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descent to the adjoining plains or seas, and are not surrounded as those of Eastern Asia on all sides by lowlands. 6. The Table-land of Iran (Persia) extends from E. to w. from the plain of the Indus to that of the Euphrates, and from S. to N. from the Gulph of Persia to the idesht Kowar, or desert of Khiwa (38° N. lat.), and the southern shores of the Caspian Sea. The interior of this great tract of country extends in !. and level plains, only in a few places broken }} rocky hills, mostly unconnected with one another. The elevation of these interior districts seems rarely to exceed 5,000 ft. above the sea-level, and as rarely to descend to less than 3,000 ft These plains are bounded on every side by a broad border of more elevated tracts, whose surface is diversified by mountain-ridges, valleys, and some tablelands of moderate extent. The highest portion of this elevated border is at the eastern boundary of the table-land, contiguous to the plain of the Indus. From this plain the country rises in several steep ridges, running parallel to the plain, and including deep and narrow valleys. These mountains are called, S. of 299, Hala mountains, and N. of this, soliman mountains. The former are somewhat lower than the latter, which seem to preserve in the greatest part of their extent more than 10,000 st. of elevation, its !. summit, the Takht Soliman (the throne of Soliman), attaining 12,836 ft. Adjacent to these parallel ridges, on the west side, are several elevated plains of moderate extent, especially the plains of Kelat (29°), Kwella (319), and Ghazni (33° and 34° N., lat.); of which the former is elevated between 7,000 and 8,000 ft., and the latter probably more than 9,000 ft.: yet they are cultivated, especially towards the hills that surround them, and the depressions of their surface, which frequently descend some hundred feet: the higher districts rd g pasture. All these tracts are very cold, and covered by deep snow during winter. he southern border of the table-land of Ivan, extending from the plain of the Indus as far W. as the Strait of Ormus, does not rise to a great elevation. From the sea however the mountains rise rapidly, having only a narrow low stripe along the shores, but their height probably does not exceed 2,000 ft. North of this ridge is a mostly level plain, which, as it contains extensive plantations of datetrees, cannot have a great elevation; it is otherwise sterile, and has few spots, which can be cultivated. North of this plain is another much, more elevated chain, the Wushutee mountains, which probably attain 5,000 st: In this part the mountainous border of the table-land is hardly 120 m. across ; but towards, its western extremity a mountain-group projects northward (near 60° E. long.), the Surhad mountains (cold mountains), which seem to attain a higher elevation, but have several fertile valleys towards the E. From this mountaingroup issues northward a rocky ridge, which is narrow, and in general low, but has a few elevated summits. This ridge, advancing to the northern border, divides the interior plain of Iran in two parts, and forms the political boundary between Afghanistan, or East Iran, and Persia, or West Iran. By far the greater part of the plain of East Iran is occupied by a sandy desert, which, from the Wushutee mountains, extends northward to the parallel of Ferrah, Ghirish, and Kandahar (from 27° to 32° 10' N. lat.), nearly 400 m., and from E. to W. nearly the same distance. Its southern part, the desert of Beloochistan, is covered with fine sand, which, when moved by the wind, rises some feet above the solid surface. It is entirely uninhabited. The northern portion, the desert of Sigestan, or Seistan, has a few small oases, and considerable tracts of fertile and cultivated ground along the banks of the river Heermind, which rises on the western declivity of the Hindoo-Coosh, and runs about 500 miles. Half its course is through the desert, and it loses itself in the Lake of Zareh, about 120 m. long and 50 m. wide, but when swelled by the melting of the snow in the more elevated regions, it occupies a space more than double these dimensions. Along the northern border of the desert lies a country whose surface is partly hilly and partly undulating, but its breadth is not considerable, being between 50 and 80 m. across. The northern border of East Iran is formed by an extensive table-land of very broken surface ; the upper bart extends in wide level plains, but they are frequently ntersected with deep valleys. This region, the Paropamisus of the ancients, has been called by modern geographers the mountain-region of the Eimaks, and Hazaréh, from the savage nations which inhabit it. It extends S. and N. about 400 m., and nearly double that extent E. and W. The ground is cultivated only in the narrow valleys, but the extensive pastures nourish large herds of catttle and sheep. On the N. it is separated from the plain of Bokhara by the Hazareh mountains. The interior plain of West Iran is of greater extent, its length from the boundary of Afghanistan to the neighbourhood of the Caspian Sea, N. of the town of Kasbin,
exceeding considerably 500 m., whilst its mean width may be 400 m., but towards the north-western extremity it narrows to 150 m., and less. ... Its middle is occupied by a desert, called the Salt Desert, its surface being impregnated with nitre and other salts. Towards the o Afghanistan it may be 250 m. across, but farther W. its width hardly exceeds 100 m. Its length is 400 m., or nearly so. . It is entirely uninhabited. Those portions of the plain which extend on both sides the desert have a broken surface, but the level plains are extensive, and the hills, though sometimes high, do not occupy a great space. These districts. far from being infertile, are frequently well cultivated and abound in pastures. In many districts fine fruits are raised plentifully : but rocky plains also occur frequently. The northern border of West Iran seems not to exceed 100 or 120 m. in width. It is likewise composed of different ridges, which mostly run in the direction of the table-land E. and W. Though very rugged and steep, the mountains do not rise to a great elevation above the elevated plains lying southward, before they arrive at the meridian of 56° or 55°. From hence, westward, they rise higher, but their width narrows to from 60 to 80 m. This more elevated part of the chain is called the Elburz mountains, and runs parallel to the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, at an average distance of 20 m., descending to it with a descent which is extremely rapid. Its offsets, which are not less steep, though less elevated, fill ''. the space between the principal range and the sea, with the exception of a narrow * along its shores. The valleys, though not very, wide, are very fertile. The mean elevation of the Elburz mountains may be 7,000 or 8,000 ft.: some summits rise higher: the
