Page images

unknown, but which, after a course of above 1400 miles, flows into the Bay of Bengal below Calcutta ; the Burram-pooter, whose sources are unknown, and which forms a junction with the Ganges, near its mouth, but for the last 60 miles of its course is from 4 to 5 miles wide; the rivers Hoang and Kiang, which rise near each other in the Mountains of Tartary, and after flowing each above 2000 miles in length, at a distance of above 1000 miles from each other, at last both empty themselves into the Yellow Sea; the Ob, which rises in Lat. 55', and falls into the Sea of Ob, a Gulph of the Arctic Ocean. We must not omit some singular but immense bodies of water: of these, the Caspian Sea is detached from all communication with other seas, and is about 700 miles in length, and from 100 to 200 miles in breadth. About 100 miles East of the Caspian is another smaller detached sea, called the Sea of Aral, about 200 miles long, and 70 broad, which is salt like the Caspian, and probably once joined it. At a great distance North East of the Sea of Aral, is the Sea or Lake of Baikal, in the South of Siberia, about 350 miles in length, and 35 in breadth, whose water is fresh.

The most elevated mountains of Asia have not been explored, and our whole information on the subject is very imperfect. In Thibet, and the adjacent countries, they have been considered by some of the latest and most intelligent writers, to be most probably of prodigious altitude, - beyond the European Alps, and perhaps the American Andes. * Among the others most

* Dwawala-gin, or the White Mountain, one of the Himalayan chain, has been estimated lately by Colonel Kirkpatrick and Mr. Colebrooke at the amazing height of 26,862 feet above the level of the sea. .

celebrated are the Mountains of Taurus, in Natolia ; of Caucasus, whose highest point, Mount Elborus, is equal to Mount Blanc; Mount Ararat is in Armenia ; in Syria is Mount Libanus; on the coasts of the Archipelago are Mount Olympus and Mount Ida; in Siberia is the Altaic chain, which extends in length 5000 miles, whose highest summit is Bogdo Alim, or the Almighty Mountain ; in Independent Tartary is Belen Tag, the Northern Imaus of the antients; and the Mountain of Himmala, among the Thibetian Mountains, is of immense, but of unknown altitude, still preserving the name of the Southern Imaus; in Arabia we must not omit Mount Sinai, which, however, is in itself of no remarkable height.

The principal Asiatic Islands are the Island of Ceylon, lying to the South East of Cape Comorin, at the bottom of the Bay of Bengal. Of the Promontory of Malacca, South and South West of it, are the Sumatran. or Sunda Isles, of which Sumatra is the largest, but the capital is Batavia, in Java. East of Sumatra, and above Java, is the large Island of Borneo. Above Borneo are the Philippines, belonging to Spain, called sometimes the Manillas, from Manilla,. their capital. East of Borneo are the Celebezian Isles, of which Celebes is the chief. East of Celebes are the Banda or Spice Isles, and South of them the Moluccas. East of these is New Guinea, and below them all New Holland, an immense Island, which some geographers dignify with the appel... lation of another continent, under the title of Notasia. It is hardly one-fourth, less than Europe. Off the South coast of China lies the Island of Hainan. East of Canton

is the Island of Formosa, and North of the coast of China are the Islands of Japan. The remainder of the Asiatic Isles will be briefly noticed in another place.

The religion of the Turkish dominions in Asia is Mahometanism. In Georgia and Syria there are many Christians, though their doctrines are very corrupt. In Persia are Mahometans, and in many parts of Hindoostan, but the Hindoo religion is the proper religion of Hindoostan, and consists in the idolatrous worship of a Trinity, composed of three deities — Brahma, Vishna, and Shiva, or the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, together with an infinite number of subordinate and inferior deities. The Japanese, Chinese, and Tartars, are Idolaters; but the Tartars are generally Schamanians, whose religion is founded on the self-existence of matter, a world of spirits, and the general restitution of all things. The Thibetians worship the Dalai Lama, a man whom they conceive to be omnipotent and immortal, as being a great spirit embodied : their religion is intimately connected with Schamanism, as is the Brahmanism of the Hindoos, and the idolatrous polytheism of the Chinese,



AFRICA in breadth is about 4150, in length about 4200 miles.

In Africa the first Kingdom on the Western side, immediately below the Straights of Gibraltar, is Fez, and South of it Morocco; these are united into one Kingdom under the Emperor of Morocco. Next to Fez, proceeding eastward, is Algiers, and east of it Tunis; then Tripoli, where the shore has taken a Southward direction, and Barca, and still Eastward is Egypt. The whole coast from Fez to Tripoli inclusive is called the Barbary Coast; and the Governments are of a military nature, under a Governor called a Dey, or Bey, who is nominally subject to the Grand Signior, but really independent, except on his own soldiers, who, with a licentiousness resembling that of the antient prætorian guards, frequently depose and murder their Governors. Below the whole Barbary coast is the Sahara, a great desert of immense and unexplored extent, and below it, reaching from a little above Cape Verd to the coast of Guinea, is the coast of Senegambia, so called from the rivers Senegal and Gambia, and in the interior various uncivilized Kingdoms of Negro Chiefs, the principal of which are the Foulahs and Jaloffs. Towards the Southern extremity of the coast of Senegambia is the settlement of Sierra Leone, below which is the coast of Guinea, divided into the Grain coast, Ivory coast, Gold coast, and formerly the Slave coast, till the traffic for slaves was abolished by act of parliament, A. D. 1806. Below Guinea are the Portuguese settlements of Loango, Congo, and Angola. The Southern point of Africa' is called the Cape of Good Hope *, long possessed by the Dutch, but at present by the English. Here is the country of the Hottentots, who proverbially hold the lowest rank in the scale of human intellect and civilization, though, according to the accounts of the most recent and intelligent travellers, they must either have been formerly misrepresented, or have made considerable improvements within the last 20 years.

** The Cape of Good Hope was first sailed round in modern times by Vasquez de Gama, a Portuguese, A. D. 1497, who thereby discovered a passage to the East Indies. It appears, however, probable, that the Phænicians had doubled it about B. C. 607.

« PreviousContinue »