صور الصفحة

second range sends a chain (the Harrar hills) eastward to the Gulf of Aden. The two chief eastern ranges maintain a parallel course S. by W., with a broad upland valley between—in which valley are a series of lakes—to about 3° N., the outer (eastern) spurs of the plateau still keeping along the line of 40° E. The southern escarpment of the plateau is highly irregular, but has a general direction N.W. and SE. from 6° N. to 3° N. It overlooks the depression in which is Lake Rudolf and—east of that lake—— southern Somaliland. The western wall of the plateau from 6° N. to 11° N. is well marked and precipitous. North of 11° N. the hills turn more to the east and fall more gradually to the plains at their base. On its northern face also the plateau falls in terraces to the level of the eastern Sudan. The eastern escarpment is the best defined of these outer ranges. It has a mean height of from 7000 to 8000 ft., and in many places rises almost perpendicularly from the plain. Narrow and deep clefts, through which descend mountain torrents to lose themselves in the sandy soil of the coast land, afford means of reaching the plateau, or the easier route through the Hawash valley may be chosen. On surmounting this rocky barrier the traveller finds that the encircling rampart rises little above the normal level of the plateau. _

(2) The aspect of the highlands is most impressive. The northern portion, lying mainly between 10° and 15° N., consists of a huge mass of Archaean rocks with a mean height of from 7000 to 7 500 ft. above the sea, and is flooded in a deep central depression by the waters of Lake Tsana. Above the plateau rise several irregular and generally ill-defined mountain ranges which attain altitudes of from 12,000 to over 15,000 ft. Many of the mountains are of weird and fantastic shape. Characteristic of the country are the enormous fissures which divide it, formed in the course of ages by the erosive action of water. They are in fact the valleys of the rivers which, rising on the uplands or mountain sides, have cut their way to the surrounding lowlands. Some of the valleys are of considerable width; in other cases the opposite walls of the gorges are but two or three hundred yards apart, and fall almost vertically thousands of feet, representing an erosion of hard rock of many millions of cubic feet. One result of the action of the water has been the formation of numerous isolated flat-topped hills or small plateaus, known as ambas, with nearly perpendicular sides. The highest peaks are found in the Simen (or Semien) and Gojam ranges. The Simen Mountains lie N .E. of Lake Tsana and culminate in the snow-covered peak of Daschan (Dajan), which has an, altitude of 15,160 ft. A few miles east and north respectively of Dajan are Mounts Biuat and Abba Jared, whose summits are a few feet only below that of Dajan. In the Chok Mountains in Gojam Agsias Fatra attains a height of 13,600 ft.

Parallel with the eastern escarpment are the heights of Baila (12,500 ft.), Abuna Josef (13,780 ft.), and Kollo (14,100 ft.), the last-named being S.W. of Magdala. The valley between these bills and the eastern escarpment is one of the longest and most profound chasms in Abyssinia. Between Lake Tsana and the eastern hills are Mounts Guna (13,800 ft.) and Uara Sahia (13,000 ft.). The figures given are, however, approximate only. The southern portion of the highlands—the 10° N. roughly marks the division between north and south—has more open tableland than the northern portion and fewer lofty peaks. Though there are a few heights between 10,000 and 12,000 ft., the majority do not exceed 8000 ft. But the general character of the southern regions is the same as in the north—a much-broken hilly plateau.

Most of the Abyssinian uplands have a decided slope to the north-west, so that nearly all the large rivers find their way in that direction to the Nile. Such are the Takazzé in the north, the Abai in the centre, and the Sobat in the south, and through these three arteries is discharged about four-fifths of the entire drainage. The rest is carried off, almost due north by the Khor Baraka, which occasionally reaches the Red Sea south of Suakin; by the Hawash, which runs out in the saline lacustrine district near the head of Tajura Bay; by the Webi Shebeli (WabiShebeyli) and Juba, which flow S.E. through Somaliland, though


the Shebeli fails to reach the Indian Ocean; and by the Omo, the main feeder of the closed basin of Lake Rudolf.

The Takazzé, which is the true upper course of the Atbara, has its head-waters in the central tableland; and falls from about 7000 to 2500 ft. in the tremendous crevasse through which it sweeps round west, north and west again down to the western terraces, where it passes from Abyssinian to Sudan territory. During the rains the Takazzé (Le. the “Terrible ”) rises some 18 ft. above its normal level, and at this time forms an impassable barrier between the northern and central provinces. In its lower course the river is known by the Arab name Setit. The Setit is joined (14° 10’ N., 36° E.) by the Atbara, a river formed by several streams which rise in the mountains W. and N.W. of Lake Tsana. The Gash or March is the most northerly of the Abyssinian rivers which flow towards the Nile valley. Its head-waters rise on the landward side of the eastern escarpment within 50 miles of Annesley Bay on the Red Sea. It reaches the Sudan plains near Kassala, beyond which place its waters are dissipated in the sandy soil. The Mareb is dry for a great part of the year, but like the Takazzé is subject to sudden freshets during the rains. Only the left bank of the upper course of the river is in Abyssinian territory, the Mareb here forming the boundary between Eritrea and Abyssinia.