highest is the Demawend, N. E. of Teheran, which ex
ceeds 10,000 ft. above the sea. The S.W. mountainous border of the plains of West Iran is still more distinctly marked. The mountain-tract, about 80 or 90 m. wide, extends from the Straits of Ormuz along the Gulph of Persia, and farther N. along the [...] of the Euphrates, to the place where the Tigris, reaking through the mountains, enters the low plains N. of the town of Mosul. This mountain-tract consists of from three to seven ridges, running parallel to each other, and separated by as many narrow longitudinal valleys, which sometimes are many days’ journey in length. The are separated from the sea by a narrow low coast coš the Gurmsir (warm region), and rise in the form of terraces towards the interior. The valleys in the southern portion of this region are cultivated, but N. of the parallel of 30° N. lat. they are inhabited by different tribes of Kurds, who prefer a nomadic life and the rearing of cattle. This northern range was anciently called Zagros, but is now known under the general name of mountains of Kurdistan. Their elevation has not been ascertained, but some summits rise to the snow-line. The great commercial road which connects the western countries of Asia with India, traverses the table-land of Iran. It runs between the deserts and the northern mountain border, through the fertile and cultivated district between them, and passes from the town of Tabriz in Azerbijan through Casbin to Teheran, and thence to Nishaboor, Meshed, and Herat. Thence it declines from its eastern direction to the S. to avoid the mountain region of the Eimak and Hazareh, and leads to Kandahar, where it passes over part of the table-land of Ghizni to Caubul. It then follows the valley of the river Cabul to Peshawer and Attock, where it passes the Indus, o: traversing the l’enj-ab, enters the plains of the sanges. 7. The momentain-region of Armenia.-The most northerly and narrow extremity of the interior plain of Iran reaches to the vicinity of the river Kizil Ozein, and N. of it extends a country filled with mountain-masses, which rises higher and higher as they proceed northward. East of Tabriz is Mount Sellevan, which attains an elevation of 12,000 or perhaps 13,000 ft. above the sea-level, and other summits seem not to be much lower. Between these mountains are numerous deep ...}. which are partly cultivated, but the inhabitants mostly depend on their herds of cattle and sheep for subsistence. A few plains lie embosomed between the mountains: the most extensive are those which are filled up by the Lakes Urmia and Van. The former is 300 m. in circumference, and its waters are salt, more salt than those of the sea, but they are perfectly clear. The Lake of Van is somewhat less in extent, and its waters are likewise salt, but not to such a degree. North-east of the Lake of Van the mountain-region attains its highest elevation in Mount Ararat, whose summit is 17,230 ft. above the sealevel, and the country which extends W. of it to the sources of the river Aras and the two upper branches of the Euphrates, the Kara-su and Murad, |. at least 6,000 ft. of absolute elevation, as the town of Erzeroum is 5,500 ft. above the sea-level. Four mountain-ranges, rising from 4,000 to 5,000 ft. above their bases, run E. and W. between so and 410 N. lat., and the most northerly descends to the Black Sea with great steepness, and so close to its shores that no road can be made along the coast E. of Trebizond.
ancients, S. P. of Brusa, more than 9,000 ft. above the sea-level. The wide and extensive valleys which lie between the mountain-ranges of this tract contain much
Though the mountains occupy the greater cultivated land, which sometimes extends, even on the
portion of its surface, the valleys along the large rivers gentle slopes of the mountains themselves, whose higher watered by the Jordan, which traverses the Lake of rainy season,
are so wide that they may be taken for plains, being from 10 to 15 miles across. . These valleys, though cold, are mostly very fertile, and yield rich crops of corn, whilst the declivities of the mountains afford abundance of pasture. The farthest south of the above-mentioned mountain-ranges, that which, branching off from Mount Ararat, contains the sources of the Murad river, or eastern branch of the Euphrates, and which farther W. is broken through by this river, after its two upper branches have united, is to be considered as the continuation of Mount Taurus, which traverses Asia Minor. But it does not constitute the southern boundary of the mountain-region of Armenia: this is constituted by a much less elevated mountain-ridge running E. and W. between the rivers Euphrates .*. about 37°20' N. lat., and on whose southern declivity the town of Merdin is built. After breaking through this range at Romkala, the Euphrates . the plain ; the Tigris does the same N. of osul. 8. Natolia, Nadoli, or Asia Minor.—This extensive pe. ninsula is to be considered as a western continuation of the mountain-region of Armenia. It is nearly of the same breadth, and lies between the same parallels (379 and 419); but there is doubtless some change in the direction of the mountains where both regions border on each other. From the Gulph of Iskenderoon, on the side of the Mediterranean, to the town of Trebizond on the Black Sea, the ranges run from S. W. to N. E., as is also clearly indicated by the south-western course of the Euphrates between 399 and 36° N. lat. It would therefore seem that these ranges are only a prolongation of those of Soristan, which continue southward i. the same direction. The middle part of this tract, between the towns of Sivas, Malatiah, and Caesaria (Kaisariyyeh), seems to form a table-land of considerable elevation, as the winters are severe and snow falls abundantly ; the summers are short and not warm. Probably its height above the sea is from 5,000 to 6,000 feet. Its surface is a succession of levels, divided from each other by ridges of low elevation ; the plains are fertile and produce rich crops of corn. The southern border of this table-land is Mount Taurus (near 380 N. lat.), which seems to rise to a great height, and sends off some branches to the Mediterranean, among which the