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The interior thus circumscribed consists of an elevated table-land; a large portion is occupied with deserts, the largest of which are the Great Salt Desert and the Desert of Kirman.
The lakes are, Shahee or Urumia, in Azerbijan, and Zurrah, in Affghanistan. There are no large rivers. The waters of the interior are for the most part lost in the deserts.
Climate.-On the low shores of the Caspian, the summer is hotter than in the West Indies, and the winters are mild; but in both seasons the moisture of the atmosphere is excessive. In the high land of the interior the summers are hot, but the winters are often rigorous.
On the shores of the Persian Gulf the simoom is experienced, and the heat of summer is so great as to render it dangerous to move abroad at mid-day.
Productions.-Persia is noted for the excellence of its fruits; the fig, the mulberry, the peach, the apricot, are indigenous, as well as many of the most esteemed ornaments of European gardens, anemonies, jessamines, tulips, ranunculi, &c. Agriculture, however, is much neglected; and many districts, once fertile, have become barren wastes. The silk-worm is extensively reared. The principal articles of manufacture are carpets and shawls.
Provinces of Persia Proper.-Azerbijan, Ghilan, and Mazanderan, are on the shores of the Caspian ; Khuzistan, Fars, Laristan, and Kirman, are on the Persian Gulf; Irak-ajemi and Khorasan are extensive provinces in the interior. Towns. — Teheran', in Irak-ajemi, the present capital of the empire; it
is surrounded with a strong mud wall, four miles in circuit. Ispahan, once the metropolis ; though much reduced, it is still the
chief emporium of Persia. Shiraz, the capital of Fars; beautifully situated in a fertile valley
it has suffered much from war, and is rapidly going to decay. The ruins of Persepolis, once the splendid capital of Persia, are about 30 miles to the north-west of Shiraz. Tabreez, the capital of Azerbijan, was twice destroyed by earthquakes. Peshawer, capital of Cabul, a large town of little strength. Cabul, near the southern base of the Hindoo-Coosh; carries on a great trade in horses between Tartary and India In the recent retreat of
the British from Cabul, nearly the whole force, consisting of 4,500
fighting men, besides 12,000 camp followers, were cut off. Kelat, the capital of Beloochistan. Herat, the grand depôt of the commerce between Tartary, Persia,
and India. , Kandahar, a flourishing city, on the great road between Persia and
India ; successfully defended by Gen. Nott during the late war.
Government and Character. The government of Persia is a military despotism; justice, as in most other oriental countries, is sold to the highest bidder.
The Affghans and Beloochees are divided into a number of tribes, each possessing a distinct territory and governed by its own chief. The Affghans declare themselves to be descended from one of the sons of Saul, King of Israel ; their appearance is decidedly Jewish.
The prevailing religion is Mahometan, though there still remains a number of Parsees or fire-worshippers.
The Persians are considered the most polished of eastern nations; but a great part of Persia Proper, as well as of the neighbouring states, is possessed by lawless tribes of wandering robbers.
The Persic is one of the most esteemed of Oriental languages.
Animals.- The Persian horse is handsome, though not so fleet as the Arabian; the sheep is distinguished by an enormous tail.
Ancient Name.-Irak-ajemi corresponds to the ancient Media, and Fars to Persia.
TARTARY. Boundaries.-Tartary Proper is bounded on the N. by Russia in Asia.-E. by Mongolia.-S. by Persia and Cabul.-W. by the Caspian.
The term Tartary is often applied to the whole central region of Asia between the Caspian and the Pacific
The Beloo Tag mountains, which connect the Himalayan with the Altaian range, form the natural boundary between Tartary Proper and Mongolia.
Face of the Country. In the east it is mountainous, but descends in the west to the low plains of the Caspian and Aral; hence it may be regarded as the western declivity of the great central plain of Asia Full one half of the country is covered by immense steppes; these are chiefly situated in the north.
Rivers.—The Amoo, or Jihon, (the ancient Oxus,) ftows from the declivities of Hindoo-Coosh into the Aral; the Sir, or Sihon, also flows into the Aral Sea.
The course of the Oxus is changed, -it anciently flowed into the Caspian.
Climate.— The perpetual snow of its mountains, and the vicinity of Siberia, render its climate colder than its latitude would indicate ; winter is sometimes very severe.