(3) The Abai—that is, the upper course of the Blue Nile—— has its source near Mount Denguiza in the Gojam highlands (about 11° N. and 37° 13.), and first flows for 70 in. nearly due north to the south side of Lake Tsana. Tsana (q.v.), which stands from 2500 to 3000 ft. below the normal level of the plateau, has somewhat the aspect of a flooded crater. It has an area of about 1100 sq. m., and a depth in some parts of 250 ft. At the south-east corner the rim of the crater is, as it were, breached by a deep crevasse through which the Abai escapes, and here develops a great semicircular bend like that of the Takazzé, but in the reverse direction—east, south and north-west—down to the plains of Sennar, where it takes the name of Bahr-el-Azrak or Blue Nile. The Abai has many tributaries. Of these the Bashilo rises near Magdala and drains eastern Amhara; the Jamma rises near Ankober and drains northern Shoa; the M uger rises near Adis Ababa and drains south-western Shoa; the Didessa, the largest of the Abai’s affluents, rises in the Kafl'a hills and has a generally S. to N. course; the Yabus runs near the western edge of the plateau escarpment. All these are perennial rivers. The right-hand tributaries, rising mostly on the western sides of the plateau, have steep slopes and are generally torrential in character. The Bolassa, however, is perennial, and the Rahad and Dinder are important rivers in flood-time.

In the mountains and plateaus of Kaffa and Calla in the south-west of Abyssinia rise the Baro, Gelo, Akobo and other of the chief affluents of the Sobat tributary of the Nile. The Akobo, in about 7° 50’ N. and 33° E., joins the Pibor, which in about 8? N. and 33° 20' E. unites with the Baro, the river below the confluence taking the name of Sobat. These rivers descend from the mountains in great falls, and like the other Abyssinian streams are unnavigable in their upper courses. The Baro on reaching the plain becomes, however, a navigable stream aflording an open waterway to the Nile. The Baro, nibor and Akobo form for 250 m. the W. and S.W. frontiers of Abyssinia (see NILE, Sonar and SUDAN).

The chief river of Abyssinia flowing east is the Hawash (Awash, Awasi), which rises in the Shoan uplands and makes a semicircular bend first SE. and then N.E. It reaches the Afar (Danakil) lowlands through a broad breach in the eastern escarpment of the plateau, beyond which it is joined on its left bank by its chief afliuent, the Germama (Kasam), and then trends round in the direction of Tajura Bay. Here the Hawash is a copious stream nearly 200 ft. wide and 4 ft. deep, even in the dry season, and during the floods rising 50 or 60 ft. above low-water mark, thus inundating the plains for many miles along both its banks. Yet it fails to reach the coast, and after a winding course of about 500 m. passes (in its lower reaches) through a series of badds (lagoons) to Lake Aussa, some 60 or 70 m. from the head of Tajura Bay. In this lake the river is lost. This remarkable phenomenon is explained by the‘position of Aussa in the centre of a saline lacustrine depression several hundred feet below sea-level. While most of the other lagoons are highly saline, with thick incrustations of salt round their margins, Aussa remains fresh throughout the year, owing to the great body of water discharged into it by the Hawash.

Another lacustrine region extends from the Shoa heights south-west to the Samburu (Lake Rudolf) depression. In this chain of lovely upland lakes, some fresh, some brackish, some completely closed, others connected by short channels, the chief links in their order from north to south arez—Zwai, communicating southwards with Hara and Lamina, all in the Arusi Galla territory; then Abai with an outlet to a smaller tarn in the romantic Baroda and Gamo districts, skirted on the west sides by grassy slopes and wooded ranges from 6000 to nearly 9000 ft. high; lastly, in the Asille country, Lake Stefanie, the Chuwaha of the natives, completely closed and falling to a level of about 1800 ft. above the sea. To the same system obviously belongs the neighbouring Lake Rudolf (q.v.), which is larger than all the rest put together. This lake receives at its northern end the waters of the Omo, which rises in the Shoa highlands and is a perennial river with many aflluents. In its course of some 370 m. it has a total fall of about 6000 ft. (from 7600 at its source to 1600 at lake-level), and is consequently a very rapid stream, being broken by the Kokobi and other falls, and navigable only for a short distance above its mouth. The chief rivers of Somaliland (q.v.), the Webi Shebeli and the Juba (q.v.), have their rise on the south-eastern slopes of the Abyssinian escarpment, and the greater part of their course is through territory belonging to Abyssinia. There are numerous hot springs in Abyssinia, and earthquakes, though of no great severity, are not uncommon.

