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gellan in 1521, and on one of them he lost his life. Some of these islands are in possession of Spain.
778. The Celebez. To the east of Borneo is Celebez, an irregular island of 600 miles in length, but deeply indented with bays. This island presents the most romantic scenery, of high mountains, rocks, rivers, and lofty trees. The inhabitants, called Macassars, are said to be addicted to piracy, and to poison their lances and arrows with the juce of the Upas. Like the inhabitants of other Asiatic isles, they raise their houses on pillars on account of the deluging rains of the west monsoon, from November till March. This island is in possession of the Dutch, who restrain the depredations of the natives. It is surrounded by numbers of smaller ones, forming a large groop.
779. Moluccas. The Moluccas, or Spice Islands, lie east of Celebez, the most important of which are Banda, Ternate and Amboyna. These islands are possessed by the Dutch, who expelled the Portuguese, the first European settlers. The chief quadrupeds are goats, hogs and deer. The natives are pagans or mahometans. These islands are chiefly valued for the spices which they produce, especially nutmegs and cloves, but an earthquake and hurricane in 1778 almost annihilated the nutmeg trees in Banda. This tree rises to the size of a pear tree, the leaves resembling those of the laurel, and it bears fruit from the age of ten to one hundred years. The nutmeg, when growing, is of the size of an apri. cot, shaped like a pear, and when ripe, the rind opens, and discloses the mace, of a deep red color, which covers the nutmeg,
TARTARY. 780. Situation and Extent. That part of Tartary which is not subjected to any neighboring nation, extends from the Caspian sea to the mountains of Belur, about 870 miles, from east to west ; and from north to south, from the mountains of Gaur to the boundaries of Russia, a space of 1500 miles.
781. Mountains. The Belur Tag, or ancient Imaus, a great Alpine chain of mountains, perpetually covered
with snow, limits Independent Tartary on the east, and divides it from Little Bucharia, the country of Kalmucks, who have been rendered tributary to China. In the center are the mountains of Alak, the Kizik Tag, the Kara Tau and Ak Tau. On the south are the mountains of Gaut, which separate Tartary from Hindoostan.
782. Rivers. The chief rivers are the Amu, called by the ancients Oxus, and the Sirr, the ancient Iaxartes. The Amu, which the oriental geographers call Gihon, has its sources in the Belur Tag, and being augmented by streams from the Gaut, or Hindookoh, on the south, it runs northerly to the lake of Aral, a course of about 900 miles. The Sirr, or Sihon, rises also in the mountains of Belur, and falls into the same lake, after a western and north western course of 500 miles. The smaller rivers are numerous.
783, Lakes. The largest lake is the Aral, east of the Caspian, which is 200 miles in length, and 70 in bredth. It receives the two great rivers, Amu and Sirr, and has no outlet into the ocean. Its water is salt, like that of the Caspian, and there are saline lakes in its vicinity. This lake is surrounded by sandy deserts, which have not been explored by Europeans. East of the Aral lies the Balcash, or Palkati, a lake of 140 miles in length, by 70 in bredth. The smaller lakes are little known.
784. Face of the Country and Productions. The distinguishing feature of Tartary is the steps, vast barren plains in the north, which are possessed by the Kirguses, who consist of three hords or tribes. On the east of the Caspian is an extensive desert, but the lands on the rivers Amu and Sirr are fertile, especially in Sogd, the ancient Sogdiana. The mountains of Tartary afford many valuable minerals, and the earth is capable of producing all kinds of grain and fruits suitable to the cli. mate, but the Tartars suffer most of their land to lie in pasture for their flocks and herds, on which they chief, ly subsist.
785. Religion and Manners. The prevailing religion is the Mahometan, and the government, administered by khans, or kings, is mostly absolute. Their language is Turkish, or Zagathian. In general the Tartars are
hospitable and benevolent, and some of their chiefs are said to keep their doors nailed open for the admission of all strangers. Their dress falls only to the calf of the leg ; both sexes wear a sort of trowsers, and the upper garment is fastened with a girdle. Both sexes wear also light boots, with a head dress like the Turkish turban, and the females wear long ear-rings, and their hair in tresses, decorated with ribands.
786. Manners of the Kirguses. The Kirguses, north east of the Caspian, have Tartaric features, a flat nose, and small eyes, but not oblike, as the Chinese. They live in tents of skins, and lead a wandering life. They have vast herds of cattle, horses, camels, sheep and goats, of which some individuals are said to possess from ten to twenty thousand. They are divided into three hords, each under its own khan. Their chief food is mutton, of the long tailed kind of sheep, which is said to be so excellent as to be sent to Petersburg. Their drink is kumis, or mare's milk acidulated. Their heads are shaved, and covered with a conical bonnet, and the ladies embellish their heads with the necks of herons, disposed like horns.
