bangalore. 

Celicut, on the Malabar coast, lies in one of the most 
fertQe districts of the peninsula, yielding pepper, ginger, 
cotton, cardamoms, and other tropical products in vast 
profusion This was the first Indian seaport visited by 
TaBco de Grama in 1498, and from the peculiar cotton 
&bric here formerly manufieu^tured. the calicoes of the 
modem European looms take their name. 

A line drawn from Calicut north-eastwards will very 
nearly intersect Mysore, Seringapatam, and Bangalore, in 
eveiy respect the three most interesting places in the 
State of Mysore, which has recently been again placed 
under the administration of the native Bajah. The city 
which gives its name to the State forms a pleasant aggre- 
gate of r^ular streets, avenues, gardens, and temples, the 
whole commanded by a strong fort, constructed from 
^Eoiopean designs. This stronghold, which is separated 
^ an esplanade from the city, encloses within its pre- 
cmcts the Bajah's palace, besides the dwellings of many 
wealthy citizens and other private buUdings. But the 
British Sesidency lies some 5 miles farther south, on the 
wumnit of Mysore hill, 1000 feet above sea-leveL 

Seringapatam, on the main head-stream of the Kavari, 
is chiefly noted for its fortress, which figured so pro- 
niinently in Indian history during the closing decade of 
the last century. This formidable stronghold of Tippu 
Sultan occupies the west side of a large island in the 
river, and although considered quite impregnable, was 
finally stormed by the British in 1799. Its streets, 


houses, and fortifications remain, but it is now a dty of 
the dead. 

Bangalore, which lies almost exactly midway betwesi 
Madras and Mangalore on the opposite coast, and nearlj 
200 miles from both points, is by far the largest dtj in 
the interior, south of the Kistna valley. Yet it is quite 
a modern place, having been founded by Hyder Ali about 
1780 as a bulwark against the English, The fort has 
long been disused ; but, thanks to its central position in 
the midst of an extremely fertile district, the town soon 
acquired a rapid expansion. Lying at an elevation of 
3000 feet above the sea, on the Mysore plateau, it enjoys 
a delightful climate, and is consequently a favourite resoit 
of Euroi)eans. Here is a large British cantonment^ with 
extensive barracks, library, public gardens, racecourse, and 
other attractions. From a combination of happy circom- 
stances. Bangalore has thus become, in a few decades, the 
chief centre for the diffusion of Western ideas amongst 
the Dravidian inhabitants of the interior of Southern 

Hyderabad — Secandcrdbad, 

Haidarabad (Hyderabad), capital of the Nizam's Do- 
minions, occupies a somewhat central position in a fine 
climate, the eastern terminus of the native state railwa; 
running thence to join the Madras main line. It is the 
largest city in the whole of the Deccan, with a present 
population of over 400,000, and with a picturesque situa- 
tion. There is a handsome British Eesidency, one remark- 
able mosque, and one fine gateway. Hyderabad is muck 
more a Moslem than a Hindu city, Fathans, Arabs, and 
Bohillas being here numerous. 

The neighbouring town of Secanderabad may be re- 
garded as a European quarter, this being the headquarteis 

BOMBAY. 326 

of the Britdsh subsidiary force in the Nizam's territory. 
Here are some of the largest and best-constructed canton- 
ments in India, with extensive barracks, hospital, Pro- 
testant and Boman Catholic churches. Masonic Lodge, 
promenades, public libraries, racket courts, lawn-teimis 
grounds, and racecourse. 

Near here are the old citadel and the mausolea of 

In the north-west comer of the Nizam's Dominions 
are the rock-cut temples and caves of Ellora (Hindu) and 
Ajanta (Buddhist), also the hill-fortress of Daolatabad. 


Bombay, capital of the Presidency, is not only the 
most flourishing city in the Indian Empire, but possesses 
probably more elements of future greatness than any other 
city in Asia. It occupies the south-east end of the island 
of like name, which is 8 miles by 3, and which is 
connected by a mound with the larger island of Salsetta 
These, with Elephanta and two or three others, form a 
Kttle group close to the Konkan coast, in 18** 53' N., 72* 
48' El, jointly enclosing with the mainland one of the 
most commodious and expansive harbours in the world.^ 
Ibe space available for shipping is nearly 14 miles long 
and about 6 broad, with an average depth of 10 to 12 
fiithonis. This splendid natural position has been greatly 
improved by artificial works, including extensive quays, 
wharves, and several docks, the finest of which is t^e 
Prince's Dock, with an area of 30 acres, recently com- 
pleted at a cost altogether of over a million sterling. 

* The word Bombay — ue. Bom Bahla — means in Portngiiese "Good 
Bsrboor." Otherwiae it is thought to be a corraption of Mnmbai, a small 
Uand named after the goddess Momba. 


The city consists properly of two parts, a native and 
European quarter, the latter stretching along the shore oC 
the bay, where a line of magnificent buildings preaeoli 
an imposing view when seen firom Malabar Hill, at the 
south-west point of the island. The native dty has 
several long streets, which are the finest in the Induu 
Empire. It is well supplied with good water, brou^ 
through pipes firom two large artificial lakes embosomed 
in the picturesque wooded hills forming the advanced 
spurs of the Western Ghats, which here approach to 
within 20 miles of the coast Although the scheme 
of defences is stUl incomplete, Bombay is already 
defended by several formidable batteries, as well as bf 
two iron -clad turret -ships permanently stationed ai 
this port In case of danger the whole of the shipping 
might also find absolute security in the inner wateis 
behind the island of Elephanta. When we add thai 
Bombay is the first important place reached by vesseia 
from Europe and the Suez Canal, and that it is diiecdj 
connected by several rsdlway systems with every part rf 
the peninsula, it will be seen that this great seaport lacks 
none of the elements calculated to secure it a foremost 
position amongst the cities of Southern Asia. Between it 
and Calcutta there is an honourable rivalry for the finit 
position. Each city has advantages peculiar to itself, and 
it is hard to say which of the two will ultimately preTaiL 

Ahmadahad — Baroda — Surat. 

The Presidency also contains several other large cities, 
the most important of which are Ahmadabad, Baroda, 
and Surat in tibe Northern, Poena and Sholapur in the 
Central, Dharwar and Belgaum in the Southern Division 

Ahmadabad, which is a very large place at the neck 


of the Gujarat peninsula, equidistant from the Bann of 
Eatch and the Gulf of Cambay, contains many beautiful 
ipedmens of Muhammadan architecture. Unfortunately 
M>me of these monuments, including the great mosque of 
Bdtan Ahmad, were shattered or destroyed by the terrible 
euthquake which seriously injured the place in 1819. 
Still many fine structures remain to delight the student 
of architecture. The city is now a great centre of Oriental 
ait^ producing exquisite specimens of damascened metal 
"irork, gold and silver plate, mother-of-pearl objects, rich 
tntppings and caparisons for the native princes. 

The late Gaikwar of Baroda was deposed by the para- 
moimt power for maladministration. He . was held by 
file Government of India to have been guilty of an attempt 
to poison the British Besident by a dose of diamond-dust 
Baroda itself which lies nearly midway between Ahmada- 
l)ad and Surat^ has prospered in the sunshine of Maratha 
royalty, and is a fine city, though not remarkable for 

Surat occupies a convenient position near the mouth 
rffiie Eiver Tapti, about 160 miles by rail due north of 
ftnubay. It is the natural emporium of the rich Kande- 
ish valley, and covers a large space some 8 miles in 
cirouinference on the left bank of the river, 20 miles 
from the Gulf of Cambay. In the early days of the 
East India Company it was the principal trading place 
^ the west coast, but during the last century it has 
become quite secondary to Bombay. 

Poona — Sholapwr — Bijapwr. 

No place in the Central Division of the Bombay 
IWdency can compare in importance with Poona, which 
is ddightfolly situated about 80 miles south-east of Bom- 


bay on the Deccan plateau, some 2000 feet above tk 
sea. With its large British cantozunents, hospitals, 
libraries, churches, colleges, and missionary sdiools, thk 
famous capital of the Peishwas, or heads of the greal 
Maratha confederacy, has in our days become the dad] 
centre for the spread of European culture among thai 
brave but somewhat turbulent Maratha races of West- 
ern India. The palace of the Peishwas, built of teak- 
wood, a noble specimen of Maratha architecture, vai 
burnt in 1879. 

South-east of Poona and dose to the Nizam's frontiff 
lies the town of Sholapur, a former stronghold of the 
Marathas, with two distinct lines of fortifications. 

A far more interesting place is Bijapur, which liei 
some 60 miles farther south on a small tributary of tte 
Kistna, and was the capital of the Muhammadan kingdam, 
which comprised the western Deccan, before the estahlisb* 
ment of the Mogul Empire. The extent and splendooi d 
the ruins attest the former greatness of this " Palmyra d\ 
the Deccan," as it has been called. These ruins, — -wiaxk 
are remarkable especially for their great solidity and simpbl 
grandeur, and yet a suitable degree of ornamentation,— 
consist of Muhammadan palaces, mosques, and other stzQO> 
tures, many of the domes, spires, and minarets of wfaidk 
are still standing. Among these is a mausoleum, witii ft 
cupola, the admiration of architects and the largest y^ 
constructed in the world. 

Satara — Ahmcuinaffar. 

Satara and Ahmadnagar are the only other places il 
the Presidency which call for special mention. Thef 
both lie on tiie Deccan tableland and on small hed^ 
streams of the Eistna, the former 70 miles south, di 



latter 80 miles north-east of Poona. Ahmadiiagar has 
a few good streets and substantial buildings enclosed by 
a wall, beyond which are a strong stone fort of historic 
celebrity, a finely -built palace, and on the crest of a 
neighbouring hill the tomb of Salabat Jung. Satara — 
much associated with stirring passages of Maratha history 
— is clustered round the base of a rocky eminence 
nsing 800 feet above the surrounding plain, and crowned 
b^the ruins of an ancient citadel In the neighbour- 
bood are European cantonments, which enjoy a favourable 
ead healthy dimate. 

9. S^ghways of Communication: Canals — Boada — 


Under the British administration a system of internal 
oommnnication has been rapidly developed, which in 
^ respect places India nearly on a level with the 
ttO0t civilised r^ons of the globe. Apart firom the 
fiB^ioial channels of the great rivers and their affluents, 
affording over 10,000 miles of navigable water highways, 
tte iirigation canals, which are constantly increasing, are 
•ften navigable by small craft for htmdreds of milea 
M&ny of the larger ones have been specially adapted to 
^ pnrpoee, and by a wise provision have thus been 
8»de to serve a twofold object The canals near Cal- 
catta and in Orissa, and those of the Madras Presidency, 
•w largely utilised in this way. The irrigation system 
^ already assumed magnificent proportions. The chief 
«eiieB of these operations are the country between the 
Jaoma and the Ganges, several parts of the Panjab, and 
ie deltas of the Mahanady, the Godavari, the Kistna, 
^ the Elavari on the east coast, and the delta of the 
uidTU! on the north-west coast Of main channels, great 


and little, there are no less than 13,000 miles completed, 
besides countless distributing rills with a total lengtii of 
nearly 9000 miles in the north alona Thus have been 
brought under irrigation about .7,000,000 acres, mosfly 
of extremely fertile land, at a total expenditure by tihe 
State of £21,000,000 sterling, yielding an average inteieel 
of 6 per cent. 

Although occupied for ages by settled oommmiities, 
which had attained a high degree of culture long before 
Britain had emerged from barbarism, India seems to have 
possessed scarcely any roads before the advent of ihe 
English. Neither the ancient Hindu dynasties nor their 
Moslem conquerors paid any attention to this primaiy 
condition of true civitLsation. Many of the petty roleis 
were even directly opposed to the development of easy 
lines of communication, which would have the immediate 
efiect of opening up the country to the attacks of hostile 

Now all this is changed, and although the system is 
still far from complete, over 20,000 miles of metalled or 
macadamised highways have been constructed, mostly 
within the last fifty years. Thus all the great cities have 
been brought into direct communication with each other, 
and the uttermost limits of the land have been made 
accessible to trade and to defensive or offensive war&ie. 

The great trunk lines are those running fcom 
Calcutta for 1000 miles to Delhi, and thence throng 
Lahore to the frontier at Peshawar; from Bombay for 
900 miles to the last-mentioned at Agra; from Bombay 
for 800 miles over the Western Ghats and across the 
Deccan to Madras; from Bombay through Gujaiat; 
from Madras northwards to Bengal, southwards to 
Trichinopoly and Madura, westwards through Banga- 
lore to the Malabar coast. Important sections of the 
system are also the routes running in the Himalayas 

dTdian railway system. 331 

fiom Amballa to Simla and beyond it towards Chini, and 
from the Bengal plains to Darjiling and thence to the 
Chola range on the Tibetan frontier ; in the Deccan the 
roads connecting Mirzapur on the Ganges through Jab- 
balpnr and over the Satpnra range with fTagpur in the 
Central Ptovinces ; the line running from Poona south- 
wards to Mysore, and that ascending from Coimbatore to 
Utacamand in the Nilgiris. 

Most of these highways are solidly constructed, and 
often present splendid specimens of engineering skill in 
their gradients, cuttings, causeways, and bridges. Like 
the old Boman roads, they are in many places carried 
right oYer the Ghats, Yindhyas, and other ranges, and 
t^ngh such difficult passes as the Thai and Shore in the 
Western Ghats. The section between the Jbelum and 
hdm, in the extreme north-west^ consists of an almost 
oontinuous series of cuttings and embankments for a dis- 
tance of over 150 miles. 

The Indian railway system, carried out mainly on the 
^ plans laid down by Lord Dalhousie some thirty years 
8go, has already assumed considerable proportions, and 
^ in a short time form a total mileage of over 9000 
^es. The base of the system is the great trunk line 
'Qiuiing from Calcutta for 1600 miles up the Ganges 
^ey through Allahabad and Lahore, and across the 
hidus at Attock to its present terminus at Peshawar on 
^ A%han frontier. From Allahabad, on this base, the 
Oreat Indian Peninsula runs first over the Bandelkand 
l^i down the Nerbadda valley and through the Satpura 
lange and Western Ghats for 700 miles to Bombay, and 
^ce again over the Western Ghats, through Poona, and 
across the Deccan for 800 miles to Madras. Thus the 
^^ capitals are brought into direct communication with 
^h other and with all the more central and populous 
Pwts of the empire. 


Of the other lines, some are of great length and of 
much commercial and strategical importanca Of these 
perhaps the most vital is the Indus valley line oonnect- 
ing Lahore with the sea at Karachi, the nearest port to 
England, and with a projected branch of 400 miles from 
Sakkar to Kandahar already completed to Sibi near the 
foot of the Bolan Pcuas. This line has much political 
importance in reference to the completion of the Bussian 
Trans-Caspian line in 1881 to Kizil-Arvat and Bami 
within measurable distance of Herat 

Another great section runs from Bombay along the 
west coast, across the Lower Tapti and Nerbadda valleys, 
across Gujarat and Sajputana to the northern trunk line 
at Agra with a junction to Delhi Several minor 
branches ramify from these main lines northwards to the 
Himalayas at Kurseong for Darjiling, southwards to 
Gwalior, eastwards to Nagpur and Secanderabad dose to 
Hyderabad, capital of the Nizam's Dominions. From 
Madras two independent lines radiate, one right acroes 
the Deccan through Yellore and Coimbatore to Beypore 
near Calicut on the Malabar coast, the other southwards 
through Tanjore, Trichinopoly, and Madura, to Tuticoiin 
and TinnevelU near the apex of the peninsula. On these 
lines there are branches to Bangalore, Pondidierry, and 
Negapatam for Karikal 

Lastly, in British Burma a line runs up the Irawadf 
valley from Bangun to Prome, near the Burma frontier, and 
another is in progress, also from Bangun up the Sittang 
valley to Tungu, near the frt)ntier of the Karen country. 

Most of these lines, the materials for which had to be 
brought mostly from England, were built at an average 
cost of about £14,000 per mile, the total capital abeadr 
expended amounting to over £123,000,000. They are 
constructed partly on a narrow, but chiefly on a broad 
gauge, the former mostly by the State, the latter by private 


oompaides, to whom a rate of 5 per cent interest is goa- 
lanteed bj the Govemment of India. Bailway trayelling 
18 growing in popularity, and the various lines abeady 
convey oyer 43 million passengers yearly, the vast majo- 
nty of whom are Natives. 

The telegraphic system, originally planned by Sir 
ViUiam O'Shanghnessy, may be regarded as complete, 
eomprising a total length of over 19,000 miles, exdnsive 
of two lines to England, and others to China, Japan, and 

10. Administration: The Native States — Sodai 

Progress — Ediusaiion. 

After the mutiny of the Native army of Bengal in 
185? the administration of the country passed from the 
old East India Company to the Crown, and on 1st 
January 1877 India was constituted an empire, the 
Queen of England assuming the title of Kaisar-i-Hind, 
or Empress of India. The sovereign is represented on 
the spot by the Viceroy and Governor -General, whose 
headquarters are at Calcutta, but who ordinarily resides 
during the summer months at Simla in the Himalayas. 
He Governor-General and the Governors of Madras and 
^nibay are each aided by Executive Councils, which 
^ like Cabinets on a small scale. There is one Legis- 
lative Council of the Governor- General for legislation 
regarding imperial matters. There are also three local 
Illative Councils, sitting at Calcutta, Madras, and 
Bombay respectively. The members of all these Legis- 
lative Councils are appointed by Govemment and not 
elected. The Govemment of India — that is, the Gover- 
nor-General in Council — is subordinate to Her Majesty's 
Government in England, represented by the Secretary of 
State for India in London, who is assisted by a Council. 



Subordinate to the GoYemor-General are the GrOTernois 
of the two Presidencies of Madras and Bombay, the liea- 
tenant-Govemors of Bengal, the North-West Provinoea» 
and the Panjab, the Chief Commissioners of the Centzal 
Provinces, Assam, and British Burma, the Besidentat 
Hyderabad, the Agents to the Govemor-Greneral in Baj- 
putana, Central India, and other Residents and Political 
Agents of the first rank. There are four High Courts of 
Judicature at Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, and Allahahad 
respectively, and one Chief Court for the Panjdb. There 
are three armies, belonging to the Presidencies of Bengal, 
Madras, and Bombay respectively, each army having a 
Commander-in-chief; but the Commandei^in-chief of the 
Bengal army has a supreme command over all the Boval 
troops in the empire, as contradistingui^ed firom the 
Native. There are five Bishoprics, exclusive of the Mis- 
sionary Bishoprics. The Bishop of Calcutta is also 
Metropolitan in India. At each of the three Ptesidencj 
towns there is a bank connected with the Grovenmient 
This is an outline of the machinery by which England 
from a distance of 8000 miles administers the affiiirs of 
253,000,000 people, including a large number of Native 
States, which recognise the supremacy of the paramount 
power. As, on the other hand, there are not more than 
a few thousand Europeans, exclusive of the military, and 
only a few hundred European civil officers in the whole 
empire, it will readily be imagined how arduous must 
be the task imposed on the Government of keeping order 
amongst such a mass of human beings, consisting of 
heterogeneous elements. Not perhaps unnaturally, the 
imperial race to which such an inheritance has fidlen, 
feels at times more oppressed by a deep sense of its 
overwhelming responsibilities than elevated by the com- 
manding position it thus takes amongst the nations of 
the world 



All the Native States (some three hundred in 
Dumber^ great and small) may be regarded as placed 
mder the protection of the suzerain power, the only 
teally independent elements being some of the wild and 
often troublesome hill tribes on the frontiers. Of these 
States Uiere are three categories — the allied, the tributary, 
asd the protected The allied are provided by the British 
GoYemment with a regular contingency of subsidiary 
troops, for which a fixed charge is made. These represent 
a total population of over 20,000,000. In the tributary 
States the Government maintains no regular troops, but 
Tindertakes to defend them from aay possible attacks from 
viAout, receiving in return a regular tribute. Of such 
States there are about fifty, with some 12,000,000 in- 
habitants. The protected States, exempt from tribute, 
stand in the same relation to the supreme authority, and 
nomber upwards of ninety, with a joint population of 
perhaps 18,000,000. 

All three have renoimced the right of self-defence and 
of independent diplomatic representation abroad, England 
goaianteeing them from attack, and acting as mediator in 
sU the differences arising among them. They also main- 
tain troops numerous enough to preserve peace within 
their borders. The English Government, moreover, re- 
serves to itself the right of interfering in the internal 
administration whenever the native rulers become the 
oppressors instead of the protectors of their subjects. 
In fact, however, the Native States are becoming well 

The chiefs, princes, and other representatives of these 
^ous Native States appear from time to time at the 
"durbar," or pubUc audience of the Viceroy, for the pur- 
pose of paying homage to the Empress through her repre- 

Under this administration, ensuring the blessings of 



peace at home and presenting a firm front to any possible 
assaults from without, the country has made astoni^iing 
progress both materially and morally in recent times. A 
fieu* more radical transformation has taken place than 
might be suspected at a cursory glance. The removal of 
the centre of authority from the old inland capitals to the 
seaboard, — ^the general disarmament of the people, and 
the establishment of lasting peace and security in the hb* 
motest comers of the empire, — ^the suppression of savt^ 
rites such as human sacrifices amongst some wild hill 
tribes, and of Suttee ^ amongst the Hindus, — the surveys^ 
trigonometrical, topographical, and geological, — the en- 
lightened legislation, and the establishment of a system of 
civil and criminal justice, — ^the releasing of trade from 
transit duties and other fetters, — ^the assessment of the 
land-tax for long terms of years, and the recognition of 
proprietary right in the land, — ^the construction of high- 
ways, railroads, and telegraphic lines, and the extension 
of artificial irrigation,: — ^the introduction of education on 
English principles — are aU unmistakable evidences of 
social progress. 

Some of the old native manufactures are dying out in 
many places, partly through the competition of the English 
looms, and partly through the introduction of modem 
machinery, while many of these manufactures continue 
to flourish. On the other hand, nevertheless, thousands 
are employed in the jute, cotton, and sugar factories, in 
the coal-mines, and in the plantations of tea and coffee. 
Nor has the traditional skill of native craftsmen and the 
hereditary genius of native artists succumbed to Western 
influences. Thus in Orissa and Southern India the hand- 
loom still maintains its place, and the most deUcate 

^ Suttee, or rather Sati (that is, *' the pure one "), properly means the ; 
widow who immolates herself on the death of her husband, bat is oom* j 
monly applied in English to the act itself. I 


muslins in the world may still be procured firom the 
Dacca weavers, although at very high prices. 

Another result of the English rule is the increased 
sense of unity that has been developed amongst the 
various nationalities. The same tendency is shown in 
the cultivation of the native languages (both classical 
and living), which formerly received little encourage- 
ment from the various Persian, Hindi, or Marathi speak- 
ing conquerors, but which are now fostered in the 
national education. Three Universities have been estab- 
Ushed (much upon the model of the London University) 
at Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay respectively, to each 
of which several colleges, belonging to Government and 
to private bodies, are affiliated. Three Medical Col- 
lies of the best possible kind, with several Medical 
Schools and two Colleges of civil engineering, also 
several technical and industrial schools, have been estab- 
lished. Much satisfactory progress has been made in the 
popalar instoxction, althT^hTudh remains atiU to be 
done in this direction, and especially as regards female 
education. In the Panjab the schools and attendance 
have greatly increased; yet 60 per cent of the children 
are said to be still unprovided with instruction of any 
sort In Bengal also the elementary schools have been 
greatly multiplied, and here the wish to learn English is 
increasing among the middle classes. Still more satisfac- 
tory has been the progress in Madras, where the schools 
increased from 9274 to 10,633 in 1880, and the attend- 
ance from 237,838 to 268,379. Here the greatest 
development is in the primary schools and amongst the 
native Christians. A really sound beginning has been 
made with female education. As regards the highest 
education, 1094 out of 3309 candidates passed the uni- 
versity entrance examinations, as compared with 356 
and 2597, the corresponding iSgures in 1879. 



For British Bunna an Educational Syndicate wa 
established in 1881 for the purpose of controlling tb 
public examinations, which under new regulations wil 
be especially designed to encourage the study of ki 
medicinei engineering, and the technical arts. 

The State expenditure is largely incurred in th 
shape of grants-in-aid About half of the educatuMMl 
expenses in the interior of the country are de&ayed Ig 
the State, and the other half by the people. 

The progress of Christian missions of all Protestaal 
denominations is considerabla The Native Christians ai 
about 400,000 in number, and the children xmder Gbrifr 
tian instruction, though not actually Christians, are abool 
200,000. These numbers have been increasing at the 
rate of 50 per cent in each decade during the generatia 
ending in 1880. There are about 450 mission statiom 
and 500 European missionaries, 3 missionary bishops^ani 
300 native ordained clergymen. Several colleges aai 
training institutions belong to the missionary bodies 
The Vernacular Education Society conducts extensivi 
operations in the publication and colportage of books fir 
Christian instruction. The total income of the Froteel^ 
ant missions has been computed at something betweea 
£300,000 and £400,000 annually. 

The Boman Catholic Church has real vitality, aod 
includes Europeans, East Indians, and natives. It hv 
archbishops, bishops, vicars apostolic, and lady superior 
It has many missionary stations, besides coll^jes, school 
convents, and other religious establishments. 

Further proofs of material and social progress will 
revealed in the subjoined tabulated statements of po] 
tion, trade, education, etc. 




11. Statistics of British India. 


J^nTtul according to 
■q- ""*"• Geniiu of 188L 

. 155,997 68,829,920 

. 45,803 4,815,157 

loth-West Prorinces . 81,748 82,699,486 

Oadh 24,218 11,407,625 

P^jlb 107,010 18,786,107 

Ontnl Proyinoes . . . 84,208 11,505,149 

Miih Banna . . . 87,220 8,707,646 

Ajmir 2,711 453,075 

Ibdns 140,883 80,889,181 

Bombiyl i9iiii»i } 13,978,488 

Bnii^] * • • • ^^^^ \ 2,404,934 

"893,176 199,426,718 
isdaman and Kicobar IilaiidB 8,285 26,000 

896,461 199,452,718 


according to 

pnvloiia CeDsuflt 








2 ,192,415 




n, ,. Area In PopidailoB PopuUtlon 

BM^ sq. mUes. in 1881.1 from 1868-1871. 

Cntnl India .... 89,098 9,200,884 8,860,571 

^jpotana 180,989 11,005,512 10,192,871 

H^lad (Nizam) . . 80,000 9,167,789 9,000,000 

Bear 17,711 2,670,982 2,227,654 

Bnoda 4,899 2,154,469 2,000,000 

Xnoie 24,744 4,186,899 5,055,412 

Xiag 1,572 178,288 168,312 

Unupor 7,584 126,000 126,000 

Bombay (Lesser States) 66,498 6,941,631 6,784,482 

Pazy4b (Kashmir and other States) 114,742 5,800,000 5,870,096 

TiiTtneore 6,730 2,401,158 2,808,891 

Coebin 1,861 600,278 601,114 

Hepal 85,000 2,000,000 2,000,000 

Bhutan 19,000 750,000 750,000 

Kortb-West Provinces (Lesser States ) 5,125 745,675 686,5 48 

Total .... 654,553 57,429,060 55,581,946 

ikijMai* T«4ia Area in Fftaent 

BrititbliMlla. aquaw miles. Population. 

British Territories . . . 896,461 199,452,718 

Native States .... 664,558 57,429,060 

Total 1,551,014 256,881,778 

1 The retoma of the ccnsos of 1881 have not yet been receiyed for tome of the 
MttTc States, and for aome outlying places. But, so flv aa is yet known, the result 
ilxmi tbat there has been an increase of at least 12,788,566 souls in British India, or 
in round nombers 18 millions, within the last ten years, equal to an addition of 8 per 
tent to the population notwithstanding two very severe Ihmines. 




Bkitish Political Stbtbit. 


British India .... 

Ceylon and other ialands 
Banna (excluflive of British Burma) 
Afghanistan and Balnchistdn . 
Straits Settlements, Malacca . 
Aden and Hong-Kong . 

Grand Total 

French Possessions in India . 
Portuguese ,, f» • • 

Area in 
■q. miles. 


SO, 000 
















Towns with upwards of 80,000 Ikhabitantb. 


Delhi . 


Lahore . 

















N". W, Fravineea and Otidh, 



Agra . 




Mirut . 




Mattra . 


Koil . 







Patna . 





















Dacca . 


Gya . 



Durbhunsa . 



Behar . 



HtigU . 






BritM Burma, 







ItajptUana and Central India 

Uiein . 






Ajmir • 

f 90,000 



Berair and NumuCi, 

Hyderabad . 


Madra» and Mytore. 








Salem . 












Bombay Prerideney, 



Po<ma . 


Sunt . 





HabH . 

Br6ch . 



















ffimalayan States, 

Katmanda . . . ? 100,000 


Point de GaUe 



Population of India clabskd aocordino to Raobs.* 





Shans . 

Afghans and Balachis 


Pania and PersiaDB 




Europeans, An8tralian% and Americans 














Population or India and Cbtlon olasssd acoobding to Religions. 


Buddhists and Jains 
Sikhs . 
Parsis . 


1 This daaslfleation ia liaaed mainly on language. FOr detaila see p. 287. 




Bnlmiaputra and San-po • 1800 | 

Indiu .... 




Irawady . 


Godayari . 






Nerbadda . 




Capital expended 

Chief Riyxbs of India. 









Cakalibatiok (1880). 

Main Canala and branches in the three Presidencies 

Pa^jdb and Sind 

Taigore or Earari system 

Distributing Canals in North India . . • 









{Madras and Bombay 
Behar and Orissa 

Ooaranteed Lines . 
State Lines . 
Native State Lines • 

Eailways (1880). 










Oai^lal eraendfid. 


Receipts • 



Chief Heads of Income. 
Land Tax . . £21,679,000 

Opium (gross) 

Stamps • 
Exdse . 
Proyincial Rates 
Customs • 

BiTDGsr (1880). 




Ohief Heads of Outlay. 
Army . . £20,974,000 

Irrigation and Public \ 

Works . / 

Interest on Debt . 
Law, Justice, and \ 

Police . . f 
Loss by Exchanges! 

with London . f 
Administration . 1,486,000 






Otralrj . 
Sliff and Sundries 

Abmt — NoBMXL Strength. 

. 29,420 
















HitiT6S • • • • 

Total British tnd KatiTes 




104,216 47,026 88,355 



OooupATiONS OF Malb Adults IS Bbttish India. 

{Large landlords 
Lesser proprietors . . 

Peasant propnetors, sub-pro- 
prietors, cultiyators 



Ubonring Glasses . 

Industries . 

Domestic Porsnits 


hofesrions. Employees 


Mntolcant • 

Primary Schools 
Teclmical Schools . 
Schools for Europeans 

IJniTenities . 

Education (1880). 

66,500 Attendance 
3 1 Entered 



Annual State Expenditure on Public Instruction 
I'loportion of Population receiving instruction 


ATenge yearly publications — English 

Yemacular languages 
Classical languages of India . 
In more than one language • 

Postal and Teleobafhio Sebyioes. 

Post Offices . 5,500 

Postal Lines, mUes . 58,000 

I^teTs,etc., carried 181,000,000 









9 per 1000 






Telegraph Stations 240 

„ Lines, miles 19,100 

Messages forwarded 1,750,000 

^Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. Not mora than ona-foorth of the matrioalated 
>ade&ti beeome gradoatea. 







Preaent jwtlj ayerafle of sea-borne txade £60,000,000 
£40,000,000 imports, of which 40 per cent is with Qreat Brit 

But, together with treasure, the trade was stated at 120 to 11 
sterling annually in 1880, and now amounts to 140 ttiilioBa (II 

Chisv Exports (1877). 

Opiam. Dyes. Cotton. Jute and WooL 

£12,404,000 £8,248,000 £11,746,000 £8,500,000 


Tear. YoMeli entered. Tonnage. VesteU dleared. 

1865 26,828 8,918,000 26,070 

1874 20,485 4,424,000 19,629 

1878 > 167,002 8,062,000 152,622 

The foreign trade, of which 88 per cent is British, emplc 
sent 12,500 vessels of 5,500,000 tons burden, of which 2000 
with 2,250,000 tonnage. Of the steamers two-thirds use the Si 


Villages (British India), 494,000 ; houses, 37,000,000. 

Municipal population, 1,500,000. 

Towns with 10 to 50,000 inhabitants, 1860. 

Towns with upwards of 50,000 inhabitants, 46. 

Mean density of the population, 212 per square mile. 

Land under cultivation, 300,000,000 acres. 

Waste or unproductive, 290,000,000 acres. 

Under crops of all sorts, 188,000,000 acres. 

Under food crops, 166,000,000 acres. 

Yield of food crops, 52,000,000 tons ; value, £382,000,000. 

Yearly output oi coals, 1,000,000 tons. 

Hands employed in the coal industry, 60,000. 

Spinning and weaving mills, 58 ; with 1,500,000 spindle 

Police, 168,000. 

Rural police (village watchmenX 442,000. 

Yearly criminal charoes, 970,000. 

Yearly Convictions, 660,000. 

Prisoners and convicts, 118,600.* 

Yearly Civil lawsuits, 1,600,000. 

Charitable dispensaries and hospitals, 1150 — indoor patients, 

outdoor Tenet, 6,500,000. 
Lunatic asylums, 22 ; inmates, 3500. 
Annually destroyed by wild beasts, 20,000 persons ; 50,000 
Emigration from 1869 to 1879, 173,420 persons. 
Circulation of Government paper currency, average 13 mil 

^ Inclnding coast tnfflc. 

s Of these 5500 only ai« 




I J 

i i ' 







1. Boundaries — Extent — Area, 

KoBTHEBH Asia forms one vast political system, compris- 
ing nearly one-third of the whole continent, and, with a 
few trifling exceptions, directly administered by Bussia. 
It embraces three distinct geographical regions — Caucasia, 
Turkestin, and Siberia — which will here be treated under 
three separate chapters. 

Caucasia consists, broadly speaking, of the Ponto-Cas- 
pian isthmus — ^that is, of the narrow neck of land sepa- 
rating the Euzine (Pontus) from the Caspian Sea, and 
connecting the south-east comer of Europe with South- 
western Asia. From its peculiar geographical position 
and intermingled ethnical elements, this region has been 
regarded as a sort of neutral or debatable border-land 
between the two continents. But one marked physical 
feature seems to be decisive in favour of its claim to be 
included within the limits of Asia. This is the deep 
depression of the Manich steppe river, which may be 
geologically looked upon as a survival of the broad strait 


formerly connecting the two seas. When flooded in 
spring by the swollen waters of the Kalaus from the 
northern slopes of the Caucasus, the eastern branch d 
this stream still finds its way to the Kuma delta on the 
Caspian, while the western branch reaches the left bank 
of the Lower Don at the head of the Sea of Azot. 

The Manich depression thus clearly indicates & 
former direction of the Ponto-Caspian Strait, which in 
a not very remote geological epoch flowed in a farad 
channel between the two continents. And as. this Ponto- 
Caspian Strait lay entirely to the north of the Gaucasus, 
it follows that this great highland r^on belongs pbj- 
sically not to Europe but to Asia. Hence the Manidi 
depression may now be taken as at once the parting-lioe 
between the two continents and the northern boundaiyof 
Caucasia. Its western and eastern limits are marked b 
the Euzine and Caspian respectively. But the southern 
frontier line between the Turkish and Persian States is 
somewhat irregular, and even arbitrary. The new boun- 
dary towards Turkey has already been determined at ^ 
31, while the frontier towards Persia follows the wsir 
ings of the Siver Aras from Mount Ararat to within « 
short distance of its junction with the Kura. Here tk 
line is deflected south and east to the Caspian, thus in- 
cluding, in Bussian territory, the hilly coast district rf 
Lenkoran, which forms a part of the Iranian plateau. 

At its narrowest point, between Poti on the EuxiiK 
and Derbent on the Caspian, the Ponto-Caspian isthmus 
is about 350 miles broad west and east But fromtlie 
Strait of Kerch to the mouths of the Kuma the distance 
is nearly 500 miles in a straight line, and from the low 
water-parting of the eastern and western Manich to Moust 
Ararat, on the Perso-Turkish frontier, a similar line will 
measure 420 miles north and south. But even these 
dimensions fall considerably short of the actual length of 


the Great Caucasus, whose axis stretches in an oblique 
line for 720 miles across the isthmus, from the Taman 
peninsula^ between the Black and Azov Seas, to the 
Apsheron peninsula in the Caspian. By this central 
range the whole region is divided into two unequal parts 
— Gis-Caucasia and Trans-Caucasia, with a joint area of 
186,000 square nulea 

2. Belief of tJie Zand : ITie Great and Little Caucasus — 
Armenian Plaieau^^Ararat and Alorgoz. 

The Caucasian region has been during recent years 
visited by several English travellers — ^Moore, Grove, Bryce, 
and especially by Freshfield, who ascended apparently for 
the first time the summit of Elburz, and has presented to 
EngUsh readers a charming narrative of his proceedings. 

The Caucasus presents in its general outlines one of 
the best-defined mountain systems in the world. Ap- 
proadied firom the northern steppes, it everywhere offers 
the appearance of an unbroken rocky barrier, rising 
rapidly from the plains, and surmounted aU along the line 
by a series of magnificent snowy peaks. Southwards, also, 
it &]ls everywhere abruptly towards the valleys of the 
Bion and Kura, which form a nearly continuous trough or 
depression running from sea to sea between Foti and the 
Eura delta. This southern depression answers somewhat 
to that of the Manich on the north, the whole of the 
intervening highlands constituting the Caucasus proper, dr 
the Great Caucasus. They take the latter name in con- 
tradistinction to the Little or Anti-Caucasus, which consists 
of the spurs rising in confused masses beyond the Bion- 
£tira depression. The connection between the two 
systems is effected by the Suram or Mesk range, which 
forms the Eion and Kura water-parting east of Kutais. 

Except at this point the Great Caucasus is thus com- 


pletelj iflolated from the sonthem LazisUin and Ammm 
highlands. The direction of its main axis, which is ooih 
tinned bj a submarine ridge across the Caspian to tike 
Balkan hills, about Erasnovodsk, also shows that tk 
Great Caucasus forms the real north-western continnatiaD 
of the north Iranian escarpment This escarpment^ wbidi 
is itself a western continuation of the Hindu-Euah and 
Paropamisus, broken only by the Tajand (Hari-nid) vallej, 
may now be regarded as stretching under the name of th 
Kuren-dagh along the northern frontier of Ehorasan to 
within a short distance of the south-eastern shores of tk 
Caspian. Here it ramifies into two branches, one swell- 
ing round the south coast of the Caspian, as the EUnn 
range, and merging north-west in the Armenian hi^ 
lands, while the other effects through the Little and Gnit 
Balkans and the already-mentioned submarine ridge t 
junction with the south-eastern extremity of the Great 
Caucasus in the Apsheron peninsula. We thus see thit 
the Great Caucasus forms the direct continuation of Ae 
Central Asiatic systems north-westwards to the Tainaii 
peninsula, and beyond it to the South Crimean highland& 
The continuity of the whole system is clearly shomi tf 
the underground fires, naphtha and oil wells, mud rd- 
canoes, and other still active igneous agencies, occaniif 
at intervals all along the line. 

The Great Caucasus bears in many respects a striUog 
resemblance to the Pyrenees. Both run between two 
marine basins, both are marked by the Sierra formatioD 
in their higher crests, and both are divided into tvo 
sections of unequal length. But in the Caucasus ^ 
break formed by the tremendous fissure of the Dane! 
Gorge lies almost exactly midway between the two sett 
Through this pass runs the great military highway fff^ 
Vladikavkaz to Tiflis, the respective capitals of Cis- an' 
Trans-Caucasia. It was also owing to this remarkabk 


geological fault that the Bussians were enabled to divide 
the Caucasua, so to say, into two militaiy zones, pre- 
venting any possible combination of the western and 
eastern tribes, and thus effecting piecemeal the reduction 
of the whole region. 

Most of the eastern section is comprised under the 
general name of Daghestan, a Turko - Persian compound 
meaning " Highlanda" This region, which is poUtically 
included in Trans -Caucasia, is considerably lower and 
far more irregular than the western section. Here a 
uniform elevation of 10,000 to 12,000 feet is main- 
tained north of the Bion basin, and above this there 
tower, besides Elburz (18,526 feet), five other snowy 
peaks, all higher thfim Mont Blanc — the Koshtan- 
tau (17,096), Dikh-tau (16,925), Kazbek (16,546), 
Ushba and Aghish, or Adish-tau, each considerably over 
16,000 feet. Here also the mean altitude is so great 
that for 100 miles between the sources of the Kuban 
and Adai-Kokh there are no passes lower than 10,000 
feet Even the Mamisson, about the head of the Bion 
near the Zikari ridge, is still 9390 feet; but east of this 
point openings are found from 6000 to 9000 feet high. 

West of Elburz the western section assumes the 
character of a coast range skirting the Black Sea from 
the mouth of the Bion to the Taman peninsula. For 
Bome distance beyond Elburz it retains a great altitude, 
with snowy peaks such as the Marukh, the Juman-tau, 
and the Oshten, rising far above the snow-Une. On the 
coast the incline is also continued for a great depth below 
the surfeice, where depths of over 12,000 feet occur close 
in shore. But beyond Pitzunda the coast range falls 
rapidly towards the Idokopaz hills near the port of Novo- 
Bossiisk, after which the chain merges through a few low 
scattered hills in the alluvial plains of the Kuban delta. 

The eastern section, or Daghestan, although crowned 


eleTations are the Bazarjusi (14,910), the Tkh£Eua-dagh 
(13,950), the Vitari (12,910), the Saxi-dagh (12,160), 
and the Baba-dagh (12,080). Within the triangular space 
two crests, the Shah-dagh and the Shalbuz-dagh, exceed 
14,000 feet, lying towards its south-eastern extremity, 
where it tails down to the hills of the Baku district in 
the Apsheron peninsula. 

The northern and southern slopes of these ranges differ 
greatly in their general aspect The descent towards the 
, fiion and £ura is everywhere far more abrupt than 
towards the Manich depression. Here the fall is broken 
&8t by a succession of nearly parallel ridges, and then by 
ft series of upland Umestone terraces sloping gently towards 

steppe, but often presenting nearly vertical walls, 
000 feet high towards the central range. This range 
sists mainly of crystalline schists, and it is remarkable 
!^t the same formation prevails in the transverse Mesk 
lidge, connecting the Great with the Little Caucasus. On 
loth sides of the higher schists the chief rocks are eocene 

F"'"' other old limestones, which disappear northwards 
eath the pliocene formations of the steppes. 
Porphyries and other igneous rocks abound in the 
Idgher regions, where Elburz was probably a stiU active 
idcano down to the close of the tertiary period, during 
iridch the Euxine and Caspian were connected by the 
Kianich Strait Its rival, the mighty Kazbek, overlooking 
the Dariel Grorge, together with the more northern crests, 
is also of volcanic origin. Underground forces are even 
still at work, not only in the mud volcanoes and slumber- 
ing fires at both ends of the range, but also in the numerous 
hot springs and naphtha wells which occur on both sides, 
bat especially in the Terek and Kura valleys about Vladi- 
kavkaz and Tiflis. The Lower Kura and Aras valleys are, 
moreover, still subject to violent earthquakes, while dear 
traces of continuous upheaval on the Euxine coast, and of 



osciUations of level on the Caspian side, aie visible at 
Sukhum-Kalehy about Baku and elsewhere. On the other 
hand, there is a remarkable absence of large water&lls 
and alpine lakes ; the great reservoirs, which formedy 
studded the plains on both sides, having been dramed 
since the glacial epoch. 

The Little or Anti-Caucasus jffesents in almost every 
respect the most decided contrast to the great northern 
barrier. Instead of one sharply -defined sjstem, rising 
somewhat rapidly from the plains, and with a single main 
axis running throughout in a given direction, we have heie 
rather a rugged plateau formation, intersected by irr^olar 
masses, with axes running in aU directions. So ill defined 
is the whole system that it has no natural southern limits 
at all. It rises abruptly from the Sion and Kura valleys, 
but towards the south merges everywhere imperceptibly 
in the Lazistan and Armenian highlands. Hence the 
Little Caucasus forms the true north-western scarp of the 
Iranian tableland, with which the Grreat Caucasus is cost- 
nected only by the narrow Mesk ridge intersecting the 
Eion-Kura valley. 

But although narrow, the connection is complete ; for 
the Mesk ridge, which maintains an elevation of 8000 
feet, is continued south-westwards by the Ajara or Ak- 
haltzikh range into Lazistan. This range, which skirts 
the Black Sea within a mile of the coast, rises gradually 
towards the Turkish frontier, where it culminates with 
the Karch-shaU (11,410 feet), south-east of Batiim. 

The Ajara range is separated eastwards by tiie Upper 
Eura valley from the Akhalkalaki plateau, which is 
limited southwards by the Ears-chai vaUey beyond Lake 
Chaldir. This extremely irregular plateau, which has a 
mean elevation of 8000 feet, thus forms the water-parting 
between the Upper Eura and Aras basins. It is a rugged, 
bleak region, which seems to have been formerly flcxxied 


by an extensive lacustrine basin, of which the sole rem- 
nants are the Chaldir and other smaller lakes, draining 
some to the Kura, some to the Araxis, while others are mere 
brackish tarns or marshes, without any outflow. Eastwards 
the plateau is limited by a double line of volcanic peaks, 
culminating in Mount Samsar (11,115 feet), with a crater 
nearly two miles long; and the Great and Little Abul 
(11,000), with their two cones springing, like those of 
iiaiat, from a common base. 