(4) Geology—The East African tableland is continued into Abyssinia. Since the visit of W. T. Blanford in 1870 the geology has received little attention from travellers. The following formations are represented :—

Sedimentary and Metamorphic.

Recent. Coral, alluvium, sand.

Tertiary. (F) Limestones of Harrar.

Jurassic. Antalo Limestones.

Triassic (?). Adigrat Sandstones.

Archaean. Gneisses, schists, slaty rocks. Igneous.

Recent. Aden Volcanic Series.

Tertiary, Cretaceous (P). Magdala group.

Jurassic. Ashangi group.

Archean—The metamorphic rocks compose the main mass of the tableland, and are exposed in every deep valley in Tigré and along the valley of the Blue Nile. Mica schists form the prevalent rocks. Hornblende schists also occur and a compact felspathic rock in the Suris defile. The foliae of the schists strike north and south.

Triassic (P).—In the region of Adigrat the metamorphic rocks are invariably overlain by white and brown sandstones, unfossiliferous, and attaining a maximum thickness of 1000 feet. They are overlain by the fossiliferous limestones of the Antalo group. Around Chelga and Adigrat coal-bearing beds occur, which Blanford suggests may be of the same age as the coalbearing strata of India. The Adigrat Sandstone possibly represents some portion of the Karroo formation of South Africa.

J ura:sic.—~The fossiliferous limestones of Antalo are generally horizontal, but are in places much disturbed when interstratified with trap rocks. The fossils are all characteristic Oolite forms and include species of H emicidaris, Pholadomya, Ceromya, Trigonia and Alaria.

Igneous Racks.—-Above a height of 8000 ft. the country consists of bedded traps belonging to two distinct and unconforrnable groups. The lower (Ashangi group) consists of basalts and dolerites often amygdaloidal. Their relation to the Antalo


limestones is uncertain, but Blanford considers them to be not later in age than the Oolite. The upper (Magdala group) contains much trachytic rock of considerable thickness, lying perfectly horizontally, and giving rise to a series of terraced ridges characteristic of central Abyssinia. They are interbedded with unfossiliferous sandstones and shales. Of more recent date (probably Tertiary) are some igneous rocks, rich in alkalis, occurring in certain localities in southern Abyssinia. Of still more recent date are the basalts and ashes west of Massawa and around Annesley Bay and known as the Aden Volcanic Series. With regard to the older igneous rocks, the enormous amount they have suffered from denudation is a prominent feature. They have been worn into deep and narrow ravines, sometimes to a depth of 3000 to 4000 ft.

(5) CIimate.—The climate of Abyssinia and its dependent territories varies greatly. Somaliland and the Danakil lowlands have a hot, dry climate producing semi-desert conditions; the country in the lower basin of the Sobat is hot, swampy and malarious. But over the greater part of Abyssinia as well as the Galla highlands the climate is very healthy and temperate. The country lies wholly within the tropics, but its nearness to the equator is counterbalanced by the elevation of the land. In the deep valleys of the Takazzé and Abai, and generally in places below 4000 ft., the conditions are tropical and fevers are prevalent. On the uplands, however, the air is cool and bracing in summer, and in winter very bleak. The mean range of temperature is between 60° and 80° F. On the higher mountains the climate is Alpine in character. The atmosphere on the plateaus is exceedingly clear, so that objects are easily recognizable at great distances. In addition to the variation in climate dependent on elevation, the year may be divided into three seasons. Winter, or the cold season, lasts from October to February, and is followed by a dry hot period, which about the middle of June gives place to the rainy season. The rain is heaviest in the Takazzé basin in July and August. In the more southern districts of Gojam and Wallega heavy rains continue till the middle of September, and occasionally October is a wet month. There are also spring and winter rains; indeed rain often falls in every month of the year. But the rainy season proper, caused by the south-west monsoon, lasts from June to mid-September, and commencing in the north moves southward. In the region of the Sobat sources the rains begin earlier and last longer. The rainfall varies from about 30 in. a year in Tigré and Amhara to over 40 in. in parts of Galla land. The rainy season is of great importance not only to Abyssinia but to the countries of. the Nile valley, as the prosperity of the eastern Sudan and Egypt is largely dependent upon the rain— fall. A season of light rain may be sufficient for the needs of Abyssinia, but there is little surplus water to find its way to the Nile; and a shortness of rain means a low Nile, as practically all the flood water of that river is derived from the Abyssinian tributaries (see NILE).

