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611. Situation and Extent. That great quarter of the earth called Asia, extends from the 26th degree of east longitude to the 190th, or 164 degrees, which makes the length east and west about 7500 miles. In bredth, it extends from near the equator to the 77th degree of north latitude, or about 5400 miles. It is bounded on the west by Europe and Africa ; on the north by the Arctic ocean; on the east and south by the Pacific and Indian oceans.
612. General View of the Mountains of Asia. In Asia Minor, now Turkey in Asia, commences an irregular chain of mountains, and extends nearly to the Euphrates, about 600 miles. This is called the Taurian chain, from Taurus, the name given anciently to some of its principal elevations. In the language of the country, it is called Kurun. Another range of mountains runs north and south in Syria, about 30 or 40 miles from the Mediterranean. The principal of this chain is called Libanus or Lebanon, and is often mentioned in scripture. Between the Euxine and Caspian Seas, runs the chain of Caucasus. To the east of the Caspian runs the vast Altaic chain, to the eastern limits of Asia, south of which are the Alak and Hindookoh chains. From these great chains run smaller ranges and spurs, which have various names, and are not sufficiently known to be described.
613. General View of the large Rivers of Asia. In the chain of Taurus, the river Euphrates has its sources. This river unites with the Tigris, 20 leagues from its mouth, and enters the Persian Gulf. On the Caucasian chain originates the Kur, or Cyrus of antiquity, which pours its waters into the Caspian. On the Altaic chain originate the Ob, or Oby, the Jenesee, and Lena, some of the largest rivers on the globe, which running northerly courses, pour their waters into the Arctic sea. On the south side of this chain originates the Amur, a vast river which enters the sea of Okosk, a branch of the great Pacific Ocean. In Tartary spring the great Hoan-ho, or Yellow River, and the Kian-ku, the two prin
cipal rivers in China, which exceed 2000 miles in length, and discharge their waters into the Pacific. In the mountains of Tibet originate the celebrated Ganges, and the Burrampooter, two vast streams which unite and discharge their waters into the bay of Bengal. In the same chain originates the Sind, or Indus, which enters the Indian Ocean.
614. First Peofiling of Asia. Asia, the largest and most populous quarter of the eastern continent, was the first part of the globe peopled by rational beings. It is generally supposed that the first pair, Adam and Eve, resided in the mild and genial climate of Persia, or in some of the neighboring regions bordering on the Euphrates; tho respectable writers have assigned to paradise a more eastern position. It is, however, certain that Asia was first peopled. The oriental Asiatics are supposed to be mostly desce:dants of Shem; the Africans, descendants of Ham ; and the Europeans, the children of Japhet.
TURKEY IN ASIA.
615. Situation and Ertent. That part of the Turkish dominions which lies in Asia, extends from the Hellespont to Persia, in the 46th degree of east longitude ; and from the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates, in the 31st degree of north latitude, to the chain of Caucasus, and the river Cuban, in the 46th degree. Its utmost length therefore must be about 1100 miles, and its bredth about 1000. It is bounded north by the Euxine and the Cuban, east by Persia, south by Arabia and the Mediterranean, and west by the Egean Sea or Archipelago, and the strait between that sea and the Euxine.
616. Divisions. The principal divisions of this extensive territory are Natolia, Karaman and Roum, which comprize what was formerly called Asia Minor, or Lesser Asia, between the Mediterranean and Euxine Seas. ‘On the east are Armenia, Guria, Mingrelia and Abkhas, countries which lie between the Euxine and the Caucasian mountains, and include the ancient Georgia and Circassia. Armenia is also called Turcomania. To the south of these provinces are Kurdistan and Irak Arabi, the ancient Assyria and a part of ancient Persia ; and Diarbeck, the ancient Mesopotamia, between the Euphrates and Tigris. On the south is Syria, along the eastern border of the Mediterranean, including Palestine and Judea. 617. Mountains. The chain of Taurus runs through a great part of Asiatic Turkey, and detached mountains and smaller ranges in various directions give this country a mountainous aspect. Among the detached mountains are Ida, near the site of ancient Troy, and Olympus, which is so high as to be covered with perpetual snow. Libanus is a chain which extends north and south through a considerable part of Syria, and is often covered with snow. Anti-Libanus is a smaller chain to the east of Libanus. On the north east is the chain of Caucasus, of great elevation. 