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and near every mosk is a common school, for the poor as well as the rich, supported by legacies. The study of the koran occupies a great portion of their attention, for the language of it is now obsolete, and must be learnt as latin is with us.
811. Chief Towns. Mecca. The most important city in Arabia is Mccca, which is held so sacred, that no per. son except a musselinan is permitted to approach it. It is situated in a plain, at the foot of three barren mountains, on a rocky soil. The houses are of mud or stone, but the temple is a large open square, encompassed with a colonnade, and ornamented with minarets. In the cen. ter is the Kaba, or house of God, a square structure, covered with silk, in which is a black stone, which is the object of mahometan veneration. To this place thousands of pilgrims resort annually to pay their devotions.
812. Medina. Medina, about 200 miles north of Mecca, is celebrated as the burial place of Mahomet. It is at the foot of a mountain, a day's journey from the Red Sea, a small city, with brick walls. There are some palaces of burnt bricks, but the houses in general are of bricks dried in the sun, or of stone. In one corner is a square edifice, with great windows and brazen gates, inclosing the tomb of Mahomet, which is encompassed with curtains, and the place is lighted with numerous lamps. This city is also sacred ground. There are a few other places of some magnitude, as Mocha, which gives name to the best species of coffee, and Maskat, a considerable town, both which ports are visited by ships from Hindoostan and Europe.
813. Productions. The products of Arabia are coffee, the balm of Mecca, aloes, myrrh, frankincense, cocoa, pomegranates, dates, figs, apricots, peaches, almonds and tamarinds, with other fruits. Agriculture is employed in producing excellent wheat, maiz, durra, barley, beans, lentils, rape, indigo, cotton, with some other plants. In that country, almost destitute of rivers, and enjoying the benefit of rain only in particular places, a part of the year, much labor is exerted to water the fields, with such streams as can be found. Forage is cut with the
sickle, and grain torn up by the roots. Wheat sown in December is ripe in March or April. - 814. Manufactures and Commerce. The Arabs are an ingenious people, but their manufactures are few, consisting in some works in gold and silver, coarse linens, arms of mean execution, and the like. Grain is pounded in mortars, for the Arabs have neither watermills nor wind-mills. Formerly a great trade was carried on through Arabia to Hindoostan, but since the discovery of the navigation to India by the Cape of Good Hope, that trade has declined. But from Yemen, the southern part of Arabia, are exported coffee, aloes, myrrh, oliban, senna, ivory and gold, from Abyssinia. From Europe, the Arabians receive iron, steel, cannon, lead, tin, cochineal, knives, sabers, cut glass, and false pearls.
815. Animals and Mode of Travelling. Arabia produ. ces the finest breed of horses in the world, and the roving Arabs are constantly on horseback, or by the sides of their horses. The best horses are purchased to improve the breeds in Europe. They will bear incredible fatigue, and live, to use the Arabian metaphor, on air. The Arabians, however, are not barbarous enough to clip the ears of their horses. Camels and dromedaries abound in Arabia, and seem adapted, by their form and powers, to travel over burning sands. . They will pass several days without water, and with only browsing on coarse grass and shrubs, while their feet consist of a hard fieshy substance, to resist the heat of the sands. The commerce of Arabia, and the travel are conduct, ed in caravans, large troops of camels laden with merchandize, water and provisions, accompanied with merchants, travellers and pilgrims, who go in large bodies, to defend themselves from the Będoweens, or phin, dering Arabs.
AFRICA. 816. Situation and Extent. Africa, whose name sig. nifies the absence of cold, * is situated between the 35th degree south and the 37th north latitude, and between the 18th degree west and the 5 1st east longitude. Its utmost length, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Mediterranean, is about 5000 miles, and its utmost bredth about 4800. It is bounded by the Mediterranean on the north, by the Arabian Gulf on the north east, and on the other sides by the Ocean, which on the east is called the Indian Ocean, and on the west the Atlantic, but in reality is the same ocean.