(6) Flora and Fauna.—As in a day’s journey the traveller may pass from tropical to almost Alpine conditions of climate, so great also is the range of the flora and fauna. In the valleys and lowlands the vegetation is dense, but the general appearance of the plateaus is of a comparatively bare country with trees and bushes thinly scattered over it. The glens and ravines on the hillside are often thickly wooded, and offer a delightful contrast to the open downs. These conditions are particularly characteristic of the northern regions; in the south the vegetation on the uplands is more luxuriant. Among the many varieties of trees and plants found are the date palm, mimosa, wild olive, giant sycamores, junipers and laurels, the myrrh and other gum trees (gnarled and stunted, these flourish most on the eastern foothills), a magnificent pine (the Natal yellow pine, which resists the attacks of the white ant), the fig, orange, lime, pomegranate, peach, apricot, banana and other fruit trees; the grape vine (rare), blackberry and raspberry; the cotton and indigo plants, and occasionally the sugar cane. There are in the south large forests of valuable timber trees; and the coffee plant is indigenous in the Kafia country, whence it takes its name. Many kinds of grasses and flowers abound. Large areas are covered by the kussa, a hardy member of the rose family, which grows from 8 to 10 ft. high and has abundant pendent red blossoms. The flowers and the leaves of this plant are highly prized for medicinal purposes. The fruit of the kurarina, a tree found almost exclusively in Shoa, yields a black grain highly esteemed as a spice. On the tableland a great variety of grains and vegetables are cultivated. A fibrous plant, known as the sanseviera, grows in a wild state in the semi-desert regions of the north and southeast. .

In addition to the domestic animals enumerated below (§8) the fauna is very varied. Elephant and rhinoceros are numerous in certain low-lying districts, especially in the Sobat valley. The Abyssinian rhinoceros has two horns and its skin has no folds. The hippopotamus and crocodile inhabit the larger rivers flowing west, but are not found in the Hawash, in which, however, otters of large size are plentiful. Lions abound in the low countries and in Somaliland. In central Abyssinia the lion is no longer found except occasionally in the river valleys. Leopards, both spotted and black, are numerous and often of great size; hyaenas are found everywhere and are hardy and fierce; the lynx, wolf, wild dog and jackal are also common. Boats and badgers are more rarely seen. The giraffe is found in the western districts, the zebra and wild ass frequent the lower plateaus and the rocky hills of the north. There are large herds of buffalo and antelope, and gazelles of many varieties and in great numbers are met with in most parts of the country. Among the varieties are the greater and lesser kudu (both rather rare); the duiker, gemsbuck, hartebeest, gerenuk (the most common—it has long thin legs and'a camel-like neck); klipspringer, found on the high plateaus as well as in the lower districts; and the dik-dik, the smallest of the antelopes, its weight rarely exceeding 10 lb, common in the low countries and the foothills. The civet is found in many parts of Abyssinia, but chiefly in the Galla regions. Squirrels and hares are numerous, as are several kinds of monkeys, notably the guereza, gelada, guenon and dog-faced baboon. They range from the tropical lowlands to heights of 10,000 ft.‘

Birds are very numerous, and many of them remarkable for the beauty of their plumage. Great numbers of eagles, vultures, hawks, bustards and other birds of prey are met with; and partridges, duck, teal, guinea-fowl, sand-grouse, curlews, woodcock, snipe, pigeons, thrushes and swallows are very plentiful. A fine variety of ostrich is commonly found. Among the birds prized for their plumage are the marabout, crane, heron, blackbird, parrot, jay and humming-birds of extraordinary brilliance. Among insects the most numerous and useful is the bee, honey everywhere constituting an important part of the food of the inhabitants. Of an opposite class is the locust. Serpents are not numerous, but several species are poisonous. There are thousands of varieties of butterflies and other insects.

(7) Provinces and Towns—Politically, Abyssinia is divided into provinces or kingdoms and dependent territories. The chief provinces are Tigré, which occupies the N.E. of the country; Amhara or Gondar, in the centre; Gojam, the district enclosed by the great semicircular sweep of the Abai; and Shoa (q.v.), which lies east of the Abai and south of Amhara. Besides these ancient provinces and several others of smaller size, the empire includes the Wallega region, lying S.W. of Gojam; the Harrar province in the east; Kaffa (q.v.) and Galla land, S.W. and S. of Shoa; and the central part of Somaliland.