Alma mountains (Mons Amanni), which enclose the Gulph of Iskenderoon on the E., seem to attain the highest elevation. A northern offset of the Taurus, the Ali Tagh mountains, terminates near Caesaria with Mount Erjish, which is always covered with snow, and probably rises to 12,000 ft. above the sea-level. The mountains extending from Sivas to Trebizond are also high, but we know very little of them. From this eastern and much elevated border the peninsula extends nearly 500 m. westward. Along the Mediterranean as well as along the Black Sea, it is traversed by ranges of mountains. That which runs along the Mediterranean constitutes a continual range of elevated mountains, the Mons Taurus of the ancients. The average distance of the highest part of it from the sea may vary between 30 and 70 m. ; but the whole tract lying between them is filled up by mountains of considerable elevation. They attain the greatest elevation on the broad peninsula between the Gulphs of Adalia and Makry (292 and 31° E. long.), where Mount Taghtalu is 7,800 ft. high. But the mountains farther inland are even in August covered with snow for a fourth part of the way down their sides, which indicates an elevation of at least 15,000 ft. above the sea-level. Farther W, the mountains rapidly decrease in height, and are only of moderate elevation where they terminate on the shores of the AEgean Sea, on both sides of the Gulph of Kos. . The rocky masses of this chain press so closely on the shore of the sea, that commonly only a narrow stripe of low or hilly surface intervenes, except along the innermost part of the Gulph of Adalia, and along the N. shores of that of Iskenderoon, where low plains of moderate extent occur. In some places high mountains constitute the very shores of the sea, for many miles together. The mountains which occur along the Black Sea do not form a continual range, being o broken by deep, and commonly open valleys, by which several larger or smaller rivers find their way to the sea. They therefore constitute several separated ranges, and have neither in ancient nor in modern times been designated by a general name. The several ridges which lie between these valleys run E. and W., parallel to each other, forming commonly a wider mountain-border on the N. of the peninsula, than the higher chain of the Taurus on the S.; their mean breadth may be 100 m. None of their summits seem to s the oil. ; the highest which has been measured is Damaun-Tagh, the Šiš. Olympus of the
rts are used as pastures, whilst nearly the whole of
Mount Taurus is only available for the latter purpose.
The country which lies between these two mountain-districts. and the meridians of Caesaria (35° 30') and Kutahiya (30°20') is, properly speaking, a plain whose elevation has not been determined, but it, does not seem to be much above or below 2,000 ft. above the sea. Its surface is not every where level, but it exhibits extensive level plains, and the ranges of hills which occasionally occur do not occupy much space, nor are they commonly much elevated above their base. The soil is dry, but not sandy : and, along the watercourses, or where water for irrigation can be got, rather fertile; but the tracts where no water can be procured are very extensive, and serve in winter as pasture grounds to several nomadic tribes, who in summer retreat to Mount Taurus, or the high-lands E. of Caesaria : even the fertile tracts are not cultivated, because exposed to the continual robberies of these tribes. The soil in the S. districts is o impregnatcd with nitre and other salts, and hence in these parts a considerable number of lakes occur whose waters are salt, and from which great quantities of salt are procured. These lakes have, as is commonly the case with salt-lakes, no outlet. The most important of the rivers which drain this tableland is the Kizil-ermak, which rises at a short distance E. of Sivar, and runs 200 m. westward, and afterwards nearly 300 m. N. E. and N. It is the Halys of the an
ents. The table-land seems to extend even W. of the meridian of Kutahiya, but in these parts its surface begins to be broken in hills and dales. The hills seem to in. crease in height, as they proceed westward, and the valleys to sink deeper, and to become wider. . Both the hills and valleys continue to the shores of the AEgean Sea, which is indicated by the indented sea coast, which consists of boldly projecting Woo. and deep bays between them, forming excellent harbours. This is by far the best portion of Asia Minor, the cultivated land extending over the valleys, and on the sides of the mountains, and yielding rich crops of rice, cotton, and corn, whilst the gardens |''. many kinds of excellent fruits. This region is also the most populous, and contains probably more than half the population of the peninsula. 9. Soristan, or Syria, which unites the table-land of Nadoli with that of Arabia, is a country which has a very peculiar physical constitution. Two elevated ranges run from its northern extremity (37° N, lat.) through its whole length, and terminate on both sides the Gulph of Akaba (28° N. lat.), the farthest east of the two gulphs which the Red Sea forms at its northern extremity. But both mountain-ranges, with the intervening valley and the adjacent shores of the Mediterranean, occupy only a space from 60 to 70 m. across. The most eastersy of the two mountain-chains lowers considerably soon after having branched off from the Alma Tagh; and in the o of Aleppo (36° 10' N. lat.) it sinks down to ills of moderate elevation, nor does it rise much higher until it reaches 37° 20', where it rises to a considerable height, probably 5,000 ft. and more : it is called Jebel Essharki, the Antilibanus of the ancients. It preserves a considerable elevation as sar S. as 32° 55', where it lowers again, but soon widens in an extensive mountainregion, called El Kura, which extends to 32° 10'. Hence it continues as a rocky ridge of moderate elevation on the eastern side of the 1)ead Sea, to its southern extremity E. of the Gulph of Akaba. The western chain is much higher, at least in the northern districts. As a high mountain-range, it skirts the eastern sides of the Gulph of Iskenderoon, and at some distance S. from it is broken by the river Aazsy (Orontes), but S. of that river it again rises to a considerable elevation. Its highest ortion, however, is between 34° 30' and 339 20°: this s the famous Libanus of the ancients, its northern and more elevated portion still retaining the name of Jebel Libán : but towards the S. it is called Jebel el. Drus, from its being inhabited by the Druses. The highest summits of the Jebel Libán are always covered with snow, and that which bears the name of Jebel Makmel (34° 12’) attains to 12,000 ft. above the sea. S. of 33° 20' the mountains sink much lower, and these low ridges continue to its southern extremity, on the rocky peninsula between the Gulphs of Akaba and Suez. Near the most southerly point they terminate with the stupendous and famous mountain-mass of Mount Sinai, whose highest summit is proo more than 9,000 ft. above the sea. The valley, which extends between the two ranges, has nowhere a great width. N. of 32° N., lat. it ma vary between 8 and 20 m., but is much wider.N. of 34 N. lat. than between the two ranges of the Libanus