Southwards the Akhalkalaki plateau passes through 
n^ transitions to the desolate tableland of Erivan and 
which has a mean elevation of nearly 3600 feet above 
and which continues to form the pcuidng line be- 
the Kura and Aras north and south. Here the 
features are the basin of Lake Gok-cha and the 
Ala-goz, lying about midway between the lake 
tiie recently -annexed fortress of Kars. Farther 
the plateau has been politically extended across the 
valley to include Ararat, which lies on the borders 
Sussian, Turkish, and Persian frontiers. 

Ararat and Ala-goz. 

Although thus rising in apparently isolated grandeur at 
converging point of three empires, Ararat really forms 
eastern and culminating point of the volcanic range, 
ich here forms the water-parting between the Aras and 
krad-chai, or eastern branch of the Euphrates. Its 
;ly isolated position and imposing appearance have 
the remotest times encircled it with a mysterious 
of legends and traditions. A number of places in 
vicinity still betray in their very names the traces of 
tie Noachian tradition. Thus the village of Aghurri 
ying on its slope means " he planted the vine ;" Nakhi- 
hevan, the spot where the patriarch is said to have 

2 A 


reached the valley, is interpreted, "here he first de- 
scended," and Erivan itself indicates the place where k 
permanently settled His grave is shown at KakhichevBii, 
and is held in great veneration both by the Armeniffls 
and Tatars. But while these Biblical traditions sarvived, 
the Biblical name itself of the mountain was forgottfen in 
the neighbourhood. The Armenians know it only as tii£ 
Masis Lem — ^that is, the " Grand or Sublime Mountain"— 
and the Tatars and Turks as the Agri-dagh, or ''Steqi 
Mountain," the Persians alone calling it the E6h-i-inili, 
or " Noah's Mount" 

Viewed from Nakhichevan, Ararat presents the 
appearance of a single cone bounding the horizon towaids 
the north-west But it really consists of two sepaiate 
cones known as the Great and Little Ararat^ resting on i 
convmon base, and separated by a deep intervening de- 
pression. The higher cone consists itself of a donUe 
peak, and the whole mass, with its projecting spun, 
covers, a space of over 370 square miles between "Eivm 
and the frontier Turkish towli of Bayazid. 

The Armenians have a firm conviction that tk 
summit is altogether inaccessible, and received with 
absolute incredulity the statement that Parrot had for 
the first time succeeded in scaling the highest peak in 
1829. Subsequently, Bryce's solitary ascent of this 
mountain forms a striking episode in the history of travd. 

On the northern slope there is a vast chasm wheze 
formerly stood the Convent of St James and the vilkge 
of Aghurri, both of which were overwhelmed by a tern& 
earthquake in the year 1840.^ The upper portion of the 
chasm is filled by one glacier, while another glacier occ&- 
pies a narrow channel towards the north-east 

^ Some attribute the catastrophe to a landslip or avalanche, some to 
an earthquake, and others to the reopening of an old crater aboTs thi 
Convent of St. James. 




Owing to the slight moisture there are no large forest 
trees on Ararat, which, however, is clothed with vege- 
tation to an altitude of over 11,000 feet Pasturage 
extends thence to nearly 13,000 feet, beyond which an 
alpine flora struggles up to 14,200, which marks the 
SDow-line. Its fauna is also very poor, including on 
the higher grounds little beyond a mountain goat, a species 
of hare, and the polecat 

The chief elevations are — Summit of Great Ararat 
16,916 feet, Little Ararat 12,840, connecting ridge 
8780, Upper Aras Valley 2800. This valley, in which 
are situated Erivan and Echmiadzin, political and spiritual 
capitals of Armenia, separates Ararat from its northern 
rival, the magnificent Ala-goz, a truncated volcanic cone 
13,436 feet high. With its advanced spurs, the Ala-goz, 
or *' Motley Mountain," so named from the various colours 
of its pumice, scoriae, obsidian rocks, and foliage, covers a 
wider area than its southern rival 

3. Hydrography : The Kalaua, Terehj Kuma, Ingur, 
Bion, Kura, and Aras Rivers — Lake Chh-cha. 

The Great Caucasus forms a clearly-defined water- 
parting between the Terek, Kuma, Kalaus, and Kuban, 
flowing from its northern slopes towards the former Ponto- 
Caspian Manich Strait and the Ingur, Bion, and Kura, 
draining from its southern slopes to the Black and 
Caspian Seas. South of the Bion-Kura depression the 
hydrographic system is far more intricate, comprising, 
besides an ioland drainage, represented chiefly by Lake 
Gok-cha, the farthest sources of the Aras, Euphrates, 
and Chorukh, which flow east to the Caspian, south to the 
Persian Gulf, and north-west to the Euxine. 

Since the disappearance of the Ponto-Caspian Strait 
the Terek and Euma find their way eastwards to the 



Caspian, the Kuban westwards to the Azov and Black 
Seas, while the Kalaus, a true steppe river, reaches tbe 
Manich only when swollen by the melting of the snows 
in spring. The Kalaus has its farthest head-streams in 
the advanced spurs of the Caucasus above Stavropol, and 
joins the Manich exactly at the water-parting betwea 
the Euxine and Caspian, 25 feet above sea-leveL Its 
waters are thus divided into two channels, flowing dming 
the floods one through the West Manich to the Azov Sei, 
the other through the East Manich to the Caspian. 

The Terek, rising in a cirque 8000 feet above thesttk 
at the northern foot of the Kazbek, sweeps round Hxm^ 
the Dariel Gorge and by Vladikavkaz northwards neadf 
to the 44th parallel Above the Malka, its laigeit 
affluent, the discharge is over 17,000 cubic feet per 
second, and such a quantity of alluvia is washed down 
that the delta is encroaching on the Caspian at thente 
of about 40 yards annually. Fishing hamlets vhidi 
early in the present century stood on the coast are nsfi 
10 or 12 miles from the sea, and Baer asserts thattb 
Terek is contributing even more than the Volga to tk 
filling up of the Caspian. The waters brought down an 
doubtless considerable; but these are rapidly evaponl- 
ing, while the sedimentary matter remains contiDQallf 

A combined system of canalisation and drainage to 
brought several hundred thousand acres under cultivatiaB 
about the Lower Terek. 

The Kuma has its source nearly under the men 
of Elburz, and pursues a uniform north-easterly 
towards the Caspian, which it occasionally enters 
several small channels at a point between the Terek 
Volga deltas. Although a considerable stream on 
ing from the hills, it gradually contracts as it app 
the coast, the diminished volume being due to evi 



tion, to the absence of any affluents during a sluggish 
course of 150 miles through the steppe, and to the irriga- 
tion-works of the Kalmuk and Tatar stockbreeders on 
both sides of its banks. From these combined causes 
the Kuma is often , entirely exhausted within 50 or 60 
miles of the Caspian. Formerly the discharge was mu6h 
greater, as indicated by the old channels and dried-up 
watercourses, some joioing the Manich, some reaching the 
coast at Serebrakovskaya, and all stiU occasionally flooded. 

The Kuban is the only river flowing to the Euxine 
basin &om the northern slopes of the Caucasus. Its 
farthest head-stream rises on the west side of Elburz, 
whence it flows north-west and west to its delta below 
Yekaterinodar. Here the main branch continues to flow 
westwards through the Taman peninsula to the Black Sea, 
while a considerable quantity of water is diverted through 
several smaller channels northwards to the Sea of Azov. 
During the spring, summer, and autumn floods the Taman 
is often swollen to the proportion of a large stream, from 
300 to 400 yards wide and over 10 feet deep. But at 
other times it nowhere exceeds 4 feet, while the Azov 
channels sometimes run dry. It is ascended during the 
floods for some miles by the Kerch steamers, but it is 
permanently navigable only for flat-bottomed craft. The 
mean discharge is estimated at 40,000 cubic feet per 

Two important rivers reach the Black Sea from the 
northern slopes of the Western Caucasus. These are the 
Ingor and Bion (Phasi9), whose basins are completely 
enclosed north, east, and south by the Great Caucasus, 
the Mesk, and Ajara ranges. All the head-streams of 
the Ingur lie on the southern slopes of the Adish-tau and 
Ushba, two of the highest peaks in the Caucasus, whence 
it flows through mountain gorges and upland vaUeys 
down to the coast near Bedut-Kaleh. 


The Bion also and its chief tributary the Eviiili, 
rise at great elevations, the former at the Pasis-mta xm 
Mount Garibolo, the latter at the Mamisson Pass (9520 
feet). But the Kvirila soon reaches the Miogreliui 
plains, where it joins the left bank of the Bion belot 
Kutais. The joint stream enters the Euxine at Poti doee 
to the large Palaiostom lake or lagoon with which it vu 
formerly connected. Although now cut off both from the 
sea and the Bion, its partly marine fauna shows that this 
now fresh- water lake at one time communicated with tk 
sea, thus forming the " Old Mouth " of the Bion, aa still 
indicated by its Greek name.^ Formerly navigable fe 
nearly 100 miles, the Bion has now scarcely 2 feetai 
low water, and even during the floods firom JaDnary to 
June is ascended by small craft only for 30 miles fion 
its moutL 

Both the Bion and the Ingur, whose basins compi^ 
the ancient Colchis of the Greeks,^ flow through romaotie 
upland regions. The magnificent gorges of the Ingof. 
with their steep granite walls, are 800 to 1000 f«t 
high in some places, and often clothed with a luxuiiaiit 
sub-tropical vegetation. Their upland valleys are aocee- 
sible from the Poti-Tifliis railway running up the Bin 
valley to Kutais in Imeria (Imeritia). 

South of the Great Caucasus the Kura (Cyrus) ani 
Aras (Araxes), by far the largest rivers in Caucasia, m^ 
flow through one mouth to the Caspian. Yet tkj 
belong mainly to two distinct basins ; for although bodi 
rise in the Armenian highlands, the Aras remains a 
Armenian river for most of its course, whereas the Kua 
soon emerges in the Georgian plains and receives all its 

1 From roXoi^, old, and ffrSpta, month. 

* It is remarkable tliat the Pasia-mta, or "Pasis Peak,** sonice of th 
Rion, still preserves the old name Ptuaia (read P'hasia), bj which the Bifl 
was known to the ancients. 


large affluents from the Great Caucasus. Hence the 
Aras is historically the Armenian, the Kura the Georgian 
river pre-eminently, and even within the historic period 
both reached the Caspian through independent mouths.^ 
The TningliTig of their waters throughout their lower 
course is comparatively recent 

The Kura has its source in the Kizil-Gyaduk, 10,340 
feet above the sea, whence it flows along the east base of 
the Arsiani and Ajara ranges north-eastwards to about 
the 42d parallel, where it receives several small feeders 
from the east slopes of the Mesk water-parting. It now 
trends eastward to Mtzkhet and Tiflis, whence it pursues 
a south-easterly course through a continuously broadening 
valley to the Caspian below the Apsheron peninsula. 
Above the plains of Tiflis it is almost a mountain torrent, 
rushing through a succession of wild gorges and rapids, in 
one of which it descends nearly 750 feet in a distance of 
15 miles. Soon after receiving the Yora and Alazan, its 
great tributaries from the north, it becomes navigable for 
vessels drawing four feet for a distance of 450 miles 
through the Karabagh and Mugan steppes to its moutL 
Its lower course is one of the most productive fishing 
grounds in the world, teeming as it does with enormous 
quantities of sturgeon and white fish. 

The discharge of the united Kura and Aras rises from 
nearly 7000 cubic feet per second in winter to 25,000 
in summer. Much of this water might easily be appUed 
to irrigating the now arid, but form^y productive Mugan 
and Karal^h steppes. like most of the other Cau- 
casian rivers, the Kura is continually encroaching on the 
sea, its delta having advanced over 50 square miles 
between the years 1830 and 1860. 

The Aras has even a longer and a much more wind- 

^ Strabo tells ua ezpTossly that in liis time the Kura and Aras entered 
the Bea through separate mouths. 



ing course than the Kara. Bising south of Erzerom, it 
the foot of the Bingol-dagh (see p. 54), it flows for some 
miles through Turkish territory north-east to the recentlj* 
advanced Russian frontier. Here it turns eastwards to 
the Erivan plain north of Ararat, whence it sweeps 
in a semicircle mostly between the Russian and Persian 
empires round to its confluence with the Kura. 

Of the three great closed basins of the AnneDitn 
highlands, Lake Gok-cba is the smallest Yet it fills a 
vast triangular cavity 640 square miles in extent^ at an 
elevation of 6400 feet above the sea on the plateia, 
nearly midway between the Aras and Kura valleys. It 
has an extreme depth of 250 feet, and when swollen liy 
the melting snows from the surrounding hills dischaigts 
its surplus waters through the Zanga towards the Aiss 
in the Erivan district. On an islet at its noitb- 
west extremity lies the historical Convent of Sevan ia 
one of the most desolate spots on the globe. At tk 
opposite end the horizon is bounded by the huge volcank 
mass of the extinct Ala-Polarim volcano, whose lava- 
streams descend in two chaimels to the edge of the lake. 

4. Naiural aind Political Divisions: ds-Caucasia — Tu 
Northern Steppes and Slopes of the Caucasus; JVoa*- 
Caiicasia — Colchis ; Georgia ; Russian Armenia. 

The old historical divisions of Caucasia — Geoigii^j 
Lesghistan, Imeria, Mingrelia, Kabardia, Abkhasia, 
cassia — have been completely swept away under the 
order of things. They were based almost exclusively 
ethnical considerations, and in some instances, as in 
case of the Circassians and Abkhasians, the very 
themselves have all but disappeared which gave rise 
these distinctions. No regard has even been had for 
great historic nations of this region, and the an( 


kingdoms of Georgia and Annenia are now in official 
langu^e replaced by the Eussian Govemments of Tiflis 
and Eriyan. 

Our survey must therefore follow the great natural 
divisions, which are in the north .the steppe-lands 
stretching from the Maoich depression to the foot of the 
hiUs, and the zone of fertile and inhabited uplands be- 
tween the steppe and the alpine regions of the main 
range ; in the south the Bion-Kura and the Aras basins. 

Travellers approaching the Great Caucasus from the 
north, after crossing the Manich depression are not for a 
long time- sensible of any marked change of scene. The 
boundless level steppes of Southern Eussia are stiU con- 
tinued without any perceptible break south-eastwards far 
into the Ponto-Caspian isthmus. From the borders of the 
Government of Saratov and the Don Eossak domain right 
away to the advanced spurs of the Great Caucasus the 
land remains almost perfectly flat, broken only here and 
there by a few low hills or ridges. 

Yet this extensive region, comprising fully half of all 
Caucasia, is divided into two natural sections, each with 
its special physical features. First come the lowlands 
stretching southwards to the Kuban, Malka, and Terek 
rivers, and following the line of their course seawards. 
This is a true steppe land, interrupted only here and 
there by a few deep furrows. It is marked by an almost 
total absence of timber beyond a few small plantations in 
the neighbourhood of Stavropol There is also a great 
lack of moisture, most of the streams running quite dry 
in summer, while the lakes in the northern districts are 
mostly bracMsh. Here the great evil is the want of 
water for irrigation purposes. The black loamy soil is 
naturally highly productive, yielding heavy crops of cereals 
and rich pasturage whenever the rainfall is sufficiently 
abundant. But the summers are mostly rainless, the 


long droughts and great heat reducing the steppe v^- 
tion to a fine dust, which forms dense clouds sometimes 
covering the whole horizon, and wafted to great distances 
by the winds. 

The second section stretches along the foot of th 
main range between the Euxine and the Caspian for a 
distance of over 450 nules, but contracting in some 
places to a width of £rom 20 to 30 miles. Here the 
luxuriant growth of grasses and the genial dimate lemind 
the traveller of the Mississippi prairies. The steppe now 
soon merges in a boundless park-land, bordered soudi- 
wards by the mighty central range with its frovning 
granite and basalt crags and glittering glaciers, noi&r I 
wards by broad rivers, east and west by two seas. Tet 
even here agriculture has been but slightly developed, 
and apart from a few patches of cultivated land, & 
whole region is still virgin soil It produces when tilled | 
magnificent crops, and the grass grows to a height of 3 | 
or 6 feet j 

At either extremity of the range are the two R- | 
markable naphtha-producing peninsulas of Taman and | 
Apsheron. Of its other natural products very Htde is ! 
yet known, although the presence of silver, lead, and 
copper has long been placed beyond doubt Many of 
the hUlmen cast their bullets from the lead or ooppei 
they pick up on the surface, and near Elburz there is ui 
abundance of common pyrites, which they utilise in tb 
manufacture of their gunpowder. Granites, magnificeut 
green and red porphyries, various-coloured marbles, and 
rock-crystal, exist in great quantities, while extremdy 
copious mineral waters of every description and coil 
combined with the inexhaustible naphtha springs pO' 
mise to prove a future source of permanent wealA to 
the country. 

Trans-Caucasia, comprising the Eion-Kura and Aim 

6E0B6IA — coLcms. 363 

bfisiiis, possesses even greater economic importance than 
tlie northern division. Here is the great commercial 
ronte between the two seas leading £rom Poti through 
TiiSis to Baku. Here is the historic domain of the 
Georgian nation, by far the most important of all 
the Caucasian races, and Tiflis the former capital of 
the Greorgian States has naturally been selected as the 
political centre of the new Bussian Gk)yemment of 'Cau- 
casia. Here all the streams are perennial, while the 
Etua-Aras alone discharges a far greater volume than 
that of all the northern rivers combined. Here are some 
of the most productive fisheries and one of the finest 
wine-growing countries in the world. Here amongst 
other mineral treasures is Mount Eulpi, a prodigious 
mass of rocknsalt in the Upper Aras valley, the salt- 
mines of which are in some places over 200 feet thick. 
Although almost continuously worked since prehistoric 
times, as shown by the implements frequently picked up 
dating from the stone age, these mines show no sign of 
exhaustion, and the Armenians have a tradition that 
Noah drew his supplies from this source. The present 
aver^ yield is about 16,000 tons yearly, although the 
workings are carried on in the most primitive fashion. 

The Sion basin, the Colchis of the ancients, has been 
&mous from the remotest times for its surprising fertility 
and resources of every kind. The legendary Argonautic 
expedition was fabled to have been fitted out by the 
Greeks to recover from this region the golden fleece, 
emblem of boundless wealth. It is completely enclosed 
by an amphitheatre of hills sweeping round from Suk- 
hom-Kaleh to Batdm, and now crossed by the Foti-Tiflis 
railway at the Suram Pass in the Mesk range some 3000 
feet above the sea. 

This pass leads directly down to the ancient kingdom 
of Georgia, comprising the greater part of the Kura basin. 



The depression through which this river flows maybe 
regarded as a dried-up fiord or inlet of the CaspiAo, 
which fonnerly penetrated between the Great Caucasiu 
and the Armenian highlands across the southern portioo 
of the Ponto-Caspian isthmus westwards to the Mesk and 
Anjara ranges. The lower section of this basin, com- 
prising the Mugan and Earabagh steppes, is now mostlj 
waste land. But the traces of ancient canals, and the 
ruins of manj villages, caravansarais, and even towns, 
show that it was once highly cultivated and thickly 
inhabited.^ It is now visited onlj by the Tatar nomads^ 
in spring, when the rainfall produces herbage. 

Higher up rice was formerly cultivated along the 
banks of the Kura above the Alazan confluence. But 
the raids of neighbouring Lesghian marauders caused the 
irrigation works to be abandoned, and during the present 
century the Earayazi steppe between the Kura and Yon 
has reverted to a state of natur& An attempt, however, has 
now been made by the construction of the " Mary Canal' 
to bring this tract once more under cultivation. Be 
recently-executed surveys also show that over 5,000,000 
acres in the Lower Kura valley might again be easflj 
rendered productive Much of the soil consists of a rick 
black loam, and many of the old canals might be restore! 
and extended at a moderate outlay. 

At the same tune the whole of this r^on is notoii* 
ously malarious, and farther north the Baku coast distzict 
is still subject to violent earthquakes. The centre (^ 
the seismic action seems to be the town of Shemakha, 
which was nearly destroyed in the seventeenth centniy. 

^ Some of these canals were nearly 100 miles long^ and on one of tks 
stood the great city of Bilgan, destroyed by Jenghis Khan. Whan TSnur 
restored the canal Bilgan rose again from its rains and continoed te 
flourish tiU the close of the seventeenth century. But the subsequeat 
wars with the Daghestin hillmen again caused the works to be aba- 
doned, and Bilgan again disappeared. 


and again suffered so severely in 1859 that the adminis- 
tration has since been transferred to Baku. 

The Aras basin, comprising that portion of Armenia 
which is now included in Eussian territory, differs in no 
respect from the Armenian highlands politically belong- 
ing to Turkey and Persia. Here also the most salient 
characteristics are the long ranges intersecting the plateau 
in every direction, and dividing it into a number of 
upland arid steppes, sparsely peopled and almost treeless. 
The hills falling abruptly towards the Bion basin are 
here and there thinly wooded ; but the Triiletes and their 
spurs overlooking the Eura valley often present nothing 
but bare rocky surfaces for miles together. 

Immediately north-west of Alexandrapol rises the 
extensive Chaldyr plateau. North of it flows the Upper 
Eura, here intersecting the Armenian frontier hills, and 
forming a natural approach to the frontier district of 
Ardahan between Kars and BatduL This recently-an- 
nexed district also consists of a treeless tableland about 
4500 feet above the sea, and enclosed north and south 
by almost inaccessible hills. Southwards stretches the 
rugged plateau of Kars, east of which the Arpa-chai 
valley leads down to the Upper Aras, which here flows 
through the plains of Erivan between Ararat and Ala-goz. 
This is almost the only comparatively low and well- 
watered level tract in the whole of the Armenian high- 
lands, and here is, so to say, the focus of the Armenian 
nation, where are centred all its most hallowed associa- 
tions. The highway approaching it from the north-west 
is fringed with the ruins of Ani, Vardzia, and other 
ancient cities, recalling the former greatness of the land. 

But a far more sacred spot is the venerable Convent 
of Echmiadzin at the southern foot of Ala-goz, residence 
of the Armenian " Katholicos," who rules with a pleni- 
tude of spiritual jurisdiction over the two millions of 


Gregorian Christians scattered over the continent bm 
the Bosphorus to the Granges. 

6. Climate: BainfalL 

No other region of the same extent presents so gieil 
a diversity of climate as Caucasia. This is due partly to 
its peculiar position between two inland seas, at the 
southern verge of the Bussian steppes and at the noitli- 
westem edge of the Iranian plateau, partly to the extreme 
deviations in the general relief of the land ranging from 
the low-lying Mingrelian plains to the Elburz Peak neadj 
19,000 feet above the sea. 

Being exposed to the northern winds sweeping oyer 
the Russian steppes, Cis-Caucasia is both drier and odder 
than the southern slopes. Hence many of the rivers hen 
run out during the summer heats before reaching the 
coast, and are ice-bound in winter; whereas in Traos* 
Caucasia all the streams are pereimial, and frozen only is 
exceptionally hard seasons. For analogous reasons tk 
western section, receiving the moist and relatively warn 
atmospheric currents from the Euxine, enjoys a bii hi^ 
winter temperature and greater abundance of moisture 
than the eastern slopes facing the Caspian and and 
Turkoman deserts. Here the contrast between the rain- 
less and sultry Mugan and Karabagh steppes of the Lovs 
£ura and the moist and moderately hot Sion basin is 
very striking. In general, the rainfiEdl is three tiines 
heavier on the western slopes than on the Central Cau- 
casus, and from eight to ten times more copious than en 
the east side of the Daghestdn ranges. So little moiston 
is brought &om the Caspian that at times no rain bib 
for six months together in the Lower Xura basin. 

Although the extremes of heat and cold are much 
greater in the Caucasus than in the Alps and Pyrenees, 


the mean annual temperature is much the same in all 
these hi gh land regions. Thus, 'while Caucasia and Swit- 
zerland have a common mean, the temperature varies in 
the latter about 18®, in the former as much as 25** or 26** 
between winter and summer. Hence in its extremes the 
Caucasian climate resembles the Asiatic, in its general 
mean the European, so that the region is a land of 
transition in its climatic aj3 well as in other features. 

6. Flora and Fauna. 

This transitional character is especially conspicuous in 
its v^etable and animal kingdoms. In some respects 
Caucasia seems to be a land of dispersion, where certain 
v^etable species, such as the peach, apricot, cherry, and 
other stone-fruit trees, became differentiated, and thence 
distributed east and west over the two continents. Plants 
of this sort are found in such variety and abundance on 
both sides of the main range, but especially in the Sion 
basin, that they may be regarded as the typical vegetable 
order of this region. 

The southern limits of Trans-Caucasia, Ijdng under the 
same parallels as Central Italy, are the natural home of 
the laurel, orange, citron, vine, and mulberry. The vine 
arrives at great perfection, especially in the Greorgian pro- 
vince of Kakhetia, which is famous for its fiery vintages. 
The plant has in recent years suffered from the ravages of 
the oidium ; but large quantities are still produced of a 
very full-bodied wine, which is now largely used for im- 
proving the flavour of inferior sorts. The vine, like the 
stone-fruits, is probably indigenous in Caucasia. 

Heavy crops of rice, maize, wheat, and other cereals 
of excellent quality, are raised on all the lowland tracts on 
both sides of the Great Caucasus, wherever water can be 



obtained in sufficient abnndanca But the abandonmoit 
of the old irrigation works, especially in the Middle and 
Lower Kura valley, and the increasing dryness on 6» \ 
north side, have reduced to barren wastes extensive dis- 
tricts where these crops were formerly widely cultivatei 
The fruits of Southern Russia^ such as the pear, plum, 
cherry, and walnut, flourish on the northern slopes and 
along the banks of the Terek, Euma, and Kuban. 

In the profound and precipitous mountain goiges of 
the central range, where a solitary sunbeam seldom pene- 
trates, not a blade of grass will grow. But emeigii^ 
from these abysses, we sometimes fancy ourselves trans- 
ported to the Alpine valleys of Switzerland, with their 
luxuriant pastures, rich woodlands, and foaming mountain 
torrents. Here 'the forest zone stretches along botii 
sides of the Great Caucasus for a distance of 600 miles, 
with a breadth varying from 10 to 20 miles. On ibt \ 
heights grow the maple, lime, ash, fir, pine, beech, asd 
larch ; farther down the oak, chestnut, several species d 
poplar, the plantain, box, and walnut In the vaUets I 
thrive most southern fruits, as well as the loveliest flowff- ! 
ing shrubs ; and in the more favoured spots the ootbia ^ 
and olive. Conspicuous amongst the flowering shrubs isj 
the Azalea Fantica, one of the glories of the v^etabb] 
world, rivalliDg the Himalayan rhododendron in the ridh' 
ness, variety, and splendour of its blossom. It reaches 
an elevation of 6000 feet, where the deep -red antaina 
tints of its foUage ofler a surprising contrast to titf 
sombre green of the surroimding conifers. A species 
tea grows wild on the southern slopes of the Minj 
highlands, and on the Caspian seaboard the Tatcurs 
crops of madder and saffron. In the hot moisture-cl 
atmosphere of Abkhasia and Mingrelia the vegetation 
marvellously luxuriemt; but man and nature alike 
here still in a wild state. Wheat and rice no don) 


flourish in the valleys^ but the natives themselves grow 
nothing but millet, some barley, and maize. As a rule, 
all these cereals reach a higher elevation than in the Alps. 
Barley is cultivated by the Osses in the central ranges up 
to 8000 feet, while wheat thrives at 6500, and maize at 
3000, in all the sheltered southern valleys. 

The flora of Bussian Armenia, a land apparently of 
diminished moisture, is incomparably poorer than that of 
Caucasia proper. The few forest tracts consist chiefly of 
oaks, beeches, aspens, and especially poplars. But here 
the characteristic plant is the curious nolbond, a magni- 
ficent species of elm, with enormous leafy branches, 
through which the solar rays never penetrate. This 
highly- ornamental tree is absolutely unknown beyond 
the limits of the Aras basin. Of cultivated plants the 
chief, besides cereals, including rice, are the apricot, cotton, 
sesame, and the vine, which in some places yields a highly- 
flavoured wine, somewhat like Madeira. 

The Caucasian fauna, like that of similar highland 
regions elsewhere, is far less varied than its flora. The 
tiger sometimes ventures across the Persian frontier, and 
the leopard and hyena are also met in the Lower Kura 
and Aras basins. The lowland thickets and sedgy river- 
banks are the favoured haunts of the wild boar, and the 
Abkhasian and Mingrelian forests are still infested by the 
panther, wolf, lynx, and bear. The Caucasian bear, not 
a veiy formidable species, reaches no higher than about 
5000 feet, above which a few herds of the bison or 
wisant, wrongly identified with the aurochs, still linger in 
the upland forests on the slopes of Elburz. Still higher 
up the chamois and Mr, a species of ibex, frequent the 
alpine vaUeys along the central range. A wider range 
i8 enjoyed by the martin, blue fox. squirrel, haxe, fish 
otter, and some other wild animals of smaller size. On 
the whole, game is abundant, but is found chiefly in the 

2 B 



low-lying and unhealthy wooded tracts along the northern 
slopes of the Caucasus {Olive PhiUips-WoUey). 

Pre-eminent amongst the domestic animals are the 
horned cattle of the Ingur and Bion basins. Here there 
are two fine breeds, one small and active, the other of 
magnificent size and symmetrical proportions, sprung 
origmaUy from Ukranian stock. The horses, mules, 
asses, goats, and other domestic animals of this region, are 
all alike noted for their fine proportions and good qualities. 

In general the Great Caucasus may be regarded as a 
parting-line between the European and Asiatic vegetable 
and animal kingdoms, the Cis-Caucasian flora and fauna 
being more allied to the western, those of Trans-Caucasia 
to the eastern continent 

7. IvhahUants : Varied Ethnical and Linguistic MemerUs 
— Tabulated Scheine of the Caucasian Aboriffines — 
The Georgians, Mingrelians, Imerians, Circassians, Ah- 
khasians, Chechenzes, Zesghians, Osses; Non^Caucasian 
InJtruding Baces. 

Caucasia is inhabited by a highland population, com- 
prising a multiplicity of distinct ethnical elements else- 
where almost without a parallel The most varied tribes, 
speaking fundamentaUy distinct languages, here dwell 
in the closest proximity, hemmed in on the north by the 
Bussian Slavs, southwards by the Armenian, Kurdish, and 
Persian Iranians. But in comparatively recent times all 
these, besides the Tatars and other alien races, have pene- 
trated into the £ura, Terek, Euma, and Kuban basins. 

The popular view is, that we have in the Caucasus 
the remnants or fragments of the peoples who have from 
time to time been driven into these recesses from the 
surrounding lands, or who have passed through these 



highlands during the ceaseless flow of prehistoric and 
subsequent migration from Asia to Europe. 

But this view was combated by Professor Virchow 
at the Archaeological Congress held at Tiflis in the 
autumn of 1881, and will be farther dealt with in the 
Appendix to this voluma Here it will suffice to re- 
mark that the Caucasus could not have been a highway 
of migration when the ice-fields descended much lower 
than at present, and that the numerous Caucasian 
languages, with the single exception of the Ossetian, 
have no kind of affinity with those elsewhere current 

Partly on geographical, but mainly on linguistic 
grounds, all the Caucasian races are here grouped rather 
than classified in four great divisions as tmder : — 





Gnriaii . 




Pshav . 






{Kariveli Stock.) 
East of Mesk range to Tiflis district 
Imeria (Imeritia) . . . . 



Upper Ingur and Tskhenis valleys . 

> Sources of Alazan and Yora 

II. Western Diyision. 

C Ubych 
A Shapsnch . 
(^Dsluget . 


• • 

Left bank Enban 

Coast of Enxine, N. of 

Ingor River . 
N. and K of Elburz . j 





III. Eastern Division. 


Right bank Upper and 1 
Middle Terek . ./ 





Lesghian ' . -( Dido 


>■ Daghestin 


IV. Central Diyibion. 

Osa or Oase-JBoth slopes of Groat Caucasus about! 
tian . . \ Kazbek J 


The Oeorgiaiis, Minffrdians, and Tmerians, 

None of the Caucasian people except the Geoigians 
possess any historic importance. Direct descendants d 
the old Iberians/ they still form the bulk of tie 
population in the Governments of Tiflis and Kutais,anil 
although essentially a lowland race, bear a marked 
resemblance to the Imerians and other highland mem- 
bers of the Kartvelian (Eartalinian) family. T^ 
term Grusia or Georgia,* does not occur till mediffvd 
times, when it came into use after the north-easten 
division of Kakhetia became detached &om the old Kait- 
velian kingdom. Since the annexation to Bussia 
old national name, traditionally traced to a Eartlos, 
son of Koah, has again come into favour. 

The several branches of the Kartvelian stock affari 
striking illustration of the often-repeated remark, that 
less favoured the land the more industrious and intellig 
are its inhabitants. The magnificent race occap; 
Lower Mingrelia, who would be amply rewarded by 

^ The present type and even the head-dress are abeolutely ideit 
witb those of the statuettes found in the numerous graves datiag ■ 
classic times scattered over the land. 

' The name Georgia, of which Chttsia is merely the Bnasian fonn, 
been referred to the national saint, George, by whom they were esrlj i 
yerted from Paganism to Christianity. 


labour bestowed on their fertile soil, are a hopelessly 
indolent and poverty-stricken people. Allowance should 
doubtless be made for the enervating climate; but 
everywhere the southern are far outstripped in energy 
and enterprise by the northern tribes. 

The best conditions of existence are found at about 
an elevation of 4000 feet above sea-level. Here the vine 
still flourishes, sericulture is possible, maize and millet 
yield good returns, and wheat prevails on heavy soils. 
Here industry meets with a fair reward- The natives, 
although not grouped together in large centres of popula- 
tion, are still found in more compact masses than in the 
Mingrelian lowlands, where the agricultural villages are 
replaced by solitary farmsteads. Here rice, cotton, and 
sub-tropical fruits might easily be cultivated ; but nothing 
is done, and the people remain poor. Much more pros- 
perous are their northern kinsmen, who are compelled by 
the less favourable conditions to work for their living, 
and are not free from anxiety for the winter season. 
Their dwellings are also more substantially built, their 
cattle require to be housed, the vine must be carefully 
dressed and pruned, the silkworm needs constant atten- 
tion, the wooded slopes must be cleared, the ground 
requires hoe and spade to provide sufficient for the suste- 
nance of the family. Hence the Imerian is a better agri- 
culturist than the lowland Mingrelian, and the higher we 
ascend the more industrious become the kindred tribes. 

Although speaking one of the harshest languages in 
Caucasia, where a surprisingly harsh phonetic system is the 
rule, the Georgian race is distinguished by a passionate 
love of song and musia In the home, in the tavern, of 
which they are unfortunately constant visitors, in the 
market-place, at all their feasts and social gatlierings, the 
Kartvelians are perpetually singing or shouting to the 
accompaniment of their tambourines, their balalaikas, and 


other stringed instrumeDts. Even tlieir daily occnpawnt 
and their field operations are relieved by a omceit d 
voices, whose cadence is adapted to the movement rf their 
variotis pnrauits. 

HTu Oircassians and Abkhastans. 

Although their domain has been largely eDcroubedj 
upon by Tatars from the east, Armenians from the souU. i 
and Slavs from the north, the Georgians still coDstinil' 
the most compact and homogeneous nationality in CaniA^ 
But more typical representatives of the Caucasian ™*^ 
are, or rather were, the Cberkesses or Circassians, fomtAj 
the tQost powerful and warlike of all the Western natkoi 


Their domain seems to have at one time extended round the 
Euxine seaboard, as far as the Strait of Kerch. But they 
were for centuries confined by the advancing Little Bus- 
sians to the left or southern bank of the Kuban, and now 
since their final reduction in 1864, after a heroic resist- 
ance maintained for generations, nearly all their lands have 
been occupied by the Great Bussians. A few scattered 
groups still cling to their ancient homes along the course 
of the Kuban and its affluents ; but the great bulk of the 
nation withdrew after the conquest into Turkish territory, 
and isolated Cherkess communities are now found dis- 
persed over Armenia, Asia Minor, Syria, and the Balkan 
peninsula. Here they have acquired an unenviable 
notoriety for lawless and turbulent habits. But the 
national character should rather be studied in the moun- 
tain fastnesses, where the race was moulded. 

A similar fate has overtaken the kindred and neigh- 
bouring Abkhasians, of whom 20,000 migrated to Turkey 
after the late Bussian war. Their territory is now re- 
duced to a narrow tract on the coast of the Black Sea, 
north of the Ingur basin, where they are hemmed in by 
the KartveUans, Tatars, and Great Bussians. The Tatars, 
who are here isolated, separate the Abkhasians from their 
remote kinsmen, the Kabardians of the Central Caucasus. 

The eastern division, whose most representative mem- 
bers are the Chechenzes and Lesghian Avars, have also 
been encroached upon, especially by the Nogai and Kumik 
Tatars, who have long been settled on the Caspicm coast, 
south of the Terek, and more recently by the Bussians, 
who have penetrated into the Chechenz territory as far 
south as Vladikavkaz. 

The Chechenzes, Lesghians, and Osses. 
The Southern (Elartvelian) and Western divisions. 


amid much physical diversity^ are at least chaiaderifled 
by linguistic unity. For the original identity of all tk 
numerous Kartvelian dialects on the one hand, and on 
the other of the Cherkess, Abkhasian, and Kabaidian, is 
an accepted conclusion of compaiatiye philology. Bm 
the utmost ingenuity of specialists, who have devoted a 
Ufetime to the study, has hitherto fiEiiled to introduce modi 
order into the Babel of tongues still current amongst tlie 
innumerable tribes of the Eastern division. Here tbere 
are at least five stock languages, probably more, which can 
be affiliated neither to each other nor to any other known 
forms of speech. 

Even the Chechenzes, by far the most import&si 
nation in the Eastern Caucasus, are split up into some 
twenty different groups, each with a distinct language 
They occupy the whole of West Daghestan, between the 
Osses and the Avars, and long maintained a hopeless 
struggle under Ehazi-Molla and Shamyl (Samuel) agaiot^ 
the Bussians. Even more fanatical Muhammadans ihxi 
the Western Cherkesses, they fought with the dauntless 
valour inspired by religious enthusiasm and a passionate 
love of freedom. Since their reduction in 1859 huge 
numbers migrated to Turkish Armenia, where most d 
them perished of want and hardships of every descriptiB. 

Eivalling the (}herkesses in valour and physical 
beauty, the Chechenzes surpass them in generosity and 
self-respect Their love of finery amidst the squalor d 
their wretched highland villages is very remarkabk 
Men and women dressed in rich flowing garments, wora 
with admirable grace, are often met residing in damp and 
gloomy underground hovels, or in huts formed of int«^ 
woven branches, or of huge stones thrown loosely together. 

The Osses or Ossetians, who call themselves Iron, 
constitute the fourth division of the Caucasian racea 
But while the other three may be regarded as indigenous, 


the Osses are certainly intruders of Aryan stock, 
occupy the most central part of the Great Cancasua uiuui^ 
hath dopes of the Eazbek, where they are conterminous 
witii varioua tribes of all the other divisions — Kartvelians 
on the Bouth-west and south-east; Chechenzes on the 
north-east; Kabards on the north-west. Of fair com- 
plexion, robust, of a somewhat heavy and sluggish tem- 
perament, and lackii^ the graceful carrit^ of the other 
highlanders, these Ossetians seem to resemble the Germans 
more than any other branch of the Aryan family. Yet 
dieir langoBge belongs to the Iranian group, and the 
national name of Iron has been accepted as air argument 
in favour of their Persian origin. 

^on-Caticaauin Intrading Races. 

Besides the already-mentioned Hussian Slavs, Nogais, 
and other Tatars, the more important intruding peoples 
are the Armenians, who have advanced from the Aras to 
the Kura basin ; the £urds, some of whom have pene- 
trated north to the Kion basin ; the Greeks, numerous in 
the district west of Tiflis ; the Tata and Talyshes of the 
Baku district, akin to the Iranian Tajiks ; lastly, a German 
a)lony from Wiirtemberg settled in a few isolated com- 
munities in the Kura basin east of Tiflis. 

These German colonists present a most remarkaMe 
anthropological problem,' 

There is also a very old Jewish element in several 
parts of Caucasia, but nearly everywhere assimilated in 
speech and habits to the surrounding peoples. A number 
of places known by the name of Jul/Eend, or " Jewish 
Town," are now occupied by communities claiming Tatar 
descent, and the Jews of the Baku district have adopted 
tlie Persian garb and speech. These latter are said to 
' See ISinotrt *ur VSthmograi^iit dt la Ptne, p. 14. 



have arrived from Persia during the time of the Saasanides 
and are by some writers supposed to be descended from 
the Israelites, who were removed to Persia after the first 
destruction of the Temple by Salmanazar. This view 
seems confirmed by the family names still current amongst 
them, which belong to the period of the Judges, and which 
have been elsewhere obsolete for over 2000 years. 

The prevailing religions in Caucasia are Christiaiuiy 
and Muhammadanism, with almost everywhere a sub- 
stratum of the old pagan superstitions. Thus the 
Khevsurs, who belong to an extremely interesting group 
of tribes clustered round Mount Borbalo, about the sources 
of the Aragva, Yora, and Alazan, have developed a fonn 
of Christianity of a somewhat peculiar type. Having 
been followers of the Prophet before they were Christians, 
and heathens before their conversion to Islam, they keep 
the Friday with their Moslem neighbours, and the Sunday 
with the Georgians, intermingling the worship of trees and 
of the spirits of earth and air with more orthodox rites. 
Their chief deity seems to be the God of War, and they 
also do homage to the Mother of the Earth, the Archangel 
of Property, the Angel of the Oak, and many other lesser 
gods and angels. Yet they are very proud of their 
Christianity. The B^hevsurs are also probably the onl? 
people in the world who still wear armour. 

8. Topography : Stavropol — Vladikavkaz — DerbefU-- 
Baku — Poti — Ti/lis — Kara — BatHm — Brivf^— 
Alexandrapol — Shusha — Nakhichevan. 

In Western Caucasia there are no towns of any siieL 
Yekaterinodar, capital of the Kuban province above the 
delta of that river, is an important agricultural oentie, 
much frequented during the autumn fairs, when produce 
to the amount of over £320,000 is usually disposed of. 


Yeisk on the Sea of Azov is a thriving seaport and fish- 
ing station, and although founded so recently as 1848 
has aheady become the largest place on the whole Cau- 
casian seaboard. Taman, which gives its name to the 
peninsula, is a mere village, and Sukhum-Kaleh on the 
Abkhasian coast, although possessing a safe and deep har- 
bour, is noted for its dolphin fishery. 

Stavropol and Vladikavkaz, 

Stavropol, capital of the government of like name, 
lies on the verge of the steppe about 2000 feet above the 
sea, and at some distance to the east of the south-eastern 
line of railway, whose present terminus is Vladikavkaz. 
This place, which is the capital of the Terek territory, 
lies almost in the heart of Central Caucasia, at the north- 
ern entrance of the Dariel Gorge, through which the great 
military road leads south to Tiflis. Although since the 
pacification of Caucasia it has lost its former strategic 
importance, Vladikavkaz has continued to flourish as a 
commercial emporium, and its commanding central posi- 
tion, 2300 feet above the sea, midway between the two 
seas, marks it out as the future capital of Cis-Caucasia. 
In the whole of this region its only rival is Tiflis, over 
which it possesses the great advantage of a genial and 
healthy climate. Piatigorsk, about equidistant from 
Stavropol and Vladikavkaz, is the chief centre of the 
Caucasian watering-places, which are nowhere surpassed 
for variety, copiousness, and health -giving properties. 
But although supplied with grand hotels, promenades, 
pleasure-grounds, and other attractions, it has hitherto 
fiuled to tempt many visitors from the West. 

Derberd and Baku, 
On the Caspian coast, Derbent, in lat 42", occupies a 


pecaliar position between the spvaa of the Daghestin IuIIj 
and the sea, completely guarding the narrow defile on tk 
great historic route aloi^ this coast It covera a louft 

narrow strip, enclosed by walls runnii^ from die dtadd 
of Narin-Kaleh eastwards to the sea. The line of forti- 
fied works is continued over the hills for some distance 


westwards, and is traditionallj supposed to have formerly 
stretched right across the isthmiis from the Caspian to 
the Euxine. But a much more important place is Baku 
at the neck of the Apsheron peninsula^ centre of the 
most productive naphtha district in Asia. This trade, 
which employs quite a little fleet of coasting vessels and 
steamers on the Caspian, yielded nearly 8,000,000 cwts. 
in 1880, and this quantity might easily be doubled with 
proper appliances. Close to Baku over 700 naphtha 
wells have already been sunk, none of which show any 
signs of exhaustion.^ Here is a famous shrine of the 
Persian fire-worshippers, which is directly fed with in- 
flammable gases from the subterraneous fires. 