Productions.-The soil of Tartary is well fitted for pasturage, and the wealth of the inhabitants consists in their flocks. The horses are hardy; the camels are chiefly of the Bactrian or two-humped race; they are shorn, and the wool exported. There are no manufactures.
Political Divisions.--Tartary is divided into several independent states, the principal of which are, Bukhara, Karesm, Kokan, and Budakshan. Bukhara is by far the finest province.
Towns.- In a country chiefly occupied by wandering shepherds, towns are necessarily few. Samarcand, the capital of the empire of Tamerlane, and Bukhara, famed for its Mahometan college, are the chief. Balkh, an ancient city, is now a mass of ruins.
Character.— The Tartars are an ancient race, and have remained unconquered, whilst the surrounding nations have been repeatedly subdued ; under Tamerlane they extended their conquests from Egypt to the very confines of China. The Tartar despises labour and a fixed resis dence;-horse-flesh and mare's milk is his favourite food. Mahometanism is the prevailing religion, though mixed with many Pagan rites and ceremonies.
MONGOLIA, OR CHINESE TARTARY. Boundaries.—This immense region is bounded on the N. by Siberia.-S. by India.-W. by Tartary; and E. by the Pacific and China.
Face of the Country. Chinese Tartary forms the most extensive table-land in the world, and from this elevated base several ridges of mountains rise. The Siolki mountains run parallel with the coast, and separate Mantchooria from the rest of Chinese Tartary. To the south are the Himalaya mountains, the highest on the globe, and supposed to attain an elevation of about 28,000 feet.
A great part of this extensive region is occupied with sandy deserts, the largest of which, the Desert of Gobi, or Shamo, is 1000 miles long; yet there are many fertile spots, especially in the neighbourhood of rivers.
There are several lakes in Tibet.
Rivers.—Most of the large rivers of Asia have their origin in Mongolia, but the Amoor is the only one which peculiarly belongs to it. It forms for some distance the boundary between the Russian and Chinese empires, and after a course of 2240 miles, falls into the Gulf of Tartary opposite to the island of Sagalien.
Provinces.—The central region is properly denominated Mongolia, but this name is frequently extended to the whole ; Mantchooria is in the east, Little Bukhara in the west, and Tibet in the south.
Towns.— The principal are Kashgar and Yarkand, in Little Bukhara; and Lassa, in Tibet.
Population.-About 17,000,000. The habits of the Mongols closely resemble those of the Tartars. The Calmucks, a powerful tribe who inhabit the western part, are perpetually at war with the Mongolians of the middle and eastern parts; but the whole are subject to China.
CHINA. Boundaries.-N. and W. by Mongolia.-E. by the Pacific.-S. by India beyond the Ganges, and the China
The great wall of China extends along the northern frontier; its length is 1,500 miles, its usual height 30 feet, and it is so broad that a carriage can drive along it. In some parts it is conducted over mountains 5,000 feet high.
Extent.--Between 20° and 42° N. lat., and 95° and 1229 E. long. Its length and breadth are about 1,300 miles.
Coast.-It possesses a coast line of upwards of 2,000 miles, which, with its numerous harbours, fit it for being an important maritime country.
The islands are, Loo Choo, Formosa, and Hainan.
Mountains.—The Nan-ling mountains are a continuation of the Himalayan; the Peling are parallel to these, and divide the basins of the two great rivers of China.
Rivers.—The Hoang-Ho, or Yellow River, and the Yang-tse-Kiang, rise near the same spot in Mongolia; in their progress to the sea they are separated to a distance of 1,100 miles ; at length they again approach, and terminate their majestic course within 110 miles of each other.
The Hoang-Ho carries a great deal of mud into the Yellow Sea; hence, probably, the increasing shallowness of this sea.
Canals.-A line of inland navigation extends, with one interruption, from Pekin to Canton, a distance of 1,600 m.
It has been formed by following the course of some rivers, and directing the waters of others into new channels. The mode of conducting water over declivities by locks is unknown to the Chinese.
Climate. The cold of the northern part is sometimes severe; winter reigns for two or three months with a rigour exceeding the same parallel in Europe, but is succeeded by a summer of excessive heat. The southern parts possess the climate of the torrid zone, in which they are situated.
Productions and Commerce.-Rice is produced in great quantities, and is the chief food of the Chinese. Tea, a beverage used by the whole civilized world, is procured only here and in Japan and Assam ; and here it is produced in perfection only between the parallels of 27o and 210. Silk is an important article both of manufacture and