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BEIRA—BEIT

imports and exports, excluding the transit trade with Rhodesia, was, imports £200,000, exports £90,000. Direct steamship communication with Europe is maintained by German and British lines.

See Portuguese East Africa; also the reports issued yearly by the British Foreign Office on the trade of Beira.

BEIRA, an ancient principality and province of northern and central Portugal; bounded on the N. by Entre Minho e Douro and by Traz os Montes, E. by the Spanish provinces of Leon and Estremadura, S. by Alemtejo and Portuguese Estremadura, and W. by the Atlantic Ocean. Pop. (1900) 1,515,834; area, 9208 sq. m. Beira is administratively divided into the districts of Aveiro, Coimbra, Vizeu, Guarda and Castello Branco, while it is popularly regarded as consisting of the three sections— Beira Alta or Upper Beira (Vizeu), north and west of the Serra da Estrella; Beira Baixa or Lower Beira (Guarda and Castello Branco), south and east of that range; and Beira Mar or Maritime Beira (Aveiro and Coimbra), coinciding with the former coastal province of Douro. The coast line, about 72 m. long, is uniformly flat, with long stretches of sandy pine forest, heath or marshland bordered by a wide and fertile plain. Its most conspicuous features are the lagoon of Aveiro (q.v.) and the bold headland of Cape Mondego; in the south Aveiro, Murtosa, Ovar and Figueira da Foz are small seaports. Except along the coast, the surface is for the most part mountainous,—the highest point in the Serra da Estrella, which extends from north-east to south-west through the centre of the province, being 6532 ft. The northern and south-eastern frontiers are respectively marked by the two great rivers Douro and Tagus, which rise in Spain and flow to the Atlantic. The Agueda and Côa, tributaries of the Douro, drain the eastern plateaus of Beira; the Vouga rises in the Serra da Lapa, and forms the lagoon of Aveiro at its mouth; the Mondego springs from the Serra da Estrella, passes through Coimbra, and enters the sea at Figueira da Foz; and the Zezere, a tributary of the Tagus, rises north-north-east of Covilhã and flows south-west and south.

Beira has a warm and equable climate, except in the mountains, where the snowfall is often heavy. The soil, except in the valleys, is dry and rocky, and large stretches are covered with heath. The principal agricultural products are maize, wheat, garden vegetables and fruit. The olive is largely cultivated, the oil forming one of the chief articles of export; good wine is also produced. In the flat country between Coimbra and Aveiro the marshy land is laid out in rice-fields or in pastures for herds of cattle and horses. Sheep farming is an important industry in the highlands of Upper Beira; while near Lamego swine are reared in considerable numbers, and furnish the well-known Lisbon hams. Iron, lead, copper, coal and marble are worked to a small extent, and millstones are quarried in some places. Salt is obtained in considerable quantities from the lagoons along the coast. There are few manufactures except the production of woollen cloth, which occupies a large part of the population in the district of Castello Branco. Three important lines of railway, the Salamanca-Oporto, Salamanca-Lisbon and Lisbon-Oporto, traverse parts of Beira; the two last named are also connected by the Guarda-Figueira da Foz railway, which has a short branch line going northwards to Vizeu. The chief towns, Aveiro (pop. 1900, 9979), Castello Branco (7288), Coimbra (18,144), Covilhã (15,469), Figueira da Foz (6221), Guarda (6124), Ilhavo (12,617), Lamego (9471), Murtosa (9737), Ovar (10,462) and Vizeu (8057), with the frontier fortress of Almeida (2330), are described in separate articles. There is a striking difference of character between the inhabitants of the highlands, who are grave and reserved, hardy and industrious, and those of the lowlands, who are more sociable and courteous, but less energetic. The heir-apparent to the throne of Portugal has the title of prince of Beira.