In the Bion-Kura depression the chief places are 
the port of Poti, Kutais, and Tiflis, all connected by the 
line of railway which at present stops at Tiflis, but which 
must eventually be carried down the Kura valley to the 

Poti and Tiflis. 

In spite of its exposed and shallow roadstead and its 
pestilential climate, Poti had rapidly progressed before the 
late Eusso-Turkish war. It stiU retains some importance 
as the terminus on the coast of the only railway south of 
the Caucasus. But since the acquisition of Batum in 
1878 its shipping has been greatly reduced. Whenever 
the railway is continued round the coast to Batiim, Poti 
will probably be abandoned to its swamps and mosquitoes. 

By far the most important city in Caucasia is the 
capital, Tiflis, which lies on the left bank of the Kura, a 
little south of Mtzkhet, the ancient capital of the Georgian 
kingdom. It is a half European, half Asiatic town, con- 
sisting of a Sussian quarter with some ambitious buildings 

^ In September 1881 the Eraaailnikoff welk took fire, and continaed 
to bum with intense fury for seyeral days. 


in the modem st^le, a clean and picturesque German 
suburb, and a Persisn district with a decidedly Eastern 
appearance. The most prominent feature of the place is 
the fine open " Golavinaky Proapect," of which any pro- 

vincial town in Europe might be proud. I^ss inviting is 
the quarter containing the Armenian bazaar, although his- 
torically interesting as recalling the time when Tiflis still 
acknowledged the authority of the Shah. The old castie 


of the Georgian princes, a reminiscence of a still earlier 
period, now lies in ruins on a hill rising precipitously 
above a wild romantic stream. Tiflis has been described 
as a city of contarasts. Cairo alone presents a similar 
mingling of Oriental poetry and decay with some of the 
humble types of European society. 

Kars, BaHm, Frivan, and AUxandrapol, 

South of the Bion basin Bussia acquired in 1878 as 
the prizes of victory, besides the frontier town of Ardahan, 
the much-coveted seaport of Batiim, and the formidable 
stronghold of Kars. A straight line drawn from Batiim 
to Erivan, capital of Bussian Armenia, will pass through 
Ardahan, leaving Kars a little to the right. Begarding 
the great natural strength and strategic importance of 
Kars there never could be any question. But the 
descriptions current in Europe of Batiim vary some- 
what It lies some 30 miles south - west of Poti, 
and its harbour, formed by the delta of the Chorukh 
advancing westwards, is completely sheltered, about 
60 feet deep, and capacious enough to acconmiodate 
twelve large vessels. But this harbour is being gradually 
encroached upon by the very delta to which it owes its 
existence, a danger, however, which may easily be reme- 
died by giving the river a better scour, or connecting it 
by canal directly with the port When these works are 
carried out, and the railway, already commenced, com- 
pleted through Uzurgeti to Poti, Batiim must become the 
commercial emporium as well as the naval station of 
Trans -Caucasia. It was declared a free port by the 
Berlin Congress of 1878, but this has not prevented the 
Bussians from converting it into a second Sevastopol 

Erivan, capital of Bussian Armenia, stands on the 
Zanga, which flows intermittently from Lake Gok-cha; 


and is here diverted into innumerable little inigatiim 
canals before reaching the Aras. It occupies an im- 
portant strategic position at the entrance to the route 
leading over the Grok-cha plateau to the Kura basin said 
Tiflis. But the climate, with its sudden changes of 
temperature, malaria, and dust-storms, is one of the worst 
in Caucasia. Hence Erivan has always remained a small 
place, and has already been outstripped by the compara- 
tively new fortified town of Alexandrapol, now the laigest 
place in the Aras basin. This stronghold was founded 
in 1837 on the then Turkish frontier. The possession of 
these places not only renders the Bussian position impp^- 
nable in the Aras basin, but gives that power compile 
command of the head- waters of the Euphrates. The road 
through Ardahan to Batdm is extremely rugged ; bat the 
works now in progress will soon render it an easy militair 
route from the Black Sea to the Turkish frontier. 

Shvsha and Nakhichevan. 

East of Erivan the only places in the Aras basin 
calling for mention are Shusha and the ancient town of 
Nakhichevan. Shusha lies in the heart of the plateau 
near the water-parting between the Aras and Kura, some 
miles above their confluenca It is the largest place in 
the Yelizavetpol Government; but standing 3500 feet 
above the sea on an exposed terrace, its climate is ex- 
cessively severe in winter and correspondingly hot in 
summer. Nakhichevan lies close to the left bank of the 
Aras near the Persian frontier. It enjoys the distinction 
in Armenian tradition of being the oldest city in the 
world,^ founded in fact by Noah himself after planting 
the vine on the slopes of Ararat. But it is now chiefly 

^ Nakhicheyan, of which the classic form was Naxuana, is ezplainod 
to mean " The First Abode," i.e. of man after the deluge. 


inhafaited by Tatars, while its finest monuments, including 
the old palace gateway and Uie ** Tower of the Xhcms/' 
date from the Persian epoch. 

9. Highways of (^mmunication. 

All the routes from Southern Bussia through Bostov, 

Astrakhan, and other points, converge at Vladikavkaz on 

the north side of the Central Caucasus. From this 

place the great military and commercial highway leads 

through the magnificent Dariel Gorge and right under the 

Sazbek down to Tifiis on the south side of the main 

range. Here the roads again diverge in all directions — 

west through Gori, over the Suram Pass of Uie Mesk 

range, down the Sion valley, and through Kutais to Poti ; 

south-east down the Kura valley through Yelizavetpol to 

Baku on the one hand, and on the other to Lenkoran on 

the Caspian near the Persian frontier; south direct to 

Alexandrapol and Kars, and over the Gok-cha plateau to 

Erivan, Echmiadzin, and Ararat. From Poti the road 

skirts the coast to Batiim, whence the military route leads 

over the Lazistdn and Arsiani ranges through Ardahan 

to Kbxs, down the Arpa-chai valley through Ani to 

£rivan, and down the Aras valley to Nakhichevan and 

Julfa on the Persian frontier. From Kars and Julfa two 

short roads, crossing the Turkish and Persian frontiers, 

strike the great trade route from Trebizond to Tabriz at 

Erzerom and EhoL 

The old and dif&cult coast road from the Taman 
peninsula to Poti, followed by trade and warlike expedi- 
tions fix>m the time of Mithridates down to the Middle 
Ages, and which had been abandoned, will be reopened 
for traffia The coast route from Baku through Derbent 
to the Terek and Kuma basins is little used, although 
easier than the Black Sea road. 

2 c 


The Caucasian railway system is still limited to two 
completed lines. Of these the longest and most impoztBDi 
fonns a south-eastern extension of the Bussian sjEton, 
running from Bostov at the head of Uie Azov Sea thiODgh 
the Kossak stanitzas of Yekaterinovskaya and Eavkas- 
kaya to Georgiyevsk for Piatigorsk, and so on across tlie 
Upper Terek to Vladikavkaz, its present terminus. Tte 
second runs from Poti through Kutais and over the Squid 
Pass down to Mtzkhet and Tiflis. The short coast line 
from Batiim to Poti will also soon be finished. 

Several projects have been proposed for comiectiBg 
both sides of the Caucasus. Of these the most pradicilik 
seems to be a line from Vladikavkaz along the mHitair 
route through the Dariel Pass to Tiflis. Another ^ 
ere long be carried round the east coast through Derbent 
to Baku facing the Mikhailevsk terminus of the nev 
Turkestan line. This will give direct railway conunam' 
cation from the heart of the empire to within " a measar 
able distance " of Herat^ interrupted only at the nairowoi 
part of the Caspian. A first section of this line bm ' 
YelizavetCTad to Petrovsk. north of Derbent, has beo i 
commenced, and the line from Tiflis to Baku, compktiog ' 
the junction of the two seas, has also been taken in bani 

10. Administration: BestiUs of RiLSsian BuU — Armm» 
Politics — AdministrcUive Divisions. 

The brief period during which Caucasia has formed a i 
integral part of the Bussian Empire has already prodQO0l| 
great social and ethnical changes. A succession of atfc: 
and energetic administrators have gradually succeeded ii 
stamping out the last spark of independence amongst tba 
highland tribes, and this mountainous r^on no loop 
forms a weak point in the colossal empire. 

This result has been brought about by very man^ 


means — a steady but determmed pursuance of purelj 
practical ends. The administration has everywhere re- 
spected the local customs and usages, restricting itself to 
the maintenance of the preservation of social order. After 
the heroic defenders of their highland fastnesses were 
sufficiently reduced by military operations and by whole- 
sale expulsion, efficacious military steps were taken to 
place the supreme authority beyond the reach of attack 
from the survivors, while interfering as little as possible 
with their local affairs. The several tribes were allowed 
to retain their primitive usages and social institutions, 
the judicial functions were carried out more in a paternal 
than in a bureaucratic spirit, and the administration was, 
wherever possible, entrusted to natives. 

The authorities have from the first entirely abstained 
from interfering with the peculiar religious views of the peo- 
ple, so that it is scarcely correct to assert that the Russian 
rule has mainly resulted in the extinction of national life. 

It is remarkable, in this connection, that the opposi- 
tion of the Armenians was long directed rather against 
the Russians than the Turks. But since the acquisition 
of Erivan and Ears Bussia has begun to exercise a grow- 
ing influence over the Armenian people. In the neigh- 
bourhood of Erivan is the Convent of Echmiadzin, the 
residence of the Armenian Patriarch, whose spiritual 
authority is absolute over the whole race wherever settled. 

But the rising generation of Armenians has shown 
itself less submissive, in secular matters, to the authority 
of its spiritual guides. A political party has been formed 
in Constantinople, inspired by the modem revolutionary 
spirit, which has undertaken to quicken the slumbering 
sentiment of nationality, and direct the efforts of the 
people towards independence. Since the late political 
changes the Armenians have also made their voice to be 
heard, determined not to be overlooked in the midst of 



the innovations which promise to fundamentally modify 
the social condition of the Eastern races. 

Meanwhile Russian Armenia forms a simple diviam 
of Caucasia, which constitutes a single administratiTe 
government under a viceroy or lieutenant-general le- 
sponsible only to the Czar. To this government is also 
attached the Trans-Caspian territoiy, recently extended 
nearly to the Afghan frontier. The Caucasian porticm of 
this region is subdivided into fourteen separate adminis- 
trations, variously named governments, provinces, terri- 
tories, or circles, as in the subjoined tabulated scheme of 
the several administrations, with their areas, populaticHiB, 
and chief towns. The populations are estimated for 1881, 
and the areas are reduced from the data published by tlie 
Statistical Commission of the Caucasus for the Caucasian 
section of the Bussian Grepgraphical Society., 

11. Statistics, 
AsEAs AND Populations. 

Aim in iq. mUos. *'**^^^ 

Truis-Caucasia . 
Conquests, 1878 













Area in 
sq. milos. 




Total CiB-Caacasia, 88,700 1,960,000 

Fop. Chief Towns. 

Stavropol . 
Piatigorsk . 
500,000^ Belaglina . 
PrasKoveya . 
A lexandrovaka ja 

Yeisk . 
860,000<{ Maikop 












Black Sea 












sq. milQB. 



} 16, 

I 1,600 

I 11,100 

\ 17,500 

I 15,650 

. 11,400 

Total Trana-Cancasia 97,800 
Cifi-Caacaaia . 88,700 

j- 10,000 

Fop. Ghtef Towns. 

23,000 Anapa 
85,000 Sukhum-Kaleh 
570, 000 1 


80,000 TaU 


,Telay . 


' Alexandropol 






Baku . 

Enba . 


LAkhti . 

























Total CancasiA . 186,000 5,946,000 

Ikhabita»ts of Cavcabia grouped acoobdinq to Baobs 


Stock . 

' Geor^ans 



Syana . 

Pshays . 

^LaziB . 
' Cherkesses 



West Oiucasian 
Stock . 

East Cancasian / Chechenzes 
Stock . . \ Lesghians ^ 
Semite Stock . Jews and Assyrians 

Christians, Greek rite ' 
-Nominal (Christiana 

Snnnis . 
j- Snnnis . 

V Snnnis . 





1 All the Lesghlans are Snnnis except the Dido tribe of the Upper Kolisn Tallej, 
who are said to be " Devil-woTshlppera." 

s These are introduced on the authority of N. von Seidlit^ Director of the Statia- 
deal Office at Time. 



Slay Stock 

Iranian Stock 

Stock . 

Great Rnssiana 
Little Ruaeians 
Osses . 
Kurds . 
Tats . 
Tatars . 
Nogais . 
Eirshiz ^ 
Turks . 

^Orthodox Christians \ -irivvAM 
r and Dissenters ./ ^»^'^ 

Nominal Christians 
Gregorian Christians 
Sunnis . 


Christians, Greek rite \ 
Lutherans . / 

Sunnis mostly ; 
some Tatars are 






Mean density of population per square mile, 80. 
Christians, 3,660,000; Muhammadans, 2,220,000. 
Land under vineyards 220,000 


„ tobacco 
Average yield of cotton 






Imports and exports (1879) 

Receipts (1878) 

Ex^nditure „ 

Debcit „ 

Ordinary deficit 

10,000 „ 
10,000 cwta. 
800 lb& 
1,800 cwta 
2,250 „ 

ISO tona 
25,000 „ 
6,000 „ 

Chief source of revenue, alcohol, one- third of the whole. 

1 T1i« Kirghiz and Kalmaka ocenrar a larsn area In th« Lower Volgft dMtt 
whence some of them reach southwards beyond the Kanlch deprnanion aloBf thsrip 
bank of the Kalaus and as fkr as the left hank of the Kwna. 

BussiAN turkestIn. 391 



1. Boundaries — JExterU — Area — Nomenclature. 

Hebe we enter a region in which geographical, ethno- 
giaphic, and political conditions are still fax from being 
reconciled. Although somewhat simplified by the recent 
progress of Bussian arms in West Central Asia, the very 
nomendatore is still in a confused state, and few even of 
the leading authorities are of accord as to the exact 
meaning of such common expressions as Turkestdn or 
Central Asia. The Eussians themselves often designate 
as Centhd Asia the second great administrative division 
of their Asiatic possessions, which is mainly comprised 
within the Aralo-Caspian depression. But this expression 
is misguiding in a geographical sense. To the portion of 
this division directly administered by the Governor- 
General, whose headquarters are at Tashkent, they give 
the still more questionable name of Eastern Turkestdn 
— the true Eastern Turkestan, if there be any, lying 
beyond his jurisdiction in the Chinese province of 
Kashgaria The confusion of nomenclature is increased 
by the distribution of the land, portions of which are 
attached either to the European governments of Orenburg 
and Perm, or to the administration of Caucasia, while 
the sonth-eastem section beyond the Upper Oxus belongs 
politically to Afghanistan, and thus forms part of the 
British political system. 


This vast region is mostly comprised within the limite 
of the Aialo-Caspian basin^ stretching west and east 
between the Caspian Sea and the Central Asiatic higb- 
lands, limited southwards hj the scaip of the Iraimn 
plateau, meiging northwards in the west Siberian steppe. 
The south-eastern boundaiy line along the Afghan frontier 
was accurately laid down by agreement with the British 
(Government in 1873. The south-western boundaiy lioe 
along the Persian frontier has been greatly extended 
by the reduction of the Akhal Tekke Turkomans in 
1881. The rectified frontier line, as determined bf 
the agreement with Persia in 1882, now runs from Uk 
south-east comer of the Caspian up the Atrak valley to 
Chat at the junction of the Sumbar, thence east- 
wards along the water-parting to a point south-east of 

Eussian Turkestan is bordered on the west by the 
Caspian, the Ural river and mountains, on the east bf 
the Pamir plateau, the Tian-Shan and Ala-tau ranges 
separating it fix)m the Chinese Empire, northwards by die 
low ridge crossing the Kirghiz steppes about the Slst 
parallel, and forming the water-parting between tbe 
Aralo-Caspian and Ob basina But here again the ad- 
ministrative overrides the geographic division, for a bige 
portion of West Siberia beyond this natural boundaiy is 
now attached to the Turkestdn Government 

Including this tract, which is alone about 400,000 
square nules in extent, Bussian Turkestan has an extreme 
length frx>m the Caspian to Lake Issik-kul of 1400 miks 
west and east, with a breadth of nearly 1000 nortib aztd 
south, a total area of about 1,600,000 square miles, and 
a population of 6,500,000. 


2. Bditf of the Zand : The Oreat Pamir — HumholdCs 
BoloT Bange — The KizU-art and Alai Ranges — The 
Tian-shan and the Ala-tau Highlands — The Mugqfar 
Hills — The Twrkestdn Depression — The Dried-up 
Central Asiatic Mediterranean — The Turkestdn 

Western Turkestan is commonly supposed everywhere 
to consist of vast low-lying sandy or saline plains. But 
nothing could be more opposed to the actual conditions, 
for the relief of the land here presents absolutely greater 
contrasts than are elsewhere found on the surfeu^ of the 
globe. The misconception is due to the fedlure to dis- 
tinguish between the Aralo-Caspian depression and the 
Aialo-Caspian basin. The basin — ^that is, the whole area 
of drainage — consists of about even parts highlands and 
lowlands ; and while the lowlands fall in the Caspian Sea 
as much as 85 feet below sea-level, the highlands in the 
culminating points of the Tian-shan and Great Pamir 
rise to 25,000 feet above sea-leveL In no other region 
are such vast differences of relative level to the sur&ce 
of the sea brought into such dose juxtaposition. 

The highlands, which lie mainly in the east, consist 
substantially of the Pamir and Tiui-shan systems, with 
the Alai and other sections, all converging westwards 
between the Tarim and Aralo-Caspian depressions. 

The Great Pamir or Bam-i-Dunya — that is, the "Boof 
of the World," as it has been not inaptly termed — forms 
the nucleus of the whole Central Asiatic highland system. 
Here converge the Hindu-Kush and Himalayas from the 
south-west and south-east, the Kuen-lun from the east, 
the Tian-shan from the north-east, while the plateau 
itself merges westwards in the snowy highlands and 
icefields about the sources of the Zarafshan, between the 
Oxus and Jaxartes valleys. Although still but imper- 


fectly explored, its main features are now siiffidentlj 
ascertained, and we know that it consists of a vast plateui 
formation, some 30,000 square miles in extent^ witli & 
mean elevation of at least 15,000 feet, culminatiiiginUie 
east witli the Tagharma (25,500 feet). Its southern 
limits seem to be marked by the ridge connectiDg tk 
Karakorum with the Hindu-Kush, and forming the israter- 
parting between the Upper Oxus and Indus bosiiis. 
Northwards its limits are better defined by the Alai and 
Trans- Alai ranges skirting the south side of Fer^unali 
(Ehokand), and forming the water-parting between ik 
Zarafshan and Jaxartes valleys. 

In this region Alexander von Humboldt imagined 
an isolated chain of the Bolor, Bilaur or Belut-ta^ 
running north and south between Eastern and Westen 
Turkestan, and forming the axis of the whole oontir 
nental system. But Major Biddulph, while showii^ 
that such a range has no existence, traces the term Bote 
itself to an old state of that name, whose chief place s 
Iskardo. " There can be little doubt that it is to Iskaidft 
we must look for the centre of the ancient kingdom <f 
Bolor, as suggested by General Cunningham. In 63^ 
Hunza, Nagyr, and all the valleys to the westward, 1h 
name Iskardo is almost unknown, and the place is caDd 
' Palor; ' Balors,' and ' Balomts.' " * But it wiU probaUf 
be some time before Balor as a mountain range will b- 
appear from the maps. Its place ought to be taken If 
the Kizil-art mountains, which, according to the explwoB 
Hay ward and Shaw, form the eastern limits of the Panar 
towards Kashgaria.^ 

This range seems to run north-west and south-ea^ 

1 The Tribes of the Hindu-Kusk, p. 146. 

" The KizU-Rrt has now been identified with the Tsong-ling, or " ftn* 
Mountains," of the Chincsei so called from the qoantity of garlic gro«i< 
on their slopes. 


between the Kasbgar-tagh and the Karakonun at a mean 
elevation of 20,000 feet, cahninatiDg in Mount Tagbanna 
(Tagbalma), estimated at 25,500 feet But the whole of 
these highlands, with their altitudes, directions, and 
nomenclature, still form one of the most obscure chapters 
in Central Asiatic geographj. At the same time the 
abrupt Ml towards the Kashgarian depression renders it 
very probable that the numerous Pamir lakelets, where 
thej have an outflow, drain westwards to the head-streams 
of the Oxus, and that the Kizil-art forms the true water- 
parting in this direction. 

In Julj 1876 Kostenko crossed the Trans- Alai, and 
was thus the first European to enter the Great Pamir 
from the north. From the Kizil-art Pass in the Trans- 
Alai he commanded a complete view of this region ; and 
after for the first time visiting the romantic Lake Kara- 
kul, one of the sources of the Oxus, he undertook an 
expedition as far as the little Lake Ban-kul, towards the 
Eashgar frontier. Between these two lakes rises Mount 
Us-bel (15,600 feet), which forms the water-parting 
between the Oxus and the TariuL From its summit a 
grand prospect is presented of an easterly range towering 
fistr above the snow-line, and shutting off the valley of the 
River Eashgar. This range, obviously Hayward's Xizil- 
art, Kostenko proposes to call the Konstantiaov Moim- 
tains, assigning them an elevation of firom 25,000 to 
26,000 feet The Trans- Alai itself he describes as an 
alpine chain 10,000 to 12,000 feet high, forming the 
northern boundary of the Pamir, which stretches thence 
southwards, and which is crossed in every direction by 
ridges, all rising above the snow-line, and dividing it into 
a number of smaller " Pamirs,'* or upland plains. 

The whole region is destitute of trees or shrubs, and 
even the grass grows only in isolated patches along the 
banks of the streams and lakes. Here, however, it affords 


some of the very finest pasture in the world to the fiodo 
of the Kara-Kirghiz nomads, who visit the Pamir dnrng 
the summer season. 

The hills consist of a soft stone, so that the passes an 
less abrupt and easier to cross, while the tracks are eveij- 
where tolerably good. The streams also are seldom veiy 
rapid, and the soil consists either of grit or sandy loam, 
dotted over with salt or brackish tarns, which when dried 
up are covered with an incrustation of dazzling white 

It is difficult to assign a beginning or an end to tlte 
Tian-shan, or " Celestial Mountains," which separate tbe 
Tarim from the Issik-kul and Hi basins south and noztli, 
and stretch thence eastwards to about 120 miles east of 
Hami (Khamil) in 95*" E. longitude. At this pointy which 
may be taken as their eastern limit, the Tian-shan con- 
sist of a single ridge. But the whole system continnallj 
expands westwards, developing two or more lateral and 
parallel ridges, and in the extreme west ramifying into 
several distinct branches, which spread out like a &n &r 
into the Turkestan lowlands. Of these branches the sootli- 
westernmost are the Alai and Trans- Alai, which stret(i 
in parallel lines for 240 miles along the northern edge of 
the Pamir, down to the Turkest^ plains. They an 
separated from the Tian-shan proper by the K<^-art^ and 
Terek-davan ^ passes, but their diorite and granite foimi' 
tions show that they belong none the less to that systeiB. 
The Alai, or Kichi-Alai, rises to over 18,000 feet in 
the east, and is crossed by several passes, of which <k 
lowest is the Isfairan (12,000). From this point a view 
is afiforded of the « Kaufmann " Peak, over 26,000 feet, 

^ In the Tian-Bhan, art, davmn, M, and ktUal, an the general namci Iff 
passes. The art is a high and dangerous gap, the tUtvan a difficolt rocky 
defile, the hd a low easy pass, the kutal a wide opening betveea tbe 


one of the veiy highest^ if not the highest, in the whole 
Tian-shan system. 

The Alai and Trans- Alai meige westwards in the 
snowy plateau and ice-fields, about the sources of the 
Zarafshan, whence the Shchurovsky and other enormous 
glaciers descend towards the surrounding upland valleya 

North of Ferghana, the most important western branch 
of the lian-shan, are the Alexander Mountains, which run 
at an elevation of 1 5,000 feet firom the closed basin of Lake 
Iflsik-kul along the northern edge of the Narin (Upper 
Jazartes) valley, and are continued by the Aksai, Talas- 
tau, and £ara-tau (6000 feet) north-westwards between 
the Middle Jaxartes and the Chui valley& Here the 
cohninating crests are the Hamish (15,550) in the Alex- 
ander chain, the Kara-bura (11,000) in the Talas-tau, and 
the Min-jilke (7000) in the Kara-tau. 

West of Hand the eastern section of the Tian-shan 
Boon attains an elevation of 8000 to 10,000 feet. 
Between Hami and Barkul it is crossed by the Kosheti- 
davan Pass, over 9000 feet Farther on there occurs a 
profound gap or break of continuity, through which the 
historical route leads from the Gobi desert through Tur- 
£eui north to Urumtsi and the lU basin. West of this 
defile the central section, under the name of the Katun 
range, rises far above the snow-line, and attains an eleva- 
tion of at least 16,000 feet Here there are no passes, 
and enormous glaciers have recently been discovered by 
Begel about the sources of the Kash, which flows from 
these highlands westwards to the Hi valley. 

From its eastern extremity to this point the Tian- 
shan may be regarded as consisting substantially of a 
single range. But here are developed as many as four 
parallel snowy ridges, enclosing the two extensive dried- 
up basins known as the Great and Little Yulduz, or 
•Stars," 7000 feet above sea-leveL 


South of the Great Yulduz basin the main southeni 
section runs under diverse names westwards to Lake 
Issik-kuL Here the chief sections are the Muz-ait-tau, 
crossed hj the historical Muz-art Pass (11,000), and the 
Ehan-tengri (24,000), the most imposing and dominaDt 
mass in the whole Tian-shan system. Although exceeded 
in height by the Trans-AIai peaks, the Khan-tengri ood- 
tains far more numerous glaciers, ice-fields, and snowy 
crests. Some of the glaciers in the little-known highlands 
west of the Muz-art rival the Aletch of the Yalais, and 
from this pass the main range runs for over 60 miles 
westwards at a mean altitude of nearly 1 7,0 feet Here 
all the peaks are higher than Mount Blanc by over 3000 
feet, and yet are dominated southwards by the magnificent 
Ehan-tengri or Eara-gol-bas. 

West of the Yulduz basins the extensive dried-vp 
marine basin of the Tian-shan-pelu rises westwards towards 
the plateau occupied by Lake Sairam, which is skilled 
north and south by the Zunganan Ala-tau and the Boro* 
khoro chains. Facing the Boro-khoro is the imposing 
Nian-shan (Temurlik) range, which rises abruptly above 
the south side of the Kulja plains, between the rivas 
Tekes and Eegen, east and west North of the Naiin 
valley the main range takes the name of the Ala-taa 
Terskei — that is, the " Shady Ala-tau ** — ^to distinguish ft 
from the Ala-tau Kungei, or ''Sunny Ala-tau," whick 
skirts the opposite side of Lake Issik-kuL^ It culminate 

^ As much confasion is cansed by the muneroas "AU-tea" « 
"mottled" ranges in this region, it may be well to ezplaiQ that tlM' 
Zunganan Ala-tan rnns north of the Hi valley, orer against the Tarbagsta- 
chain, the Trans-Ili and Kungei Ala-tau lie south of the Hi and nortli «f 
Lake Issik-kul, where they are separated by the valleys of the Grert 
Kebin and Chilik Rivers ; the Ala-tan Terskei runs south of Isik-kal 
between it and the right bank of the Narin (Upper Sir) Riv^; whiks; 
fifth Ala-tau running west from Issik-kul has now been renamed tti' 
Alexander range by the Russians. It may be added, that the hitb«li 



with the Ugiuhbas (17,750 feet), and is crossed by the 
Barskann Pass (12,000 feet) near the source of the Narin. 
The Terskei Ala-tau is continued westwards by parallel 
ridges, which enclose Lake Son-kul, and effect a junction 
north-westwards with the Alexander chain. 

Thus is completed the vast system of the Tian-shan, 
which is about 1500 nules long east and west, with an 
ayerage width of nearly 250 miles, and a total area of 
400,000 square miles, or rather more than that of all 
the European highland systems taken together. 

The long-suspected presence of still active volcanoes 
in the Tian-shan, and especially towards the Eulja frontier, 
has at last been settled in a n^ative sense. General 
£olpakovsky. Governor of Semirechinsk, in the autumn 
of 1881 explored Mount Bia-shan, twelve miles north-east 
of the city of Kulja, in the AUak highlands, and discovered 
that the fires which have been burning there from time 
immemorial are not volcanic, but proceed from ignited 
coal-beds. The caves in the side of the mountain emit 
smoke and sulphurous gasea 

From the Mugojar ridge, running from the Urals to 
the head of the River Emba, the low hills which form the 
water-parting between the Ob and Aralo-Caspian basins 
may be traced across the Kirghiz steppes about the 48 th 
parallel eastwards to Lake Balkhash. The Mugojar is 
nowhere more than 600 feet high, while the water-parting 
fSalls at one or two points to 220 feet But this water- 
parting is continued eastwards along the north side of 
Lake Balkhash by the Denghiz-tau, or ''Sea Range," 
which near Sergiopol merges in the Tarbagatai highlands. 
From this point the Tarbagatai — ^that is, " Marmot Moim- 

Uttle-known section of the Ala-tan north-east of the Sir valley, about the 
sources of the Talas and Arys, has been quite recently ezploi-ed by CoL 
Ivanofll He describes it in the Isveatia of the Russian Geographical 
Society (xrii. 3). 


tains" — stretch in two main sections under the 4Vth 
parallel between Lakes Zaisan and Ala-knl eastwards to 
the Upper Irtish valley. Above the left bank of this 
river rise the snowy Tas-tau (9850 feet), and Miu-taa 
or Sanru (11,320 feet), culminating point of the whok 
system. West of the Muz-tau the range is croesed by tha 
Slhabar-assu Pass, which, notwithstanding its great hei^t 
(7628 feet), has always been more finequented than any 
other, especially by traders between Siberia and the Bi 
basin. The Tarbagatai has a mean altitude of 6000 feet, 
but few of its crests rise above the 8now-line» which hm 
falls to about 9000 feet 

The Turkestan lowlands, which stretch from the 
Caspian and Ural Biver to the foot of the Central Asui& 
highlands, possess no bold natural limits towards the 
north, where they meige imperceptibly with the West 
Siberian steppe. Southwards they are limited by the 
western continuation of the Hindu-Kush as &r as the 
Hari-rdd valley, and beyond- that point by the Uaith 
Khorasan highlands as far as the Caspian. By £Bff the 
greater part of this region is occupied by the Aralo-Ca&- 
pian depression, which is the most extensive on the globe; 
for it properly includes the plains of south-east Europe, 
which drain through the Volga to the common basin of 
the Caspian. In this great inland sea the depression 
reaches its lowest level of 85 feet below the Medite^ 
ranean. Eastwfirds the Caspian is separated by the 
extensive Ust Urt plateau from the Aral Sea» which is 
the next largest reservoir in Asia. 

The Chink, or eastern edge of the Ust Urt plateau, 
is 500 feet above sea-level along the west coast of the 
Aral Sea, but falls to 210 farther south towards the Sarr 
Kamish lakes. This is probably little more thaa the 
mean elevation of the Turkestin lowlands, which are now 
known to have at one time formed part of a vast inland 

-' * t 

/ \ 



If If 


sea communicating through the Manich depression across 
the Ponto-Gaspian isthmus with the Euxine, and through 
the Ob basin with the Arctic Ocean. This ioland sea 
js supposed to have escaped through the burstmg of the 
Bosphorus, an occurrence which some writers have con- 
nected with the l^endary deluge of Deucalion about 
1530 B.0, But however this be, were the Bosphorus 
again to be closed to a height of 220 feet, the former 
condition of things would again be gradually brought 
about The Euxine, Caspian, Aral, if not also the Bal- 
khash, would form a continuous sheet of water, draming 
through the Aralo-Caspian and Ob water-pardng (220 
feet at its lowest poiat) to the Arctic Ocean. 

North of the Aral Sea the plains and steppes form a 
yast lacustrine region, dotted over with lakes or tarns 
with no outflow, and fed by intermittent steppe rivers. 
Some of these, such as the Chui and Sari-su, formerly 
reached the Aral Sea through the Jaxartes, while others 
found their way either directly or through the Emba to 
the Caspian. Lakes Balkhash and Kara-ktd, fed by the 
Hi and Talas respectively, must have also communicated 
through the Chui with the Aral Sea, which, it will be 
seen farther on, itself drained through the Uzboi, an old 
bed of the Oxus, to the Caspian. Balkhash, again, is 
known to have formerly stretched much farther east 
than at present, forming a continual sheet of water 
with the Sassik-kul and the . numerous oUier lakes 
strewn over the so-caUed ''Zungarian Strait," which is 
supposed to have connected the Turkestan and Mongolian 
mediterraneans through the depression between the Ala- 
tau and Tarbagatai ranges. At the time when these 
inland seas were thus connected, their elevation must 
have been far more than 500 feet, for the present level 
of Balkhash is 514 feet Consequently the inland waters 
may have at that time communicated over the Bosphorus 



barrier with the AtLantic, as well as over the present 
Aralo- Caspian and Ob water-parting with the Arctic. 
When, through the process of desiccation continiiallj 
going on in Asia, the mediterraneans were reduced to 
about 220 feet, the northern and southern outflows wae 
probably arrested, and then the pressure of sach & 
prodigious body of water would help to account for tbe 
bursting of the Bosphorus and gradual draming of tk 
Han Hai, or " Western Sea," as the Asiatic Meditenanen 
is called in the Chinese Chronicles. 

The Turkestdn lowlands proper are known by various 
names, such as the Kara Kum or '' Black Sands,** nortii 
of the Aral Sea; the Kiril Kum or " Bed Sands," betweei 
the Oxus and Jaxartes ; the Ak Kum or '' White Sands,' 
between the Alexander range and the Chui Biver; and tk 
Khwarezm or Turkoman desert, between the Oxus aod 
Caspian. But all alike present the same monot(moi& 
and desolate aspect, in which a dull brown is the prevail- 
ing colour. " The gloom of the West Turkestan stepper 
which first impresses one so forcibly in the Kaiafooi 
deserts north of Aral, seems surpassed by the sadness d 
Kizil-kum near the south-east comer of the lake." ^ 

3. Hydrography : The Rivers Oxus, Zarafshan, Murgh-A, 
and Sir-darya — The Aral Sea — Lakes BalkhsA 
and Issik'kuL 

All the streams of the Aralo-Caspian basin have thar 
natural outlet in the Caspian Sea, the lowest peit d tk 
Turkestdn depression. But none of them now reach that 
outlet except the Biver Emba flowing from the Mugqp 
hills south-westwards to the north coast, which it read«s 
after a course of 250 miles through the Kirghiz steppt 
All the rest either run dry in the sands like the TajanJ 

^ Major Herbert Wood's Shores qf Lake Aral, p. 837. 

THE oxua 403 

and Mnigh-ab from the Iranian plateau, the Zeurafbhan, 
Chniy and Talas, from the Tian-shan highlands, the Sari 
£rom the Ob water-parting, or else, like the Oxns and 
Jazartes, are at present absorbed in Lake Aral But as 
Aral stands about 160 feet above the Mediterranean, 
consequently 245 above the Caspian, its proper outflow 
shoxdd also be to the Caspian, with which, in fact, it 
formerly communicated Hence the Oxus and Jaxartes 
must be regarded as rivers also arrested on their course 
to their natural outlet in the Caspian. 

The Oxus — ^the Jihun of the Arabs and Amu-darya 
of the Persians — ia the Vak-shu of Hindu writers, a term 
itself most probably derived from the Ak-su, or " White 
Water," of the indigenous Kara - Kirghiz nomads. It 
collects all the drainage of the Great Pamir through two 
main head-streams, the Panja, or southern, rising in 
Lake Victoria (13,900 feet), discovered in 1838 by 
Wood, the Ak-su (Murgh-ab), or northern, flowing appa- 
rently from the still smaller lake Barkal Tasin (13,100 
feet), and receiving the outflow of Lake Kara-kul above 
the junction. The united stream flows first westwards 
towards Balkh, before reaching which place it gradually 
trends round to the north-west, and retains this direction 
for the rest of its course to the south coast of the Aral 
Sea. During its upper course it receives the Surkh-ab 
from the Trans- Alai and Karateghia Mountains, besides 
numerous other feeders on both its banks from the Hindu- 
Kush and Bokhara highlands, but none lower down for a 
distance of 700 nules, or about half of its entire length. 
At Kilif its bed is narrowed to 350 yards by the 
advanced spurs of the Hissar hills, but in the plains 
it broadens to a mean breadth of 800 yards with a depth 
of 20 feet and a velocity of over 5 miles during the 
floods which last from May to October. At Pitnyak, 
about the head of the £[hivan irrigation works, the dis- 


charge is about 125,000 cubic feet per second, wbidb 
nearly equal to that of the Nile. But fully half of this 
volume is absorbed in supplying the irrigation canals of 
the Khivan Oasis, by which over 4000 square miles of 
marvellously fertile alluvial land are kept under cultiTi- 
tion. The sedimentary matter yearly brought dovn 
exceeds 16,000,000 tons, some of which maintains th 
productiveness of the soil, while much of it forms ahiftiog 
banks and bars in the Taldik and Yani-su, the two msin 
channels through which the Oxus enters the Aral Sea. 

These channels present the usual outlines of a ddta. 
But the triangular space thus formed is not a tnie ddii» 
as it consists, not of alluvial deposits^ but of much older 
formations, through which the river has eut its^nyto 
the AraL Separate little deltas, however, have \m 
developed at the Taldik and Yani-su mouths, wfaoe 
vessels drawing over four feet are already excluded by th 
accumulating deposits. Nevertheless the Oxus has been 
regularly navigated by small craft since 1875, whenlih 
Petrovsky steamer, drawing about three feet six inches 
forced its way up the Yani-su and so-called Eu¥U* 
Jerma, or " New Cut," to Nukus, at the head of the 
false delta. 

The tendency of the Oxus, like that of the gi«i 
Siberian rivers, is to press continually on its right or &i 
bank. The consequence of this tendency, which is cbe 
to the rotation of the earth round its axis fix)m west to 
east, is that the stream has been gradually deflected fras 
the Kungrad channel, navigable in the seventeenth centnif, 
but now dried up, eastwards to the Taldik channel, now 
slowly disappearing, and thence to the Yani-su, or "New 
Eiver," which thus at present receives the main dischaig* 
into the Aral. But in former times a far greater defle^ 
tion took place. For it is now ascertained beyond donW 
that no less than twice during the historic period the 


Oxus has oscillated between the Caspian and Aral Seas. 
In the time of Stiabo it was a sort of eastern continuation 
of the Kura water-highway, affording a continuous trade 
route from Georgia across the Caspian and the Khwarezm 
desert, under the 39th parallel, to Charjui, and so on to 
Baktra (Balkh) under the Hindu-KusL Its course across 
the desert in this direction seems to be still indicated by 
the Igdy and other wells dotted over the plains in a line 
with its former bed, which reached the Caspian not 
through the Atrak, as was at one time supposed, but 
most probably directly through the depression between 
the Great and Little Balkan hills. 

liiter on Edrisi and other early Arab and Tiirki 
writers find the Oxus flowing, as at present, to the Aral 
But in the fourteenth century it had been agom diverted to 
the Caspian ; this time, however, through a fresh bed, 
known as the UzboL This bed is supposed to have run 
from near Nukus westwards to the Sari-Kamish steppe 
lakes,^ and thence southwards to the Igdy wells, and so on 
along the original bed between the Balkans to the Caspian, 
close to Mikhailovsk, the seaward terminus of the Trans- 
Caspian railway, opened for traffic by the Bussians in 

The hopes till recently entertained by the Bussians 
of restoring the Oxus to the Uzboi channel have now 
been abandoned for the apparently more feasible project 
of connecting the Aral and Caspian through the bed of 
the steppe river Chagan, round the northern edge of the 
Ust Urt plateau. The Chagan is only 65 miles from 
the Aral, and probably at a somewhat lower level, while 
it seems to have formerly reached the Caspian at the bay 
of Chuch^^bas, through the deep Arys valley. The Aral 

1 Gn^droich, howeyer, who carefully surveyed the Ozus delta and the 
Sari-Kamish lakes in 1880, found no indications that the Oxus ever flowed 
through the Sari-Ratnish hasin. 


being 243 feet above the Caspian^ if its wateis can be 
brought to the Ghagan, the connection will be establishei 

On the other hand, all these ambitions engineeiing 
projects are confronted with the fact that Tnrkestan, Uke 
most of Central Asia, comes within the area of desiocatiofl 
that has been in progress since the remotest tdmea. Ik 
Zarafshan and Murgh-ab, the two great former tribataiies 
of the Middle Oxus on its right and left banks, aro m»ir 
both absorbed partly in the sands, partly in 
rills before reaching it The Zarafshan, or " Gold 
tributor," rises in the Alai range, at the foot of a stu] 
dous glacier (9000 feet), which is still 30 miles long, \fA^ 
which MushketofiT recently traced for 33 miles below 
its present limits. In this magnificent ice -world U» 
Zarafishan is fed by no less than thirteen secondary gladias, 
beyond which it receives the outflow of the romanlac Lakt^ 
Iskander, at an elevation of 7000 feet above the 
Thence it flows westwards down to the Bokhara 
being first tapped by the Russians at Samarl 
then diverted into a thousand irrigating canals 
Bokhariots. Thus 60 miles before reaching the 
the " Gold Distributor " is completely used up in 
nearly 2,250,000 acres under cultivation. 

The Murgh-ab (or "water-fowl river") also, 
flows from the Garjistan Mountains in North 
istan, runs diy in the sands, after supplying the num( 
irrigating riUs of the Merv Oasis. A similar &te ove^ 
takes the Tajand, as already described at p. 195. 

The Jaxartes — Sihun of the Arabs, Sir-daiya (or 
" head-river ") of the Persians, twin sister rf the Oxua — 
has its source in the veiy heart of the Tian-shan. 'Ba 
the Narin, as its upper course is called, has its chief hi 
stream at the foot of the Petrov glacier in the Ak-shi 
hills, whence it flows at first westwards through the foj 
Khanate of Khokand, and present Bussian province of 


l^iana. Beyond Khojend it turns abruptly south-westwards, 
ftencefortb Tanniiig parallel with the Oxus to the north- 
«st end of Lake Atal, which it reaches after a course of 
limit 2000 miles. Through the unexplored Kapch^&i 
defile the ITarin &Il8 nearly 3300 feet in a space of 46 
miles, and peases through two other romantic gorges before 
Teaching the Fe^h&na plains, where it becomes the Sir 

below Namangan. Here much of its waters is absorbed 
in irrigating some of the most fertile tracts in Turl^estdn ; 
bat enongh remains to send down a mean discharge of 
iboQt 90,000 cubic feet per second to the Aral 

Like the Oxus, the Sir has frequently shifted its 
lower course. But it can never have reached the Caspian 
iirectly, as has been aeserted, but only through the Oxus, 
jpith which it formerly commanicated throogh the Tani- 



daiya. This channel branches off from the main stream 
7 miles below PerofiEskj, but although occasionally flushed 
during the floods, it now never gets beyond Lak 
Kukchardenghiz, 180 miles from the Sir, and 60 from 
the Orus delta. Below Pero&ky the main stream entes 
the Aral through one large branch and sev^ sBoall 
channels, forming a shifting marshy delta, haonted by an 
astonishing number of wolves, wild boars, deer. 

With a bar covered sometimes by scarcely three to 
of water, the Sir cannot be regarded as a navigable liTer, 
although the light craft of the Bussian flotilla have oos- 
trived .to reach PerofEsky, and return to the Aral witli- 
out getting embedded in the shifting sandbanks. 

The Aral — that is, ''The Inland Lake — " has a present 
area of perhaps 26,000 square miles. But it was foimeiij 
far more extensive, the water-marks on the Chink and 
many other indications showing that its level Wts at least 
200 feet higher than at present. Yet it still stands 243 
feet above the Caspian, and consequently 168 above ths 
Mediterranean. It can scarcely be shown that in histodc 
times the Aral has ever been deprived of both of ita great 
influents, on which its existence entirely depends. It fi 
abimdantly evident that but for them the lake wooU 
disappear in a few years. Even as it is, a slow prooesi 
of desiccation is steadily going on, by which its size bas 
in a short time been reduced by 1400 square miles.^ 

Under the Chink the Aral is about 225 feet deep; 
but it ^shoals continually eastwards, until it heoasm 
merely a flooded swamp along its east and soath-east 
coasts. Hence the mean can scarcely be more than 40 
feet, which would give a volume only eleven times greater 
than Lake Geneva, while exceeding that basin 116 times 
in area. 

^ It ifl remarkable that neither the Greeks nor Marco Polo make nj 
mention of the Aral 


Although the Turkestan depression was at one time 
covered hy a vast marine basin, the Aral Sea cannot be 
regarded, like the Caspian, as a relic of that period In 
its brackish waters, no doubt, both a fresh and salt water 
buna exist ; but the former greatly predominates, while 
the latter is also common to the Caspian. Seals have 
been spoken of by Pallas and others, which might point 
to an independent connection with the Arctic Ocean, at 
least if of a different species from those of the Caspian. 
But later observers have made it evident that none of 
these cetacea are found in the Aral basin, which must 
on the whole be regarded as a sort of intermittent steppe 
reservoir, oscillating between the conditions of a lake and 
a mere morass, according to the vagaries of its great 
feeders, the Oxus and Sir. 

