Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/104

This page needs to be proofread.


ISLj 1 N D 8 —B A I K A L in timber. A line of railway has been opened through the crescent, which spreads from S.W. to N.E. (51 29 to 55 50' N. lat. and 103° to 110° E. long.) separating the prodistrict to Nepalganj on the frontier. vince of Irkutsk from Transbaikalia, and has a length of Bahrein Islands.—The Bahreins include a group 376 miles and a width of from 20 to 70 miles. Its southof islands situated about 20 miles east of the coast of A1 western extremity penetrates into the high plateau of East Hasa, in the Persian Gulf, a little to the south of the port Asia, and the lake lies entirely in the Alpine zone which of A1 Katif, which, under the ancient name of Gerrha, has fringes the plateau from the north-west. Its area is 13,500 been celebrated throughout history as the mart of Indian square miles, i.e., nearly as great as Switzerland. The trade, the starting-point of caravans across Arabia. The length of its coast-line is 525 miles along the western, and largest of the group is called Bahrein. It is about 27 640 along the eastern shore. Its altitude is now estimated miles long from north to south and about 10 wide—a by Russian geographers at 1587 and at 1651 feet 90 feet low flat space of sandy waste with cultivated oases and above the level of the Angara at Irkutsk—both figures palm groves of great luxuriance and beauty. The rocky being derived from a levelling accomplished in the ’sevenhill of Jebel Dukhan (the “ mountain of the mist ”) rises ties across Siberia (Zapiski, Russ. Geog. Soc., Gen. Geogr. in the midst of it to a height of 400 feet. The rest of the xv. 1885); but owing to errors which have crept into group are of coral formation. The next island in size to that levelling between Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk, these Bahrein is Moharek, curved in shape, and about 5 miles altitudes seem to be exaggerated and 1500 feet (1433 feet long by I,- mile in breadth. It lies 1 mile to the north of for Irkutsk) would seem a more correct altitude (Izvestia, Bahrein. Sitrah (4 miles long) Nebbi, Saleh, Sayeh, East Sib. Branch, xxviii. 1, 1897). Its level is subject Khasifeh, and Arad (f mile long) complete the group. Of to slight oscillations, and after the heavy five weeks’ rains these minor islands Arad alone retains its classical name. of 1869, it rose by 7 feet, an immense territory at the The sea around the Bahrein islands is shallow, so shallow mouth of the Selenga being submerged. as to admit only of the approach of native craft, and the The elongated hilly island of Olkhon and the peninsula harbour is closely shut in by reefs. There is very little Svyatoi Nos which rises as its continuation on the opposite doubt that it was from these islands that the Puni, or eastern shore, divide the lake into two basins. Careful Phoenicians, emigrated northwards to the Mediterranean. soundings show that the deepest part of the lake is in the Bahrein has always been the centre of the pearl fishing south-west, at the foot of the Khamar-daban border-ridge industry of the Persian Gulf. There are about 400 boats of the high plateau. An elongated cavity, 66 miles long, now employed in the pearl fisheries, each of them paying reaches there a depth of over 600 fathoms, with a maxia tax to the Sheikh. The pearl export from Linja is mum depth of 791 fathoms, i.e., about 3240 feet below the valued at about £30,000 to £35,000 per annum. level of the ocean. The bottom of the lake has very steep The capital town of Bahrein is Manameh, a long, straggling, slopes as a rule, the 100- and even the 250-fathom lines narrow town of about 8000 inhabitants, chiefly of the Wahabi running close to the shores. Only at the mouth of the sect. Manameh is adjacent to the most northern point of the Selenga, which is a mighty stream 800 miles long, enterisland, and looks across the narrow strait to Moharek. Fish and sea-weed form the staple food of the islanders. The ing the lake from the south-east, and pouring into it the water-supply of Moharek is probably unique. It is derived from waters and the deposits from a drainage area of 173,500 springs which burst through the beds below sea-level with such square miles, a wide delta protrudes into the lake, reducing force as to retain their freshness in the midst of the surrounding salt water. Scattered through the islands are some fifty villages, its width to 20 miles and spreading under its waters, so as each possessing its own date groves and cultivation, forming to leave only a narrow channel, 230 to 247 fathoms deep, features in the landscape of great fertility and beauty. Most of along the opposite coast. these villages are walled in for protection. The depths of the middle portion of the lake have not The present Sheikh of Bahrein (who lives chiefly at Moharek) is of the family of El Kalifa which furnishes chiefs to the Uttubi yet been measured but must exceed 500 fathoms. It was tribe. This ruling race was driven from the mainland (where expected that an underground ridge would be found conthey held great possessions) by the Turks about _ 1850. In necting Olkhon with Svyatoi Nos; but depths exceedthe year 1867 the Persians threatened Bahrein, and in 1875 the ing 622 fathoms were found even along that line. As to Turks laid their hands on it. British interference in both cases the northern basin, the configuration of its bottom is in was successful in maintaining the integrity of Arab rule, and the accordance with the high mountains which surround it, Bahrein Islands are now under British protection. To the south-west of the picturesque belts of palm trees which and most of its area has a depth exceeding 400 fathoms, stretch inland from the northern coast of Bahrein, is a wide space the maximum depths along three lines of soundings taken of open sandy plain filled with gigantic tumuli, or earth mounds, across it being 491, 485 and 476 fathoms respectively. of which the outer layers of gravel and clay have been hardened by the weather action of centuries to the consistency of conTemperature.—The surface-layers of this immense basin are glomerate. Within these mounds are two-chambered sepulchres, in the summer along the coast so as to reach temperatures built of huge slabs of limestone, several of which have been opened heated from 55° to 67° Fahr. both close to the shores and at some disand examined by Durand, Bent, and others, and found to contain of from the mouth of the Selenga ; but these warmer layers relics of undoubted Phoenician design. Scattered here and there tance throughout the islands are isolated mounds, or smaller groups, are not thick and a uniform temperature of nearly 39° F. is generally found at a depth of 20 fathoms, as also on the surface in the all of which are of the same appearance, and probably of similar middle of the lake. At a depth of 500 fathoms there is a nearly origin. ^ uniform temperature of 38° from top to bottom. The lake freezes See Bent, vol. xii. Proceedings R. G. S. (t. H. H.*) usually at the end of December or in the beginning of January, so that a temporary post-horse station is erected on the ice Bahr-el-Ghazal. See Sudan, Nile, and Egypt. solidly in the midst of the lake, and it remains frozen till the second halt of May. The evaporation from this large basin exercises a Baiburt, chief town of a district of the Erzerum certain influence on the climate of the surrounding. country, viUyet of Asiatic Turkey, altitude 5114 feet, situated .on while the absorption of heat for the thawing ot the ice has a both banks of the Choruk Su (Acampsis), at the point notable cooling effect in early summer. Jlivers.—Lake Baikal receives over 300 streams, mostly snort where the Trebizond - Erzerum road crosses that river. mountain torrents, besides the Upper Angara, which enters its The town is dominated by an ©Id Armenian fortress on north-east extremity, the Barguzin on its east shore, and tne an isolated mass of rock. Population, 10,000 (Moslems, Selenga from the south-east. Its only outflow is the Lower Angara, which issues through a rocky cleft on the west shore. 8500; Christians, 1500). The Irkut reaches the Baikal no more. After approaching its Baikal, a lake of Russia, East Siberia, the sixth in south-west extremity it abandons the broad valley which leads size of all the lakes of the world and the largest fresh- to the lake and makes its way northwards through a narrow clelt water basin of Eurasia. It has the shape of a narrow pierced in high mountains, to join the Angara at Irkutsk.

76

BAHREIN