787. Samarcand. The celebrated city of Samarcand, called anciently Maracanda, is situated in Great Buchaa ria, on the river Sogd, a branch of the Oxus. It is in a delightful country, in the 40th degree of north latitude, with houses of stone or clay, and a university. It was the capital of Sogdia, or Sogdiana, in the time of Alexander the Great. In more modern times, it was the residence of Timur, or Tamerlane. It has declined in modern times, but is remarkable for its manufacture of silk paper, and still carries on a considerable trade, especially in fruits of excellent quality. On the same river stands Bokhara, a large city, rivalling Samarcand.
788. Little Bucharia. On the east of Belur Tag is Little Bucharia, the country of the Kalmuks, belonging to China. In this country is the large river Yarkand, which runs from west to east about 500 miles, and enters the lake called Lok Nor. On different head streams of this river stand the chief towns, Cashgar and Yarkanda
On the south is the vast desert of Cobi. This country was subjected to China in the year 1759.
PERSIA. 789. Situation and Extent. Persia, which is called in the language of the country Iran, is situated between the 25th and 430 degrees of north latitude, and between the 45th and 68th degrees of east longitude. Its length from east to west is about 1200 miles, and its bredth about 1000 miles. It is bounded by the Ocean and Persian Gulf on the south ; by Turkey west ; by the Cas. pian and Tartary on the north, and by Hindoostan on the cast. It takes its name from Fars, or Pars, a single province of the kingdom. - 790. History. Persia has been celebrated from early ages as a powerful kingdom. Its inhabitants were of the same race as the Scythians, or Goths and Teutones, who peopled a great part of Europe, and from whom we are descended. Cyrus founded the Persian monarchy about 557 years before the christian era. This empire was dissolved by Alexander the Great, and Persia fell under the dominion of the Greek monarchs of Syria. Artaxarxes restored the Persian line of kings in the 3d century of the christian era. In the year 636, the Mahometans conquered the country ; which was, in subsequent periods, subjected to the power of Zingis Khan and Timur. Persia was subdued by Nadir Shah, a ferocious warrior, in 1736, enjoyed a few years of tranquility under Kerim, but has been since disturbed by usurpation, anarchy and civil dissensions.
791. Mountains and Climate. Persia is a very mountainous country. In the north, the chain of Caucasus extends into Persia, winding to the south of the Caspian. To the south east runs the great chain of Elwend, the highest ridge in Persia. Another chain runs nearly parrellel with the Persian Gulf. A western chain divides Persia from the Turkish dominions. On the north east is the chain of Gaur, and on the east the ridges of Wull and Soliman, with some others. These mountains render Persia a comparatively cool country, but the soil is generally barren. In addition to this, Persia contains three great deserts, two of which, the Great Saline and Kerman, extend over a space of 700 miles in length and 200 in bredth.
792. Rivers. The Euphrates and Tigris have at times been within the Persian monarchy, but are not properly Persian rivers. The Ahwaz, a branch of which flows into the Tigris, enters the estuary of these three rivers, after a course of 400 miles. On the north is the Kur, latinized Cyrus, which flows from the Caucasian chain into the Caspian. A branch of this is the Aras, anciently Araxes. The Tedjan, on the north east, the ancient Ochus, flows into the Caspian, and the Margab, a branch of the Amu, has its sources in Persia. In the center is Zenderud, which rises on the Elwend mountains, and passing Ispahan, is lost in the sands. Bundemir, on the south east, on which are the ruins of Persepolis, flows into a salt lake called Baktegan. The Hinmend, on the east, flows into the sea of Zereh, or is ala sorbed by the sandy earth.
793. Lakes and Productions. The Zereh, or Durra, is about 90 miles in length ; the Baktegan about 40 miles; the Urmia about 50 miles ; and the Erivan about 75 miles in circumference. Persia, tho in general a barren country, contains many fertile spots, in a most genial climate, and is supposed to be the native soil of many of our best fruits, as the fig, pomegranate, mulberry, almond, peach and apricot. The orange, citron and vine grow there in luxuriance, and in the southern parts cotton and the sugar cane. The Persian horses have been celebrated from antiquity, and the part, ridges are of peculiar size and excellence. The animals in general are such as are found in all similar lati. tudes.
794. Curiosities. A singular curiosity is the fountains of naphtha, or pure rock oil, on the western shore of the Caspian, near Baku. The earth, for two miles round this place, when two or three inches of the surface is removed, will take fire by the application of a coal, and burn with a pure, gentle, blue flame, like that of ardent spirits. A cane or tube set into the earth conveys the gas to the top, where it will burn ; and such tubes, with