A similar statement might almost apply to Lake 
Balkhash, if regard be exclusively paid to the fact that 
this basin also has in recent times diminished enormously 
in size. But other considerations show that it could at 
BO time have been exhausted, so that it may be regarded 
as a true renmant of the old marine basin. 

Even within the historic period this lake, which is 
at present 614 feet above the sea, spread out westwards 
to three or four times its actual area, while stretching 
nearly 250 miles towards the east, where it absorbed the 
now isolated Sassik, Jalanash, and Ala Lakes, south of the 
Tarbagatai range. Even still its area, which is some- 
what fluctuating along its low-l]dng south coast, cannot 
be less than 8500 square miles, with a total l^igth of 
330 miles and a circumference of 880 miles. But the 
depth nowhere exceeds 56 feet, so that it has only twice 
Uie volume of Lake Geneva, which it surpasses in extent 
thirty-six time& Its waters, which are very brackish, 
ibound in fish, although generally frozen over from 
December to April. Besides the lU, it receives several 



affluents on its south coast, which is over 450 miles long. 
Such a quantity of alluvia is brought do¥m by tiiese 
streams from the Zungarian Ala-tau that the lake seons 
to be slowly filling in. 

Of the upland lakes by fax the largest is Issik-kuL 
which lies at an elevation of 5300 feet in the heart of 
the Tian-shan between the Ala-tau Kungei and tiie Ala- 
tau Terskei. But notwithstanding its great altitude this 
lake belongs still to the Aralo-Caspian basin ; for it dnioE 
intermittently through the Kutemaldi to the Ghui, whid 
formerly reached the Sir at some point below Peroffikr. 
Like the steppe lakes, the Issik-kul has greatly diminished 
in size, as is evident from the water-marks fully 200 feet 
above its present leveL Yet it has still an area of about 
2300 square miles. Its blue and somewhat biackiA 
waters abound in fish, and are overlooked from the ess 
by the Khan-tangri, the giant of the Tian-shaa 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : Uralsk — Ifc 
Ddman-i-kdh — Khiva — Bokhara — Ferghana — Tk 
Kirghiz Steppes — Semirechinsk, 

As already remarked, the Bussian administrative 
divisions are not based upon ethnical and physical ood- 
siderations. Thus the region beyond the Caspian, whidi 
now includes nearly all the Turkoman country except the 
Merv oasis, is attached, under the name of the Iniis- 
Caspian Territory, to the Government of Caucasia. Faither 
north the province of Uralsk, east of the Ural Birer, 
includes portions of the districts of Uralsk, Gurief, and 
Kalmikov, west of that river, while the Nikolayevsk dis- 
trict of the adjoining province of Turgai lies within the 
limits of the Ob basin. On the other hand, the Sari-Snisk 
district of the Akmolinsk Province, West Siberia, encroacheB 
across the Ob water-parting on North Turkestan. 


The eastern section of Torkest&n between the Aral 
Sea and the Chinese frontier is divided politically between 
Sussian territory and the still nominally independent 
Khanates of Bokhara and Khiva. The Bnssian portion, 
collectively called '* Eastern Turkestdn " in official docu- 
ments^ comprises several natural divisions, which to some 
extent coincide with the administrative provinces and 
eirdea Thus the province of Semireclunsk, or "Land 
of the Seven Streams/' lies mainly between the Zungarian 
and Trans-Hi Ala-tan, and Lake Balkhash ; the province 
of Ferghana, the former Khanate of Khokand, comprises 
the npland valley of the Karin (Sir) ; while the circles of 
Zarafishan and Amu Dana embrace the tracts watered by 
those rivers mainly between Bokhara and Khiva. 

Uralsk includes all the land between the Ural and 
the Obshchy Syrt, and between the Caspian and Aral 
north of the Ust Urt plateau. Here the West Siberian 
grassy steppes are continued southwards to within 100 
miles of the Caspian, the intervening space being occupied 
by saUne wastes. These are succeeded by argillaceous 
desert tracts, which extend eastwards between the grassy 
steppe and the north coast of the Aral Sea to the Kara- 
knm sands. The same aigillaceous formation prevails 
throughout the Ust Urt plateau, and along the east coast 
of the Caspian southwards to the old bed of the Oxus. 

But the Daman-i-k6h,^ or northern skirt of the 
Ehorasan range, is firinged by an almost continuous strip 
of fertile tracts or rich pasture lands stretching between 
the hiUs and the desert from the Little Balkans to the 
Tajand valley. Here is the domain of the Akhal Tekke 
Turkomans, who were reduced in 1881 by the Bussians. 

^ Diflian-i-kdh is sometimes used by English writers in the sense of 
i moimtain range. But it simply means the skirt of any mountain range, 
and is especially applicable to snch ranges as slope somewhat rapidly down 
to the plains. 

412 coMPENDnm of gbographt akd trayel 

This district, which is dominated by the Keiawul (5000 
feet), the Kiih-GiflEan (7770), the Kiih-Bughun (8000), 
and other lofty crests of the Kuien and Kopet ranges, 
now forms by far the most important division of the 
Eussian Trans*Caspian territory. It is already traveised 
by a line of railway running from Mikhailovsk (m the 
Caspian to Kizil-Arvat, with a tramway thence to Band, 
the present capital of this district Abundant fad far 
the locomotives on this line is supplied by the rick 
naphtha weUs on the coast of the Caspian and tlie 
islands close to the Mikhailovsk terminua A hone 
tramway now also runs from the Bala-Ishem station for 
40 mUes to the centre of the oil-producing districts. 

Khiva itself properly belongs to the same sand; 
formation, and is only rendered fertile by the allnvii 
of the Ozus combined with a fine system of inigi- 
tion developed on an extensive scale. Hence tlie 
difficulty of assigning any definite lunits to the kfasnats, 
which is almost everywhere encircled by deseit a&d 
steppe lands, except on the north and east^ where it is 
bounded by the Aral Sea and Oxus. Even here ^ 
Lower Oxus flows for some distance through wastes cf 
shifting sands, saline marshes, or morasses oveigro^ 
with sedge and reeds. 

In the centre of this inhospitable r^on lies tb 
Oasis of Khiva, which lies mainly between the towns d 
Pitnyak and Kungrad near the now dried -up bay d 
Aibughir at the south-west end of the Aral Sea. Bot 
the settled population is mainly grouped along the left 
bank of the Oxus as far north as Khojeili over against 
the advanced Bussian fort of Nukus at the head of tlie 
false delta. Here there is a rapid flow, by which the 
intricate system of irrigation works is greatly fitcilitated 
From Pitnyak the land is seen to be covered by a com- 
plete network of canals fed entirely by the Oxu& To 



gaaid against the danger of excessive floods the Khivans 
have oonstracted a dam or level all along the left bank of 
the river, and through the pipes laid across this dam the 
flow of water to the irrigating rills is r^ulated Works 
have also been erected to raise the water to the higher 
grounds ; yet notwithstanding the skill and labour spent 
on these works, they have felled to render productive 
mnch more than one-third of the whole deltaic region, 
which has a total area of some 5500 square miles. 

The Oxus is also the main stream of the southern 
Ehanate of Bokhara, which, like Khiva, is still suffered to 
eojoy a certain show of political independence. It has, 
however, been deprived of the eastern and more important 
section of the country, which now foims the Bussian circle 
of the Zarafihan, and includes the city of Samarkand 

Northwards, also, the two khanates are separated by 
the intervening Bussian territory, which here reaches the 
Oxus across the Batkak and Khalata sands. Between the 
Bussian station of Petro-Alexandrovsk on the Oxus, and 
Ak-kamysh farther up, the country, though thinly peopled, 
is well cultivated. But from that point the road crosses a 
sandy steppe at a considerable elevation above the river, 
but here and there falling to the level of the stream, 
where it forms little projecting oases covered with " Jidda " 
and other steppe plants called '' tugai " by the natives. 

Farther south the land is being continually en- 
croached upon by the shifting sands of the steppe. From 
the fortress of Ustin to Kara-kul there stretches a sandy 
waste for a distance of 15 miles, which is dotted over 
with the ruins of abandoned buildings and other silent 
witnesses of better days.^ Even within the last thirty 
years several flourislung towns in this region have been 

^ The vast field of ruins stretching from Shahri Gnlgula through 
Shahii Saman to Tennes on the Oxus was for the first time explored by 
M. Bonvalet during the summer of 1881. 


swallowed up in the sands, drifting like ceaseless billows 
from the north. Year after year the sand-stonns en- 
croach upon the last cultivated plots, and the EaEa-kol 
district between Bokhara and the Oxus already presentB a 
hopelessly desolate aspect Besides the diminution of 
moisture, the more immediate cause of this widespread 
ruin is the increasing absoiption of the Zara&han waters 
for irrigation purposes in the Samarkand district 

Between Bokhara and Samarkand the land is in some 
places admirably cultivated. The circle of KermiQ in the 
Miankal valley even surpasses the district of Bokhara, 
and the country becomes more flourishing as we approad 
the Zarafshan district Along the broad valley of 6m 
river there stretches an almost uninterrupted chain of 
townships between the capital and Katti-kurgan. Butdis 
flourishing tract is hemmed in by the Kizil-kum sandB 
advancing southwards to the Zara&han, and scarodj 
arrested by the isolated ridges of argillaceous schists asd 
igneous rocks here rising to a height of about 1000 feet 
Yambery describes this region as a boundless sandy ooeas. 

The Narin, or Upper Sir, separated from the Zaiafihan 
valley by the Alai ranges, flows through the heait of \i» 
Khanate of Khokand, now the Bussian province of F6^ 
ghana. This upland region is entirely enclosed on tinee 
sides by the lofty mountain barriers of the Westem Haa- 
shan, and open only towards the west^ wheie the Sr 
escapes down to the Turkestan lowlands. Here the 
western spurs of the Tian-shan fall in a series of terraoefi 
to the plains, and send down numerous moimtain tonents, 
which, however, are mostly absorbed in irrigation worb 
before reaching the Sir. To this abundant supply of 
water Ferghana is indebted for an exuberant fertility 
nowhere surpassed in Central Asia. But lower down 
nearly all trace of vegetation disappears, and the vast 
region stretching from Ferghana to Lake Aral, between 


the Sir and Oxus, is mostly occupied hj the Kizil-kmn 
sands. Nevertheless there are still several fertile tracts 
in the strip of land stretching &om the right bank of the 
Sir to the Ak-sai and Kara-tau, the last spurs of the Tian- 
fihan projecting nortl^-westwards between the Kizil-kum 
and Ak-kum deserts. Here are even several considerable 
towns, including Tashkent, the present centre of Bussian 
authority in Turkestdn. 

The T^on about the Lower Sir everywhere presents 
the appearance of a land that had once been under water. 
The saline and clayey soil towards the Aral Sea has been 
rendered arable by the skilful irrigation works of its 
fgrmer and present rulers. But under the cloudless 
STunmer skies the land beyond the reach of the irrigating 
ehannels has the aspect of a wilderness strewn with salt^ 
and producing nothing beyond a few prickly plants. The 
reedy morasses about the delta are infested by dense 
donds of mosquitoes, the plague of the Bussian sailors 
navigating these waters. 

North of the Aral and Caspian the sands merge 
everywhere in the grassy Kirghiz steppes, which, with a 
mean elevation of about 300 feet, consist mainly of vast 
roUing or gently sloping tracts. The steppe is, however, 
occasionally intersected by broad and deep furrows. But 
scarcely a tree or shrub is anywhere visible, the whole 
r^on presenting the aspect of a boundless sea, whose 
rolling billows have suddenly become solidified. The 
only relief to this monotonous picture are the Mugojar 
hills, a continuation of the Ural range, nowhere exceeding 
1000 feet in height The hiUy portion of the steppe 
consists everywhere of feldspar and porphyry, with which 
are often associated lead, copper, silver, and occasionally 
even gold. Between Aral and Lake Balkhash, the steppe 
is in many places strevm with lakes and tarns, often 
^^''"^g together like pearls on a string, but everywhere 


showing the same tendency as the Aral and Salkhadi 
themselves to disappear. All have long been dioni 
basins, nor do the Sari, Chui, or any other of the stseppe 
rivers, now ever reach either the Aral or the Sir. 

Beyond the water-parting of the Chni and Hi begpms 
the Semirechinski-Krai, or ** Land of the Seven Streams/* 
consisting of the steppe which here stretches at a meao 
elevation of about 1000 feet between Balkhash and the 
Zungaiian Ala-tau north and south, and b^ween the 
Lower Hi and Lepsa rivers west and east Althou^ 
thus partly severed from the Central Asiatic hi^ilandi; 
this region is connected with them through the deepvaOef 
of the Hi leading to Kulja, recently restored hy the 
Russians to China. 

The seven streams whence the land derives its name 
are the Lepsa with the Baskan, the Ak-su with the SB^ 
kan, the Biyen and the Karatal with the Kok-so. Ti» 
Lepsa, Hi, and Karatal alone reach Balkhash throoghoat 
the year, all the others either losing themselves in tb 
sands, or dischaiging their waters into the hke odI; 
during the flooda They all rise in the snowy Ala-tn, 
and flow through fertile upland valleys before readiiif 
the open plains. These plains are dotted over ^ 
brackish lagoons, and their v^etation resembles that d 
the Aralo-Caspian depression, while the cultivated lad 
well -watered upland tracts recall the lowlands of We^ 
Siberia and the East of Europe. 

6. CflimcUe : The " Fever WindT 

Notwithstanding the extraordinary difference in t]» 
relief of the. land, the climate of the Aralo-Caspian basin is 
everywhere characterised by a remarkable uniformity. It 
is distinctly continental in its main features, intense heat 
being followed by equally intense cold, while great diyness 


prevails over the whole area. This general uniformity is 
largely due to the low elevation of the Aralo-Gaspian and 
Ob water-parting, which oflfers no obstacle to the fuU play 
of the northern winds from the Arctic Ocean across the 
Turkestan depression. Thus the difference in elevation 
between this depression and the Tian-shan and Pamir 
uplands is to a great extent neutralised in winter, when 
the glass falls to 30® or 40** below freezing point in the 
Kizil-kum sands 300 feet, as well as on the Pamir 
plateau 14,000 feet, above the sea. The chief difference 
between the uplands and lowlands is the excessive rarefac- 
tion of the atmosphere on the great tablelands, due to their 
enormous elevation above sea-leveL A greater quantity 
of moisture also falls on the highlands, the rain-bearing 
clouds from the south-west being first arrested by the 
Pamir and Tian-shan uplands. But even here the rainfall 
is much slighter than in the European highlands ; while 
at times whole years pass without any rain falling on the 
£ara-kum and Kizil-kum sands. Such are altogether 
the climatic conditions that most of the Aralo-Gaspian 
basin would be uninhabitable but for the moisture de- 
posited mostly in the form of snow on the elevated lands. 
From this reserve the great rivers are fed, which in their 
turn supply the irrigation works on which the Bokhara, 
Khiva, Merv, and other oases, are dependent 

Along the Lower Oxus, which is usually frozen for 
four or five weeks only, summer begins in April and lasts 
occasionally into November. The long hot and dry season 
is rendered stiU more oppressive by the dust-storms pre-* 
valent throughout the lowlands. But more dreaded still 
is the "tebbad," or " fever- wind," to which the Kizil- 
kum and other desert tracts are exposed At its approach 
the camels of the caravan utter loud moaning sounds, and 
cowering to the ground stretch their long necks flat on the 
parched land, or seek to bury their heads in the hot sands. 

2 E 


Behind them crouch the terrified guides and traveUen, 
while over them the pestiferous blast sweeps with a dnil 
soughing. The whole caravan is soon covered with a 
layer of hot sand, which faUs like a shower of fiery spado. 

6. Flora and Fauna : The Saxavl — Mosguitofi and 
Locusts — J%« Turkoman Ivorse, 

Vegetation is represented in the wilderness chiefly If 
the saxaul, the Jidda or wild olive, the poplar, and othff 
hardy or prickly plants, whidi have invaded this dssnm 
from all quarters since the subsidence of the water& k 
a rule, the flora of the Iranian tableland advancing noitk- 
wards has prevailed over that of Siberia, and '^ it is ii- 
teresting to observe how all those plants gradually ada^t 
themselves to the changed conditions of soil and diiBite 
in the steppe. To resist the wind they acquire a men 
pliant stem, or present a smaller surface to its foiyly 
dropping their foliage. To diminish the evaporation fiMJt I 
bark becomes a veritable carapace^ and their pith beoonsj 
mingled with saline substances. They clothe the 
with hairs and thorns, distilling gums and oils, whc 
the evaporation is still further reduced. Thus aie A 
to flourish far from running waters such plants as 
saksaul, which, though perfectly leafless, produces 
flowers and fruits. So close is its grain that it sinb 
water, and emits sparks when struck with the axa'^ 

In the oases the cultivated plants, both cereals 
fruits, are noted especially for their great abundance 
excellent quality. In Khiva wheat will yield sixty, 
seventy, and the jugara as much as three hunc 
This latter grain takes the place of oats, and its 
that of hay for horses and cattle. Barley, lentils, 

1 E. Redus, yi p. 196. 


pease are also cultivated, besides cotton, hemp, kimshut 
(an oil-yieldiiig firuit), madder, flax, and tobacco. The lack 
of grazing grounds is here obviated by the lucerne clover, 
which is mown three times and yields excellent fodder. 
But the special glory of this oaEos are its fruits, which 
are remarkable for their fine flavour. Here flourish choice 
apples, pears, plums, apricots, peaches, the grape, the 
pomegranate, and, above all, the meloa Of trees, the 
poplar, naruan, and elm are grown for their timber, and 
the mulberry for the silkworm. 

The mulberry, flax, and maize form the staple pro- 
duce of Ferghana, which also grows fine crops of wheats 
rice, sorghum, maize, cotton, and tobacco. In Semi- 
rechinsk fertile and well -watered upland valleys are 
succeeded by grassy steppes stretching away to the low- 
lying swampy shores of Balkhash. Higher up a splendid 
wooded zone clothes the slopes of the Zungarian Ala-tau, 
between 4500 and 8500 feet In the forests of the 
Central Tian-shan the prevailing trees are the mountain 
ash and the spruce {Picea Schre7ikiana), which are now 
supplanting the apple and apricot. The spruce " attains 
a height of 70 to 80 feet, with a thickness of stem 2, 3, 
and often 4 feet in diameter. It grows very much in 
the sugar-loaf shape, its thick branches hardly projecting 
from the general mass, so that the whole tree has the 
appearance of having been cropped by a barber" 
(Morgan's Pryevalsh/s Ldb-nor, p. 40). The spruce 
grows as far as 8000 feet and upwards above sea- 
leveL These varied advantages, combined with a healthy 
climate, have attracted numerous Bussian settlers to 
Semirechinsk, which has become a chief centre of Slav 
culture in Central Asia. The elevated lands with their 
abundance of water and timber supply the necessary 
essentials for the development of social culture. The low, 
fiat steppes, with their arid wastes, here, as elsewhere, arrest 



the progress of civilisation. These waterless and treeless 
tracts admit of nothing but a nomad existence. 

In the Turkestan lowlands a characteristic featoe of 
animal life are the scorpions^ lizards, snakes, and other 
reptiles, vnth which all the fissures in the ground are 
alive. But the special plague of these r^ons an 
the mosquitoes and locust. ''Mosquitoes are seiio&s 
evils in many other parts of the world, and stories hst 
been told of seamen driven to jump overboard, and 
so to commit suicide on this account, in the fiangDQc 
River. But it may be doubted whether any msR 
exquisite torture can be suffered than that inflicted k 
the mosquitoes of the Lower Amu " {Major H. Wooi}. 
The same traveller, speaking of the prodigious quantities d\ 
locusts which swept over the Khivan Oasis in July 1874,j 
remarks that *^ one of such clouds was estimated to mc 
15 miles in length by 2 miles in breadth, and to hare 
depth of half a mile. ... It might be inferred that 
Khivan Oasis must be exposed to great danger from 
plague ; but in practice the large number of small bu 
in tJie planted groves of the khanate seem to afford a 
ficient safeguard against their ravages." 

Large beasts of prey, such as the wild boar, 
ounce, wolf, haunt the thickets of the swampy Oxus 
Aral deltas. But the open desert is frequented only 
swift gregarious animals, like the wild ass and gazelle 

The camel, horse, sheep, and cattle, are eveiywl 
the prevailing domestic animals. In Russian Turl 
camels are not so numerous as might be supposed, 
amounting to 400,000, as compared with over 1,600,0( 
horses, 1,160,000 cattle, 1,350,000 sheep. The 
horses are a hardy, active breed, which traverse 
tances of 40 to 50 miles at a stretcL But a far 
animal is the Turkoman horse, which possesses 
of the best points of the Arab and English with 


exceUent qualities peculiar to itself. ''Well do these 
noble aniTTialfl deserve all the care that is lavished on 
them, for in courage, speed, and endurance combined, 
they stand at the head of the equine race. It is prob- 
able that the race dates back, like our own thorough- 
bred, to the Arab. But the race is now distinct ; and, 
besides being much larger, they far excel the Arabs both 
in speed and endurance. ... In appearance they more 
nearly resemble the English race-horse than any other 
type, and average about the same height''^ 

7. Inhabitants : Taile oj the Turkestdn Races, — The 
TJshegs — Kara- KalpaJcs — Kara-Kirghiz — Kirghiz- 
Kazaks — Turkomans — Tajiks — Sarts — Oalchas — 

The Aralo-Caspian basin is commonly si^pposed to be 
the exclusive home of the Tiirki race, from whom this 
region takes the name of Turkestan, or "Land of the 
Tiirk." But the statement is true only of the unarable 
but still inhabitable grassy upland and lowland steppes, 
whose first occupants seem to have been the nomad tribes 
of Turki stock, by whom they are still mainly inhabited. 
On the other hand, the arable tracts, especially in Khiva, 
Bokhara, and Ferghana, have appeu^ntly from prehistoric 
times been the joint home of men of Tdrki and Iranian 
blood. Here an incessant intermingling of the two 
races has been going on for ages, resulting in a profound 
modification of both tjrpes, now represented by every 
shade intermediate between the two extremes. A third 
element, entirely distinct from the Tiirki, and allied to 
but not identical with the Iranian, is found in almost 
exclusive possession of the productive upland valleys of 
Ferghana, the Zarafshan, and the Oxus. To these high- 

1 CUmda in the East, p. 214. 



landers Ch. de Ujfalvy has given the collective name 
of Gralcha, and these Galchas, whose trae position seens 
to be intermediate between the Iranic and Indie brancte 
of the Aryan family, are obviously allied to the Wakhis, 
Badakhshis, Siah*Posh Kafirs, Chagaids, and other higli- 
land races holding the upland valleys on both sides of 
the Hindu-Kush. 

To the primitive Galcha, Iranian, and Tdrki stods 
are therefore reducible all the varieties of manMiid fitm 
time immemorial in possession of the Aralo-Qispiia 
basin, as in the subjoined scheme : — 

I. T^&Ki Stock. 

Usbegs . 



Naiman . 
Kipchak . 
Andijani . 
Ingakli . 
r Great Horde (Ulu 
Middle Horde (ITrta 

Little Horde (Eachi 

Yuz) . 
Inner Horde (Bn- 
keyevskaya . 


Bokhara, Feighana, 1 
Khiva . . j 

S. and S.E. shores 1 
Aral Sea mainly . j 



Steppes betweenLake 
Balkhash and 
Lower Volga 

Kara- Kirghiz / Right Section 
(Barut^ . \ Left Section ( 










**0n") 1 Tian-shan and 
Sol ") j" Pamir . 







list Urt, Khwaiezm, ^ 
D&man-i-k6h, left [^ 
bank Middle Oxus J 


Ti^'iks . 

II. Iranio Stock. 
Khiya, Bokhara, Ferghana 


! 1,000,000 

THE U8BSGS. 423 

IIL Qaloha Stock. 


Of all the Tiirki peoples of Central Asia the Usbegs 
are by &r the most civilised. The great majority in the 
two khanates have long abandoned the nomad life, and 
are now the chief agricultural element in £hiya and 
Bokhara. The term itself is rather political than ethni- 
cal, being the collective name of the numerous Mongolo- 
Tatar tribes, who became the dominant people in this 
r^on after the dissolution of Jenghiz Khan's empire. 
But although the ruling race, the Usbegs are intellectu- 
ally inferior to the conquered Tajiks, with whom they 
now live in social heumony, and through alliances with 
whom they have become largely assimilated in appearance 
to the Iranian type. Many are settled in all the large 
towns, where they are partly occupied with trade, and 
famish the principal contingent to the army. Besides 
the Osmanli, the Usbegs are the only Tiirki people who 
possess a written language and a literature. Sultan 
Baber, founder of the so-called Moghul Empire in India, 
who belonged to this race, composed his well-known 
Memoirs in the Jaghatai, which is still the standard 
literary language of all the Central Asiatic Tdrki peoples, 
like Uie Tajiks, the Usbegs are all Sunnis. 

The Kara-Kalpaks — that is, " Black Caps " — formerly 
a widespread branch of the Tiirki family, now occupy a 
restricted area round the shores of Lake Aral between the 
mouths of the Oxus and the Yani-darya. They are a 
harmless, but feeble and somewhat sluggish race, evidently 
in process of extinction or absorption by their former 
oppressors, the Usbegs of Khiva. 


The Kara-Kirghiz, or "Black Kirghiz," and tht 
Kazaks, or Kii^ghiz- Kazaks, represeat respectively the 
highland and lowland nomad dements all along Hie 
northern and eastern border-lands of the Aralo-Casidto i 
basin. The Kazaks, who are by &r the most numeroos j 

of the two, have never accepted the name of Kirghii, 
which has been imposed upon them by the Russians to 
distinguish them from their own Kossaka' Hence it 
wonld be more correct to speak of a Kazak than of i 

' Th« unaccented o in BussUn being pronoanced like o, Eosok i^ 
Kuak have very much the same sound In the moath ofa Batnu. 

THE EIBGmZ. 425 

Eirghiz steppe, the Kazaks being liere the exclusive 
element, whereas the Eiira-Kirghiz dwell in the Han-shan 
highlands and Great Pamir. At the same time tiiere is 
QO substantial difference between the two peoples. 

The Xara-Eiighiz, who are the "Bnmte" of tiie 
Chinese and Ealmaks, live partly in Zungaria and 
Tnrkest^, partly in the Western Altai, in the hilly 

districts abont the source of the Sir and its tributaries, 
in the Alexander range, in the h^hlands about Issik-kul 
and southwards to the sources of the Oxus ou the Pamir. 
They speak an almost pure Tiirki direct, and their two 
great sections, 0» or " Ki^t " and Sol or " Left," are 
again subdivided into numerous tribes and septs. North 
of the Sir, their grazing grounds are limited northwards 
by the Kazaks, while stretching southwards to the Hindu- 


Kuah, Their camping-grounds in the Tian-shan m 
here and there overlapped bj the lands of the wailike 
Gralchas. The northern Kara-S[irghiz have no common 
bond of union, nor any kind of political oiganisatiaiL 
Even the lesser tribes are often split up into uidependent 
hordes still living in a state of constant feud amongst 
themselves. Thus all their energies have been wasted in 
internecine strife, or else in chronic hostilities with the 
Kazaks. Hence in spite of their personal courage they 
have at various periods been easily subdued by the 
Chinese, or by the Elhans of Elhokand. In recent yean 
all the right section and many of the left have accepted 
Bussian supremacy. Some years ago a small mmiber 
penetrated to the Sarilda pasturages on the Earatash 
Biver near Sendshu, the southernmost point ever leached 
by the Kara-Kirghiz. 

The Kazaks occupy a somewhat intermediate positaon 
between the Tiirki and Mongolian races, possessing many 
physical traits in conmion with the latter, while still 
speaking a pure Tiirki dialect Their four hordes, all 
now subject to Bussia, occupy a vast domain stretching 
from the Lower Volga to Zungaria, and from beyond the 
Aralo-Caspian and Ob water-parting southwards to the 
Aral Sea. 

The Kara-Kirghiz is of a sullen, rude, and fieroe 
temperament, but he is more straightforward and good- 
natured than the Kazak. Both are Muhammadans in 
little more than the name, without mollahs, mosques, or 
fanaticism, their whole religion being limited to a fev 
simple rites, strongly tinged with the traditions of the old 
Shamaniat cult The Earghiz cultivate more land than 
the Kazaks, but both are essentially stock-breeders, 
living mainly on the produce of their herds. Their diief 
drink is kumiss, fermented mare's milk, which is preserved 
in skins, and largely consumed throughout the spiio^ 


summer, and autumn.' Kumiss is veiy wholesome, and 
a specific against all consumptive diseases.^ 

The monotony of nomad existence was formerly 
relieved by tribal warfare, and the so-called '' barantas " 
or marauding expeditions generally directed against the 
encampments of their neighbours. The attacks were 
usually made towards dawn, when man and dog alike, 
wearied with the night-watch, were buried in sleep. 

The Kazaks have all been gradually induced to 
acknowledge the sovereignty of the Czar. The Bussian 
Government has been the more anxious to effect their 
submission, that all the caravan tracks between the 
Caspian and Altai highlands traverse their domain. 
Towards the south-east a few of the Kara-Kirghiz tribes 
Btill maintain their independence beyond Lakes Balkhash 
and Zaisan, within the Chinese frontier. But some of 
these have of late years shown a tendency to migrate 
westwards into Bussian territory. 

The Turkoman nomads have now also tendered their 
submission to the "White Czar." Even those of the 
Merv Oasis, although not actually subdued, struck with 
the irresistible power of the Bussian arms, and flattered 
by the courteous reception accorded in the spring of 1881 
to their chief, Tikma Sirdar, by the St. Petersburg 
authorities, have shown a disposition to accept the prof- 
fered protectorate of Bussia. A deputation of fifty of 
their elders was entertained by the Governor of the 
Trans-Caspian Territory at Askabad on 16th September 
1881, and returned to Merv laden with presents and 
greatly impressed by the Mendliness of the Bussians. 

Throughout the historic period the Turkomans or 

^ In "Koumiss . . . and its uses in the treatment and cure of 
pulmonary consumption" (Blackwood, 1881), Dr. G. L. Carrick fully 
establishes its claim to be regarded as a sovereign remedy for all affections 
of the chest and lungs. 


Turkmenians seem to have been a plTmdeni^ nomad lace, 
never at any time united under an organised political 
system. They are divided into " Khalks " or tribes, each 
comprising several " tayfe " or hordes, who are again 
grouped in a number of " tir " or septs. Of all the 
Ehalks the most friendly and civilised are the Goklans, 
vrho have long been settled in the Persian province of 


Astrab^d. Although recc^nisii^ no gmeral leader, ex- 
cept, perhaps, for a short time in great emergencies, the 
Turkomans do not live in a normal state of anarchy. 
Offences against their own unwritten code are even rarer 
amongst them than amongst other Muhammadan peoples. 
Everything is regulated by the all-powerful " dab " or 
" custom," religion exercising but a slight influenca 


The various tribes formerly lived in mutual hostility 
to each other, showing little fear of the Persian Govern- 
ment, but great respect for the Bussian power. To their 
individual tribes they remain true to the last, and even 
little children, five or six years old, know exactly the 
tayfe and tir to which they belong. The Turkomans are 
distinguished from other Asiatics by a bold, penetrating 
glance, developed by the dangers surrounding the '' Ala- 
mans,'' or marauding excursions, to which they have been 
addicted fix)m the remotest times. These alamans were 
preconcerted affairs, in which every precaution was taken 
against failure. The attack usually took place about 
midnight or at sunrise, and was generally successfoL 
The Persian caravans were constantly taken by surprise, 
all who showed any resistance being cut down, and the 
rest carried off into slavery. But since the predominance 
of Bussia in Turkestdn the Khivan and Bokhara slave- 
markets have been closed. This was the first blow given 
to the Turkoman power, which was almost reduced to 
national bankruptcy by the stoppage of a traffic on which 
its very existence depended. Then came the massacre of 
the Tomud Turkomans, followed in 1881 by the crush- 
ing defeat of the Akhal Tekkes at Geok tepe. 

The Tajiks are to be distinguished both from the 
Sarts and Persians. They are the original Iranian 
element settled in all the arable lands throughout Turk- 
estan &om the remotest times. It is probable that the 
diflftision of the Iranian race in this region, regarded as 
the peculiar home of the Tiirki peoples, was brought 
about by the extension of the old Persian empire through 
Margiana (Merv) and Baktriana (Balkh) to Sogdiana 
(Bokhara). The Tajiks, direct descendants of those 
early Iranian settlers, differ in many respects from the 
Persians, who have in comparatively recent times settled 
in most of the Turkestan towns and oases. Many of 


them are descendants of those carried into captivity by 
the Turkomans, and sold in the Bokhara and EMvan 
slave-markets. They are everywhere the most industn- 
ous and intelligent section of the commnnity, and are 
occupied chiefly in the cultivation of the land. 

Sart is a term which has given much trouble to 
ethnologists, who have sought for a distinct race in a 
social distinction. The word seems to have oiigiDiJlj 
meant " dealer " or " trader/' and never had any etimical 
value at all. It is applied to the settled in opposition 
to the nomad element in Turkestan, irrespective of race 
or nationality. 

The Oalchas, by De Ujfalvy at first described as " Tajik 
highlanders/' but afterwards by him separated from that 
connection, present some obscure problems which still 
await solution. Most of them have been assimilated ia 
speech to the Tajiks and Persians. But the Yagnante 
speak a distinct Aryan language, which will probably be 
found to be allied to the Wakhi and Siah-Posh of tlw 

The Eussian Slavs, who are the latest intruders into 
this region, threaten ultimately to absorb all the otheOi 
at least in the settled and cultivated districts. They 
already form a continuous cordon stretching from the 
Urals round the northern and north-eastern borders of 
Turkestdn beyond Barnaul and Semipalatinsk, and have 
also founded agricultural settlements in Semirechinski 
the Issik-kul uplands, and Ferghana. In the Aralo- 
Caspian basin their political status and higher culture 
give them a preponderance out of all proportion with 
their numbers, and this preponderance must go on in- 
creasing according as the Bussian authority becomes more 

MEBV. 431 

8. Topography : Mikhailovsk — ITala ICaushid Khan 
(Merv) — Khiva — Urgenj — Bokhara — Samarkand 
— Tashkent — Khokand — Namangan — Charjui — 

A region consisting mainly of sandy wastes, grassy 
steppes, bleak upland plateaux and highlands, cannot 
contain many laige centres of population. In an area of 
nearly a million square miles there are only four towns 
Tnth over 50,000 inhabitants, and these are all concen- 
trated in the eastern districts of Eussian Turkestdn and 
Bokhara. Elsewhere, except in the Ehivan Oasis, there 
is not a single place attaining to the dignity of a town. 
A few forts and military stations are scattered over the 
Bnssian circles of the Sir and Oxus ; but the monotony 
of the Kirghiz steppes and Western Turkestan deserts is 
unrelieved by a solitary hamlet But in the recently- 
oiganised Ddman-i-k6h of the Akhal Tekke Turkomans, 
a few places along the new line of railway have already 
acquired some importance. On the Caspian the military 
station of Krasnovodsk has superseded Chikislar near the 
mouth of the Atrak, and will itself soon be superseded 
by Mikhailovsk, the neighbouring seaward terminus of 
the Trans -Caspian railway. Beyond this point the chief 
stations are Kizil-Arvat, Bami, and Askabad, which last, 
nearly midway between Krasnovodsk and Herat, seems 
already to have superseded Bami as the political capital 
of the Trans-Caspian territory. 

East of Askabad the sandy wastes beyond the Tajand 
valley are broken only by t^e Merv Oasis, where the 
famous historical city of Merv has ceased to exist since 
its destruction in 1784 by the Amir of Bokhara. It is 
now a mere collection of mud huts, and even as a strate- 
gical point has been replaced by the neighbouring fort of 
Kala Kaushid Khan, "which is protected by the Murgh-ab 


Eiver on two sides, being biult in the loop of the jmt. 

It is about 2^ miles long and 1^ wide. The Tekke 

I have most wonderful confidence in the strength of the 

place, which will contain, they say, 50,000 alajaks, or 
Turkoman tents. It was commenced in 1860, and the 
Tekke have worked at it by fits and starts ever since. 
When the Persians now speak of Maur, or Merv, thejr 
mean Kala Eaushid Khan. The Turkomans themaelTes 
never speak of Maur as a town ; when they use the tern 
at all they mean the district where Merv was foimedj 
situated. . . . The portion of the country fit for cultivatioii 
is about 90 miles long, and extends to about 11 miles 
on the east side of the river. The ground is veiy fertile 
and produces melons and water-melons in plenty and of 
great excellence. ... A canal which formerly existed, 
and which led from the Tajand Biver near Saiakhs to 
Eacha-kum (within 20 miles of the Merv Oasis), cooU 
be easily reconstructed. In 1860 the Persian genenl 
employed his army in damming up the Tajand and tinn- 
ing it into the bed of the old canal." ^ 

Khiva, capital of the khanate to which it gives its 
name, lies near the head of the irrigation works at some 
distance from the left bank of the Oxua It is inteisected 
by two artificial canals, and surrounded by a mud wiC 
four miles in circimiference and 10 feet high. The paboe 
of the Khan in the interior of the dty, besides the houses 
of the officials and some religious buildings, are all pro- | 
tected in the same way, the whole forming a sort of inflff I 
town and citadel with three gates, and defended hf 
twenty guns. The outer town contains a large baatf 
and the summer palace of the Khan ; but the whole plaoe 
has a population (1874) of scarcely 5000. 

By far the largest place in Khiva is Urgenj, near the 

* CoL Stewart in Proceedings of the Boyal Otogn^pkUxd So6ds, 
September 1881. 


capital, a fortified town with a wall mounting several 
guns. But these and other little strongholds are 
completely overshadowed by the Bussian fortress of 
Nukus, conveniently erected at the head of the delta on 
the Busaian side of the river. From Nukus and Petro- 
Alexandrovsk, feuding the capital, the whole khanate could 
be at any time occupied in four-and-twenty hours. 

Near the point where the Zarafshan runs dry in the 
ever-encroaching sands, stands Bokhara, capital of the 
khanate of like name. But suj£cient water still remains 
to supply the magnificent gardens, cotton, jugara, and 
other plantations, for which the surroimding district has 
long been famous. The great feature of the city is its 
well-stocked bazaar, whose vast size is a constant surprise 
to the stranger. Here all the shops and caravansarais 
are gorged with Bussian and ** Kabuli " — ^that is, English 
and Indian — wares. No less astonishing is the number 
of colleges, schools, mosques, graveyards, and ** saints '* of 
all orders. Yet Bokhara "the Noble" has fallen far 
below its former greatness, and in the 50 years between 
1830 and 1880 its population has been reduced from 
140,000 to 70,000, of whom about two-thirds are 

The cause of this rapid decay is the gradual loss of 
water from the Upper Zarafshan, which ia being drawn 
off in ever-increasing quantities by the Bussians for the 
irrigation works of Samarkand. This renowned metro- 
polis of Timur lies near the left bank of the river due 
east of Bokhara, 2154 feet above the sea, on a western 
spur of the Alai nmge, which here merges gradually in 
the Turkestan lowlands. The plains terminate east of 
the city, which, notwithstandii^ the splendour of its 
ancient buildings, now diflfers little from other Central 
Asiatic towns. Here we have the same belt of blooming 
gardens and orchards encircling the same confused mass 

2 F 


of narrow gloomy streets, mud hovels, and crombliog 
walls, the whole pervaded by the same oppressive still- 
ness, broken only in the vicinity of the great bazaaz. 
Yet here are some of the grandest monuments of Islam, 
dating mostly from the time of Timur, and indnding 
several magnificent colleges, and the Shah-Zindeh, th 
most sumptuous mosque in Central Asia. The old 
palace of the Emir has been converted into a hospital 
by the Bussians, whose administrative and mihtair 
officers occupy a large portion of the ancient dta^ 
The same cause that is hastening the doom of Bokfaan 
is furthering the prosperity of Samarkand, the popuMoi 
of which has increased between 1834 and 1880 bm 
8000 to upwards of 30,000. 

It is probable that to this place will ultimately te 
removed the headquarters of the administration in Hussiaii 
Turkestan, which are at present centred in Tashkent^ 
Next to Tiflis, Tashkent is the laigest city in Asiitk 
Eussia, and its population, which rose from 86,000 in 
1874 to 100,000 in 1880, already nearly equals that of 
the Geoigian capital But beyond its size it presents fev 
points of interest like most of the large towns in tb 
Sir valley, it lies at some distance from the main streaoi 
on the Ghirchik, a small tributary flowing from the Aksur 
tagh, and in a healthy district 1400 feet above the sea. 
In proportion to its population, Tashkent covers a very 
large space, being nearly 8 miles long and 4 l^osi 
The Bussian quarter has already a population of over 
5000 ; but the great bulk of the inhabitants aitj 
Tajiks, who also form the chief element in Klioka]id,| 
Namangan, Andijcm, Marghilan, and the other laigs 
towns in Ferghana. Khokand, capital of the foiiDS 
khanate of like name, scarcely deserves the title of tte; 

^ The natives always say Ta^ikand, bat the Russian pronnnciatkft 
TasJikefU seems to have gradually established itself in the West. 


" Delightful," which has been conferred on it ; for gottre 
is here so prevalent that the Eussians were compelled to 
transfer the centre of administration to Tashkent, lower 
down the Sir yalley. Yet its bazaar is still one of the 
best stocked in Central Asia, and does a considerable 
trade in local produce and European wares. On the 
light or opposite side of the Sir, and near the Narin con- 
fluence, lies Namangan, the next largest place in Feighana. 
It occupies the centre of a rich oasis at some distance 
from the river, and is the chief mart for the flocks of the 
Kara-Kirghiz nomads from the surrounding upland 
steppes. In the neighbourhood are some rich naphtha 
wells and coal-beds. 

Besides Nukus and Petro-^Alezandrovsk at the north- 
em and southern extremities of the E3iivan Oasis, Charjui 
higher up the Oxus occupies a position of great import- 
ance at the point where the river is crossed bj the cara- 
van route from Bokhara to the Merv Oasis. 

Yemiy (Yemoe), the old Almati, although a Bussian 
town only since 1867, has already acquired import- 
ance as the capital of Semirechinak. It lies near the 
isouthem base of the Trans-Ilian Ala-tau, 2430 feet above 
the sea, nearly midway between Lake Issik-kul and the 
left bank of the Hi Although the centre of the Bussian 
agricultural settlements in this region, its trade is still 
mostly in the hands of the Chinese dealers from Kulja, 
towards which it is the most advanced Bussian out- 
post. Vemiy is the mart for the Bussian copper ware, 
which is distributed from this point over Central Asia and 

9. Highways of Communication. 

From Orenburg, the present terminus of the Bussian 
railway system towards Central Asia, the northern postal 
and trade route passes through Orsk and Tuigai across 


the Kirghiz steppes to Yeroiy, and thenoe np the Bi 
yalley across the Chinese frontier to Kulja. The fom^ 
Kossak stanitzas, established to curb the Kirghiz nomads, 
have now become so many postal stations along this line, 
which will some day be replaced by the '* Great Northers 
Asiatic Sailway." 

At Orsk the south-eastern postal route branches of 
across the Kirghiz steppe through Kara-Bulak and Iighlx 
to Kasalinsk, thence following the Sir valley throng 
Perofi&ky and Yasi to Tashkent. "The post-statioie, 
which haye been built along the route crossing th^ 
desolate regions, afford excellent accommodation fir 
trayellers, and wells have been dug along the whok 
distance, though it is true that the water in many d 
them is not of good quality " (Major Herbert Wood), 

From Tashkent the great historical nulitaiy and \ak 
route leads by Chinaz across the Sir, through the Jilanuti 
defile, over the Kaia-tau to Samarkand, and thence down 
the Zarafshan valley to Bokhara. West of the Jila&nti 
pass stands the so-called ** €late of Tamarlane," a pjn- 
midal slaty rock covered with Persian inscriptionSi ani 
marking the site of many a fierce struggle for the posso- 
sion of the Zarafshan and Sir valleys. 

Two parallel routes run from Samarkand and Bok- 
hara through Karshi and Koja SaU across the Oxus sootb- 
wards to Balkh, while a third leads from Bokhara acxotf 
the Oxus at Charjui to Merv, and up the Murgh-ab to 
Herat. An alternative line runs from Merv by Sarakb 
on the Persian frontier, up the Tajand valley to Herat 

From Khiva several tracks radiate across the Kv«^ 
ezm desert southwards. But there appears to be only one 
recognised highway, which follows the right bank of the 
Oxus to Charjui for Bokhara. The desert tracks are .^— 
1. The Orta Yolu, nearly by the Usboi, or old bed of the 
Oxus, between the Great and Little Balkans, to the soudh 


east comer of the Caspian ; 2. The Tekke Yolu, west of 
and parallel to the previous, to Kizil-Arvat and the 
Atrak valley; 3. The Hazaresp, through the Dara-gez 
district to Kuchan for Maahhad ; 4. Direct to Merv for 
Sarakhs, Herat, cmd Mashhad. 