From the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, to the Gulph of Akaba, it is reduced to a narrow, rocky, and waterless cleft in the mountains, probably not more than 1 m. or 14 across. The northern and wider part of the valley is watered by the river Aazsy (the Orontes of the ancients); the middle and highest part, lying between the two ranges of the Libanus, by a small river, the Liettamie : this district is probably 2,000 ft. above the sea. S. of the Liettanie, the valley is
Tiberias, and empties itself in the Dead Sea, after a course of about 100 m. The Dead Sea, called by the Arabians Bahr-el-Loot, is about 50 m. long, and nearly 15 m. broad where widest ; it is remarkable for the asphalt or bitumen found on its shores, and for the remarkable events and asociations connected with its history. Between the western mountain-range and the shores of the Mediterranean, are some extensive plains, S. of 339, where the country for many miles o is low and sandy, but without harbours. Between 339 and 359 is the country of the ancient Phoenicians, lying between the sea and the Libanus. The whole tract from the sea to the mountains is filled with hills, and, in advancing to the shores, these hills form numerous small harbours: the country further N. is of the same description. The southern part of the region just described is
nearly a desert. S. of the Dead Sea the surface is mostly nothing but bare rocks, destitute of vegetable j and water. It is therefore called Arabia
Petrea, or Stony Arabia. N. of it is Palestine, whose plain towards the Mediterranean is nearly a desert, on account of its sandy surface : but the higher portion, between this plain and the Jordan, is rather fertile, where cultivated, though some districts have a stony soil... The valley of the Jordan is not distinguished by fertility. The country W. of the Libanus is more fertile, especially along the range, and in its small valleys, and even on its declivities ; but on its side some of the valleys are sterile, and the E. declivity of Libanus is a naked rock. N. of Libanus the country improves ; and is in general fertile, and partly well cultivated. E. or the mountain-region is the Syrian desert, which belongs to the great depression in the interior of Western Asia; but this desolated country does not advance to the foot of the ranges : it is divided from them by a tract of most fertile country, intermixed with sandy spots. This tract may be 50 or 60 m. across, but it becomes more sandy o sterile in advancing further E. 10. Arabia is a table-land of considerable elevation, but we are unable to determine the line where it begins to rise from the low plain of the Syrian desert. Probably this line is a good way S. of the caravan road leading from Damascus to Bussorah, but not far from a line drawn from the most northelly corner of the Gulph of Akaba to the mouth of the Euphrates. The table-land rises abruptly on the other three sides, at a distance of from 3 to 40 m. from the sea, except along the northern coast of the Gulph of Persia, to which it descends with a gentle declivity. The low narrow border, with which the table-land is encompassed on all sides, is called the Tehāma, and the table-land itself Nejd, or Nedjed. The rocky and uneven border, which divides the Nejd from the Tehāma, is mostly called Jebel (mountain), or Hedjaz. The Nedjed is divided into two parts by a rocky ridge, which cuts the Tropic Circle with an angle of about 30°. It begins on the W. near 22° N. lat., and terminates near the Gulph of Persia, near 25°. This ridge, called Jebel Aared, divides the table-land into two parts, of which the southern is nearly a complete desert, and seems almost uninhabited. North of the Jebel Aared, sand also covers by far the greater part of the Nedjed, but is in numerous places interspersed with rocky tracts and some hilly grounds; where, during the rainy season, water collects and forms small streams, by which these tracts become inhabitable, and even fit for the culture of some kinds of grain ; especially dhourra, a kind of millet. There occur also extensive plantations of fruittrees, especially dates. The sandy desert which separates these inhabitable spots is also covered, after the rainy season, with o and flowers, and the Bedouins, or wandering Arabs, find there all the year round subsistence for their horses, camels, and sheep. It has not been determined to what elevation above the sealevel any part of the Nedjed rises, but its cold climate in winter seems to indicate that it exceeds the general elevation of the table-land of Iran, though probably not that of Ghizni or Kelat. The Hedjaz, or rocky edge of the Nedjed, is narrow N. of the Tropic, where it probably never exceeds 15, or at the utmost 20 m., except in two or three places where it is contiguous to a ...}} district of the Nedjed. S. of the Tropic it considerably widens, and here its mean breadth may be about 50 m. : S. of Mekka the Tehāma and Hedjaz together extend more than 100 m. from the Red Sea. The Hedjaz resembles much the rocky tracts enclosed by the Nedjed, except that water is
