Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Baghermi
BAGHERMI, or Bagirmi, a district or kingdom of Central Africa, lying to the S. of Lake Chad and S.W. of Bornu. It extends about 240 miles from N. to S., and has a breadth of barely 150 miles. The surface is almost fiat, with a slight inclination to the N., and the general eleva tion is about 950 feet above sea-level. The Shari, a large and always navigable river, forms the western boundary, and throws out an important effluent called the Bachikam, which passes through the heart of the country. The soil consists partly of lime and partly of sand, and is by no means unfertile. In many parts not a stone is to be seen. Negro-millet, sesamum, and sorghum are the principal grains in cultivation, but rice grows wild, and several kinds of grass or poa are used as food by the natives. Cotton and indigo are grown to a considerable extent, especially by Boruu immigrants. Among the trees the most import ant are the tamarind, the deleb-palm, the dum-palm, the hajilij or Balanites cegyptiaca, the sycamore, and the cornel. The country often suffers from drought, and is greatly plagued with worms and insects, especially ants of all kinds, red, black, and white. The Kungjungjudu, a sort of beetle which does great damage to the crops, is eaten by the natives. A large proportion of the people have their feet mutilated by the attacks of a small worm, which takes up its residence in the first joint of the little toe and eats it gradually away. The inhabitants of Baghermi are a vigorous, well-formed race, who, according to their own traditions, came from the Far East several centuries ago. They speak a language cognate with those spoken by the Sara, who dwell about two degrees further south, and the Dor, who are situated at the confluence of the Dyor with the White Nile. On their arrival they soon extended their power over the Fellata and Arabs already settled in the district, and after being converted to Mahomctanism under Abd- Allah, their fourth king, they extended their authority over a large number of heathen tribes. The most import ant of these are the Sokoro, the Bua, the Nyillam, the Sara, the Tumok, and the Busso. They are almost all in a low state of civilisation, and practise strange superstitions a belief in a god whom they identify with thunder being the greatest extent of their religion. They are subject to the barbarous raids of their Baghermian masters, who derive from them a constant supply of slaves with which to pay the tribute demanded from them in their turn by the sultan of Bornu. For our knowledge of this district we are prin cipally indebted to Earth and Nachtigal ; the former was for some time a prisoner in Masseiia, the capital.
See Earth, Travels in Northern and Central Africa in 1849-53, vol. iii., and Nachtigal, in Petermaun s Mittheil. for 1874, and in Zeitsch. d. Gts.f. Erdkundczu Berlin, 1875.