From Ferghana to Kashgaria the route leads through 
Osh to Gulcha (4140 feet) and Sufi Kurgan (40'' K 
lat, 73** 30' E long), whence two roads run over the 
passes of Terek (12,500 feet) and Shart (13,000), which 
agam unite at the outpost of Irkeshtam. Two other 
loads also run firom Sufi Kurgan over the passes of Archat 
(11,500) and Taldyk (11,800), which unite on the Alai, 
and lead thence through the Khizil-art gorge, and 
passes (14,000) over the Trans-Alai to the Pamir. The 
Pamir itself is crossed in all directions by easy tracks, 
some of which would present no difiiculties to the passage 
of large armies and artillery. The Alai passes, formerly 
supposed to have been closed firom September till late in 
spring, were shown by Severtzof in 1877 to be free of 
snow at heights of 13,000 feet till the end of October. 

For the distances of the main routes between Turke- 
stin and the Iranian plateau, see p. 441. 

Since the reduction of the Akhal Tekke Turkomans 
in 1881 the locomotive has penetrated into Central 
Asia. The Trans-Caspian line starting from Mikhailovsk 
nms along the Ddman-i-k6h south-eastwards to Kizil- 
Arvat for Bami, and the works are in progress to 
Askabad, the future capital of the Bussicui Trans-Cas- 
pian territory. The first goods train laden with Bussian 
merchandise firom Moscow, steamed into the Kizil-Arvat 
Station on 3d October 1881. But the traffic here is 
dight, and the Persian and Indian trade routes caimot be 
seriously affected by this line until it is opened to 
Sarakhs for Mashhad, and up the Tajand valley to Herat 
for Afghanistan. Meantime its strategical importance in 


view of futtire complicatioiis along the Iranian frontier k 
too obvious to call for any comment 

10. Administration : Besources — Products — TVoie. 

The administration of Bussian Turkestan is of a pnielj 
military character. The Govemor-Greneral, or Yaim- 
padishah — ^that is, "Half King," as the natives call him— 
has his headquarters in Tashkent Appointed bj the 
Czar, to the Czar alone he is responsible for the exercise 
of the supreme civil and military functions centred in 
his person. He even enjoys the privilege of entering 
into diplomatic relations with the neighbouring Statesman 
arrangement by which negotiations entered into in Centnl 
Asia may be confirmed or revoked by the Emperor 
according to circumstances. His jurisdiction embraces 
the Siberian provinces of Turgai, Akmohnsk, Semi- 
paJatinsk, and Semirechinsk ; but the extreme west and 
south comprise the Trans-Caspian territory attached to 
the Government of Caucasia. 

The governors of the various provinces and dides 
are appointed by the Minister of War, and assisted bj 
provincial councils chosen by the Govemor-Genenl. 
These governors are directly responsible for the reveDoe 
and maintenance of order in their several districts. All 
religions are tolerated, and the tribal usages of the 
Kirghiz and other nomads respected as far as consistent 
with the general interests of the State. The towns 
appoint their own magistrates, who, however, may he 
removed at the pleasure of the Govemor-GteneraL 

Public instruction does not seem to have been as jei 
undertaken by the new masters of the land. The onlj 
education that receives any encouragement is the harmless ^ 
reading of the Koran, as taught in the Medresseh or col- 
leges attached to the mosques. In the whole of Turkestan 


there are scarcely 5000 Muhammadan children receiving 
r^alar instruction. 

The chief source of revenue is the land tax, and the 
chief source of expenditure the army, which averages 
about 30,000 men. As all the supplies have to be 
brought from Bussia, this item alone absorbs the whole 
of the revenue, so that there is a normal deficit amount- 
ing in some years to £1,500,000, or over £2,000,000. 

Of the products of this r^on perhaps the most 
important next to live stock is cotton, of which there are 
two varieties. It has already become indispensable to 
the Russian manufacturers, and Yambery declares that it 
is of better quality than the Indian, Persian, or Egyptian, 
if not quite equal to the American. The best description 
is grown in KMva, which is the chief area of the cotton 
cidtivation in Central Asia. Sericulture, originally intro- 
duced by the Chinese, has also been long established in 
Turkastdn, and especially in the eastern districts. Im- 
portant articles of export are, further, the black lamb's 
wool, known in Europe as " Astrakhcm ;" the Turkoman 
horses now supplying splendid remounts for the Bussian 
cavalry ; wool, hides, dyes, cereals, and fruits. 

The local retail trade has of late years been greatly 
developed, and the remotest nomad hamlets are now 
supplied with all kinds of wares from the bazaars of the 
central marts. Hence the importation of Bussicm and 
English goods has largely increased, somewhat to the 
detriment of the native industries. The Bussians have 
the advantage over their English rivals in being first in 
the field, and more carefully studying the tastes of the 
Eastern nations. Their goods are also exempt from the 
heavy duties imposed by the Bussian Government on 
English and Indian wares. The rapid organisation of the 
Trans-Caspian Territory will now enable them to send their 
manufactures direct to the Mashhad and Herat bazaars. 



11. Statidics. 

AnsAB Ain> Populations. 

Aim Imq^ 

Sir-daiya (ProTinoe) ISS^OOO 

Amu-diarya (Circle) 41,400 

Zarafshan (Ciide) 9,800 

Fei^hana (Proyinoe) 84,800 

Semiiechinak (Ptoyince) .... 157,000 

Urakk east of the Ural (ProTinoe) 120,000 

Tui|[ai exdusiTe of Nikolayevdc District ) « |^ ^qq 

(Proyince) .....) ' 

Akmolinsk (Sari-Soiak District) ... 92,400 

Trans-Oaspian Territory ^ . . . . 146^000 


Bokliara (Khanate) 100,000 

Khiva (Khanate) 28,000 

Total RoBsian Torkest&n and Dependencies 1,056,600 

Mery Oasis (Petty State) .... 1,000 

Unclaimed Desert and Pamir 500,000 

Total Aralo-Gaspian Basin and Dependencies 1,557,600 


1 276,000 

! 200,000 









Races and RkjIOIons. 




Kirffhiz-Kazaks . 


Tajiks and Persians 



Kommas . 


Mazang, settled Gipsies 

Lull, nomad Gipsies 


Smmis and Shiahs. 

Snnnis and Fire-wonhippetk 


' I Sonnis. 

Snnnis mostly. 
. Pagans. 

Chief Towns in Aralo-Caspian Basin. 

Tashkent . 
Bokhara . 
Khokand . 









I Inelttdijig the new Akbal Tekke district, 15,000 eqiiare miles ; popolstloD. f^fiBt 



Agbicultural Retitrns, RUSSIAIT Tu£ksstXn. 


Under Cropa. 

Flastore. Waste. 
Acres. Acres. 


Sir-darja . 
Feighaiia . 

. 2,856,000 50,000,000 50,000,000 
984,000 50,000,000 68,512,000 

. 1,650,000 8,250,000 8,525,000 
626,000 3,625,000 2,497,000 
126,000 3,625,000 19,949,000 




LiYx Stock, Russian TurkestAn. 



Horses. Cattle. 


Semirechinflk . 
Sir-darya . 
Z&rifthan . 
Ferghana . 






892,007 528,200 
895,563 293,550 

51,991 84,463 
218,760 220,717 

48,000 88,070 





1,601,311 1,160,000 


Army — ^Peace 1 
Reyenne (meai 
Ezpenditnie (i 
Dendt (mean) 
Cotton crop (n 
Silk (Bokham) 
Wool exported 

Footing 80,000; 



• • 

to Russia (meai 

war footing, 80,000. 
. £1,400,000 

50,000 tons. 
2,500,000 Ihfi, 
. £18,000,000 
d) £90,000 


Chitiahlar to Kizil-Arvat 
Ashniada to Kizil-Arvat 
Hikludloysk to EizU-Arvat, 
b^ tail .... 
Kizil-Arvat to Sarakhs 
flankhs to Herat 
Herat to Merv Oasis 
Her? to Sarakhs . 
Merv to Ghaijni . 
Charjni to Bokhara 







Bokhara to Samarkand 140 

Bokhara to Balkh . . 290 

Samarkand to Balkh . 220 

Bokhara to Tashkent . 820 

Samarkand to Tashkent . 180 

Tashkent to Khokand . . 120 

Orsk to Fort Earabnlak . 120 

Orsk to Iigiz . . . 240 

Orsk to Kasalinsk . . 500 


Orenbnig to Tashkent 50 to 60 
Kamangan to Semipalatinsk . 40 
Bokhara to Herat 25 to 30 

Bokhara to Samarkand 
Samarkand to Khokand 
Khokand to Ush . 





1. Boundaries — Extent — AreoL 

A BEASON analogous to that whicli awards the Cancaais 
to Asia gives the Urals to Europe. For the west Asiatic 
Mediterranean, which was formerly connected Uuoo^ 
the Ponto-Caspian Strait with the Euxine, also cmr 
municated with the Arctic Ocean over the low lidp 
forming the present water-parting between the Ob iuid 
Aralo-Caspian basins. This ridge transversely crosses tk 
deep furrow stretching northwards along the Tobol 
valley to the Ob, through which the inter-contmental 
strait flowed between the inland marine basin and tk 
Arctic. Hence the Urals were at this time entirely ca 
off from the Asiatic continent, of which they fom tb 
present north-western boundary. 

From this point Siberia stretches imintenuptedlT 
eastwards across 130 degrees of the meridian to tb 
Pacific Ocean. Its northern boundary is formed by the 
Arctic Ocean, whence it extends across 30 degteeA i 
latitude southwards to China and Turkestdn, fornusg ^ 
southern frontiers. But these southern &ontieis area 
many places extremely vague, and at some points purdr 
conventionaL Towards Turkestan the natural line follo« 
the Aralo-Caspicm and Ob water-parting, between 48'' afti 
51** N. lat, which at its lowest elevation rises a few feet 
only above the surrounding Kirghiz steppe, raithtf 


east the firontier towards China generally follows the line 
of the Altai from the Irtish valley to the Upper Amur 
valley, nmning thence along the course of that river to 
the confluence of the Usuri Here it ia deflected south- 
wards along the Usuri valley, and beyond Lake Kenka to 
the Sea of Japan, about 43** N. lat. below Victoria or 
Peter the Great Bay. At this point the Bussian territory 
thus impinges on the north-east fix>ntier of Korea, and 
shuts off Chinese Manchuria firom the Pacific seaboard. 

South of the Upper Irtish valley the Busso-Chinese 
frontier line still remains to be definitely fixed« Here 
the political boundary running north and south has to be 
drawn (icross the highlands and depressions, which mostly 
ran east and west. The line firom the south-western 
extremity of the Altai across the Irtish valley at Lake 
Zaisan, and thence over the Tarbagatai range down to the 
Emil (Ghurtu) valley, seems never to have been definitely 
settled, and its settlement has recently been again post- 
poned to some future period. But the line which thence 
follows the crest of the Zimgarian Ala-tau down to and 
across the Hi valley to the Trans-Ilian Ala-tau was at 
least temporarily determined by the treaty ratified on 
19th August 1881, in virtue of which Bussia restored to 
China the province of Kulja, held by the Czar's troops 
daring the troubles in the neighbouring districts. This 
line is drawn fix>m the Boro-khoro hills along the Khorgos 
fiiver down to the right bank of the Hi and thence across 
the valley to the Tengri-khan, culminating point of the 
Tian-shan. It thus leaves all the broad upper portion of 
the Hi valley — ^that is, Kulja proper — to China, Bussia 
merely reserving a strip of land. 

Lying mainly between 46^-78° K lat., and 60''-190'' 
£. long., and thus occupying the whole of North Asia, 
Siberia stretches &om Orsk for over 4200 miles north- 
eastwards to Cape Yostochni on Bering Strait, and from 


Cape Severe (ChelTaskin) for about 2000 miles wo&r 
wards to the Tarbagatai range, with a total area estunated 
at over 4,600,000 square miles, and a population of 
4,500,000, or rather less than one to the square mile. 

2. Belief of the Zand : The Altai, Sayan, Ergik-Targak, 
Yailonovoi, Stanovoi, Sikhota-alin, and KamMk 

A r^on of such vast extent is naturally of veiy 
diversified configuration. Thus, while the south-westen 
portion is exclusively a lowland oountij, consiieiahle 
highland tracts are comprised in the southern and eastern 
sections. These highlands, often comprehensively spotceD 
of as the Altai system, b^gin properly north of Lake 
Zaisan and the Upper Irtish valley, by which theii 
westernmost extremity is clearly separated from tte 
Tarbagatai range. On this account the Tarbagatai, 
although usually included in the Siberian mountain 
systems, has here been regarded rather as the northem- 
most extension of the Tian-shan. Its true position ii 
that of a water-parting between the Arctic and the 
Central Asiatic closed basins. For it sends down streams 
northwards to the Irtish, flowing to the Frozen Ooeo 
through the Ob, southwards to Lakes Ala and Sassik, 
which formerly communicated westwards with Lake 
Balkhash, eastwards with the Ebi-nor and the Mongolian 

From the Irtish valley the Altai, or " Gold Mountains," 
stretch mainly north-eastwards through the Sayan lange 
to the Daurian Alps, and thence beyond the Baikal basin 
under diverae names, such as the Yablonovoi and Stanovtn, 
to the volcanic masses filling the greater part of Earn* 
chatka, and through the Chukchi domain, gradually fil- 
ing towards the north-easternmost extremity q£ the 


continent at East Capa But it will be seen that the 
system is by no means continnous, being not only broken 
up into distinct sections by the deep gorges of the Upper 
Yenisei and Selenga Bivers, but merging round the Sea of 
Okhotsk in a moderately elevated plateau, where high 
nnges are figured on most of our maps. 

Even the western section — that is, the Altai proper — 
is not so much a distinct mountain range as an aggregate 
of more or less detached chains running in yarious 
directions between the upper Irtish and Yenisei valleys. 
Sooth of these valleys the main direction is rather west and 
east^ but north of them the normal direction is north and 
south, while the whole system inclines towards the north- 
east The portion to which the term Altai is more 
specially applied, and which scarcely comprises more than 
one-fburth of the whole western section, stretches from 
the Biver Bukhtarma, an affluent of the Irtish on its right 
bank, and from the Smeinogorsk, or '' Snake " mountain, 
north-eastwards to the romantic Lake Altyn (Teletzko'ie) 
and to the Chulishman Biver, joining the lake from the 
east Here the Altai is crossed by the much-&equented 
Suok Pass leading from Siberia to Mongolia. But this 
eastern limit of the chain is somewhat conventional, for 
east of the pass the system is continued by the Sayan 
range with no perceptible interruption to the Upper 
Yenisei valley. 

The whole range has a mean altitude of perhaps 
5000 feet, with numerous crests from 6000 to 10,000 
feet, culminating in the Bieluka, or *' White " moimtain, 
whose twin peaks rise to 11,100 feet The term '' Great 
Altai," commonly applied to the little-known chains 
penetrating across the Chinese frontier into Mongolia, 
belongs rather to the Bieluka chain, which encloses the 
Kobdo plateau on the west, and several peaks of which 
rise above the snow -line. Hence recent Bussian 


explorers now designate as the "Little Altai' the 
" Great Altai " of most geographers. 

The western section — that is, the Eolymaii or 
Russian Altai — abounds in ores, and encloses the lonian- 
tic little Lake Kolyman, whose rugged granite baoks 
are here and there clothed with fine timber. Eisewheie 
the numerous and rapid streams, the varied foims and 
colours of the hills, impart great variety to the sceneij 
of the Altai Between the detached chains there every* 
where stretch extensive upland plains covered with snov 
or morasses, and intersected here and there by low rockj 
ridges or granite masses. 

The southern spurs also consist laigdy of granitei 
with crystalline schists and a hornblende porphyry, pre- 
senting fantastic, bare, and rugged outlines. Here lies 
the famous mining region of the Altai, which forma part 
of the Imperial domain, and has altogether an area of 
perhaps 200,000 square miles. The works at Serianovsk 
yield gold, silver, copper, lead, and tin. Lx the Smeino- 
gorsk district the matrix of the metalliferous ores is 
augite porphyry, varied with schists and huge masssB d 
auriferous quartz. The mines are worked exdusiTelj 
after the Grerman method, but water and horse power 
have not yet been supplemented by steam. 

Beyond the wooded Sayan section the system is 
continued across the Bei-kem, or Western Yenisei vaSej, 
by the Ergik-Targak and other ridges rising here and 
there above the snow-line, and crossed by passes over 
7000 feet high leading from Siberia to Mongolia Tte 
Ergik-Targak on the Chinese frontier has an altitade of 
at least 10,000 feet, and is coxmected with the Baikal 
uplands by snowy masses which have been only recently 
explored. Conspicuous amongst them is the MankQ- 
sardik, or "Silver Mount," covered with ice-fields, and 
first ascended by Badde in 1859. This pyramidal mass 


forms an important water-parting between the great 
western and eastern branches of the Yenisei, and in the 
neighbourhood are the yast deposits of graphite dis- 
covered about thirty years ago by Alibert 

Beyond the Baikal region the plateau prevails over 
the strictly highland formation. Here the *' Great 
Divide " between the Lena and Amur, or rather between 
the Arctic and Pacific Oceans, consists not of a distinct 
moantain range, as laid down on the maps, but of a yast 
tableland, contracting gradually north-eastwards towards 
the Chukchi peninsula, and intersected by a number of 
moderately-elevated ridges running mostly parallel, or at 
slightly-diverging angles. Hence Bussian geographers now 
propose to substitute the expression Stanovoi Vbdorazdpel, 
or " Main Farting Line," for Stanovoi Khrebet, or " Main 
Dorsal Kange," hitherto applied to this upland system. 
The Susso-Chinese frontier line was doubtless Isdd down 
by diplomatists along the crest of the Stanovoi ; but from 
the first this frontier line was purely fictitious, and has 
heen altogether dispensed with since the Bussians have 
established themselves along the left bank of the Amur. 

The plateau has a toted length of about 2400 miles 
between Transbaikalia and Bering Strait, and the loftiest 
and best-defined range in the whole system is the Tab- 
lonovoi, or "Apple " range, running south of Baikal, near 
the Chinese frontier, and culminating southwards with 
the massiye Sokhondo or Chokhondo (8370 feet). The 
upper crests are composed of granitic and palseozoic rocks, 
which nowhere reach the line of perpetual snow. The 
lange is easily crossed by the road &om Lake Baikal to 
Chita. East of the Tablonovoi stretches the Daurian 
steppe, which has been compared to a fragment of the 
Gobi desert transplanted to Bussian territory. It was 
formerly crossed by a wall attributed to Jenghis Khan, 
and is separated by extensive pine forests and the Biver 


Onon fix>in the Nyerchinsk steppe, which extends thence 
eastwards to the Aigun valley. 

North of the Amur the Yablonovoi section of the 
StanoYoi runs between the Bivers Aldan and Zeya, at s 
mean altitude of 7000 feet, beyond which the Aldan or 
Jugjur lidge falls to little over 3000 feet. Yet here the 
formations are most varied, comprising granites, poiphyij, 
gneiss, underlying palaeozoic, and even Jurassic rocks, 
followed by coal measures tov^ards Verkhoyansk, and 
basalts and trachytes near the Sea of Okhotsk. At this 
point the water-parting is deflected so far to the east that 
the head-streams of the Aldan have their source within a 
short distance of the Pacific, whence the gold, silver, leed, 
and iron ores of the neighbouring Aldan hills might 
easily be procured. A little farther north the " Captain" 
rises west of Okhotsk to a height of 4360 feet, and 
although falliAg short of the snow-line, it overlooks deep 
valleys filled vdth masses of perpetual snow and ice. 

East of the Stanovoi proper a wooded range, variously 
known as the " Little Khingan," the Burejra or Dt&s^ 
alin, runs at a mean height of 2500 feet from the Atjb 
north-east to the south coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, and 
culminates with the Lagar-aM, 3450 feet Still fiarthei 
south and east the Maritime Province is traversed in its 
entire length by the Sikhota-alin, or so-called "Umbt 
churian Moimtains," which really consist of an extensive 
plateau intersected by innumerable ridges, with a mein 
elevation of scarcely 3000 feet. But notwithstandiog 
their low elevation, these ridges are of very difficult 
access, so that but few passes lead from the Usuri valkj 
across the plateau to the coast. Communication, hov- j 
ever, is effected southwards through the depression of 
Lake Kenka, whence an easy pass leads down to the 
Suifun coast stream. Although commonly supposed to 
be of igneous origin, the Sikhota-alin seems to be mainlj 



a sandstone fonnation. It culminates with Mount Gol- 
aya, 5550 feet 

The StanoYoi water-parting is still continued north- 
eastwards to the Bering Strait by the low straggling 
eminences traversing the Chukchi peninsula; and separat- 
ing the head-streams of the Kolima flowing to the Arctic 
from those of the Anadir flowing to the Bering Sea. 
Here the continental system, nowhere more than 5000 
feet high, falls to about 2000 as it approaches the coast. 

But farther south Kamchatka is occupied by a totally 
different formation, belonging in its igneous character 
lather to the oceanic than to the continental system. 
The peninsula is trayersed in its entire length by a chain 
of lofty burning mountains, fourteen still active volcanoes 
rising close to the east coast, amongst which is the 
Klyuchevskaya Sopka (16,000 feet), the highest active 
volcano in Asia. This igneous system is one of the grandest 
instances of a connected series in the world ; yet it forms 
merely a link in the endless chain which stretches from 
Alaska through the Aleutian Islands, Kamchatka, the 
Euriles, and Japan, to the Philippines and the Eastern 
Archipelago. The Kuriles are thoroughly igneous, and 
contain from eight to ten still active volcanoes. 

3. Hydrography : The Ob, Yenisei, Lena, Yana, Indigirka, 
Anadir, and Amur Rivers — Lakes Baikal and 

Siberia presents the most extensive, but economically 
perhaps the least serviceable water system of any country 
in the old world. The land has a general inclination 
towards the north, so that all the great rivers flowing 
firom the southern highlands pursue a normal and nearly 
parallel northerly course to the Arctic Ocean. But most 
of the large tributaries flow rather north-west and north- 

2 G 


east to the left and right banks of the main streams, thus 
affording an almost uninterrupted water highway bm 
the UraJs to the Pacific^ as well as firom the Southan 
highlands to the Arctic. From the Siver Uial to 
Yakutsk, a distance of 6000 miles, this magnificent water- 
way is broken only by two short portages between tfae 
Ob and Yenisei, and between the Yenisei and Lena 
respectively. The whole country is in this way covered 
with a network of rivers, affording altogether some 30,000 
miles of navigable waters. Unfortunately all these riyeis 
are ice-bound for the greater part of the year, while tie 
estuaries are open only for about ten or twelve weds 
during the warm season. Even the Amur, which is the 
only great river draining from the southern watershed tc 
the warmer Pacific seaboard, is blocked for six months st 
a time. Hence, notvrithstanding the repeated efforts lift 
have been made, especially since fTordenskjold's success- 
ful expedition round the north-east passage, to open uf \ 
a trade with Siberia through these arteries, it is no^ I 
probable that the markets of the world will be affected I 
by the agricultural produce from Northern Asia. i 

All the countless streams from the Urals and Sonti- 1 
em highlands are collected and discharged into tiie AkA | 
mainly through seven independent channels, which, goiss | 
eastwards, are the Ob, Yenisei, Khatanga, Olenek, Ib&i 
Indigirka, and Kolima. In the same way those flowii; : 
towards the Pacific are grouped in two systems cmlfj 
those of the Anadir and Amur. 

Although not the longest of the rivers, the Ob diains 
the greatest extent of country, and with its tributaries 
affords the longest stretch of navigable water highwap 
The basin, merging eastwards almost imperceptibly witi ; 
that of the Yenisei, bordering westwards and southwards 
on those of the Volga, Ural, and Aralo-Caspian, and pene- 
trating south-eastwards far into the Mongolian plateau, has 


a total area of over 1,400,000 square miles. At Troitsk, 
where all the great affluents are gathered into one chan- 
nel, the main stream, stUl nearly 700 miles from its 
estuary, has a width of no less than three miles. 

The great head-streams are the Tobol, with the Tavda 
from the Urals, the Ishim from the Aralo-Caspian water- 
parting, the Irtish from the Eobdo plateau, and the Ob 
with the Elatun, Biya, and Tom and Ket, from the north- 
em slopes .of the Altai The Tobol and Ishim are 
collected on its left bank by the Irtish, which ought to 
be regarded as the true upper course of the main stream; 
for the Urungu, its farthest head-stream, has its source 
on the Kobdo plateau, south of the Bussian Altai, whence 
it flows first to Lake Ulungur, or Kizil-Bash. From this 
lake there seems to be an intermittent surface discharge, 
and a perennial imderground outflow to the Black Irtish, 
a torrent from the snowy upland valleys on the west side 
of the Chinese Altai This connection of Ulungur with 
the Black Irtish is not shown on our maps, but there can 
be little doubt of its existence. At a certain point below 
the level of the lake the volume of the Irtish, without 
receiving any visible influent, ia suddenly increased &om 
about 640 to 1900 cubic feet per second. Whence this 
great access except from the neighbouring reservoir? 
MattuB-sovski, who visited the district in 1870, could 
detect no apparent connection, but he ascertained on the 
other hand that there are no intervening elevations 
between the lake and the river. 

After receiving the Kaljir from Lake Marka, the 
Black Irtish, which even in Chinese territory is already 
a considerable stream, 500 feet broad and 10 feet deep, 
enters the east end of Lake Zaisan, a vast steppe lake on 
the Busso-Chinese frontier, 60 miles long and over 25 
deep, with a mean area of 720 square miles. This lake, 
which aboimds in fish, yielding over 1,500,000 lbs. 


annually, has already been visited by a steamer, and it is 
now proposed to establish regular steam oommimicatioiL 
between Tinmen and the Black Irtish, a total distance of 
about 1000 miles. 

From the west end of Lake Zaisan the river emeiges 
as the White Irtish, and thenceforth pursues a somewhat 
winding north-westerly course between the Eiigbiz and 
Baraba steppes, west and east to its junction with the Ob, 
about 1900 miles firom its farthest source. After its 
jimction with the Bukhtaima it pierces the westen 
spurs of the Altai through the wild Gust-Eamenogonk 
defile, here falling from 1300 to 1160 feet above sei- 
level, and from this point to the Ob it receives probaUy 
over a thousand tributaries, of which by &r the laigest 
are the Ishim and Tobol, both on its left bank. Bnttbe 
large Lake Chany, as well as most others of the Banh 
steppe, have become closed basins, no longer sending 
even intermittent discharges to the Irtish. 

The Baraba steppe is skirted eastwards by the Ob, 
which is formed by the junction of the £atun and Bsp 
from the Altai, and which is joined by the Irtish 300 
mUes below Tobolsk. With a fall of scarcely 300 feet 
from the advanced spurs of the Altai to its estuaiy, & 
Ob pursues an extremely sluggish course, expanding heie 
and there into broad steppe lakes, and occasionally ahnoA 
undecided whether to flow west to the Irtish, east to 
the Yenisei, or in an independent channel north to & 
Arctic. Varying in breadth from half a mile to two mite 
it expands during the spring floods into a great inlaid 
sea, which, even above Tomsk, is so broad that the 
opposite banks are quite invisible. After receiving tic 
Tom and Chulim, it is joined near Narim by the Ket, 
which in some respects, though not the largest, is its mo^ 
important tributary. For the Ket is navigable for noless 
than 600 miles towards the Yenisei, with which it is now 


proposed to connect it by means of a canal 2^ miles 
long from Lake Eosovskoie across the portage to the Eas 
flowing to the Yenisei below Yeniseisk. 

Below the Irtish confluence the Lower Ob flows to 
its estuary beyond Obdorsk, in two separate channels, 
known as tlie Great and Little Ob^ the latter of which is 
most available for up-stream traffic, the former for craft 
going seawards. Both branches, which are everywhere 
connected by innumerable intermediate channels and 
backwaters, enter the gulf in a joint stream about two 
miles wide, and from 40 to 90 feet deep. The gulf or 
fiord runs first east and then north for over 480 mUes 
beyond the Arctic Circle. This great water highway, 
which is navigable throughout nearly the whole of its 
course of over 3400 miles, was thrown open to the trade 
of the world by the expedition of Dahl, who reached the 
Ob from the Kara Sea in 1877. With the tributaries, 
there is a total navigable highway of perhaps 9000 
miles, which has hitherto been but slightly utilised by 

Next in importance to the Ob is the Yenisei basin, 
which occupies nearly the whole of Central Siberia 
between the Ob and the Lena water systems. Like the 
' Ob and most other great Asiatic rivers, the Yenisei has its 
&rthest sources on the central plateau behind the enclos- 
ing mountain barriers, through which it forces its way 
seawards. Of its two great branches, the Yenisei pro- 
per and the Selenga- Angara, the former is developed on 
Chinese tenitory, about 4000 feet above the sea, between 
the Sayan and the Tanu-ola mountains, by the junction of 
the Bei-kem and Khua-kem, from the Ergik-Targak 
frontier range and the northern slopes of the Tanu-ola. 
Flowing first west to a point where it finds an outlet in 
the Western Sayan range, the united stream here enters 
Bossian territory, through which it henceforth pursues a 


Bttddhists hold in special reyerence as the '' Navel of the 

Beyond this point the Selenga sweeps round to its 
junction with the Orkhon, which rises in the Gobi itself, 
near the ruins of Earakorum, the old Mongolian capi- 
tal The united stream flows thence between Eiakhta 
and the Khamardaban range, north and west to the 
east coast of the great highland Lake Baikal, by far the 
laigest £resh-water reservoir in Asia. This lake, which 
fills two enormously deep fissures in the plateau at a pre- 
sent elevation of 1363 feet above the sea, seems to have 
formerly communicated directly with the Irkut valley. 
But its present outflow is through the Angara, which 
forces its way over a series of romantic gorges to the right 
bank of the TeniseL The lower section of the Angara, 
where it trends west, takes the name of the Upper Tun- 
gaska in contradistinction to the " Stony " and '' Lower '' 
longuska, which join the main stream farther down. 

Baikal, the Dalai-nor, or '' Holy Sea," of the Mongo- 
lians, has a mean depth of 850 feet, sinking in some 
places to 4500, or considerably over 3000 below sea- 
leveL Owing to this prodigious depth, its volume with 
an area of scarcely 14,000 square miles, is more than 
double that of Lake Michigan, which has an area of 
23,000 square miles, but a mean depth of only 300 feet 
Becent soundings have revealed a rocky ridge about 
3350 feet high, dividing the lake into two secondary but 
now united basins, at a point where there is a depth of 
scarcely more than 200 feet These surveys also show 
that Baikal was formerly far more extensive than at pre- 
sent Within comparatively recent times its level has 
fallen about 20 feet ; but at some more remote epoch it 
was high enough to drain through the Lrkut to the 
Yenisei through a channel distinct from that of the 
Angara. Its waters, which are remarkable for their great 


tianspaiency, revealing objects at a depth of 40 to 50 
feet, are &ozen from December to May to a thickness d 
4 or 5 feet Yet such is the fuiy of the winter gales 
that its icy fetters are constantly broken, thns affording 
fresh supplies of air to the salmon, stuigeon, and other 
fishes with which the lake abounds. Amongst its fauna 
is a species of seal, in appearance exactly resembling &e 
Spitzbergen Phoca fostidou 

In sunmier the conmiunication along the shores A 
the lake, which is 360 miles long, with a mean bieadtli 
of 35 miles, is kept open by a steamer, affording an 
opportunity of visiting the lovely island of Olkhon, 
famous for its alpine roses. The north-west coast con- 
tains some very grand scenery, the rocky granite masses 
being here in many places clothed with larch and pine 
forests from their sunmdts to the water's edge. Tbe 
shores also abound in hot springs, which are associated 
with still active imderground agencies and frequent 
earthquakes. Near the hot springs is a flouiisbing 
Bussian settlement, where rye, barley, and potatoes 
are successfully cultivated. During the long winter 
months the peasantry occupy their time in pmsuizig 
the sable, squirrel, and other for - bearing animals, 
which, however, here, as elsewhere in Siberia, are rapidly 

M. Chersky's recent explorations (1881) show ^ 
the rocks on the west side of the lake belong to three 
different epochs — pre-Silurian (Laurentian ?), Silurian, 
and Jurassic. This naturalist also confirms the view that 
Baikal forms, as above stated, two distinct longitudinal 
cavities, connected together by a central ridge. 

The Angara, which has a discharge of at least 105,000 
cubic feet per second, flows for 40 miles below its 
junction with the Oka through a series of rapids between 
sheer rocky walls, rising in some places 600 feet above 


the surface. Here the average fall is about two feet in the 
mile ; but the steamers now plying on these waters pass 
safely over the rapids. As the Selenga is also accessible 
to light craft as far as the Orkhon junction, there is an 
uninterrupted navigable highway of 2700 miles from 
Eiakhta through Lake Baikal and down the Angara and 
Yenisei to the Arctic Ocean. 

Nor is the navigation entirely interrupted even by 
the rapids over which the Upper Yenisei descends from the 
Mongolian plateau through the Sayan range down to the 
Siberian plains. Even above the Angara junction the 
current is very gentle, though nowhere quite so sluggish 
as that of the Ob, the elevation at Krasnoyarsk being 530 
or 200 feet more than that of the Ob under the same 
paraUeL At Yeniseisk below the Angara confluence it 
is still 230 feet above sea-leveL Here it has a mean 
^dth of 6000 feet, expanding in the floods to upwards 
of 4 miles, with a rise of about 40 feet. 

Through the Lower Tunguska, which haa a total 
length of 1620 miles, with a breadth of over half a mile 
at tiie confluence, the Yenesei approaches near Kirensk 
to within 14 miles of the Lena; and as the portage 
between the Ob and Yenisei (see p. 450) is only 2^ miles 
long, the navigable water highway from the Urals across 
Siberia nearly to the Pacific seaboard is only interrupted 
by two breaks of less than 17 miles altogether. This 
highway is also of far greater economic importance than 
those of the main streams flowing northward to the 
Frozen Ocean. Lying mainly between the 58th and 
60th parallels, it is open for a far longer period of the 
year than those of the great arteries running for several 
degrees beyond the Arctic Circle towards the North Pola 
The navigation of the Lower Yenisei for 300 miles above 
its estuary, where it expands to 30 or 40 miles during 
the floods, is rendered extremely dangerous by the 


northern gales, here sweeping with great foiy over tbe 
tundra and against the current During some seasons it 
is also blocked from the end of August till the first days 
of the following July, leaving scarcely six weeks of open 
navigation in the whole year. Yet since the discovery 
of the convenient harbour of Dicksonhavn in its estoaiy 
by Nordenskjold, several trips have been made to the 
Yenisei by English and Scandinavian skippers, who have 
returned with cargoes of grain and other produce brotiglit 
down from the Minusinsk steppe in the Upper Yenisei 
valley. The rafts and light craft engaged in this traffic 
are broken up for fuel or timber after dischaigiDg at 

The Yenisei drains a total area of about 1,180,000 
square miles, and VTith its tributaries has a navigable 
water-way of not less than 5000 miles. The weetem 
branch, or Yenisei proper, is nearly 2600, the easteni 
(Selenga- Angara) 3300 miles &om their farthest source 
to the common estuary, which is separated from that of 
the Ob only by a comparatiyely small peninsula, 300 
miles broad at its widest part 

Of all the great North Asiatic streams the Lena alone 
has its source on the seaward slope of the mountaia 
range enclosing the central plateau. But the Upper 
Lena, which rises on the hills skirting the west coast d 
Lake Baikal, and which for some distance flows paralld 
VTith the Angara, seems to have formerly communicated 
with that river through a now dried-up depression in the 
low water-parting between the two basins. It is joined 
at Vitimskaya by the Vitim which flows from the east 
side of Lake Baikal round the elevated Vitim plateau 
north-westwards, and which, from its size and volume, 
might be regarded as the true upper course of the Lena. 
Below the confluence the main stream is deflected by the 
scarp of the Yakutsk tableland for hundreds of miles 


east-north-east to Yakutsk, where it again resumes its 
normal northerly course to its delta in the Arctic Ocean, 
over against the archipelago of New Siberia. Below 
Yakutsk the Lena is again nearly doubled in size by two 
great affluents, the Al(^ from the StanoYoi uplands and 
the yihui from the low water-parting between the Lower 
Yenisei and Lena basins. The vast basin of the Lena, 
draining a total area of 1,000,000 square miles, is thus 
enclosed by those of the Yenisei, Amur, and Indigirka, 
and presents a total water highway of perhaps 6000 
miles, open, however, for only five or six weeks in the 

Expanding at the Aldan junction to 12 miles from 
bank to bank, the Lower Lena again contracts to 3 or 4 
miles as it approaches its delta, which is necurly 9000 
square miles in extent. Here the navigable channel is 
sometimes blocked throughout the whole summer by 
floes massed along this coast by the polar winds. Never- 
theless the Norwegian Johannsen succeeded in ascending 
the Lena to Yakutsk in the steamer Leva for the first 
time in 1878. But it is doubtful whether any regular 
navigation can ever be established with this river, whose 
basin belongs entirely to the Arctic Ocean. Yet this 
region abounds in copper, iron, coal, lead, gold, silver, 
sulphur, salt, and other minerals. The Yitim sends down 
auriferous sands in large quantities, and the Lena is 
skirted for over 900 miles by coal measures, often crop- 
ping out above the surface. In some places the coal- 
beds, kindled by forest fires, have been burning for years, 
giving rise to the reports heard from time to time of still 
active volcanoes in the Lena basin. 

Between the Yenisei and Lena basins two other 
large rivers — ^the Khatanga, 600 miles long, and the Ole- 
nek, double that length — enter the Frozen Ocean in sepa- 
rate channels. The Olenek is 6 miles wide and over 


20 feet deep at its mouth ; but both alike are practicallj 
useless as highways of trade.' 

This is also to a large extent true of the Tana, Indi- 
girka, and Eolima, flowing east of the Lena from the 
Verkhoyansk range northwards to the Arctic, as wdl as 
of the Anadir, flowing from the southern watershed to 
the Bering Sea. 

The Amur, whose basin is now politically divided 
between Bussia and China, promises at no distant date to 
become more important economically than all the Siberian 
rivers taken collectively. It is formed by the junction 
of the Shilka and Argun, the former flowing from Mount 
Kentai in the Khan-ula range mostly through Russun 
territory, the latter from the south side of the same rauge, 
under various names, such as Kerulen, Lukin, etc^ mostly 
through Chinese territory. The main stream is joined on 
its left bank by the Zeya at Blagevyeshchensk, above wMciL 
point it is navigable by light craft for several hundred 
miles from its mouth in the Gulf of Tartary over agaiust 
the island of Sakhalin. Below the Zeya its waters are 
swollen by the Bureya, also on its left, and by the Sun- 
gari and Usuri on its right bank. Between the Zeya aod 
XJsuri, a distance of 570 miles, it is accessible to lidfi 
drawing 8 feet, and thenceforth to deep-sea vessels, 
although a serious obstacle to navigation is offered by the 
bar at its mouth, with a depth of scarcely 13 feet 

On its seaward course the Amur has to force its iray 
through the Khingan range, separating the Mongolian 
plateau from Manchuria, and farther down throu^ the 
Sikhota-alin, by which its lower course is deflected almost 
due north iu a line with the Usuri Between these two 
points it breaks through the barrier of the Little Khingan, 
below the Bureya confluence, and again through the 
rugged Chanyatin uplands. Besides the bar, the shifto^ 
sands and intricate channels, both in the river itself and 


in the shallow waters between its mouth and Sakhalin, 
offer great obstacles to its navigation, which is farther 

closed by ice for six months in the year. Owing to these 
difBcnlties, the attention of the Sussians was long directed 


towarda the southern coast region, which they fiDally 
secured in 1860, and where they now possess the more 
or less convenient harbours of Castries Bay, Poit Im- 
perial, Olga Bay, America Bay, Victoria Baj (now by 
them renamed the Gulf of Peter the Great), and Possiet 
Harbour on the Korean frontier. 

On the south-west frontier of this maritime province 
is the extensive but shallow Lake Kenka (properly Haih 
hai), which is 65 miles long and about 25 wide, with an 
area of 1200 square miles, but is nowhere more than 30 
feet deep. This basin, which, notwithstanding its great 
extent, is a mere reservoir for the rainfall of the 8^^ 
rounding hills, drains through the Sungacha northwaids 
to the Usuri and Amur. 

4. JVati(Tal and Political Divisions : West Siberia {Chs- 
crnments of Tobolsk and Tomsk) — The Tundra- 
Hast Siberia {Oovemments of Yeniseisk, Irhiii, 
Transbaikalia) — Amv/r — Maritime ProvitM — 
Islands — SakJudin. 

The conflict between permanent physical conditioes 
and arbitrary political groupings, so common throughout 
the Bussian Empire, is mostly restricted in North Asa 
to West Siberia. Some portions of this region, whidi fi 
mainly comprised within the limits of the Ob basin, an 
attached to the Government of Turkest^, while othd 
portions are included in the European Governments of 
Perm and Orenburg. To European Bussia by a anions 
fiction are also attributed the Governments of Akmolinsk 
and Semipalatinsk, besides a part of Turgai, so that 
Tobolsk and Tomsk are the only West Siberian Oovem- 
ments which are not politically encroached upon. Tob- 
olsk is limited by the eastern slopes of the Urals, wbik 


Tomak comprises the Altai highlands and the upper 
waters of the Ob and IrtisL 

West Siberia. 

Seen from the eastern slopels of the metalliferous 
Ural range these lowlands seem to stretch away eastwards, 
like a limitless ocean plain. For some distance beyond 
liomen the land presents the aspect of a heath varied 
with a few plantations of sickly firs. This is succeeded 
by the steppe, which as far as the Irtish is diversified 
with birch and brushwood thickets, interspersed with 
extensive swamps and shallow basins. But east of the 
Irtish the country assumes the character of a true steppe, 
a boundless grassy plain, here and there relieved by a 
few bushes on the distant horizon. Beyond Omsk it 
presents the appearance of a prairie with roUing hills, 
covered with short grass, which affords pasturage for the 
herds and flocks of the Kirghiz nomads. But the steppe 
is distinguished from the prairie especially by the numer- 
ous lakes, some of considerable size, frequented by wild 
swans, ducks, and other waterfowl Towards Semipala- 
tinak, a feature of the sceneiy are the square graves of 
the Ejrghiz-Kazaks, made of the trunks of trees, and 
looking at a distance Uke little houses or log-huts. 

South of this place run the Arkat hUls, bare granite 
masses of grotesque form and rugged aspect, rising to a 
height of 1200 feet in picturesque outline above the 
surrounding treeless plains. At Sergiopol the snowy 
crests of the Tarbagatai range come into view. North 
of this point the slopes of the Ala-tau afford good pastur- 
age to magnificent herds of oxen, camels, horses, and fat- 
tailed sheep. Then follow the salt steppes, where animals 
and wayfarers sink at every step through the saline 
efflorescence covering the surface. But in the Ala-kul 


lacustrine district the ground is ovexgrown with an ex- 
tensive dense jungle of reeds, afiPording in winter a slight 
shelter to the Kirghiz from the fierce snow-storms. A 
striking contrast to these monotonous wastes is presented 
by the magnificent scenery of the upland valleys and 
alpine lakes on the slopes of the Ala-tau. 

Proceeding along the Ob valley north from Tobolsk, 
the impenetrable primeval woodlands are succeeded by 
dreary bottomless swamps, the true tundra, stretching 
without a break north and north-eastwards to the Ob 
and Yenisei estuaries. For eight long winter montlrs 
the firozen ground is here covered with snow, the glass 
often falls to 45'' below freezing point, and the oold 
converts the breath of animals into icy hoar frosL 
Birds on the wing often fall dead from l^e skies, the 
panes of glass start in their sashes, the hardened 
soil splits into wide and deep fissures, and the veiy ice 
on the lagoons bursts asunder. Here the fierce storm 
often rages for twenty-four hours at a time, during which 
man and beast remain patiently buried in the snow, as 
the only means of sheltering themselves from its fmj- 
The heavens are perpetually overcast with dull leaden 
clouds, the atmosphere is raw and humid, the longgloomj 
nights are relieved only at intervals by the magnificent 
phenomenon of the Northern Lights. 

Yet in summer the tundra can present even an 
inviting aspect. Nordenskjold, who explored the lowff 
course of the Yenisei in the August of 1875, in prepara- 
tion for his famous expedition by the north-east passage, 
denies that the tundra presents the aspect of a dreaiy 
ice-bound waste, relieved here and there only by a 
stunted growth of sickly vegetation. Such, according to 
him, is its aspect at one point only, on the Yenisei, the 
vegetation being elsewhere, and especially in the islands 
of the river, of a surprisingly luxuriant character. The 


fertility of the soil, the boundless extent of the meadow 
lands, and the abundance of pasturage render the tundra 
a splendid grazing ground. 