more abundant, and that thcrofore it is better adapted to agriculture. In it are extensive plantations of coffee. The low plains of the Tehåma have a sandy soil, which it is supposed has been deposed by the sea along the foot of the great mountain-mâss, by which the Hedjaz and Nedjed are supported ; and it i. maintained that it is still increasing in width. As it does not rain, fre§. for many consecutive years, it could not be culvated but for the watercourses, which, during the descend from the adjacent Hedjaz. Irrigated by them, with the addition of some artificial means, these sultry dry o; yield good crops of some kinds of | grain, and are rich in fruits, dates especially 11. The Plain of the Euphrates comprises the whole of the great depression in the interior of Western Asia, except that portion which is occupied by the Gulph of Persia. Its northern boundary is formed by that range of mountains which, on the W. of the Tigris, begins a little above Mosul, and running westward near the towns of Merdin and Orfa, terminates on the banks of the Euphrates, near Rumkola. On the W. it is bounded by the table-land of Iran, on the E. by the mountain-region of Syria, and on the S. by the northern declivity of the Nedjed. That portion of it which lies contiguous to the Nedjed and Syria, up to the eastern banks of the Euphrates, is a complete desert, mostly covered with sand, and subject to the pestiferous blast of the simoom or samiel. . It is, however, inhabited by some wandering tribes of Arabs; and through it run the roads which lead from Aleppo and Damascus to Bussorah. It is called the Syrian Desert. It spreads even beyond the Euphrates to a considerable distance from the river in its middle course, where its banks are hardly better inhabited than the desert itself. In the northern districts of the plain sand also prevails, but it is frequently interspersed by extensive tracts of rocky ground ; and as these patches have commonly mould on them, they are custivated and planted with trees. This tract, through which runs the road from Aleppo to Bagdad, extends on the of the Tigris to the last-mentioned place. S. of Bagdad the country between the two rivers is fertile, when irrigated, which is done by water derived from the rivers themselves, and from several canals; but those tracts, which lie to the E. and W. of these rivers, are only cultivated along their banks, sandy deserts beginning at a short distance from them. The two rivers, which water this great plain, the Euphrates and Tigris, rise nearly in the same parallel, between 38° 30' and 39° 30' N. lat., on the decsivities of the same mountainrange in Armenia; but the Euphrates, running first W., has already had a course of 500 m. before it arrives at the parallel of the sources of the Tigris. It then by degrees turns, S.E., and continues in that direction, apo gradually nearer to that river, and unites with t about 100 m. from its mouth. The united river is called the Shat-el-Arab, and falls in the northern extrem; of the Gulph of Persia. 12. Mount Caucasus, which at present is considered as the boundary between Asia and Europe, does not constitute a part of the tabic-lands and mountain-regions of Western Asia, being separated from the mountainmasses of Armenia by a kind of valley, about 100 m. across. This valley is a level plain, where it approaches the Caspian Sea, and at a distance of about 100 or 150 m. from it. Farther W. the surface of the valley is hilly, intermixed with some undulating plains, of moderate extent. It rises in higher hills, between 439 and 449 long., where a ridge of low mountains forms the watershed between the river Kur (the Cyrus of the ancients), and the Rioni (the Phasis of the ancients). The most westerly district of the valley, which is watered by the Rioni, is almost entirely filled with hills, the valleys and level tracts occupying only a small part of its surface. Mount Caucasus itself rises from this valley, with a rather steep descent, and forms a continual mass of high rocks, running from E.S.E. to W.N.W., from the shores of the peninsula of Absheron, on the Caspian Sea, to the small town of Anapa on the Black Sea, a distance hardly less than 700 m. Its width does not exceed 120 m. where widest, and hardly more than 60 or 70 m. where narrowest. This mass of rocks covers 56,000 sq. m., or nearly the surface of England and Wales. Its highest summit, Mount Elbrooz, or Elborus, attains an elevation of 17,785 ft., and is situated nearly in the centre of the range. The portion of the range, which extends W. of that lo. nowhere rises to the snow-line, but several snow-peaks occur to the E. of it, among which Mount Kazheck is 14,500 ft. high. Traces of agriculture are met with in but few of its valleys, the inhabitants living almost exclusively on the produce of their flocks. This mountain-system is remarkable for the great number of nations, belonging to different races, which inhabit its elevated valleys. At both extremities of Mount Caucasus are places, where the soil is impregnated with naphtha or bitumen, especially in the peninsula of Abcharon,
13. The Islands of Asia. — The Aleutian islands, which extend between the peninsula of Kamtchatka and the peninsula of Alashka in America, as well as the Kurile islands, which lie S. of Cape Lopatka, and terminate near the eastern shores of Jesso, are of volcanic origin, and in some of them are still found active volcanoes. Their soil is mostly rocky, and destitute of wood, but the most southerly islands of the last-mentioned group are cultivated on the lower grounds. The large island, which, between 45° and 55° N. lat., extends along the coast of Manchooria, called Sakhalien, Tarakai, or Karafto, is very little known, except that it forms an enormous mass of rocks, which rise towards its centre probably to the height of 3,000 or 4,000 ft., and perhaps even higher. It is mostly destitute of trees, and no part of it is cultivated: its scanty population subsist on the produce of their fisheries. The islands of Japan, consisting of four large (Yeso, Niphon, Sitkokf, and Kioosioo) and a considerable number of smaller ones, are also formed by immense masses of rocks, which, especially on Niphon, rise above the snowline. In most places the steep or gentle declivities of the rocks extend to the very shores of the sea, but “at others plains of considerable extent extend between them. Though the soil does not seem to be distinguished for fertility, it is rendered productive by the great care with which it is every where cultivated ; corn-fields extend on the slopes of the mountains to a considerable elevation. In many districts the surface consists of lava. The island of Formosa, divided from the continent by a channel about 70 or 80 m. wide, extends from N. to S. more than 200 m. Its southern extremity is a level, but not of great extent, for not from it rises that mountain range which traverses the island in its whole length, and which in its higher parts seems to attain an elevation of from 10,000 to 12, ft. above the sea. Its valleys towards the western shores, and the small level spots which occur along the sea, are fertile A. well cultivated. The country E. of the range is not known. The island of Hainan, near the S. coast of China, is separated from the mainland by a strait hardly more than 10 m. across. It extends from S.W. to N.E. more than 180 m. ; its average width is about 100 m., or somewhat