BEIRUT or Beyrout. (1) A vilayet of Syria, constituted as recently as 1888, which stretches along the sea-coast from Jebel el-Akra, south of the Orontes, to the Nahr Zerka, south of Mount Carmel, and towards the south extends from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. It includes five sanjaks, Latakia, Tripoli, Beirut, Acre and Buka’a. (2) The chief town of the vilayet (anc. Berytus), the most important seaport town in Syria, situated on the south side of St George’s Bay, on rising ground at the foot of Lebanon. Pop. 120,000 (Moslems, 36,000; Christians, 77,000; Jews, 2500; Druses, 400; foreigners, 4100). Berytus, whether it is to be identified with Hebrew Berothai or not (2 Sam. viii. 8; Ezek. xlvii. 16), was one of the most ancient settlements on the Phoenician coast; but nothing more than the name is known of it till B.C. 140, when the town was taken and destroyed by Tryphon in his contest with Antiochus VII. for the throne of the Seleucids. It duly passed under Rome, was much favoured by the Herods and became a colonia. It was famous for its schools, especially that of law, from the 4th century A.D. onwards. Justinian recognized it as one of the three official law schools of the empire (A.D. 533), but within a few years, as the result of a disastrous earthquake (551), the students were transferred to Sidon. In the following century it passed to the Arabs (635), and was not again a Christian city till 1111, when Baldwin captured it. Saladin retook it in 1187, and thenceforward, for six centuries and a half, whoever its nominal lords may have been, Saracen, Crusader, Mameluke or (from the 16th century) Turk, the Druse emirs of Lebanon dominated it (see Druses). One of these, Fakr ed-Din Maan II., fortified it early in the 17th century; but the Turks asserted themselves in 1763 and occupied the place. During the succeeding epoch of rebellion at Acre under Jezzar and Abdullah pashas, Beirut declined to a small town of about 10,000 souls, in dispute between the Druses, the Turks and the pashas,—a state of things which lasted till Ibrahim Pasha captured Acre in 1832. When the powers moved against the Egyptians in 1840, Beirut had recently been occupied in force by Ibrahim as a menace to the Druses; but he was easily driven out after a destructive bombardment by Admiral Sir Robert Stopford (1768-1847). Since the pacification of the Lebanon after the massacre of the Christians in 1860 (for later history, see Lebanon), Beirut has greatly increased in extent, and has become the centre of the transit trade for all southern Syria. In 1894 a harbour, constructed by a French company, was opened, but the insecurity of the outer roadstead militates against its success. Nevertheless trade is on the increase. In 1895 a French company completed a railway across the Lebanon to Damascus, and connected it with Mezerib in the Hauran, whence now starts the line to the Hejaz. Since 1907 it has also had railway communication with Aleppo; and a narrow-gauge line runs up the coast to Tripoli. The steepness of the Lebanon railway, and the break of gauge at Rayak, the junction for Aleppo, have prevented the diversion of much of the trade of North Syria to Beirut. The town has been supplied with water, since 1875, by an English company, and with gas, since 1888, by a French company. There are many American and European institutions in the city: the American Presbyterian mission, with a girls’ school and a printing office, which published the Arabic translation of the Bible, and now issues a weekly paper and standard works in Arabic; the Syrian Protestant college with its theological seminary, medical faculty, training college and astronomical observatory; the Scottish mission, and St George’s institute for Moslem and Druse girls; the British Syrian mission schools; the German hospital, orphanage and boarding school; the French hospital and schools, and the Jesuit “Université de St Joseph” with a printing office. In summer most of the richer residents reside on the Lebanon, and in winter the governor of the Lebanon and many Lebanon notables inhabit houses in Beirut. The town has many fine houses, but the streets are unpaved and the bazaars mean. The Moslem inhabitants, being in a minority, have often shown themselves fanatical and turbulent. There are several fairly good hotels for tourists.  (C. W. W.; D. G. H.) 

BEIT, ALFRED (1853-1906), British South African financier, was the son of a well-to-do merchant of Hamburg, Germany, and in 1875, after a commercial education at home, was sent out to Kimberley, South Africa, to investigate the diamond prospects. He had relatives, the Lipperts, out there in business, and in conjunction with Mr (afterwards Sir) Julius Wernher