Farther south, between Turukansk and Yeniseisk, 
where the country is overgrown with extensive woodlands 
of great age, and succeeded near Krasnoyarsk by extensive 
plains covered with a thick layer of black mould, the 
tundra merges in a region fully as productive as the most 
favoured tracts in Scandinavia. Here the natural rich- 
ness of the soil, combined with the abundance of fish in 
the rivers, the sparse population, and the absence of 
markets, renders provisions of all kinds fabulously cheap. 
The Bev. H. Lansdell, who visited this region in 1879, 
was offered ** live ducks for five farthings each, large fish, 
called y€i88, for 1-^ a pair, and pike for a farthing each. 
Kilk cost 2^ a bottle, but young calves in remote 
villages could be purchased for 6d. eacL The belt of 
rich black earth in the region immediately north of the 
Altai lets for 3-|d. per acre, and firom it wheat may be 
purchased for about one-twentieth its cost in England. 
Still farther north, in the forest region, rich in excellent 
timber and fur^bearing animals, meat was bought up 
wholesale in 1877 at less than a halfpenny per pound ; 
whilst in the tundras the rivers are so full of fish that 
one of the ordinary diificulties of the natives is to avoid 
breaking their nets with the weight of the draught The 
fish are firozen and sent more than 2000 miles to St 
Petersburg, where a very moderate price realises for the 
fisherman a profit of nearly 100 per cent" ^ 

£ast Siberia, 

The course of the Yenisei marks the boundary line 
between West and East Siberia. Beyond this line the 

^ Paper in Proceedings of Royal Geogrc^hieal Society, October 1880. 

2 H 


plains axe far moire diversified, by hills, ridges, and e?en 
hilly plateaux often deflecting the course of tbe stieamg 
east and west, whereas in the Ob basin all ran north, 
north-west, and north-east In fact in East Siberia troe 
lowland plains of great extent are comparatively ran. 
Even in the Taimyr peninsula, between the Yenisei and 
Elhatanga estuaries, the coast ranges are said to attain 
elevations of from 3000 to 4000 feet, while the Ehaiafi- 
lakh hills between the Lower Lena and the Yana rise in 
some places to a height of 1300 feet Farther east and 
south occur the vast elevated plateaux of Yakutsk, Trans- 
baikalia, the Daurian and Kierchinsk steppes, the Stancma 
uplands, the Amur basin and Kamchatka, filling most of 
north-east Asia, and reducing the lowland formation to 
a relatively small area. Here also the YerkhoTassk 
water-parting runs at an elevation of from 5000 to 6000 
feet from the Lower Lena right across to the nordi-east 
coast ranges, thus completely separating the head-streams 
of the Yana, Indigirka, and Kolima from the Lena basin. 
Speaking generally, while the mean altitude of tk 
southern Altai mountain system falls gradually nortli- 
eastwards to the Stanovoi plateaux, the mean altitade d 
the northern region rises gradually from the Yenisei 
eastwards to the Bering Sea, here culminatiDg in the 
Kamchatka peninsula. Even between the Yenisei and 
Lena basins there is a plateau of palaeozoic f ormatioD. 

In East Siberia, although Kamchatka disappears fffs^ 
the administrative nomenclature, the political divisions 
otherwise mostly follow the natural lie of the land. 
Thus the vast Governments of Yeniseisk, Lrkutsk, and 
Yakutsk are mainly comprised in the Yenisei and Lena 
river basins, while the provinces of Transbaikalia and tbe 
Amur correspond with two physically distinct r^ons, 
the first stretching from Lake Bdkal to the Argon-Shilb 
confluence, the second comprising the r^on between the 


StanoYoi water-parting and the left bank of the Amur. 
Even the south-eastern divisions of the Usuii territory 
and the Maritime Province answer to two natural 
divisions, the first comprised between the right bank of 
the Usnri and the Sikhota-Alin highlands, the second 
indnding the strip of coast land between the eastern 
slopes of these highlands and the Sea of Japan. 

To these governments are attached the islands and 
groups of islands lying ofT their respective coasts. Of 
these the largest are the desolate and uninhabited New 
Siberian or Liakhov Archipelago north of the Lena delta,^ 
the Bear Islands north of the £olima estuary, Wrangel 
Land, discovered in 1849 by Kellet on the spot pre- 
viously indicated by Wrangel, and for the first time 
circiimnavigated in tiie summer of 1881 by the crew of 
the American steamer Bodgers, not in the vessel itself, as 
has been stated, but in the small boats belonging to it ;* 
lastly Sakhalin, whose northern extremity is almost con- 
nected with the mainland near the mouth of the Amur. 

Formerly held jointly by Bussia and Japan, Sakhalin ' 
(Saghalien) or Karasto was by the treaty of 1875 ceded 
by the latter power to Bussia in exchange for the Kurile 
Archipelago. It has an area of no less than 25,000 
square miles> and stretches for 550 miles north and south, 

^ A grant of 14,000 roubles has been made by the Government for two 
Polar observing stations at the Lena delta and on one of the islands of 
Kew Siberia daring the year 1882. 

' Beports have recently been current respecting the formal occapation of 
^ island both by the United States and the Dominion Government But 
whatever be the claim of Canada to its possession, the United States an 
understood to be barred by treaty engagements firom occupying any Arctic 
Ittdswest of Bering Strait The island appears to be about 60 miles long 
i&d quite uninhabitable. 

' This word is a corruption of the Manchu " Sakhalan anda Khanda" — 
tltat is, " Rock of the Amur Estuary" — applied originally to an islet in the 
month of the Amur, and afterwards, by mistake, extended to the island 
>Mw known as ** Sakhalin." 


with a breadth varyiiig from 15 to 80 miles. It ia 
traversed in its entire length by parallel ridges, of which 
the loftiest and most continuous is the west coast range 
with crests &om 3000 to nearly 5000 feet, culminating 
with La Martini^re (Ktonspal) Peak about the centre^ 
4860 feet From this chain, which nowhere reaches the 
snow-line, a few streams flow for short distances maiolj 
southwards to the coast Amongst the products the 
most important is coal, which, although inferior to the 
English, still commands higher prices than that of Japan 
or Australia. There are also extensive forests of valu- 
able timber, frequented by numerous fur-bearing animala. 
The climate and soil are unfavourable to agriculture, bnt 
vegetables may be grown and stock-breeding carried on 
in some sheltered districts. Latterly the Sussians have 
used this island chiefly as a convict settlement for poli- 
tical prisoners, who are sent thither by the sea route 
through the Suez GanaL The chief stations are Dni on 
the west coast, and Mauka Cove towards the south-west- 
extremity. The latter, of which a full account has 
recently been communicated by Captain Anderson to the 
British Hydrographic Office, has been chosen as the 
headquarters of a company which has just obtained from 
the Government the monopoly of the trade in fish, b§cfae 
de mer (trepang), edible seaweed, and other local pio- 
duce, for a term of ten years. 

5. Climate : Region of Intensest Cold. 

Amid much diversity, natural in such a wide area, 
the Siberian may on the whole be taken as the most 
essentially continental climate on the globe. Here the 
TnftYiTmiTn of cold is reached, not in the Yakutsk district^ 
as is commonly supposed, but in Verkhoyansk, on the 
Upper Yana, just within the Arctic Circle. Here the glass 


usually falls to 49^ C below freezing point in January, 
the mean in Yakutsk being 42° or 43°. " Within the 
isothennal of —40° C, a temperature at which the quick- 
silyer freezes, Verkhoyansk alone is included for the 
whole period from November to February, Yakutsk for 
December and January only, and Ustyansk (at the mouth 
of the Yana) for January only, while Tolstoy Noss (at the 
mouth of the Yenisei) lies beyond this isothermal" ^ It 
dso appears that in these very places the glass rises from 
28° to over 38° C, or occasionally as high as 102° F. in 
July and August, which is about the normal summer 
heat of most lands lying about the equator. No other 
region can show such amazing extremes as these, con- 
sequently the claim of North-East Siberia to the posses- 
sion of the most typical continental climate is established. 
It would seem to be at once colder than the North Pole,^ 
and hotter than many uplands under the equator, a con- 
dition due to the combination of more cold and heat 
producing causes than occur elsewhere in the northern 

But while the intense heat lasts only for a few weeks, 
the intense cold prevails for many months, the two ex- 
tremes being separated by short intervals of broken 
spring and autumn weather. The result is that in the 
course of ages the ground has gradually become per- 
manently frozen in many parts of the timdra from about 
2 feet below the surface to depths of from 100 to 300 
feet, and perhaps even more. It might be supposed that 
the great elevation of the Altai regions would have the 
effect of neutralising the difference of latitude, thus 

^ Vitrhandlunffen der Oea, fUr Erdkunde zu Berlin, July 1881, p. 

* The two poles of greatest cold in the old and new worlds oscillate 
ftlxmt Verkhoyansk and Oockbam Bay, Adelaide Peninsula (H. W. KliU' 
mHUk, of Schwatka's Expedition). 


rendering the southern highlands as cold as the notthem 
lowlands. But this is far from being the case, and as 
we proceed southwards the normal temperatore lises 
steadily. The Bussians compare the dimate of some 
places in these latitudes with that of Italy, and there can 
be no doubt that many of the Altai and Amur districts 
are favoured by a genial healthy dimate suitable for the 
development of agriculture. 

The prevailing winter winds are from the south and 
south-west between the Urals and the Yenisei, bat in 
the Lena basin from the north-west. These icy north- 
west gales blow steadily for months together, and are B 
far beyond the limits of Siberia in the Japanese wates, 
in the Amur basin, and^ on the Mongolian plateaux, h 
summer the rarefaction of the atmosphere causes Arc& 
breezes to prevail along the western seaboari But 
farther east these are succeeded by moist south-east 
winds from the Pacific, and to this cause the regions ea^ 
of Lake Baikal are indebted for their abundant rainfall 
On the coast lands the mean exceeds 40 inches, fidliiig 
westwards to 10 at Yakutsk and 8 at Kiakhta. In 
winter the snows are much lighter in the east than ia 
the west, and the Lower Lena and Yana basins, where the 
cold is intensest, are remarkable for their dear biae 
winter skies. 

6. Flora and Fawia : The ArgaJi, Marmot, and 
Lemming — Extinct MammMia. 

Li North Asia the northern limits of timber, while 
following the coast-line, scarcely anywhere reach the 
Arctic seaboard. Long before reaching their actual 
limits, the few stunted larches straggling northwards 
assume strange distorted forms, trailing rather along the 
surface than shooting upwards, and often presenting the 


agpect of withered branches or dead trunks of trees. 
Nevertheless, in his expedition down the Obi in 1880, 
Khandachefsky discovered a magnificent forest of large 
cedars and larch in the valley of the Biver KadTin, at a 
point where Fetennann places the extreme northern limit 
of the forest zona 

This forest zone, or '*taiga»" consisting mainly of 
species common to Europe, stretches almost nninter^ 
ruptedly right across the continent, merging everywhere 
northwards in the tundra. Here the vegetation consists 
ahnoet exclusively of mosses, lichens, and grasses. South 
of the forest zone the Ob basin is occupied by the steppe, 
which in some respects resembles the tundra, both pre- 
senting the same cheerless, monotonous aspect, and 
absence of timber. Even the same species are often 
found in both, such differences as exist being caused by 
deficient moisture in the steppe, and deficient heat in the 
tondra. Sometimes particular species of reindeer and 
other mosses predominate in the tundra, imparting a pale 
white or a dull yellow aspect to the scenery for miles and 
miles along the lower reaches of the great rivers. 

In the taiga^ the prevailing trees are the larch, birch, 
alder, cedar, and a noble species of pine peculiar to 
Siberia, which shoots up to a height of nearly 100 feet, 
with a slender stem seldom exceeding a foot in diameter. 
But perhaps the most characteristic plants are those 
producing berries in great variety and abundance. These 
uncultivated fruits supply food to man and beast, and 
quantities are preserved for use during the winter. 

In the remote volcanic peninsula of Kamchatka, the 

^ This term is used somewhat differently in different parts of Siberia. 
In the Altai it means the wooded uplands abounding in fu^bearing 
animals ; in the north it is applied to the zone of uninhabited woodland 
tracts bordering on the mossy tundra, which stretches thence to the Arctic 


banks of the inland waters are decked with a dotihii^ of 
grass, growing with an almost tropical luxuriance, ]Ilte^ 
spersed with bright flowers, alpine rose-bushes, Hu 
cinquefoil, and the rare Kamchadale lily. The popk 
and the birch grow in clusters on the lowlands, while the 
slopes of the hills are covered with the sombre foliage of 
extensive pine-fprests. 

The prevailing humidity of the Pacific seaboard has 
also favoured the development of a magnificent v^etatiaoi 
in the Amur basin, where the flora, especially in & 
islands and along the river-banks, abounds in endkaB 
varieties of leafy shrubs and undei^growtha Here also 
the conifers, oak, elm, ash, walnut, cork-tree, maple, and 
linden, often attain majestic proportions. On the Vm 
the ginseng is largely cultivated for the market of Chiiia» 
where this plant fetches its weight in gold, and wheie ii 
is supposed to be a sovereign remedy against all dis- 
orders. The wild vine in some places yields a good 
grape, and the grasses flourish with astonishing luxnii- 
ance ; for in this more favoured region the flora indndei 
plants peculiar to the cold, temperate, and warm zones. 

This is also laigely true of the animal kingdom, h 
Manchuria the tiger reaches his northernmost limit, and 
is here associated with the panther, lynx, glutton, and 
wolf. There are two species of bear, and a transition is 
efifected to the fauna of Siberia proper by the saUe, 
black and red fox, marten, ermine, and other fur-beacog 
animals. The cedar -groves are here enlivened espe- 
cially by a species of dark-gray squirrel, whose skin n 
much prized, fetching large prices on the spot l^ie 
ruminants are represented chiefly by the deer, elk, W 
and musk-deer, while there are over 200 species of hiidi 
The Amur, and especially the Usuri Biver, with Lake 
Kenka^ are incredibly rich in fishes, including the 
sturgeon, salmon, carp, sterlet, and many other varieties. 


This teeming animal life has elsewhere its coimter- 
part in the prodigious multitudes of marmots and other 
species of small rodents inhabiting vast tracts firom the 
Tarbagatai right away to Kamchatka and the extreme 
north-eastern Chukchi lands. The ground in many 
places is honeycombed with the galleries and subterranean 
townships of these pretty little troglodytes, who may at 
times be seen moimting guard in interminable Knes on 
the hillocks at the entrance of their dwellings, suddenly 
disappearing at the least sound, and as suddenly re- 
appearing to ascertain the cause of the alarm. 

Equally abundant in the north-east are the lemmings. 
The line of march of these migratory rodents often 
stretches for miles across the plains between their winter 
quarters and summer camping-grounds. In Kamchatka 
a lasting alliance has been struck between them and the 
natives. Whenever the latter are driven by distress to 
draw from the supplies of their provident little friends 
during their absence on some distant expedition, they are 
always careful to replace the stores in more prosperous 
times. It is also said that, to guard against similar 
plunder by other less scrupulous marauders, the lemmings 
conceal their underground granaries with poisonous herbs.^ 

Most of the fm>bearing animals have disappeared 
firom these north-eastern r^ons, causing many of the old 
hunting stations to be abandoned. But in Kamchatka 
the trappers still obtain from 6000 to 8000 sable skins 
for the Bussian market In other parts of Siberia many 
species of these animals are also becoming extinct. But 
here their destruction is often due as much to the 
destruction of the taiga as to the skill of the trapper. 

In West Siberia birds are very nmnerous, and here 
amongst the more characteristic species are the golden 
eagle, the white-throated alpine lark, and the gray-headed 

^ So^ at least, KraBheniimikoT was informed by the xiatives. 


wagtail. In this T^on the Arkat hills stiU afford a 
refuge to the Argali {Ovis ammon), a magnifioent moun- 
tain sheep, with enormous thick and twisted horn over 
three feet long. This species, whose original home seems 
to be the Central Asiatic plateau, resembles in its habits 
the steinbok and chamois, and, owing to its extnoidisaij 
speed and velocity, is very difficult to bring down. 

Of domestic animals, the most useful aie the &i- 
tailed sheep and camel in the steppe, the reindeer in & 
tundra, and the yak in the Upper Yenisei basin, where it 
reaches its northernmost limits. 

Siberia was in former epochs the home of a luge 
species of rhinoceros and of the mammoth, some speci- 
mens of which have in recent times been found preserved 
by the ice in an almost perfect state.^ Vast quantities of 
fossil ivory from these animals, amounting at one time to 
40,000 lbs. yearly, have been obtained in the archipehgo 
of New Siberia, and parts of the Arctic seaboard 

7. InhaMtants : Table of the Siberian Baces — The Atrial 
and Mongolian Buddhism — The Tungvxes, 7ah^ 
KoriaJcs, Kamchadales, Ostiaks, and ISuimanism^^ 
Samoyedes and Vogvls. 

Excluding the Bashkirs, who dwell chiefly west of 
the Ural Biver, and the Kara -Kirghiz and EiighKE* 
Kazaks, whose camping-grounds lie chiefly south of the 
Aralo-Caspian and Ob water-parting, the native inhalfr 
ants of Siberia scarcely number 750,000 altogether, ind 
even these, few as they are, seem to be mostly in a procea 
of more or less rapid extinction or absorption in the 
advancing Slav element Certainly Siberia belongs hence- 
forth to the Bussians, in the same sense that Australia 

* A rhinoceros by Pallas in 1771 on the Yitin ; a mammoth 1^ Adtf!^ 
in 1799 on the Lena, and others daring the present centniy. 


has become a new home of the English race. They have 
already occupied a continuous broad zone stretching &om 
Europe across West Siberia and along the southern 
highlands to Lake Baikal, and thence through Trans- 
baikalia and down the Amur and up the Usuri to the 
Pacific seaboard. Here they are firmly established at 
Nikolayevsk and Vladivostok, the extreme northern and 
southern points of the Maritime Province. They have 
also occupied both banks of the Yenisei throughout its 
entire course, most of the Ob and Irtish, the Lena down 
to Takutsk uninterruptedly, besides numerous detached 
stations on the Lower Lena» in Kamchatka, Sakhalin, and 
elsewhere. Large portions of the really arable lands are 
thus already hdd by Bussian agricultural colonies, and 
great efforts are now being made by the Government to 
direct the migrations of the peasantry from Europe to the 
Amur basin. Certain tracts, such as the distinctly steppe 
region of West Siberia, will doubtless continue to remain 
in the hands of the natives, for they are uninhabitable 
except by nomad tribes. But all the broad lands avail- 
able for cultivation will be occupied by the Slav race. 

None of the natives have any vitality except the 
Yakuts of the Lena basin and the Eorghiz of the West 
Siberian steppes. The Ostiaks of the Ob basin and the 
Yukaghirs of the Indigirka and Kolima Bivers are actually 
dying out, and a similar fate threatens to overtake the 
Giliaks of Sakhalin and opposite mainland, as well as the 
Samoyedes of the Lower Ob and Yenisei 

With the exception of the still unclassified " Hyper- 
horean" group, all the aborigines belong to various 
branches of the Mongolo- Tatar ethnical and linguistic 
family. From the subjoined table of these races the 
Bashkirs and Kiighiz are omitted, the main sections of 
these races being included in Europe and the Aralo- 
Caspian basin respectively : — 




BariatB (East 

Enriats (West 



tJgrians . 

Mongolian Stock. 




Targuts . 


Tnrbets . 

' Endara . 


rTnnka . 


Olkhon . 

Kuda . 


^Alank . 


jsta and Sha-l ^^^ 
uta . . ./ ' 

^ Shamanists, BnddhistB, \ 250 ON 
^ and Ghriatiana . / ' 

Manohu Stock. 

Golds . 
Kegdas . 
Tan . 
^Olenes . 

Finnic Stock. 

'Ynraks . 
Tagors . 


Koibals . 
Soyots . 
Motors . 

Shamanists and no-\ 
minal Christians . / 

LTagvis . 

'Ostiaks . 

Voffuls . 


Soyons . 

Mixed Finno-Tatars -l Assan 

Arinzi . 
Kotti . 

Shamanists and no-l 
minal ChristiAns . / 

Kominal GSiristians. 

i Buddhists 






TakntB . 
Bed Tatars 
Black Tatars 
TeleutB . 

Ti^RXi Stock. 

Chzistians and Shamaniirta 


|- Mostly Christians . 

Snnnis . 



UKCLAssnrizD sub-Abotio Races. 

Koriaks . 
Kam(madales . 
Ankali, extinct f 
Giliaks . 
Eskimos . 

Great Russians . 
Little Russians. 


Pagans and nominal Christians 
Shamanists .... 
Nominal Christians 


Slay Stock. 



Roman Catholics mostly 










Chinese . 
Hanchus . 
Koreans . 
Japanese . 







The Mongolian race is in Siberia best represented not 
by the Kahnuks, but by the less known Buriats, who have 
been long settled on both sides of Lake Baikal Previous 
to the Eussian conquest all were still addicted to the old 
Shamanist religion of Sibeiia. But towards the dose 
of the seventeenth century those dwelling east of Lake 
Baikal adopted Buddhism, while most of the others con- 
fonned to the Orthodox ChurcL Like most Mongolian 
peoples, the Buriats are of a decidedly phlegmatic tem- 
perament, betraying such an inborn disinclination to work 
that they often need the stimulus of actual himger to 


exert themselves in any way. They aie stolid, leserved, 
sullen, and imcourteous to strangers. Through the Bna- 
sians they have acquired a passionate love of drink and 
tobacco, and children eight or nine years old are nov 
often met with Chinese pipes in their mouths. The 
Buriats are in other respects a harmless, peaoe-loTiog 
peopla Amongst them murder is rare, and highway 
robbery unknown, although they are still prone to acts o( 
petty theft. Formerly nomads and stock-breeders, they 
have recently become successful agriculturists, and also 
show a marked capacity for industrial pursuits, (^ 
proving more skilful than their Russian teachers. 

Beneath an outward show of Buddhism and Chiia- 
tianity, the Buriats, like so many other Siberian peoples, 
are still at heart genuine Shamanists. The Shamanistic 
cult, which is based entirely on oral tradition, and whidi 
is little removed from nature-worship, was formerlj uni- 
versally diffused throughout Siberia. But it oouH 
scarcely hope long to resist the attacks of the Buddh^ 
propaganda, supported as this was by a zealous priest- 
hood and a rich religious literatura 

Of the Buddhist Sacerdotal order there are thee 
degrees in Siberia, the two first alone bearing the title d 

Notwithstanding their ignorance, the Lamas have 
betrayed a fanatical zeal in the cause of Buddhism, every* 
where suppressing Shamanistic practices, and even suoceBS- 
fully resisting the spread of Russian Christianity amongst 
the aborigines of East Siberia. 

Conterminous on the north with the Buriats aie the 
Tunguses, who occupy an enormous domain in East 
Siberia, stretching from the Yenisei to the Pacific sea* 
board, and at two points reaching northwards to the 
Frozen Ocean. In the Lena basin this domain is laigeir 
encroached upon by the Yakuts ; but the coast lands 


from the Amur nearly to the Arctic Circle axe still 
almost exclasiyely held by the various divisions of the 
widespread Tiuigus family. The Tungoses contrast most 
favourably not only with the sluggish Buriats, but with 
all the other races of Siberia. Travellers are never 
wearied of extolling their many admirable qualities ; and 
there can be no doubt that they are one of the very 
noblest types of mankind. They are cheerful under the 
most depressing circumstances, persevering, open-hearted, 
trustworthy, modest yet self-reliant, a fearless race of 
hunters, bom amidst the gloom of their dense pine- 
forests, exposed from the cradle to every danger from 
wild beasts, cold, and hunger. Want and hardships of 
every kind they endure with surprising fortitude, and 
nothing can induce them to take service under the Eus- 
sians, or quit their solitary woodlands, where they cheer- 
fully face the long and harsh winters, when the snow- 
storm often rages for days together. 

The dress of the Tunguses is picturesque, and even 
el^ant, especially when contrasted with the coarse and 
slovenly garb of the Buriats. " Surprising resemblances 
in the designs of the materials seem to show that the 
Tunguses must at one time have maintained constant 
intercourse with Japan." ^ 

Most of the Tunguses in the Bcdkal district have 
been baptized ; but Bussian orthodoxy has scarcely pene- 
trated below the surface. They look on the rites of the 
Church as mere formalities, practising them only under 
compulsion, or in the presence of the Eussians. When 
engaged in the chase, or remote from the European settle- 
ments, they are still true nature-worshippers. 

Hemmed in and continually encroached upon, especi- 
ally by the Bussians and Yakuts, the Tungus race seems 
destined to ultimate extinction as a distinct nationality. 

^ Seehu, vi. p. 859. 


The domain of the Yakuts, who aie the most enetgeiac 
and versatile of all the Siberian peoples, lies maioly on 
both sides of the Middle and Lower Lena, with isolated 
settlements on the left bank of the Lower Indigirka and 
Upper Kolima. This is the north-easternmost point 
reached by the Tdrki race, of which the Yakuts are a 
distant branch. During their migrations eastwards ti» 
Yakuts have become largely intermingled especially wi& 
the Tunguses. Their Ttirki type has thus become so 
profoundly modified, that their original kinship with tk 
Western Tiirki peoples, ftom whom they are separated bj 
a vast interval, is now attested chiefly by their speed 
At the same time, there is perhaps some exaggeratkio 
in the oft-repeated statement that the Lena Yakots and 
the Osmanli of Stambul can easily converse together. 

While all the other aborigines of Siberia seem to be 
dying out, the Yakuts are actually increasing in nnmbeis.' 
Hiey have been not inaptly described by Wrangd as 
" men of iron," and more inured to cold than peihaps anf : 
other people in the world. Their territory includes hcA \ 
Yakutsk and Verkhoyansk comprised within the zone i \ 
intensest cold in the old world. Yet they seem to | 
be almost indifferent to the rigours of a dimate whoc i 
the glass falls in winter to nearly 50"" below freeiiiig ; 
point In a temperature of —32'' R, Kennan met tbm 
airily arrayed in nothing but a short shirt and a sheepskia, : 
lounging about, joking or gossiping, as if they were Gijof i 
ing the balmy summer zephyrs of some favoured tempenti i 
zone. They are at the same time extremely industriom^ I 
skilful artisans and agriculturists, and probably the mo^ 
intelligent traders in North Asia. From their preta^ 
natural cleverness in driving a bargain the less quick* 
witted Russians have named them the '* Jews of Siberia** 

^ From about 50,000 in the beginning of the century to 200,000 a 


and, unless it be the Chinese, they certainly yield in 
this respect to no other Asiatic people. 

In their greater frugality the Chinese have also the 
advantage over the Yakut, who, with all his inherent 
energy and powers of endurance, seldom works except 
under pressure of actual want. 

Although mostly baptized, the Yakuts are no better 
Christians than the Tunguses and the other " converts " 
to Bussian orthodoxy in Siberia. Beneath the outward 
parade of Christianity they are not merely Shamanists 
but true nature -worshippers at heart. With many 
curious rites they conjure the powers of nature, filling 
mountain, stream, and valley with many good and evil 
spirits, whose numbers have been increased by additions 
from the Calendar and pandemonium of the Bussians. 
Above all there is doubtless a supreme being ; but he is 
too far off to hear their prayers, or too good to need their 
supplications. It is the evil ones who require to be pro- 
pitiated, as no harm can come from the good spirits. 
The two principles of good and evil took part in the 
creation, the former making the earth small and level, 
the latter coming and tearing it up enraged, whence the 
hills and the valleys. And the valleys became river- 
beds, and the great lakes and seas gathered roimd about 
the high mountains. 

Beyond and partly overlapping the Yakuts and 
Tunguses is the interesting group of "Hyperboreans," 
filling the Chukchi and Kamchatka peninsulas, and 
occupying a portion of Sakhalin and of the opposite 
mainland about the Lower Amur. Since Nordenskjold's 
expedition round the north-east coast, the Chukchis, who 
give their name to the north-eastern peninsula, have 
again been the subject of much controversy. But there 
can be little doubt that W. H. Dall is right in affiliating 
them to the Koriaks, who probably form a connecting 



link between them and the Kamchadales. M tkn 
tribes, together with the neighbouring Yukagirs, would k 
readily grouped with the Mongolo-Tatar peoples, but for 
their speech, which differs in its structure fundam^itallj 
firom the Ural-Altaic linguistic fiEunily. But it will be 
seen in Chapter XIIL (Japan), that the Ainos, if notabo 
the Giliaks, stand on a different footing, and must lie 
separated altogether &om both connections. 

The Koriaks, probably the parent stock of all tlie 
sub- Arctic races except the Ainos, possess many ooid- 
mendable qualities, and are especially noteworthy fordieir 
gentle and kindly disposition. A harsh word is never 
uttered against their women, and the children are treated 
with extreme tenderness. Hence all the more sarpiisb^ 
seems the long prevalent practice of despatchiog therr 
nearest kindred when enfeebled by age or infirmiti^ 
But this inconsistency is more apparent than real 1^ 
weak and aged are both alike incapable of perfonniirg 
the offices or undergoing the hardships inseparable bm 
the nomad state. Hence to these imtutored children of 
nature it seems a merciful act to spare them a lingering 
death by this means. 

Essentially distinct from the Koriaks are the LamiA 
who dwell on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, and «b) 
are evidently a branch of the Tungus or Manchu familT. 

The Kamchadales, or aborigines, of the Kamchatka 
peninsula, differ both in speech and appearance from tie 
neighbouring Koriaks. They are favourably spokai i 
by Kennan and other travellers who have visited theB^ 
but since the year 1780 they have been reduced to one-htf 
their former number by disease, famine, and other tzoohka 
In summer they spear the salmon as they ascend tk; 
stream, and cultivate a little rye, potatoes, and tami}4| 
besides which they keep some cattle and barter ih&i f^ 
with the Eussians for tea and sugar. The interior d 


their houses is scrupulously clean^ the walls, roof, and 
floor being planked over mth rough but spotless birch 
boards, while the windows are adorned with chintz 
curtains and the walls hung with American engravings ; 
bat the doors are so low that ingress has to be effected 
on all fours. All have long been Christians, and the 
little Byzantine church is never missing in the centre of 
the villages, which invariably stand amidst clumps of 
trees on the banks of streams abounding in fish. Some 
of the northern islands of the Kurile Archipelago are 
inhabited by the Kamchadales. 

In West Siberia nearly all the still surviving 
aborigines are members of the widespread Finnish race. 
The Finns are supposed to have come originally from the 
Altai and Sayan highlands, where they are stiU repre* 
sented by the Soyots. These Soyots, by many regarded 
as the parent stock of the race, occupy a considerable 
area about the head-waters of the Yenisei, on both sides 
of the Busso-Chinese frontier, reaching from the Tanu- 
ola range northwards to the Krasnoyarsk district, and 
firom the Upper Yenisei eastwards to the Buriat domain 
about Lake Baikal. They are extremely skilful artisans, 
and seem to have inherited the arts of the so-called 
" Chudes," an extiuct prehistoric race, traces of whose 
culture are still met in various parts of Siberia. 

The other branches of the Finnish stock in Siberia 
are the Ostiaks, Samoyedes, and Yoguls. The Ostiaks 
are scattered in isolated groups along the Ob basin north- 
wards to the estuary, and eastwards to the Yenisei 
between Yeniseisk and Turukhansk. In this wide 
domain of some 400,000 square miles they scarcely 
number 25,000 souls altogether, and seem to be every- 
where either rapidly dying out or becoming absorbed 
amongst the surrounding Russian settlers. Their old 
national organisation is completely broken up, and they 


have almost ceased to dwell in settled abodes asDce tk 
destnictioii of their villages and strongholds by ihe eadj 
Bnssian invaders of West Siberia. They formerly pud 
tribute in peltries, but with the gradual disappeaianoe of 
the fur-bearing animals the taxes have been raised is 
specie. Such is the depressed condition of the race, tint 
it has been proposed to distribute the children among^ 
the Bussian peasantry, and leave the adults to die oat in 
the course of nature. 

Even after death the prospects of the Ostiaks aie ttoi 
of the brightest ; for although there is a '* third voddl" 
where there are no more bodily ailments, they never lesdi 
this stage, but are confined to the ''second world," afar 
less happy abode lying somewhere beyond the Ocean, awij 
north of the Ob estuary. Their belief in Shamanism is 
still unshaken, and nowhere else does the wizard, at 
medicine -man, enjoy more influence than among the 
Ostiak tribes. The brave man may possess bodilj 
strength, they say, but the Shaman has the words oi 
wisdom. The strong man may hurl the dart, but its 
course is directed by the Shaman, through whom alone it 
hits or misses the mark. 

A still more primitive people are the Samoyedes, 
whose territory lies mostly within the Arctic Circle froB 
the head-waters of the Khatanga westwards to tie 
Kanin peninsula. They are usually represented as 
dwelling on the Arctic seaboard ; but the eastern cff 
Tavgi branch do not appear to have anywhere quite 
reached the coast, which they hold to be the rightfnl 
domain of the " white bear people." 

Some of the Samoyedes are baptized, but all alib 
are true Pagans, or idol-worshippers. Their gods a» 
carnivorous, and are fond of raw flesh, which is accord- 
ingly thrust between their teeth at stated times. 11* 
Khatanga tribes keep entirely aloof; but some of the 


otbeis have already become assiimlated to the Bossians, 
while others on the Ket and other eastern tributaries of 
the Ob are spoken of as " Ostiaks." 

The eastern slopes of the Urals are occupied by the 
Vpguls, who reach southwards to Yekaterinburg, and 
eastwards along the Konda valley nearly to the Lower 
Irtish. < Eeduced merely to a handful, the Yoguls were 
formerly a powerful people, representing the primitive 
stock, whence came the Magyars of Hungary. 

** like many other Finnish peoples, the Voguls have 
their family totems tattooed on their heads, arms, and 

" The Voguls are probably the least sociable of the 
Siberian aborigines. In summer they live in isolated 
family groups ; in winter they pitch their tents or build 
their huts far apart from each other. Even the family 
spirit seems but slightly developed. The hunter may 
have one or more wives according to his means, but the 
least disturbance dissolves the union, and the husband 
will then often live quite alone, accompanied only by his 
reindeer and dog." ^ 

8. Topoffraphy : Omsk — Tobolsk — TekateriTiJywrff — Tomsk 
— Beresov — Obdorsk — Sm^inogorsk — Barnaul — 
Semipalatinsk — Krasnoyarsk — Irkutsk — KiakJda — 

The Siberian towns claim consideration rather for 
their prospective than their actual size and importance. 
Many hamlets, consisting of fifty or sixty log-huts, such 
as Turukhansk or Okhotsk, figure in large letters on the 
maps, either because they are the official centres of 
administration, or because they are the only stations or 
settlements occurring for hundreds of miles in the almost 

* Recl%u, vi. p. 340. 


uninhabited regions of East Siberia Exclndiiig YAs- 
terinburg, which is comprised in the Eoropean Gotod- 
ment of Perm, there are only three towns altogether with 
upwards of 20,000 inhabitants — Irkutsk, Omsk, aod 

Tomsk ; and beside Yakutsk, there is oq« only in tba 
whole of East Siberia, Krasnoyarsk, whose pc^toiatim 
exceeds 10,000. Yet some of these towns cover rut 
spaces, being laid out with broad, atra^ling streets, ani 



low wooden houses in the midst of extensive plantations 
and waste grounds. Most of them are concentrated in the 
Ob basin, which alone contains about four-fifths of the 
entire population of North Asia. All, except Tiumen, are 
comparatiyely new, dating since the Eussian conquest/ 
and none of them can boast of any '' monuments " in the 
Eoropean sense. The drearj monotony of log-cabins and 
wooden huts is seldom relieved by anything beyond a few 
whitewashed houses and pubUc buildings, such as the 
official quarters, barracks, convict prisons, and the like, 
all designed on a uniform plan, and imposing only because 
of their mean surroundings. 

In the Ob basin the largest place is Omsk, capital of 
West Siberia, which takes its name from the Om, standing 
at the confluence of that river with the Irtish. Here the 
Government buildings are of brick, and besides some ex- 
tensive wastes Omsk contains several churches, including 
one for the Kossaks, one for the Soman Catholics, and a 
third for the Protestants, besides a large mosque for the 
surrounding Bashkirs and Elirghiz. Lower down the Irtish, 
Tobolsk presents from a distance a really picturesque ap- 
pearance, perched as it is on a bluff facing the junction 
of the Tobol from the north-west. From Tobolsk the 
steamers ascend the Tobol to the Tura, on which stands 
Tinmen, which claims to be the oldest place in Siberia. 
Above the Tura the Tobol is joined by the Isset from the 
Urals, about the head-waters of which stands Yekaterin- 
bnig, centre of the important mining industries of this 
r^on. Standing almost on the verge of the two con- 
tinents, Yekaterinburg presents more the aspect of a 
European city than any other in Siberia. It is the pre- 

^ Eren Sibir, capital of the Tatar kingdom, overthrowu by Termak in 
1581, has been washed away, with the bank of the Tobol River on which it 
stood. Bat Tnmen (Tinmen), which appears on Herbertstein's old map 
(1549), is still a flourishing place. 


sent Asiatic tenniims of the Bnssian railway syston. 
Here are a meteorological observatory and the " Society 
of the Ural Naturalists/' besides extensive poiphyir, 
malachite, jasper, rock-crystal, and other ateliers, vhon 
products adorn the palaces and museums of eveiy dty in 

In this district are several large mining stations, tk 
general entrepdt for which is Irbit^ at the junction of tbe 
Eivers Irbit and Nitza. A mere village during most of 
the year, Irbit becomes the Siberian Kijni Novgorod 
duiing the annual fair, when it is visited by 15,000 to 
20,000 dealers, whose wares exchange hands to the valiK 
of about £1,750,000. 

In the eastern parts of the Ob basin the chief plsee 
is Tomsk, on the Tom above its jxmction with the Ok 
Tomsk is the centre of a very laige local trade, and some 
of its streets, with their bright and well-stocked sbop^ 
present quite a cheerful aspect Here was laid, in 1880, 
the first stone of the Siberian University, which with ill 
future botanic garden and other branches is destined to 
render Tomsk the intellectual centre of North Asia. Heie 
begin the extensive gold-fields discovered in 1830, whidi, 
before the opening of the Califomian £1 Doradoes, yielded 
more of the precious metal than the whole of America 

Some 640 miles below Tobolsk, on the verge of the 
forest and tundra zones, lies the little town of Bei«oT, 
on the banks of the Sosva, near its junction with the Ot, 

In the Altai uplands the chief mining stations are 
Ziryanovsk, Smeinogorsk, and Verkhniy Pristen. At fte 
latter place the ores are shipped on a peculiar kind of 
craft called " karabass," and floated down the Irtish to 
Ust-Bukhtarminsk. The road beyond Ust-Kamenogoisk 
to Smeinogorsk crosses a cultivated hilly district, dotted 
over with several large villager Here is probably the 
oldest mine in the Altai region. But the operations have 


been lately suspended, and replaced by the smelting 
works for the ores brought down &om Ziryanovsk, 
Sybinsk, and elsewhere. Not far £rom Smeinogorsk is 
the famous imperial stone-polishing establishment of 
EoUvan, where the finest porphyries^ jaspers, and marbles 
are dressed, but only for such large objects as chimney- 
pieces, moniunental vases, tables, slabs, and the like. 

From Kolivan the way leads through the Baraba 
steppe north to Barnaul, the chief town in the Altai 
highlands. This place, which lies on the left bank of the 
Upper Ob, in an extremely fertile and flourishing district, 
possesses several scientific institutions and technical 

South-west of Barnaul lies the busy agricultural town 
of Semipalatinsk, most of whose inhabitants are Siberian 
Tatars, distinct from the Kirghiz, partly Sunnis, partly 
Christians, with seven mosques and two churches. Here 
the broad, sandy streets, lined with low wooden houses, 
give the place the appearance of a city of dunes. The 
road leading thence southwards to Lake Balkhash passes 
by Seigiopol, whence a view is commanded of the snowy 
Tarbagatai range. 

In the Yenisei basin the first place of any conse- 
quence crossed by the main route from Tomsk is 
Krasnoyarsk on the Upper Yenisei, in a fertQe district, 
where the streams wash down auriferous sands. Below 
the junction of the Yenisei and Angara lies the little 
town of Yeniseisk, centre of a vast administration, and 
near the head of the Angara, where it emerges from LaJse 
Baikal, stands the city of Irkutsk, capital of East Siberia 
In some respects Irkutsk is the most important, as it is 
the largest, city in Siberia. Frequently wasted by fires, 
it has always risen rapidly from its ashes, and, thanks to 
its vital position on the trade and military route through 
Kiakhta to China, it must always remain an important 


place. Irkutsk is also a great centre of the fin trade, 
and amongst its public institutions are a gymnasiuiD, 
library, theatre, and a flourishing geographical society. 

In Transbaikalia the main highway leads up the 
Selenga valley to the Chinese border, where stand the 
well-known trading towns of Eoakhta on the Bussianand 
Maimachin^ on the Chinese frontier. Through these 
places pass the great tea, silk, and rhubarb caravans bm 
China to Bussia. But £iakhta has lost mudi of tliis 
trade since the opening of the Suez Canal, whidi has 
developed a sea-borne traffic between the Chinese ftee 
ports and Odessa on the Black Sea. 

In the north-eastern regions Verkhoyansk on the 
Upper Yana and within the Arctic Circle is notewoithy 
as perhaps the coldest place on the globe. But here tk 
most considerable town is Yakutsk on the left bank d 
the Middle Lena above its junction with the Aldan. 
This is the proper capital of the Yakut nation, Uie mo^t 
enterprising and prosperous of all the indigenous race& 

There are no large towns in the Amur provinea 
Blagoveshchensk, the capital, having scarcely 300f 
inhabit£uits. But on the coast are the two impoitast 
naval and trading stations of Nikolayevsk and Vladi- 
vostok, the former at the mouth of the Amur, the latlei 
close to the Korean frontier on the Sea of Japan. ^ 
Nikolayevsk has lost much of its importance as the peat 
of entry of the Amur, owing to its severe climate and to 
intricate navigation of the river, which is usually bloded 
with ice for six months in the year. Vladivostok — that 
is, " Euler of the East " — ^was founded lower down tie 
coast in 1860 to obviate these inconveniences. Con- 
siderable sums have already been spent on its docks* 
piers, arsenals^ and fortifications, with the intoitioa d 
making it the chief naval station on the Pacific seaboard. 

^ That is, Mai^Mci'Okm:^ *< The Chinese Mart'* 


9. Highways of Communication : The TraM — Bailway 


Few regions present fewer obstacles than Siberia to 
the general movement of the population. Doubtless many 
parts of the taiga are almost impenetrable, and the great 
rivers run mainly in the direction of the meridian. But 
beyond the limits of the dense forest zone the open steppe 
and boundless rolling plains stretch with little interrup- 
tion from the Urals to the Pacific seaboard. Even of the 
great rivers, the Middle Amur flows east and west, while 
many of the tributaries of the others follow the same 
direction. A great navigable highway, broken only by 
two short portages between the Ob, Yenisei, and Lena 
basins, thus affords a natural line of communication across 
North Asia to within a short distance of the east coast of 
the Lena and Aldan, and quite to the coast by the Amur. 
This circumstance, combined with the sparseness of the 
population, explains the surprising rapidity with which 
the whole land was overrun by the Kossaks within 
twenty years of Yermak's second expedition, resulting in 
the capture of Sibir in 1581. Since then the country 
has been traversed with comparative ease in all directions 
by naturalists and scientific explorers, such as Gmelin 
(1733-42), Pallas (1771-2), Lesseps (1787-8), Wrangel 
(1821-3), Erman (1828-30), Castren (1842-3), Midden- 
dorflf (1843), Eadde (1855-9), Venyukov (1856), 
Krapotkin (1865-6), Finsch (1876), and many others. 
Yet the survey of the seaboard can scarcely be said to 
have been completed till Nordenskjold successfully made 
the north-east passage in 1878-9. 

From Yekaterinburg, the present Asiatic terminus of 
the Perm railway, the great caravan route runs across the 
Tobol and Ishim valleys to Omsk. Here one branch 
follows the Irtish valley southwards through Semi- 


palatmsk and Sergiopol to Lake Balkhash and the Hi 
valley. But the great Siberian trunk line is continued 
from Omsk for 400 miles across the Baraba steppe to 
£olivan on the Ob. Here it is deflected southwards to 
Tomsk, whence it runs due east as feu* as Krasnoyank on 
the Yenisei, and thence north-east to Irkutsk on the 
Angara. From Irkutsk the communication is maintained 
both by steamer across Lake Baikal and by land ronnd 
its southern extremity to the Selenga A^alley, where the 
trade route runs southwards to Kiakhta on the Chinese 
fix)ntier. Another line is continued eastwards aciOBS 
Transbaikalia and over the Yablonovoi range down to 
Chita on the Shilka Biver. Here the road mainly follows 
the course of the Shilka across the Nierchinsk steppe to 
the Amur and down the main stream through Blagovesh- 
chensk to the Usuri confluence. Here it ramifies ninth- 
wards along the Lower Amur to Nikolayevsk, southwaids 
up the Usuii valley and over the SLkhota-alin coast 
range down to the Pacific at Valdivostok. 

The trakt, as the great trunk line firom Perm to 
Kiakhta is called, has been one of the chief instruments 
in developing trade and diffusing civilising influences 
throughout Siberia. It is traversed by long lines of 
waggons and sleighs, which will often make from 40 
to 50 miles a day. Along the route the various halting 
stations have gradually grown into considerable centres of 
population, generally consisting of a single line of two- 
stoiied houses from one to two miles long. 