With the exception of Harrar (q.v.), a city of Arab foundation, there are no large towns in Abyssinia. Harrar is some 30 m. S.E. of Dire Dawa, whence there is a railway (188 m. long) to Jibuti on the Gulf of Aden. The absence of large towns in Abyssinia proper is due to the provinces into which the country is divided having been for centuries in a state of almost continual warfare, and to the frequent change of the royal residences on the exhaustion of fuel supplies. The earliest capital appears to have been Axum ((1.1).) in Tigré, where there are extensive ruins. In the middle ages Gondar in Amhara became the capital of the country and was so regarded up to the middle of the 19th


century. Since 1892 the capital has been Adis Ababa in the kingdom of Shoa. ‘

The other towns of Abyssinia worthy of mention may be grouped according to their geographical position. None of them has a permanent population exceeding 6000, but at several large markets are held periodically. In Tigré there are Adowa or Adua (17 m. E. by N. of Axum), Adigrat, Macalle and Antalo. The three last-named places are on the high plateau near its eastern escarpment and on the direct road south from Massawa to Shoa. West of Adigrat is the monastery of Debra-Dome, one of the most celebrated sanctuaries in Abyssinia.

In Amhara there arez—Magdala (q.v.), formerly the residence of King Theodore, and the place of imprisonment of the Britishcaptives in 1866. Debra-Tabor (“ Mount Tabor ”), the chief royal residence during the reign of King John, occupies a strong strategic position overlooking the fertile plains east of Lake Tsana, at a height of about 8,620 ft. above the sea; it has a population of 3000, including the neighbouring station of Samara, headquarters of the Protestant missionaries in the time of King Theodore. Ambra-Mariam, a fortified station midway between Gondar and Debra-Tabor near the north-east side of Lake Tsana, with a population of 3000; here is the famous shrine and church dedicated to St Mary, whence the name of the place, “ Fort St Mary.” Mahdera-Mariam (“ Mary’s Rest ”), for some time a royal residence, and an important market and great place of pilgrimage, a few miles south-west of DebraTabor; its two churches of the “ Mother ” and the " Son ” are held in great veneration by all Abyssinians; it has a permanent population estimated at over 4000, Gallas and Amharas, the former mostly Mahommedan. Sokota, one of the great central markets, and capital of the province of Waag in Amhara, at the converging point of several main trade routes; the market is numeroust attended, especially by dealers in the salt blocks which come from Lake Alalbed. The following towns are in Shoaz—Ankober, formerly the capital of the kingdom; AliuAmba, east of Ankober on the trade route to the Gulf of Aden; Debra-Berhan (Debra-Bernam) (“ Mountain of Light ”), once a royal residence; Liché (Litché), one of the largest market towns in southern Abyssinia. Lieka, the largest market in Galla land, has direct communications with Gojam, Shoa and other parts of the empire. Bonga, the commercial centre of Kaffa, and Jiren, capital of the neighbouring province of J imma, are frequented by traders from all the surrounding provinces, and also by foreign merchants from the seaports on the Gulf of Aden. Apart from these market-places there are no settlements of any size in southern Abyssinia.

Communications.v—The Jibuti-Dire Dawa railway has been mentioned above. The continuation of this railway to the capital was begun in 1906 from the Adis Ababa end. There are few roads in Abyssinia suitable for wheeled traflic. Transport is usually carried on by mules, donkeys, pack-horses and (in the lower regions) camels. From Dire Dawato Harrar there is a well-made carriage road, and from Harrar to Adis Ababa the caravan track is kept in good order, the river Hawash being spanned by an iron bridge. There is also a direct trade route from Dire Dawa to the capital. Telegraph lines connect Adis Ababa and several important towns in northern Abyssinia with Massawa, Harrar and Jibuti. There is also a telephonic service, the longest line being from Harrar to the capital.

(8) Agriculture.—The soil is exceedingly fertile, as is evident from the fact that Egypt owes practically all its fertility to the sediment carried into the Nile by its Abyssinian tributaries. Agriculture is extensively followed, chiefly by the Gallas, the indolence of the Abyssinians preventing them from being good farmers. In the lower regions a wide variety of crops are grown ——among them maize, durra, wheat, barley, rye, tefi, pease, cotton and sugar-cane—and many kinds of fruit trees are cultivated. T01] is a kind of millet with grains about the size of an ordinary pin-head, of which is made the bread commonly eaten. Thelow grounds also produce a grain, toeussa, from which black bread is made. Besides these, certain oleaginous plants, the suf, nuc and seh'le (there are no European equivalents for the native names), and the ground-nut are largely grown. The castor bean grows wild, the green castor in the low, damp regions, the red castor at medium altitudes. The kat plant, a

medicinal herb which has a tonic quality, is largely grown in the '

Harrar province. On the higher plateaus the hardier cereals only are cultivated. Here the chief crops are wheat, barley, teff, peppers, vegetables of all kinds and coffee. Above 10,000 ft. the crops are confined practically to barley, oats, beans and occasionally wheat.