more. In its centre rises a mountain-mass to a considerable height, from which some lateral ridges branch off, but they do not reach the shores, except in some parts on the E. coast. Every where else a low flat country separates the mountain from the sea. The flat districts are either sandy, or covered with grass and without trees, like the savannah ; in some places they are cultivated and fertile, as are also the valleys. The extensive group of the Philippines, which lies between 189 30’ and 5° 30' N. lat., comprises more than 100 islands ; of which, however, most of the smaller ones are uninhabited. Most of them are mountainous, and the smaller ones naked rocks; but the larger islands contain many plains of considerable extent, and of a ver fertile .. They are well watered —perhaps too muc : some of them are volcanic. The Sooloo islands, between Magindanao and the eastern coast of Borneo, have a rocky and uneven soil, but it is very fertile, being covered with a thick vegetable mould. But the large island of Palawan, lying farther N., is a rocky mass, rising in the middle to a high range, in which some summits attain a great height. The rocks are commonly bare ; in some parts the sides of the mountains are covered with trees; but agriculture is confined to a few small spots on the coast. Borneo, the largest of the Asiatic islands, and not much inferior to France in extent, is nowhere mountainous except in the peninsula which projects N.E. from the main body of the island; and even there, as it appears, the mountains do not attain a great elevation. The remainder, which comprises at least four fifths of its whole surface, seems to be a plain, on which a few ridges occurat great distances. This plain has an alluvial soil, to a distance of several miles from the shores, and afterwards the country rises gradually, Pos. 200 or 300 ft. The whole of this plain, as far as it is known, seems to possess great fertility; and the want of culture, which every where is visible, is probably the effect of the too great abundance of water, as the island is subject to continual rains. All kinds of o and fruits, commonly met with between the tropics, grow to perfection. The island of Celebes, divided from Borneo by the Strait of Macassar, is traversed by four ranges of mountains, which, however, do not attain a great elevation, except where the four mountain-ranges and the four peninsulas, of which the island consists, meet together; in this part the mountains are of considerable height. the surface of the whole island is hilly or mountainous, the flat tracts along the coast being of small extent. Its soil is rather sandy, and not distinguished by fertility. Its #. in rice is not equal to the consumption of the nhabitants; but it produces many tropical fruits, and sago in great abundance.
The Moluccas, lying W. of Celebes, consist of some hundred of smaller and larger islands, divided in several groups between 5° N. lat. and 8° S. lat. They rise mostly with a steep ascent from the sea shore, but rarely to a considerable elevation. Many of them seem to owe their origin to volcanoes; and on eight still exist volcanoes, in activity. Their soil, though mostly sandy and stony, is fertile, and particularly adapted for some productions. Amboyna has large plantations of cloves, and the Banda group furnishes muscat nuts and mace. The culture of rice and other grains is very limited, as the soil seems not favourable to their growth ; but this want is supplied by the extensive plantations of sagotrees. That series of mostly considerable islands which begins on the E. with the island of Timour and terminates on the W. with that of Bali, including the islands of Rotti, Savoo, and Sandelbosh, which lie S. of the series, are called by floo." the Lesser Sunda Islands, to distinguish them from the group of the Larger Sunda Islands, comprising Borneo, Celebes, Java and Sumatra. The Lesser Sunda Islands are mountainous ; and in some of them the mountains rise to 8,000 or 9,000 ft. above the sea, and probably higher. Several of them are active volcanoes, , which frequently bring destruction over the islands in , which they are situated. We are not well acquainted with these islands, nor with the degree of fertility they possess ; but from the few indications we have received, it may be inferred that, in general, they are as far from being sterile, as from an exuberant productiveness. Many of the tropical productions grow to perfection. Java, the most important of the islands of the Indian Ocean, is properly a continuation of the former series. It extends in length nearly 700 m., but its breadth hardly, exceeds 100 m., where widest. A continuous chain of mountains runs through the island in its whole length, lowering more rapidly towards the N. than the S., where the coast is high, and nearly inaccessible. Some summits of this chain rise to more than 12,000 or 13,000 ft. The highest are the Semeero and Tagal. Most of these summits are volcanoes, either extinct or still active, and their frequent eruptions have in later times laid waste several districts. The more fertile tracts lie along the northern shores, which are low, and from which a flat country extends several miles inland. Their fertility is very great, and produces rich crops of every kind of grain or roots cultivated between the tropics. But part of these flat lands are so low and so badly drained, that they are converted into swamps during the rainy season. Some tracts preserve their swampy soil all the year round; and hence arises the insalubrity of these coasts. Sumatra, only second to Borneo in extent, is 900 m. lon and from 150 to 230 m. wide. In its length it is traverse by a mountain-chain of great elevation, several of its summits exceeding 12,000 ft. of elevation: Mount Ophir exceeds even 13,000ft. Many of these summits are volcanoes, but most of them appear to be extinct. The volcano Gunon Dempo is more than 11,000, those of Ber Api and Baraw more than 12,000 st. high. The declivities of these mountains extend in many places to the western shores, which therefore afford several good harbours. The eastern shores are flat and sandy, and the adjacent plains extend in some places 100 m. and more inland. Some tracts of these plains are swampy, and others sterile and covered with sand. Still a great part of its surface is fertile, and affords many valuable productions. The western districts, being more uneven and consequently better drained, are more fertile and much more healthy. In the extensive woods, which cover the declivities of the mountain, the camphor-tree is frequent, and yields