817. Population and History. The inhabitants of Af. rica are computed at about 30 millions. They appear to be divided into two classes, the blacks of the interior and southern parts, and the swarthy descendants of the Arabs and Carthaginians, who inhabit the country along the Mediterranean and the Nile. It is evident from history, and from the language of the Copts, or old natives of Egypt, that the Egyptians were the immediate descendants of the same ancestors as the Chaldeans, Assyrians and Arabs. The Romans established colonies on the northern border of Africa, but their settlements never af fected essentially the color, character, or language of the people. The Vandals of Spain established a kingdom in Africa in 429, which lasted till 535. The Mahometan Arabs afterwards conquered and established their religion in the northern provinces, and their descendants constitute a considerable part of the present population.
818. Mountains. In the northern part of Africa are the mountains of Atlas, one part of which, near the Strait of Gibraltar, was anciently denominated a pillar of Hercules. From these mountains the adjacent ocean received its name, Atlantic. A chain of mountains runs. east and west in about the tenth degree of north latitude, which terminate in Abyssinia, and are called Mountains
• 4, privative, and frigus, cold-a name imposed by the Rom Bans.
of the Moon. On the west of the Arabian Gulf is a ridge of mountains of granit, the material of the famous obelisks of Egypt. On the north of the European colony of the Cape of Good Hope, is a chain of mountains which contain the sources of several rivers.
819. Rivers. The principal river which has been explored is the Nile, which rises in the mountains of the Moon, in the 8th degree of north latitude, where it is called White River. Proceeding easterly, it is joined by the Blue River, which Mr. Bruce mistook for the main river, and being joined by other streams, it runs north. erly to the Mediterranean, after a course of about 2000 miles. The Niger, (Neger, a Latin word signifying black, and an appellation given to the people as well as to the river) runs east about a thousand miles, and is lost in the sands ; which is said also to be the case with the Gir, another river of the interior. The Senegal is a large river, which enters the Atlantic from the east, southward of which is the Gambia.
820. Deserts. Africa is remarkable for vast deserts, which are incapable of cultivation. The Zaara alone ex. tends nearly 3000 miles in length by 1000. in bredth, from the Atlantic to the confines of Egypt. There are: other deserts in the south, but the interior of Africa is. little known, being inhabited by savages and ferocious wild beasts. It is known, however, that a great part of Africa is covered with almost impenetrable forests. It is to be remarked, that in Africa no inland seas exist to invite commerce and civilization, nor will the rivers. bear large ships to the interior country. This couns try, therefore, seems abandoned to the savage and wild beast.
ABYSSINIA. 821. Situation and Extent. Abyssinia lies south of Nubia, and west of the Arabian Gulf, or Red Sea, but its precise limits are not known. It is about 6 or 700 miles square. This country was originally peopled from Arabia, as is manifest from the language of the inhabitants. It is a mountainous region, and contains a great number of rivers, which all pour their waters into the majestic Nile.
822. Cities and Inhabitants. The chief city is Gondar, which is said to contain 50,000 souls. Here is the palace of the negus, or prince, which is flanked by square towers. The Abyssinians are of a dark olive color Their dress is a light robe, bound with a sash, and the head covered with a turban. Their houses are conical, built of clay, and covered with thatch. The Abyssinians were converted to Christianity in the 4th century, but their religion has had little effect on their morals or manners, nor are its ministers respected. They continue in a savage state. The king is the sole proprietor of all the land, his subjects possessing only moveable property.
EGYPT. 823. Situation and Extent. The present limits of this celebrated country are not well defined, but it extends from the Mediterranean south to Nubia, and from the Red Sea to the deserts on the west. Its length may be about 500 miles ; but its bredth is narrow, being mostly a vale on both sides of the Nile.
824. Face of the Country and Climate. Lower Egypt is mostly a level country, along the banks of the Nile. This noble river, swelled by the tropical rains from May to September, overflows its banks in Lower Egypt, watering and fertilizing the ground. Before it reaches the sea, it divides into two main channels, forming a triangle of land called the Delta, from its resembling the Greek letter thus called. From these channels, and from other smaller ones, canals are made to conduct the water over the flat grounds. During the inundation, from June to October, this flat land presents a sea, surrounding towns and villages, and other improvements. The climate is hot in summer, but in winter temperate. Grain is sown in November, after the fiood has subsided, and harvest is in April.
825. Lakes. In the northern part of Egypt are several lakes, the chief of which are Menzala, Berelos and Elko, which are formed by the Nile, the water remaining