From Tomsk the old route to Yeniseisk is continued 
north-eastwards to Yakutsk, whence one road branches 
northwards over the Verkhoyansk range down to the 
Yana valley at Verkhoyansk, while a second runs due esst 
across the Aldan valley and over the Stanovoi plateau 
down to Okhotsk on the Sea of Okhotsk. From Ver- 
khoyansk a track followed by MtlUer leads to Kijoe- 


kolimsk on the Arctic, and thence across the Chukchi 
country to the Gulf of Anadir, in the Bering Sea. 
Okhotsk also communicates round the head of the Sea 
of Okhotsk and down the Kamchatka peninsula with 
Peticpavlovsk. This line was traversed by Lesseps in 
1777-78, and again in 1865-66 by Kennan, who also 
explored the r^on between the Gulf of Anadir and the 
Sea of Okhotsk. 

The railway from Perm over the Urals to Yekaterin- 
buig is not yet connected with the European system. 
Bat it forms the first section of the great North Asiatic 
trunk line, which is intended ultimately to run from the 
Urals to Pekin, a distance of about 3500 miles. A 
second section of 225 miles from Yekaterinburg to 
Tiumen is now in progress, but the estimate for the whole 
line being about £80,000,000, its completion ia a some- 
what remote contingency. At the same time, there are 
few engineering difficulties to contend with, for several 
broad openings and moderately sloping depressions lead 
from the Aralo-Caspian, Ob, and Amur basins to that of 
the Hoang-ho. Of these the most serviceable are prob- 
ably those stretching from Lake Balkhash between the 
Ala-tau and Tarbagatai ranges, and from Lake Saisan up 
the Black Irtish between the Tarbagatai and Western 
Altai to the Mongolian plateau. Farther east the Selenga 
valley gives access from Transbaikalia through Eiakhta 
to Urga, on the northern verge of the Gobi desert. 

10. Administration: Ed/ucation — Industries. 

Excluding the portions attached to Europe and 
Turkestdn, the whole of North Asia comprises the two 
great administrative divisions of West and East Siberia, 
whose capitals are Omsk and Irkutsk respectively. 
Each of these is subdivided into a number of govern- 


mentB and provinces, which in their tain are distziboted 
into circles and districts. The militaiy system stOl 
largely prevails in the Amur Government^ which is 
divided into Kossak " regiments " and '^ battalions." 
But elsewhere the administration is mainly modelled on 
that of European Russia. The municipal, judicial, and 
ecclesiastical departments are all theoretically based on 
the same uniform plan. But owing to the vast distances 
and the difficulty of communicating in winter with the 
central authorities, the local officials and comiuanding 
officers enjoy almost absolute control in their seveial 
jurisdictions. In some places the natives hardly under- 
stand the existence of the " White Czar," and know of no 
higher power than the district magistrate. But in the 
more settled parts, and especially in the Tobolsk, Tomsk, 
and .Irkutsk Governments, these functionaries ars fnllr 
as responsible to the higher authorities as those of Enio- 
pean Bussia. 

In some respects the people enjoy even greater per- 
sonal liberty than in the west In Siberia there are no 
nobles or specially privileged classes; serfdom never gained 
a footing in the land, and through the increasiog traffic 
with California, ideas of freedom and independence, 
unknown to the Western Mujiks, have already penetiated 
into Siberian society. " As we advance eastwards,'' 
remarks a Bussian writer, 'Hhe freer and more inde- 
pendent do we find life and opinions among us." 

Education ia still in a very rudimentary condition. In 
some places the Bussian settlers have even forgotten their 
mother-tongue and become assimilated to the surround- 
ing aborigines. In East Siberia, with a population of 
1,500,000, there were only 283 schools, attended by 8610 
scholars, in 1870, and in the whole of Siberia there were 
only two periodicals, a weekly and a monthly, in 1878, 
Nevertheless a certain intellectual life has been fostered 


in the larger centres of population. There are geogra- 
phical and other learned societies in Irkutsk, Yekaterin- 
burg, and elsewhere, and in 1880 the late Czar at last 
gave his consent to the establishment of a '' Siberian 
University " in Tomsk, firom which much is expected. 

Meanwhile agriculture is in such a backward state 
that the crops scarcely yield sufficient for the local con- 
sumption. Stock-breeding, however, is conducted on a 
very extensive scale, and notwithstanding the ravages of 
the " Siberian plague," said to have first broken out in 
the Baraba steppe, vast herds of cattle and of horses, 
ahnost in a wild state, are bred on the rich pasturages of 
the southern plains and upland valleys. On the other 
hand, both the chase and the deep-sea fisheries have 
faUen off with the gradual disappearance of the fur- 
bearing animals and of the large cetacea from the 
northern waters. The mining industry also, although 
still of primary importance, has suffered by the com- 
petition of the Galifomian, Australian, and South African 
fields. Of other industries, perhaps the most important 
is distilling. Vast quantities of coarse spirits are 
produced from grain and potatoes, and retailed in the 
taverns which abound in all the towns, and especially in 
the mining districts. Eetums of these various resources 
will be found in the subjoined tables. 

11. Statistics, 
Areas and Populations. 


Area in Population, 

Administrations. sq. miles. 1870-77. 

Asiatic portion of Gtoyernment of Perm . 54,050 1,105,861 

Aoattc portion of Goyemment of Orenbnig 62, 060 627, 120 

KikokyoTBk (Goyemment of Tnrgai) . 33, 990 190, 000 


Tobolsk (Government) .... 588,660 1,086,848 

Tomak (Government) 844,950 838,756 




Yeniseisk (Goyernment) 
Irkutsk (Government) 
Yakutsk (Province) . 
Transbaikalia (Province) 
Amur (Province) 
Maritime Province 
Usuri (Territory) 

•q. inilaB. 












Afpboxiicatb Population of Siberia aooobdino to Racb (1880). 

Tnnguses . 






Mongol Stock, 


StUhArctie Races, 

Cbukchis . 





Yukagirs . 

TULrki Stock, 









FivMiak Stotkn 




Slav Stock, 

Great Bnssians . 
Little Russians 

sians . . ^ 
aians. . V 



Dolgans . 


Irkutsk . 

. 32,000 


. 80,553 

Tomsk . 

. 25,605 


. 25,133 

Tobolsk . 


Barnaul . 

. 14,000 


. 14,000 

Tinmen . 

. 18,144 

Chist Towns in Siberia. 




Kiakhta . 







Growth of Population in Siberia. 





Yield of the Altai Mines from 1745 to 1860-^,568,750 Iba., 

valued at £10,000,000. 



Produot of the Altai Mines is 1876. 


Gold . 



Pig and Cast Iron 

Total yalae . 

25,250 lbs. 
2,665 „ 
1,380,000 „ 

64,050 „ 
1,730,750 „ 

Yield of the Siberian Gold Mines from 1726 to 1880 . 

Present avera^ annual yield of same . 

Yield of the Transbaikal Silver! ^ ^aa aaa lu i j i. 
Mines to 1880 . ^ . 1 7,500,000 lbs., valued at 

Present avera^ annual yield of same . 
Gold-seekers in East Siberia (1877) 
Annual yield of Iron in Siberia and Urals 
Yearly export of Furs from Siberia 





492,000 tons. 


Factories in Siberia (1876), 1100 ; hands employed, 4000 ; 

yield, £1,000,000. 

Exiles to Siberia from 1823 to 1858. 

Men, 238,482; Women and Children, 42,844; Women and Children 

voluntarily accompanying their friends, 23,285 : total, 304,618. 
Total during the last 250 years, about 1,000,000. 
Present yearly average, 8000 to 9000. 

PuBUC Instruction in Siberia exclusive of the Urals. 

Elementary Schools (1876), 600. 

Attendance— 14,000 Boys ; 2200 Girls : Total, 16,200. 

Higher Schools, 96. 

Attendance, 8800. 

The Great Bivers of Siberia. 

Yenisei- Angara 
Amur-Ai^gun . 




Area of 
8q. miles. 





Nav. Waters. 





1. Boundaries — Extent — Area. 

By the expression Chinese Empire will here be understood 
all the lands, either absolutely administered from Pekii^ 
or indirectly forming part of the Chinese political systea. 
In this chapter will therefore be treated not only ChiB 
proper, Mongolia, Manchuria, Xulja, and Kashgana, ta 
also Tibet and Korea, which, notwithstanding a certah 
more or less real autonomy, are practically controlled ii 
aJl their foreign relations by Chinese diplomacy. 

The region thus defined, besides the political vs^ 
derived fix)m this circumstance, is further united by tl* 
bonds of race and religion. For the vast majority d to 
inhabitants belong to various modified forms of the U(V}- 
golic type, and constitute various branches of the Baddto 
religious world. 

Compared with the other great states of the vtrii 
China takes the foremost rank in respect of population 
while in extent yielding only to England and Eussia. ft 
occupies the whole of Central and East Asia, the IiA" 
Chinese peninsula alone excepted. For by the expresaoB 
Central Asia should properly be understood the gw«^ 


continental tablelands confined nortli and south by the 
Altai and Himalayan mountain systems, and stretching 
from the Pamir — that is, from the converging point of 
these systems — eastwards to China proper. On these 
tablelands of the Pamir, Tibet, and Mongolia rise the 
great continental rivers — Oxus, Sir, Indus, Brahmaputra, 
Yang-tse, Hoang-ho, Amur, Ob, and Yenisei — which flow 
west, south, east, and north, to the Aralo-Caspian basii^ 
the Indian, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. Excluding the 
Pamir, which is at present a sort of neutral land between 
the three empires of British India, Eussia, and China, all 
converging at this point, these central plateaux constitut- 
ing the true heart of the continent, and determining its 
great water systems, form politically an integral portion 
of the Chinese Empire. Consequently to China alone 
belongs Central Asia, although the expression has found 
a place in the official language of Bussian beaurocracy. 

Thus comprising Central and East Asia, the Chinese 
Empire is almost everywhere clearly delimited, on the 
north and north-west by Asiatic Bussia, on the south 
and south-west by British India, on the south-east by 
Indo-China, and on the east by the Pacific Ocean. From 
the Eizil-art, the water-parting of the Oxus and Tarim 
hasms, about 75? K long., it stretches across S3 degrees 
of longitude for a total distance of 3000 miles to the 
east coast of Korea in 128° E. long. ; and from the great 
northern bend of the Amur on the Siberian frontier across 
34 degrees of latitude for 2400 miles southwards to the 
island of Hainan. Within these limits it has a total area 
ronghly estimated at 4,500,000 square miles, with a popu- 
lation of perhaps 350,000,000. 

An estimate based on official returns for 1842 
gave 405,000,000 for China proper, to which probably 
20,000,000 should be added for the rest of the empire. 
But since then enormous losses were caused not only by 


the wars of the Taipings and Muhammadan Dungans in 
the south and north-west, but also by the inundations and 
shiftings of the Hoang-ho, and the terrible famine bj 
which the northern provinces have been wasted in recent 

2. Rdief of the Land : The Kaen-lun Mountain System — 
ITie Ndn-sJian, Khingan, and Nan-ling Banges — Tk 
Cross Ridges — Plateaux and Depressions, 

The great frontier mountain systems of the Himalajis 
and Altai, enclosing the central plateaux on die soath 
and north, and converging westwards round the Pamir, as 
well as the Tian-shan, lying partly in Eussian and pardy 
in Chinese territory, have been described in previous 
chapters. Our information with regard to the intenial 
systems, especially in the western regions, is still ex- 
tremely defective. In a general way it may be stated 
that in the west — ^that is, in Tibet and Mongolia — iht 
great ranges run mainly west and east, and assume some- 
what the character of bold escarpments to the great cen- 
tral tablelands, which stretch at different elevations from 
the Himalayas northwards to the Altai But in the east — 
that is, in China proper — the direction is rather north- 
east and south-west, and even north and south. Heie 
also the tendency is, especially on the Tibetan and Indo- 
Chinese frontiers, to broaden out into extensive and irre- 
gular highland regions, in which the general direction d 
the main ridges is indicated by the course of the great 
rivers flowing from the Tibetan plateau to the Chinese and 
Indo-Chinese seaboards. 

Thus we have in the west the great Kuen-lun range 
breaking away from the Karakorum, and ranning under 
diverse names, such as the Tuguz-daban (9000 to 10,000 
feet), the Altyn (13,500), and Kilien-shan (Nan-shan) 


(13,600), mainly west and east along the northern edge 
of the Tibetan plateau as far as the Chinese frontier, 
about the Tsaidam and Kuku-nor district 

The Altyn-tagh section of the system was one of the 
most surprising results of Prejevalsky's expedition in 1877 
to the Lob-nor. For this snowy range rises abruptly to an 
elevation of 13,000 to 14,000 feet within 120 miles of 
Uie lake, where it was formerly supposed that the sands 
extended for several degrees of latitude southwards to 
the scarp of the Tibetan plateau. The discovery is of 
great importance as helping to explain many hitherto 
unintelligible passages in Chinese records in connec- 
tion with the wars and migrations of the Huns and 

The Tsaidam plains are skirted on the south by the 
parallel Shuga (15,600) and Burkhan-Buddha (15,800) 
ranges, which seem to branch oflf from the Altyn south-east- 
wards, and are continued far into China proper, between 
the Hoang-ho and Yang-tse vaUeys, under the names of 
the Hsi-king-shan, Tsing-ling, Fimiu-shan, and Mu-ling. 
German orographists group these ranges collectively as the 
Eastern Kuen-lun, of which they regard the Burkhan- 
Buddha^ as the central, and the Tuguz-daban and Altyn 
as the western section. The Kilien-shan, or Nan-shan, 
thus sinks to the position of a subordinate northern ofT- 
shoot of the Kuen-lun system, which stretches from the 
Kizil-art (Eastern Pamir range), with many interruptions, 
across North Tibet and Central China, for 2700 miles 
eastwards to the Lower Yang-tse-kiang. 

The Nan-shan is again continued north-eastwards, 
partly along the great wall of China, through the snowy 

^ The Bnrkhan-Baddha, which, notwithstanding its great elevation, no- 
irhere reaches the snow-line, runs for 180 miles along the northern edge of 
the Tibetan platean, and forms the southern limit of the marshy Tsaidam 


Kuliang and liang-chu, the Ala-shan^ (11,600), the 
Ehaia-Narin-uIa, In-shan,^ Mmmi-nla (9000), Siiui^ 
Bulik, Suma-hada, Shara-hada, and other parallel ridges, 
to the head-waters of the Lohan^ at the conveiging point 
of Mongolia, Manchiuia, and China, north of Peking. 
Here the system is gradually contracted till it forms a 
junction with the volcanic Great Ehingan range, whicb 
runs between Mongolia and Manchuria, due north to the 
Amur, near the confluence of the Aigun and Shilka. 

East of the Xhingan, Manchuria is occupied in the 
north by the Dykhuri-alin and Duss-aUn, skirting the 
right bank of the Amur, and by the Shanyan-filiii 
(10,000 to 11,000 feet), forming the frontier tomids 
Korea. This peninsula is moimtainous throughout, and 
especially on the east side, where a coast-range, here and 
there flanked by parallel inner ridges, forms a soutfaen 
extension of the Sikhota-alin coast-range of the Bussian 
Maritime Province. Geologically the Kuen-lun, or at 
least its western section, is of far older date than die 
Himalayas. The prevailing rocks are syenitic gneiss and 
moro rocent triassic formations, whereas in the southen 
range is comprised the whole series between the palseonii: 
and eocene deposits. Hence the Kuen-lun, rather than 
the Himalayas, must be regarded as the eastern extensiofi 
of the Hindu-Kush, and the true backbone of the odd- 
tinent in this diroction. 

In China proper the provinces of Shan -si and 

^ The Ala-shan moontains rise abruptly above the left bank of tk 
Hoang-ho, and run for 150 miles north and south between Ean-sn and tk 
Ala-shan country, Mongolia. They culminate with Mount Bo^tiE 
(11,600 feet), but nowhere reach the anow-line. 

s *' The natives do not know this name, and have their own namei fx 
different parts of the range. In a wider sense the term In^shan f^ 
to all the mountains from the northern bend of the Hoang-ho, thnqgh tk 
Chakar country to the confines of Manchuria" (FrejeTslsky's ifm^ata, 
I 158). 


Pechili are traversed by the Siwe-shan, Man-tu-shan, 
Tao-tsu-shan, numing south-west and north-east from the 
Hoang-ho. Parallel with this system are the Utai-shan, 
Lnyen-shan, Mian-shan, Niao-ling, and other ridges, filling 
the whole of Shan-si, and continued beyond the Hoang-ho 
by the Ming-shan and Snng-shan through North Ho-nan. 
Heie a junction is effected with the Funiu-shan section 
of the Eastern Kuen-lun, which at this point forms the 
boundary between the provinces of Ho-nan and Hu-pe. 

South of the Lower Tang-tse the whole of south-east 
China is occupied by extensive and nearly parallel chains, 
such as the Shi-shcm (16,000 feet), the Ja-ling, Ta-yu- 
ling, Timg-nien-ling, Tung-lo-ling,* and Pu-ling, whose 
normal direction is also from south-west to north-east 
This system merges through the Nan-ling range with the 
southern and south-western highlands of Kwang-si and 
Tunnan on the Indo-Chinese frontier.* Here we enter 
one of the least-known regions on the globe, on which 
some little light has recently been thrown by Gill, Eiley, 
Desgodins, and Baber. But its thorough exploration is 
needed to solve the many obscure questions connected 
with the sources and water-partings of the Yang-tse, 
Min, Mekhong, Salwin, Irawady, all of which flow for 
long distances in close proximity through the narrow 
longitudinal valleys formed by the Cross Banges stretch- 
ing from the Yunnan highlands along the Tibeto-Chinese 
frontier between the Brahmaputra and Yang-tse basins 
northwards towards the Kuen-lun system. 

^ The Tnng-lo-ling; an easterly section of the Nan-ling, separates 
Honan and £iang-si from Kwang-tung, bat does not form a tme water- 
parting between the Yang-tse and Canton basins, for it is pierced by a 
stream rising north of it and flowing sonth to the Eiang or North River 
of Canton. It is crossed by the important Che-ling (1200 feet) and Mei- 
ling passes. 

' To the whole of this sonth-eastem system, which in the Ping-ya-shan 
rises above the snow-line, Richthofen gives the collective name of Nan-shan. 


These " Cross Bidges/' as Blakiston calls them, are 
obviously in a geological sense an eastern extension of 
the Tibetan plateau itself^ which has here been cat iq) 
into parallel chains running mainly north and sontL 
The beds of the running waters, to which the Banges 
would seem to owe their existence, lie still at elevations 
of from 8000 to 10,000 feet above the sea^and tk 
great trade route from Lassa through Batang to West 
China maintains a normal elevation of no less tfau 
12,000, with occasional passes nearly 17,000 feet hi^ 
The ranges between the Biver Einaha (Yang-tse) and its 
tributaries, the Yalung and Min, rise above the snow-line 
which Gill here fixes at from 14,000 to 15,000 feet 
The Nenda, or *'Holy Mountain," east of the Upper 
Einsha valley under the parallel of Batang, is some 
20,000 feet high, and sends down glaciers to all the 8l2^ 
rounding vaUeys. Farther east the snowy peak d 
Surong, running north-west and south-east, are nearly if 
not quite as high, while above a parallel chain east of 
the Talung Biver, the Jara, or " Eling of Mountains,' 
commands all the surrounding heights by 5000 feet 
This chain is continued northwards to the Bayan-Khait 
system, where some of the crests may possibly rival thoae 
of the Himalayas themselves. Amongst them are ^ 
Ngomi-shan, ascended in 1879 by Biley ; the Siwdnng- 
shan, or " Snow Dragon ;" the " Seven Nails," supposed 
by Gill to have an altitude of 19,000 to 20,000 feet 

Between the Tarbagatai and Zungarian Ala-tan lies 
the depression of the so-called '' Zungarian Strait,' 
through which access is gained from Turkestan along the 
Sassik-kul, Ala-kul, Ebi-nor, Sir-nor, and other eastern 
extensions of the Balkhash lacustrine system, into the 
Mongolian plateau. In the same way between die 
Barluk-Orkochuk and Little Altai Ues die valley of the 
Black Irtish, which again gives access to North Mongolia 


through Lake Ulimgur and Siver Urongu. For the 
TaUey of this river sweeps round the south-eastern 
extremity of the Little Altai to the Kobdo plateau, where 
it has its source. The Kobdo plateau itself stretches 
from the Little Altai beyond Lake Ubsa to the Tanu- 
ola range, by which it is separated from the valleys of the 
Upper Yenisei and Selenga. From this point the North 
Mongolian plateau is broken by no other prominent range, 
until we reach the Great Khingan, by which, as already 
stated, it is separated from Manchuria. 

From this rapid survey it appears that China proper 
is by no means a vast lowland plain formed by the 
allavia of the twin Bivers Hoang-ho and Tang-tse. It 
is a distinctly highland region almost everywhere occu- 
pied by vast mountain systems, except along the lower 
courses of the great streams and on the east coast And 
even here the lowland formation is broken in the upland 
peninsula of Shan-tung, projecting seawards between the 
old and new channels of the Hoang-ho, and culminating 
at its extremity in the Kuan-in-shan (2900 feet). 

It also appears that the great Central Asiatic plateau 
consists in reality of several distinct sections differing 
enormously in elevation and extent from each other. 
These sections are grouped round the central basin of the 
Tarim, which is in fact rather a depression than a plateau, 
falling to little over 1600 feet above sea-leveL South 
of it the land rises in successive stages from 3000 to 
6000, 10,000, and 15,000 feet, the probable mean 
altitude of the Tibetan plateau, at once the most elevated 
and extensive on the globe. Above this vast tableland 
the intersecting ranges attain altitudes of from 20,000 to 
25,000 feet^ culminating in the southern scarp of the 
Himalayas with peaks ranging from 26,000 to 29,000, 
the highest summits on the surface of the eartL 

North of the Tarim basin the land also rises in 


terraces of 3000> 6000, and 15,000 feet, here culminair 
ing with the Tengri-khan (25,000), central and highest 
point of the Tian-shan« Beyond the Tian-shan the 
ground again falls gradually to abont 1500 feet in the 
Zungarian depression (Tian-shan Pe-lu), north of which it 
attains a height of 7000 or 8000 feet in the Kobdo 
plateau. This elevation is maintained in North Mongolia 
eastwards to the head-waters of the Amur. But in the 
central parts the Grobi desert stretches from Lob-noi at 
a mean height of probably not more than 3000 feet to 
the Khingan range. Lastly, the closed basin of the 
Kuku-nor between the Nan-shan and Burkhan-Buddha 
ranges stands at an altitude of not less than 10,500 feet 
above sea-level. 

3, Hydrography : Inland Drainage, Lob -nor and Hi 
Basins — Seaward Drainage, The Hoang-ho, Tang- 
tse-hiang, Pei-ho, Liao-ho, and Si-hiang Badns— 
Lakes Kuhi, Dangra-yum, Tengri, Panghmg, and 

Those water systems of Central and East Asia whi(i 
are altogether comprised within the limits of the Chinese 
Empire are few in number, and seldom of great extent 
Excluding the already-described Amur basin, now shared 
between China and Bussia, not more than five laig^ 
rivers find their way in independent channels to tiie 
Pacific coast, and of these two only, the Hoang-ho and 
Tang-tse, attain the proportions of great continental 
streams. The inland drainage also, apart from the 
numerous small lacustrine closed basins of Tibet, ia repre- 
sented chiefly by the Ili flowing beyond the frontier to 
Lake Balkhash, by the Ike-aral and Ubsa-nor basins d 
the Eobdo plateau and the Lob-nor of Kashgaria. 

Of these inland systems that of the Lob-nor is by&r 


the most extensive. This lake, the true position of which 
was first determined by Prejevalsky in 1877, receives 
through the Tarim Biver nearly the whole drainage of the 
r^on variously known as " Chinese Turkestan," ** Eastern 
Turkestan," Eashgaiia or Jety-shahr. Here the surround- 
ing Tian-shan, Kizil-art, Karakorum, and Kuen-lun, send 
down numerous streams, including the Ak-sai, Ugen- 
daria, Shah-yar, Kashgar, Yarkand, and Turung-kash 
(Ehotan), all of which are collected by the Tarim and 
carried through a still imperfectly-explored course to the 
Kara-buran, or west end of Lake Lob. The Tarim also 
receives from the north the discharge of Lake Bagrach 
(Boetang-nor) through the Koncheh-daria (Kaidu-gol), 
which forces a passage through the intervening Kuruk- 
tagh ridge. But the Cherchen-daria, rising in the Tuguz- 
daban (Western Kuen-lun), flows through the sands 
intermittently from the south directly to the lake at the 
Tarim confluence. 

At the Ugen-daria junction the Tarim, which the 
natives call the Tarkand- daria from its chief head- 
stream, is from 350 to 400 feet wide, with a depth of 
20 feet Lower down it throws off the Eaok-ala-daria, 
which, after a course of 75 miles in an independent 
channel 150 feet wide, again joins the main stream 60 
nules above its moutL Much of its water is drawn off 
to irrigate the surrounding '* tara," or fields, whence the 
name of Tarim, now applied to the river itself. 

The lake consists of two sections, Kara-buran, 
about 18 miles long, and Kara-kurchin, or Chon-kul, 50 
to 60 miles long, and nowhere more than 12 wide. 
Both are connected by the channel of the Tarim, and 
seem to be little more than 3 or 4 feet deep, except at 
the junction, where the Tarim is 14 feet deep and 125 
vide, with a velocity of 170 feet per minute. The 
whole basin is little more than a flooded morass, choked 


with reeds, and gradually disappearing eastwards in 
saline marshes. But the lake itself was foond by 
Prejevalsky to be fresh^ and well stocked with carp and 
marena {Coregonus marwiva), " The whole of Lob-nor 
is equally shallow, only here and there occur occasional 
pools, 10 to 13 feet deep. . . . But the fact that almost 
all the lakes of Central Asia show signs of desiccation 
is well known" (Prejevalsky's Lcb-nor^ p. 100). 

The term Lob-nor is applied by the natives to the 
whole course of the Lower Tarim, the lake itself generallj 
taking the name of Chon-kul, or " Great Lake." 

Hie Ili is formed at the head of the Kulja vallej 
by the junction of the Tekes and Kunges. From this 
point it flows through Kulja westwards beyond the 
Eusso-Chinese frontier to Diysk, where it trends north- 
westwards to its delta at t^e south-eastern extrmtr 
of Lake Balkhash. The Ili is thus partly a Russian 
and partly a Chinese river, and its valley forms one 
of the weak strategical points of the Chinese Empire, 
for the upper course of the Kunges leads beyond the 
Narat Pass (9800 feet) between the Odon-kura and 
Katun-daba, spurs of the Tian-shan, eastwards to die 
Mongolian plateau. From the sources of the Tekes in 
the Muzart (11,600 feet) to its mouth, the Hi has a 
total length of 750 miles, of which about 450 are navi- 
gable to a point 50 miles above the town of Kulja. 

Apart from the already-described Brahmaputra, the 
seaward drainage of the Chinese Empire is mainly repre- 
sented by the Hoang-ho and Yang-tse-kiang (" Yellow " 
and "Blue" rivers), which jointly drain an area of 
probably not less than 1,360,000 square miles. Both 
differ from the other great continental streams, inasmuch 
as they have their farthest sources not merely within the 
scarp or near the edge, but in the very heart of the great 
central plateau. The Hoang-ho is supposed to rise in 


the springs known as the Sing-su-hai, or " Starry Sea," 
on the Odon*tala plain in the Tangut country, south of 
the Barkhan-Buddha, or Central Kuen-lun range. It is 
remarkable not only for its extremely circuitous course, 
bat also for its tendency to break through formidable 
water-partings, and to shift its channel from epoch to 
epocL It flows first north-east and east along the 
southern base of the Tsi-shi-shan ridge, beyond which it 
sweeps suddenly round west and north to the Burkhan- 
Buddha, through which it forces a passage, as if deter- 
mined to enter Kuku-nor. But here its course is 
deflected east to Lan-chew-fu in Kan-su, dose imder the 
gieat wall of Chioa. At this point it makes a tremen- 
dous bend along the east slope of the Ala-shan and 
south foot of the In-shan round the Ordos peninsula, 
north-east and south to the Funiu-shan, or Eastern 
Kuen-lun range.^ Failing to break through this barrier 
into the Yang-tse basin, its course is turned at Tung- 
kwan abruptly east to Lung-men-kow in Ho-nan. 

At this point begin the extraordinary shiftings of its 
lower course, which for their vast extent and destructive 
character are altogether elsewhere unparalleled. « In aU 
our ordinary maps the Hoang-ho enters the sea in lat 
34** south of the great peninsula of Shan-tung.* This 
was its true course down to some thirty years ago 
(1853), and for six centuries before that. But in the 
earliest times of which the Chinese have record, the 
Hoang-ho discharged into the Gulf of Pechili — that is, 
north of Shan-tung and its mountains — and it continued 
to do so, though with sundry variations of precise course, 

^ Prejeyalaky, however, who again yisited the Upper Hoang-ho in 1880, 
throws some doabt upon the reality of this sadden bend, as usually repre- 
sented on the maps. 

* Even Petermann's map, issued in 1880, still shows the Hoang-ho 
flowing from Eai-fong due east to the Yellow Sea, instead of north-east to 
the Gulf of PechilL 


till the thirteenth centoiy. Before the l&tter period the 
river had occasionally thrown off minor bmncfaes to the 

oniith nf RKan-tnnfT hiif. it. tlion rihaniMvl itn rutnnvt holdlvto 


little distance down the new course seems to have 
resisted all attempts to confine it within reasonable 
bounds. It has overflowed the low-lying country, and 
presents the appearance of a lake with numerous shoals 
and channels between. None of these had more than two 
feet of water throughout their entire length, and this 
part of the river can hardly be said to. be navigable. 
After about 25 miles, however, there is a change for the 
better. Embankments have been built along both sides, 
which protect the country from floods. The authorities 
have also attempted to confine the river by planting 
trees. But the river has eaten away the banks, in some 
places leaving the trees growing, in other cases carrying 
them off and depositing them in heaps elsewhere, thus 
fonning serious and dangerous obstructions in the river. 
At one point we passed through what appeared to be 
saoie like a flooded plantation than a river, and although 
the current of at least 4 miles per hour was with us, it 
[:took about two hours to go 2 miles." ^ 

In proportion to its length, estimated at from 2500 
2600 miles, the Hoang-ho receives fewer large tribu- 
Claries than perhaps any other river in the world. Its 
upper course is joined by the Ta-tung-ho flowing from 
the southern slopes of the Nan-shan across the Kuku- 
nor eastwards to its left bank. TMs river, which flows 
through a very mountainous region, has not yet been 
thoroughly explored, although crossed at several points 
by Prejevalsky during his excursion to Kuku-nor. 

This great lake, edthough approached from the south 
by the Hoang and on the north by the Ta-tung, is none 
the less a closed basin, standing 10,500 feet above sea- 
level in the Tangut country, which is a sort of debatable 
land between China, Mongolia, and Tibet The lake, 

^ Paper in Proceedings of Jloyal Geographical Society, March 1880, 
p. 148. 


which has the form of an ellipse over 200 miles in cir- 
cumference and 2300 square miles in extent, is Teiy 
salt^ and of an exquisite dark-blue colour, compared by 
the Mongolians to blue silk. The shores are flat and 
shelving, but towards the west is a rocky island with a 
temple inhabited by ten lamas, who have no means of 
communicating with the mainland during the summer. 
But in winter pilgrims cross over the ice with presents 
of provisions for the hermits. 

Although now a closed basin, the Kuku-nor seems 
to have formerly communicated westwards with a long- 
vanished lake, the largest in all Tibet, which fiUed the 
whole of the Tsaidam plain between the Nan-shan and 
Burkhan-Buddha north and south. This swampy r^on 
is now traversed by several streams, the chief of which 
is the Bayan-gol ("Eich River") or Tsaidam, which 
flows for some 300 miles in a north-westerly direction, 
at last losing itself in the Babsun-nor marshes. Here is 
a depression between the Altyn and Nan-shan, through 
which the former Lake Tsaidam must have sent its 
superfluous waters north-west to the Lob-nor basin. The 
gradual isolation of all these basins affords one of the 
most striking illustrations of the process of desiccation 
that has been going on throughout Central Asia from the 
remotest times. First the Kuku-nor fails to reach the 
Tsaidam ; then the Tsaidam ceases to communicate with 
Lob-nor and ultimately dries up, while Lob-nor sinks to 
a mere reedy morass some 3 or 4 feet deep, and the 
thickly-peopled plains of the Tarim basin are conveited 
into the Takla Makan sandy waste. 

Some 70 miles south of the Shuga range the Hoang- 
ho basin is separated from that of the Muriu-ussn, or 
Upper Yang-tse-kiang, by the Baian-kara-ula (''Bich 
Black Mountains"), which under various names runs abont 
450 miles east and west without anywhere reaching the 


snow -line. But towards the north-west this range is 
^connected with the Euen-lun by the snowy Gurbu-naiji, 
whence flows the Napchitai-ulan-Muren, a chief head- 
43tream of the Tang-tse. The confluence of these rivers 
in 94** E long, and 34** 50' K lat., marks the limit of 
Prejevalsky's expedition to the Kuku-nor in 1871-73, 
when he was obliged to retrace his steps, unable either 
to reach Lassa or the actual source of the Yang-tse. At 
the confluence he found this river already 750 feet broad, 
and flowing in a bed over a mile wide, which, " as our 
guide assured us, is entirely covered with water during 
the rainy season in summer, when it sometimes even 
overflows the banks" (iL 221). The first ford, even 
«fber the subsidence in autumn, lies 20 miles above the 
confluence, and the actual source of the main stream is 
said to be in the Tang-la moimtains, a ten days' march 
farther up. From this point the Muriu-ussu, or " Wind- 
ing Water," flows east and south to its junction with its 
great tributary, the Min, at Siu-chau-fu, and the Chinese, 
who regard the Min as the true head-stream, call the 
other branch Kinsha-kiang (" Gold-sand Biver "), from its 
source to the confluence. 

The windings of the Yang-tse are no less remarkable 
and somewhat analogous to those of the Hoang-ho. The 
upper courses of both are separated only by the narrow 
Bayan-khara water-parting, and their waters have at 
various epochs been intermingled in a common delta, or 
at least connected by numerous natural and artificial 
channels in the coast province of Kiang-su. But while 
the normal direction of each is from west to east, in their 
middle course they are deflected for hundreds of miles 
north and south respectively, the Hoang sweeping round 
the Ordos peninsula to the foot of the In-shan mountains, 
the Yang-tse penetrating southwards far into the Yunnan 
h^hlands. Here their channels diverge as much as 

2 L 


15 degrees of latitude (26''-41'' N. lat), endoedng an 
intervening space folly 1000 miles long, and stretch- 
ing from South Mongolia nearly to the frontiers of 
Burma. From the source to the mouth of the Yang-tBe 
the distance in a straight line is scarcely more than 1800 
miles, but owing to these astonishing meanderings its 
total length cannot be much less than 2800 miles, widi 
a drainage estimated by Blakiston at 750,000 square 

From the junction of the Min on the Yuhiubj 
frontier, where the Kin-sha becomes the Yang-tse, 
main stream flows with many windings, mainly east-i 
east, through the great provinces of Se-chuen, Hu-pi^j 
Ngan-whei, and Eaang-su, to its delta in the Tung- 
or Eastern Sea, over against the southern extremify 

Throughout the greater part of its course the Yi 
is fed by a vast number of tributaries, some of 
and jointly affording a navigable water highway 
less than 12,000 miles. Its upper course is j< 
the Yalung (Yarlung) or Niachu, which flows 
Bayan-khara slopes parallel with the Muriu-ussu. 
down comes the Min-shan (Min) or Wen from the 
which at low water is navigable for 200 miles to Si] 
hien, nearly 2000 miles from the sea. But below the 
jimction the main stream is obstructed by several rapuiB 
in its passage through the ** Cross Banges " down to tte 
central plains. From Pingshan to the coast, a distance d 
1760 miles, the total fall is about 1500 feet (Blakiston), 
but very unevenly distributed. The descent is vay 
rapid in the romantic hilly region on the Se-chuCTi sai 
Hu-pe frontier, where several magnificent gorges fcSkf^ 
in quick succession. Here the stream is contracted to t 
few hundred yards, and rushes in some places at the rate 
of 10 or 11 miles per hour through its deep rocky bed 


Between Kwei-chow and Icbang the chief " tan " or 
Tapids extend over 100 miles; bat below the stupendoos 
lon-kan and Mi-tan defiles the hills suddenly recede, the 
great river broadens out to a uniform width of 2600 feet, 
and ft depth of 20 to 30 feet at low water. 

Throughout ita lower course the Yang-tse is lined on 
both sides, but especially on its right bank, by numeroiis 
shallow lakes or reservoirs, which during the floods are 

illed up by the overflow of the main stream and its 
nbataries. These lakes, of which the largest are the 
rong-ting-hu in Hunan and the Po-yang-hu in Kiang-si, 
hns serve to regulate the inundations and prevent the 
ridespread ruin often produced by this cause in the 
loang-ho basin. The Tuug-tiug has an area of at least 
1000 square miles, and receives the Yuan-kiang, Lo-kifing 
rse-Mang), and Heng-kiang, and other rivers from the 
oath, which collectively drain an area of 80,000 si^uare 


miles in the piovince of Hunan. From this hasm the 
two adjacent riverain provinces are lespectivdj named 
Hu-pe and Hunan — that is, " North of the Lake " and 
'' South of the Lake " 

Below the Tung-ting the Tang-tse receives its great; 
ai&uent, the Han-kiang, flowing from the Tsing-Iing 
(Eastern Kuen-lun) through Shensi and Hu-pe sooUi- 
eastwards to its left bank at Hankow. Althou^ ol^ 
structed by rapids at some points^ the Han is throu( 
navigable, and in summer accessible to steamers for' 
distance of 600 miles. It flows through a magi 
region, well watered, extremely fertile and healthy, 
abounding in vegetable and mineral resources of all 
But in its lower course it flows in a bed higher than 
surrounding lands, so that during the floods the 
country from the confluence to Lake Tung-ting is 
times transformed into a vast inland sea. 

Beyond Hankow the great Lake Po-yang plays 
same part for the province of Eaang-si that Hie 
ting does for Hunan. Its chief influent is the 
which flows from the Tung-lo-ling range through 
to a large delta on the south-west si^ of t^ lake; 
basin, which has an area of 1800 square miles, is 
with islands, and although in many places covered'' 
forests of reeds, its northern section is very deep 
skirted by lofty hills. The wooded headlands, inkta^ 
and islets are everywhere interspersed with towns, 
villas, towers, pagodas, crowning every eminence, aad 
rendering this one of the most charming regions in 

Below the Po-yang the Yang-tse flows in a majcstfc 
stream through the hilly and flourishing province of 
Ngan-whei, and by the great cities of Ngan-king ^si 
Nan-king to its delta, which fills a large part of tto 
province of Kiang-su. Here it has a mean discharge of 


perhaps 735,000 cubic feet per second, ranking in this 
reapect, according to Guppy,' next after the Amazons, 
Congo, and La Plata. Its Irasin occupies nearly one half 
of China proper, comprising some of the richest lands in 
the wotld, frith boundless material lesources of every 

kind, and especially including vast coal-measuree. The 
riverain provinces, where were sown the first seeds of 
Chinese culture, have for ages supported a teeming popu- 
lation, variously estimated at from 100 to 200 miUions. 
) NalHre, 20th Sept. ISSO. 


The main stream itself and its navigable tiibntaries are 
everywhere crowded with many hundred thousand juuh 
and boats of aU sizes, on which a floating population rf 
millions pass their whole lives. A fire which broke 
out at the port of Wuchang in 1850 destroyed 700 joiih, 
several thousand smaller craf t, and proved fiatal to no leas 
than 50,000 of this riverain population. 

The tides penetrate for over 200 miles up the 
estuary, which in many places is over 300 feet deep and 
60 miles wide at its mouth. Here, however, the naviga- 
tion is much obstructed by numerous islands and shifting 
sands, with scarcely more than 14 feet at low water in 
the deepest channels. But at the flow, vessels drawing 
18 to 20 feet easily pass up, and the dang^ most to be 
dreaded is perhaps t^e dense fogs often enveloping the 
whole estuary and neighbouring, seaboard. At the same 
time, the sedimentary matter, brought down at the rate d 
perhaps 6300 millions cubic feet yearly, is constantly 
accumulating at the mouth, raising the sandbanks and 
enlarging the islands. Tsungmiug, the largest of these, 
formerly washed by the tides, now supports a populatioi 
of 2,000,000 industrious peasantry and fishermen on an 
area of about 400 square miles. 

Great changes have taken place in the lower conise 
of the Tang-tse, which formerly threw off branches from 
various points above Nan-king eastwards to the large Lake 
Tai-hu, and thence southwards to Hang-chow bay. Ib^ 
whole of the Shang-hai peninsula thus formed a poition 
of the delta, which also extended through counties 
channels northwards to the Hoang-ho, when that river 
discharged into the Yellow Sea. Here the connection is 
still maintained even with the present channel of tiie 
Hoang-ho by means of the famous Imperial or Grand 
Canal, which runs through a district where land and 
water seem to be inextricably intermingled, mainly 


northwards from the Yang-tse across both the old and 
new beds of the Hoang to the Pei-ho. 

The basin of the Pei-ho, although vastly inferior in 
extent to those of the Hoang and Tang-tse, derives a 
special importance from the fact that within its limits 
is situated Peking, capital of the empire. It is formed 
by a large number of streams, such as the Pei-ho, When- 
ho, Tsu-ho, Hu-to-ho, Ghang-ho, and Wei-ho, which flow 
mostly in independent channels to within a comparatively 
short distance of the coast Here they all converge at 
Tien-tsin, whence the imited stream flows in a broad 
navigable channel to the Gulf of Pechili. It is probable 
that the various branches of this river system formerly 
fonnd their way in separate channels to the coast ; for all 
the lowland Pechili plains form a marine basin, which 
has been slowly fiUed in with the aUuvia brought down 
by these rivers from the Shansi and Mongolian frontier 
highlands. They are still subject to extensive inimda- 
tions, covering an area of about 6000 square miles, and 
representing, as it were, the former extension of the Gulf 
of Pechili towards Peking and the surroimding hills. 
These inundations are caused by the swollen waters of the 
head-streams, which, being unable to find room in the 
common channel below Tientsin, overspread its banks far 
and wide, and present a continuous sheet of water 
stretching from the gulf inland nearly to Pao-ting. 
Amid this waste of waters nothing is visible except the 
towns and villages perched on eminences dotted over the 
plains; the river banks are washed away, the streams 
shift their course, the crops are destroyed, and the people 
left a prey to famine and disease. Tet in an area of 
scarcely 60,000 square miles the province of Pechili 
niainly comprised in the Pei-ho basin, was estimated to 
have a population of dose on 37,000,000 in the year 
1842. At present it probably amounts to less than half 


that number. The inhabitantB have been fotoed ts> 
emigrate in hundreds of thousands to Manchuiia and 
Mongolia, owing to the disastrous floodings of the Pei-ha 

According to Guppy, the Pei-ho drains an area of 
some 56,000 square miles, has a mean dischaige of 7500 
cub^c feet per second, and brings down to the Gulf of 
Pechili about 80,000,000 cubic feet of alluvial matter 
every year. 

In the neighbouring province of Manchuria ths 
drainage is mainly through the Sungari and Usuri to tha 
Amur. But the southern portion between the KhingMi 
range and £orea drains through the liao-ho southwudi 
to the Liao-tung Bay, which is a northern extension iPj 
the Gulf of PechilL In its upper course the liao 
the name of Sira-muran-pira (Shara-muren), which 
its chief affluent^ the Lohan-pira, rises in the higUaiMl; 
district where the Mongolian escarpments merge in ifaai 
Great Khingan range. The liao pursues a tortuous 
circular course from these uplands round to its mouth 
the head of Liao-tung Bay. It is navigable during 
floods only in its lower course within the Chinese pioi 
of Shing-king ; but since the Russian occupation of all 
seaports north of Korea this river has acquired 
importance as the only seaward outlet of Manchuria. 

In the extreme south-east of China proper the Ni 
ling with its eastern extensions forms the water-paitio^ 
broken at one point between the Tang-tse and the Si- 
kiang, or ''West Biver/' The Si-kiang basin this 
occupies nearly the whole of Kwang-si and Kwang-tan^ 
besides parts of Yunnan and Kwei-chow, and abe 
encroaches beyond the Tung-lo-ling range (see p. 503) 
on Hunan in the Tang-tse basin. Here the Pe-kiang 
{** North Biver of Canton ") flows from the north side cf 
the range due south to its junction with the main atieixn 
west of Canton. This river has its farthest head-streams 


in Uie Yunnao and Kwei-chow highlanda, whence it flows 
doe east to its delta and eatuary in the China Sea. 

