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FLORA: POPULATION]
261
ARABIA


to attract them, and large quantities are caught and eaten by the poorer people. Bees are kept, and in Yemen and Hadramut the honey is exceptionally good.

Of domesticated animals the camel is far the most useful to the Arab. Owing to its endurance of thirst the long desert journeys which separate the populous centres are made practicable, and in the spring months, when green forage is plentiful Camel. in the desert, the Bedouins pitch their camps for long periods far from any water, and not only men but horses subsist on camel’s milk. The Arabian camel belongs to the one-humped species, though there are many varieties differing in appearance as much as the thoroughbred race-horse from the English cart-horse. The ordinary load for a pack camel is about 400 ℔, and in hot weather good camels will march 20 to 25 m. daily and only require water every third or fourth day: in cool weather, with ample green fodder they can go twenty-five days or more without drinking. A good dalul or riding camel will carry his rider 100 m. a day for a week on end. Nolde gives an instance from his own experience of a camel rider covering 62 m. in seven hours. The pure-bred riding camel is only found in perfection in inner Arabia; for some unexplained reason when taken out of their own country or north of the 30th degree they rapidly degenerate.

The horse does not occupy the important position in the Bedouin economy that is popularly supposed. In Nejd the number of horses is, comparatively speaking, very small; the want of water in the Nafud where alone forage is obtainable, Horse. and the absence of forage in the neighbourhood of the towns makes horse-breeding on a large scale impracticable there. Horses are in fact only kept by the principal sheiks, and by far the larger proportion of those now in Nejd are the property of the amir and his family. These are kept most of the year in the Nafud, five or ten days’ march from Hail, where they find their own food on the desert herbage. When a raid is in contemplation, they are brought in and given a little barley for a few weeks. Reared in this way they are capable of marvellous endurance, marching during a raid twenty hours a day for eight or ten days together. As a rule, they are only mounted at the moment of attack, or in pursuit. Water and forage have to be carried for them on camels.

The great majority of the horses that come into the market as Arabs, are bred in the northern desert and in Mesopotamia, by the various sections of the Aneza and Shammar tribes, who emigrated from Nejd generations ago, taking with them the original Nejd stock. In size and appearance, and in everything but endurance, these northern horses are admittedly superior to the true Nejdi. A few of the latter are collected by dealers in the nomad camps and exported chiefly from Kuwet. The amir Mahommed Ibn Rashid used to send down about one hundred young horses yearly.

Asses of excellent quality are bred all over the country; they are much used as mounts by the richer townsmen. Except in the settled districts horned cattle are not numerous; they are similar to the Indian humped cattle, but are greatly superior in milking qualities. The great wealth of the Arabs is in their flocks of sheep and goats; they are led out to pasture soon after sunrise, and in the hotter months drink every second day. In the spring when the succulent ashub and adar grow plentifully in the desert, they go for weeks without drinking. They are milked once a day about sunset by the women (the men milk the camels), and a large proportion of the milk is made into samn, clarified butter, or marisi, dried curd. The wool is not of much value, and is spun by the women and woven into rugs, and made up into saddlebags or into the black Bedouin tents.

Flora.—The flora of Arabia has been investigated by P. Forskal, the botanist of Niebuhr’s mission, P. E. Botta, G. Schweinfurth and A. Deflers, to whose publications the technical reader is referred. Its general type approaches more closely to the African than to that of southern Asia. In the higher regions the principal trees are various species of fig, tamarind, carob and numerous kinds of cactiform Euphorbia, of which one, the Euphorbia arborea, grows to a height of 20 ft. Of Coniferae the juniper is found on the higher slopes of J. Sabur near Taiz, where Botta describes it as forming an extensive forest and growing to a large size; it is also found in the range overlooking the W. Madin, 50 m. W. of Aden. Considerable forests are said to exist in Asir, and Burton found a few fine specimens which he regarded as the remains of an old forest, on the Tehama range in Midian. On the rocky hill-sides in Yemen the Adenium Obesum is worthy of notice, with its enormous bulb-like stems and brilliant red flowers. Some fine aloes or agaves are also found. In the cultivated upland valleys all over Arabia the Zizyphus jujuba, called by some travellers lotus, grows to a large tree; its thorny branches are clipped yearly and used to fence the cornfields among which it grows. In the broad sandy wadi beds the tamarisk (athl) is everywhere found; its wood is used for making domestic implements of all sorts. Among fruit trees the vine, apricot, peach, apple, quince, fig and banana are cultivated in the highlands, and in the lower country the date palm flourishes, particularly throughout the central zone of Arabia, in Hejaz, Nejd and El Hasa, where it is the prime article of food. A hundred kinds of date are said to grow at Medina, of which the birni is considered the most wholesome; the halwa and the jalebi are the most delicately flavoured and sell at very high rates; the khulas of El Hasa is also much esteemed.