the best camphor. From the eastern shore extensive shoals extend far into the Straits of Malacca, and render the navigation tedious and difficult. East of this island, and towards its southern extremity, is the island of Banca, famous for its inexhaustible mines of tin. Ceylon, divided from the peninsula of the Deccan by the Gulph of Manaar and Palk Strait, is from S. to N. 280 m. long, but its greatest breadth does not exceed 140 m. In the middle of the island, and towards its southern extremity, on both sides of 7° N. lat., is a mountain-mass, which extends over nearly an eighth part of its surface. The mean elevation of this mass may exceed 1,000 ft. above the sea, though some of its more elevated valleys rise to nearly 4,000 ft. This mountain-mass is overtopped 3. several high summits, among which the Adam’s Pe attains 6,152 st.; but Pedrotallagalla, the highest pinnacle, is 8,280 ft. above the sea. his mountain-region is surrounded by a hilly country, to a distance of 10 or 12 m. and more. Its mean elevation above the sca varies from 400 to 1,000 ft. This hilly region may in some degree be said to extend to the very shores of the sea in the S. districts; for the country contiguous to the coast between Batticaloa, on the E. coast, and Negumbo, on the W., is not level and undulating, and the coast itself is rather high. The northern halfN' the island is a level plain and it is supposed, that even in the interior, it does not rise above 300 ft. Its coast is every where flat and sandy, and remarkable for the great number of lagunes, with which it is skirted. These lagunes increase in size during the rainy season, so as to flow into one another, affording an inland navigation for boats, in some places for 60 or 80 miles. Along the whole of the eastern coast, from Point Pedro to Dondrah Head, and hence to Negumbo, the sea is deep, and may be navigated by vessels of any burden ; but the W. coast, N. of Negumbo, as far as Point Pedro, is surrounded by a shallow sea, in which only vessels of 100 tons can be used ; and the common vessels employed in this trade vary between 25 and 50 tons. The fertility of the island is very great ; sandy tracts indeed occur, but they are not extensive, and produce commonly good crops, when irrigated. Swamps, which in the other islands of the Indian Ocean, cover great tracts of the low country, are rare in Ceylon, and of small extent.
II. BotANY of Asia. – Temperature, soil, humidity, and light are the principal agents in the geographical distribution of plants. These elements exist under greater variety in Asia than in any other region; and hence the amount and diversity of Asiatic vegetation are absolutely without a parallel. It is not alone the extent in lat. of this vast continent, though stretching from the equator to the highest N. parallels; it is not simply the different elevations of its surface, though of these the greatest and least are respectively 27,000 ft. above and 1 10 st. below the level . the sea; it is not even the abundance of water in one district, and its almost total absence in another, – which will or can account for this amount and diversity. Powerful as are these causes in influencing the |''. conditions of any region, one still more powerful exists in Asia; viz. the ver uliar nature of its conformation. The centre is a o, m tableland, varying from 6,000 to perhaps 15,000 ft. of elevation, bounded on every side by high mountains, which effectually shut it out from the sea, and on the exterior sides of which the kingdoms of Asia are arranged in every variety of inclination. The difference of aspect thus induced, still more than either lat. or elevation, serves to divide the whole continent into 5 great botanical regions, which, however subject to subdivision among themselves, are distinguished from each other by peculiarities as striking as though the Atlantic or Pacific rolled between them. N. from the great table-land, the vast country of Siberia o to the Arctic Ocean. The intensity and duration of the cold in this dreary region prevent the thriving of any but the most hardy plants, except in the S. districts; where, in addition to the effects of lower lat., vegetation is protected by mountain ranges, which screen it from the freezing N. E. winds. The oak and hazel are found in Daouria, on the border of the country of the Manchoos (Gmelin, Flor. Sib. i. 50.); but their size is diminutive, their vegetation languid; nor are they met with in any other district N. of the Altai Mountains. (Pallas, Flor. Russ. i. 3.) Yet the well watered lands of S. Siberia abound in thick forests, consisting of birch, willow, juniper, maple, ash, pine, alder, fir, larch, poplar, aspen, and elm trees. (Gmelin, i. 150–180. iii. 150. : Pallas, Flor. Russ. ; and Poy. en Russ., pass.) Of fruits there are the Siberian cedar (Pinus cembra), the nut of which is an article of commerce : 2 or 3 species of raspberries, blackberries, and other bramble fruit ; a species of cherry (Prunus fruticosmos), from which is distilled a wine; bilberries, whortleberries, and the Siberian apricot. Gmelin (iii. 173.) gives a list of 4 species of currants; and Pallas (Flor. Russ. i. 20–23.) one of 5 species of pears; but the fruit of these is value. less, with the exception of one species of currant, which is confined to the banks of the Argoon, a tributary of the Saghalien, in the S. E. corner of Daouria. During the short but powerful summer, the Siberian soil is covered with flowering and aromatic plants in immense profusion. (Gmelin, and Pallas, passim. See also Georgi's Phys. Geog. vol. iii.) But these, as well as the timber, #soft, diminish towards the N.; till above the 60th parallel scarcely any thing remains but the hardy beech and a few of the more vigorous lichens and mosses. Gmelin remarks (Preface, xliii.), that vegetation undergoes a marked change E. of the Yenisei: and, as it is a wellknown fact that temperature decreases towards the E., it is not surprising that this should be the case ; but the unproductive nature of the soil seems to have been overrated ; for, in 1830, an agricultural society was founded at St. Peter and St. Paul, in Kamtchatka, from whose paper (of Nov. 20. 1830) it appears that the return of wheat, raised in that district, was 13; for l, of rye 21 for 1; and that the cultivation of buckwheat, iłimas, barley, and other grains had proved equally successful. The potatoe, cabbage, onion, beetroot, chicory, and melon had also thriven; and though the cul cumber had failed, its failure was owing not to the impracticability of the soil, but to the bines having been destroyed by rot.
