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BAHREIN ISLANDS—BAHR–EL–GHAZAL

in his public attitude towards religion. The climax came with the publication of his Neueste Offenbarungen Gottes in Briefen und Erzählungen (1773-1775), purporting to be a “model version” of the New Testament, rendered, with due regard to enlightenment, into modern German. The book is remembered solely through Goethe's scornful attack on its want of taste; its immediate effect was to produce Bahrdt's expulsion from Giessen. He was lucky enough at once to find a post as principal of the educational institution established in his château at Marschlins by the Swiss statesman Ulysses von Salis (1728-1800). The school had languished since the death of its founder and first head, Martin Planta (1727-1772), and von Salis hoped to revive it by reconstituting it as a “Philanthropin” under Bahrdt's management. The experiment was a failure; Bahrdt, never at ease under the strict discipline maintained by von Salis, resigned in 1777, and the school was closed. At the invitation of the count of Leiningen-Dachsburg, Bahrdt now went as general superintendent to Dürkheim on the Hardt; his luckless translation of the Testament, however, pursued him, and in 1778 he was suspended by a decision of the high court of the Empire. In dire poverty he fled, in 1779, to Halle, where in spite of the opposition of the senate and the theologians, he obtained through the interest of the Prussian minister, von Zedlitz, permission to lecture on subjects other than theology. Forced to earn a living by writing, he developed an astounding literary activity. His orthodoxy had now quite gone by the board, and all his efforts were directed to the propaganda of a “moral system” which should replace supernatural Christianity.

By such means Bahrdt succeeded in maintaining himself until, on the death of Frederick the Great, the religious reaction set in at the Berlin court. The strain of writing had forced him to give up his lectures, and he had again opened an inn on the Weinberg near Halle. Here he lived with his mistress and his daughters—he had repudiated his wife—in disreputable peace until 1789, when he was condemned to a year's imprisonment for a lampoon on the Prussian religious edict of 1788. His year's enforced leisure he spent in writing indecent stories, coarse polemics, and an autobiography which is described as “a mixture of lies, hypocrisy and self-prostitution.” He died on the 23rd of April 1792.

See life, with detailed bibliography, by Paul Tschakert in Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie; a more favourable account is given in J. M. Robertson's Short History of Freethought, ii. 278.

BAHREIN ISLANDS, a group of islands situated about 20 m. east of the coast of El Hasa, in the Persian Gulf, a little to the south of the port of El Katif, which, if rightly identified with the ancient Gerrha, has been celebrated throughout history as the mart of Indian trade, the starting-point of caravans across Arabia. The largest of the group is called Bahrein. It is about 27 m. long from north to south and about 10 wide—a low flat space of sandy waste with cultivated oases and palm groves of great luxuriance and beauty. The rocky hill of Jebel Dukhan (the “mountain of the mist”) rises in the midst of it to a height of 400 ft. The rest of the group are of coral formation. The next island in size to Bahrein is Moharek, curved in shape, and about 5 m. long by ½ m. in breadth. It lies 1 m. to the north of Bahrein. Sitrah (4 m. long) Nebbi, Saleh, Sayeh, Khasifeh and Arad (¾ m. long) complete the group. Of these minor islands Arad alone retains its classical name.

The climate is mild, but humid, and rather unhealthy. The soil is for the most part fertile, and produces rice, pot herbs and fruits, of which the citrons are especially good. Water is abundant. Fish of all kinds abound off the coast, and are very cheap in the markets. The inhabitants are a mixed race of Arab, Omanite and Persian blood, slender and small in their physical appearance; they possess great activity and intelligence, and are known in all the ports of the Persian Gulf for their commercial and industrial ability.

The sea around the Bahrein islands is shallow, so shallow as to admit only of the approach of native craft, and the harbour is closely shut in by reefs. There is very little doubt that it was from these islands that the Puni, or Phoenicians, emigrated northwards to the Mediterranean. Bahrein has always been the centre of the pearl fishing industry of the Persian Gulf. There are about 400 boats now employed in the pearl fisheries, each of them paying a tax to the Sheik. The pearl export from Linja is valued at about £30,000 to £35,000 per annum.

The capital town of Bahrein is Manameh, a long, straggling, narrow town of about 8000 inhabitants, chiefly of the Wahabi sect. Manameh is adjacent to the most northern point of the island, and looks across the narrow strait to Moharek.

Fish and sea-weed form the staple food of the islanders. The water-supply of Moharek is probably unique. It is derived from springs which burst through the beds below sea-level with such force as to retain their freshness in the midst of the surrounding salt water. Scattered through the islands are some fifty villages, each possessing its own date groves and cultivation, forming features in the landscape of great fertility and beauty. Most of these villages are walled in for protection.

The Portuguese obtained possession of the islands in 1507, but were driven from their settlements in that quarter by Shah Abbas in 1622. The islands afterwards became an object of contention between the Persians and Arabs, and at last the Arabian tribe of the Athubis made themselves masters of them in 1784.

The present Sheik of Bahrein (who lives chiefly at Moharek) is of the family of El Kalifa. This ruling race was driven from the mainland (where they held great possessions) by the Turks about 1850. In the year 1867 the Persians threatened Bahrein, and in 1875 the Turks laid their hands on it. British interference in both cases was successful in maintaining the integrity of Arab rule, and the Bahrein islands are now under British protection.

To the south-west of the picturesque belts of palm trees which stretch inland from the northern coast of Bahrein, is a wide space of open sandy plain filled with gigantic tumuli or earth mounds, of which the outer layers of gravel and clay have been hardened by the weather action of centuries to the consistency of conglomerate. Within these mounds are two-chambered sepulchres, built of huge slabs of limestone, several of which have been opened and examined by Durand, Bent and others, and found to contain relics of undoubted Phoenician design. Scattered here and there throughout the islands are isolated mounds, or smaller groups, all of which are of the same appearance, and probably of similar origin.  (T. H. H.*) 

BAHR-EL-GHAZAL, the chief western affluent of the river Nile, N.E. Africa, which it joins in 9° 30′ N., 30° 25′ E. The Bahr-el-Ghazal (Gazelle river) is a deep stream formed by the junction of many rivers, of which the Jur (see below) is the most important. The basin of the Ghazal is a large one, extending north-west to Darfur, and south-west to the Congo watershed. The main northern feeder of the Ghazal is a large river, whose headwaters are in the country west of 24° E. where the Nile, Congo and Shari watersheds meet. Reinforced by intermittent streams from the hills of Darfur and by considerable rivers flowing north from Dar Fertit, this river after reaching as far north as about 10° 30′ pursues a general south-easterly direction until it joins the Ghazal 87 m. above the Deleb confluence (see below). This main northern feeder passes through the country of the Homr Arabs and Bahr-el-Homr may be adopted as its name. On many maps it is marked as the Bahr-el-Arab, a designation also used as an alternative name for the Lol,[1] another tributary of the Ghazal, which eventually unites with the Bahr-el-Homr. The Bahr-el-Homr in its lower reaches was in 1906 completely blocked by sudd (q.v.) and then brought no water into the Bahr-el-Ghazal. The Sudan government, however, sent engineering parties to remove the sudd blocks and open out a continuous waterway. This Bahr-el-Homr is the only affluent of

  1. The Lol is also called the Kir, a name given likewise to the lower course of the Bahr-el-Homr. The confusion of names is partly attributable to the fact that each tribe has a different name for the same stream. It is also due in part to the belief that there was a large river flowing between the Bahr-el-Homr and the Lol. This third river, generally called the Kir, has proved to be only the lower course of the Lol of Bahr-el-Arab.