Coffee is one of the most important products of the country, and its original home is believed to be the Kafi'a highlands. It is cultivated in the S., SE. and SW. provinces, and to a less extent in the central districts. Two qualities of coffee are cultivated, one known as Abyssinian, the other as HarrarMocha. The “ Abyssinian” coffee is grown very extensively throughout the southern highlands. Little attention is paid to the crop, the berries being frequently gathered from the ground, and consequently the coffee is of comparatively low grade. “ Harrar-Mocha ” is of first-class quality. It is grown in the highlands of Harrar, and cultivated with extreme care. The raising of cotton received a considerable impetus in the early years of the 20th century. The soil of the Hawash valley proved particularly suitable for raising this crop. In the high plateaus the planting of seeds begins in May, in the lower plateaus and the plains in June, but in certain parts where the summer is long and rain abundant sowing and reaping are going on at the same time. Most regions yield two, many three crops a year. The methods of culture are primitive, the plough commonly used being a. long pole with two vertical iron teeth and a smaller pole at right angles to which oxen are attached. This implement costs about four shillings. The ploughing is done by the men, but women and girls do the reaping. The grain is usually trodden out by cattle and is often stored in claylined pits. Land comparatively poor yields crops eight to tenfold the quantity sown; the major part of the land yields twenty to thirtyfold. In the northern parts of the empire very little land is left uncultivated. The hillsides are laid out in terraces and carefully irrigated in the dry season, the channels being often two miles or more long. Of all the cereals barley is the most widely grown. The average rate of pay to an agricultural labourer is about threepence a day in addition to food, which may cost another penny a. day.

The Abyssinians keep a large number of domestic animals. Among cattle the Sanga or Galla ox is the most common. The bulls are usually kept for ploughing, the cow being preferred for meat. Most of the cattle are of the zebu or hump-backed variety, but there are also two breeds—one large, the other resembling the Jersey cattlr—which are straight-backed. The horns of the zebu variety are sometimes four feet long. Sheep, of which there are very large flocks, belong to the short and fat-tailed variety. The majority are not wool-bearing, but in one district a very small black sheep is raised for wool. The small mountain breed of sheep weigh no more than 20 to 30 lb apiece. Goats are of both the long and short-haired varieties. The horns of the large goats are often thirty inches in length and stand up straight from the head. The goats from the Arusi Galla country have fine silky hair whichis sometimes sixteen inches long. The meat of both sheep and goats is excellent; that of the latter is preferred by the natives. In 1904 the estimated number of sheep and goats in the country was 20,000,000. -Large quantities of butter, generally rancid, are made from the milk of cows, goats and sheep. In the Leka province small black pigs are bred in considerable numbers. The horses (very numerous) are small but strong; they are generally about 14 hands in height. The best breeds come from the Shoa uplands. The as is also small and strong; and the mule, bred in large numbers, is of excellent quality, and both as a transport animal and as a mount is preferred to the horse. The mule thrives in every condition of climate, is fever-proof, travels over the most difficult mountain passes with absolute security, and can carry with easea load of 200 lb. The average height of a mule is 12} hands. The country is admirably adapted for stock-raising.


(9) M inerals.—In the south and south-west provinces placer gold mines by the banks of watercourses are worked by Gallas as an industry subsidiary to tending their flocks and fields. In the Wallega district are veins of gold-bearing quartz, mined to a certain extent. There are also gold mines in southern Shoa. The annual output of gold is worth not less than £ 500,000. Only a small proportion is exported. Besides gold, silver, iron, coal and other minerals are found. Rock-salt is obtained from the province of Tigré.

Trade and Currency.—Abyssinia being without seaports, the external trade is through MassaWa (Italian) in the north, Jibuti (French), Zaila and Berbera (British) in the south, and for all these ports Aden is a distributing centre. For Tigré and Amhara products Massawa is the best port, for the rest of the empire, Jibuti. For southern Abyssinia, Kafi'a and Galla lands, Harrar is the great e'ntrepot, goods being forwarded thence to Jibuti and the other Somaliland ports. There is also a considerable trade with the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan through the frontier towns of Rosaires and Gallabat. At the French and British ports there is freedom of trade, but on goods for Abyssinia entering Massawa a discriminating tax is levied if they are not imported from Italy.

The chief articles of export are cofiee, skins, ivory, civet, ostrich feathers, gum, pepper, kat plant (used by Moslems for its stimulating properties), gold (in small quantities) and live stock. The trade in skins is mainly with the United States through Aden; America also takes a large proportion of the cofiee exported. For live stock there is a good trade with Madagascar. The chief imports are cotton goods, the vearly value of this trade being fully £2 50,000; the sheetings are largely American; the remainder English and Indian. No other article of import approaches cotton in importance, but a considerable trade is done in arms and ammunition, rice, sugar, flour and other foods, and a still larger trade in candles and matches (from Sweden), oil, carpets (oriental and European), hats and umbrellas. Commerce long remained in a backward condition; but under the Emperor Menelek II. eflorts were made to develop the resources of the country, and in 1905 the total volume of trade exceeded £r,000,000.