The second botanical kingdom of Asia is contained in 4
the great central table-land itself. This is unquestionably the highest and most extensive plateau in the world, having for its bearers the mountains of Altai and Yablonoi to the N.; the Manchoorian mountains E.; the Himalayas and the mountains of China to the S.; and on the W. the Beloi Tagh, the Elburz, and the Persian mountains. Lying at a great though not equal elevation, bounded and intersected by lofty mountain ranges, and without a single natural outlet to the ocean, the climate, soil, hydrography, and general physical features of this vast region (occupying more than 2-5ths of Asia), are all of a very peculiar kind. The characteristics of the first are dryness and coldness; the second consists of a dry sand, sometimes broken by patches of verdure, at others stretching out into immense deserts, like that of Gobi or Shamo ; and the water system consists of lakes without outlets, the final recipients of many rivers, some of them very respectable for length and magnitude. Many of the streams are, however, absorbed in the sandy soil. From these circumstances it may be reasonably imagined that the vegetation is also |...". but unfortunately little is known upon this subject, and the investigations of Rubruquis, Marco Polo, and others in the 13th century, and of the Jesuit missionaries in the 17th, were till very lately the only sources from which knowledge could be gained ; and though Lord Macartney (Embassy to China) and Timkouski (Poyage à Peking a travers la Mongolie) afford more recent, they scarcely afford more extensive, information concerning a region which is still, in a great degree, a terra i ita to science. Wood of all kinds is extremely scarce in these high and consequently bleak regions; so scarce that the nomadic inhabitants use the dung of their cattle for fuel (Du Halde, iv. 18.), and similar materials not unfrequently serve for the groundwork of their gilded ... (Marco Paulo, lib. i. c. 49.) On the S. slopes of the table-land are found oaks, aspens, elms, hazels, and walnut trees; but all, even on the immediate confines of China, diminished to mere shrubs; while on the high lands and N. slopes of the same frontier the only wood consists of some wretched thorny brambles. (Lord Macartney, ii. 200.) This remarkable absence of timber throughout so great an extent of country is owing, probably (even more than to the nature of the soil), to violent and cold tornadoes, which are extremely frequent, especially during the summer. * : (Carpin, cap. xvi. art. o the N. parts of Mongolia the timber . in character to that of S. Siberia, but is still very inferior both in kind and quantity. (Timkowski, i. 44. ii. 290. &c.) Considering the vast number of beasts that traverse these plains (see Zoology), there must be, notwithstanding the extensive deserts, a great variety of grazing herbs and grasses : but except in the E. (Timkouski, ii. 229.) agriculture is not practised, and the vegetable food of man unknown. The natives live exclusively on flesh and milk (Carpin, c. xxvi art. 4. : Rubruquis, cap. v. ; M. Paulo, liv. i., cap. 57. &c.); and when questioned as to why they so totally neglect the earth, their reply is, that “God made herbs for beasts, but the flesh of beasts for men.” (Du Halde, iv. 32.) Tinkouski saw in the N. parts of this region red currants, so.'"; o and flax, all growing wild. (ii. 290.) There is also here a very remarkable fungus, called, from its resemblance to the animal, the Tartar lamb; and there can be little doubt but that the flowering and aromatic plants of this region are numerous and peculiar. The E. slope of the table-land, comprising the basin of the Saghalien (or Amoor) and other great rivers which flow into the Pacific Ocean, forms the third great kingdom of Asiatic botany; and is, in every re t, strongly contrasted with its immediate neighbour. Here are immense forests; so extensive that it required 9 days to traverse one of them, and so thick that it was necessary to fell several trees in order to take an observation of the sun's meridian. (Du Halde, iv. 7.) The cold is very severe to as low a lat. as 43°; and consequently the trees are of the kind usually met with in the more N. parallels of Europe. Of fruits, this district possesses apoles, pears, nuts, chestnuts, and filberts, all in great abundance ; and of grain, wheat, oats, and millet, are roduced, together with a peculiar species, unknown in !. called mai-se-mi, partaking of the nature of both wheat and rice. Rice itself is grown, though in no great quantities; and, in fact, from the little that is known of this great region, it would appear that there is no large district of the earth better adapted for the residence of an agricultural population. Its capabilities are, however, wholly neglected by the Chinese government; while the natives of the soil (the Manchoos), though they do not, like the great majority of the Mongols, utterl neglect the pursuits of husbandry, yet, in generas, they may be described as a race of hunters, resembling strongly in habits and manners the aboriginal inhabitants of America. The cotton shrub grows here;