Of cereals the common millets, dhura and dukhn, are grown in all parts of the country as the summer crop, and in the hot irrigated Tehama districts three crops are reaped in the year; in the highlands maize, wheat and barley are grown to a limited extent as the winter crop, ripening at the end of March or in April. Among vegetables the common kinds grown include radishes, pumpkins, cucumbers, melons, potatoes, onions and leeks. Roses are grown in some places for the manufacture of atr, or attar of roses; mignonette, jasmine, thyme, lavender and other aromatic plants are favourites in Yemen, when the Arabs often stick a bunch in their head-dress.

Of the products special to Arabia coffee comes first; it is nowhere found wild, and is believed to have been introduced from Abyssinia in the 6th century A.D. It thrives on the seaward slopes of the western range in the zone of the tropical rains, at Coffee. altitudes between 4000 and 7000 ft. The principal centres of production are the upper valleys of the W. Surdad, between Kaukaban and Manakha, and particularly on J. Haraz; in the Wadi Zubed west of Uden; in Hajaria on the slopes of J. Sabur, and in the Yafa district north-east of Aden. It is planted in terraces on the mountain slopes; shady trees, such as tamarind and fig, are planted in the border as a protection from the sun, and the terraces are irrigated by channels led from a neighbouring rivulet or spring. The plants are raised from seedlings, and when six or seven weeks old they are transplanted in rows 4 to 6 ft. apart; they require watering twice a month, and bear in two to four years. The berries are dried in the sun and sent down to Hodeda or Aden, where they are subjected to a process for separating the husk from the bean; the result is about 50% of cleaned berries, bun safi, which is exported, and a residue of husk or kishr, from which the Yemenis make their favourite beverage.

Another plant universally used as a stimulant in Southern Arabia is khat (Catha edulis). The best is grown on J. Sabur and the mountainous country round Taiz. It is a small bush propagated from cuttings which are left to grow for three years; the leaves are then stripped, except a few buds which develop next year into young shoots, these being cut and sold in bunches under the name of khat mubarak; next year on the branches cut back new shoots grow; these are sold as khat malhani, or second-year kat, which commands the highest price. The bush is then left for three years, when the process is repeated. The leaves and young shoots are chewed; they have stimulating properties, comparable with those of the coca of Peru.

The aromatic gums for which Arabia was famed in ancient times are still produced, though the trade is a very small one. The tree from which myrrh is extracted grows in many places, but the industry is chiefly carried on at Suda, 60 m. north-north-east of Sana. Longitudinal slits are made in the bark, and the gum is caught in cups fixed beneath. The balsam of Mecca is produced in the same way, chiefly in the mountains near the W. Safra between Yambu and Medina.

The stony plains which cover so large a part of the country are often covered with acacia jungle, and in the dry water-courses a kind of wild palm, the dom, abounds, from the leaves of which baskets and mats are woven. Brushwood and rough pasturage of some sort is found almost everywhere, except in the neighbourhood of the larger settlements, where forage and firewood have to be brought in from long distances. The Nafud sands, too, are tufted in many places with bushes or small trees, and after the winter rains they produce excellent pasture.

Population.—The people, according to their own traditions, are derived from two stocks, the pure Arabs, descended from Kahtan or Joktan, fourth in descent from Shem; and the Mustarab or naturalized Arabs, from Ishmael. The former are represented at the present day by the inhabitants of Yemen, Hadramut and Oman, in general a settled agricultural population; the latter by those of Hejaz, Nejd, El Hasa, the Syrian desert and Mesopotamia, consisting of the Bedouin or pastoral tribes (see Arabs and Bedouins). This distinction between the characteristics of the two races is only true in a general sense, for a considerable population of true Bedouin origin has settled down to agricultural life in the oases of Hejaz and Nejd, while in southern Arabia the tribes dwelling on the fringe of the great desert have to a certain extent adopted the nomad life.

Both among the nomad and settled Arabs the organization is essentially tribal. The affairs of the tribe are administered by the sheiks, or heads of clans and families; the position of sheik in itself gives no real governing power, his word and counsel carry weight, but his influence depends on his own personal qualities. All matters affecting the community are discussed in the majlis or assembly, to which any tribesman has access; here, too, are brought the tribesmen’s causes; both sides plead and judgment is given impartially, the loser is fined so many head of small cattle or camels, which he must pay or go into