618. Rivers. The principal river of Asiatic Turkey is the Euphrates, which is often mentioned in scripture. Its sources are in the mountains of Armenia, a continuation of the Taurian chain, and being joined by the Morad, which is really the largest branch, it winds from a south west to a south east course, and uniting with the Tigris, it enters the Persian gulf by two channels. Its length is about 1400 miles. The Tigris originates about 150 miles south of the head of the Euphrates, and runs nearly a direct course of about 800 miles to the Euphrates. They are both navigable rivers, and both are celebrated in antiquity. The Euphrates was the seat of Babylon, and the Tigris the seat of Nineveh. 619. Smaller Rivers. The Halys of antiquity, now called by the Turks Kizil Irmak, proceeds from mount Taurus, and runs northerly to the Euxine, a course of about 250 miles. The Sacaria, a smaller stream, runs a like course to the same sea, about 70 miles east of Constantinople. The Minder, anciently Meander, runs westerly a course of 200 miles to the Archipelago, or Egean Sea. Its classical celebrity and remarkably winding course, have introduced into our language the apPlication of its name to express the winding of rivers, The Sarabat, the ancient Hermus, enters the same sea, after a like westerly course. The Orontes, or Oron,
near Damascus and Antioch, falls into the Mediterranean. The Jordan, or river Dan, rises in a mountain called Paneum, and passing the lake of Tiberias, runs into the Dead Sea, or Asphaltites. It is about 30 yards wide. 620. Lakes, and the Dead Sea. The principal lake is the Van, in Kurdistan, which is 80 miles in length and 40 in bredth. Near the center of Asia Minor is the Tatta, a salt lake 70 miles long, but very narrow. The Rackama, near the site of the ancient Babylon, is about 30 miles in-length, and flows into the Euphrates. The Asphaltites, or Dead Sea, in Syria, is about 70 miles in length and 18 in bredth. It receives the waters of the Jordan, and several small streams, but has no out let. The water is so strongly tinctured with salt and bitumen, that no fish will live in it, nor is it fit for any use. This is supposed to have been the site of Sodom and Gomorrah. 621. Climate, Soil, Agriculture. That part of Turkey which was formerly Asia Minor and Syria, enjoys a temperate and delightful climate. The territory between the Euxine and Caucasus is colder, and the tops of the mountains are usually covered with snow. The country is diversified with mountains, hills and plains. The soil of Asia Minor is mostly a deep clay, and the produce is wheat and barley, with olives and grapes.
Syria abounds with dates and other fruits. But the peo
ple are said to be in a wretched condition, oppressed by the Turks, and without ambition, so that agriculture is in a low state. 622. Animals. The best horses of Asiatic Turkey are of Arabian breed. Mules, asses and camels are in common use. The cattle are not of superior excellence, but the sheep are good, and the goats remarkably fine. The hair of the Angora goat is the material of a most Valuable manufacture. The lion is an inhabitant of the eastern part of this country, and other voracious animals of the feline genus, as tigers and catamounts, roam upon the mountains. The gazell is found in Asia Minor, with numerous deer and hares. The patridges are of the red legged species, and larger than in Europe. The cities swarm with dogs, which are kept for defence. 623. Minerals and Curiosities. The Turks never cultivate natural history, and to them mineralogy is entirely unknown. Nor have travellers supplied the defect of knowledge of the mineral kingdom in Turkey. But Natolia abounds with mineral waters, the most noted of which is in Prusa, at the foot of Olympus, where are splendid baths, paved with marble. The water is so hot as to scald the flesh, and requires to be tempered with cold water from other springs. Near Hierapolis, now Pambouk, is a remarkable cliff formed by hot petrifying waters, which appears as if the waters of a cascade had been froze, or suddenly converted to stone. 624. Population. The inhabitants of Turkey in Asia are estimated at about 10 millions. They are composed of various nations, and denominations of religion. In the eastern part of this country, the Kurds lead a pastoral life, removing with their herds from place to place for the purpose of finding pasture. The Armenians, near the eastern shore of the Euxine, are a sensible, polite people, and profess the christian religion, but in a corrupt form. They are remarkable for commercial enterprize, and are found in every part of the Levant, in Africa and India. The Druzes, in the mountains of Syria, are a sort of monks, with the exterior of mahometans, but they have a singular character, as they practice neither prayer nor fasting, nor regard the prohibitions of the koran. The Maronites are christians of the Romish church, but have many peculiar rites ; and near Antioch is a sect of pagans. 625. Sale of Females. The beauty of the Circassian women has introduced the custom of making sale of them to the Turks. Girls intended for market are educated for the purpose, and much pains is taken to preserve and increase their beauty. Among other practices, a wide lethern belt is fastened round the waist of young females to keep it slender. Great numbers of beautiful girls are sent annually to Constantinople, and sold at a price according to their beauty, from a hundred to four hundred dollars.