Until the end of the 19th century the usual currency was the Maria Theresa dollar, bars of rock-salt and cartridges. In 1894 a new coinage was introduced, with the Mcnelek dollar or talari, worth about two shillings, as the standard. This new coinage gradually superseded the older currency. In 1905 the Bank of. Abyssinia, the first banking house in the country, was founded, with its headquarters at Adis Ababa. The bank, which was granted a monopoly of banking business in the empire for fifty years, has a capital of £500,000, has the power to issue notes, to mint the Abyssinian coinage, and to engage in commercial operations. It was founded under Egyptian law by the National Bank of Egypt, which institution had previously obtained a concession from the emperor Menelek.

(10) Government—The political institutions are of a feudal character. Within their provinces the roses (princes) exercise large powers. The emperor, styled negais negusti (king of kings), is occasionally assisted by a council of rases. In October 1907 an imperial decree announced the constitution of a cabinet on European lines. ministers being appointed to the portfolios of foreign affairs, war, commerce, justice and finance. The legal system is said to be based on the Justinian code. From the decisions of the judges there is a right of appeal to the emperor. The chief judicial oflicial is known as the afla-negzls (breath of the king). The Abyssinian church (q.v.) is presided over by an abuna, or archbishop. The land is not held in fee simple, but is subject to the control of the emperor or the church. Revenue is derived from an ad valorem tax on all imports; the purchase and sale of animals; from royalties on trading concessions, and in other ways, including fees for the administration of justice. Education, of a rudimentary character, is given by the clergy. In 1907 a system of compulsory education “ of all male children over the age of 12 ” was decreed. The education was to be state provided, Coptic teachers were brought from Egypt and school buildings were erected.

The Abyssinian calendar is as followsz—The Abyssinian year of 365 days (366 in leap-year) begins on the rst of Maskarram, which corresponds to about the 10th of September. The months have thirty days each, and are thus named: Maskarram, Tekemt, Hadar, Tahsas, T arr, Yekatit, Magawit, Miaziah, Genbot, Sanni, Hamle, Nas’hi. The remaining five days in the year, termed Pagmen or Quaggimi (six in leap-year, the extra day being named Kadis Yohannis), are put in at the end and treated as holidays. Abyssinian reckoning is about seven years eight months behind the Gregorian. Festivals, such as Easter, fall a week later than in western Europe.

Army—A small standing army is maintained in each province of Abyssinia proper. Every able-bodied Abyssinian is expected to join the army in case of need, and a force, well armed with modern weapons, approaching 250,000 can be placed in the field. The cavalry is chiefly composed of Galla horsemen. (F. R. C.)

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(ii) The population of the empire is estimated at from 3,500,000 to 5,000,000. The inhabitants consist mainly of the Abyssinians, the Galla and the Somali (the two last-named peoples are separately noticed). Of non-African races the most numerous are Armenians, Indians, Jews and Greeks. There is a small colony of British, French, Italians and Russians. The following remarks apply solely to Abyssinia proper and its inhabitants. It should be remembered that the term “Abyssinian " is purely geographical, and has little or no ethnical significance; it is derived from the Arabic Habesh, “mixed,” and was a derisive name applied by the Arabs to the heterogeneous inhabitants of the Abyssinian plateau.

Abyssinia appears to have been originally peopled by the eastern branch of the Hamitic family, which has occupied this region from the remotest times, and still constitutes the great bulk of its inhabitants, though the higher classes are now strongly Semitized. The prevailing colour in the central provinces (Amhara, Gojam) is a deep brown, northwards'(Tigr6, Lasta) it is a pale olive, and here even fair complexions are seen. Southwards (Shoa, Kobbo, Amuru) a decided chocolate and almost sooty black is the rule. Many of the people are distinctly negroid, with big lips, small nose, broad at the base, and frizzly or curly black hair. The negroid element in the population is due _chiefiy to the number of negro women who have been imported into the harems of the Abyssinians. The majority, however, may be described as a mixed Hamito-Semitic people, who are in general well formed and handsome, with straight and regular features, lively eyes, hair long and straight or somewhat curled and in colour dark olive, approaching to black. The Galla, who came originally from the south, are not found in many parts of the country, but predominate in the Wollo district, between Shoa and Amhara. It is from the Galla that the Abyssinian army is largely recruited, and, indeed, there are few of the chiefs who have not an admixture of Galla blood in their veins.