The North River between Lo-chang and Shao-chow 
" has some shallows, which would be impediments to steam 
navigation ; but from Shao-chow the only troubles would 

be the &esheta, which cause the water to rise quickly, 
and the river to run swiftly ; but as far as I could learn 
there is nothing to prevent regular steamboat traffic being 
carried on as far as Shao-chow " {O. J. Morrison). Thus 
affording direct commuDicatiou between the Yang-tse 
basin and the southern provinces, the Fe-kiang has at all 


times occupied a position of primary importance as a 
military and trade route. In this respect it ranks hi 
before the Si-kiang itself, which has yet a navigable 
course of nearly 900 miles. Below its junction with the 
Koli-kiang it penetrates through a series of magnificent 
gorges into the province of Kwang-tung, where it has a 
depth in some places of from 50 to 150 feet The tides are 
felt for a distance of 180 miles inland, and at high water 
most of the countless channels and branches of tiie delta 
are navigable. In the delta, which has an area of over 
3200 square miles, the chief channel is the east branch, 
known as the Canton Eiver, which is joined from the 
east by the Tung-kiang. Below the confluence the stream 
is contracted to a narrow bed, commanded by Forts 
Humen — that is, " Tigers' Throats *' — whence this part of 
the river takes the name of Bocca Tigris, or simply the 
Bogue. Immediately below the forts it broadens out to 
the estuary of the Shu-kiang, or " Pearl Eiver," said to be 
so called from another stronghold, the Hai-chu, or " Peail 
Fort," familiarly known as the Dutch Folly.* The n^ 
work of chaimels in the delta is inhabited by an enormous 
floating population, estimated at about 250,000, most of 
whom pass their whole Uves on the water. 

Besides the lakes already mentioned in connection 
with the river systems, there are few bodies of still water 
in the empire anywhere except on the Tibetan phttean. 
Here, although mostiy of small size, lakes are extremely 
numerous, and the lacustrine character of this r^on 
becomes more evident with every fresh exploration. 
More than half of the Khachi tableland is dotted over 
with closed basins, which are probably the remains of 
inland seas formerly draining through openings in the 
frontier ranges. In the west the largest would seem to 

^ That is, the " Dutch Fort," the English woid/or( being prosommd 
fiU in '< Pigeon English.'* 


1)6 the Ike-namiir and Bakha-namur, which form the 
central basins of a lacustrine system, stretching for over 
120 miles south- west and north-east. Many of these 
lakes were visited in 1874 by Nain-Singh, who found 
that they were the remains of far more extensive basins, 
some of which were already reduced to mere swamps or 
quagmires covered with a saline efflorescence. Most of 
the lakes are salt or brackish, while some are still per- 
fectly fresh. The Dangra-yum, or " Mother Dangra," 
86** K, 31® E., is 180 miles in circumference, and is 
dominated on the south by Mount Targot-yap, or " Father 

East of the Dangra-yum several other lakes are said 
to discharge their waters northwards to the Chargut-tso, 
which is itself supposed to communicate with one of the 
great rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean. But better 
known is the Tengri-nor lying in the south-east comer of 
the Kachi plateau, within 60 miles of Lassa. It is 60 
miles by 15 to 24, and of imknown depth. A favourite 
place of pilgrimage is the convent of Dorkia on its west 
side, commanding a superb view of its blue waters and of 
the surrounding snowy peaks. The Tengri is not a 
closed basin, as had been supposed, for it discharges 
through the Nak-chu, flowing from its north-west comer 
to the outlet of the Chargut-tso. North of it lies the 
Bul-tso, or " Borax lake," covering an area of 24 square 
miles, whence formerly came much of the so-called 
" Venetian " borax. 

On the frontier of Tibet and Kashmir the three lakes^ 
Pangkong, Mognalari, and Noh, form an almost continuous 
basin, stretching nearly west and east, but at different 
levels, and apparently in the line of an old watercourse. 
They wind along with a present depth of about 150 feet, 
and a total area of 210 square miles north-westwards, to 
a point where they formerly communicated through the 


litde Biver Tankseh with the Shayok, a tributary of the 
Upper Indus. But with the gradual subsidence of their 
waters the emissary ceased to flow, and they now form a 
closed basin, saline in the Pangkong or lower section, 
but still fresh higher up. 

Towards the south-east of Tibet lies Lake Palti (Yam- 
dok-tso), usually described as ring-shaped, with a laige 
island filling most of its basin, and rising 2300 feet 
above its surface. But the native explorer who visited 
it in 1876, ascertained that the supposed island is really 
a peninsula connected by a narrow tongue of land with 
the south side of the lake. The water, described by 
Manning (1811) as slightly brackish, this explorer found 
to be perfectly fresh. 

4. Natural and Political Divisions : Tibet — The Tbrtm 
Ba^n {Kashgaria) — Mongolia — Zungaria and 
Kidja — Manchuria — The Great WaU — The Ocbi 
and West Mongolia — Sovih-East Mongolia — Korea — 
China Proper — Islands: Hainan, Formosa, Macan^^ 

In the Chinese political system the great adminis- 
trative divisions correspond to a large extent wiUi the 
main physical regions. Tibet and Korea, off-lying 
members of the system in the extreme south-west and 
north-east, are marked off from the rest of the empire by 
their geographical position no less than by their politi<^ 
status. In the same way the remote western regions of 
£ashgaria and Zungaria — the former occupying the Tarim 
basin, the latter embracing the upper courses of the Hi 
and Irtish — are held by military tenure, while the 
nomads of the vast Mongolian plateau are ruled through 
their respective hereditary Khans. Since the conquest 
(1644) of China proper by the Manchus, the north- 

TIBET. 625 

eastern region of Manchuria has been brought into more 
intimate relationship with the Hoang-ho and Yang-tse 
basins. Here also the great provinces are generally dis- 
posed in harmony with the respective areas of drainage. 
Thus Pechili is mainly comprised in the Pei-ho water 
system, while Hu-pe, Hunan, and Kiang-si are each 
occupied by the basins of large rivers flowing to either 
bank of the Tang-tse. 


Tibet, taken in its widest sense, comprises the whole 
r^on between the £uen-lun and Himalayas, which is at 
once the most elevated section of the Central Asiatic 
plateau and the loftiest tableland on the face of the 
globe. It forms a mass of irregular uplands sloping 
graduaUy eastwards, but nowhere falling below 10,000 
or 12,000 feet above sea-level. Northwards, the Kuen- 
lun escarpment falls rapidly towards the low-lying plains 
of the Tarim basin, while on the west and south the 
massive sweep of the Himalayan system forms a natural 
barrier towards British India The eastern boundary 
has been crossed only at a few points, but here also 
the " Cross Eidges," roughly answering to the Yung- 
Hng of Chinese geographers, serve as the frontier line 
towards China proper. 

The little -known northern division of Kachi is 
occupied in the west by the Hor of Tiirki stock, in the 
east by the Sok of Mogul stock, and has hence been some- 
times called Hor-Sok-p& Here are the numerous chains 
of lakes discovered by Nain-Singh, which very possibly 
drain eastwards to one or more of the great rivers of 
Indo-China. Still farther south the high and apparently 
continuous Ninching-tangla ridge divides this basin firom 
that of the San-po, or Upper Brahmaputra Biver (?). 


Here is the true Bod-yul, or Land of the Bod — that is, of 
the Tihetan race ; and here is situated I^ssa, capital of 
Tibet, together with the more fertile and thickly-peopled 
potiioD of the country. 

Bod-yul comprises sevea provinces:' — 1- Nan- 

' Mnrklmm {TOtt) speak* of four only — NBri(4ri), U, tanfiwj 
m. <».»;»» Knr Da i^Iiti'nnt. anil nmittinir nrfaranca to Dok IW ua 


EZhorsnm (chief town, Gartokh), embracing all Western 
Tibet as far as the Maiiam La Pass (82'' 30' long.) ; 2. 
Dok Thol (chief town, Sarka-Jong), extending from the 
Maiiam La Pass to the Ealha Pass (87'' E.) ; 3. 
Chang (chief town, Shigatze), extending eastward to the 
Khamba La Pass; 4. U (chief town, Lassa) stretching 
thence eastward to the twelfth stage on the southern 
route from Lassa to Peking ; 5. Monhuil, embracing the 
Tawang district between Bhutan and the Daphla (Lhopa) 
country ; 6. £ham (chief town, Tsiamdo), between U and 
Se-chuen ; 7. Hor-Sok, or £achi, occupying the northern 
parts as far as the Kuen-lun, and over which the Central 
Government has scarcely a nominal jurisdiction. 

The total area of these seven proviaces has been 
roughly estimated at some 560,000 square miles; but 
with the north-eastern Kuku-nor district, Tibet covers a 
space of about 675,000 square nules, and 800,000 square 
miles if we include the districts in Kashmir and Se-chuen 
(West China) occupied by peoples of Bod stock. 

The Tibetans are essentially a commercial people, to 
such an extent that most of the ofi&cials and head lamas 
of the monasteries are said to keep agents and carry on 
trade on their own account. There are also many Mu- 
hamioadan and other foreign traders settled in Lassa, the 
great emporium of the country. From Northern China 
come silks, gold lace, precious stones, and carpets ; from 
MongoUa and Kachi, leather, saddlery, sheep, horses, salt, 
and borax ; from Se-chuen, tea, cotton goods, porcelain ; 
from Tawang, Bhutan, and Sikkim, rice, indigo, coral, 
pearls, sugar, spices, and Indian wares ; from Ladak and 
Kashmir, safiron, silk, and Indian produca 

Among the chief exports are gold and silver, produc- 
tive mines of which are found in various parts. The 
richest gold-field is that of Thok Jalung, north-east of 
Gartokh, hi 32** 30' N. But the great staple is wool, of 


which vast quantities, and of the finest texture, might be 
produced on the boundless grassy plains and mountain 
slopes of Bod-yuL Tibetan musk is highly esteemed, but 
so great is the demand that it reaches the coast in a 
very adulterated state. Salt abounds everywhere, and is 
obtained chiefly by solar evaporation in shallow basins. 

Of the imports specially important is the brick-tea, 
consisting of tiie coarser leaves and twigs, and described 
by Baber as the merest refuse. It is first pounded into 
moulds, and then broken into '* bricks" 9 or 10 inches 
long by 7 wide and 3 thick, conveyed by mules and ear- 
ners over the lofty passes into the country. The annual 
import from Ta-chien-lu to Batang, the Tibetan emporium, 
is estimated at 10,000,000 lbs., valued at £160,000. The 
tea is apparently paid for mainly by Indian rupees, wHA 
have Altered the country in vastly-increased quantitiea of 
late years, and are said to have now become the currencj 
of Tibet 

Chinese cottons are also largely imported, bnt at 
Lassa are supplanted by Indian goods. Silks of bight 
colours fetch their weight in silver, and English woolkn 
cloths are in great demand notwithstanding the competi- 
tion of Bussian goods. Desgodins saw numerous pacto 
on their way to the salt-works, bearing the name of a 
Halifax maker, and he adds that scarlet is the favourite 
colour, although a good golden yellow would seU wdL 
Mr Edgar reports that the demand for indigo is y&j 
great, and that the profit varies from 50 to 100 percent 

Altogether it is evident that the Tibetan trade offen: 
special advantages to English and Indian traders, were it 
possible to establish free communication. But ever since 
the war between China and Nepal in 1792 the passes 
to India have been closed. Even the native surveyon^ 
sent forward disguised as traders, have had great difficulty 
in passing through. The Tibetans say that this policy is 


due to orders from Peking ; but there is reason to believe 
that the real obstacle is at Lassa. Nevertheless, Tibet 
offers a good market for Indian teas, which would find a 
valuable exchange in wool, gold, borax, and other products. 

The Tarim Basin (KasTigaria). 

The basin of the Tarim Biver forms the western sec- 
tion of the relatively low Central Asiatic plateau, which 
the Chinese geographers styled the Han-hai, or " Dried- 
up Sea.'' From the Pamir to Lob-nor it stretches west 
and east about 900 miles, with a mean breadth of 500 
between the lian-shan and Kuen-lun ranges. Its pre- 
vailing character is that of a vast sandy plain enclosed 
north, west» and south by a horseshoe-shaped rampart of 
the loftiest and grandest mountains, rising in ridges of 
18,000 to 20,000 feet, with peaks shooting up to 25,000 
and even 28,000 feet From the snows and glaciers of 
these highlands rush down the streams, which flow 
through the common bed of the Tarim to Lob-nor. 

The open approach to the east afforded in former 
times easy means of access to migrating nomad tribes 
and military expeditions from China and Mongolia. Along 
the northern and southern edges of the basin there lie at 
intervals the remains of fertile oases, such as the Lop, 
Charchand (Gherchen), Kiria, £[hotan on the southern 
route, and Hami (Ehanul), Kuchar, Aksu on the north, 
some of which were of great extent and importance. But 
the sands driving before the winds in ceaseless billows 
from the eastern Gobi, have gradually encroached on the 
cultivated lands, swallowing up populous and flourishing 
cities, memorials of which are still found in the gold and 
silver ornaments, and even in the " bricks of tea " con- 
stantly exhumed at certain spots. Extensive ruins of 
cities are known to exist in the Lob district. 

2 M 


The whole basin comprises four natural divisions- 
highlands, lowlands, desert, and swamp or lacustrine 
tracts. The first include the plateaux and deep valleys 
of the encircling ranges, barren hill slopes, rich pastoies 
on the more level portions, but with a general defidencj 
of vegetable and animal life. The lowlands comprise the 
strip of country intervening between the mountains 
the desert. This is the only permanently-settled 
cultivated portion of the country. Although the soil is 
naturally poor, it is extensively irrigated and bion^ 
under cultivation in the vicinity of the Khotan, Yarkasd, 
£ashgar, and Aksu Sivers, where there are some excep- 
tionally fertile tracts. 

But most of the Tarim basin consists of an undulat- 
ing plain of shifting sands, sloping gradually eastwaids 
from 4000 to 2000 feet, and traversed bythevariwB 
rivers flowing to the Tarim. The banks of these streams 
are fringed by strips of fir, poplar, willow, and tamarid: 
forest, interspersed with dense growths of tall reeds and 
grass. But all the rest is an inhospitable waste, with a 
deep coating of loose sandy or saline soil, impracticaUc 
alike to man and horse. 

The swamps and lakes Lob, Bagrach, Yeshil-bi 
and Karga, are formed by the overflow of the ri?a& 
and are unhealthy tracts overgrown with reeds airf 
swarming with waterfowL " The poplar woods with 
their bare soil, covered only in autumn with fsDci 
leaves, parched and shrivelled with the dry heat, withered 
branches and prostrate trees encumber the ground. 

" But cheerless as these woods are, the neighbooniig 
desert is even more dreary. Nothing can exceed th» 
monotony of the scenery." (Prejevalsky, Lc^hmt, p. 60.) 

The whole of the Khotan district, and especially 4b 
neighbouring £uen-lun mountains, abound in gold, ailW 
iron, lead, copper, antimony, salt, saltpetre, sulphur, sodi» 


and coal. Gold and precious stones are chiefly found in 
the beds of streams, and the Kappa, Sorghak, and other 
auriferous districts of Khotan, are said to employ 7000 
hands, with an annual yield of nearly 80 cwts. Its 
transport to India is generally a very lucrative venture, 
bringing in profits of from 20 to 24 per cent 

Silk is cultivated in Elhotan, but notwithstanding its 
good quality, a defective method of reeling renders it of 
little use for the export trada It is employed with wool 
and gold thread in the manufacture of the Khotan 
carpets, which are made from patterns usually handed 
down from master to pupil A renowned product and 
former article of manufacture is jade, found only in 
Khotan and the northern Kuen-lun valleys. Here there 
is a plentiful supply, especially from the quarries in the 
Karakash valley and south of Khotan. It was carried 
far and wide in mediaeval times, and jade implements 
have been picked up even in Western Europe. The 
Yu-moun, or " Jade Gate," in the Great Wall in north- 
west Kansu, seems to have been named from the jade 
caravans which passed that way to China. This interest- 
ing historical industry has been suspended since the 
expulsion of the Chinese from Kashgaria in 1864. 

Mongolia — Gobi, 

The swampy Lob-nor district offers little interruption 
to the sweep of sandy wastes which stretch continuously 
across 40 degrees of the meridian from below the cities 
of Kashgar and Yarkand eastwards to the Great Khingan 
range. The western section of this inhospitable wilder- 
ness as far as Lake Lob, takes the name of the Takla 
Makan desert; the eastern, thence to Manchuria, that 
of the Great Gobi or Shamo desert But the whole 
forms essentially one geographic unit, and is by some 


writeis spoken of simply as the Eastern and Western 
Grobi, or even as Eastern and Western Mongolia For 
while the whole of this region forms on the one hand the 
true primeval home of the great Mongolian branch of 
the hxunan family, it is^ on the other, often difficulty at 
times even impossible, to say where Mongolia begins and 
Grobi ends. 

Taken thus in its widest sense, Mongolia compiiaes 
the whole northern section of the Central Asiatic platean 
between the £uen-lun and Altai mountain system 
Towards the west the Tian-shan projects midway b^een 
these ranges to an unknown distance eastwards, thu 
dividing tiie western portion into a northern and soathen 
region roughly indicated by the Chinese expressions Tian- 
shan Fe-lu, and Tian-shan Nan-lu — that is, the noithen 
and southern Tian-shan routes. By the use of tlieae 
terms the Chinese people showed from the earliest tiniei 
a surprising appreciation of the disposition of the land in 
Western Mongolia. In their eyes the Tian-shan, ilBelf 
mostly impassable, clearly indicated the routes to be 
followed in order to penetrate into the Western worii 
But whereas the Nan-lu led, so to say, to a cul-de-sac at 
the eastern foot of the Pamir, the Pe-lu gave direct acoas 
through more than one depression to the Aralo-Caspian 
basin. Hence the vast importance to China of tiii^ 
extreme north-western portion of Mongolia, now 
monly but most inconveniently spoken of as Z\ 
For within this region are comprised all the 
openings which either through the Balkhash or the 
basins lead from Central to Western Asia. 

Zungaria — The Great WaU, 

The term Zungaria, unknown to the Chinese, dezii 
from the Zungars, a branch of the Kalmuks, or Wc 

ZUK6ARU. 533 

Mongolians, who suddenly acquired great power early in 
the eighteenth century. Their empire stretched east and 
west from Hami to Lake Balkhash, and they were strong 
enough to invade Tibet and sack its capital in the year 
1717. But after a chequered history of some sixty years 
they fdl as rapidly as they had risen above the political 
horizon. Their overthrow by the Chinese in 1757 was 
attended by the most frightful massacres, in which the 
whole nation perished, leaving behind it nothing but the 
name which Western writers still continue to apply to the 
region, at one time forming the centre of their power. 

Zungaria, which is administratively connected with, 
but physically separated from, Kulja (Upper Ili valley), 
occupies the whole region between the Central Tian-shan 
and the Western Altai It has no natural frontier 
towards Mongolia, with which it everywhere merges 
imperceptibly, and which it resembles in its main physi- 
cal features. Towards the west it is not bounded so 
much as intersected by the Ektag- Altai, the Tarbagatai, 
and the Ala-tau, which with their eastern extensions run 
rather east and west than north and south. Thanks to 
this disposition of the ranges between the Altai and Tian-* 
shan, the Central Asiatic tableland, elsewhere enclosed by 
continuous and mostly impassable mountain barriers, here 
opens through no less than three distinct depressions 
down to the Aralo-Caspian basin. Between the Ektag- 
Altai and the Tarbagatai lies the Upper or Black Irtish 
valley, continued right into Mongolia by the Urungu 
Biver (see p. 451), and nowhere rising more than 2500 
feet above sea-level {Sosnovdcy). But far deeper is the 
southern depression between the Tarbagatai and the Ala- 
tau, which is itself divided into two sections by the 
intermediate Barluk-Orkochuk ridge also running east 
and west Between this ridge and the Saura, or eastern 
extension of the Tarbagatai, runs the second approach, 


which passes by the town of Chugachak, and vbidi, 
although less open, is more frequented than the otheis. 
Lastly, the third and southernmost passage is cleaily 
marked by the Ayar-nor, Ebi-nor, and the undecided 
steppe rivers, all formerly presentii^ a continuous wat^- 
way communicating eastwards with the Central Asiatic 
mediterranean (Gobi), and connected westwards throngii 
Lakes Ala^ Sassik, and others, with Lake Balkhash — tiuit 
is, with the Aralo-Caspian basin. 

The physical complexity is reflected in the edmicd 
confusion especially of the Hi valley, which has been 
the common battle - ground of rival races and con- 
flicting creeds for ages. Kulja, as the Upper Ili valley 
is now called, is naturally by far the richest land in Ae 
empire beyond the limits of China proper, and has at 
times supported vast populations dwelling in numeioos 
large cities and thriving towns scattered over its fertOie 
and highly-cultivated plains. But the frequent revolts, 
first of Zungars, then of Dimgan and Taranchi Muham- 
madans, in which momentary success on either side was 
invariably followed by wholesale extermination, have in 
recent times converted these magnificent lands iato a 
howling wilderness. The victims of the succesiw 
Zungarian and Dungan iasurrections, extending over 
more than a century, must be reckoned literally by 
millions, and the scene of desolation now presented by tbt 
ruined cities and wasted plains of unhappy Kulja bafte 
all description. 

Kulja, which was temporarily occupied by Bnssia 
from 1871 to 1880, forms a triangular space some 
26,000 square miles in extent, wedged into the veiy 
heart of the Central Tian-shan, and opening down tb& 
Hi valley towards Semirechinsk and Lake BalkhaA 
Its population has been reduced from over 1,000,000 to 
little more than 100,000 in 1880, and in the whole of 


Znngaiia, with an area, including Eulja^ of 146,000 
square miles, there are less than 500,000 inhabitants. 

From Zungaria Mongolia proper stretches south of 
the Altai highlands eastwards to the Ehingan range and 
almost to the gates of Pekin. North of the imperial 
capital the great commercial route is soon reached, which 
crosses the Grobi desert and Mongolia to the Siberian 
frontier town of Kiakhta. A two days' trip from Peking 
towards the Great Wall brings the traveller to the 
"fortified city" of Chang-piu-chao, which on a closer 
inspection proves to be a mere village surrounded by 
mud walls. A few hours beyond it lie the five mighty 
gates of the vaUey of the imperial tombs. In this sandy 
plain, enclosed by an amphitheatre of lofty mountains, 
stand the colossal tombs of thirteen Chinese emperors 
disposed in crescent form at the foot of the wooded 
hills. Farther on lies the wild and frowning gorge of 
Nang-kao, through which formerly flowed a rushing 
torrent, its narrow bed here confined between steep 
rocky banks. An interminable line of massive walls, 
flanked at intervals by turrets and battlements, is carried 
over the crests of the craggy heights, following snake-like 
all their sinuosities as far as the eye can reach. At the 
first glance it becomes evident that this is the Great 
Wall of China, and after penetrating farther into the 
rugged vaUey we perceive two parallel lines running 
close together over the summits of the rocky hills, and 
sharply defining their outlines against the horizon. 

A little farther on rises the barrier of ramparts 
separating China from Mongolia. The buttresses and 
apertures of the bastions are somewhat out of repair, but 
no trace of decay or damage can be detected in the Great 
Wall, which rises suddenly to the right and left, broken 
at regular intervals by square towers, and, like a huge 
snake turned to stone, winding away over the simmiits of 


the hi^est ranges. Kepeatedly repaired, rebuilt, and 
even altered in its general direction, little if any of Shi 
Hoang-ti's original structnie now remains. But snch as 


it is, with aH. its windings and the double and triple 
lines erected at certain points, it has a total length of 
2000 milea, or one-twel^ of the circmnference of the 



The Great Wall is continued westwards across the 
northern bend of the Hoang-ho to the neighbourhood 
of Su-chau about 39** 30' K, 99^ E., and eastwards 
round to the Oulf of liao-tung, thus completely enclos- 
ing China proper and part of Tibet from Mongolia and 
Manchuria. The hilly region of Manchuria stretches 
from Northern China northwards to the Amur, and from 
the Great Khingan range eastwards to Korea and the 
Usuri Kiver. 

The Sungari, which rivals the Amur itself in the 
volume of its waters, is the main artery of Chinese 
Manchuria. This province enjoys a healthy climate, 
with a fertile soil and great mineral wealth, so that it is 
quite capable of receiving the superabundant populations 
of North China. These industrious agricultural colonists 
have gradually migrated in such numbers to the Sungaii 
valley, that the aboriginal Manchu tribes now form the 
minority of the population. Since 1864, the Bev. A. 
Williamson has made several important expeditions into 
this region. 

In the year 1870 the Bussian Archimandrite Palla- 
dius also traversed the country from Mukden to the 

At Sang-Sing the Sungari is joined from the right by 
the Hurka (£hurkha), whose banks are thickly peopled 
by Chinese settlers. From Ninguta on this river a road 
leads over the ridge separating the Hurka from the 
Siufon, a small coast stream flowing to Victoria (Peter 
the Great) Bay near Vladivostok. 

Bussian steamers now ply on the Sungari, and have 
even penetrated to Tsitsihar on the Nonni. They have 
also entered the Hurka, though this river is so shallow 
and rocky that Ninguta can be reached only in small 


boats. The frontier towards Korea is continued from 
the Shan-yan-alin range by a narrow strip of neutral and 
uninhabited territory southwards to the Ydlow Sea. 
But the so-called wooden palisade traced on the maps 
from the eastern extremity of the Great Wall to the 
Upper Sungari has long ceased to exist, at least as a 
distinct boundaiy line. It never could have possessed 
any strategical importance, being quite incapable of 
defence, nor is it possible any longer to make out its 
general direction from the few straggling stamps of 
trees, which are now all that survives of the original 

Western Manchuria has been fax less explored than 
the other portions of the province. Here the Khingan 
range is crossed by passes 3800 feet high, leading to the 
Mongolian plateau. Nor do these mountains everywhere 
form an effective barrier between the two countries ; for 
they have long been invaded by Mongolian tribes, which 
have encroached far beyond this natural barrier into 
South- West Manchuria. At the same time, both Mon- 
golians and Manchus are being gradually absorbed or dis- 
placed by the Chinese inunigrants, so that the whole of 
Manchuria may perhaps ere long become ethnically an 
integral part of China proper. The Khingan range must 
then resume its position as the natural firontier towards 

For the fullest information on this borderland between 
the two countries we are indebted to the Bussian astrono- 
mer Fritsche, who travelled in 1873 fix)m Peking to the 
Russian firontier station of Staro-Zurukhaituyevsk on the 

In eighteen days he reached Bei-lei-gu, beyond 
which point the Chinese b^;ins to merge in the Hon* 
golian populatioiL 

Soon after leaving He-shui, he reached the Shara- 

THE 60BL 539 

mxnen, here a turbid stream flowing between sandy banks 
about 1500 feet above sea-leveL 

About 47^ T N. and 118° E, crossing the Cholotu- 
dayan at an altitude of 4000 feet, he reached the west 
aide of the low border range, which here runs south-west 
and north-east in a rolling steppe, 3000 feet above the 
sea, but gradually sloping down to the Biver Argun at a 
level of 2000 feet. 

Apart from the thinly -scattered ''Yurtas," and the 
Chinese city of Khailar, along the whole route through 
the lands of the Barin, Ude-Michin, "Khalka, and Solon 
Mongolians, between 43^ and 50° N., the explorer passed 
only seven Lama monasteries, which in Mongolia seem to 
take the place of towns. The Mongolians of this region are 
governed by their own princes, the head-governor alone 
of the above-mentioned vassal-lands being a Manchu 
appointed from Peking and residing in Khailar. Here 
th^ Chinese traders are numerous, from this centre dis- 
tributing their tea, tobacco, bread, saddles, yuits, and other 
wares, at little isolated stations scattered over the steppe. 

The Gobi and Wed Mongolia. 

West Mongolia proper, comprising the lowest plateau 
between the Altcd and Tian-shan and the eastern section 
of the region between the Tian-shan and Kuen-lun, has a 
mean elevation of probably not more than 2000 feet. 
Farther east the waterless and treeless plains of Gobi 
stretch from the Tola, a head-stream of the Selenga, 
south-eastwards to the Darkhanola range, which rises to 
an elevation of 5000 feet So far the land does not yet 
assume the aspect of a true desert, for the hill-sides are 
still overgrown with scrub from 2 to 3 feet high, and the 
plains covered with grassy tracts supporting numerous 
herds of cattle. But here begins the extensive depression 


which reaches to the Mandal Pass, 3700 feet high. At 
the Olong Baishing rains the land falls to a still bwer 
level, and here is seen the so-called '' Bocky Girdle," a 
natural rampart of syenite stretching in a straight line 
east and west, and forming a dear landmark hetween 
North and Central Mongolia. South of this line h^ins 
the true desert of Gobi — ^the Shamo of the Chinese — 
the lowest points of which are found at Eigi, Ude, 
Durma, and Shabaduighuma. The higher grounds are in 
some places strewn with rubble and blocks of porphyiy 
and jasper, besides chalcedony and camelian interspened 
with saline plants. The depression itself consists not so 
much of drift sand as of a sandy soil charged with 
alkalies, evidently the bed of a former marine basin, 
where still flourish the arundinaceaB and nearly all the 
species common to the Caspian Sea. South of Duima 
the land again rises to the level of tiie shores of this 
dried-up mediterranean, attaining at Tsagan-Balgasa an 
elevation of 4550 feet, a height corresponding exactly 
with that of the northern edge of the basin at Uiga. 
The plateau attains its greatest elevation towards the 
east, where it is cut off from Manchuria and the plains 
of PechiU by the intervening Ehingan range and the 
highlands, stretching thence south-westwards to the In- 
shan mountains. 

The region stretching north of TTlia-sutai to the 
Kobdo plateau was explored by Mattussovaki in 1870. 

This traveller also visited Lake Ike Aral, one of the 
largest in West Mongolia. Here he ascertained that 
Lake Kirghiz in the north-east of Kobdo, although of 
small size, forms nevertheless the centre of the water 
system in this region, receiving the overflow of all the 
surrounding lakes and rivers. 

Our knowledge of Mongolia has also been greatly 
enlarged by the remarkable journey undertaken in 1872 

THE GOBI. 541 

by the English traveller, Ney Elias, from Peking west- 
wards to the Bussian Altai Beyond Elalgan he reached 
the Belgian missionary station of Si-yun-tse, where wheat, 
oats, millet^ and especially the poppy, are cultivated. 
The poppy seemed to be the chief inducement for the 
Chinese to settle here, but no reliable data could be pro- 
cared respecting the opium trade, which, notwithstanding 
the high duty, is said to form the most lucrative business 
in Mongolia. The route to Kwei-hwa-chang Ues for over 
140 miles across a somewhat hilly pasture-land, and 
about 40 miles farther on a pass 5900 feet high leads 
down to a valley whose soil consists of a brown-yeUow 
loess, intersected by numerous clefts and fissures, often 
30 feet deep. Beyond the hills these crevasses even 
serve as regular dwellings for the peopla Kwei-hwa- 
chang consists of two towns, and enjoys an extensive 
trade in tea, flour, millet, and the wares in demand 
amongst the Mongolians. From this point the traveller 
visited Hokow on the Hoang-ho, a small but busy place 
near extensive beds of a hard, slaty coaL 

From Kwei-hwa-chang two routes — a government 
road and a caravan track — lead to Ulia-sutaL But the 
Mongolian steppe presents little variety for the traveller 
either way. The general aspect of the desert consists of 
low hills with intervening valleys and plains, rather 
stony than sandy, here and there intersected by low, 
rocky ridges, and mostly destitute of vegetation. The 
best water is foimd near the hills, where it is always 
sweet, while that of the plains is often brackish. 

On 8th October Elias reached the Biver Onghin, 
which, after a south-easterly course of about 100 miles, 
loses itself in the desert Proceeding westwards along 
the slopes of the rugged red and gray granite Kangai 
hills, he reached the Tui and the Baitsuik, the largest of 
the Kangai rivers. Here the country is wild and barren. 


although frequented by wild asses and ponies in herds of 
from twenty to thirty each. On 25th October he camped 
on the left bank of the Ghagan-tokoi, which flows south- 
west and west parallel with the Sirke range. This range 
forms an important geographical feature of the land, 
some of its crests rising from 3000 to 4300 feet above 
the general level of the surrounding plains. To the 
north-west lie the hills whence flow the TJlia-sutai and 
the Buyanta, and which are crossed by a pass 7450 feet 
high. From Ulia-sutai the traveller made his way to 
Kobdo by the Siver Yabkan and Lake Ike-AraL A pass 
over 9000 feet high leads from Kobdo to the Chinese 
frontier town of Suok, whence a second high but easy col 
in the Altai brings to the Siver Ghu and the town of BiisL 

SotUh'East Mongolia. 

For the latest information regarding south-east Mon- 
golia we are indebted to CoL Prejevsdsky, who visited 
the Ordos and Ala-shan regions on his journey to Kuka- 
nor in 1871. Proceeding in a south-easterly direction 
from Ealgan, tlus intrepid explorer came upon the In- 
shan range, skirting the northern bend of the Hoang-ha 
Even before leaving the Eiakhta caravan route, a change 
is perceptible in the aspect of the country. The hilk 
become higher and more craggy, while grass becomes 
more scanty, the pasturages being succeeded still farthtf 
west by extensive waterless valleys, where the nomads 
aie entirely dependent on the weUs dug at intervals along 
the route. The highest ranges are the Shara-Hada and 
Suma-Hada, wild and rugged uplands, where the traveller 
discovered the wild ovis Argali in flocks of as many as 
fifteen together. Farther on the Muni-ula range, over 
7000 feet high, forms with the Hoang-ho a well-defined 


landmark in the distribution of birds and mammalia. 
From these mountains the city of Bautu was reached, a 
large and busy but dirty place on the Hoang-ho, near 
the hiU where the wife of Jenghiz-£han is supposed to 
lie buried. 

From Bautu the route lay across the Bagakhatun, 
southernmost and largest branch of the Hoang-ho, to the 
Ordos country, where the population is entirely confined 
to the Hoang-ho valley for about 70 miles west of 
Bautu. On the left bank of the river lies the Ala-shan 
region, mostly a dreary lifeless waste of shifting sands, 
destitute alike of vegetation, birds, and mammals. The 
small tracts, where the sand is mingled with the loam 
and alkalies, produce a scanty but peculiar vegetable 
growth. The Ala-shan range rises some twelve miles to 
the west of Din-yuang-ing, capital of the province and 
residence of a native " van " or prince. The range, about 
140 or 150 miles long, rises everjrwhere abruptly above 
the Hoang-ho valley, and presents a decidedly alpine 
character, culminating southwards with Mount Bayan- 
Tsumbur, 10,600 feet high. 

Farther north lies the domain of the Urutes, occu- 
pying all the country between the Ordos and the territory 
of the Chakhar and Khalkha Mongolians in Ala-shan. 
Here the land is undulating and even hilly, rising steadily 
to a height of 5900 feet, or 2300 above the Ala-shan 
plains and 2500 above the Hoang-ho valley. 

It was during this journey that Prejevalsky witnessed 
the somewhat rare spectacle of a steppe fire near Lake 
Dalai, north of Kalgan. " Towards evening a small light 
was visible on the horizon, which in the course of two or 
three hours became a long line of fire advancing rapidly 
across the open plain. A solitary hill in the centre was 
soon enveloped in flames, and appeared like a great 
building burning above the rest The lake resounded 


with the load cries of startled birds, while all was still 
and quiet on the plain." ^ 

On the same occasion this traveller paid a visit to 
the famous temple of Bathar Sheilun, in the Sirong Bulik 
mountains, a little north of Bautu. It is " pictoieequely 
situated in the midst of wild rocky scenery, and regarded 
as one of the most important in South-East Mongolia. 
The gorgeous shrine is four stories high, and surrounded 
by a cluster of houses inhabited by 2000 lamas, whoee 
numbers are increased in summer by the pilgrims who 
visit the temple to 7000, many coming £rom greal 
distances. We ourselves saw near Lake Dalai a Mogol 
prince on his way to pray here. He had a large quantitj 
of goods and chattels, and was followed by a train of 
several himdred sheep to supply him with provisions on 
the road."* 


The peninsula of Korea, projecting southwards be- 
tween North China and Japan, must in some respects be 
regarded as an independent section of the Asiatic main- 
land. It stretches in a south-westerly direction fitun 42' 
31' to 34^ 40' K, and from 125'' to 129^ K, between 
the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan wedt and east ; while 
the northern frontier towards China and Bussian Man- 
churia is marked by the course of the Yalu and Tuman 
rivers. With the numerous islets on the south and south- 
west coast, its superficial area is estiaiated at about 
82,000 square miles, and most of this area is of a dis- 
tinctly highland character. The surface rises continually 
eastwards, attaining in the east coast ranges an altitude 
of from 7000 to 8000 feet. Very little is known of the 
interior, which, according to the Eev. A. Williamson,' 

1 Mongolia, L p. 108. « Itfid. L p. 155. 

* Jowmeya in North China, London, 1870. 

EOBEA. 545 

consists almost eveiywhere of hills and ridges wooded to 
the top, with intervening fertQe vaUeys. 

The ordinary native name of the country is Tsyo 
Syeun, with an alternative Keirin, whence the current 
form Korea.^ Politically it constitutes an autonomous 
hereditary monarchy, divided into eight "tao," or pro- 
vinces. But of all modem States it maintains the most 
exclusive isolation, in this respect presenting a remark- 
able contrast to the neighbouring kingdom of Japan. 
Although frequently conquered by the Chinese or their 
Mongol and Manchu rulers, and still actually tributary 
to China, it has always succeeded in keeping aloof, not 
only from Western influences, but even from social contact 
with aU the surrounding lands. Hence we still remain 
almost as ignorant of the general condition of this country 
as of many regions in Central Africa. 

Above the bleeds: northern highlands towers the 
mighty Peh-tan-shen (Paik-tu-san), or "White-crested 
MountaiQ," forming a conspicuous landmark towards 
Manchuria, and whose height Chinese geographers have 
estimated at 20 li, or about 7 miles ! From its western 
and eastern slopes flow the above-mentioned rivers Yalu 
and Tuman, the former to the Bay of Korea, a northern 
extension of the Yellow Sea, the latter north-east to the 
Sea of Japan. In the interior there are said to be 33 
cities of the first, 28 of the second, and 70 of the third 
rank. Seul, or Kyung, capital of the kingdom, lies in a 
somewhat central position near the west coast, on the 
Han-kang, the chief river of the interior. After a north- 
westerly course of perhaps 150 miles through the pro- 
vince of Kiung-ki, this river forms below the capital an 
extensive delta interspersed with many rocky and wooded 
islets collectively known as the Prince Imperial Archi- 

^ But Keirin is itself a corraption of Eorai 

2 N 


Notwithstanding its great natural resources, the 
country is generally described as wretchedlj poor, trade 
and agriculture in a very primitive state, die people of 
rude and simple manners. A census taken in the year 
1793 gave a population of over 7,340,000, and the pre- 
sent estimate is about 9,000,000. The broad western 
valleys sloping seawards seem to be thickly peopled, the 
east side far less so, and the north veiy sparingly. To- 
wards the Chinese frontier an artificial wilderness has 
been created by the Oovemment as a protection against 
the warlike Manchurians, and for this purpose four large 
cities, besides many villages, are said to have been razed 
to the ground. Hence the broad zone of neutral and 
uninhabited land traced on the maps between Korea and 
Shing-king (Liao-tung). 

Of the products one of the most useful is hemp, of 
which several varieties are cultivated and manu£Eu:tared 
into a strong coarse material for the dress of the lower 
classes. There is, strictly speaking, no foreign trade, but 
ginseng and paper, the only exported articles, are either 
smuggled across the Chinese frontier, or brought to ii» 
fairs held at stated times along the border lands under 
the sanction of the authorities. This merchandise is abo 
taken to China in considerable quantities by the suite of 
the embassy, which proceeds every year to Peking. Tke 
Korean paper, made of cotton and the iimer bark of a 
species of mulberry, is very strong, and, like that of 
Japan, applied to a great variety of purposes. 

The peninsula abounds in minerals, such as gaU. 
silver, iron, copper, lead, and coaL But the State resenres 
to itself the exclusive monopoly of the minea The 
natives are quite as skilful as the Japanese in the work- 
ing of metals, often betraying much artistic taste in tht 
designs. But the more useful arts are in a very back- 
ward state. Navigation is conducted on the rivers with 

KOREA. 547 

flat-bottomed boats, on the coast with small and crazy- 
looking jnnks, 

Segarding the political institutions and the details of 
the adnunistration, our knowledge is extremely limited. 
The monarchy is known to be of an absolute type, 
modelled on that of China. But besides the royal family 
there are privileged classes and a hereditary aristocracy, 
an institution unknown in China. Amongst the nobles 
several parties have been formed, of which the State is 
compelled to take account. Although the crown is here- 
ditary, the succession often gives rise to contentions, in 
which the magnates play an important part 

Officials are said to be mostly appointed, as in China, 
after a searching investigation, although they occasionally 
acquire office by purchase or the royal favour. The 
higher functionaries have almost unlimited control over 
the lives and property of those within their jurisdiction. 
The penal code is atrociously cruel, and the application 
of the bamboo of daily occurrence for the most trivial 

All are liable to military service, yet there is no 
standing army, and the bodyguard of the king are alone 
entitled to be regarded as soldiers in the ordinary sense 
of the term. Discipline and tactics are of course un- 
known ; but the rural population, who are bound by a 
sort of villanage to the crown, are summoned at stated 
periods to the chief towns of the circles, where they serve 
as soldiers or armed police. Their weapons are the spear, 
bow and arrow, and matchlocks, although some really 
good firearms are manufactured in the capital The 
guards wear helmets and breastplates, and in war long 
overcoats so thickly padded with cotton as to be proof 
against sword-cuts and musket-shots, but not against 
the rifla But this uniform is so heavy that it prevents 
all free and rapid movements of the troops. A large 


army of Koreans would be almost helpless in tbe pre- 
sence of a well-appointed company of Europeans. 

The State religion, like so many other social featauet, 
resembles that of China. Both Buddhism and the Lso-tae 
doctrines are widely spread amongst the people, while die 

upper classes rest satisfied with the colourless monl 
teachings of Confucius. The Korean language, probaUy 
intermediate between the Mongolo-Tatar and Japanese, i: 
written with a true alphabet of twenty-seven letters, and 
of uncertain origin. But this alphabet is held in slight 
esteem, beii^ employed chiefly by women and children, 


wh3e all the lettered classes are familiar with the Chinese 
ideographic system. By this means the Chinese and 
Koreans, although speaking totally distinct languages, are 
able to communicate their thoughts in writing. Thus the 
sign for man, read off as yen by the former, and saram by 
tiie latter, will convey to both alike the same concept of 
imn, just as all Europeans, however they may pronounce 
them, attach the same value to the Arabic ciphers. 
Commercial relations between Korea and Japan have 
^dsted from the earliest times, and have recently been 

China Proper, 

Comprising most of the Hoang-ho and Yang^tse 
drainage, besides the Pei-ho, £iang-si, and other smaller 
river basins, China proper occupies altogether rather more 
than one-third of the whole empire. But this smaller 
section is immeasurably the most important in respect of 
population, products, trade, industries, and material re- 
sources of every kind. To such an extent is this the case, 
that the loss of all the other great divisions would not 
appreciably diminish the status of Chiaa as one of the 
great powers of the world. Indeed it may be doubted 
whether its position would not be thereby strengthened. 
For ages the resources of the Central Government have 
been strained to the utmost in the endeavour to keep 
together an unwieldy, and, to some extent, an incongru- 
ous political system, the vast frontier line of which it is 
almost impossible to defend at all points. Were this 
frontier line contracted to the still broad limits of China 
proper, the gain in greater concentration alone would prob- 
ably more t^an balance the loss of the vast sandy wastes 
of Mongolia and the bleak upland Tibetan plateau. 

"Within its natural limits China presents the form of 
an irregular cu-cle, the landward and seaward semicircles 


of which axe about equal in extent The inner carre 
sweeping round from the head of the Yellow Sea to the 
Gulf of Tonkin, runs successively along the borders of 
the conterminous regions of Korea, Manchuria^ Mongolia, 
Tibet, Burma, Siam, and Annam, The outer curFe or 
coast line follows the Pacific seaboard throu^ its entire 
course along the Gulf of Tonkin, the China Sea^ FuldeQ 
Strait, the Eastern and Yellow Seas, the Gulfs of Peduli 
and liao-tung, and Korea Bay. 

Excluding the great islands of Hainan and Formosa, 
this compact mass of land stretches from 20'' to 42^ N. 
and from 98** to 122^ K, or very nearly 1400 miles 
both ways, with a total area of about 1,556,000 square 
miles. From the Tibetan plateau the surface slopes 
uniformly eastwards, in which direction all the main 
streams drain to the Pacific. Of these the Yang-tse-kiaiig, 
traversing all the central provinces, and dividing the 
country into two nearly equal portions, is by far die 
most important artery of trade, and affords the easiest 
means of access to the interior. Hence this line has 
been followed by Cooper, Margary, Gill, McCarthy, and 
most of the intrepid explorers who have in recent years 
traversed the land from the Pacific coast to Burma and 
British India. A good idea of its general features may 
be had by following in the footsteps of any of these 
travellers. Perhaps the most memorable and instruc- 
tive journey, notwithstanding its tragic termination, was 
that undertaken in 1874 by the unfortunate Augustas 
Margary, who perished almost at the very goal of his 

Lieutenant Margary followed the course of the 
Yang-tse to