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give rise to the present name (Port. Açor, a hawk). The Arabian writers represent them as having been populous, and as having contained cities of some magnitude; but they state that the inhabitants had been greatly reduced by intestine warfare. The Azores are first found distinctly marked in a map of 1351, the southern group being named the Goat Islands (Cabreras); the middle group, the Wind or Dove Islands (De Ventura sive de Columbis); and the western, the Brazil Island (De Brazi)—the word Brazil at that time being employed for any red dye-stuff. In a Catalan map of the year 1375 Corvo is found as Corvi Marini, and Flores as Li Conigi; while St George is already designated San Zorze. It has been conjectured that the discoverers were Genoese, but of this there is not sufficient evidence. It is plain, however, that the so-called Flemish discovery by van der Berg is only worthy of the name in a very secondary sense. According to the usual account, he was driven on the islands in 1432, and the news excited considerable interest at the court of Lisbon. The navigator, Gonzalo Velho Cabral—not to be confounded with his greater namesake, Pedro Alvarez Cabral—was sent to prosecute the discovery. Another version relates that Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal had in his possession a map in which the islands were laid down, and that he sent out Cabral through confidence in its accuracy. The map had been presented to him by his brother, Dom Pedro, who had travelled as far as Babylon. Be this as it may, Cabral reached the island, which he named Santa Maria, in 1432, and in 1444 took possession of St Michael's. The other islands were all discovered by 1457. Colonization had meanwhile been going on prosperously; and in 1466 Fayal was presented by Alphonso V. to his aunt, Isabella, the duchess of Burgundy. An influx of Flemish settlers followed, and the islands became known for a time as the Flemish Islands. From 1580 to 1640 they were subject, like the rest of the Portuguese kingdom, to Spain. At that time the Azores were the grand rendezvous for the fleets on their voyage home from the Indies; and hence they became a theatre of that maritime warfare which was carried on by the English under Queen Elizabeth against the Peninsular powers. One such expedition, which took place in 1591, led to the famous sea-fight off Flores, between the English ship “Revenge,” commanded by Sir Richard Grenville, and a Spanish fleet of fifty-three vessels. Under the active administration of the marquis de Pombal (1690–1782), considerable efforts were made for the improvement of the Azores, but the stupid and bigoted government which followed rather tended to destroy these benefits. Towards the beginning of the 19th century, the possession of the islands, was contested by the claimants for the crown of Portugal. The adherents of the constitution, who supported against Miguel the rights of Maria (II.) da Gloria, obtained possession of Terceira in 1829, where they succeeded in maintaining themselves, and after various struggles, Queen Maria's authority was established over all the islands. She resided at Angra from 1830 to 1833.

For a general account of the islands, see The Azores, by W. F. Walker (London, 1886), and Madeira and the Canary Islands, with the Azores, by A. S. Brown (London, 1901). On the fauna and flora of the islands, the following books by H. Drouet are useful:—Eléments de la faune açoréenne (Paris, 1861); Mollusques marins des îles Açores (1858), Lettres açoréennes (1862), and Catalogue de la flore des îles Açores, précédé de l'itinéraire d'une voyage dans cet archipel (1866). The progress of Azorian commerce is best shown in the British and American consular reports. For history, see La Conquista de las Azores en 1583, by C. Fernandez Duro (Madrid, 1886), and Histoire de la découverte des îles Azores et de l'origine de leur dénomination d'îles flamandes, by J. Mees (Ghent, 1901).

AZOTH, the name given by the alchemists to mercury, and by Paracelsus to his universal remedy.