As regards language, several of the indigenous groups, such as the Khamtas of Lasta, the Agau or Agaos of Agaumeder (“ Agao land ”) and the Falashas (q.v.), the so-called “ Jews ” of Abyssinia, still speak rude dialects of the old Hamitic tongue. But ' the oflicial language and that of all the upper classes is of Semitic origin, derived from the ancient Himyaritic, which is the most archaic member of the Semitic linguistic family. Geez, as it is called, was introduced with the first immigrants from Yemen, and although no longer spoken is still studied as the liturgical language of the Abyssinian Christians. Its literature consists of numerous translations of Jewish, Greek and Arabic works, besides a valuable version of the Bible. (See ETHIOPIA.) The best modern representative of Geez is the Tigrina of Tigré and Lasta, which is much purer but less cultivated than the Amharic dialect, which is used in state documents, is current in the central and southern provinces and is much affected by Hamitic elements. All are written in a peculiar syllabic script which, un


like all other Semitic forms, runs from left to right, and is derived from that of the Sabaeans and Minaeans, still extant in the very old rock-inscriptions of south Arabia.

The hybridism of the Abyssinians is reflected in their political and social institutions, and especially in their religious beliefs and practices. On a seething mass of African heathendom, already in early times affected by primitive Semitic ideas, was suddenly imposed a form of Christianity which became the state religion. While the various ethnical elements have been merged in the composite Abyssinian nation, the primitive and more advanced religious ideas have nowhere been fused in a uniform Christian system. Foreigners are often surprised at the strange mixture of savagery and lofty notions in a Christian community which, for instance, accounts accidental manslaughter as wilful murder. Recourse is still had to dreams as a means of detecting crime. A priest is summoned, and, if his prayers and curses fail, a small boy is drugged, and “ whatever person he dreams of is fixed on as the criminal. . . . If the boy does not dream of the person whom the priest has determined on as the criminal, he is kept under drugs until he does what is required of him ” (Count Gleichen, With the Mission to M eneh‘k, chap. xvi., 1898).

The Abyssinian character reflects the country’s history. Murders and executions are frequent, yet cruelty is not a marked feature of their character; and in war they seldom kill their prisoners. When a man is convicted of murder, he is handed over to the relatives of the deceased, who may either put him to death or accept a ransom. When the murdered person has no relatives, the priests take upon themselves the oflice of avengers. The natural indolence of the people has been fostered by the constant wars, which have discouraged peaceful occupations. The soldiers live by plunder, the monks by alms. The haughtiest Abyssinian is not above begging, excusing himself with the remark, “ God has given us speech for the purpose of begging.” The Abyssinians are vain and selfish, irritable but easily appeased; and are an intelligent bright people, fond of gaiety. On every festive occasion, as a saint’s day, birth, marriage, &c., it is customary for a rich man to collect his friends and neighbours, and kill a cow and one or two sheep. The principal parts of the cow are eaten raw while yet warm and quivering, the remainder being cut into small pieces and cooked with the favourite sauce of butter and red pepper paste. The raw meat eaten in this way is considered to be very superior in taste and much more tender than when cold. The statement by James Bruce respecting the cutting of steaks from a live cow has frequently been called in question, but there can be no doubt that Bruce actually saw what he narrates. Mutton and goat's flesh are the meats most eaten: pork is avoided on religious grounds, and the hate is never touched, possibly, as in other countries, from superstition. Many forms of game are forbidden; for example, all water-fowl. The principal drinks are mése, a kind of mead, and bousa, a sort of beer made from fermented cakes. The Abyssinians are heavy eaters and drinkers, and any occasion is seized as an excuse for a carouse. Old and young, of \both sexes, pass days and nights in these symparia, at which special customs and rules prevail. Little bread is eaten, the Abyssinian preferring a thin cake of durra meal or tefl, kneaded with water and exposed to the sun till the dough begins to rise, when it is baked. Salt is a luxury; “ he eats salt ” being said of a spendthrift. Bars of rock-salt, after serving as coins, are, when broken up, used as'food. There is a general looseness of morals: marriage is a very slight tie, which can be dissolved at any time by either husband or wife. Polygamy is by no means uncommon. Hence there is little family affection, and what exists is only between children of the same father and mother. Children of the same father, but of different mothers, are said to be “ always enemies to each other.” (Samuel Gobat’s Journal of a Three Years’ Residence in Abyssinia, I834.)

The dress of the Abyssinians is much like that of the Arabs. It consists of close-fitting drawers reaching below the knees, with a sash to hold them, and a large white robe. The Abyssinian, however, is beginning to adopt European clothes on the upper part of the body, and European hats are becoming common.

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