AZOTUS, the name given by Greek and Roman writers to Ashdod, an ancient city of Palestine, now represented by a few remains in the little village of ‛Esdud, in the governmental district of Acre. It was situated about 3 m. inland from the Mediterranean, on the famous military route between Syria and Egypt, about equidistant (18 m.) from Joppa and Gaza. As one of the five chief cities of the Philistines and the seat of the worship of Dagon (1 Sam. v.; cf. 1 Macc. x. 83), it maintained, down even to the days of the Maccabees, a vigorous though somewhat intermittent independence against the power of the Israelites, by whom it was nominally assigned to the territory of Judah. In 711 B.C. it was captured by the Assyrians (Is. xx. 1), but soon regained its power, and was strong enough in the next century to resist the assaults of Psammetichus, king of Egypt, for twenty-nine years (Herod. ii. 157). Restored by the Roman Gabinius from the ruins to which it had been reduced by the Jewish wars (1 Macc. v. 68, x. 77, xvi. 10), it was presented by Augustus to Salome, the sister of Herod. The only New Testament reference is in Acts viii. 40. Ashdod became the seat of a bishop early in the Christian era, but seems never to have attained any importance as a town. The Mount Azotus of 1 Macc. ix. 15, where Judas Maccabeus fell, is possibly the rising ground on which the village stands. A fine Saracenic khān is the principal relic of antiquity at ‛Esdud.

AZOV, or Asov (in Turkish, Asak), a town of Russia, in the government of the Don Cossacks, on the left bank of the southern arm of the Don, about 20 m. from its mouth. The ancient Tanais lay some 10 m. to the north. In the 13th century the Genoese had a factory here which they called Tana. Azov was long a place of great military and commercial importance. Peter the Great obtained possession of it after a protracted siege in 1696, but in 1711 restored it to the Turks; in 1739 it was finally united to the Russian empire. Since then it has greatly declined, owing to the silting up of its harbour and the competition of Taganrog. Its population, principally engaged in the fisheries, numbered 25,124 in 1900.

AZOV, SEA OF an inland sea of southern Europe, communicating with the Black Sea by the Strait of Yenikale, or Kerch, the ancient Bosporus Cimmerius. To the Romans it was known as the Palus Maeotis, from the name of the neighbouring people, who called it in their native language Temarenda, or Mother of Waters. It was long supposed to possess direct communication with the Northern Ocean. In prehistoric times a connexion with the Caspian Sea existed; but since the earliest historical times no great change has taken place in regard to the character or relations of the Sea of Azov. It lies between 45° 20′ and 47° 18′ N. lat, and between 35° and 39° E. long., its length from south-west to north-east being 230 m., and its greatest breadth 110. The area runs to 14,515 sq. m. It generally freezes from November to the middle of April. The Don is its largest and, indeed, its only very important affluent. Near the mouth of that river the depth of the sea varies from 3 to 10 ft., and the greatest depth does not exceed 45 ft. Of recent years, too, the level has been constantly dropping, for the surface lies 4¾ ft. higher than the surface of the Black Sea. Fierce and continuous winds from the east prevail during July and August, and in the latter part of the year those from the north-east and south-east are not unusual; a great variety of currents is thus produced. The water is for the most part comparatively fresh, but differs considerably in this respect according to locality and current. Fish are so abundant that the Turks describe it as Baluk-deniz, or Fish Sea. To the west, separated from the main basin by the long narrow sand-spit of Arabat, lie the remarkable lagoons and marshes known as the Sivash, or Putrid Sea; here the water is intensely salt. The Sea of Azov is of great importance to Russian commerce; along its shores stand the cities of Taganrog, Berdyansk, Mariupol and Yenikale.

AZOXIMES (furo [a.b.] diazoles), a class of organic compounds which contain the ring system

HC = N 
 N = CH

They may be prepared by converting nitriles into amidoximes by the action of hydroxylamine, the amidoximes so formed being then acylated by acid chlorides or anhydrides. From these acyl derivatives the elements of water are removed, either by simple heating or by boiling their aqueous solution; this elimination is accompanied by the formation of the azoxime ring. Thus


C6H5·CLangleIT.svg N·OH
boil with

propionic anhydride
[ C6H5C LangleIT.svg N·O·COC2H5
] C6H5·C LangleIT.svg N·O
RangleIB.svg C·C2H5